Shakura S'Aida's Brown Sugar is a nice entry-level, modern day CD for the person who wants a general taste of what the blues sound is. Going in, I initially expected a bunch of songs that would depress the hell out of me. Listening to the album, I found that not only did the sadder songs make me feel better, but they made me understand my sadness was not that unique.
The blues at it's best has the ability, unlike Heavy Metal at it's darkest, to make a person's everyday emotional struggles not only feel natural, but very universal. Cuts such as "Angels On High" and "Break Your Heart" are beautiful and represent the best of the album.
The happier tracks such as "Sweet Spot" and the title track "Brown Sugar", don't come with the same force that the rest of the tracks have. This isn't to say that a blues artist can't make a happy song, it's just that those particular songs are the weaker points of the album.
Children that are growing up on a diet of hip-hop and R&B need to have some understanding of the origins of those genres. One of the most important, especially to R&B, is the blues. This album would be a nice little window into the sound that made other genres possible.
This album is apparently her second and the one where she is more comfortable doing more of her own compositions. I can see the evolution and I like in certain places where she's going. I expect that in a future album, she'll really let it rip.
Despite a couple of misses, Brown Sugar is a solid step in the Canadian blues singer's direction.