Ryan Dombal
September 29, 2006 AT 04:00 AM EDT

With his bald dome, wraparound shades, and playful falsetto, this ace hook man should be familiar to hip-hop fans, thanks to videos like OutKast’s ”The Way You Move.” But the singer-producer’s transition from background player to marquee star is rocky. Undercooked songwriting and overstretched choruses take away from Brown’s Marvin Gaye-ish come-ons. While the Philly- soul-style ”Me, My Baby, My Cadillac” is one of the year’s best R&B singles, most of Mr. Brown suggests this crooner should stick to supporting roles.

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