MUSTWORTHINESS The apple-cheeked Grammy-winning singer and mom (the birth of daughter Sy'rai was fodder for a 2002 reality show on MTV) releases her fourth album, ''Afrodisiac,'' on June 29. With an up-with-love message, some smokin' vocal gymnastics, and rhymin' from must-have producer Kanye West, the album's first single, ''Talk About Our Love,'' has all the ingredients to become this summer's ''Crazy In Love.'' Shake that, Beyonce!
THE OTHER MUST-HAVE PRODUCER After recording several tracks with ex-husband Robert Smith (the pair split last June), Brandy tapped the man with the Midas touch, producer Timbaland, who's made hits for Missy Elliott and Jay-Z, to give her album a hip-hop overhaul. ''I heard myself on his tracks and I thought, 'This is it,''' she recalls. ''[After that], the entire plan and path changed'' -- without any of Smith's tunes.
SAMPLE IRRESISTIBLE Coldplay's ''Clocks'' for ''Should I Go.'' Is Brandy a fan? ''Yes! Their music just moves you. Yesterday I was doing a photo shoot and I turned on 'Clocks' and zoned out.''
ON HER MUST LIST ''The new Usher record.''
USHER ISN'T THE ONLY ONE CONFESSING ''On 'Afrodisiac,' you really get to know me as a person and I'm not sugarcoating any of the lyrics. My fans will be able to connect to it because they'll know exactly what I've been through.''
NEXT The singer plans to tour this summer.