You may not know The-Dream's name, but you've heard his work. The former Terius Youngdell Nash, along with production partner Christopher "Tricky" Stewart, penned a number of 2007 smashes, including Rihanna's monster hit "Umbrella," Mary J. Blige's jubilee-filled single "Just Fine" and J. Holiday's R&B anthem "Bed." Dream's own first single, "Shawty Is a Ten" garnered quite the following thanks to regular radio airplay and club spins; now the songwriter attempts to break out as a star on his own accord with his debut album. Sure, Love Hate offers a few catchy songs, but while The-Dream is adept at crafting songs that fit the personalities of the intended artists, he falls flat trying to do the same for himself. One listen and you learn the "ella, ella, eh, eh, eh's" we heard on "Umbrella" are all his, but the same can't be said for the number of clichés used to gush over sex and materialism. Not to mention, the production value sounds like a certain purple enthusiast from the '80s — so The-Dream essentially sounds like R. Kelly pretending to be Prince. Love Hate might score him a hit or two, but hopefully he doesn't quit his day job crafting hits for others.

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Michael Arceneaux