On her debut album, "Black Diamond," soulful R&B singer Angie Stone mines much of the same territory as Grammy favorite Lauryn Hill. But Stone's "Diamond," bursting with inspired vocals and compositions, proves there's room for more. In this day and age of shock-funk and booty-rap, it's quite refreshing to find a record that doesn't rely on overt sexual imagery to conjure up romantic thoughts.
"No More Rain (in This Cloud)" and "Coulda Been You" are downtempo delights. "Bone 2 Pic (Wit U)" has a laid-back, jazzy feel, while "Just a Pimp" is more heartfelt than the gangsta title might suggest. Contributions by heavyweights D'Angelo and Lenny Kravitz -- plus helmsmanship by major-league producers DJ U-Neek and Ali Shaheed -- only increase this "Diamond's" shine.