There’s been a lot of buzz about Coko’s sophomore gospel effort, The Winner In Me, for several months now. And lemme tell ya– the wait was worth it.
This project, in stores this coming Tuesday, is a great follow-up to her debut from a few years back– it demonstrates artistic growth while providing fans with the classic sound that we fell in love with on the first gospel album… actually, no… we fell in love with it back in the SWV days, didn’t we?!
Diverse tracks with memorable hooks and great production are hallmarks of this 12-track project, which features guest spots from Canton Jones, Israel Houghton, Kelly Price and Coko’s mother, Lady Tibba. Among the producers are Coko’s husband (and industry drummer extraordinaire) Mike “Big Mike” Clemons and relative newcomer Jamiene “J Skills” Thompson (who produced half of George Huff’s latest project). And I think I peeped some songwriting credits for David Caton and his wife Timiney. [Editor's Note: Timiney Caton's maiden name is Timiney Figueroa, as in... the lead soloist on the classic Hezekiah Walker cut "Calling My Name"... as in... current member of the Kurt Carr Singers... as in... the older sister of Anaysha Figueroa... need I go on?]
I digress. Coko’s soaring soprano transitions well across a wide range of musical styles on this project– she moves from tracks with hip-hop beats, to modern churchy joints, to CCM-styled ballads. But she remains at all times AUTHENTIC. If I’m being honest (and I always try to be), I have to admit that I was looking forward to the Coko & Kelly Price duet because I wanted to hear them demolish a really churchy track. Instead, they demolished a more urban track. But “demolished” is the operative word, so how mad could I be?
Favorite cuts: “May Be The Last Time,” a single-worthy anthem that is sure to be added to repertoires of MANY praise teams; “Make A Way,” a rock-infused track laced with verses by Canton Jones (it’s hot); “The Joy Of The Lord,” an urban duet with Israel; “I Surrender,” an all-out song of… well, surrender; and “Renew My Mind,” a classic song of supplication for renewal, featuring Coko’s mother (who, if you recall, appeared on Coko’s debut project, on the “Mighty God” track). That song, too, could be a fave on Sunday morning. And, of course, I’m still enjoying the project’s first single, “Wait.”
The short and sweet of it: fans of Coko will absolutely not be disappointed, people on the fence will appreciate the great music on this project, and skeptics of the whole “R&B-turned-gospel-artist” phenomenon will have one more reason to pipe down. Coko appears to have poured all of her energy into her passion– making music that glorifies God and edifies the Body of Christ. With The Winner In Me, I think she succeeds at both.