Vibe - p.212
"THE PHOENIX delivers Lyfe Jennings's uplifting, real-deal brand of the blues....Clearly, Lyfe has a knack for making bad situations sound good."
Personnel: Lyfe Jennings (vocals); Three 6 Mafia, Young Buck (rap vocals).
After the success of his 2004 debut LYFE 268-192, which focused on the journey that brought Jennings to prison and out of it, the singer continued the personal and intimate tone that made that debut so intriguing. THE PHOENIX starts where his first album ended, centering on Jennings's post-prison experience and taking the listener along with him through the downfall of a relationship, his rise to stardom, and the beginning of a new love. Overall, Jennings shines as a true storyteller and lyricist, effectively drawing the listener in by interjecting short spoken-word introductions between each song and even outdoing the average MC with his witty, off-kilter lyrics ("Rogaine keeps the hair strong/But cocaine keeps the cable on"). Self-produced and featuring guest appearances from Young Buck, Doc Brown, Three Six Mafia, Project Pat, and Lala Brown, THE PHOENIX displays the artist's versatility with an assortment of hot radio-friendly club bangers, emotional ballads, and grimy hip-hop tracks, including an homage to the Notorious B.I.G. ("Biggie Nigga") and a cover of Tupac's "Keep Ya Head Up."