Dawn Robinson (Q)
Memo to Beyoncé Knowles: Before that “little break” you announced Destiny’s Child would soon be taking to pursue solo projects becomes a permanent one, think about Dawn Robinson. As a member of the early-’90s quartet En Vogue, which would have blown Destiny’s Child away in a girl-group showdown, Robinson was the funkiest diva of them all. But she left En Vogue in 1997 to pursue a solo career and, except for a brief stint with the hip-hop/soul trio Lucy Pearl, has hardly been heard from since. Her long-awaited solo debut has finally arrived, and while it won’t make anyone forget En Vogue, Robinson pipes up with a gratifying if not groundbreaking set of contemporary R&B. Although her sassy, sturdy vocals lift even the more banal ballads, Robinson really shines on funkier fare such as the Destiny’s Child-like “Fed Up” and the standout “Meaning of a Woman,” a feminist anthem that would do Aretha proud.
Bottom Line: Solo far, solo good