It's been four years since Toni Braxton released her previous album, but she turns up The Heat Tuesday with her latest disc.
Also coming out this week is the second album from R&B singer Mya and a greatest-hits package from '80s R&B songstress Pebbles.
Producer Rodney Jerkins lends his trademark sound to Braxton's first single, "He Wasn't Man Enough" (RealAudio excerpt), which moved up to #1 on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop singles chart this week. The husky-voiced singer made her mark with such ballads as "Breathe Again" and "Another Sad Love Song" from her 1993 debut, Toni Braxton.
The Heat includes its share of ballads, such as "Spanish Guitar" and "I'm Still Breathing," both written by Diane Warren. Dr. Dre guests on "Just Be a Man About It," playing the role of a man breaking up with his lover from a pay phone.
The exuberant "Gimme Some" features a rap by TLC's Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, and the title track is a midtempo summertime jam about making love and mischief on the beach.
After releasing her 1996 album, Secrets, which spawned the hit single "You're Makin' Me High," Braxton appeared on Broadway in 1998. She was the first African-American performer to play Belle in the Disney musical "Beauty and the Beast."
Mya first gained notice when she sang on the Pras Michel/Ol' Dirty Bastard collaboration "Ghetto Superstar" in 1998. Her eponymous, debut album that year went double platinum, and it yielded a hit with the Babyface-penned single "My First Night With You."
Her follow-up, Fear of Flying, keeps the dance-floor beats coming, with the Jerkins-produced "That's Why I Wanna Fight" and the album's first single, "The Best of Me" (RealAudio excerpt), which includes a rap from Jadakiss of the Lox.
The album's 18 tracks also include "Turn It Up," which features stop-start beats and samples of a cooing baby. "Pussycats" uses the sound of mewing cats to similar effect.
Mya's music also has appeared in the Eddie Murphy film "Life" (1999) and the 1998 Nas/DMX/Method Man movie "Belly" (1998).
Pebbles will release her Greatest Hits this week. The singer (born Perri McKissack) had several chart hits in the late 1980s, including "Girlfriend," "Mercedes Boy" and "Giving You the Benefit."