Brian McKnight: R&B Balladeer Returns With A Hip-hop Touch

October 16 [10:00 EDT] -- The release of his LP, "Anytime," caps a busy year for R&B singer Brian McKnight.

In 1997 Brian McKnight covered Stevie Wonder's early 70s hit "Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours)" for the "NBA at 50" album, joined Jamaican singer Diana King on the title track for the soundtrack to the Oscar-winning Muhammad Ali documentary, "When We Were Kings," and performed the national anthem at the NBA All-Star game, following in the footsteps of such R&B figures as Marvin Gaye and Luther Vandross.

McKnight completed this Puff Daddyish schedule by bringing (who else) Puffy in to produce "You Should Be Mine," the lead single off McKnight's latest and third album "Anytime."

As a singer/songwriter and producer for Boyz II Men and Vanessa Williams, among others, Brian McKnight admitted via his bio that enlisting outside help was no small feat for him.

"I know people will think that my hooking up with Puffy will mean that I am going after

an obvious hit," McKnight said, "But Puffy and I have known each other for quite some time. I worked on his upcoming Bad Boy gospel album, so when my album came around, I wanted the favor returned."

"Anytime" features the kind of clean-cut, gospel-tinged R&B that earned McKnight's previous efforts ('92's "Brian McKnight" and '95's "I Remember You") critics' esteem. Fans of "Love Is," McKnight's top five duet with Vanessa Williams, which appeared on the "Beverly Hills 90210" soundtrack, may enjoy "Anytime" as it contains earnest ballads like "You Got the Bomb," "Hold Me," and "I Belong to You," among others.