Before there was ever Beyoncé and Destiny’s Child, there was Cheryl Clemons, known everywere as Coko.

Along with her girls Sisters With Voices (SWV), Coko became the defining voice of the ‘90s in urban music with chart-topping hits and soprano vocal ability that withstood the test of time. After teasing us with cameo appearances on some recent Gospel projects, Coko releases her long-awaited Gospel debut, Grateful.

CD This twelve-track project gives us a look at the real Coko, free of inhibition and full of grace.

Coko’s trademark is a fusion of incredible vocal arrangements with savvy musical stylings. Have no fear. She in no way disappoints.

True to her roots, Coko offers worthy remakes of two Gospel classics. She pays tribute to her musical inspiration, Tramaine Hawkins, with “Look At Me”, an authentic cover of this memorable treasure. Coko enlists the help of Fantasia, Faith Evans and Lil’ Mo on the incredible “Endow Me”. With production from Asaph Alex Ward, this one is one for the ages. It’s a must hear that will give the famed Clark Sisters a run for their money.

Coko partners with some of the industry’s most prolific personalities in bringing this project to fruition. On the production side, Warryn Campbell, Shep Crawford, husband “Big Mike” Clemons and Donald Lawrence add their genius.

In addition, Lawrence adds his trademark vocal ad-libs to the funky “Mighty God”, which also features Coko’s mother, Lady Tibba Gamble. Lawrence brings his trademark background vocal team to the track and also to the majestic “Holy”, which features DeWayne Woods, Blanche McAllister, Queenie Lenox, Jason Nelson and Latrice Pace-Speights, to name a few.

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Coko shows the depth of her worship catalogue with the “Hymn Medley”. Arranged by Lucinda Moore, the collection features “Just As I Am”, “Lamb of God” and “Thank You Lord”.

No Coko album is complete without first-class funk and she delivers that with “I Get Joy”, “I Promise”, and the radio-friendly “Clap Your Hands”. Special editions of this release also include bonus cuts “I Wish” and the hit “Midnite”, with Brent Jones & The TP Mobb.

“Grateful” represents both the rebirth and the zenith of Coko’s musical career. Deftly merging diversity with musicianship, Coko showcases her genuine passion for the Father with this incredible effort that shines brightly amongst a jam-packed collection of releases.

This is unequivocally a must-add to your collection. You too will be grateful.

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Production: Mike Clemons, Donald Lawrence, Shep Crawford, Warryn Campbell, Asaph Alex Ward
album release date: October 24, 2006
Light Records

— reviewed by Gerard Bonner

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