Kelly Rowland has been in the music industry for the better part of two decades, and with the release of her fourth solo album, Talk A Good Game, she has finally escaped the shadow of best friend and Destiny’s Child member, Beyonce, and earned her rightful spot among today’s best artists.

It’s been roughly 13 years since the members of Destiny’s Child disbanded, and each embarked on their own solo projects. And it’s interesting that in that time, most people don’t know as much about Rowland as they should—especially in comparison to Beyonce. Yet with her new album, Rowland gives us an intimate look inside her bouts with jealousy over Beyonce’s burgeoning success, as well as an abusive relationship that heightened her insecurities, her views on breakups, and of course good sex—finally giving people a sense of who Rowland has become over the years.

In the album’s headline-making and most revealing track “Dirty Laundry”, Rowland releases her jealousy of her best friend (Beyonce) and what it was like living in her shadow for five years, while dealing with an abusive relationship. The slow track does in some ways make Rowland appear desperate to cash in on the rumors everyone’s wanted to know for years, but something about the earnestness of the lyrics makes you forgive her for recording the confessional— “Bird in a cage, you never know what I was dealing with. Went our separate ways but I was happy she was killing it. Bittersweet, she was up I was down. No lie I feel good for her but what do I do now?” A really good song on Talk A Good Game, the single opens up Rowland for a deeper, more personal relationship with her fans.

None of the other 11 songs cut as deeply as “Dirty Laundry,” but Rowland stays true to her R&B roots on this album, which a bit more consistent than her last, Here I am, where Rowland visited many genres trying to appeal to all different types of music lovers. “Kisses Down Low,” produced by Mike Will Made It (Drake, Juicy J, Future) and the first single off the record, gave Rowland her second biggest radio hit, following “Motivation” on her last album.

Rowland collaborated with big time producers on this album—securing that she had some chart toppers—such as The Dream, who produced the bonus track “Sky Walker”, Pharrell and Pusha T with “Street Life”, as well as many other artist collaborations.

Wiz Khalifa lends his talents to my favorite song on the album, “Gone,” the upbeat feel good Joni Mitchell sampling, while Rowland and David Guetta team up again for “I remember.” Kevin Cossom also contributes to the title track “Talk A Good Game.” The most uplifting track is “You Changed” because it brings back such good memories and features Rowland alongside Beyonce, and Michelle Williams back together. It is a totally infectious track that will have Destiny’s Child fans all over the world smiling with pure satisfaction.

Overall, Talk A Good Game proves to be the album where Rowland finally found the confidence she’s always been looking for, and it’s incredible to see just how much she’s evolved. I can only hope that she finally rises up to Beyonce’s status. She deserves it.

The bonus tracks are “Sky Walker, “Put Your Name On It” and “#1”, while her most sensual track is “Freak”—my least favorite song because of the misplaced intense club sounds that make you feel like you’re tripping on acid.

Talk A Good Game is a welcome album that frankly surpassed my expectations, and I must admit I didn’t know Rowland was as good of a singer as she is. And it has to be said that, if anything, Destiny’s Child and Beyonce may have held her back because Rowland is a powerhouse talent.

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