MusiqSoulchild & Syleena Johnson —
9ine ... CD Shanachie, 2013. New Copy ....
The first ever full length collaboration from contemporary soul veterans MusiqSoulchild and Syleena Johnson – and it's by no means a predictable male/female joint R&B record – they're rolling with a sound enriched by their mutual love of reggae! Musiq and Syleena both went through the major label ringer of the 2000s, and have emerged with more creative control in the indie realm – and you gotta love that they're doing just what they want to do at this stage in the game. There's a reggae inflected vibe throughout, but it's not strictly so – it's still their modern soul wheelhouse, and it sounds pretty great! Includes "Alright", "Feel The Fire", "The Hunger", "Slow Love", "So Big", "Never Had", "Pieces Of You", "Bring Me Down", "Promise", "Feel The Fire (Reggae Style)" and more. CD
Classic-styled soul from MusiqSoulchild – his debut set for Def Soul, and the start of a great run of mellow grooves! As you might guess from the compressed wording of the title, the tunes here have a great set of flow – a laidback, kicked-back sort of sound that's not nearly as full-on or swaggering as other male soul of the time. Musiq's even more relaxed than D'Angelo here – and the tunes are awash in warm keyboard lines and mellow bubbling beats – all with plenty of room for Musiq to stretch out in some sweeeeeet vocal lines. Titles include "Speechless", "You & Me", "Just Friends (Sunny)", "Girl Next Door", "Mary Go Round", "Love", "Poparatzi", and "You Be Alright". LP, Vinyl record album
Philly-bred MusiqSoulchild heads over to Atlantic from Def Jam with his tight modern soul sound intact and better than ever – Luvanmusiq might be his best set yet! Musiq's brand of hip hop informed, steady soul has been consistent from the get go, but this one has a tightness that surpasses his previous LP. The beat driven tunes bounce just a bit more, the more melodic tunes hit that emotion-baiting vibe that much more endearingly, and the hooks are just a bit more memorable. A tight set from one of the most reliable soul stars in the game! Tracks include "BUDDY", "Ms Philadelphia", "Teachme", "Betterman", "The Questions", "Today", "Makeyouhappy", "Ridiculous", "Millionaire", "Lullaby" and "Greatestlove". LP, Vinyl record album
Chapter two, and an even deeper set than India Arie's first Testimony album – a record that shows a lot of growth in India's music, and a style that's even more mature and righteous than before! Arie's acoustic guitar is a key part of the instrumentation, and the album features a fair bit of mellower tracks too – so that there's a sense of intimacy in the music that's really great – the perfect setting for India's positive thinking and spiritual growth, which is documented somewhat in her copious notes inside the album's booklet! Most tunes have a warm glow, but one that's never smooth or commercial – and guests on the album include MusiqSoulchild, Gramps Morgan, Dobet Gnahore, and Terrell Carter. Titles include "Long Goodbye", "Chocolate High", "Ghetto", "Therapy", "River Rise", "Pearls", "Better Way", "Yellow", and "He Heals Me". LP, Vinyl record album
Robert Glasper —
Black Radio ... LP Blue Note, 2012. New Copy 2LP Gatefold ....
An amazing new chapter in the career of Robert Glasper – one of our favorite new jazz musicians of the past decade or so! This set features loads of Glasper's enigmatic piano lines – those fluid, elliptical sounds that are always filled with plenty of soul and imagination – matched here with guest vocals from a host of key talents – including Erykah Badu, Lalah Hathaway, MusiqSoulchild, Meshell Ndegeocello, Bilal, and Lupe Fiasco! The blend is surprisingly wonderful – not a sell out at all, but a way for Glaspar's music to reach a rich new level of expression – as the vocals really help the instrumental elements come alive – and unlock this side of Robert's potential that was always lurking in the background. One of the best musical moments we've heard from Blue Note in years – with titles that include "Always Shine", "Move Love", "Ah Yeah", "Lift Off", "Afro Blue", "Cherish The Day", "Black Radio", and "Letter To Hermione". LP, Vinyl record album
A great bit of NuSoul from MusiqSoulchild – warm, beat-heavy, and with a sinewy vocal style that reminds us a bit of D'Angelo, but harder. The album's Musiq's second – and it's another proud statement from the current Philly underground, the kind of modern day soul that's transforming the face of R&B, and winning back tons of listeners who'd departed the urban scene years ago. The back cover shows Musiq kicking back with a set of fat 70s headphones, digging in the crates while listening to a pile of 8 tracks – and we couldn't think of a better image to sum up the sound of this one! Titles include "Time", "Future", "Newness", "Solong", "Bestfriend", "Something", and "Dontchange". CD