Yup, I said it: Dwele’s new CD, Some Kinda, is a one-hundred percent baby-maker. It’s that intimate, that seductive. Music to make deep, passionate love to. Honestly, this is a first-to-last track aphrodisiac in a manner I’ve not heard since Marvin Gaye’s hypnotic I Want You , a soul music classic.
I kid you not: Some Kinda is a purring, creep-up-on-you Neo Soul mindf***. Amidst today’s yelling and screaming hip-hop world — which I enjoy — this is a subtle but powerful charmer. The strong silent type.
Ladies, Dwele is quite the sensuous crooner. The man coos everything you wish your guy would open up and say. In other words, Dwele’s got major game. The kind you’d kick Boris Kodjoe, Shemar Moore, and Brad Pitt to the curb for, if Dwele approached you in a club whispering words this way.
Fellas, if you’re planning the night when you’ll make your big move on a new lady in your life, get this CD. Don’t mean to be crass, but by the time the second or third track ends, you ought to hear Victoria’s Secret being whispered in your ear. You’ll be smoking those proverbial cigarettes well before Dwele reaches track fifteen.
Now for specifics. Some Kinda is non-stop, deep thought by Dwele (Gardner), 26, who gained national attention years ago as an emcee-vocalist in the Detroit-based rap group Slum Village. Slum Village is a household name among sophisticated beat eaters, for those with a taste for acts such as De la Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, Common and Mos Def. Jazz-informed message hip-hop on a higher level.
So with a step away from his progressive rap group, who is Dwele today? A young man with jazzy Neo Soul-ish vocals, practically channeling the warmth of Marvin Gaye. He did, after all, grow up breathing Motown’s funky-fresh air.
But his was an atmosphere in which tragedy struck at an young age. His father was murdered when he was ten. There are fleeting references to this on his records; if you know the story, you’ll get it. But it’s not alienating, these brief remembrances. They’re endearing. In an interview two years ago, for his first solo album, he told Wordmag.com this about his loss:
“The loss of my father really inspired my creative side. By getting into music, it provided me with a way to cope with his death,” says Dwele.
Studying both the piano and the trumpet from the age of six, Dwele says he’s never been one to follow the leader. He’s been listening to greats like Stevie Wonder, Miles Davis and Donnie Hathaway, whom he credits for influencing him as a musician since his elementary school days.
And these musical roots show. Some Kinda is full of funky, jazzish, head-bopping music. It’s just not head banging music. The drum work is mostly hip-hop groove, much like D’Angelo’s landmark Brown Sugar album. (Thankfully, there’s but one R. Kelly-type R&B slow-grinder.) But as tight as the music is, it’s upstaged by Dwele’s melt-butter vocals and those mind-f****** lyrics.
I don’t know where D’Angelo, Bilal, Maxwell and Musiq are with their next projects, but with this one, Dwele’s solidifying his place on that prestigious list. Some Kinda is poetic, fills with a fresh bouquet a special void in today’s frenetic, lyrically challenged hip-hop world.
I’m a tough audience, but even I must admit: Dwele’s birthed an impressive work in the tradition of no less than Marvin Gaye. Listen closely: Some Kinda is some kinda ear Viagra!
Coldest Cuts: Holla, Know Your Name, Flapjacks, I Think I Love You, Some Kinda, Wake the Baby (with jazz sax man Boney James), Old Lovas
Filler and Meat By-product: None.
Just Didn’t Have an Appetite For: The one track with Slum Village, who I like a lot. It’s one of the more up-tempo tunes, which was a step in the right direction.
Potential Spoilage: There’s remarkable tone consistency from track-to-track. Admittedly, some might consider this sameness. However those with open minds, hearts, and ears will “get” this as an atmospheric concept similar to Marvin’s celebrated What’s Going On album, which stayed in chill mode — flying high in the friendly skies — the entire album.
Grade: A (Stellar writing by a hip-hop cat!)
For more CD reviews and artist news, visit Viqi French Fever– The Nu Music Blog.