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Under the Radar (Summer 2008)

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Good music is hard to find, especially when "real" artists are "ignored" by mainstream radio. Here's a listing of ten albums (and thirty singles) that have fallen under the radar.

Adele – 19

Although "soul music" originated in the United States, over the past decade, the genre has failed to make much headway in mainstream radio outlets. How ironic, then, that one of America 's greatest previous exports is now being imported by a small cadre of young British chanteuses. Of these women, Adele is the most promising

The British press has hailed Adele as the "new Amy Winehouse." And while remarkably flattering, such an edict can be distracting, because Adele's music stands well on its own. As a matter of fact, the proof is in the pudding: her debut album, 19, opened at the top of the UK Albums Chart—attaining platinum sales status—and she became the first recipient of the BRIT Awards Critics' Choice honor. Original release date: June 10, 2008

Tracks to check out: "Right as Rain", "Cold Shoulder" (YouTube), "Chasing Pavements" (YouTube)

Anthony David – Acey Duecy

His first project, 3 Chords & the Truth, was hailed by the Atlanta Journal Constitution as "the best record to come out of [ Atlanta ] since Usher's." Without major label support, however, the world turned a deaf ear.

Refusing to change his style for mainstream needs, David became a showstopper in Atlanta 's underground Soul scene, where he fostered a loving friendship with India.Arie that was rooted in mutual respect. After penning tracks for Acoustic Soul, Voyage to India and Testimony: Volume 1, Life & Relationship, and supporting India.Arie on global tours as a background singer, Anthony David makes his "grand debut" on India.Arie's newly-christened SoulBird label. Original release date: June 24, 2008

Tracks to check out: "Something About You" (YouTube), "Words" (YouTube), "Stop Playin'"

Ashanti – The Declaration

Although several years have passed since her historical and controversial receipt of the Soul Train Aretha Franklin Award for "Entertainer of the Year," time has proven—without much trumpeting—that Ashanti is more than a one-album, let alone a one-hit, wonder. For the record, Ashanti is the only singer to have fourteen top ten R&B hits this decade. She was also the first female performer to simultaneously hold the top two places on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Surprised? Well, dear reader, you are probably not alone. More than half of her 15 million albums have been sold outside of the U.S. — making her an international superstar by all measures. Original release date: June 3, 2008

Tracks to check out: "Things You Make Me Do" (ft. Robin Thicke), "Struggle", "The Way That I Love You" (YouTube)

Craig David – Trust Me

British artists rarely get a fair shake in America , especially when it comes to R&B music. In fact, most R&B junkies, would be hard-pressed to name three British vocalists. Over the past decade, however, one name has consistently crossed the Atlantic : Craig David. Although Trust Me is Craig David's fourth album, only two of his previous efforts have been released in the States. That being said, Craig David still remains one of Britain's most consistent musical exports.

Since 2000, Craig David has amassed thirteen Top 10 hits on the U.K. charts. With such success on the other side of "the Pond," American audiences would be wise to keep an eye on this guy. Original release date: May 6, 2008

Tracks to check out: "Officially Yours" (YouTube), "Hot Stuff (Let's Dance)" (YouTube), "Awkward"

D'Angelo – The Best So Far…

Looking at the current R&B landscape, one can see why D'Angelo is a living legend. Since Voodoo (2000), his last full-length release, no R&B male artist has come remotely close to redefining the sensuality of soul, although many have attempted to mimic his hypnotic groove.

The Best So Far… highlights D'Angelo at his triumphant peak and whets our appetite for his long-awaited return. Original release date: June 24, 2008

Tracks to check out: "Lady" (YouTube), "Untitled (How Does it Feel)" (YouTube), "Left and Right" (YouTube)

Katy Perry – One of the Boys

Remember the old saying: "Never judge a book by its cover"? Well, the same holds true in the world of music. Never judge an album by its single, you might be surprised when you push the "play" button.

Such is the case for One of the Boys, because this album has GRAMMY written all over it. The album rockets to the moon and back—exploding as if Katy dropped a match on a volatile can of estrogen-packed fuel. Every song, no doubt, is a potential hit.

A decade removed from Jagged Little Pill, female angst has rarely tasted (or looked) so good. Original release date: June 17, 2008

Tracks to check out: "Mannequin", "One of the Boys", "If You Can Afford Me"

Kerli – Love is Dead

How Kerli Kõiv—a blonde-haired singer from Estonia — landed an audition with L.A. Reid is beyond comprehension. Her debut album, Love is Dead, however, will make the world readily welcome similar cases of happenstance.

Few artists leave a lasting impression, especially on their major label debut, but Kerli's coming is seven years in the making. Like its artist, Love is Dead is daring, edgy and beautifully creepy, and with an uncanny sense of confidence, Kerli boldly shares the struggles and triumphs of a complicated life. Even when embracing the dark, Kerli shines bright—giving hope that love, in due course, can resurrect from an unfortunate death. Original release date: June 10, 2008

Tracks to check out: "Walking on Air" (YouTube), "Love is Dead" (YouTube), "Bulletproof"

Lalah Hathaway – Self Portrait

When your last name is Hathaway, there is a certain degree of attention that inevitably follows you, especially in the world of music.

As the daughter of Donny Hathaway, one of soul music's eternal legends, the expectations placed upon Lalah's career have been extraordinarily high. In spite of such pressure, she has blazed her own trails and become a staple on jazz and R&B radio—spending half of her life in the musical spotlight.

Self Portrait, her Stax Records debut, is an introspective account of a twenty-year career. Original release date: June 3, 2008

Tracks to check out: "Let Go" (YouTube), "What Goes Around", "Breathe"

Tye Tribbett & G.A. – Stand Out

Gospel music is one of the few genres in which experimentation is viewed with a "discerning eye." Traditionalists, in particular, tend to view the incorporation of rock, jazz and pop as "secular" deviations. With the passing of time, however, such "controversial" offerings eventually become "conventional" components of praise and worship.

Tye Tribbett follows in the footsteps of several gospel greats, who have blessed the name of the Lord outside of the stifling boundaries of "traditional" gospel. Like Kirk Franklin, Fred Hammond and Hezekiah Walker, Tye Tribbett knows that if the Spirit is in it, then the message is definitely in the music. Original release date: May 6, 2008

Tracks to check out: "Bless the Lord (Son of Man)", "Stand Out" (YouTube), "Chasing After You (The Morning Song)"

Tyga – No Introduction

From the outside looking in, it may seem a bit ironic that a new artist would entitle his major label debut No Introduction. But when Fate calls your name, sometimes you have to leave all of the formalities at the door and get straight to business. Such was the case on September 9, 2007 , when Kanye West had to cancel his appearance at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards and Tyga was made his replacement.

No Introduction, then, serves as Tyga's formal introduction. We know him, but we don't "know" him—kind of like we know a "friend of a friend." And with those kind of relationships, time is always needed to form any kind of substantial bond.

Is Tyga the best rapper alive? No. But he never made any claims to be. On the other hand, it does help that the "best rapper alive" (Lil' Wayne ) serves as his mentor. So… give Tyga some time. Birds of a feather stick together, right? Original release date: June 10, 2008

Tracks to check out: "Coconut Juice" (YouTube), "Pillow Talkin'", "EST (80's Baby)"


Dear reader, what albums (and singles) do you feel have fallen under the radar?

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