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That Detroit Soul...

Published by Warren Dell under on Wednesday, December 07, 2005

In the past month some of Detroit’s favourite sons have released new albums. Yes Eminem was one of them but there is plenty of column inches on that man elsewhere. Although for what it’s worth I will say he really hasn’t made the complete album that he could have. But onto three men who have been representing the motor city to the fullest with their soulful sounds.

First up is the duo Slum Village. They’ve had more ups and downs than most artists with legendary producer Jay Dee leaving the group and after their Trinity album MC Baatin left. While an article hasn’t gone by without mentioning the controversy and being labelled the Destiny Child of Hip-Hop their music has often been left by the wayside for comment despite producing some consistent albums. Last year the assistance of Kanye West on Selfish didn’t propel them to success due to record label problems but on their latest and self-titled effort they have produced their best album since their debut Fantastic Vol.2. Producers Black Milk and Young RJ have taken the sound back to those days of Fantastic Volume 1 and 2 with smooth Hip-Hop beats and combined with T3 and Elzhi stepping up to the plate with their rhymes we have an album that is solid all round but unfortunately won’t get the credit it truly deserves. On tracks Giant and Def Do Us the two speak about the changes and criticism that’s flown their way. While 05 is a track full of reflection and pride over a heavy drum beat. Their Detroit sidekick Dwele lends his vocals on Call Me and they keep the soulful vibe alive on Ez Up and Multiply. Other highlights include Can I be, Set It and Fantastic on what in my opinion will be one of the most slept on albums of the year, make sure you don’t give this a miss.

Providing more of a fan fare and a hot favourite on these shores with his live performances at the Jazz CafĂ© is the man Dwele. While most neo-soul artists tend to take forever to follow up a release, Dwele has hit us with more of his Hip-Hop soul flavours within two. On Some Kinda he picks up where Subject left of with Know Your Name sounding similar to Find A Way and Slum Village making their mandatory appearance on the excellent and hopefully a future single in the making Keep On. The Current single I Love You has been floating around on wax for a while now and gets a refix from Jermaine Dupri with a few familiar samples, unfortunately not on the album but one for the soul heads to track down. A track that is causing quite a stir is Flapjacks, what he can mean by this only the listener can decide, but it does beg the question how he could have kept a straight face while singing the words. From weekend flings to growing old together the stories of love are giving a fresh viewpoint with Dwele’s style of singing, he used to be a rapper and it comes across in his delivery. Some Kinda doesn’t stray too much from Subject but this isn’t a bad thing. Far from it, when you have an artist like Dwele who delivers such good soul music you can only welcome another dose of the good stuff but the real highlight is if you can catch him when he next performs over here as the songs are taken to another level. If he keeps this up he may well write himself into the record books as an all time great.


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