Dwele - Some Kinda...

2007-05-18 16:30
Dwele – born Andwele Gardner – is a Detroit native who started out as an emcee and vocalist with the underground rap group, Slum Village. His refreshing debut Subject, released in 2003, catapulted him into the ranks of neo-soul maestros D’Angelo, Maxwell and Musiq.

After listening to Some Kinda several times, it’s safe to say that Dwele is poetically and musically gifted. He wrote and produced all the tracks on the album except one, and he plays the piano. His lyrics seduce you as he softly and gently coos delicious words in your ear. The man takes it nice and slow - the still waters type. He doesn’t need to be ‘bumpin and grindin’ and repeating the oohs! aahs and baby! baby! synonymous with R&B.

Though Dwele tries to avoid R&B clichés, Some Kinda falls into the trap of sounding quite ho-hum and mostly stuck in mid-tempo, as R&B tends to be sometimes. So you’ll have to listen to it several times to warm up to it.

It cleverly kick-starts with an intro that uses the track titles of Subject to illustrate where he was and how he got to where he is now. Dwele is a sensual crooner. His words are eargasmic ear candy. With jazzy, vintage soul-cum-hip hop beats, the tracks are solid and smooth. You’ll fall deeper and deeper in love with him as you get to know him. Some Kinda is a story that uses telephonic interludes to connect the tracks. "Holla" is more up-tempo with distinctive drums and head bopping beats, reminiscent of D’Angelo’s "Brown Sugar". "A Pimp’s Dream" satirises the folly of brothers falling for the dream of owning a Cadillac, having several girls, diamonds and superficial trappings, who end up with, “50 cents and no residence”.

If you have an appetite for some tasty lyrics, then "Flapjacks" might just do the trick. This is where imagination mode is supposed to kick in. He adds some depth to the song with the lyrics: “Am I hip hop or neo-soul? Baby it don’t matter just as long as you lovin’ it/ It’s going to be the same thing it was when you discovered it/ Music in a lot of ways mimics relationships/ It gets tainted when you bring rules into it/ Believe I’m trying to free your mind”.

Other tunes that stand out are “Weekend Love”, a sexy track with a blaring trumpet echoing in the background, “Some Kinda prelude” (…and so it is) featuring Poppa yo. (Mr Weary) is a powerful poem delivered spoken word style, “Caught Up” talks about being caught in the act, the jazzy “Wake the Baby” has a tinge of Miles Davis’ influence and the first single, “I Think I Love You” is quite catchy.

Just as you assume Dwele’s another smooth talking, commitment-phobe that can’t fight his urges, he flips the script and shows a gentler side. In “Keep On”, which features his fellow Detroit natives, Slum Village, he proclaims to his woman that she’s “...earned a crown that was fixed for queens and now he's on his way to leaving this game”.

A tune that will make his female fans smile (or scream with adoration) is ‘Old Lovas’, which seals this some kind of love story by concluding that after all the drama, “old lovers/ young at heart/ co-exist/ hand in hand/ will be ripe old lovas”.

Some Kinda is a great seductive tool for the brothers, and great chilling music, well produced and quite poetic.

- Gugu Mkhabela

The R&B young brotha: Omarion CD review and gallery
Within the sometimes complacent and monotonous R&B genre, Dwele’s sophomore project, Some Kinda leaves plenty to the imagination with its ambiguous title but rises above the rest.

The other neo-soul brotha: Musiq Soulchild

What to read next: Kalahari

JOSEPH 2007/05/17 3:39 PM
SOULSISTA 2007/05/22 12:16 PM
Some kinda I've been following his music since the first album, Subject, and I've loved him since. I also got to see him live at the Jazz Cafe in London and he ROCKED!! 'Lay it down' and 'My Lady, are my absolute favourite. Can't wait for his next offering!
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