Lynne d Johnson

 

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07.26.03 05:15 AM

i was floored

Anthony Hamilton


I didn't expect anything to make the earth quiver beneath my feet today, certainly not music. A lot of music gets probed into these here ears, and often I'm just like, "oh, that's aight." Never floored. Never stunned. But there are rare exceptions. Sometimes it's the voice. Sometimes the lyrics. Sometimes the production. Vocal styling, or even instrumentality. But very rare do I feel I hear the entire package all from one artist or one offering. Very rarely do I hear something that knocks me off my feet, makes me raise my fist to the roof and want to testify. It's quite rare indeed. But I had received the email about him the other day, and coulda' cared less. Then the underground buzz started flying past my ears. And the sampler arrived today. I immediately put it into the disc opening on the PowerBook, and in no time I was importing it, and dragging the files over to the iPod. Anyone who knows me, knows I'm not a big fan of R&B. That's at least contemporary R&B. I tend to veer toward the neo-soul side of the genre. And this is why. When I talk about R&B, I'm usually referring to back-in-the-day, way back-in-the-day. You know Black Ivory, The Friends of Distinction, The Dells. I'll even extend that love to the likes of Ann Peebles (though I'm mainly talking about men here), Issac Hayes, Al Green, Curtis Mayfield, Bobby Womack, Bill Withers. Let's follow that line of thinking with Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Donny Hathaway, Teddy Pendegrass, Jeffrey Osborne. And you can see why most of the R&B that's been coming out since the '80s through today really has to do backflips to impress me.

But I'm also more of the soul funkster - of The New Birth, Rare Essence, War, Roy Ayers variety. This bridging of styles led to an appreciation of new jack swingsters in the '80s like Guy, and then in these times the hip-hop soaked balladeers like Jaheim. But there are very few albums that I play again and again and again when I first get them, and go back a year later and do the same, or a year after that, unless they pass my test. Music has to be like sex for me to feel it's complete. There has to be foreplay and arousal, followed by build up that heightens toward you getting that arch in your back and that curling of your toes. Music, like bad sex, can't just leave me hanging there...it's gotta' push me over the edge and bring me to climax. And then the music itself has to climax...it has to reach that crescendo, 'cuz I don't like coming all alone. After we get there together, there must be a cool down period.

My point here is that I heard something today. I should say someone. Someone who made me feel all of that, and someone who reminded me that music can be about more than the next hit record or danceable pop diddy. Today I heard Anthony Hamilton and let me tell you, my panties got soaked. Funny I never heard of him before, but he put an album out on MCA entitled XTC back in '96. But it was his singing on the Nappy Roots "Po' Folks," that's brought him to where he is today, about to release Comin From Where I'm From on the So So Def imprint on Arista.

It is likely that he won't make big waves commercially. He won't be bump, bump, bumpping, if you get my drift. I mean when Donnie came along, I was like, now that's something. Even when Dwele came out, I was feeling a hint of back-in-the-day. As a matter of fact, I had the iPod repeating "Truth," today untlil Anthony's sampler came in the email. This cat is a soul-stirring and intense, heartfelt crooner. I'm just hoping he doesn't go the way of a couple of female singers - Sunshine Anderson, Sylena Johnson - I was feeling these past few years. These type of folks get very little attention from their labels, and eventually get stuck in red tape trying to get out of their contract b/c the label won't push their product, or put anymore product on the shelf. They consider folks like these big risks in the days when Billboard is topped by the Bad Boys II Soundtrack, Chingy, Beyonce, and Ashanti, and when the Billboard 200 has the same cast of characters in its hot spots. But for those of us who crave more than what the urban radio and MTV/BET programming machines feed us, Anthony Hamilton is a sure bet. And If we don't support him he'll be thrown into the rap hook singing abyss for days to come.

posted by lynne | |

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