An Underrated Gem
By Mark Edward Nero, About.com R&B/Soul Guide
Sometimes it seems like fate likes to play cruel jokes on music fans and the music industry. After all, how many times over the years has a singer with a razor-thin voice and a plastic personality managed to become a star of the industry, while artists who are 10 times more talented toil away, relatively unknown to the mainstream and underappreciated by the underground? Well, Tondrae Kemp is one of those underappreciated artists. But on Sun Money -- which is actually his third album, after 2009's Cool Landlord: Songs From the Room and 2005's Still Searching -- Tondrae proves the old adage that popularity doesn't equal quality is absolutely correct. The album isn't likely to take the U.S. by storm because it goes against the grain of what it considered hit-worthy or radio-friendly in today's R&B/Soul world. That's because instead of cold, computerized beats, heavily synthesized vocals and trendy producers, Sun Money relies on the old school formula of raw, untouched vocals, live and real instruments and a focus on the artist rather than the person producing the track. But although the album bucks many contemporary trends, that's not to say that it's stuck in the past or has a dated sound. In fact, the album's stylish sophistication is thoroughly modern, it's just not the type of style urban music fans are used to having shoved down their throats. Example A is perhaps the album's best tune, "Say If You Want Me to Go," a relationship tune that slickly and deftly merges funk and hip-hop.
via About.com / R&B Soul Guide