By Shon Lomax
Okay, alright, uummm hmmm…and all the other usual clearing of the throat. Instead of bashing today’s music which is a whole notha article let’s big up the cats who are doin’ it, doin’ it and doin’ it well mind you. They are the past, present and the future. Never collecting the dust of the current machine that hurls through a space without music. They remain timeless. Talent bound by nothing. They can do everything. From playing multiple instruments to collaborating with various artists across musical genres, their staying power is intact. Oh yeah, style game on lock too. Dig it.
Peep some of my favorite videos by the fellas. Don’t forget to check out the links and catch their vibe the next time they blow yo’ way. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing five of the artists below in concert. Betcha can’t guess which one I saw twice in the same year? I couldn’t list everybody because then we’d be here all day. With that being said I would like to throw a wig toss to the legendary Stevie Wonder, Musiq Soulchild, R.Kelly, Cody Chestnutt and Ryan Leslie. And of course we all eagerly if not impatiently await the return of the Commonwealth’s own prodigal son…D’Angelo.
PRINCE There is no category for this cat. He does it all. A true funkstar with twenty plus instruments, or so the rumor goes, in his repertoire and more than three decades in the business…enough said. Ya’ll know Prince has a hate/hate relationship with YOUTUBE so if the video below doesn’t play feel free to hum a lil’ jazzy tune to yourself instead while snackin’ on a bowl of yogurt covered pretzels. Movin’ on…
This is not his official site but you can meet up with more of his fans here prince.org
LENNY KRAVITZ Our resident rocker with a whole lotta funk, soul and r&b in an electric mix. The love-child is all grown up. Never the pretentious hipster. Forever clad in an introspective coolness that belies piercings and tatoos. Dig it! Don’t forget to snag his new album Black and White in America at Target(pronounced tar-je’t).
Currently on European tour www.lennykravitz.com
ALOE BLACC Soul, r&b, jazz and hip hop. This cat is that fresh bar of soap. Started painting his history as a rapper but has crooned his way into our hearts by expanding the musical vibe. Been tryin’ to catch him live locally for a minute now. Anybody else notice how tight those mod boots are he’s always rockin’? Ummm yeah…
www.aloeblacc.com Currently on Good Things Tour 2012
RAPHAEL SAADIQ Soul, r&b, always bringin’ that ol’ school funk. Saadiq is that thigh-high remedy for grown folk on that throwback vibe. There is no medicine for this type of fever. He has dedicated his life to preserving what is true and simple about music. Everything he does is reminiscent of a time past but never derivative of a moment gone.
www.raphaelsaadiq.com Currently on tour with Lenny Kravitz
MAXWELL Sensual, soulful with an r&b flux. He’s always easy on the ears, yet heavy on the hearts. Traded in that signature fro’ long ago for a closer cut. But his music never falls short. Always a crowd pleaser and definite lady pleaser.
Officially Maxwell www.musze.com
ANTHONY HAMILTON Puts that Southern soul in a bowl of grits. Can’t help but notice his richness on some of the best collabs in music. Remember the first time you heard him on that Nappy Roots “Po Folks” joint? Me too. I started rockin’ my truckers on that true funk because of the video.
www.anthonyhamilton.com Currently on tour
SANANDA MAITREYA formerly known as Terence Trent D’Arby Easily one of the best voices in the universe. We were all introduced to him back in the hey and soon followed was a semester of hits that could take even the best singer to school. Surface pop appeal with more than the usual gospel twinge. A rock god in the making who decided to leave it all behind in order to truly define himself. Don’t sleep. Peep.
www.sanandamaitreya.com Currently lives and tours outside the U.S.
FRANK OCEAN The alternative to hip hop. Even then, not. Completely uncategorized. It’s been a minute since we’ve heard a young vine achingly express his pain over beats with such rolling emotion. No filter. He is not here to impress but does so anyway. You never have to question the validity of his storytelling because he is the one holding the pen. Stay tuned…
www.frankocean.com Currently preppin’ for mini solo tour
VAN HUNT Funk-soul smoothness. Flickers of rock and blues give inflection to a voice never truly understood by the moral majority. Only a select few recognize his gems and have stayed true in their following. There is an urgency in his song(s). A moodiness undisturbed by the tired comparisons. Labels now gone. It is only the music that we see. Listen.
www.vanhunt.com Pick up new album What Were You Hoping For?
JOHN LEGEND Always stylishly soulful whose church roots, like most of the others listed here, tends to seep in and out of his music at will. His ballads are rooted in a simple understanding of the complexities of love. Never far-reaching, he gets it. Then takes you there…
www.johnlegend.com Officially John Legend