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by Andreas Hale
27 May, 2003@12:00 am
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Straight out of Detroit and hot off of Slum Village’s biggest hit to date, “Tainted”, comes neo-soul crooner Dwele. The producer/eMCee turned producer/singer (he tried it just for fun and it worked….ha who woulda guessed!?!?) attempts to serve up this so-called nu-soul revolution with its most innovative piece yet… SUBJECT. Good news; Dwele has mastered the trumpet, piano, bass and guitar which flourish in his cafe soul production. Bad news; its nothing
outstanding, not bad not great just average. Good news; Dwele is out of the revolutionized Detroit (the new philly?) Bad news; Dwele is cramped inside theshadow of a super-producer you may have heard of… Jay Dee. Good news; Dwele is a natural songwriter. Bad news; the songwriting is average at best and worst. Good news; Dwele sings! Bad news; Dwele’s singing is pretty average. But I guess when you got Ashanti and J-Lo topping the charts with there crappy voices then the actual essence of singing is non-existant. Do you get where this is going? If not lets get a little more in depth….

Subject jumps off with the somewhat groovy “The Truth “, where Dwele hands you a helping of groove therapy; nothing to jump out your window to, but something smooth to keep you from choking your boss at work. After that we experience a few joints where the listener can barely pick out a standout joint, but just let the soulful production float around the room without disrupting your thoughts. Nothing thats going to give your brain an aneurysm just some average soul for dummies. The melodic title track “Subject” jumps in with its mellow smooth production and Dwele blessing us with a pretty decent joint. The funk inspired “Sho Ya Right” will get you shakin your rump in the mirror thinking of some of that ol school sweaty ass funk. The real shining moment of this album is the buttery, laid back “Kick Out Of You”. This is one of Dwele’s bright spots where the soulster’s lungs breath life into the jazzy production. Other notables include “Hold On” and “Lady at Mahogany”.

But those spots are far and few in between when everything else is blahzah-blah. Dwele at times lands in between Donell Jones and a poor man’s (WIC check poor man’s) D’Angelo. Subject falls into the emotionless traits of other soul albums not giving it that extra oomph that could push it over the edge. It just easily balances on that average fence never
really pushing the envelope of todays music.

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