Aloe Blacc – Good Things | Album Review

Whilst the bridge between Hip Hop and Soul music has mainly been associated with the samples used/stolen by Diddy in the ’90s [and in recent times, Kanye West], a select few artists rather choose to incorporate the two genres rather than taking snippets from one to expand on the other.

Stones Throw artist Aloe Blacc has been one of a handful of artists to encapsulate the spirits of traditional Jazz, Hip Hop and Soul music. The brilliant Shine Through album in 2006 brought forth a raw gem in the shape of fusing stirring vocals with rap beats and haunting African jazz. Good Things hopes to follow in the same underground success as his previous work did four years ago.

Opting to drop the rapping altogether on the sophomore album, Good Things is made up of pure soulful beltings from Aloe Blacc. With a Mayfield-esque feel to the production and a similar vocal style to Anthony Hamilton, Blacc’s emotive verses are brilliant as he brings life to the live production on offer.

Anyone familiar with the criminally underrated HBO series How To Make It In America would instantly recognise the opening bars to the first track “I Need A Dollar” as the striking piano keys provide a fitting backdrop to Blacc’s painful tales of the everyday struggle. A theme of struggles and pain are performed immensely by the vocalist.

With a strong ’70s feel, songs such as “Good Things” and “If I” beautifully portray a man’s struggles in love – with enough funk to keep listeners from wallowing in Blacc’s vocals. Its not all mourning love as “You Make Me Smile” is a pleasant offering whilst messages of toils are again visited on “Politician”.

Losing the rap/vocal hybrid of his debut outing, Good Things nevertheless is another great offering from Aloe Blacc with superb, dominating and diverse vocals; a renaissance album which superbly captures the emancipative soul movement of the 1970s and ’80s.

Good Things is out now via Stones Throw.

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