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Dwele | Rich Medina

Some Kinda ... (Virgin) | Connecting the Dots (Kindred Spirits)

Though it's usually overshadowed by rap, an earlier form of black music is still alive in the classic twin cities of soul — Detroit, where singer Dwele resides, and Philadelphia, home to poet/DJ/producer Rich Medina. Dwele's 2003 debut, Subject, produced a minor R&B hit with "Find a Way" — a lovely if timid rendition of his trying to holler at a lady. His sophomore album, Some Kinda ..., continues exploring the many manifestations of love, from anonymous (the subtle "Know Your Name") and freaky (the borderline crude booty tribute known as "Flapjacks") to a tenderness that recalls a more chaste though no less romantic era ("Old Lovas"). Full of collaborations with up-and-coming vocalists and rappers, Medina's Connecting the Dots has similarly spirited sweet love songs. In particular, Delouie Avant ("Holdin' Up") and Martin Luther ("Too Much") stand up well as contemporaries of Dwele's. But where Dwele stops short of being political, Medina's effort contains plenty of swipes at the status quo — "BBoys to Men" even finds him comparing the government to some ladies of the evening. Choose Dwele to get in the mood, Medina to rock the party — and both if you are able.

 
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