The first time we heard AJ the R&B General perform live, we didn't know exactly how to react at first. Here was a guy amazing crooning voice with a flexible range, singing a sweet-sounding melody ... only a few words in, we realized it was a ballad about a stripper, with lines like, "I wish I was that pole."
We have to admit we were a little confused, but days later, we couldn't get the chorus to "Professional Dancer" out of our head. That's AJ's particular talent. He somehow gets away with jaw-droppingly frank lyrics by wrapping it all up in a melodic, catchy package that fits in nicely with the new crop of thinking man's R&B along the lines of The-Dream, Neyo, and company.
It's this particular balancing act that scored AJ the Miami New Times' nod for Best R&B artist in this year's Best of Miami issue. And anyways, he's not always R-rated. Songs like "Boss Lady" and "Angel Doctor" are more sensitive than sensual, and that's the angle he's been working on his current run for domination of BET's 106 & Park Wild Out Wednesdays.
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It's a running competition this summer that's allowed viewers to vote on independent artists as they perform live every Wednesday. Winners of the early rounds have advanced to the finals, on which AJ appears today. It's unclear what the winners get -- bragging rights and exposure, mostly, it seems -- but still, it's worth tuning in and voting.
You can watch the broadcast live tonight starting at 6 p.m. EST, and visit the 106 & Park web site afterward to vote for AJ. Also, check out this (kind of low-quality) video of his last performance on the show, earlier this summer.