Songs of the week: Natalie Duncan, Angel Haze, Mary J. Blige, Ashanti

Natalie Duncan – Finding Me A Home

I’m very happy I went to the Station Sessions a few weeks ago and saw Natalie Duncan because I have found a right little gem of an artist.  Pleasing to the ears yet solid in content.  The records are heartfelt, feel deeply personal – like you are reading the tattered pages of an old leather bound diary.  Finding Me A Home fits right in to the mould, raw, emotional and best listened to by candlelight!

Angel Haze – Cleaning Out My Closest

A venomous and at times harrowing display of pure personal lyricism   Taking the beat of arguably one of Eminem’s best records, Angel Haze goes in to discuss her personal pains of growing up.  Powerful, powerful stuff and something hip-hop/rap seems to be missing, someone willing to display their heart and life on their sleeves.  That’s when the realist music is made… and even though I’m not naive enough to think (or even want) Angel Haze to go this deep on every record, still the foundations have been laid, and high expectations set.  Will be watching this young lady very closely.

Mary J Blige – Everyday People 2012

Mary J Blige singing over a re-working of Arrested Development’s People Everyday, you don’t have to pinch yourself, just press play below.  She plays homage to the hip-hop classic and adds the magical glitter that only Mary can.  At times she flows like a rapper, and at other moment she lets loose like the R&B queen she is.

It’s a testament to the original to record that Jermaine Dupri has to to very little to it – a little twinkle of his trademark snares and we have a hit!  Ok that may be going a bit to far these days, it’d probably need Calvin Harris or David Guetta to be hit… still, well its a hit to me, and that is what counts (to my ears).

Ashanti – That’s What We Do

Mary J Blige followed by Ashanti (feat. R Kelly), if there was not a calendar on my PC I’d think this was 2002, not twenty-twelve.  On her comeback trail Ashanti has put out a number of R&B records which show progression without having to belittle the genre and sell her short by doing dance records and carrying on like a buffoon!  Brandy, Monica, SWV, Faith Evans have all released albums in the last 18ish months which at times have shown flashes of the best work they have produced; more mature yet still as exciting as it was back in 2002.

Major props to Ashanti and R Kelly for putting this one together and excited to hear the album which is penned for 2013… so which promoter is going to bring Ashanti and co. over to London Town?

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