Detroit’s neo-soulster Dwele’s Some Kinda… is another gem of vintage soul and hip-hop swagger. Released two year’s after his debut, Subject, this sophomore set shows that Dwele has learned from his mistakes. By building on the strengths of his debut, Some Kinda… is virtually filler free, an album so well crafted that it immediately grabbed my attention and held it as if in a vice.
The production style is reminiscent of D’Angelo’s Voodoo (2000), complete with crisp, clean beats and joyful call-and-response chants. But it’s Dwele’s voice and vocal arrangements that set him apart. The juxtaposition of his high-register voice and the bass-heavy productions is pure ear candy. He swims through each track with ease, each one thumping with old-school funk and flavor. The vocals are arranged in creatively, often breaking up sentences over two or three lines, stressing words that can never be rhymed.
There are plenty of standout moments, starting with the intro, which name-checks tracks from the debut. “Holla” rises above its jiggy title with help from Dwele’s classy delivery, and up-tempo tracks such as “A Pimp’s Dream” and “Keep On,” featuring Slum Village, drip with funk. The instrumentation is so expertly constructed and Dwele rises to the challenge with a self-assured delivery. “Lay It Down,” the album’s high point, is the most radio-ready track. Simple finger snaps laid over the simple hook — “Lay it down, on me, on me” — give way to thick snares as the verse comes in. The track has pop appeal but blends effortlessly with the rest of Some Kinda… .
Although most of Some Kinda… is up-tempo and funky, there are a few slow jams, the most successful being closer “Old Lovas,” a beautiful piece celebrating the possibility of growing old with a loved one. The bottom line: If you enjoyed Subject, you’ll love Some Kinda… . Dwele has upped his game and stripped his sound down to the essential elements, crafting an album of effortless soul.