Brooklyn-born and T&T-bred Grammy-award winning singer and songwriter Angela Hunte has finally put out her debut album after many years working more behind the scenes with producers such as Magnetic Man and Major Lazer’s Diplo.
And it was Diplo that recruited Angela Hunte for Snoop Dogg’s reggae alter ego Snoop Lion and the album Reincarnated. She was instrumental on that set and contributed as both singer and songwriter.
And it’s was a song writer and producer that she has had her greatest success to date. When she was homesick in London she wanted to write a song about her hometown New York. That day she co-wrote and co-produced a little song called Empire State of Mind with Jay-Z and Alicia Keys on vocals.
Angela Hunte has a broad sonic palette, but R.A.W. is all about melodic and crisp reggae with infectious choruses and catchy hooks. The slightly funky Here We Go is irresistible and so is the more up-tempo Outta My Head. Best of the bunch is however the bouncy and dynamic Rub Dub with Taranchyle and Brooklyn Rose delivering guest vocals. But Angela Hunte steals the show with her confident delivery. But don’t forget to check the last seconds of Rub Dub – Brooklyn Rose is sweeter than sugar.
She keeps it short and simple. Only eight tracks. Short and sweet.
A common expression is never judge a book by its cover, but that is exactly what you can do with Gyptian’s fourth album Sex, Love & Reggae. It sounds like it looks. Sensual, boastful and frisky.
It debuted at #1 on the Billboard Reggae Album chart and at #24 on the Billboard Heatseekers/Top New Artist Album chart. Not that hard to understand since the album is a logical follow-up to his 2010 album Hold You, a set that featured his monster smash single of the same name, a tune that ruled the Caribbean airwaves in the same year and led to a remix with no other than Nicki Minaj.
Sex, Love & Reggae is a contemporary pop and R&B album with island influences – reggae, dancehall and soca. And it features several guest performences, including appearances by Angela Hunte, Bunji Garlin, Estelle, Melanie Fiona and Kes the Band. Included are also two covers – Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors and Gregory Isaac’s My Number One. Be Alright is not a cover, but it owes more than just a little to Maroon 5’s chart topping single She Will Be Loved.
The album shows a Gyptian that has changed a lot since his breakthrough hit Serious Times. The Rasta influences have given way to bling-bling, sex jams and bass boosted beats signed and sealed by co-producer Jerry “Wonda” Duplessis, known for cranking out hits for superstars such as Mary J. Blige, Lupe Fiasco and the Fugees.
The 17-track set features an eclectic mix of songs – from party starters like Non Stop, Wet Fete and the title track to affectionate bedroom ballads such as Wine Slow and Majestic Love. Gyptian is however at his very best when he showcases his desperate side in the militant I’m So and the haunting Good Girls.
An exciting and diverse set of crossover songs that will probably not go well will reggae purists.