One of the most promising artists to emerge on the modern R&B landscape in the last year is a 24-year-old rapper-turned-singer from Detroit named Dwele. With his smooth, soulful command of ballads, his weakness for rich, jazzy chords, and his obvious love for hip-hop, Dwele has been lumped in the "nu-soul" category - shorthand for anyone with a contemporary approach to a vintage sound.
On tracks like "Truth" and "Find a Way," Dwele was about as good as R&B got in 2003. The rest of his debut album, Subject, didn't match those standards, but it was strong enough to suggest a bright creative future. Dwele will be at the Cameo Theater on Friday, January 23.
Another show to look for this weekend is a tribute to folk icon/political activist Woody Guthrie at the Center for Spirituality and the Arts, 4707 Broadway. Dubbed "Woody Guthrie and the American Dream," the show features performances of Guthrie's classics by local writer/musician Clem Perez, as well as Perez's philosophical take on Guthrie
| Sound and the Fury
a week on the scene
Chris Rock's brilliant - and lengthy - January 16 show at the Majestic repeatedly touched on musical themes. At times, the performance resembled an extended version of Rock's take-no-prisoners MTV Video Music Awards monologues.
The comedian talked about his love for hip-hop, but complained that he was "tired of defending it." He theorized that we're always attached to the music we listened to when we lost our virginity, thus explaining his abiding soft soft for Whodini. He mocked R. Kelly's denials that he was the person seen in a notorious sex tape with an underage girl: "There were gold records on the wall. That wasn't Johnny Gill's house." Finally, Rock made this hilarious, and disturbingly accurate observation about Michael Jackson's legal troubles: "We love him so much, we let the first kid slide." •