Brutha – S/T (CD)

Let’s face it: with the exception of a few acts and a few labels, modern R&B is in a dire state. Most artists that have been in the game for a few years find it impossible to reinvent themselves, and acts that are first coming out are not exploring much in the way of new territory. For fans of R&B, there is one singular hope: Brutha. On their self-titled introduction, the act is able to recreate the R&B genre, and in doing so, ensures that there will be more in the way of significant efforts coming from the genre in the years to come.

“Bang Bang” is the first track on the disc, and it provides the perfect introduction for fans to the quintet. The groove created by the instrumentation is only shown up by the interplay between the vocals and the instrumentation itself. The harmonies created by the vocal side of things dovetail nicely to the beat-heavy production of the track, creating something that will stick with listeners for weeks to come after the disc finishes spinning. “I Can’t Hear The Music” ties the slightly-grittier style of Fabolous to the unique R&B style of Brutha. The track is solid in its own right, but is also tremendously important as it shows that the members of Brutha can change up things, adapting to create another impressive track while never giving up the fundamental aspects of who they are.

“Set It Off” is another impressive track, with the production upping the stakes through the inclusion of a blend of blues and funk that is unsurpassed in terms of quality on this disc. The brothers in Brutha step up to the challenge and create what is for me the best track on the disc. After “Set It Off” finishes off, Brutha moves through the middle half of the disc without incident, ratcheting things back up with the penultimate track “Just Being Honest”. Where so many other R&B acts are content to fade out, Brutha ends their self-titled debut with an exclamation point, crafting two radio-worthy singles in the aforementioned “Just Being Honest” and “Make You Love It”. There is a good chance that you may have missed Brutha up to this point, but if you have any love in your heart for the R&B genre, picking up Brutha’s debut has to be mandatory. It will break down any preconceptions that you have about the genre and provide a framework for the genre that is honest, intense, and is of a quality that has not been seen since the era of Boyz II Men.

Top Tracks: Ghost, She’s Gone

Rating: 8.2/10

Brutha – S/T / 2008 Def Jam / 10 Tracks / http://www.defjam.com

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