E - The Prelude (2010)

E
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He's from the Western part of the Iladelph and possesses a heady range of skills----singer, songwriter, producer and musician----with two consecutive Urban Independent Music Awards to prove it (in 2004 and 2005, respectively). Already celebrated in his adopted home base of Washington, D.C. (where he wows on the mike as well as on the ones and twos), it probably won't be long before his sound catches on at a higher level, but his CD, The Prelude, showcases his weaknesses as much as it does his strengths.

He's from the Western part of the Iladelph and possesses a heady range of skills----singer, songwriter, producer and musician----with two consecutive Urban Independent Music Awards to prove it (in 2004 and 2005, respectively). Already celebrated in his adopted home base of Washington, D.C. (where he wows on the mike as well as on the ones and twos), it probably won't be long before his sound catches on at a higher level, but his CD, The Prelude, showcases his weaknesses as much as it does his strengths.

On the plus side, E---whose nickname for himself is "The R&B/Hip-Hop Rockstar," is no slouch behind the boards, as he's done a lion's share of the lyrics, arrangements and production. Except for two of the tracks, which happen to be interludes, there is an appealing, narrative approach throughout: "Happy Hour (Follow Me)" takes the typical "hitting-on-the-hottie-in-the-club" scenario to an intriguing end, and there's an unexpected moment of vulnerability and introspection in "My Own Worst Enemy," where he admits his Player Card has been hopelessly rendered void. The usual subject matter surfaces now and again, but unexpected glimpses to his mind and his heart come from "In Essence (Work It Out)," where E. tells his long-time girlfriend that the music grind is tedious, but that she needs more patience and he needs more understanding to make it all right. One also can't help but feel mushy in the center after hearing the closing tribute to his kids, "Child's Luv," a tribute to the sweet simplicity of that special bond.

As solid as The Prelude is, elements of it remain off-putting and too obvious to overlook. First of all, his voice is oddly monotone: conversational at best, atonal at worst. He seems capable of delivering much more----a falsetto run in "I Miss U" displays as much--- but rarely makes the effort, which sells the verses and the emotions short. E. also, like other R&B artists of his generation, falls prey to the lure of the club and his macking tendencies a bit too often: "Like That," for example, is yet another call to "work the pole," and "Dymond (A Myspace Tale)" tries to add depth and dimension to the notion of on-line love, but falls short with its clichéd, amateurish delivery.

Talents like E.'s are not anything to sneeze at, so as he cultivates them and adds to his repertoire, the awards and accolades are sure to keep on coming. The Prelude, for now, is a decent start that whets the appetite of what more he's capable of in the near future.

By Melody Charles

 
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