Kevin Michael, the moppy-haired man of rhythm and blues, proves he can sing on his recently-released self-titled debut.
And I mean really sing. His voice has soul, passion and power. What’s more is that he has a vocal range more Broadway than top 40, and is able to sound like James Brown one moment and Aretha Franklin the next.
That’s actually where his problems start. During songs like “Vicki Secrets,” one has to do a second take to figure out if Michael is singing or collaborating with a female songstress. But despite his super long dark fro and long effeminate features, it doesn’t seem like Michael is trying to be the androgynous David Bowie of hip-hop.
That’s his second problem. There is no clear vision of who Kevin Michael is. He’s not exactly R&B, nor quite hip-hop, and he most certainly does not write his own stuff. In fact, if the beats were laid down over some more original lyrics, it could be a great CD.
Instead it sounds contrived and painful clichés are everywhere. If naming a song “Stone Cold Killa,” wasn’t bad enough, on it Michael sings:
“Baby, why you drive me crazy? You know I love you baby, yes, and girl you just amaze me.”
Then he goes on with a sequence, rhyming honey with money with funny with dummy. This isn’t just awkward but also sounds horribly amateur and does no justice to Michael’s vocal talents.
Michael’s singing amazes, but his lyrics are painful and a dull mix is too much to ignore. He has the potential to make incredible music, but he didn’t reach it on this album. With more age and creative control it will be interesting to see what Michael can do, but on this album, he’s doing nothing.