A Study in Stereotypes: B. Slade’s New Release

on Monday, Jan. 10th

by Son of Baldwin

B. Slade is one of the most prolific artists of the decade.

Since abandoning his Tonéx persona, Brian Slade (better known as B. Slade) has been churning out mostly free digital music left and right. He’s the latest in a growing number of artists who are utilizing modern technology to distribute and sell their own music, cutting the parasitic record companies out of the equation altogether.

What’s fascinating is how well-produced many of these efforts are given that there’s no corporate backing. The incentive for Slade and other artists is to put out there best work as the music serves as an invitation to the live performances, where I’m certain the true bread and butter lies.

Slade’s latest offering is called Stereotype, a collection of 20 songs, each one politicized in its own way. (Slade, for those of you who may not be aware, is the first black artist since Sylvester to come out of the closet and not attribute his sexuality to witchcraft or demonic possession, but, on the contrary, challenges the Christian establishment to broaden its criteria for divine love.) At the core of the songs—whether the lyrical subject matter is dancing or loving or just having a good time—is protest. Slade seems to be saying: “This is who I am. You can certainly take it or leave it, but know that I ain’t going anywhere.” Listen to “Blend: 1977″ and you’ll know.

His influences are obvious: There’s a little bit of the Jacksons by way of Michael and Janet (“Baby, What’cha Gonna Do: 1979″ and “Alive 3″); there’s a little bit of Prince (“Silly Philly”); there’s a little bit of Donny Hathaway (“Changes”); there are even Indian musical influences, which he manages to infuse with an Alabama swing (“Walla Walla Bing Bang” and “Prayin’ 4 U”).  And, of course, there’s a strong gospel swagger (“God…”).

It’s all topped off by vocals that display impeccable control and incredible dexterity. In other words, Slade can sang his ass off.

Read the rest of this review at Son of Baldwin.

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