As a model, TV presenter and singer, who got his first break in a Coke ad, 20-year-old [a]Tyrese[/a] has had exposure across the board for his debut. And, though the laws of celebrity gravity dictate it shouldn’t be any good, it’s actually difficult to consign this R&B suite of songs to the dumper.
For one, the South Central Los Angeles native is possessed of a voice that yearns, pleads and cajoles. Also, the soft-focus edginess of the musical backdrop of beats, bass and strings would be mistaken for blandness if it weren’t for a hidden complexity. This is loverman ghetto music for today; aimed at women, but actually designed for the art of love.
Really, the man applies himself. ‘Promises‘, with its attendant rap , shows the way R&B has accommodated hip-hop in a mutually beneficial way. To take things further, the midtempo grooves of ‘Nobody Else‘ and ‘Ain’t Nothin’ Like A Jones‘ are just perfect for clubs.
In the end, [a]Tyrese[/a] is indirectly political: by the sheer act of omission, he allows people to put guns, drugs and gangs behind them. If only for a while.