Loverman soul never really goes out of style, it just changes hands from decade to decade. The quiet storm maven for the Facebook generation is J. Holiday (nee Nahum Grymes), a Washington, D.C.-based singer who got his start in gospel music at his church and was discovered by influential producer Rodney Jerkins. J. Holiday made a big splash with his 2007 debut album, whose sultry single "Bed" went to the top of the charts.
DISC 1 for Back of My Lac (CD) Album
By J. Holiday (Artist)
J Holiday has some pimp in him, no doubt, and the late-disc track "Pimp In Me" isn't the only reason to think so: When this suavest of 2007's break-out crop of smooth R&B crooners isn't causing the ladies to swoon (check out "Bed," the radio hit that rides a vibe similar to Rihanna's echo-y "Umbrella" all the way behind closed doors and under the covers), he's establishing himself as a tough guy with a tender streak. It's a stroke-of-brilliance approach for a new artist--instead of becoming a standard-issue sweetie who ladles on the charm but can't do battle with urban music's big boys, he deftly straddles two styles on this debut. Silky, classic-sounding slow jams ("Suffocate," "Without You") suit him, but so do street cred-raising reminiscences of his gritty Washington, D.C., youth ("Ghetto," "Thug Commandments"). Holiday goes for broke, circling the broad R&B landscape, but he doesn't dilly-dally: Back of My 'Lac delivers pimp-worthy yet pretty songs that get straight to the point, the point being that this is an artist worth raising your modern-music hopes over. --Tammy La Gorce
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