Dwele loves vowels. The neo-soulster likes nothing better than taking a vowel, any vowel, and wrestling with it. So phrases like “with you” are, in Dwele-speak, pronounced “weeeeeed yhoooooo”. Add some crisscrossing harmonies and a hip-hop beat so leisurely it would send most into REM sleep, and you have an aural hangover cure to ease many a weary head. There’s much to like about this “Detroit singer-mumbler” (as Rolling Stone unkindly labelled him) — except, perhaps, his steadfast adherence to his signature sound. Sketches Of A Man is all “ooh”s and “ahhh”s and softly spoken verses, but by the end of its 21 tracks, you’d struggle to single out a solitary song. And some of his interludes, like the superb 5 Dolla Mic — running at 1:57 — should’ve really been expanded. (Tut-tut.) However, once you’ve lived with the album for a few weeks — yes, that’s how long it’ll take — tracks like Brandi (featuring Slum Village) and the chart-friendly Body Rock make a lasting impression. He’s a talented dude, with a lounge-friendly vibe that few can match. With Sketches Of A Man, Dwele has etched out a unique niche in neo soul.
Dwele’s I’m Cheatin’ video
Dwele’s Workin’ On It video