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Boulevards (Jamil Rashad): Groove!

Track List

>Set the Tone
>Got to Go
>Up on Your Love
>Move & Shout
>Cold Call
>Running Back
>Spot, The
>Talk to Me
>Love & Dance
>Weekend Love

Album Notes

Raleigh, North Carolina's Jamil Rashad (aka Boulevards) makes exuberant, funky, retro '70s and '80s dance-oriented R&B on his fittingly titled 2016 debut, Groove!. Think '80s How Could It Be-era Eddie Murphy if produced by Chic's Nile Rodgers and France's Daft Punk, and you'll have a fairly good idea of the sound and attitude displayed on Groove!. This is good-time party and club music steeped in sex, synths, and plenty of popping, low-end bass. Helping Rashad achieve his time-traveling dance party sound are producers Leroy James Clampitt (aka Taste Nasa) and Adam Rich. Together, they bring deft ears for period-sounding production replete with vintage keyboards, kinetic scratch-funk guitars, and immediately infectious dance-inducing beats. Of course, none of this would have the same impact if it weren't for the charismatic Rashad, whose preppy, '90s hip-hop style, percussive baritone delivery, and knack for hooky, singalong choruses tie the whole album together. Cuts like "Got to Go," "Up on Your Love," and "Move and Shout," with their disco-R&B handclap beats, sparkling synth backdrops, and cheeky vocal asides ("good god"), sound like long lost Gap Band sides. That said, what's particularly impressive about Groove!, is how Rashad is able to transcend his vintage late-'80s/early-'90s aesthetic and turn it into something new. Cuts like "Patience" and "On the Spot," while produced with an obvious love for classic funk vinyl, wouldn't sound out of place in any modern hip-hop or club setting. Ultimately, with Groove!, Boulevards has brought back fun, funky music with an organic, soulful vibe for millennials. ~ Matt Collar


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