Vote now for Best of Detroit 2021

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Inner vision

A Detroit balladeer who arranges and produces his own material

Posted By on Wed, Jun 30, 2010 at 12:00 AM

When it comes to consistency within the male contemporary R&B realm, perhaps nobody delivers steady grooves as regularly as hometown crooner Dwele. The 32-year-old Grammy-nominated singer has a way of merging soul, jazzy production and hip hop better than almost anyone, which is why such artists as Kanye West and Slum Village continuously knock on his door for their own projects. So it's no surprise that on Dwele's fourth studio album, W.ants W.orld W.omen, released this week, you'll hear a lot of the sonic texturing that's always endeared him to America's (dare I say) "grown and sexy" crowd. But similar to the way that highly overused term is not always accurate, neither is labeling Dwele's music neo-soul. It's essentially new-school R&B with an old-school approach. The album's lead single, "What's Not to Love," is soaked in buttery vocals and Raphael Saadiq-style production, making it a) near flawless and b) perhaps Dwele's first tune strong enough to rival his 2003 jam "Find a Way." "Dodging Your Phone," featuring David Banner, is another instant fave where Dwele's love-crooning is paired with hip-hop lyrics and it works. But things get murky along the way; a good chunk of the songs merely maintain a solid groove and are well-sung, but don't really go anywhere. If the album suffers from anything, it's a lack of brevity. At 17 tracks (interludes included) the disc could've been a few songs shorter and left a stronger impact. But the gems here — such as "I Wish," "Grown," and "Detroit Sunrise" (featuring Monica Blaire) — show those flashes of brilliance where Dwele's vocals and multi-instrumentalism shine brightest. Considering that Dwele recorded much of the music on W.ants W.orld W.omen himself, he's singing and playing in the spirit of Stevie Wonder, producing and arranging material in ways that recall Smokey Robinson, continuing the embodiment of what it means to be a Detroit balladeer.

Jonathan Cunningham writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

More by Jonathan Cunningham

Most Popular

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 20, 2021

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit

© 2021 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation