Van Hunt

Van Hunt’s debut album is damn good. Especially considering that homeboy writes and produces his own stuff, which is, in fact, a glorious throwback to Prince’s heyday and Curtis Mayfield’s golden era.

What sucks is this guy’s timing. He drops this jewel of an album at a time when everything about the music industry is manufactured. How will radio receive an album full of live instrumentation with good, imaginative songwriting?

These days the music business is war for artists who dare to be different. Luckily, the Van Hunts of the world keep it coming, asking one simple question with every new release: Will you accept them for being different?

When “Dust” leads off, sounding like Dion Estus’ “Heaven Help Me,” will you stick with him?

When the funk of “Hello, Goodbye,” smacks of Rahsaan Patterson’s “Stop By,” will you keep listening?

When the timing and vocal tones of the beautiful ballad “What Can I Say?” eerily conjure images of John Lennon, will you call it too eclectic and give up on it?

Hope not, or you’ll miss the disco-funk fusion of “Highlights.”

You’ll miss the Spanish influence of the infectious “Her December,” or the deeply rhythmic closer, “Out of the Sky.”

Van Hunt’s style is really no style at all. His musical tastes vary and, fortunately, his vocals (there are no notable guests) provide a good stream-of-consciousness throughout the project.

Make no mistake, this is the next joint to brag about being the first to buy. Go get it.

E-mail Khary Kimani Turner at [email protected].

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