Slakah the Beatchild

Soul Movement, Vol. 2

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Following Something Forever and the Slakadeliqs' genre-hopping The Other Side of Tomorrow, Byram Joseph knocks out a sequel to 2008's Soul Movement. This time, the musician and producer known as Slakah the Beatchild involves fewer guests -- five, to be exact -- as he continues to develop into a fine vocalist in his own right. Although it contains six fewer cuts than the first Soul Movement, it's just as lengthy, almost an hour in duration. That's due in part to the nine-minute "Keep Up" -- an elegant, broken beat-like jam that features Joseph and Ayah volleying breathy lines and does not outstay its welcome. The other R&B-rooted collaborations stand out, too. "Number 1," a mellow but stimulating cut involving returned veteran Glenn Lewis, is in a class with prime Dwele. On "Love Fool," Slakah once again works with Tanika Charles. Unlike their folk-pop collaboration on The Other Side of Tomorrow, it's a neo-Motown soul stomp -- a highlight and the penultimate track, placed between two of the album's most pleasant instrumentals. Joseph also holds his own on "Something About Her," a cushiony groove with light string stabs. As expected, tracks with rapping evoke or directly reference a bygone era -- the early '90s -- most beloved by those born in the '70s. They tend not to shine as bright, but they're not disposable, with Torontonians Spek Won and Ian Kamau featured on "Miscommunication." On another rap cut, "Where's Yesterday," Joseph bemoans the state of commercial radio: "There's no real tracks, it's like a train wreck/These days, DJs play the same mess." A handful of the songs here certainly deserve more prominence than airplay through savvy public radio DJs.

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