Aloe Blacc Brings Soul Back on ‘Good Things’
If you watched HBO’s recent series ‘How to Make It in America,’ then you already know Aloe Blacc. His irresistible tune ‘I Need a Dollar’ was the show’s theme song. Fortunately, the 30-year old Blacc knows how to take some momentum and run with it. His new album ‘Good Things’ builds on that lead single’s potent mixture of soulful vocals, hip-hop sonics and laidback grooves to create one of the more enjoyable listens we’ve encountered in awhile.
Blacc, whose real name is the regal-sounding Egbert Nathaniel Dawkins, is hard to place in any particular movement. Tracks like ‘I Need a Dollar’ transition well into classics like Cam’ron‘s ‘Oh Boy,’ but many fans list him alongside neo-soul traditionalists such as Sharon Jones. Blacc revels in that in-between territory. The Southern California native can croon like it was the late ’60s but easily mixes in hip-hop motifs. In addition to his new album, Blacc is surely poised to lend vocals to some of rap’s biggest and brightest. He would be right at home on much of Kanye West‘s recent material, for example.
‘Good Things,’ which will officially be released on Sept. 28, is currently streaming for free over at NPR. Check out ‘Green Lights’ — an organ-laden stomp with a hip-hop beat that finds Blacc sweetly harmonizing about trying to move forward in life. “There’s so many things to do,” he sings. “So many people I need to talk to/ and they’ve all been waiting for me/ I gotta make it through/ something special happened today/ I got green lights all the way.”