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Aloe Blacc – Shine Through

What you might want to know first and foremost about Aloe Blacc’s new album Shine Through is that it is not his heavily influenced hip-hop group Emanon. Nor does it follow in the footsteps of his guest spot on Oh No’s late-2004 debut album, or does it feature the superbly crafted conscious rhymes that he has come to be known for. Though he does don his MC cape for parts of this album, Shine Through is mostly a compilation of thoughts, musings and “spirit” that have grown in Blacc throughout his tenure in the music business.

For example, the Oh No produced “Long Time Coming,” is a cover of the classic Sam Cooke song, mixing Aloe’s developing vocal range with No’s vibrant and pulsing beats. While “Busking” is a stripped down acappella tune featuring nothing but Aloe and a typical street corner crooning about awaiting a city bus ride. And the title track itself is comprised of nothing more than vocals and guitar. “One Inna,” one of only two outside produced songs features the evil genius that is Madlib, not subverting his talents, but rather melding them to the style of this artist. Elsewhere on the record you’ll find the classic salsa cover, “Severa,” a world beat record, “Whole World,” and a dancehall inspired riddim, “Are You Ready.”

Blacc wanted this album to reflect all of the inspirations and favorite works he’s experienced over the years. On that note, he succeeds by offering a cohesive reflection of his tastes while showcasing his growth as an artist. But, again, if you’re looking for the DJ Exile and Aloe Blacc reunion album, you’ll be sadly disappointed.


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