I love soul music. I don't care how awkward I look jamming out to it in my car or on the street. That's how much I love it. Aloe Blacc is the latest and greatest of this new wave of neo-soul artists that has a large, but seemingly softspoken following. For references, please see Legend, John; Hawthorne, Mayer; Liddel, Jamie; Saadiq, Raphael. They've got all the same type of elements – deep, gospel-style voices; groovy, moving basslines; live-band backing; funky, high-end guitar; and of course, the propensity to make you move your head. There are times where you feel like these fellows could be dropped in the studio right along with Otis Redding or Same Cooke (don't get me wrong here; those guys are way better than these posers). The curveball here though, is that there is a hip-hop influence, at times more clear than others. Sometimes it'll be a hip-hop drum-beat, or a DJ scratching the track or just the hip-hop swagger – but any way it comes out, an unstoppable jam will ensue. Aloe Blacc is just the latest – get on this before Ke$ha is doing songs with The Roots.
Also recommended: "I Need a Dollar", which is the theme song for the HBO series "How to Make It In America". That's one of those shows that if you say you watch it, I'm probably going to instantly dislike you. That's not an indictment on the show – I've never seen it – but I feel if you name-drop an obscure pay-channel name reference on me like that, there are probably other aspects of your personality that would earn you a dropkick.