Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
In this evening’s edition of the Independent Spotlight, we shine our gaze on M-See, an up and coming artist who specializes in soulful music, so much so that his new record is ‘Soul Food, Music For The Soul.’ M-See is the moniker of Malcom Crittenden, who has been fairly active in the indie music community since his college days. ‘Soul Food’ is his junior studio endeavor, and M-See’s pursuit is an admirable one: to create music that generates positivity.
‘Soul Food, Music For The Soul’ is very lengthy effort, clocking in at nineteen tracks. Thus, we’re going to touch on half a dozen of them for the purposes of brevity here on the Spotlight. The album opens up with a title track, ‘Soul Food.’ The tune introduces M-See as a tactful performer that seems to be multi-faceted. I’d argue this music is just as influenced by hip-hop as it is by soul. M-See croons through a stunningly simplistic, but lovely soundscape of sporadic synthesizers and a tight, sly beat. At times, M-See’s delivery falls a tad out of step, but for the most part, it’s an elegantly composed and delivered experience.
‘More Than Money’ exhibits a harder hip-hop influence on ‘Soul Food,’ something that’s particularly well executed. I love M-See’s production. His vocals are mixed perfectly and the composition backing him is immensely creative. In addition to that, ‘More Than Money’ stretches M-See’s wings as a talented lyricist, something the opening of the record didn’t necessarily give him an opportunity to do. Thus, M-See seamlessly avoids the major pitfalls independent artists have a tendency to make: predictable lyricism and poor production.
M-See hails from the historic Selma, Alabama. In ‘Feel Me,’ M-See creatively winks at his hometown by referencing Common and John Legend’s ‘Glory’ from last year, written for ‘Selma.’ He’ll give it all for his team, just like Malcolm X or Dr. King. ‘Feel Me’ has a more poignant center than the previous tracks, which is a ballsy move for M-See since the album is marketed as ‘soul food.’ Fortunately, his political calls to action are intelligent and much-needed. Kudos to M-See; ‘Feel Me’ conveys his authentic and loving world-view.
‘I Am Who I Am’ is a very pleasant tune to listen to, one that creates a wonderfully soulful atmosphere early on in the record. It’s a defiant message of self-worth and individuality. I absolutely love this. I’ve said it on the Spotlight but it bears repeating: you never want to be the next anyone. You want to be the next you. M-See recognizes the importance of this on ‘I Am Who I Am.’
‘Beautiful Bird’ matches an elegantly selected sample with some of the most spectacular hip-hop delivery I delved into on ‘Soul Food.’ This is the track where M-See makes two things clear: he can sample pretty damn well and he can also sling a rhythm mighty quick. Let’s fast forward to the end of the record, though, and touch on the finale, ‘Morning.’ It’s a fitting ending, but to be entirely honest, M-See isn’t the best singer. He’s a fine rapper, but on ‘Morning,’ some of his off-key crooning is a bit painful to listen to.
Aside from some quips here and there, the time I spent with M-See’s new record was widely satisfying. It’s a fine album very much worth your time. M-See navigates the waters of it well, always finding a way to make his music soothing and brimming with positivity. Thus, he most certainly achieves his goal. Check it out streaming on his site below.