I’m listening Estelle’s Shine right now. It’s a strong debut from the John Legend camp. Between her, JL’s baby brother Vaughn Anthony John Legend’s HomeSchool Label’s got some serious potential. They could be a R+B version of the Roc or maybe a grimier Hidden Beach.
But I can’t help listening to Missy E and wondering whatever happened to Miss Dynamite? She was another black diamond imported from the UK a few years back. Her debut was duck-butt tight. Like Estelle, Miss Dynamite sang, rhymed, and was part of the So Solid Crew, pioneers in the UK’s grimy garage movement.
Anyway, for Estelle, the comparisons to Dynamite, Lauryn Hill, and Floetry are inescapable. She’s got a similar gruffed-up honeyed voice, with one foot planted in punchlines the other in song styling, while effectively embraces popular concepts of love and bad relationships, working girl stress, street life, etc. But Estelle finds some pretty fresh, grown-up ways to mine this territory and make some really fun soulful songs.
For example: No Substitute finds Estelle riffing George Michael’s Faith to effectively to shut down a man with jump-off aspirations; while the standout So Much Out The Way lifts Black Moon’s Who Got The Props allows E to ride. And Magnificent’s dancehall grime will leave you wondering (once again) why the perennially dope Kardinal Offishal hasn’t blown up stateside yet. Back In Love is a great song about a trifling man who draws Estelle back in no matter how many times he walks out on her.
Furthermore, Shine’s inspired guest-parings (Cee-Lo Green, Kardinal, John Legend, Wyclef Jean, and Mr. Kanye West) actually compliment rather than compete with Estelle, who shows herself more than able to swing with the big boys on a multitude of.
Shine's not perfect--not by a long shot. But is a truly worthy debut for a sister with a lot of promise and a boatload of talent. Check out more about her at: Estellemusic.com
And for your enjoyment, here's a couple sample "Shine" tracks to listen to, Support good music: