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Black Spade - To Serve with Love

Released on Om Records, 3/04/08

When initially loading Black Spade’s not-yet-released album To Serve with Love, I almost turned it off after the twisted intro. Not wishing to judge too quickly, I kept listening and I’m glad I did.

To Serve With Love is classified as hip hop, and it is -- but there is much more to it. Instead of hard-up “gangsta rap”, Black Spade’s voice is somewhat soothing, even when he says things like "your perfume is fucking with my head", it holds a certain romanticism that makes you want to keep listening.

Spade’s singing voice is also great -- deep and soulful; his claim is that he was heavily influenced by his father’s extensive record collection of jazz, soul, psychedelic rock and comedy. This is particularly evident by the trumpets in “She’s the One”.

A stand-out is “Evil Love”, a quasi-love song with a saccharin French accent making its way into the 80s pop beginning. I also loved the intro to “Revolutionary Bullshit”, it’s so retro -- a bit Kanye West in his tribute to Pamela Anderson and a little reggae when chanting "Revolution No Bullshit" throughout. “The Genius In You” an ode to Spade’s favorite artists, i.e. Dilla, Roots, ATCQ, is also worth a listen; slow, melodic and great for chilling, it has a really nice feel to it.

All in all, this album is pretty good. There was a lot of "crackle" in my copy. I don’t know if this was a bad recording or part of the charm -- just keep listening past the intro because it could turn you off completely.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars