After making a reputation for himself in his native Detroit by selling a self-produced CD out of his car trunk, Dwele earned the contract that resulted in his major-label debut: the sterling Subject. At a time when competition in the neo-soul arena was steep—D’Angelo, Bilal, and Maxwell all released classic albums around the same time as Subject—Dwele still managed to carve out a musical niche that was both lovingly vintage and wholly individualized. Part of it's his Detroit sensibility. The album is infused with the sleek and slippery grooves patented by his Detroit rap compatriots, especially Slum Village and J. Dilla. Dwele also shows an impressive amount of subtlety and taste in a genre that can often bring out the peacock in male performers. Beyond the masculine greats of R&B, his music is attuned to the hazy soul-jazz of Roy Ayers and the rich productions that Quincy Jones did for the Brothers Johnson in the late '70s. Though Marvin Gaye's spirit looms heavy in Dwele’s work, “Without You” and “Truth” don’t conjure Let’s Get It On so much as the pensive, ethereal Marvin of I Want You and Here, My Dear.

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