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by Ryan Snyder

reviews of local & state music CDs

THE-DREAM — Love King

On 2009’s Love Vs. Money, he was all over you like a white T on a thug. On his newest release Love King — set to drop on June 29 — he’s all over you like credits on a CD. Much like the filthy-sweet dynamic for R&B that R. Kelly has practically taken ownership over in the past decade, you listen to every solo album that Charlotte-cum- ATL mega-producer The-Dream drops and just shake your head, wondering how any well-reasoned, upstanding individual can get down to it. Then the beat drops and they find themselves singing lines like “I ain’t goin’ nowhere/ who the f–k gonna replace me/ and just for you I’m gonna drop another CD” on the surefire hit “Sex Intelligent.” Or how about the hook “Police hate us — why?/ cuz they never seen a girl with an ass so fat” on “Yamaha”? He could be talking about his beloved street bike, but that wouldn’t be nearly as much fun, even with the silky G-Funk synth and ratatat drum machine breaks pushing the groove backward to the Troutman slowride jam era. Half the album’s fun is that it’s not just a little bit risqu’; it’s a lot, though the nasty brilliance of “Yamaha” is underscored by the fact that its only the beginning of a song cycle the bleeds in “Nikki Pt. 2,” where he relays the dark flipside of his booty/biker escapades and it’s aftermath on “Abyss.” The- Dream does take the sex groove a little more to the subdued side on occasion. The radio-ready “Makeup Bag” finds him and cohort TI hinting at it on the classic lipstick-on-the-collar cheating conundrum. But don’t worry, “Panties On the Side” dispels the slightest notion that The-Dream’s only dipping his toes into places Marvin Gaye never dreamed. Sonically, Love King represents the aftermath of Auto-tune’s decaying legacy, but retains the most genuine aspects of Troutman-era funk and groove. It does get slightly monotonous at 17 tracks, but if it does its job, you’ll only need nine.

83/100

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