Finally we get some new music from the man I know as the Prince of R&B/Soul. Drive is Mr. Ross’ latest project and post-Awakening effort and damn it if it ain’t a vibe. The man is blessed with buttery-smooth vocals which he displays effortlessly on every single track on this EP.
I wanted to sit with this a few days before posting my review on my blog because I feel Kevin deserves a true and authentic review on his artistry. I mean…we are talking about a man that puts together these mash-ups in such detail that he makes it look easy. Speaking of his mash-ups…this one right here slayed my entire soul…
Frankly, this nigga is THE SHIT when it comes to this music thing and can’t nobody tell me anything different.
Anyway back to my review…
Drive is 6 tracks with 5 new songs and a cover of Andre 3000’s “Prototype”. If you’re familiar with Kevin Ross, then you probably have his first EP Dialogue in the Grey that was a 4-track EP with 3 new songs and a cover track (Kanye West’s “Don’t Say You Will”). That EP, though good, wasn’t enough to initially draw me in at the time it was released back in 2014 (But that damn Glade Commercial though!!!!!!!!! I would literally run to the tv anytime I heard his voice lol). One of my biggest criticisms (and really my only criticism) that I’ve always had about Kevin’s music is the lack of variety. He clearly has a sound that he’s going for and I think earlier in his career he worked to find it, perfect it and hone it. The Awakening, Ross’ debut album, served as a great awareness project for Kevin as “Long Song Away” and “Don’t Go” are two strong singles (Though I think the roll out for “Don’t Go” was trash on the label’s part but let me save that for a later rant.)
Kevin recently said in one of his Facebook Live’s that Drive was a “vibe” project and he wanted it to convey that summery feeling. DAMN IT if he didn’t do just that ya’ll. My immediate reaction upon first listen was “This thang ISSA MOOD!” and I was so happy to hear that that was what he was going for. Let me get into my track by track break down…
Track 1. “Cruise”
Classic Kevin Ross. When I think of Kevin and everything else he has done prior, this song is it in a nutshell. This song is such a damn summer record that I’m almost mad that it wasn’t released a bit earlier so that we can get the full effect. Let’s not forget those buttery smooth vocals either…
Track 2. “Representa”
I wanted variety from Kevin and I got it BUT this song had to grow on me. Wasn’t super excited about it on first listen because its chorus is probably my least favorite and the cheesiest on the EP. With all that said, the song has grown on me and is now my unofficial theme song 🙂
Track 3. “Like I Do”
Production on this record is CRAZY and the songwriting is A ONE. Not sure if Kevin produced it himself but OMG this song is good. If I was to choose any song to be a single from this project, this would be the one.
Track 4. “Prototype”
Voice Bae sang his face off! This cover is absolutely brilliant. His voice is so damn beautiful on this track it makes no damn sense whatsoever. If you listen to nothing else on this EP you gotta give this a listen.
Track 5. “Hold On To Me”
The only song on the EP that I skipped about 45 seconds into the song. I don’t really have a review on the song even though I like the song, if that makes sense. I will say that it gives me Sade feels and it has a very DC/House-ish break down which I thought was dope. It’s all about the next track for me though…
Track 6. “Black James Dean”
I LOVE this song. Like LOOOOOOOOOOVVVVVVVVEEEEEEEE it. He definitely saved the best for last though this song is entirely TOO DAMN SHORT. Yes, I’m in my feelings about that shit. One thing is for sure, Kevin knows how to NAIL hooks when he wants to. This song literally makes me want to shed tears over my past failed relationships and swag surf on my haters all at the same damn time. The epitome of a vibe. My only request is that a remix be released with a hot 16.
All in all, Drive doesn’t disappoint in any way. The thing I am most excited about this project aside from the music is that I can hear Kevin’s progression as an artist all through this project. Vocally and musically, Kevin is far superior than his peers…this is a fact and not up for debate. However, being a total and complete artist, being able to put together cohesive projects…all that takes time, trial and error. As a creative you naturally want to create and deliver content to your audience as often as you can and major labels can really fuck up that process, to be honest. Thankfully, Drive came out just in time!