After hearing the first track of Kawan DeBose’s mixtape, Exposed, trepidation set in about where he was going with it. On “Wish I Would’ve Hit It” , he sings uninspiring lyrics straight over Trey Songz’s “Can’t Be Friends” track and at first listen it seems that the mixtape is going to be more of the same old, same old…

But… Exposed gets better. Although it’s not clear where DeBose was going with the first track, he heads in the opposite direction with the rest of the mixtape. On “Adore You” ,the first of four cover songs, he covers Prince’s “Adore”. Although Prince is an artist who, in the opinion of die-hard fans should never be covered, DeBose’s effort is not offensive. He does not try to imitate Prince. He sparingly uses falsetto and he does not use the exact same track or lyrics. The track is acoustic with some added some finger snaps and light keys and it’s actually not bad. He soulfully and clearly delivers Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” acappella and it helps bring the message of the song’s lyrics out. The slowed down, piano arrangement of Tears For Fears’ “Everybody Wants To The World” is good and his jazzy rendition of Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” works, unlike Brian McKnight’s jazzy, slow, cover of “Careless Whisper” on his current project.

The original tracks, “Come Close” “Hurt My Heart” and “Selfish” are good efforts (except for unnecessary profanity at the end of “Selfish”), but the covers are the strong suit of the mixtape. So much so that perhaps he should’ve called it Covered instead of Exposed. Not that DeBose should stay in a creative box, but the way he executes the covers shows his talent for arrangement, interpretation and his throwback vocals the most on this project. In fact it seems that he is a balladeer and crooner waiting to happen. –KKC

Kimberly Kennedy Charles

I have questions. Artists have answers.