The long awaited debut album from singer, songwriter, web-preneur, producer extraordinaire, Ryan Leslie dropped last week. Keep in mind, this is an artist signed to a major label, with major credits who is still on his grind like your local, hungry, unsigned ambitious new jack.

He understands the reality of the “new” music industry and is working his hustle on all facets, from the bottom up. He’s got a great album, finances his own videos and posts, blogs connects constantly. The artist-fan connection with him is real as evidenced by the “Dinner at Scala’s” video below.

You gotta respect the hustle and his passion for creating a niche for himself, on his own terms. Translating “friends”, video views and traffic into dollars and a solid fan base isn’t easy, but he’s on his way. We support him and hope the payoff comes soon. Check out this article from the Washington Post.

You can listen to his entire album (and purchase) at his website, but aside from the earlier singles, “I-R-I-N-A” & “Valentine” are my joints right now. “Gibberish” is just that, but dope in it’s own way — allows you to channel your inner songwriter. And why does it sound better than most of what’s on the radio today??

Check it out and let us know what you think.

Dinner at Scala’s from Ryan Leslie on Vimeo.