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Recently, I reached an epiphany where instead of describing myself in terms of being old I looked at the positives of being around for a minute as seasoned. I mean great food is not great food without great seasoning and it takes a while for those spices to come together to be ready for purchase and consumption. Now at this point you may be asking yourself how all this self-reflection relates to the second solo release from Slim(of 112)? It’s very simple really when you listen to the vast majority of REFUELED you will hear and understand the difference between the seasoned and unseasoned musical offering and by extension you will understand on a deeper level what’s missing from the offerings of the mainstream.

First and foremost what REFUELED will bring to your remembrance is the importance of musical hooks that stick with you. The hooks here are not just a catchy turn of phrase, but they are married to musical moods and moments that stay and will replay. To put it into further context Slim comes from a tradition with 112 and his earlier solo outing of hits. Please understand that this reviewer here has no problem with hits, in fact I salute anyone who can in essence have the whole world dancing and singing. I think the problem these days is that the term hit has been bastardized by a number of mediocre efforts benefiting from partnerships of promotions of style over substance. That’s not the world Slim comes from and that’s certainly not the world he is inhabiting on REFUELED.

No, it’s not a complete love fest for me and that’s understandable. Perhaps of reasons of different seasoning or preference of aesthetic the lead single “Never Break Up” which features Rich Homie Quan doesn’t move me but again in my estimation that’s no harm nor foul because there’s certainly a contingency of Slim’s following and potential new followers that will. Cool.

But…

What Slim has definitely succeeded in doing is giving me the ever elusive multi-listening experience. That experience is part and parcel of not only the review process but personal listening as well. When you put music together that I desire to play over and over that is the arena of high regard for me, because as I often state I’ll listen to anything once. But when the listening experience is over and the tune beckons me to press play again that’s everything in my book. If this was the old days and we could pretend that I was the A&R working this recording I would tell you that without a doubt the track “Ain’t Going Nowhere” would need to get to Urban/AC like yesterday. A beautiful ballad that has the potential to have life and legs not only at radio but in the end credits of someone’s movie or television show. Yes, it’s that good and certainly reminiscent of those 90’s power ballads that 112 was known for… but nothing about the production sounds dated to these ears – just classic.

“Head In The Clouds”, “Ready To Fall”, and “Forever (with Carl Thomas)” all got the multispin treatment from me and its not that the rest of the set won’t grow into that for me(aside from the aforementioned “Never Break Up) they might just be growers at this time. Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the very cool guest spot from Ma$e on the track “Killin’ ‘Em Girl”. Growns I want you to take a little of this sage advice and make sure to check out this set.

REFUELED from Slim drops on 5/13

Ivan Orr is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, performer, and writer. A native of Charlottesville, Virginia Ivan was involved with the forming and nascent days of The Music Resource Center as its first Program Director. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Music, Ivan currently resides in Richmond, VA where he maintains an active performance and production schedule while serving as the Music Editor for Grown Folks Music, a position he has held since 2010.