Chocolate. It’s hard to find anyone that doesn’t like it. Some people crave it, some don’t need it that often. It has been a part of society, be it modern or ancient, in some way shape or form for centuries. I have had a love affair with it for some years now, that is, until I found a cocoa of a different type. Enter Choklate Moore….
So, who is she you may ask? Well, she’s a gifted musician, with a flair for songwriting and a beautiful smoky voice that brings to mind mild over tones of Jaguar Wright and Algebra Blessett with strong under currents of Mary J. Blige and Angie Stone.
I got hip to Mz. Choklate last year, which is one year after her self titled debut album dropped to lots of critical acclaim but almost no radio play (at least on the East Coast). The only way you were really going to hear her music was if you were a LimeWire fiend, happened to catch hold to a copy of The Kajmere Sound Volume 1 or you happened to be on or from the West Coast (especially her new home of Seattle) and listened to underground radio or kept up with the local R&B/Jazz/Hip-Hop scene there. I haven’t had the pleasure of visiting the Left Coast, even when I was in the Navy but I do have a copy of the compilation. (Which is wonderful by the way.)
Moving on into her current album, Choklate’s music is a very eclectic mix of R&B, Soul, Jazz and Hip-Hop with a few Funk driven horns and keys in all the right places. I have heard this type of blend before from other lesser known artists that have done a very good job (think Conya Doss, Teedra Moses, Leela James even Lina) with it so to me it’s not new. The difference is, this blend for lack of a better word or phrase, is All Encompassing. In other words, I don’t skip any songs! Not as a slight to the other artists I just named, as I love their offerings as well BUT there are songs on their respective albums that I will skip past. Chalk it up to my discerning ears. I am different from most with my musical tastes but if you don’t grab me within the first two minutes with the track production, (that goes for Hip-Hop, Rap, Traditional R&B, Neo-Soul etc.), I’m not going to keep listening for long. I may sometimes listen to it all the way through just to make sure I don’t really care for it though. All depends on my mood that day. Hey I’m human, sue me.
Is it just the music though? Of course not you twit! It’s the voice within, underneath and even surrounding the music that makes this more of a complete package. The lyricism the young lady possesses is utterly incredible. There is a depth to her words that is undeniable in their realism and simplicity. With just a few utterances in her husky, warm vocals she can paint a picture of her hopes and joys, ups and downs, loves lost and found over Vitamin D‘s (DJ Nu-Mark and De La Soul) lush musical canvass, bringing these sung thoughts to life for us without being over the top or under the radar with it. Check “Now What“, “Heavy” and my personal favorite, “Firewater” to see what I mean.
As a total package, taking into account the production, songwriting, mix-down clarity and vocal performance, this is an album that doesn’t stop. If I may reference the classic scene from “White Men Can’t Jump” between Woody Harrelson and Wesley “Tax-Evading A$$” Snipes, when you listen to Choklate, you are actually hearing her and not just listening. From beginning to end this has potential to be one of the best debut albums from a lesser known real artist that I have ever heard in a while. That is saying a lot since I normally listen to artists that most people wouldn’t give half a chance and all the mainstream artists that the masses of musical lemmings (ML’s) give more than enough unneeded chance to. (Yes, I’m talking about everyone’s precious Keyshia Cole! Ida care if you don’t agree! She’s a studio artist at best and only as good as the engineer and whatever producer she works with makes her sound. She should stick to doing backup vocals and hooks. She should never try to carry a song by herself or attempt to sing live. Think about the live performance of “Love” she did a year back with that horrendous note she sang, over and over repeating until ears across America bled profusely…nuff said!)
OK…I digress…back to Choklate. So far she has done a lot of collabs with other artists like, Breakestra, Boom Bap Project, Blacksheep, Gift of Gab, De La Soul, Butta Verses, Abstract Rude, Supernatural and Chali 2Na just to name a few, all the while planning her new album. Hopefully with this offering, she will get more of the accolades she so richly deserves and the recognition of the uneducated masses that should not have slept on her the first time. In her progress towards that goal, she has one leaked song that she is toying with the idea of releasing as a lead single or just adding to the new LP. The song is titled The Moon and you can click the link to check her MySpace page and listen to it.
In summary, Choklate is mos def becoming an artist to look for in the future and quickly becoming one in heavy rotation in my car and on my PC’s Helium Music Manager. Its my “go to” album now when I need to get away from Radio and Video repeats of anything Lil Wayne, which sadly enough is often thanks to the aforementioned ML’s. Given the state of current media sources these days, I find myself reaching for it, often. You probably will too.
Gettin’ Is Good
Dedicated To Music
Wish I Hadn’t Told You
Bigger Than You
What’s About To Go Down
Choklate LP Stream: