News broke recently that Musiq Soulchild is reinventing his brand as he takes on a rapper alter-ego, The Husel. You can listen to The Husel’s new sound below.
The Husel goes on to explain his new music, “I like to entertain people according to what they’re saying entertains them. As an artist, musician, songwriter and producer, I sit back and hear it, and… if that’s what ya’ll like, I can do that.”
Aight, now that that objective shit is out of the way… What the fuck? This is Musiq Soulchild? The same Musiq Soulchild that sang “Love”? The same song that had me closing my eyes and singing falsetto for no good reason? The same Musiq Soulchild that gave me songs to dedicate to the woman I love? Yeah, that’s kind of Drake of me but yo this is Musiq Soulchild! Or at least it was.
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Musiq came in to the scene with a wave of solo, soulful R&B acts such as Avant, Tank, Tyrese, Joe, and more of the same. This was a bit after the wave of successful R&B groups such as Boyz II Men, Blackstreet, Jodeci, K-Ci & Jojo, etc. I think the singular singer reemerged in popularity because we wanted to hear how one man felt about one woman. It felt more personal. A group of men essentially talking to one female feels a little strange thinking about it out of context. I was into R&B just as much as I was into rap because right when this new era of R&B was reaching its height, I was starting to see women as the beautiful creatures they are and resonating with the music that celebrated that. What great timing. Maxwell taught me what a woman’s work is. Brian McKnight made me wonder if I ever crossed her mind. Keith Sweat made me realize I was twisted, thinking about the way that things used to be, when it was you and me, girl, I was so free, see?
[youtube width=”720″ height=”405″ video_id=”-JYxc5ftEzg”]This live version of Maxwell performing “This Woman’s Work” is so ill
When I first heard the name “Musiq Soulchild” I thought it sounded a bit strange and contrived but after becoming a fan of his music, he really embodied and lived up to the moniker. This was music in the most poetic sense of the word. This was soul in the way Marvin and Al meant it to be. Musiq wasn’t a sex symbol in the way most R&B singers were packaged. He was more 6 piece wings than 6 pack abs. And he always wore sunglasses. Not to be mysterious and cool and shit, but because when he was a kid his uncle stabbed him in the eye with a fork. That ain’t what’s hot in the streets.
This made his success even more impressive. Musiq couldn’t fall back on good looks. He was an amazing songwriter and singer and was very aware of what love is and expressed that in a way we could understand. So him becoming The Husel, autotuning his voice, and writing content that says nothing different from what the previous or the next song about to play on the radio is saying, it’s no wonder he dropped music and soul from his name. It feels satirical.
I’m genuinely considering that theory. Is this an elaborate performance art piece? “The Husel” sounds comical and basic as fuck compared to something as soulful as Musiq Soulchild. And the music is completely on the other end of the spectrum from the work that had his heart in it. The autotune suppresses any human inflection there was in his singing and the beat selection is synthetic and underwhelming to say the least. Is he making a statement about how R&B has lost it’s soul and if we continue to go down this path there won’t be any artists resuscitating the little bit of genuine life and love that it’s held onto? Or is that wishful thinking?
Mariah Carey’s “Always Be My Baby” is a song that reminds me of my first crush. Another one from her, “One Sweet Day” is a song I can’t listen to without tearing up thinking of my late mother. Next’s “Butter Love” is a song that made me want to find a relationship just like the one in that song. Tony Rich Project still holds me down during break ups when I feel like nobody knows it but me… but Tony Rich knows. Will the younger generation have the soundtrack to their lives written by The Husel?
Boyz II Men told us it’s the end of the road, Chris Brown told us these hoe’s ain’t loyal. Tevin Campbell asked her, “can we talk?”, Trey Songz asked if he can eat her pussy up. R. Kelly said her body is a playground, R. Kelly used her like a urinal next to the playground. Sam Cooke said a change is gonna come but this ain’t what he meant.
I know I’m looking at things through rose colored glasses because not everything was so sweet then and not everything is so bad now, but we need our heroes to play their part and be held accountable. We need Musiq to be Musiq. The Husel’s lack of soul, which he overcompensates for with leather, gold, and corniness, is such a far cry from what Musiq was. This has to be a joke. If it’s not, not only has R&B died… it’s been forgotten.
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