The music business is a fickle industry. The way to attack marketing and creation of music is a very fluid in approach and can easily fail horribly. After my last review of H.I.M. and H.E.R., I enjoyed both projects but was unsure of the places H.E.R. and H.I.M. would fill. Less than six months later, I feel confident that both H.E.R. and H.I.M. have potential to be here to stay.
H.E.R. Vol. 2
H.E.R. Vol. 2 released Jun 16th 2017 and honestly, I was a bit apprehensive. I was afraid of not liking Vol 2 as much as I liked Vol. 1. I didn’t want Vol. 2 to be dedicated to trite autotune ballads or chasing pop sensibilities. I was pleasantly surprised when it was emotionally drenched and patiently written. Gabi’s voice has been given more room to breathe and engulf the listener in warm vocals. Honestly, after hearing Vol 2 more, I believe it to be Top 5 of the best R&B projects of the year with a high level of replay-ability. I love it.
Gabi returns with vulnerable and emotional lyrics, well-crafted instrumentals, and songs that cover a wide spectrum of emotional topics. In short, it just sounds great and is a much more mature album since she’s started to build her brand. Easily a high recommendation.
Then almost like he’s been patiently waiting, H.I.M. drops Vol. 2 on July 25th
H.I.M. Vol. 2
H.I.M., who I think is still unknown, put out an AMAZING second project. He still responds to H.E.R. in each of his songs but each song seems newly composed and not just slightly modified version of H.E.R. but completely original. The musicality has improved greatly and there are no “Aubrey Tiller” vibes. He is singing. When I say singing, I mean he is SINGING!! It was a pleasant surprise that scratches an itch that hasn’t been fulfilled in everyone’s pursuit of popularity in Male R&B.
Truthfully, I was more shaky on H.I.M. than H.E.R. because there are a thousand singer/rappers coming out that autotune and mumble rap their way through projects but H.I.M. Vol 2 set him apart from the crowd. Each song is musically diverse as he pushes his vocal capability. He hits gorgeous high notes with runs that I haven’t heard consistently since prime-Usher. The largest benefit of this project compared to the first is his comfortability. He can rap and sing but in a time when so many people do both with little skill, H.I.M. deciding to focus on singing well gave me more to respect.
Writing wise, H.I.M. shines with vulnerable lyrics that avoid the braggadocio without being too mopey. Like last time my favorite track has to be Lights Out (Hymn Too), He brings back the gospel vibes and flexes his range nicely.
Because I talked about this last time. I think that Sony and RCA are missing out on a phenomenal opportunity to have this guy signed to them to have interplaying artists. I’m almost sure that H.I.M. is connected with some streaming platform, but I’m not sure if it is Spotify or SoundCloud. His production has improved significantly and the music seems much more focused than before. The writing also seemed like he completely built the songs after digesting H.E.R.’s album more than before. It has more individuality but still connects nicely.
Outside of that, I’ve noticed a handful of smaller changes because H.I.M.’s profile now says “HER In Mind” so that he appears in searches with H.E.R. I think it is brilliant marketing but it would not have worked if H.E.R. wasn’t producing good music and H.I.M. had to maintain that same level of quality. H.E.R. is also taking off as she is on tour and is doing extremely well. Overall, it’s interesting seeing these label politics play out, but the music is making it all worth while.
Turn Your Music Up!