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A Night at the Besties Oct 23, 2014 Celebrate CityBeat's "Best of San Diego" issue with live music from Little Hurricane and Steph Johnson, performances from the Fern Street Circus, an art exhibit from the Dream Machine Arts Collective, a mobile video arcade by Coin Op North Park and more. 60 other events on Thursday, October 23
 
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Epic San Diego Museum of Art exhibition promises a textbook lesson in the evolution of modern works
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Kevin Faulconer’s likely to tack left on sustainability
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Adaptation of Patricia Highsmith novel tops our coverage of movies screening around town
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With few specifics on who they were looking for, officers held the wrong man at gunpoint
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Steve Martin and Edie Brickell’s musical leads our rundown of local plays

 

 
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Home / Articles / Music / Soundwaves /  B.Slade gets boisterous on ‘Stealth’
. . . .
Wednesday, Jan 18, 2012

B.Slade gets boisterous on ‘Stealth’

Gospel singer-turned-pop producer channels all the greats on his new full-length

By Peter Holslin

Music Reviews
B.Slade
Stealth (Suxxess)

Anthony Charles Williams II was once a gospel star. Performing under the name Tonéx, he’s been nominated for two Grammys and won six Stellar Awards, the industry’s most prestigious honor. His stirring 2004 hit “Make Me Over” is a gospel favorite.

But the gospel industry turned its back on Tonéx when he publicly came out as gay in 2009. Lately, the eclectic singer / songwriter / producer has been staking out a niche in the world of secular pop music, incorporating Michael Jackson’s polished style and Kanye West’s bloated egotism into a new persona, B.Slade.

While Tonéx exuded a cool-headed confidence on his 2000 breakthrough debut, Pronounced Toe-Nay, B.Slade is over-the-top on Stealth, the follow-up to last year’s Diesel. In fact, he goes so far as to herald his reinvention in messianic terms: “I hear the thunder rumbling / I smell a storm coming / This ain’t a comeback / Homie, it’s the second coming,” he boasts in “Prolegomenon…,” Stealth’s bombastic second track.

With his undeniable talents, B.Slade has earned the right to be a little pompous. He shows off his supple voice on the swooning, sorrowful slow jam “Dumb Bunny” and channels both Jackson and Prince with blistering dance-floor bangers like “Not Effective” and “Ordinary.” Sassy and defiant, he reserves plenty of bile for his detractors. “Why must you fantasize about my little private life?” he sings over the title track’s hard-driving electro-funk.

Perhaps Stealth’s most telling track, however, is “Prolegomenon…” By casually tossing around a fancy euphemism for the word “preface,” B.Slade makes it clear that he has ambitious plans in store: “This ain’t my hottest joint / it’s just my prolegomenon.” But you have to wonder: What is B.Slade trying to prove? After all, even without all that unnecessary bluster, he’s clearly still quite brilliant.


Email peterh@sdcitybeat.com or follow him on Twitter at @peterholslin.




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