Jan. 18 2012 03:23 PM

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

bsladecover

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.

Calendar

  • Visit one of the 70 participating restaurants, bars, coffeehouses and nightclubs in town on this night and 25 to 50 percent of sales will go to local HIV/AIDS services and prevention programs. 
  • Anthony Bernal and Chris Ward, who are vying to replace Todd Gloria on the San Diego City Council, will discuss urban issues, such as parking, homelessness and new developments
  • The new exhibition designed by Dave Ghilarducci is made from hundreds of rolls of packing tape and bound together by layers of plastic shrink-wrap. Visitors can navigate their way through cocoon-like passageways...
  • The renowned Mexican black and white photographer presents an exhibition exploring the principal themes within three groups: "Bestiarium"," Fantastic Women" and "Silent Natures."
  • Presented by Pacific Arts Movement, the sixth annual mini film fest features 14 film programs from 10 countries that includes everything from docs to romantic tearjerkers. See website for full lineup and...
  • The San Diego County Bike Coalition hosts this monthly bike-in happy hour event to get biking residents involved in their communities and discuss bike projects planned for that specific community
  • Debunk some of the stereotypes surrounding cannibalism at this new exhibition that takes a hands-on approach to the subject. Includes video games and interactive activities where patrons will have to decide...
  • So Say We All's monthly storytelling night features stories about those jobs we took because we had to take a job. Featured readers include Allison Gauss, Annmarie Houghtailing, Cecile Estelle, and more
  • Artists from the all-abstracts group show will talk about their work and techniques. Artists include Edwin Nutting, Danielle Nelisse, Leah Pantea, Lenore Simon, and more
See all events on Thursday, Apr 28