I remember seeing the video for “Coming From Where I’m From” and thought it wasn’t that good. I mean the hook was catchy but I really wasn’t listening to it hard enough at that time. I do remember the song in the mid to late 90’s from Hamilton when he was signed to Uptown/MCA that used the same Joe Sample sample as Pac used for “Dear Mama”. I mean I really rocked that song, HU (Hampton University) played the song a lot at night. So I knew dude was good but then I heard him “Coming From Where I’m From” live and was hooked and had to get that album. I did three times to be honest, the first time thanks to Winmx. Yeah I was and still will go there to get shit, we can talk about that later for now the issue at hand it A. Ham.
Now the first song sucks…Ok it doesn’t suck really it just was a straight forward way for JD (Jermaine Dupri) let you know Hamilton was signed to So So Def. I mean the beginning of the song is the only time you hear JD at all and the song itself is the only sample jack that JD is known for. The song is cool and in retrospect I could see jacking the Jigga “Mama Loves Me” beat for the song. I feel bad for those who because of that first song thought Anthony Hamilton would be like all the other R&B dudes in the game during that time. I like to say that move was just false advertising. After that you’re treated to another song that just doesn’t sit well with me at all so I won’t even speak on it, next. Now for me since I uploaded the album to my mp3 player this is song one for me… “Since I Seen’t You”. The beat is ill as hell, I remember hearing it and I had to loop it and do my thing to it. You get to hear Hamilton just kill this serenade to his woman and his love for her, which is cool because there are more heartbreak song on here than should be allowed for any dudes album.
And thus begins the heartbreak ride of the album. “Charlene” was the second single I think but I do know it was what really blew the man up and for good reason. Hamilton has such an old school voice and the music here matches well and the no thrills video really gave the song a real touch of life. I mean nothing fancy for the video and the song sounds so true and sincere. I mean we get guys and ladies trying to sound like they really believe in the songs content that they’re singing and it is totally believable with Anthony Hamilton. Like I said the sweet soulful depression ride is in full effect by now. “I’m A Mess” is so ill, it reminds you of Bobby Womack, Sly Johnson and Al Green in a heart broken zone. The background singers are truly the stars of this song, they kill it at the end taking it to church. No lie it gets real crazy at the end at one point some is clapping during the “call me, write me , love me,” part is heard. I mean I’ve gotten so caught up in the song I wanted just that part to go on for a good two more minutes. So the title tracks kicks in like I said I’m not that big of a fan of the song so I will move on. I love “Better Days” because it has an optimistic tone to it. One thing I love about this song and “I’m A Mess” is how the hooks don’t have the title of the songs in them, instead you get them in the verses. I remember when my mom heard “Lucille” and said something about country music not even off limits from being jacked. I really love this song the beat makes it just so sweet and yet there is an appeal to it that’s undeniable. The way the beat switches up three times during the song is cool. That last switch where everything gets striped down and Hamilton just confesses his love to Lucille is a great way to go out.
The first of two back to back love songs where shit is still good in his love life at this point. “Float” is just sexuality to a level that is just, fuck it sexy. He starts out with phone sex and then gets to be in the same room with the chick and during a storm against the window they do the do. All the while still having time to take it the Prince route as the songs slides into “Insatiable” for a quick bit. Then we are treated to hearing Lotoiya Williams putting her thing down on “My 1st Love”. This is just a sexy soulful song that seems to be something you would love to hear live. I love the way the beat stops like the songs about to end then things starts up again for another minute or so of singing. If I thought the first two songs of this album were out of sync with the over all project to some “Chyna Black” could be placed in the same lane. Me, I like the “Chyna Black”, it rocks like some 80’s soft rock/pop stuff but with a gang of soul. I mean when I first heard it I paid it no mind really, it wasn’t bad but it wasn’t the song I would rewind all day. One day just letting the shuffle play the song came on for some reason it just seem to be really hot out of the blue to me. One of my favorite songs is “I Tried”, yes that’s right another heartbreak song. It’s the last song too but it just sounds so good. This song really has an old vibe to it like it’s something from the 70’s from the beat to the hook and the background vocals. Again no ones sounds as in pain about the lost of love like Anthony Hamilton does on this album and near the end of this song you would think he may have fell out in the booth with the way he came off so hurt.
“Coming From Where I’m From” is an accomplishment on a lot levels, one being this album didn’t sound like anything So So Def has ever put out before. Between John Legend and Anthony Hamilton you heard men who sang songs that men would and should sing. I know other dudes with masculinity in their voices were doing their thing before this album dropped but the difference is other than “Mama Knew Love” nothing else had traces of Hip Hop. This is a soulful album, not Neo Soul just soul. I’ve said before if people are going to copy people in the game let it be this dude. I would love to hear five knock off Anthony Hamiltons as opposed to the Usher wannabes that are now selling more then he is right now. If you don’t have this album go get some real grown up music.