Urban Music Icon André Harrell has brought us legends like the late Heavy D, Mary J. Blige, Diddy, Robin Thicke, and R&B groups Guy & Jodeci. His newest musical venture Harrell Records, in association with Atlantic Records, has produced a self-titled EP by Atlanta R&B group Hamilton Park. We sat down to listen to the first offering by Mr. Harrell’s protégés to see how they stack up to his legacy.
Although the group may be new to the major scene, they’ve certainly been holding Atlanta’s R&B scene down for over 5 years. Coming together at the basketball courts of Hamilton Park in East ATL, Anthony, Mr. Marcus Lee, Chris Voice, and Royce P honed their harmonies and amassed a Twitter following of over 17,000 fans before a chance meeting with André Harrell landed them an impromptu audition and subsequent deal with Atlantic Records through André’s Harrell Records imprint.
The group released an EP in late fall of 2011, aimed at establishing them as the new generation of R&B. Produced largely by Louisiana producer Tedy P, the album encompasses all of the elements that make up rhythm and blues. A few of the album’s highlights include the gospel themed “Clock Stops” as well as catchy concept song “Hard In The Paint”. Both songs, produced by Tedy P, show off the vocal range of the group and their ability to tap into the conviction of what made us fall in love with R&B.
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The album does, however, come with a couple of low points. In an attempt to pay homage to one of Harrell’s earlier acts from his Uptown days, HP covers the classic New Jack Swing jam “Piece of My Love” by veteran group Guy. While the remake isn’t bad, it’s by no means spectacular especially in comparison to other remakes by the group that have surfaced online (including Joedci’s “My Heart Belongs To You” and Al Green’s “Simply Beautiful”). Also, the track “Salute,” while valiant in vocal effort, just doesn’t measure up to the rest of the project.
Overall this project is definitely worth checking out. Other tracks include the viral hit single “Computer Love,” and 106 and Park top ten single “Thing Called Us” and its remix. The guys are currently working on their full length debut to be released in2012, and if their self titled EP is any indication, then I think we may be staring into the future.