In some ways, Obi Alfred is an evocative and edgy songwriter masquerading as an R&B singer. That’s not to suggest a lack of authenticity, as Obi is well versed in his current genre. With his debut single, “Mind,” Alfred goes places R&B tends to shy away from, preferring a singular focus. A simple title with a decidedly complex concept, “Mind” is more than meets the ear. Obi Alfred is an artist with an agenda but essentially a noble one.
Born in NJ, Obi Alfred found himself matriculating in the Bay Area after high school. Having attended college in a relatively progressive domain probably explains his artsy tendencies. It was of course a break-up that led him into music as a way to “heal,” so to speak. He ended up working with a voice instructor who has spotted clients such as Demi Lovato in the past. His voice is still developing but has a rich and smooth quality that suits this track well.
By Obi’s own description, “Mind” is most likely about the aforementioned break-up that has defined the initial era of his work. It’s going to benefit all of us when he completely nullifies that period in his life. Obi Alfred is simply too obtuse and progressive to be loitering in the mires of a failed love story. His work on “Mind” is akin to what Kanye did in the late 2000’s/early 2010s if West actually learned to sing. Obi Alfred is capable of being a rarity in a sea of sameness, but it will be up to him to embrace that.
As a song, Mind’s hypnotic quality is undercut by its slightly hot final mix. The chorus is weaved into the track in a way that I haven’t really heard before, with not a single moment of space for transitioning. His raw and innocent masculinity is downright spellbinding. In this way, the pain and anguish of his break-up have served his music well.
The timing changes on “Mind” are more akin to Tool than Usher. Ryan Bridger produced the track, and Scott Garrett Graham mixed it. Together, they have created a hybrid style of R&B singer who could change the game. This trio has proven to be a smash, and hopefully, we will hear more from them as a unit. You’d be doing yourself an injustice if you didn’t check out “Mind” as soon as Earthly possible.
By the time the song reaches its end, Obi Alfred changes gears and reveals a more hardcore Hip Hop influence. Most artists would fall flat with so many shifting and blended moods, but Obi manages to stay on his feet. He reminds a portion of his audience that he is here to represent them as well. As far as emerging artists go, Obi Alfred is going to be one to watch in the coming years. “Mind” is now available on all streaming platforms.
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