Anthony Hamilton will presumably never get the recognition he deserves, and that’s perfectly alright. It comes a point in time when understanding nationwide acclaim isn’t always needed for an artist to leave a permanent impact on the culture. Many, especially our parents generation, associate today’s music with misogynistic lyrics, lack of introspective content and the love of money acting as the main influence behind the creation of music. In a sense, they’re right. However, A.H. and his now legendary opus, Comin’ From Where I’m From, deaded those qualms. At least, for 12 songs, it did.
When most people ask the question of what the premiere R&B album of the 2000’s was, Usher’s Confessions likely holds the title. And truthfully, it probably is. Selling over twenty million records is nothing to discredit. However, Anthony’s album was able to present something not many other releases have ever managed to do. Very rarely have we seen an artist incorporate so much passion and pain and turn it into such beautiful and timeless music. Regardless if you knew his plight before pressing play, by the end of the album, you learned it, felt it and sympathized with it. As with any great artist, his voice stands out as one of his more endearing qualities. Anthony Hamilton harbors the most soulful voice of this generation. However, with the soul comes the struggle which would go on to serve as this project’s ideal tag team.
Personally, I’ve always used this album as a mental cleanser. On days where work, school and/or life seem to provide the stresses we know they can, Comin’ From Where I’m From is a melodious anecdote. Hearing music which represents a similar struggle is sometimes the best therapy known to the civilized world. Mr. Hamilton did just that with these 12 tracks and labeling this an “underrated gem” only cracks the surface of a respectable description. Fact is that Anthony’s audio diary is one of the decade’s most powerful releases.
I didn’t know much about Hamilton going into my first listen some six years ago, and quite frankly, I still don’t know much about the guy outside of his music. It works better that way though. CFWIF showcased a man who was learning to balance love, heartbreak and life. Three things humans often fail to juggle on a daily basis.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi once said, “For better or worse, our future will be determined in large part by our dreams and by the struggle to make them real.”
I’d say that applies here.