Mr. Hudson


Mr. Hudson’s Myspace

Straight-laced, well-spoken, sweater-wearing Englishmen might not seem like Kanye West’s type, but the infamous award speech-interrupting rapper has a thing — a musical thing, that is — for Mr. Hudson. He signed the soulful singer-songwriter to his label late last year and helped produce Mr. Hudson’s solo debut, Straight No Chaser, which is slated for a Dec. 1 U.S. release.

Mr. Hudson got his mainstream musical start as Mr. Hudson and The Library, a laid-back band whose chill, lush sound falls into a genre somewhere between R&B, reggae and British pop. In a delightfully witty move, the band launched a 12-stop U.K. library — yes, library — tour in 2007. But Mr. Hudson dropped the books and his band and signed with West a year later, embracing a synthesized new sound in the process. Since then, he’s been featured on a number of major hip-hop albums, including Jay-Z’s The Blueprint 3.

On Straight No Chaser, Mr. Hudson blends the slick digitally-enhanced punch of modern hip-hop with the smooth, sing-along sensibility of indie-rock and R&B. On “Everything Is Broken,” a swelling track that features Kid Cudi and a Lady Gaga-worthy beat, Mr. Hudson sings, “I was just a token, token, token” above unintelligible whispers.

But Mr. Hudson hasn’t completely forgone the organic sound he crafted with The Library. That sound, captured most beautifully on the band’s old radio hit, “Picture of You,” which opens with an infectious beat-beat-clap, can be heard in slivers of the sensual “Anyone But Him.”

As much as we all might hate to admit it, West knows a thing or two about music, and his protégé’s clever lyricism and versatility undoubtedly could propel him to into the American spotlight. After all, West himself told MTV that Mr. Hudson has “the potential to be bigger than me.” Coming from such notoriously egotistical lips, that’s really saying something.

By Entertainment Editor
Franchesca Winters



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