Boulevards is the solo recording project of the North Carolina-based Jamil Rashad. Now if you’ve been following JOVM over the past couple of months, you may be familiar with Rashad — but for those new followers, we’ll get into a little bit of backstory: As the song of a renowned, jazz radio DJ, Rashad grew up in a very musical household in which, a passionate interest in music was fostered and encouraged. And as a result, Rashad grew up listening got jazz, blues, R&B and funk. However, when he reached his teens, Rashad became a self-confessed “scenester” and got into punk, hardcore and metal, which, he has publicly admitted has managed to influence his production work.
After attending art school and playing in a couple of local bands, Rashad wound up returning to the sounds that first captured his heart and imagination — funk. He began writing and recording what he has described as “party funk jams for the heart and soul to make you move” under the moniker of Boulevards. And as expected, the project draws heavily from the classic (and beloved) funk sounds of Earth, Wind and Fire, Prince, Rick James, Chic, as well as The Talking Heads and Grace Jones. Based on that description, Rasahd adds his name to a list of a growing contemporary neo-disco/funk movement that includes Dam-Funk, Escort, Mark Ronson (in particular, “Uptown Funk“), Rene Lopez and others.
“Honesty,” the third and latest single off Boulevards’ self-titled debut is comprised of wobbling and undulating synths, big boom-bap drums paired with Rashad’s sensual, come hither vocals singing frank and sexually charged lyrics in a song that sound as though it meshes the approach of contemporary R&B/pop acts like Frank Ocean, Steven A. Clark and others, and slick 80s-inspired synth pop of Dam-Funk — all while further cementing Rashad’s burgeoning reputation for crating funky, club-banging pop.