Released two years ago, Cody ChesnuTT‘s Landing on a Hundred was one of my favorite albums as it was the first co-number 1 on this site’s Best of 2012 List, and among a list of my favorite soul/R&B albums released within the last five years or so as it deals with topics in a way that hasn’t been heard in contemporary music in some time — the album’s material explores themes of redemption, faith, love and manhood with a sensitivity and empathy that makes most of the contemporary pop music you’ve heard seem shallow and childish.
Landing on a Hundred: B Sides and Remixes manages to do exactly what ChesnuTT’s exceptional 2012 release does – survey everyday Black life without cliche or stereotypes, and in a fashion that feels approachable and universal; but it also says that life has to be dealt with head on. Featuring the remixes and interpretations of Questlove, Gary Clark, Jr,, Danny Swain, Jay West, Manuel Sahagun and others.
The first single off Landing on a Hundred: B Sides and Remixes has Cody ChesnuTT teaming up with Gary Clark, Jr. on the breezy and bluesy “Gunpowder on the Letter.” Thematically and even sonically it seems to be a counterpoint to “Til I Met Thee,” and “Everybody’s Brother,” as it deals with the struggles of getting by with your dignity and sense of self intact. However, I can also see why the song didn’t make the album – sonically, it seems to owe a debt to the 30s and 40s than the conscious Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder era of soul.