Induce is truly one of our more effective turn of the century transitional musicians. Right when he's about to get pegged as a DJ, he produces, sings, raps, and writes about all things music. Just when you feel he's pure hip-hop, he delves deep into über-obscure Italian disco. He's been linked with the Midnight Moroders and Casual Sax and the Saxual Revolution as well as some of hip-hop's choicest honies. He's been the vinyl guy at Sweat Records and editor for the defunct Tablist Magazine. He's provided entire evenings worth of music at art events throughout Wynwood and the Design District. His record crates were usual sights in downtown before the rest of Miami realized the area's potential.
It'd be easy to lose the importance of Ryan "Induce" Smith within South Florida's musical community due to the morass of completely worthless SoBe counterparts who grab bigger headlines. But headlines have never been Induce's thing. Nah, this man is at his most effective when left alone to tinker and explore. And more importantly, to reinvent himself.
And reinvent himself with his new album The Wonderful Sound of Induce, he does. If you're expecting hip-hop, unusual instrumental landscapes or disco, you'll get some of it, for sure. But this eleven track album is closer to a blend of a solid education in classic Motown, Prince at the top of his game, and the best Miami ghetto-bass party you ever attended anytime between 1987 and 1991.
In two full runs through the disc, I have not stopped shaking my head nor tapping my feet. There are plenty of tinny drums coasting over low-end drops that keep it nasty and danceable but also plenty of good singing on this that begs a closer listen. While there is a sympatric conduction towards typical subject matters like women, relationships, and good times, the true evolution of the disc lies within the overall positivity of the compositions.
All of which are carefully crafted, fully fleshed and executed flawlessly. I thought this dill-weed was pulling our legs by claiming they were all "single" worthy, but I'll admit it, these all are. It's hard to play favorites when each song works on a different level. Opener "Love Letter 2 U" (produced by Mr. Familiar) is straight-up '70s booty funk/soul, but it bears sisterhood with "One Day, Some Say" which is more jazzy '90s backpack hip-hop.
That's the beauty of Induce. That's how his first full-length grabbed me and still remains one of my favorite local albums of the aughts. Where there was a thematic purveyance of spirituality and renewal in Cycle, Halfway Between Me and You has traveled for seven years accepting its spirit and presenting itself, reinventing continually.
On this ride, Induce has aptly recruited the talents of Seven Star on "Cover Girl" and Jack Splash on the aforementioned, and "Livin' in the Future," which ironically, had it been part of Power 96's late '80s steady rotation, we'd all know it by now in a "that's my jam" kind of way, squinty-eyed and all. Fantab gets righteously down on "Get Down Saturday Night" and by the time the disc closes with "My Sweet, Goodbye," you'll be reaching for the repeat function if you hadn't already.
This is an album we can confidently recommend for parties (of all ages) and for sweaty, sticky sex (for consenting adults). The only drawback is that you'll have to wait until the 25th of this month to purchase it. In the meantime you can stream it here.
Taking on a more vocal job alongside his longtime collaborator Manuvers who serves as second producer, Induce has raised the bar yet higher again for himself. And knowing him, he might just pull a seriously music geek stunt on us and still come out on top. I'm sensing it'll be either a mixtape of Laotian garage bands mashed with throat singing or a 12" EP of spoken word drunken ramblings accompanied by a string quartet. Whatever the hell it is, I'll be looking forward to it.