Homeschool/ Atlantic

To be honest, when I first heard Fanta “Estelle” Swaray on John Legend’s “Hey Girl” I thought she was Natalie Stewart from Floetry. Boy, was I wrong.

By signing the U.K. singer/MC to his Homeschool label, John Legend has proved he’s good for more than vamping Stevie Wonder and making great songs about infidelity. On Shine Estelle consistently takes listeners to a happy place like those dizzy people in energy drink commercials that kick off their shoes and dive into refreshing, vitamin-rich liquids. is the grand marshall of her merriment on “Wait A Minute” and the flirtatious “American Boy.” Estelle is the ultimate wingman on “Come Over” and “Back In Love” where she’ll help you disarm that incense-burning booty call from the poetry reading with ease. With liberal sprinkling of familiar breaks like Grover Washington’s “Hydra” and Screaming Jay Hawkins’ “I Put a Spell on You” the more hardcore hip-hop heads will have enough motivation to put down their backpacks long enough to actually dance.

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