Nowadays, most people associate Detroit with making cars, but that ignores perhaps its best, most important and definitely most uplifting export: amazing soul music. And the GM of Detroit soul over the past decade has without a doubt been Dwele. The J. Dilla protégé and frequent Kanye West collaborator recently sat down with BET.com to discuss his new album, working with Kanye and his humble hip hop beginnings.
Dwele is getting ready to drop his sixth album, Greater Than One, on August 28. The Motown crooner revealed that the title is actually shortened, which may make its love-focused meaning a little hard to discern.
“I was going to call it Greater Than One Less Than Three but everybody told me the title was too long,” Dwele explains. “It's really an album about relationships — me being with my girl and realizing pretty much that two is better than one.”
Dwele's actually been taking the title to heart for years, as he's known for collaborating with 'Ye, Common, Slum Village and the late J. Dilla. He once again has a healthy lineup of co-stars on Greater Than One, but this time around, he stuck with the home team.
“With this joint I really wanted to focus on Detroit talent more so than past albums, so I got a few artists from the D,” Dwele says. “I used a singer from Detroit, L'Renee. Black Milk — he's from Detroit, I got a verse from him. He's a dope MC.” But Dwele also looked across the Michigan state line to work with Raheem Devaughn (“You know the ladies wasn't going to let me get out this album without working with Raheem again.”) and soul royalty Lalah Hathaway (“Her voice is like velvet.”).
One bold-face name that isn’t on Greater Than One? Kanye, who recruited Dwele for his singles “Flashing Lights” and “Power.” “When he gets at me we'll make it happen again definitely,” Dwele says of working with the Chi-town rapper-producer again.
“I’m waiting for that call. He's always good to work with. It's wild to get in the studio and watch him work. He's talented and his approach to music, man, he's dedicated to it. He'll stay in the studio for 25 hours to get it done and be switching gears, hopping from song to song. It's cool to be in the studio and watch how he comes up with his magic.”
It’s been a long road for Dwele, and Greater Than One is just the latest fork. And to think it all started with Dwele the MC. “I started out as a rapper,” Dwele recalls. “If I could tell 1996 Dwele that I would be a singer in 2012, '96 Dwele would probably die from laughing.”
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(Photo: Joseph Okpako/WireImage)