By Grant Golden
October 29, 2020
Durham’s Young Bull quickly ascended through the ranks of the North Carolina music scene, heavily accredited to the fact that they’ve got three remarkably talented songwriters. Vocalist Tahmique Cameron, pianist/producer Gabe Fox-Peck, and rapper Christian Sinclair each lend their own perspective and diverse musical backgrounds to the sound. This year has seen Mique (Cameron) and Fox-Peck step out for their own solo projects.
Mique, a Durham native that’s cut his teeth in both church choirs and hip-hop since a young age, blends these two worlds together to craft a sound that makes How You Want It a brief, but immediately captivating listen.
How You Want It feels like both familiar territory and uncharted ground for Mique. The first track opens with a chopped-up keys line partnered with a raspy, soulful vocal run from Mique, and it’s clear that this is going to be a dynamic exploration of contemporary influences blended with his own Southern gospel roots. Landing somewhere between Ty Dolla $ign and Anderson .Paak, Mique’s music stands at a novel intersection of soul and R&B.
Take tracks like “Energy,” for example, the bass tone is warm and rounded within the mix, talk box samples build both a hook and sonic texture, while programmed hi-hats and filtered keys fill out the rest of the track’s rich palette. Songs like this are what make Mique’s solo work so enjoyable; with robust instrumentation interweaving with vocal takes and overdubs, How You Want It gives us a fully fleshed out scope of Mique’s musical mind. And, while tracks like “On Fire” showcase the sense of swagger and impressive vocal prowess that Mique displays on Young Bull tracks, when filtered through a new sonic lens, it feels fresh and compelling.
On the subject of swagger, there’s frankly no shortage of it on How You Want It. Most of the EP is an ode to chasing love and lust with the aid of a little bit of liquid confidence. Closing track “On” is a Patron–fueled, danceable pop joint that plays out with a smooth, defined bass line, delayed synth lines and a sensual subject matter. We also see Mique pairing with Charlotte-based emcee and singer Erick Lottary for the sole feature on the album, trading verses and sharing the hook of “My Type.” Exploring a no strings attached fling that “[doesn’t] wanna be cuffed up,” Mique and Lottary embrace the ideals of a woman who’s owning her sexuality and not looking to settle down.
How You Want It is a short enough musical excursion that repetition doesn’t get a chance to get old– each track has heavy-hitting hooks and enough sonic diversity to keep the vibe rolling and the listener engaged in this boozy brand of lovestruck R&B. While some may say that parts of the sum are greater as a whole, seeing Mique flex his musical muscles is a fulfilling glimpse into the mind of one of the state’s most promising R&B songwriters. And though the future holds no certainty of any further solo explorations from the members of Young Bull, How You Want It stands out as a defining solo debut from Mique.
Listen to the EP How You Want It by Mique and watch the music video for “Spark.”