Motown signee Kevin Ross delivered his debut album "The Awakening" earlier this year. Aside from a few features. Ross and his voice carry the 15-track album. Do you want to be great is the question listeners are posed with in the opening of “Be Great.” The song finds Ross asking himself the same question and assuring himself that he will be great. He does so over a piano and clap-driven instrumental. Rapper Chaz French joins Ross on this one with some thought-provoking bars. Ross let’s listeners know that he might not be at his greatest without his lady by his side on “Don’t Forget About Me.” He sings over a drum heavy beat about a girl who has dealt with nights alone, distance, and more thanks to his tireless work ethic. “O.I.L.” which stands for one I love and focuses on exactly that-the lady that has his heart. At one point he sings “If I had the chance to conquer time I would cherish every moment that you smile.” “Long Song Away” sticks with this premise a bit with Ross living in the moment and doing so passionately. The album’s fifth track is a nod to Ross’ beginnings with track “Dreams” getting the remix treatment thanks to Chaz French. An acoustic version of the original track was my introduction to Ross’ so its remix is definitely favorite track on The Awakening. Aside from my bias French’s verse on the cut contributed to “Dream” being a standout for me as well. He raps like he’s committed, like he’s genuinely spitting his truth, like he’s human. “It's hard to sleep when the girl of your dreams is a nightmare,even harder wakin' up when I realize you're not there, furthermore, understandin' that there ain't no love without fear, now I see what they say about life and how that's just not fear,” raps Chaz French at the start of his verse.
“Genesis Pt.1” is an interlude that possesses the same sincerity as Ross sings about how and why him and his lady came together. Similarly, “Don’t Go” finds Ross not wanting to separate from his girl or from the bed for that matter. His vocals on this one make it feel like he’s floating on cloud 9. Ross links up with Lecrae to change the subject from his lady to living with “Look Up.” At one point Ross sings “Does my color speak louder than me?” “Look Up” is a track that takes note of the things that is going on around us while reminding us to have faith. “But we were built to survive, inside this set up,and even though you fed up, uh, keep your head up” is the end of Lecrae’s verse. Things go from having faith in humanity to having faith in yourself with “Pick You Up.” I interpreted this track from two different lens. Throughout the song Ross sings “I’ll pick you up” in times of defeat in worry. He may be singing these words of encouragement to his girl or the words that Ross are singing could be God speaking to him. My second favorite track on the album follows “Pick You Up,” and also happens to be a Remix. Ross and fellow Motown signee BJ The Chicago Kid join forces for “Be Great (Remix),” and it’s a memorable collaboration to say the least. Both of their vocals are strong and the lyrics are motivating.
“Easier” slows things down and brings Ross back to the subject of his lady. Everything with her is easy and he wants to make it easier for her to be with him. The song is essentially about communication.”Her Hymn” seems to be a song dedicated to his lady but it may not be. “Genesis Pt. 2” follows and beautifully extends the interlude. “In The Name Of Your Love” echoes the sentiment of “Don’t Go,” he simply can’t enough of her. “New Man” is personal, vulnerable, and so much. It’s a great way for Ross to conclude the album. He’s grown as a man and he uses prime vocals to show us how.
Listen to The Awakening below.