As a lot of music spawned of the hip-hop and rap explosion seeks ways of sounding harder, more edgy, more dangerous and more….well, gangster, than the rest, some artists have turned their back on such approaches and have taken it down different, more accessible paths. Summonte is just such an artist. Whilst a hip-hop groove beats at the heart of So What, so much more is going on too. He delivers a smooth, almost sing-song vocal over some funky beats and wraps it all in banks of sumptuous harmonies, blends in pop infectiousness and ends up in some wonderful sonic territory, both original yet commercially viable, new and fresh yet familiar and that is a clever thing to be able to do.
There is also something wonderfully vaudevillian at the centre of So What, that same musical hall heart which beat at the core of the likes of Randy Newman’s mercurial creations but also the jaunt of the 70’s blue-eyed R&B and a whole swath of classic singer-songwriters from the urban acoustica of Paul Simon to the genre-hopping Ben Folds. It isn’t so much that it is a song built against the grain of fashion, more that it is the product of an artist who doesn’t care for such things, or at least wilfully ignores the rules.