A Beautifully Ugly Message to God

Tuesday's Song

  • Song: "Dear God"
  • Artist: Dudley Perkins
  • CD: Expressions (2012 A.U.)
  • Genre: Hip-Hop/R&B

The title of Thelonious Monk's "Ugly Beauty" provides the best means of describing Dudley Perkins's artistry: Navigating between a shrill falsetto and a croaking tenor, Perkins often lands on notes that more surefooted crooners avoid. His sense of melody seems hazy at best, and his rhythmic gait can get shaky.

Dudley Perkins unleashes a cannabis-induced confessional.

Dudley Perkins unleashes a cannabis-induced confessional. Joao Canziani hide caption

itoggle caption Joao Canziani

Nevertheless, Perkins possesses one of the most emotionally potent voices in R&B. When he unravels a narrative about spiritual wars or urban blight, his voice can be frighteningly bewitching. Case in point: "Dear God," from Expressions (2012 A.U.), on which he says a prayer to get through his darkest days. Seemingly clinging to his last thread of hope, Perkins prays for his family, then confesses to God about his addiction to marijuana.

Madlib"s hallucinogenic soundscapes convey Perkins' cannabis-induced enlightenment nicely, particularly when he sings, "I want to get high / So when the rain comes down I won"t feel a thing / Tell me how to get by, because I try and try to get things right." At that moment, "Dear God" ranks alongside Marvin Gaye and Sly Stone's sweet exorcisms, on which they tussled with their own demons, in the process separating the beauty from the bile.

Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'

Purchase Featured Music

Expressions

Purchase Music

Purchase Featured Music

Album
Expressions
Artist
Dudley Perkins
Released
2006

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

 

Expressions

Purchase Music

Purchase Featured Music

Album
Expressions
Artist
Dudley Perkins
Label
Stones Throw
Released
2006

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

 

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.