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Fans of Hip-Hop Sleepers Get Sleepy


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As a member of Organized Noise, Sleepy Brown has helped define Atlanta's signature sound. hide caption

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Wednesday's Pick

  • Song: "Margarita"
  • Artist: Sleepy Brown
  • CD: Mr. Brown
  • Genre: Hip-Hop

His name may not grab headlines, but Sleepy Brown has written songs and produced CDs for some of America's biggest R&B names — including Brandy, OutKast and TLC — and his voice can be heard on hits like OutKast's "I Like the Way You Move." Working as part of the production team Organized Noise, Brown has helped lay the foundation for the silky hip-hop that has become Atlanta's signature sound.

It's puzzling that this much-admired vocalist, producer and songwriter (the son of Jimmy Brown, singer for the funk band Brick) managed to release a solo album as soulful as Mr. Brown without more people taking notice. While the disc's melodies occasionally sound salvaged from the era of the 8-track, they're lovingly textured and embellished with thoughtful samples that make the songs sound both fresh and familiar.

An excellent example is "Margarita," a hooky fusion of hip-hop, jazz and mid-'70s midnight-hour soul. At first, Brown's liquid falsetto may take listeners back to the roller rink, but over time, "Margarita" sounds less retro than cutting edge — another step in the ongoing maturation of hip-hop.

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

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