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Under the name Boulevards, Jamil Rashad has put his twist on funk spanning the '60s through the '80s, drawing from the likes of James Brown, Funkadelic, Al Green, and Rick James. Working backward somewhat, the Raleigh native leaned heaviest on polished post-disco R&B for Groove! (2016) and Hurtown, USA (2017), his first two albums, and has dug into deep soul with the grittier Yadig! (2019) and even more expansive -- and Southern-rooted -- Electric Cowboy: Born in Carolina Mud (2022). Rashad's lyrics are similarly wide-scoped, covering uncomplicated good times, addiction and recovery, and racism, among other subjects. The son of a Philly-born jazz radio DJ, Rashad developed an appreciation for many genres by listening to his parents' eclectic record collection. By his teens Rashad was writing his own rap lyrics, as well as attending punk, metal, and hardcore shows. After high school, he attended art school and played in several bands before gravitating back to his love of funk, disco, and '80s house music. Partnered with the Captured Tracks label and producers including Isaac Gálvez and Taste Nasa, Rashad delivered a self-titled EP in 2015. In 2016 he returned with Boulevards' full-length debut, Groove!, featuring the singles "Cold Call" and "Up on Your Love." The self-issued Hurtown, USA arrived the next year with Rashad refining his take on sophisticated, pop-flavored synth funk. Two years later, he returned with Yadig!, a dustier if urgent set made with songwriter/producer Russell Manning. He then linked with new collaborators Blake Rhein (of Durand Jones & the Indications) and Colin Croom (of Twin Peaks) for Electric Cowboy: Born in Carolina Mud, issued on Normaltown Records in 2022.
© Andy Kellman & Matt Collar /TiVo


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