It seems like there are a million and one things Chrisette Michele is doing these days. The soul-singing sensation keeps our inboxes full with weekly vlogs, her YouTube series “Becoming Mrs. Ellison” chronicling her pending nuptials plus her independent music, beauty, fashion and apparel collective Rich Hipster. So when did she find time to write, record and drop a new mixtape? We’re not sure, but we can’t knock Chrisette’s hustle at all because this young lady is on the grind with Steady Gang Mix, a hybrid of flavors and fresh beats.
Chrisette’s obviously been pretty busy putting the finishing touches on Milestone, the full-length album that’s expected this month, but Steady Gang Mix is a surefire message that she’s stepping out of her comfort zone and into not-so-foreign territory. For starters, she opens the 12-track mixtape with a cover of Yo Gotti‘s “Down In the DM,” an ode to her hyperactive branding and accessibility on social media that finds her adopting a rap/sung cadence along the lines of Erica Campbell in “I Luh God.” This tactic doesn’t work for Ms. Michele either.
Thankfully Chrisette segues into more soul/R&B-laced bedroom tunes like “My Body” and “Private Destination,” which are more her lane. The collection also features previous releases “Steady” and “Say It” and a stunning back to back set of a cappella covers of Adele’s “Hello” and Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” where both allow the GRAMMY-winning performer a chance to showcase her vocal training and listeners to appreciate her ear for perfectly crafted staccato harmonies.
With only one feature (“Top of the World” alongside rapper Meet Sims) and a hip hop aesthetic to provide a head-nodding warm up for what’s to come, Chrisette’s conversion to “trap soul” seems to have been birthed out of the freedom from her past collaborations with hip hop heavyweights Jay Z, Nas, Wale and Rick Ross. “I’ve always had that ‘Aston Martin’ sound in me, but I’ve never gotten to do it for my own project,” Chrisette shares. “Now that I’m independent, I feel like I can do whatever I want. So that trap soul sound has always spoken to me, but this time I get to do a whole album like that.”
We do appreciate Chrisette Michele spreading her creative wings into trap soul territory, but we hope that she doesn’t forsake the soulful, tearjerking ballads or the emotionally driven stories within the songs that she’s become known for. Misgivings aside, we’re elated that Chrisette is no longer afraid to give us what makes her who she is at her core – a multitalented singer/songwriter who can literally do it all.