Much (in fact, too much) has been made of R&B’s death over the past couple of years. The narrative has almost become a self-fulfilling prophecy, meant to reject today’s singers and uplift the traditional means of the genre. As a product of soul music’s evolution, Noah Guy is one of a number of artists who bring credence to new age R&B, modernizing the sounds of MoTown that Guy grew up enjoying and studying. His voice lends itself naturally to the cool, calm, and collected atmosphere of tracks like “Who Taken Time?!” and “5 Mo Minutes” off his new project, Who’s Taken Time ?! (Act 1).
The project does not sacrifice emotional intensity for these detours of sly charisma. Who’s Taken Time ?! (Act 1) sounds like a parade through Guy’s trials and tribulations, his revelations and realities. With an organic breeze, the project grits its teeth when it comes to production, taking calculated risks that always feel well-suited for the respective track. Guy’s vocals pack a punch regardless of the context, whether in his ego-gratifying opener “Stop Bangin’ My Line” or in the sultry, metaphorical cuts like “Small Talk Carolina” and “2 Dogs 1 Leash.”
Guy’s soulful expression is not owed entirely to his emotional impulse, but also to the artists that made an impression on him in his childhood. When it comes to inspirations, Guy chose wisely: Lauryn Hill, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, and Donny Hathaway were among the biggest influences in the young artist’s artistic curation. And if there was any question as to the emotion behind Guy’s spirited performances, all you have to do is press play on the visuals that accompany his releases. Singles “2 Dogs 1 Leash”, “5 Mo Minutes”, and “Small Talk Carolina” each received their own music video, available on Noah Guy’s YouTube. As an answer to the project’s rhetorical title, everyone should take the time to listen to Noah Guy’s newest collection.