Candice Monique is more than just the usual, run-of-the-mill soul singer. The Australian born-and-based singer brings a strong hip-hop sensibility to the game, while her vocal styling bares the traces of Erykah Badu and Lauryn Hill. Couple that with her lyrical content, which often challenges the status quo and scratches deeper than the superficial surface level, and you have a strong female artist of the truest form, who looks poised to take up the mantle of being the first lady of Australian hip hop and soul.
Monique's style combines spoken word and rap with sultry singing, and on her recently released mixtape FREE ME she combines these skills with production that unites soul and hip hop in a way that reminds the discerning music lover of why these two genres are so intertwined and perfectly compliment each other. Opening the mixtape with "She Got Rhymes" and "Free Me Intro," Monique makes sure we are clear on where she came from, with the two tracks serving as a powerful prologue to the project. Soon after this Monique slides into something more sensual and smoother with the organic soul stylings of "Something Real" and "Fallin' Apart" where it becomes apparent that she's a real woman with real woman issues.
Monique has been the go-to hook singer in Australian hip hop for a while now after being discovered by Public Enemy's Professor Griff, but front and center is where she belongs. Monique has character and a depth that yearns to be explored and stories that are itching to be told. One listen to FREE ME makes that much evident. On standout tracks like the mellow, neo-soul number "How To F#%k," she shows a softer, vulnerable side while keeping it undeniably real as she sings "I succumb to someone who's got me by the balls...I want to think like a man, but in truth I don't know if I can," as she explores the complexities of being a women and the conundrum of whether to give up the ass for the sake of it or to wait for love to give yourself intimately. Speaking of ass, on "Me and My Booty" Monique raps about the pros and cons of being a female with a rounder, more ample derriere and travels another tangent in Monique's consciousness and life experience while continuing to deliver her brand of aural satisfaction.
Candice Monique's poetic and intelligent delivery of nu soul/hip-hop music is most certainly for the thinking music lover out there, for the person who is about more than just a wham-bam-thank-you-maam forgettable moment in music, but who is after something deeper, richer and more tangible than a catchy hook and a pretty face, even though she has plenty of the first and is definitely a bearer of the latter. Have a listen to the FREE ME mixtape, which is available for download at the bargain price of whatever you think it's worth via Bandcamp and get yourself comfortably acquainted with this unique talent.