This collection of contemporary soul music is a worthy attempt to bring together some the US’s most radical rappers and singers.
Artists including Anthony Hamilton, Jill Scott and Erykah Badu offer heartfelt and sometimes heartbreaking tales of the poverty and racism that continues to hold black America in a vice-like grip.
But as well as showcasing the best, with excellent and extensive sleeve notes, this album also points to a problem.
While the soul music of the late 1960s and early 1970s took the message of civil rights to a wider audience, socially conscious artists today find themselves in a small minority – trapped in a genre locked into an endless love ballad.
Message Soul: politics and soul in Black America 1998–2008