Having paid his dues for more than a decade, Anthony Hamilton is now ready for his close-up. The Charlotte, N.C.

Having paid his dues for more than a decade, Anthony Hamilton is now ready for his close-up. The Charlotte, N.C., native's debut set serves as the perfect platform to introduce R&B music's newest star. The lead single, the title track, is an autobiographical, neo-soul jam. Atop a dark, melodic piano riff, Hamilton (and his throaty vocals) tells of his life in the South. The artist addresses domestic violence on the folk/blues hybrid "Lucille." On tracks like "My First Love" and "Float," Hamilton mines vintage soul. The former (featuring LaToiya Williams) is the rare duet where one singer does not dominate the other. And Hamilton is not afraid to show his softer side, either. Witness "I'm a Mess" and "Charlene." The latter, Hamilton's shining moment, is a heartbreaking tale of a man who loses his woman because of his other passion, music. This passion is heard loud and clear throughout "Comin' From Where I'm From."—RH