Dwele, "W.ants W.orld W.omen (W.W.W.)"

4.5

Dwele-Kanye West's vocal wingman ("Power," "Flashing Lights") and McDonald's McCafe pitchman-thematically expands his horizons on "W.ants W.orld W.omen (W.W.W.)" Dividing his fourth album into three distinct sections, the Grammy Award-nominated singer/ songwriter explores his desires, shares socio-political views and croons to the ladies against an artful, mood-evoking backdrop of R&B and hip-hop. He also ups the guest ante on this ambitious outing, drawing inspiration from rapper David Banner, DJ Quik, R&B singer Raheem DeVaughn and fellow Detroit act Slum Village. The result finds Dwele channeling the storytelling yet soulful grooves of griots Marvin Gaye, Donny Hathaway and Roy Ayers on such tracks as "I Wish," "My People," "Detroit Sunrise" and "What's Not to Love." Tying together this contemporary nod to the past is Dwele's mesmerizing tenor that can shift from commanding to soothing in nothing flat. One quibble: At 17 tracks (including intros and interludes), the album stretches a bit long. But too much of a good thing isn't all bad.