The classically trained MJ Cole is one of the ambassadors of the U.K.'s vibrant 2-step scene.
The classically trained MJ Cole is one of the ambassadors of the U.K.'s vibrant 2-step scene. A true hybrid, 2-step intertwines elements of British drum'n'bass and American R&B/hip-hop, resulting in the syncopated beats and soulful vocals that have taken the U.K. by storm. Released last year in Europe, Sincere was nominated for a Mercury Music Prize (best album) and a Brit Award (best new artist)—and for good reason. In lieu of monotonous dancefloor beats, Cole prefers a more intricate soundscape, one in which pizzicato string flourishes freely caress funk-fortified rhythms. The set's first single, the Elisabeth Troy-fronted "Crazy Love," is already a club hit, with such numbers as the sassy title track (featuring Nova Caspar and Jay Dee) and the Jamaican-flavored "Bandelero Desperado" (featuring MC Danny Vicious) waiting in the wings. One of many high points, the gorgeous "I See" is, without doubt, as sincere as it gets in the world of pop.—MP