Max Bell accepts free bourbon if you’re offering.
Producer-rapper duos are perennial. Jump from Eric B. & Rakim to Mustard and YG (more music is coming) and connect the many dots between. Producer-singer pairs, however, are far rarer (greats include but are not limited to Quincy Jones and Michael Jackson, Aaliyah and Timbaland, Winehouse and Ronson). Singer/songwriter Otis Junior and producer Dr. Dundiff rank among today’s most promising in the latter camp.
Hailing from Louisville, Kentucky, Junior and Dundiff released their first collaborative project, 1Moment2Another, via Germany’s Jakarta Records in April. (According to Dundiff, the label sold out of the album’s limited vinyl run (111 copies) within 12 hours.) In addition to being their first joint venture, the record is also Junior’s first official release (Dundiff has released several solo projects).
An auspicious debut, Junior’s vocals are as assured as they are smooth. His languid delivery imbues each song with an ineffable closeness. Songs like “The 1,” which has over 50 thousand plays on Soundcloud, possess a relatable simplicity, both in their narrative and the sentiments therein. The saccharine and platitudinous are evaded one candid line at a time. Throughout, Junior is backed by Dundiff’s mellow suites. The beats are often grounded in boom-bap, but the instrumentation touches funk, (neo) soul, and blues. This is the kind of music best played in the late afternoon or at the after-hours, music equally suited for lounging and the lounge.
Their latest offering is the video for “Reaching.” The song appears on Jakarta’s May compilation, Spring in Jakarta. Here, the sultry is undercut by poetic melancholy. Bolstered by bluesy, almost percussive guitar riffs, Junior articulates the lucid dreams of the lovelorn. Another welcome addition to their growing catalog, “Reaching” reaffirms the ‘two-heads’ adage as well as any duo, singing, rapping, or otherwise.