With eight projects on your discography, there’s only a few ways an artist can go and, typically, it’s always downhill. Over time, the music evolves into something either with repetitive lyrics or it tries to fit into what’s currently dominating the airwaves—luckily, Grammy nominated vocalist Eric Roberson doesn’t fit into that category.
Roberson’s latest installment, Mister Nice Guy, plays with the cultural cliché, “nice guys finish last,” however, this project is a testament to the fact that they don’t. Roberson has created a lane and a niche for himself that has always been “nice” however; this project is a beautiful progression for him, and honestly, one of the most creative and diverse projects in his discography.
The album has a lot of highlights and the first is shown with the title track, “Mister Nice Guy,” which opens the album. This track is essentially the nice guy’s plight—being the last one to cross a ladies mind. However, However, Roberson switches it up a little and adds humorous lyrics, “I really want you to be wifey, I can be Bill Cosby, you Phylicia Rashad. But she prefer Ike and Tina, I mean the last dude I seen you with, I mean come on he’s a dog.” This track also introduces a pattern of hip-hop infused tracks that are on the album: “Summertime Anthem,” featuring the legendary Chubb Rock, “Talking Reckless,” and “Male Ego,” featuring Hezekiah.
Leaving the hip-hop elements behind, we get introduced to tracks like “Strangers,” “Perfect Picture,” featuring Phonte, “Shake Her Hand,” and “Try Love,” which are all mellow but beautiful songs. All of these tracks detail the different stages of love, the beauty of love, and all give great vocal performances by Mr. Roberson.
“Love’s Withdrawl,” is a beautiful track, however, pay special attention to the ending by poet Omari Har. The poem that Har lays out, plus the tone of his voice, only adds to the impressiveness of this track. The song is followed by “How Would I Feel,” which features Jean Baylor of the 90’s dup Zhane. This song speaks to the insecurities that sometimes come up in relationships, and Roberson sings of snooping in his ladies belongings. The way he goes between his conscious and what he has done in this track work really well, not to mention the role Baylor plays in the track from the perspective of someone who has had their trust broken.
The last definite highlight on the album would be the beautiful ballad, “At The Same Time,” which plays with the idea if these two individuals were able to fall in love at the same time. The song is about reminiscing about the past and why a relationship didn’t work, and essentially addresses why people fell in love with Roberson in the first place—the way he evokes vulnerability.
Aside from the two skippable tracks, “Come With Me,” featuring The Ones Yaw A (production is odd) and “The Magician,” this is a great project and this time around, the nice guy finished first.
– Erin Duncan