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Karl Wolf: Ghetto Love

Ghetto Love won't elevate the artist to the next level, but he has managed the rare feat of incorporating Middle Eastern rhythms to his polished sound.

Karl Wolf
Ghetto Love
(EMI)

It was the Lebanese civil war that brought Carl Abou Samah's family to Dubai, where he spent his formative years before migrating further to Canada. Pushed by music-loving parents, Abou Samah adopted the stage name Karl Wolf and entered the industry in 2001 as a producer songwriter. His work with Canadian French singer Gabrielle Destroismaisons earned him industry accolades and set him up for his own foray as a solo artist. While his three albums didn't trouble the charts, his blend of R&B and hip-hop managed the rare feat of having some sense of identity by incorporating Middle Eastern rhythms to his polished sound. Clubs from this region embraced Wolf wholeheartedly with Yalla Habibi and Carrera being popular dance fillers upon their release. Sadly, Wolf's latest offering is an unashamed bid for the American charts, with uninspiring results. At its rare best, the album can still turn heads on dance floors but Ghetto Love won't elevate him to the next level - it is a record devoid of ideas and the originality that made him stand out in the first place. The title track finds Wolf doing his best Akon impression with Canadian rapper Kardinal Offishall chipping in with an unmemorable verse. Girls Love Shoes is saved by its decent synth beats, despite the awful lyrics (shoes rhymed with groove); meanwhile, Mash It Up sounds like substandard Eurodance. One saving grace is the stuttering No Way. With its decent production and great drum-track, Wolf here sounds more soulful ... more real.

sasaeed@thenational.ae

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