Daniel Caesar’s most defining aspect, his lush, gospel-R&B driven sound, is no secret. It’s what made his connection two nights ago on Colbert playing guitar and singing for a performance of a new Chance the Rapper song seem completely natural. Nonetheless, it was a connection I didn’t immediately grasp back when I listened to Caesar’s debut record, Freudian, one month prior to this week’s Colbert appearance. Initially, the gospel influence didn’t connect in my mind, as searches for the Syd and H.E.R. featuring tracks were what drew me to his record in the first place, skewing my opinion of Daniel to “just another R&B singer” in the post-Blonde age.
It took viewing the singer under a new light, or in the case of the Colbert performance, some various blues and a harsh white while sitting next to Chance the Rapper, to see the entire scope of Daniel Caesar. As Caesar says on the Freudian track “Loose,” “wonder why it took you so long.” Like Chance the Rapper, Caesar isn’t following some trend in gospel-R&B infusion, but in fact he’s taking the style to new heights.
His religious musical background is a strength, just like Chance’s, and it mixes incredibly well on tracks like “Best Part” with H.E.R., “We Find Love,” and “Get You” with Kali Uchis. He isn’t the first singer to have faith and church rooted deep within his music, like Chance’s mainstream christian hip-hop done back with Kanye West’s “Jesus Walks,” but it’s in his full throttle approach that forces his music to stand out.
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