Anthony Hamilton

If Anthony Hamilton's R&B seems grittier than the airbrushed variety common to today's charts, it might have something to do with his biography. It took Hamilton a decade of hook-singing — for Eve and the late Tupac, among others — and failed solo deals before connecting with 2003's platinum­-selling, Grammy-­nominated Comin' From Where I'm From. Even fame had its price: The Charlotte native temporarily lost his powerful croon while recording the similarly old-school, similarly well-received followup Ain't Nobody Worryin'. While 2007's Southern Comfort raided the vault for some pre-fame Hamilton recordings, his fourth proper release, The Point of It All, is due by year's end.

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Dan Leroy