Blood Orange‘s Devonte Hynes is like one of the X-Men. A shape-shifting enigma, he has more musical identities than divas have costume changes. Though he seemingly enjoys the anonimity of changing names and styles, he’s so talented and versatile that it basically works everytime. Other people have a hard enough time just building a career under one name…this guy’s had at least three lifetimes. Years back, at the age of 18, he collaborated with Tom Vek on a project (brilliantly, but problematically) named Test-Icicles, then he started releasing music under the Lightspeed Champion moniker.
Unlike that projects off-kilter dorkpop and the Napoleon Dynamite aesthetic that came with it, Hynes’ Blood Orange is riding a chilled wave of early 90s R & B, and the aesthetic is 80s NYC. Seemingly inspired by the drag ball culture (as explored in the fantastic documentary Paris is Burning) and written in the wake of a throat operation that literally changed his voice, Hynes decided to write his Blood Orange record, “Coastal Grooves” from the perspective of a woman. Having settled into his coastal groove, Hynes has not only dropped a really fantastic new album and identity, but is now in demand as a producer and songwriter working with young divas in training Solange and Cassie.
Coastal Grooves’ “Supthin Boulevard” is a sweet day or night-time jammer and is currently getting spins from Morning Becomes Eclectic to 3am.