Shadow & Diamonds

Shadow & Diamonds

by Elijah Blake


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Shadow & Diamonds

When the O'Jays-sampling, Common-featuring "X.O.X." was released by Def Jam in 2013, Elijah Blake was a rather new name in R&B. The young man behind that alias, born Sean Fenton and also known as Redd Stylez, had been around for several years, however, as a songwriter and artist. At that moment, his greatest accomplishment was the co-composition of "Climax," a number one R&B hit that earned Usher a Grammy for Best R&B Performance. Blake also had a hand in Marsha Ambrosius' "Cold War," an excellent non-album track that should have been as popular as later Tamar Braxton hit "Love and War." Over two years in the making, Shadows & Diamonds also follows an appearance on Common's Nobody's Smiling, an introductory 2014 EP titled Drift, and additional material written for Trey Songz, Keyshia Cole, and Rihanna, among others. Blake is called upon to pen hits, and is signed to Def Jam, so his solo work here is naturally heavy on the type of blunt, brow-raising, dramatic content heard on high-wattage radio stations. Superficial relationships and intoxication fuel much of it. His girlfriend walks in on him cheating with his ex, then snags her ("The Otherside"). Perhaps said ex had bailed after she was asked to keep her mouth shut and spread her legs ("I Just Wanna..."). Later on, a faltering relationship -- or the condition in which it exists -- is likened to the final battle between good and evil ("Armageddon"). For all its traits that are standard for mid-2010s pop-R&B, Shadows & Diamonds is one of the more promising debuts in its field. Blake can tell a story and isn't above humbling himself, and he's equipped with a voice that can express anguish and delight with small changes in inflection. Another quality that makes this album distinct is an uncommon combination of slightly gritty sonics and reverb heard within many of the tracks. There's more to appreciate here than what's on the surface. [Shadows & Diamonds was also released in a clean version that removed the album's explicit content.]

Product Details

Release Date: 07/17/2015
Label: Def Jam
UPC: 0602547281586
catalogNumber: 002308302
Rank: 239512

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Elijah Blake   Primary Artist
Lyrica Anderson   Vocals
Steve Wyreman   Bass,Guitar
Dave Lichens   Guitar
B. Slade   Background Vocals
Nathalie Prospere   Vocals
Amber Sauer   Vocals

Technical Credits

Ian Allen   Music Business Affairs
James Poyser   Composer,Producer
Jim Caruana   Engineer
Happy Perez   Producer
Kenny Meiselas   Legal Advisor
Tai Linzie   Artwork
Lyrica Anderson   Composer
Jordan Feldstein   Management
Shawn "Tubby" Holiday   Management
Gabriela Schwartz   Marketing
Antoinette Trotman   Music Business Affairs
Randy Cohen   Management
J. Michel   Composer
S. Perez   Composer
B. Walsh   Composer
Zack Atkinson   Art Direction
Dion Wilson   Executive Producer
Grace Kim   Legal Advisor
Nicole Wyskoarko   Music Business Affairs
Vol Davis   Music Business Affairs
Andy Proctor   Package Production
Theodore Harris   Legal Advisor
Julius Garcia   Management
B. Slade   Composer,Producer
Djemba Djemba   Producer
Illangelo   Producer
Nick Zabawsky   Legal Advisor

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