Anthony Hamilton is a musical bridge builder, spanning the generation gap between old-school soul and new. "That's why I was born right in between Al Green and Kurtis Blow," says Hamilton, whose 2008 musical collaborations include Green's "Lay It Down" and Young Jeezy's "Everything" from The Recession.
Hamilton says his secret to getting along with Green was to leave his expectations at the door. Although he's a big fan and has even adopted some of Green's mannerisms, he left them behind for that session. "I got that thing where my mouth twists to the side on 'How Can You Mend a Broken Heart,'" Hamilton says. "I let it alone. I made him feel comfortable."
With trapper-turned-rapper Jeezy, Hamilton says the two share a common background. "Man, I'm from the streets, down here in Charlotte, North Carolina, where you can get your head cracked wide open. I'm sure I've done some of the same things Jeezy's done."
Hamilton says he once sold drugs but never wanted to be a big gangster. "I was just trying to eat and make a few dollars." He soon realized that dealing "drops you off without a map, and I didn't want to be dropped off that far away from where I was supposed to be going. When my family members started coming by and asking for stuff, I was like, 'I can't do this to my own family,'" he says. "I just left it alone."
His latest album, The Point of It All, is full of life lessons: "Grow up. Straighten up. Learn how to be a man. Learn how to love. Learn how to work with where you are and what you got," he summarizes.
And if his musical career goes to hell, Hamilton, who's also a trained barber, has a backup plan. "I'll get a hot dog stand," he says. "I'll rake yards. I'm gonna eat, and I'm gonna feed my family."
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