In early 2012, when he was still just a promising major-label R&B prospect with one album to his credit, Miguel released his Art Dealer Chic EP series. Those three EPs established Miguel as a powerful, strange, masterful songwriting force and set him apart from his peers. Not long afterward, he released his woozy, psychedelic, sexed-out breakout Kaleidoscope Dream, which turned him into a major star. And now he’s gone back to that EP well. Last night, with no advance warning, Miguel dropped three brand-new songs on Soundcloud, and they’re all pretty incredible. The EP doesn’t have a title, at least not one that Miguel’s announced yet, though the words Art Dealer Chic are written in the background of that very suggestive cover art. But its three songs still hang together as a cohesive work. Opening track “NWA” features the veteran L.A. rapper Kurupt, and it’s a slick, funky slow-burner with some spaghetti-western guitar. “HollywoodDreams” is a mellow, instinctive soul-rocker with a serious hook to it. Miguel teased the closing track “Coffee” on Instagram a couple of months ago, and it’s a conversational, easy, devastating slow jam. Taken together, all three songs make Miguel sound like a 2014 version of prime-era Prince. This is a small piece of work, just under 10 minutes of new music, but it’s a deeply impressive one, and I really hope it’s indicative of whatever Miguel’s got in the works for the next album. Listen to all three below.
So are we just going to have to call this thing nwa.hollywooddreams.coffee? Because that’s how it’s labeled on Soundcloud, and that’s not much of a title. (Really, that’s my only quibble with this whole thing.)