What to Do Tonight: Anthony Hamilton

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Even his hat is old-school
  • Even his hat is old-school

Authenticity has never been a problem for Anthony Hamilton, who was cast as a soul singer in the 2007 movie American Gangster (the true story about a guy who ran Harlem during the golden era of soul music in the ’70s). Despite having one of the most convincing voices in the business — at his best, Hamilton recalls Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, and Bobby Womack — the 39-year-old barber-turned-backup-singer-turned-R&B-virtuoso has remained below the radar for most of his nearly 15-year career. First gaining national attention in 2003 with his platinum-selling second album, Comin’ From Where I’m From, the North Carolina singer is also an in-demand crooner among hip-hop artists. Known for his spiritual bent — he first discovered his chops when he was a 10-year-old singing in a church choir — Hamilton’s relative anonymity could be attributed to his lack of sex appeal, R&B’s bread and butter since the start. In place of the cinematic, candlelit coitus celebrated by many of his better-known contemporaries, Hamilton regularly taps into real-life pain and pleasure. In “Cool,” his 2008 collaboration with rapper David Banner, he sings, “If we ain’t got enough for a movie, we can just sit at home.” Later, he suggests that he and his lady just watch cartoons. It doesn’t get more real than that. Anthony Hamilton, with Kem, Jaheim, and Raheem Devaughn, plays Time Warner Cable Amphitheater at 7 p.m. Tickets: $39.75-$79.75. —Jeremy Henderson

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