Cody ChessnuTT is back, and he’s doin’ work. The neo-soul master’s last LP was back in 2002, the marvel “The Headphone Masterpiece” — a sprawling, deep and spiritually honest lo-fi double album he recorded in 1997 while trying to wrap his head around life, love, and youth — living in his mother’s house in Atlanta. In 2002, the Roots remade a ChesnuTT stunner, “The Seed”, and called it “The Seed (2.0)”, with the singer on vocals. Chesnutt released an EP of six tracks back in 2010 called “Black Skin No Value”. ChesnuTT is not only back, but he’s blowing the roof off this sucka with his first single, “Under the Spell of the Handout”, from his upcoming full-length album “Landing On A Hundred”. It’s a gorgeous reflection of the state of America, freedom, working-class angst, greed, and democracy under the guise of a bluesy throw-down. “Under the Spell of the Handout” has some exquisite changes of pace, moving in and out of blues, shades of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, old Lenny Kravitz, and foot-stompin’ church spirituals — opening with the verse: “Walking on a path to perdition …” At just over four minutes it still feels like an epic statement, setting the foundation of what could be another classic record from ChesnuTT. You can download the track for free at ChesnuTT’s soundcloud page. — David D. Robbins Jr.
Cody ChesnuTT “Under the Spell of the Handout”