Mali Music is a former gospel singer who, in explaining his transition to secular music, mentioned that Gospel music has an 'unspoken ceiling' that he didn't want to settle for. He's been working with Akon instead, on incredible positive, inspiring music that is less explicitly Christian, and much more likely to go over at Starbucks.

So yes, it's not "cool" music in the sense that Mila J's "Smoke Up, Drink, Break-Up"—also currently being pushed to radio—is. Mila J is Jhene Aiko's older sister, and her song hits the major bloggable touchpoints in 2014, primarily aping ca. 2001 Aaliyah/Timbaland down to the swishy, distorted hi-hats. It has a chance of becoming big, as its evident hedonism plays it safe.

But there's something impossible to deny about "Beautiful," which is apt to become a massive smash in all its clean, windswept glory. The songwriting cleverly applies to two audiences, and plays a neat trick of seeming at once intimate and grandiose, caught in the tension between old audience and new, the greater glory and earthly concerns, paradise and a very faint hint of fire and brimstone. 

If Mali Music is too square for you, and Mila J too derivative, there's a nice middle ground worth hearing: Rochelle Jordan's "Follow Me," which has trendy visuals and a retro production style, but a distinct performance from Rochelle Jordan herself. 

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