R&B (Younger Generation’s Style)
I know some of you may, or may not have a issue with this category; but, I don’t care because it’s my blog, and I can write what I want. I’m old enough to have experienced the clear difference between R&B then, and R&B now. They are clearly not the same. In fact, the generational gaps are so huge, they really should have came up with a new name for the current genre they call R&B. Keep in mind, my words are NOT an attack on younger performers/music, I’m just making a case that today’s R&B should be called something different (maybe without the “blues” part). Most of today’s “R&B” sounds more from a branch of hip hop than anything else. Just sayin’.
You know, I hadn’t realized just how stunningly beautiful Aaliyah was until after her death. The media showed lots of candid photos I never seen before. We tragically lost an artist that could have been just as large as the late Whitney Houston maybe? But, because this is of a different generation from mine, a lot of her music I didn’t connect with. However, there are a few songs I feel are worthy mentions. I really liked the song she did for the Dr. Doolittle soundtrack called “Are You That Somebody,” and I also liked “More Than A Woman.”
Artist: Alicia Keys
Album: Songs In A Minor (2001)
You know I’m old, when I struggle accepting the fact that I now have to label an artist such as Alicia Keys as “old school” now. Darn it! I just can’t believe it is now 20 years since this album came out? Twenty years! Time really moves fast, which is one of the many factors as to why we’re losing our music history. I really love Alicia Keys music because; she was one of the few (then) young female artist that performed hip hop/R&B blends that I felt truly had talent. I really love the fact that although she sang a lot of love songs, she didn’t do a lot of that moaning and begging “come back to me baby” kind of music.
Her First Album Hit Big! And Was A Force To Be Reckoned With!
Keys’ song called “Fallin’,” from her album “Song In A Minor,” was her money maker. On Spotify alone, the song reached almost 275M plays. This was significant, as music streaming just started to become popular. The song hit number one in many places around the world, including the UK and Netherlands. Because of the fast pace of music streaming, I really think a lot of people forgot about this gem. But, forgot about it not in a sense that we wouldn’t remember it if we heard it, but in a sense if we were looking for her music, I’m sure most likely people would be looking for her newer music. It’s a shame that a song that literally became not only her signature song, but an anthem in many of our Black communities has been forgotten. ?
Keys Is Very Musically Diverse, I Like That!
Alicia is very diverse with her music. I don’t think any of her music sounds the same. That’s a true artist! She really wasn’t trying to be like anybody else but her! Not that many artist has the balls to do that! Kudos girl! ? I also love the fact that she’s one of the few artist that has an old school sound to many of her music. And I think that her songs “A Woman’s Worth,” “If I Ain’t Got You,” and “You Don’t Know My Name,” really showcased this. Not only did she bring back the art of old school song writing, she showed us her power to command an audience. There are many new artist who perform new classic sounds, but very few have become international in the way Alicia Keys did. By the way, check out her cover “Every Little Bit Hurts,” from her “Unplugged” 2005 album. Unfortunately, I could only find the live performance on Spotify. I could have sworn she had a studio version. Anyway, she did this one really nice too. I love Alicia, her music is one of the very few new ones that I consider timeless.
Song: I’m Dreamin’
Artist: Christopher Williams
Album: New Jack City (1991)
Genre: Hip Hop/New Jack Swing
Girls!! Girls!!!!!! To simply say that today’s old school artist was just “good looking,” would be an extreme understatement. This dude was foooinnneeee!!! OMFG!! ?? One thing is for sure, if he did not make it in the music industry, I’m pretty confident he would have made it as a model for one of those high class magazines or something!! Unfortunately, Christopher Williams is another forgotten artist. Even during the prime of his career, I felt he was extremely underrated. In many ways, he reminded me a lot of Johnny Gill, in that their voices doesn’t match how they actually look. One thing that unique about his music, there wasn’t too many artists that possessed a soulful voice performing New Jack Swing type of music. New Jack Swing music (in my opinion), seemed almost exclusive to young males, dancing & harmonizing kind of groups.
Can You Guess Who Christopher Williams Is Related too?
Al B. Sure, and Christopher Williams are actually cousins! Come to think about it, they look so much alike they can actually pass for brothers in my opinion. However, Al B. Sure did not have Christopher’s soulful voice! I don’t see a whole lot of current information concerning Christopher, yet alone his relationship with Al B. Sure. At this point I think it’s safe to say that Christopher just feakin’ lost it. And when I say lost it, I don’t mean that figuratively either. If you’ve ever seen recent pictures of Christopher, he has totally lost whatever good looks he had left. I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say that he is on drugs. Please note, I’m not being judgemental per-say. Anyone who has lived in the hood knows, street drugs accelerates the aging process, and does f*cked up things to people’s faces. Now that he is older (52), he looks horrible! Absolutely horrid. Sh*t, he was married to Stacy Dash for a couple of years, that alone could have screwed his life. ?
Christopher Williams, Busted!!
My suspicions of his drug use was further confirmed, when he was busted and arrested for stealing a $100 headphone! And because I know automatically, most of you will not believe me, check out TMZ‘s article. This happened ruffly about 3 years ago. What a damn shame!! A voice like that; a man that was reported to have a net worth of about 5 million; caught stealing a $100 JBL headphone. WTF?
Sadly, Christopher Lost The Magic That Made All The Girls Go Wild!
It appears that the last album that Christopher recorded was in 2001; the album was called “Real Men Do.” I gotta be honest, although I can still hear the talent in his voice, I think he lost that 90’s magic he had. I just don’t hear it anymore. However, he did release a couple of singles in the recent past. There’s one I really like called “Proud 2 Long (2018).” I think “Proud 2 Long” is a really nice song, and is probably the best we’re gonna get out of Christopher (compared to his heydays). Well, despite never having a number one hit, or at least a Top Ten on the Hot 100 category, he most definitely had a #1 voice.
Song: Take A Message
Artist: Remy Shand
Album: The Way I Feel (2002)
Genre: Neo Soul
As I sift through my collection, my eyes pop wide open. I completely forgot about Remy Shand! Actually, I’m sure a lot of people forgot about him too. It’s such a wonderful thing to have a way to save our memories in digital form, otherwise we’d forget about all this shit. No matter how good of a memory we have. As far as I’m concerned, Remy was one of those explosive one hit wonders, then we never hear from them again. You know, sometimes I think when these guys get too famous, the attention is too much for them. Next thing you know, they’re “low key,” like writing songs in the background, or specializing on the mixing board.
Remy’s Music Is An Acquired Taste Tho!
I have to say that a lot of Remy’s music is an acquired taste. In fact, to be honest, I haven’t met too many people who are genuinely into Neo-Soul, unless you’ve been exposed to different music growing up. The one and only song that hit the American Billboard charts was “Take A Message.” Unfortunately, my favorite song out of the whole album only reached #89th position. However, in Canada, the album itself did very well, it actually reached #1. Go figure?
Remy Won For Best Album Of The Year In Canada 2003!
I really love his almost Curtis Mayfield & Marvin Gaye style in his music. Personally speaking, I think he should have stayed along those lines. To my understanding he’s still actively performing, but hasn’t really made a good album in a really long time. A couple of songs I want you to checkout. Listen to “Rocksteady,” and I also like “The Mind’s Eye,” which is a relaxing instrumental piece.
Song: I Wish
Artist: Carl Thomas
Album: Emotional (2000)
? You know, it’s a bit ironic, and yet hilarious that 20 years ago, when I heard an old favorite from the 80s, I’d say OH WOW!!! That’s old!!! Now, in the year 2020, I find myself saying the exact same thing about a song from 2000 ?. It really makes me appreciate the many years of memories I had enjoying non-stop music culture. I think a relationship with music can be stronger than that of people (in general).
Carl Has An Amazingly Cool Voice
Carl has one of those amazingly smooth and sensual male voices we rarely hear. I mean, if I had a man like him and I was pissed off at him, if he sang to me like that I’d probably forget what I was mad about! Just joking ?! But, for real, he has a really relaxing voice that is perfect for romantic kinds of music. Not only his song “I Wish” was my favorite song, it was the biggest hit of his career. Although it only hit position #20 on the Top 100, it gained first position on the R&B category. And the Black community was playing his song all the time!
Unfortunately, my feeling is his first album “Emotional (2000),” was his only good album. At least when it comes to having the most hits on a single album. “Special Lady” is a good one, “Come To Me” is good, and “Emotional” are my favorites. I honestly don’t know what happened a After that. I just didn’t care for a lot of his music after his first album. Actually, let me change that statement. On his second album “Let’s Talk About It (2004),” he had a song called “She Is (feat. LL Cool J)” I really liked. Then on his third album “Conquer (2011),” he has a song called “Don’t Kiss Me.” That title alone made me want to listen to it. “Don’t Kiss Me” was the best song from that album, and didn’t get the traction it deserved in my opinion. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me being finicky with my music listening. It doesn’t look like he has recorded an album for quite some time, but to my understanding he still performs.
Album: 112 (1996)
I’m sitting here grinding my teeth, as I am forced to consider that this song needs to be placed in the old school category. Not because I don’t feel this wasn’t an awesome song back in the day, but because it feels like only yesterday! It was 24 years ago this song hit the radio waves. Yet, how many 30 or 35 year olds are playing their music today? Well, I guess the reality is (like I’ve mentioned numerous times before), with the new age of music streaming, there’s just too much music we now have access to, and I believe this is at least 50% responsible for the loss of Black music history. In fact, just the loss of overall American classic music in general. The other half is households simply not playing enough classic oldies. We’re not so far in the future where no one possesses vinyl records anymore! Shit, I still own a lot of cassette tapes from my teenage years for goodness sake!
They’ve Made Many Collaborations!
Their song “Only You,” is probably my most favorite hit from the group. It reached #4 on the Hot 100 Chart. Personally speaking, I definitely feel this song has earned the right of being “barbecue cookout worthy!” 112 has done many, many collaborations with other artists/groups. However, I felt they were so talented, they really didn’t need to. This was probably my biggest pet-peeve when the 90s came along in regards to music. Every new and up coming artist was encouraged to collaborate with another to better promote themselves. I hated that because I saw how easily a group/person can become other artist’s “sidekicks.” Or even backfire, and be seen more of a backup singer, or an extra of some sort.
But, I’m happy to say that a lot of those hookups with other artists proved to be extremely beneficial. My most favorite song was a cover they produced along with a group called “Allure (remember them?).” That song was called “All Cried Out,” originally performed by Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam. Man, I played this song so much, I’m surprised my CD did not turn in to dust. I was pissed to find out it only peaked at 18 on the Hot 100 Chart. I’m sure it had to have been at least #1 on the R&B chart. Spotify alone has it at 5.5M plays, and keep in mind this was long after streaming was even a thing.
Their Biggest Collaboration?
I’d have to say their biggest collaboration in my opinion has to be Puff Daddy, with the release of “Missing You (1997),” a tribute to B.I.G. Another huge hit by 112 you shouldn’t forget is “It’s Over Now (2001),” which reached #6 on the Hot 100 Chart. Over creative differences, the group left Puff Daddy’s label and signed with Def-Jam around 2002. But, I don’t believe these guys had repeated the same level of success under Def-Jam as they once did under P. Daddy’s label. Although they did have a top 40 hit called “Hot & Wet (2002)” featuring Ludacris, but that was about the extent of it (I could be wrong about that). Honestly, I think Puff had his hand on this song too. Puff really was the golden producer of his time. They should have stayed with Diddy.
Album: Tasty (2003)
I’m not sure if her “milkshake” is still bringing all the boys to the yard; but back then, this song was the sh*t in the Black community. I absolutely loved the video to this song, I thought it was freakin’ hilarious as hell!! ? It’s been about 15 years since this album first came out; I think her milkshake is more like yogurt by now! ? ? You can just imagine all of the things happening in that video happening for real in the hood, I guess that’s what makes it so hilarious to me. But you know what? This was actually a pretty good album I think (for the most part). This album has a lot of good cuts I haven’t heard before. Check out “Trick Me (WARNING! HAS PROFANITY),” also check out “Protect My Heart,” it reminds me a lot of Toni Braxton’s style of music. Almost the whole album is pretty nice (I think).
Ladies, ladies!! If you did not think that Montell Jordon was one of the finest men of the 90s to ever grace hip hop with his presence, something is definitely wrong ? ?. He had the looks and the talent! But, WTF happen to Montell? Once he was burning up the charts in the mid 90s, and now it seems as though he fell off the face of the earth! Well, not exactly, but it sure seems that way. While the music industry has forgotten about him, and just thrown his accomplishments aside like a piece of rag cloth, his fans still remember him.
In 1995, Montell ripped the Billboard charts to shreds, when he released his smash #1 hit, “This Is How We Do It.” In addition, it was #1 on the Canada Dance charts, and #1 in the UK. I need to try and give my readers some perspective as to how massively popular Montell was. First, the song was not only #1 on the Top 100 Charts, it stayed number one for 7 weeks! Some of today’s most memorable hits has NEVER been #1 for seven weeks consecutively! That’s jaw dropping! Another example (just to give you an idea), music streaming wasn’t even a thing in the 90s. In fact, I’m not even sure if it had even started yet. But Spotify has calculated over 86M+ streams to-date. I could only imagine what the numbers are like on other streaming services.
But, Montell didn’t stop there! He had other massive hits as well. Such as his 1998 song “Let’s Ride,” Let’s Ride was one of my least favorites, but never the less, it reached #2 on the Top 100 Charts. In that same year, he released a song that I absolutely loved called “Get It On Tonight,” which reached #4 on the charts! I used to dance to that all the time, the music was so smooth, unique, and groove-able.
Montell Has Written a Book called “Becoming UNFamous.”
Now, albeit, I didn’t read his book, and I’m NOT judging Montell, but from the little I know about his book, it appears VERY typical. In it he talks about how he devoted himself to god and the church, blah blah. We’ve heard that same thing from people such as the late Vanity, of Vanity 6. We also heard the same story from the legendary Al Green. The story is either, they weren’t selling any records anymore, so they “turned their lives over to god;” or something life altering had happened to them, that literally scared them in to the church. I literally feel like I could predict most of the stuff in his book.
Like many other classic artists who moved from one genre to gospel, that magic they once had that gave them the hits we all know and love, usually gets left behind as well. The only thing we can do is reminisce on the oldies that made them great once upon a time. The last I checked, Montell is still married to his wife of 25 years, Kristin Hudson, and they’re both very happy. Good for him.10% off your purchase with code LNK10. Excludes clearance.