Release Date: 1994
Previously Owned: No
First Time Listen: Yes
Impressions: Well, if you want to try to win me over from the jump, throw a Phife cameo rap at the beginning that references A Tribe Called Quest in a almost Marvel comic crossover fashion. Good start. Sounds like vintage early ’90s hip hop-infused new Jack Swingish, R&B. “Creep” showcases TLC at their best: solid samples, minimal production with a nice hook supporting appealingly raspy vocal and harmonies, Tionne Watkins and Rozonda Thomas almost like hip hop’s version of Stevie Nicks. Good stuff so far, although like most ’90s R&B has shown it’s age, but so far holding together. Great harmonies make these songs, despite some stiff production like “Case of the Fake People.” Lots of interludes… “CrazySexyCool.” Musically sounds like lots of different producers, but they generally walk the line between radio-friendly hip-hop radio friendlier R&B. “Waterfalls!” Couldn’t get away from that song, back in the day. They don’t have huge voices, which gives their songs a sneaky intimacy. Outside of a few sampled beats, actually sounds like a classic soul number. It’s the best track on here. Rapping is kept to a minimum overall. Prince cover! “If I Was Your Girlfriend”… hmm. Not a big fan of the backup track, sounds kinda plodding– like a low-grade Art Of Noise cut– with the danger and Prince-ian audaciousness stripped out of the track. But, the vocal is good, there’s got to be a remix somewhere. Album needs more Phife! Ugh, these interludes/ “skits” are a mess… Somehow they made Busta Rhymes seem boring. This album has got some high points but too many things slowing it down. Oh no, a “Mr. Big Stuff” sample! Enjoyed the closer.
Starred Songs: “Creep,” “Waterfalls”
Sneaky Track: “Sumthin Wicked This Way Comes”
Should this album be on the list? Mixed bag… high points justifies inclusion but parts haven’t aged well. Gonna keep it on for now.
Will You Listen To This Again: Probably not…kind of long
Verdict: Early ’90s Hip Hop-infused R&B has a some great all-time cuts but too much filler.