90s R&B

It’s been a few months now since I’ve started the REWIND segment in my show (The Sheena Show on Radio 1 in the UAE) and I’ve noticed that ever since I’ve started listening to more “feel good” tracks from my youth, I’ve felt so much more alive!

I don’t know if it’s just that music from the 90s was really that good or if it’s the nostalgia factor that comes into play – the memories of the silly things I used to do, the people I used to hold near and dear, the first experiences, the heartbreaks, the growing pains. Whatever it is, I feel that the music from the 90s connects to my heart and soul much more than most of the music that comes out today.

Is it just me, or did music back then have much more substance? Not just in the lyrics, but the quality of voices, the harmonies, the melodies, the instruments… it was just SO good!

I truly miss artists who made music because of their passion for it and not just to make money and be famous. Artists like Joe, Donell Jones, SWV, 2Pac, 112, Biggie, Aaliyah, Boyz II Men, Blackstreet, New Edition, just to name a few.

So far, 2013 seems to be the year of the comebacks. Destiny’s Child is back together working on an album, Justin Timberlake is back on the scene, even Kris Kross seem to be reuniting. I was hoping that some of the artists from the 90s R&B scene who I’ve grown up with might surprise us with a comeback as well and was delighted to discover that many of them are!

Donell Jones has just released Forever, the title track off his new album, Keith Sweat is back in the studio, LL Cool J and Joe just teamed up to record Take It, RL from Next is working on another solo album, and even Maxwell has been teasing us of his upcoming release.

The question is – will their new music be as good as the old? Will they save us from the over-commercialized pop that seems to have taken over? Or will they follow the new trends and change their style?

I guess we will have to wait and see what happens…

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Album Review: Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1 – Lupe Fiasco

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The biggest factor that sets Lupe Fiasco apart from other rappers is the fact that his every word is thought-through, intended, and meaningful. Although you could enjoy this album as background music, bopping to the Hip Hop beats and grooving to his flow, the best way to experience this album is to really listen and reflect on what Lupe is saying.

As one of the pioneers of conscious rap, every track on this album has a message. They are a collection of honest exposures of Lupe’s beliefs and viewpoints about social issues from political prisoners, global warming, revolutionaries, misogyny, vanity, materialism, the perversion of values in pop and Hip Hop culture, etc.  

For those who have already followed Lupe through his musical journey, you will find that this album takes us deeper into his psyche, revealing the depth of his intelligence and reflection through brilliant references, metaphors and allusions.

If you truly listen to this album, it is sure to leave you inspired. I can onlyimagine what we can expect from the follow up, Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 2, scheduled for release this Spring.

Rating: 4/5