For this week’s Second Listen Sunday, I decided to visit the Buckeye State and pay homage to The Rude Boys. The Cleveland-based quartet consisted of Larry Marcus, Melvin Sephus, Edward Lee “Buddy” Banks, and Joe Little III. Initially breaking onto the scene in 1990 with the hits “Written All Over Your Face” and “Are You Lonely For Me” from their debut, they wasted no time returning to the studio.
Second Listen Sunday: Al B. Sure! In Effect Mode
I have always said if time travel were possible and I could go back to any year, I would choose 1988. The reason is to experience the breakthrough of New Jack Swing. Die-hard music fans know that one of the most incredible tours of the decade was the New Edition Heartbreak tour. The acts on the bill were New Edition, Bobby Brown and this week’s second listen Sunday pick Al B. Sure!’s debut album In Effect Mode.
Al B. Sure! got his start in the music industry singing background vocals on Heavy D. & The Boyz’ 1987 debut Living Large. He appeared on the song “Dedication” as well as the singles “Don’t You Know” and “Moneyearnin’ Mount Vernon.” So naturally, when fans heard “Nite and Day,” Sure’s! first single, he was already somewhat established. The song was written and produced by Al B. Sure! and Kyle West and is a classic bop about expressing feelings for someone.
On May 3, 1988, In Effect Mode hit record stores to great fanfare and strong reviews. The next single released was “Off on Your Own (Girl)”, which was just as infectious as the first single. “Rescue Me,” “If I’m Not Your Lover,” and “Killing Me Softly” followed with each having some success. This success is due to all of the songs being written and composed by Al B. Sure! and Kyle West, outside of two tracks. It was clear that the two had great chemistry and got the best from each other in the studio.
As strong as the singles were, though, my personal favorites from In Effect Mode are two songs that were never singles but made their way on to numerous slow jam mixtapes back in the day. Up first is “Oooh, This Love is So,” which gives off the vibe of a jazz club in France and suites Al’s vocals perfectly. Concurrently, “Naturally Mine” is a sensual slow cut that will set the mood. Al B. Sure!’S debut is a testament to the adage that less is more with just nine songs.
Final Grade: A-
In Effect Mode is available on all streaming platforms.
More reviews to explorer
Valentine’s Day 2024 may have come and gone, but I still plan to use highlight songs with the V-word for February’s Slow Jam Saturday. The artist I chose is a southern gentleman by the name of Lloyd. Initially breaking onto the scene as a member of the preteen-boy band N-Toon, Lloyd’s solo career kicked off in 2004 with the hit “Southside.”
As we continue to celebrate the month of love, I chose “Valentine by Ryan Leslie as the second song with the word valentine for February’s Slow Jam Saturday. Leslie broke into the music industry in 2003, writing hits for Beyoncé and New Edition. Leslie released the singles “The Way That U Move Girl” and “Used 2 Be” featuring Fabolous. However, his debut album was never officially released due to creative differences with his record label. In late 2007, Leslie finally broke through with the bop “Diamond Girl,” and his self-titled album would finally hit record stores on February 10, 2009. Leslie also succeeded with the follow-up singles “Addiction” and “How It Was Supposed to Be.” Surprisingly, though, Leslie didn’t drop “Valentine” as the fourth single, which would have timed perfectly with the album release date.