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: Dru Hill, InDruPendence Day
Following the lukewarm response to Sisqo’s second album in 2001, Dru Hill returned with a new member Scola in 2002 for the vastly underpromoted Dru World Order. The group would spend the next eight years touring and eventually add new member Tao for its fourth album InDRUpendence Day this week’s Second Listen Sunday pick.
Eight years is an eternity in the music business, but Dru Hill had four lead singers, so how would they sound in the age of streaming? The group reunited with past collaborators Keith Sweat, Nate Mooring, and Wirlie Morris, so the potential was there. Initially, I didn’t care for the album as The album’s first half was filled with secondary Will I Am-style beats. The songs sound better suited for Justin Bieber or Bruno Mars instead of a group like Dru Hill.
However, I now realize what Dru Hill was going for, and I won’t fault them for trying to branch out since that sound was the famous sound at the time. The CD starts to pick up with “Remain Silent,” which is the signature Dru Hill slow jam vibe I like. “State of Emergency” follows and is another mood setter while Sisqo & Jazz both have a chance to shine on “Back To The “Future’ & “Love MD.” The album’s final ballad, “Away,” still sounds fresh and would feel right at home on any streaming Black-led series. The album ends with a decent cover of Tears For Fears’ “Everybody Wants To Rule The World.”
While InDRUpendence Day is my least revisited Dru Hill album, I respect them for trying something new. Besides, Dru Hill has album tracks from its three albums that are better than some people’s biggest hits running streaming in 2023.
Final Grade: C
InDRUpendence Day is available on most streaming platforms sans Apple Music.
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.