H-Town, Day I Die
Picture of Derrick Dunn

Derrick Dunn

Slow Jam Saturday: H-Town, Day I Die

R&B trio H-Town hit the scene in 1993 with their massive crossover hit and signature song “Knockin’ Da Boots.” Even though pop pundits might consider the group one-hit wonders, they have six albums and other charting R&B hits. As nineties R&B fans know, the group suffered a loss in January 2003 when lead singer Dino Conner tragically passed away.

However, the group didn’t slow down, and a year later, they released Imitations of Life, which features this week’s pick for Slow Jam Saturday, “Day I Die.” H-Town kept it sexy on their third album, Ladies Edition, Woman’s World, but slow jams such as “Ways to Treat a Woman,” “A Natural Woman,” and the single “They Like It Slow” had a more respectful tone, and the group is more conscious of women.

This tone shift reflected a more significant cultural change towards respecting women, and the group wanted to ensure that their music was inclusive and empowering. They wanted to ensure that their music reflected the times and that their fans could connect with their lyrics. I even remember the back of this CD had domestic abuse lines for women.

While I can’t say for sure, it appears that “Day I Die” was a prelude to another direction for the group to head, which was borderline gospel. Dino vocally explores the emotions and thoughts of an individual on their death day. The song begins with an introduction that explains that the person is not afraid of death. He wants others to share in their vision of eternal life. The first verse describes funeral preparations, including chariots, pallbearers, and ministers.

Dino wants his mother and others who love to be present by his side. The chorus emphasizes the desire to know his soul will be saved when he dies. In the second verse, Dino prays to God to take his soul and hold him in his bosom for eternity. The song also finds Dino praying that his family, especially his children, will be cared for after he’s called home.

Overall, the song explores fear and uncertainty about death. However, it also emphasizes the importance of faith and the desire to know that one’s soul will be saved. “Day I Die” was a song with hit single potential if the group was possibly on a major label. I see the song as a theme for a tear-jerking major motion picture. While Dino Connor has been gone for twenty years, “Day I Die” validates that H-Town was more than “Knockin Da Boots.”

 

Final Grade: A-

“Day I Die” from Imitations of Life is available on all streaming platforms

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