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: Jason Weaver, Love Ambition
Actors releasing musical albums has been a norm for as long as I can remember. While many like Jamie Foxx find success, others (who shall remain nameless) aren’t so lucky. One such talent was Jason Weave, who released his debut in 1994 on Motown records.
Weaver had already won audiences over with his performance as Michael Jackson in the ABC miniseries, The Jacksons: An American Dream. He followed that up with a scene-stealing singing voice role of as young Simba in The Lion King. Naturally, an album was the next move.
Jason’s debut single, “I Can’t Stand The Pain,” has smooth production, allowing one to hear the lush tone in Weaver’s voice. One of the most surprising takes on the album is Jason’s cover of The Isley Brothers’ classic, “For The Love Of You,” which Jason quickly makes his own. “My Love” and “Love Ambition” deliver the goods for fans of ballads.
However, the up-tempo tracks are solid as well. A pre-fame Robin Thicke pens “On Top Of The Hill” and “All Up Into You.” While the vastly underrated production skills of Hakim Abdulsamad from The Boys shine through on “Ordinary Guy” and “My Love.” The presentation of this CD is handled with finesse and skill far beyond the years of Jason Weaver.
Unless he alluded to his age a few times, one would almost forget that he was not an adult when he recorded this if he didn’t allude to it a few times. It’s not because he acts like a grown-up but because he sings the songs with passion and ease that you start to believe he knows what he’s talking about. That’s not easy, considering the somewhat mature content of the songs. Nothing vulgar, but not what you’d expect to hear from a 15-year-old, yet it’s handled with taste. No doubt being the son of singer/performer Kitty Haywood helped him in this regard.
Unfortunately, Weaver’s debut didn’t do anything sales-wise and shifted his focus back to acting. Weaver was supposed to release a second CD in 1996, but it was shelved, and for a while, there were rumors of signing him to the Disturbing The Peace label after his hook singing success on Chingy’s “One Call Away.”
Nevertheless, this is a fine album; hopefully, Jason will return to music one day.
Final Grade: B+
Love Ambition 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.