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.
Slow Jam Saturday: K-CI & Jo Jo, Never Say Never Again
R&B duo K-Ci & Jo Jo achieved runaway success when they broke away from their parent group Jodeci in the summer of 1997. The third single from the album “All My Life” was the number-one song on the Hot 100 for three weeks, a feat that K-Ci & JoJo had never achieved with Jodeci. K-Ci & Jo Jo showcased their unique sound and style as a duo, resonating with pop audiences.
The group’s label didn’t rush out a second album, though. Instead, they kept the duo on the road and dabbled in other projects. During the fall of 1997, they took part in the R&B supergroup Milestone along with After 7 to contribute vocals to the lush ballad “I Care ‘Bout You” for the soundtrack of the movie Soul Food. And a soundtrack contribution from the duo brings us to this week’s Slow Jam Saturday pick.
Iconic author Terry McMillian saw another one of her books adapted to the big screen in 1998 with How Stella Got Her Groove Back. Legendary production duo Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis oversaw the soundtrack providing Kci & Jo Jo with “Never Say Never Again.”
The song speaks about a change of heart when it comes to love. At the beginning of the track, K-CI talks about not wanting to fall in love and avoiding emotional attachment. However, he meets a woman who changes his perspective and teaches him a valuable lesson about love. He acknowledges that the love he has for this woman has deepened, and she has become a significant part of his life.
The lyrics suggest that the K-CI apologizes for not listening to his mother’s advice about treating women as precious gifts. Ultimately, the song talks about the joys of falling in love and the lessons one learns while experiencing it. Outside of performing the track on Motown Live and appearing on The Jamie Foxx show, the song gained little traction. It’s a shame because it’s one of their strongest songs.
Final Grade: B+
“Never Say Never Again” can be found on the soundtrack to How Stella Got Her Groove Back and All My Life: Their Greatest Hits, both on 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.