R&B fans were elated this past summer when R&B legend Raphael Saadiq announced he had reunited with Tony! Toni! Toné! for a fall tour. The tour kicked off this past Thursday in Birmingham, Alabama, with twenty-five planned stops. I plan on attending the Oxon Hill, MD, stop this coming Monday.
Second Listen Sunday : Kci, My Book
No matter what the musical genre is when it comes to groups, there is always a clamoring for a member to pursue solo endeavors. Kci Hailey of Jodeci is a singer in this category ever since Jodeci made its debut. Like most R&B fans, when Kci delivered his first solo record (a cover of Bobby Womack’s “If You Think You’re Lonely Now” on Jason’s Lyric soundtrack in 1994, I thought a solo debut was right around the corner.
Hailey would release the third Jodeci album in 1995, followed by a stint in Kci & JoJo with his brother. In the spring of 2006, Kci’s long-awaited solo debut, My Book, finally arrived. After hearing the first single, “Conversation (Can I Talk 2 U”), I had lofty expectations for the project. Sadly, Kci did not meet them.
I will give Kci some credit on his first solo release. The disc starts with a standard calling out the hater’s song “My Book.” Kci sings in a deep register while setting a relaxed rhythm. The song is full of the deep and mannish charm that has become synonymous with K-CI. Kci let us know he still has pipes. The tearful vocals in the acoustic and pure “I Apologize” are reminiscent of K-CI & JoJo’s “All My Life.” Once again, Kci pays homage to Bobby Womack with a cover of “Woman’s Gotta Have It,” and the song is wrapped in a gentle groove. “Ghetto Woman,” a slower song with a bluesy guitar gently spinning a melody, makes you feel muddy but warm.
“Thug by Heart features ” an excellent sample of Isaac Hayes’ “The Look of Love” and is indeed a serious track and very hustler mid-tempo groove.” “Much Too Soon” featuring Al B.Sure! & Aaron Hall is another winner. All three singers sound as good as they did when they were in their prime. After that, though, the disc is pretty much by the numbers R&B.
The release does not show Kci’s full potential without big-name producers. I wish Kci had a bigger budget to work with big producers such as Babyface, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, or even hook up with fresh talent like The Underdogs & Stargate. What is truly surprising is that DeVante Swing and Mr. Dalvin did not contribute anything to the project.
My Book is not a total wash, but it is a letdown from one of nineties R&B’s most recognizable voices.
Final Grade: C
My Book is available on all streaming platforms
More reviews to explorer
The year was 1981, and a music legend in the making, Prince was slowly crafting his musical royalty legacy. Before releasing his fourth album, Controversy, Prince introduced the band The Time to the world with their self-titled debut album.
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