LL Cool J feat. Boyz II Men, Hey Lover
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Derrick Dunn

Slow Jam Saturday: LL Cool J feat. Boyz II Men, Hey Lover

This weekend is about celebrating The King Of Pop, Mr. Michael Jackson, and his legacy. For this week’s Slow Jam Saturday, I initially had plans to do a write-up on “The Lady In My Life” from Thriller. However, in honor of Hip Hop’s 50th Anniversary, I decided to go with one of my favorite Hip Hop ballads, “Hey Lover,” which samples the song.

The year was 1995, and legendary MC LL Cool J was at a crossroads in his recording career. While he had the lead role on the sitcom In The House two years prior, his fifth album, 14 Shots To The Dome, where he adapted a West Coast sound, was a critical and commercial failure. For album#6, Mr. Smith, Uncle L got back on track working with Hip Hop heavyweight producers Rashad Smith, Chad Elliott, and Easy Mo Bee. However, the Trackmaster’s production of the lead single, “Hey Lover,” propelled Mr. Smith to double platinum sales.

Linking up with the highly successful R&B quartet Boyz II Men, “Hey Lover” found LL using his appeal with the ladies to his advantage. Hip Hop heads already knew LL was no slouch in the bars department, but eight years prior, LL had changed the game with “I Need Love.” Thus, doing another Hip Hop ballad as the lead single for his comeback album made sense.

Sampling MJ’s “The Lady In My Life,” “Hey Lover,” opens with Michael “Bass” McCray giving an introduction and setting up the song. LL then smoothly confesses his emotions to a woman he has feelings for. In the song, LL expresses how he would love and care for the person he desires through various means. He begins by complimenting their appearance and acknowledging his attraction toward them.

LL then explains how he wants to take her out on dates and treat her like a queen while promising to be faithful and loyal. And, of course, we have to shout out to 4 guys from Philly who slay the hook on the song. I was in eighth grade when the song dropped, and I remember so many fellas who lacked game using the song for dedications on the Back Seat Slow Jam segment on the local radio station.

Despite some folks looking for internet fame by trying to cancel LL, twenty-eight years later, “Hey Lover” is still a BOP that expresses admiration for someone who has caught your eye.

 

Final Grade: A

“Hey Lover” from Mr. Smith is available on all streaming platforms.

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Slow Jam Saturday: The Whispers, “I’m Gonna Make You My Wife”

Yesterday was the sixteenth anniversary of my marital union. In honor of this occasion, I have selected a song for this week’s Slow Jam Saturday that celebrates the sanctity of marriage. While I considered several options, such as Robin Thicke’s “Angels,” Luther Vandross’ “So Amazing,” or Myron’s “Give My All to You,” all of which played a significant role in my wedding, I ultimately decided on The Whispers’ “I’m Gonna Make You My Wife” due to its particular resonance with me.

Second Listen Sunday: B5, Don’t Talk Just Listen

For this week’s Second Listen Sunday, I took a trip back to 2007 and revisited “Don’t Talk Just Listen” from the group B5. Hailing from the Peach State, B5 comprised the Breeding Brothers, Bryan, Carnell, Dustin, Kelly, and Patrick. Initially finding success two years earlier with their cover of The Jackson 5’s “All I Do,” their debut did just enough with their preteen fans to warrant a second album.

Slow Jam Saturday: Jagged Edge, Whole Town’s Laughing At Me

With the exception of a few cases, R&B groups experienced a period of stagnation in 2007. While some groups continued to tour and perform their renowned classics, releasing new music was infrequent. To commemorate this week’s Slow Jam Saturday, I would like to acknowledge a notable piece from Jagged Edge’s sixth album, “Baby Makin Project,” titled “Whole Town’s Laughing At Me.”

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