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: Marcus Canty, This…Is Marcus Canty
In the year 2023, if you were to count the number of singing competitions that emerged after the success of American Idol in 2002, you might run out of fingers. One constant from all of the shows is that they rarely produce a male R&B singer who becomes a force in the genre. Granted, Ruben Studdard, who won the second season of American Idol, Lucky Daye, who was on the same show’s fourth season, and Vedo, who was on The Voice, have all seen a varying level of success. Still, we have yet to have a male R&B singer match the success of Kelly Clarkson or Jennifer Hudson.
So for this week’s Second Listen Sunday, I wanted to give some flowers to Marcus Canty and his EP This ….Is Marcus Canty. The vocalist became prominent after appearing in the inaugural season of the US version of X-Factor in 2011. The Bowie, MD native won the judges over with his cover of Stevie Wonder’s “I Wish. The legendary LA Reid took a particular interest in Canty, often comparing him to a young Bobby Brown. While Canty would ultimately place fourth in the competition, Reid still gave him a record deal.
Wasting no time putting him in the studio, Reid introduced Canty to the mainstream with the slow jam “Won’t Make A Fool Of You” from the Think Like A Man soundtrack. Tricky Stewart and Johnta Austin penned the track perfectly aligned with Canty’s register. A few months later, Canty’s second official single, “In & Out,” featured a few bars from hip-hopper Wale. The song was a good follow-up to a ballad as it showed Canty’s edge, and he easily sold the material.
The final single from the EP was another ballad titled “Used By You.” I imagine it would have been much bigger if Chris Brown or Drake had this song. The song is about a man who offers himself as a solution to a woman’s relationship problems. The woman in the song is having issues with her partner, who is not treating her well and is unfaithful. The man sympathizes with her and offers to help her get revenge on her partner.
He suggests that she should not get mad; instead, she should get even. The man proposes to be a “little friend on the side” and to be called upon whenever her partner misbehaves. The song’s lyrics suggest that the man wants to have a sexual relationship with the woman while being used by her as a tool to get back at her partner. He tells the woman to be open to him and to let him work his magic. The lyrics in the chorus emphasize the man’s desire to be used by the woman. Overall, this song encourages infidelity and using sex as a tool for revenge in relationships. It does not promote healthy behaviors, mutual respect, or partner communication. But Canty makes it work.
Canty feels the rest of the EP with midlevel R&B tropes. Seeking the attention of a woman (“Don’t Pass Me By” and “Not Looking”), an honorable man (“Tonight”), borderline pop (“Three Words”), and keeping the newness in a relationship (“Stay In Love”). Canty has an above-average voice, and I wish he had seen more mainstream success.
While I am by no means a record exec, I do think had LA Reid started Canty on hooks for Hip Hop tracks or perhaps directed him to urban-themed plays /Broadway, it would have built up more momentum.
Nevertheless, this is a decent EP and worth a listen.
Final Grade: B
This….Is Marcus Canty 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.”
One of the most talented men in indie music, Eric Roberson, kicked off his 30th-anniversary tour last night in Pittsburgh, so for this week’s Second Listen Sunday, I decided to revisit Mr. Roberson’s third album, The Vault 1.5, which hit record stores in 2003. As Erro fans know, Roberson initially hit the scene with the lovely ballad “The Moon” while studying at Howard University. Roberson’s first record deal didn’t go as planned, but not one to just lay down, Roberson continued to build a name for himself by writing for the likes of 112 and Will Smith. Additionally, Roberson collaborated with Jill Scott, DJ Jazzy Jeff, and Cam’ron.