No Question, No Question
Derrick Dunn

Derrick Dunn

Second Listen Sunday : No Question, No Question

One of the great things about being an R&B fan is having the chance to discuss artists who never made it past one album. The list is endless, and one such group is this week’s Second Listen Sunday artist, No Question.

No Question was a vocal quartet composed of Damon Core, Dante Massey, Tommy Blackwell, and Nicholas Johnson from Philadelphia. When the group released their debut album, it was R&B producing legends Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff who brought them to the forefront. No Question’s self-titled debut arrived via Philadelphia International Records. It spawned the hit “I Don’t Care” and a cover of The Stylistics’ “You Make Me Feel Brand New.” However, the record’s sales did not meet the group’s expectations, and they switched labels to RuffNation Records, where they became the label’s first R&B group.

I first discovered No Question during an episode of the old BET talk show, BET Tonight. They performed the song “I Don’t Care,” and on a second episode where they performed “If You Really Wanna Go. Their vocals were impressive, with four lead singers. In addition, the group featured a first tenor, which wasn’t the norm at the time in R&B.

The album opens up with a standardized R&B intro before giving us a filler up-tempo track in the form of “You Can Get That.” The filler vibe carries over to “I Know,” “This Weekend,” and “Private Dancer.” While the group sings with authentic vocals, No Question’s real strength was in the ballads.

“I Don’t Care” explores thug love with hints of Motown Soul, and their cover of “You Make Me Feel Brand New” pays homage to the Philly sound. There is a wide variety of topics covered on the CD, as one would expect from an R&B group .”New Love” explores courting a woman and trying to convince her you’re a good dude.

“Cover Me,” “How You Like It (Lights On/Off,” and “Whose Is This” are sure-fire mood setters. While “Just Can’t Go On,” “Remember Us,” and “Come Back Home” are emotive slow jams. Finally, “Do What You Gotta Do” is a precursor to what Usher would explore four years later in Confessions.

When we go back to 2000 and look at R&B groups, Kci & Jo Jo and Jagged Edge were the only ones moving units. Whether it was a shift in the way music was charted or just weak label support, It’s a shame No Question didn’t blow up, as they were an immensely talented vocal group.

Final Grade: B+
No Question is available on all streaming platforms.

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