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 : Playa, Incense Burning
Louisville, Kentucky R&B trio Playa burst onto the scene as part of DeVante Swing’s Da Basement Cru, aka Swing Mob, in the early nineties. While the group’s work with Swing remains in the vault, the group’s 1998 debut Cheers 2 U is easily one of the strongest albums of that year. I plan to revisit Cheers 2 U for Second Listen Sunday soon. However, I wanted to highlight one of my favorite songs, “Incense Burning,” from the group for this week’s Slow Jam Saturday.
In the spring of 2001, Hip Hop superstar DMX was preparing to star in his fourth feature film, Exit Wounds, which would see him co-starring with Steven Segal. The film’s soundtrack was primarily composed of Hip Hop; however, Playa’s three-part harmony on the slow cut was a great break from the album’s griminess.
“Incense Burning” is a different kind of slow jam, as it is not mainly about romantic love or sensuality. Instead, the song is about self-love and knowing when to take time for yourself. After an opening intro where the group croons “Nowhere,” we are treated to the first verse:
“I leave home early and get home late
It’s an everyday thing around the way
Off to see just what I can get into, maybe play cards at my partner’s place
All this running and all this flirting got my whole body hurting; I need me a break.
My phone keeps ringing, my pager keeps buzzing
Yo, today I’m screaming, “I ain’t doing nothing.”
The chorus then comes in with the lyrics:
“The incense burning and my house shoes on
I’m at home, damn, it’s good to be alone (I’m at home)
And nothing ain’t wrong”.
No matter where you are in life, sometimes you just want to shut the world away and take some time for yourself. As we all know, incense has a tie to aromatherapy, and sometimes the best therapy is just to relax and listen to music. Playa provides the perfect song with their standard three-part harmony when you just need to regroup.
Final Grade: A
“Incense Burning” from the Exit Wounds soundtrack 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.”
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.