R&B music was alive and well when New Edition front man Ralph Tresvant released his third album Rizz -Wa-Faire in March 2006. While Tresvant was still touring with NE, there hadn’t been a Ralph Tresvant solo album in twelve years. The singer would have to bring in a young audience and compete with the likes of Jamie Foxx, Chris Brown, and Ne-Yo. Foxx and Brown were still basking in their late 2005 albums, while Ne-Yo had just released his album a week before a number one debut.
Before the album’s release, Tresvant released the first single “My Homegirl” and its accompanying video. The song, a sentimental ballad, was a tribute to the singer’s wife and showed his tenor vocals. I remember the anticipation I had for the album just from the strength of the lead single. Rizz -Wa-Faire was released on March 7th, 2006, on the indie label Xzault.
Tresvant, along with producers Danny Bell Jr. and Danny Dillman, oversees the production of the album. Tresvant opens the album with a quick interlude “Sneaky,” discussing the shadiness of the record industry. The up-tempo “Love Hangover” and the Bobby V Esque “Angel” are up next, and both sound decent. However, Tresvant loses some of the momenta in “Jungle Club” and “Strange Emotions.”
Tresvant’s strong point has always been the love song, and he regains his footing on “Man Who Loves You” and “Save A Little Love.” While the songs’ production sound bit mundane, Tresvant’s charisma and vocal ability elevate the songs. Tresvant’s charisma also shines through on “Too Cool,” where he pays tribute to women who hold down the household.
My favorite songs on the albums are the slow jam interlude “Slow Down” and the sultry slow “Don’t Act Innocent,” both of which would’ve made great singles. While Tresvant is setting up an intimate mood, he never comes off as a crass lothario in the songs. Tresvant also finds time to pay tribute to his later mother in the emotional “Never Noticed.”
While I am a die-hard NE fan and Ralph is my favorite member, there are a few missteps on the album. “Magic Underwear” is one of the worst songs Ralph has ever recorded, and “Something To Give You” is just a bit too juvenile. Also, while I respect any artist who can produce and write their own music, Tresvant’s third album could’ve used some big-name producers. To my surprise, there isn’t a Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis track on the record, which is a shame as they’ve always brought out the best in Tresvant.
I’ve seen New Edition and Heads of State (Tresvant’s side group with NE members Johnny Gill and Bobby Brown) in concert numerous times since the album’s release. He never does any of the songs from this project live. That’s a shame as there are some gems on here
While not a bad album, Rizz Wa Faire is the weakest release of Tresvant’s three solo albums to date primarily due to the production which hasn’t aged well. Nevertheless, Tresvant’s fan base will find something to enjoy.
Final Re-listen Grade: C+
Best Songs: “My Homegirl,” “Slow Down,” “Don’t Act Innocent,” “Never Noticed.”
Tresvant’s new single “All Mine” featuring Johnny Gill is available on all streaming platforms today.