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: Rome, My Time Again
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again nineties R&B nineties was such a crowded field that frequently, a singer would drop a hit single, and we thought they would become one of R&B’s next stars. Michigan-bred singer Rome was one such singer. Bursting onto the scene with the hit slow jams “I Belong To You” and ” Do You Like This” in the spring of 1997, Rome had a decent enough voice that displayed his gospel roots.
After serving as the opening act for Brian McKnight’s Anytime tour in the fall of 1997, Rome would depart from a major label and go the indie route for his subsequent three albums throughout the early 2000s. After that, the singer was MIA until his 2014 EP My Time Again, this week’s pick for Second Listen Sunday.
It had been almost a decade since I had heard this EP, so I decided to give it a whirl. The singer opens up his latest project with “Back on the Scene,” where he croons about returning to the music game. The lyrics attempt to correlate with a player coming out of retirement to reclaim his throne with Rome returning to singing. Honestly, the lyrics work better than they should.
“I Like Ya” almost got the Apollo “Sandman” treatment when I thought I heard some autotune, but listening to the song further, I noticed a Chicago steppers vibe. Those who remember Rome’s first album will recall that it was slow jam and ballad-heavy. Unfortunately, the first slow cut on the EP “Flesh.Com” comes off as an attempt at R.Kelly ‘s demographic.
The lyrics are crass and juvenile, taking into account Rome’s age. Honestly, this is one of the things had he sold it to Drake, PartyNext Door, or even Jacquees; they could have made it with a hit with vocal coaching from Rome. The sentiment carries over to the next track, “Candy Song,” which takes no chances musically and fails to live up to the “Quiet Storm” potential Rome vocally possesses.
Rome closes out the project with a decent ballad, finally in the form of “Tell The Truth.” While the song doesn’t reach the heights of his previous hits, it’s leagues better than the other two slow cuts. It was refreshing to hear Rome, and I salute the brother for still putting out music. As far as I can tell, Rome has yet to release a project since this one, but hopefully, he will return soon.
Final Grade: B-
My Time Again 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.