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: Sammie, I’m Him
R&B singer Sammie recently shared with some of his counterparts for an interesting Versuz. While I was well above the age demographic when Sammie made his debut in 1999, he has always had a capable singing voice.
During my 2006 deployment, I picked up the singer’s second album and began to take him seriously, as his vocals had matured. Despite having positive critical feedback and production from the likes of Dallas Austin, Dre & Vidal, Bryan Michael Cox, and Daron Jones, the album went unnoticed by the masses.
Nevertheless, Sammie decided to go the indie route and has released five mixtapes, two additional albums, and six EPs in the last sixteen years. One of those EP’S, I’m Him is this week’s pick for Second Listen Sunday. Hitting streaming platforms on November 16, 2016, the project opens up with the track “Better,” which finds Sammie crooning about how’s he superior to a lady’s current man.
Despite some R&B thuggery in the lyrics, Sammie makes the song work with his vocal register. The cut-above vibe continues with the next track and the EP’S title song. Hearing the first two songs, I get the feeling that Sammie is not only calling out weak men but fellow singers who are not on his level vocally.
Sammie changes it up with “I Want You,” an infectious BOP that avoids vulgarity and allows the singer to express how he feels. “Sheets” will please nineties R&B fans with its angelic production and finger snaps. “The Wait” has an autobiographical vibe where Sammie sings about finally earning the love of a childhood crush as a man. Kudos to the singer for doing a Jodeci-inspired run in this song.
I’m Him closes out with the sensual slow jam “Bedroom Music,” where Sammie’s vocals deliver on the title. Sammie does have a few crass lyrics in the song, but he never goes into the corniness that some nineties singers did around the same time.
Sammie may have never reached the level of some of his peers from a sales point. However, I commend the singer for staying true to his vision and constantly releasing music his way. I’m Him is a stronger EP than some major label projects released in the same year and worth revisiting.
Final Grade: B+
I’m Him 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.