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Derrick Dunn

Second Listen Sunday : The Rude Boys, Rude House

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.

The Rude Boys’ second album, “Rude House,” arrived in stores in 1992 and was led by the single “My Kinda Girl.” The track effectively serves as a nuanced sequel to “Written All Over Your Face,” incorporating notably more vital percussive elements. The song allows for a prominent exhibition of the vocal prowess of lead singers Joe Little and Buddy Banks. The song’s theme is Centered on their captivation with a specific archetype of femininity. The lyrics eloquently express an overwhelming appreciation for the woman’s aesthetics, demeanor, and aura. Utilizing metaphorical language and symbolic imagery, “My Kinda Girl” delves into masculine yearning for a profound connection with a female counterpart. I’d be remiss if I didn’t shout out a young Jay-Z who made an appearance on the remix.
For the second single, the group delivered the ballad “Go On & Cry,” reuniting with songwriters Edwin Nicholas & Gerald Levert, who penned the ballad with group member Joe Little. The song is a usual man supporting a woman, and the member’s harmony brings the track home. The rest of the album falls akin to nineties R&B tropes with its themes. Fortunately, each group member possesses vocal talent, with Melvin Sephus distinguishing himself as a standout frontman courtesy of his rich falsetto tones that exude comfort and charm.

Sadly, the group didn’t get a third single; I do think one of the ballads would have been a strong choice; ideally, “Tonight,” “This Love,” and “True Apology” were all worthy, in my opinion. While The Rude Boys appeared to get lost in the 90’s shuffle of music when there were numerous R&B groups, “Rude House” validates they avoided the sophomore slump.

“Rude House” by The Rude Boys is available on all streaming platforms

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