R&B vocal groups were all the rage back in the nineties. What made nineties R&B such a special time was everyone brought their A-Game when releasing an album. One such group was Silk, whose 1995 self-titled second studio album is this week’s Second Listen Sunday pick. Having achieved a signature song with “Freak Me” from their platinum-selling debut, Silk was on fire.
In 1994, the group appeared on the soundtrack to Blankman with a lovely cover of Commisoned’s “Cry On.” Additionally, the group participated in Black Men United for the classic anthem, “U Will Know.” However, Silk would use another 1994 film to kick off the promotion for their second album. “I Can Go Deep” first appeared on the soundtrack to A Low Down Dirty Shame.
“I Can Go Deep” was the perfect quiet storm lead single for Silk’s second album. The song was written by Thomas Evans and produced by Mike “Nice” Chapman and is signature Silk. A sexy slow jam featuring lead vocals from group member Gary “Lil G” Jenkins. In contrast, his group mates provide lush background vocals. Silk then switched it up for the second single, “Hooked on You,” and took things to the dance floor.
“Hooked on You” featured production from duo Soulshock & Karlin and the pen game of Andrea Martin. A classic nineties BOP with an infectious groove showed audiences the group’s talent for choreography. While Gary “Lil G” Jenkins once again leads the song, fellow group member Johnathan “John-John” Rasboro, aka the Falsetto King, shows out on the song’s bridge. In addition, let us not forget about the cold Trackmasters remix for the song featuring a young Foxy Brown.
“Don’t Rush” was the final single from the group’s sophomore album. “Don’t Rush” is one of my personal favorites. The song was courtesy of the Gary Jenkins pen and is an excellent blend of Jenkins and Rasboro voices. I still remember hearing the song as background music during an episode of The Young & The Restless in the summer of 1996 and being happy for the group.
Silk’s second album was not just about the singles, though, as the album also has some standout album tracks. One of my personal favorites that I kept on rotation is “What Kind of Love Is This.” John Howcott, Emanuel Officer & Donald Parks were the producers behind this beautiful ballad. Twenty-six years later, the song puts to shame most R&B albums seeing release today.
Johnathan “John-John” Rasboro leads the song with a vocal smoother than aged cognac and an accompaniment from Lil G on the second verse. I feel the song should have been the third single, and with the proper promotion, it could have been a vast jumping the broom song during the 95/96 wedding season. “Don’t Go to Bed Mad” is up next, and it is a message that everyone in a relationship should live by. “Don’t Go to Bed Mad” found the group working with Gerald Levert and Edwin Nicholas.
While “Don’t Cry for Me” showcases the group’s writing and production skill, the rest of Silk’s second album finds the group singing about the typical nineties R&B topics. However, given the group’s vocal talents, the material never comes repetitive or falls into the usual sophomore slump.
Outside of die-hard R&B fans, Silk’s self-titled second album rarely gets the mentions that it should. Featuring classic singles and strong album tracks, Silk is a worthy companion to the group’s 1992 debut and an excellent precursor to 1999’s Tonight, which many consider the group’s magnum opus.
Top Songs “What Kind of Love Is This,” “Hooked On You,” “Don’t Rush,” and “I Can Go Deep.”
Initial Listen Grade: B+ (Age 14)
Relisten Grade: A – (Age 40)
Silk is available on all streaming platforms