Smooth, Strawberries
Picture of Derrick Dunn

Derrick Dunn

Slow Jam Saturday: Smooth, Strawberries

In the world of music, female double-threat artists are nothing new. Queen Latifah was already successfully juggled an acting and Hip Hop career when we discovered she could sing in the 1998 film Living Out Loud. Icon Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott took it to another level for female artists who could rap and sing in the nineties when she released her classic debut Supa Dupa Fly in 1997. However, for this week’s Slow Jam Saturday, I wanted to give flowers to an artist you may have forgotten about, Smooth, and her 1998 hit, “Strawberries.”

The younger sister of music producer Chris Stokes, Smooth burst onto the scene in 1990 with her debut album Smooth & Legit. You Been Played and the self-titled Smooth hit stores respectfully in 1993 and 1995. I started noticing Smooth in the spring of 1995 when I heard “Mind Blowin” and the laid-back remix to “Blowin’ Up My Pager featuring Romeo of Immature.

Three years later, in the spring of 1998, I was a sophomore in high school when “Strawberries,” from her fourth and final album to date, Reality, hit the airwaves. Smooth linked up with Lance Alexander and Tony “Prof T.” Tolbert of Lo-Key? for the song’s writing and production. A sensual slow jam, the song opens up with a solid intro from Smooth before she lets her vocals shine. What I enjoy about the song is that it has a lush bridge and a catchy chorus. Toward the end of the track, Smooth gets a chance to drop a Hot 16.

“Strawberries” would chart at #49 on the Billboard Hot 100 and 17 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks. I can also remember the video being a staple on BET. In addition, many young ladies would dedicate the song to a young man they were interested in during the request and dedication hours on my local radio stations, WKYS 93.9 and WPGC 95.5.

While Smooth was part of the Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis’s Perspective Records roster for her final album, it didn’t make a dent in the charts. Nevertheless“Strawberries” is a solid slow jam that should have prolonged her career.

 

Final Grade: B+

“Strawberries” is available on all streaming platforms

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