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: The-Dream, I Am Sam
Terius Nash, better known as The -Dream was already an established artist when he released his I Am Sam EP a few days before Christmas in 2015. The EP was a collection of covers by the legendary Sam Cooke and was recorded during the sessions, The-Dream had with Beyoncé for 4 album.
Around the time of release, The-Dream had this to say about the project “My Mother loved a lot of Artist growing up, but the one we shared the most interest in together was Sam Cooke, so tonight I give him back to her.”
As most music fans know, Sam Cooke is arguably one of the greatest singers of all time. Cooke was a baritone with 3.4. Octave range. Despite his robust pen game, The-Dream has never possessed the most vital signing voice. I honestly had no idea where the project was going to go.
To my surprise, The-Dream delivers a solid EP that serves not as a heartfelt tribute to his late mother but as a respectful homage to Mr. Cooke. Some of the songs covered include “Cupid,” “You Send Me,” and “A Change is Gonna Come.” The-Dream never over sings any of the tracks, nor does he use any auto tune. Instead, he uses falsetto and tenor to make the songs work for him. I also want to commend the singer for his production choices, as all of the songs have an old-school feel to them.
If I had one gripe with the project, I would say that he could move a few of the placements on the track list around, but overall this is a nice project worth the listen and a great introduction to Sam Cooke for younger fans.
Final Grade: B +
I Am Sam is available on The-Dream’s Sound cloud.
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.