Robert Anderson, Darnell Chavis, Eunique Mack, and Daniel Stokes, professionally known as Solo, burst onto the music scene in 1995 with their self-titled debut. Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis’ label Perspective Records released the project on September 12th just as I had entered eighth grade.
Jam & Lewis served as executive producers on the album while the group members contributed to the songwriting. The group’s first single was “Heaven,” is taken straight from the sixties and seventies soul book. The production of Jam & Lewis makes you feel good and reminds you of the family cookout or that agape love every person looks for. Hip Hop fans should YouTube “Heaven (Straight Hip Hop Joint remix), which features Pudgee Tha Phat Bastard, Young Zee, Almighty Arrogant & Rufus Blaq. In comparison, slow jam fans should check out the Sheets remix of Heaven, which smoothly samples “Between The Sheets” & “For The Love Of You” By The Isley Brothers.
Solo’s next single was “Where Do U Want Me to Put It.” For the group’s second single, producers Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis kept it up-tempo and evoked a Chicago steppers groove. Now I can admit that I did not get the song’s meaning until I got older as I was amid the groove as a fourteen-year-old.
Solo hit us with a ballad for the third single, “He’s Not Good Enough”. Jam & Lewis turned over to Joseph Powell’s production duties for this one and instead contributed to the writing. Co-penning the song with group members Darnell Chavis and Daniel Stokes, we could all relate to the song. “He’s Not Good Enough” is an old-fashioned song when someone you are in love with chooses the wrong person instead of you. Group member Darnell Chavis sings the song with so much emotion that Kci and Sisqo would be proud.
“Blowin My Mind” was the final single and it features that classic Jam & Lewis production. Hearing this song takes you back to the days of roller skating and just having a good time. Solo also paid homage to legend Sam Cooke on their debut. The group does justice to Cooke’s “Another Saturday Night”, “A Change Is Gonna Come”, “Cupid”, “Everybody Loves to Cha Cha Cha” and “(What a) Wonderful World”.
Now you know it’s not a nineties R&B without some slow jams. The slow jams kick off with “Xxtra,” and the mood setting continues through “In Bed” and “(Last Night I Made Love) Like Never Before, all of which showcase pristine lush vocals set to the production of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.
While the group reunites with Joseph Powell for “Keep It Right Here.” Solo also finds time to highlight lost love in The Characters produced “I’m Sorry” while unrequited affection highlights “It’s Such A Shame.”
Solo’s debut ended up going gold, and the group enjoyed a successful touring run in promotion of the album. Solo’s debut was good old-fashioned stick to your bones SANGIN, and this is an excellent debut album overall that is worth the revisit if you have never heard it.
Top Songs: “Heaven,” “Where Do U Want Me To Put It,” “He’s Not Good Enough,” and all of the slow cuts.
Final Grade A –
Solo is available on all streaming platforms