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: Trey Songz, Inevitable
R&B crooner Trey Songz was still basking in the success of his platinum-selling fourth album, Passion, Pain & Pleasure, when he decided to release his first EP. Carrying the moniker Inevitable, it hit stores on the singer’s 27th birthday, November 28, 2011.
Trey opens the project with “Top of the World,” a song where he croons about not forgetting where he’s from and wanting to go back to the hood to put everyone on. Die-hard Trey fans know that the song formerly appeared on Trey’s mixtape Anticipation II. I did like the production of the track and the message, however, when Songz attempts to spit a Hot 16, it loses its luster.
Trey reunites with his frequent collaborator Fabolous for the next track, “What I Be On,” a bragging song. The production isn’t that impressive and sounds like a Fruity Loops composition from the early 2000s cleaned up for a more modern sound. Even the usually reliable Fabolous verse is uninspired. However, I get the vibe that Songz was going for and I’m sure this was specifically for the clubs.
Thankfully, Songz regains his footing on “I Do.” Songz fully taps into his persona of “Mr. Steal Your Girl,” which his female fans, or Trey’s angels as he calls them, can’t get enough of. Producer Troy Taylor always brings out the best in Songz, and this one is no expectation. While the song may appear arrogant and brash, Songz can sell the theme to his female fans. “Outside” follows and is a typical bedroom interlude, nothing exceptional, and comes off more as a filler track.
Trey closes the project with “Sex Ain’t Better Than Love,” where he croons about finally finding the right one after sowing his wild oats. The song isn’t anything we haven’t heard before, but I will say it’s the strongest one on the EP. When Inevitable hit stores, Trey was in his prime as a singer from a sales standpoint.
Since his 2009 release Ready, and up until Inevitable, Songz received seven Top Ten solo R&B singles. Not to mention, he was the opening act for Jay-Z’s The Blueprint 3 Tour, Usher’s OMG Tour and even headlined his own tour. With all of that success, it was inexorable that Songz would have a misfire, and unfortunately, Inevitable falls into that category.
Final Grade: C-
Inevitable is available on all streaming platforms.
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.”
One of the most talented men in indie music, Eric Roberson, kicked off his 30th-anniversary tour last night in Pittsburgh, so for this week’s Second Listen Sunday, I decided to revisit Mr. Roberson’s third album, The Vault 1.5, which hit record stores in 2003. As Erro fans know, Roberson initially hit the scene with the lovely ballad “The Moon” while studying at Howard University. Roberson’s first record deal didn’t go as planned, but not one to just lay down, Roberson continued to build a name for himself by writing for the likes of 112 and Will Smith. Additionally, Roberson collaborated with Jill Scott, DJ Jazzy Jeff, and Cam’ron.