Bottom Feeders: The Ass End of the ’90s, Vol. 12

Bottom Feeders takes a look back at every song that hit the Billboard Hot 100 charts, but only if they didn’t crack the top 40. It’s not meant to be a comprehensive review of each tune or each artist, but rather my view of the music I grew up loving. It’s meant to bring back all the great and really crappy songs that have faded into oblivion over time for one reason or another And, the series is designed to get discussions going about the music. I don’t have expert knowledge of every song posted here but I want to hear from you with your memories of the tunes, comments about a artist or general thoughts.

Section 1: The Ass End

“Never There” 1998, #78 (17 weeks) (download)

I always liked Cake even though everything they did tended to sound the same after a while. I love “Never There” for the cool Moog sound throughout the song. It was off their third record, Prolonging the Magic.

“All the Way” 1990, #63 (7 weeks) (download)

Reggie and Vincent Calloway go down as another one of those fake one hit wonders for their #2 hit “I Wanna Be Rich” but “All the Way” is a fantastic funky tune that was the follow up to their big hit and the only other one that charted. However, their biggest musical contribution was forming Midnight Star in the late ‘70s and putting out one of my favorite tunes of the ‘80s in “No Parking On the Dance Floor.” They also wrote great tunes like Klymaxx’s “Meeting in the Ladies Room” and Levert’s “Cassanova” among many other fantastic R&B and funk tunes.

Tevin Campbell
“Just Ask Me To” 1991, #88 (5 weeks) (download)
“Goodbye” 1992, #85 (12 weeks) (download)
“Strawberry Letter 23” 1992, #53 (9 weeks) (download)
“Alone with You” 1992, #72 (11 weeks) (download)
“Don’t Say Goodbye Girl” 1994, #71 (7 weeks) (download)
“Back to the World” 1996, #47 (9 weeks) (download)
“Another Way” 1999, #100 (2 weeks) (download)

Big fan of Tevin Campbell and it has nothing to do with his Prince association either. Quincy Jones was the one that discovered him but his first break was with the Prince produced “Round and Round” used in Graffiti Bridge. It ended up being the lead track off his debut record, T.E.V.I.N. which happens to be one of the best R&B albums of the decade. The team of Al B. Sure and Kyle West wrote and produced a lot of the record including tracks “Just Ask Me To” and “Goodbye.” Quincy Jones himself produced the cover of “Strawberry Letter 23” and Narada Michael Walden produced much of the rest of the record. Seven singles ended up getting released from it, all the way through the early part of 1993.

Campbell’s Second album, I’m Ready, wasn’t quite as good as the debut but was more diverse. The three top 20 tunes from the album were all written by Babyface, while Prince had a hand in four others including the airplay only, “Shhh.” The only song from that album here is “Don’t Say Goodbye Girl” which I’m sure the label expected to be a major hit having been written by Walden and Burt Bacharach.

Qwest spent a lot of money on the third record, Back to the World, bringing in Puff Daddy to write and produce on a handful of tracks but the result was a stale and uneventful record that didn’t get close to the quality of the previous two.

For his self-titled and final album, Quincy didn’t go all out this time and that actually worked better as the record is pretty damn fine. It didn’t generate any real hits though and his recording career was over. The last thing I heard about him was years ago when he was performing in the Australian version of Hairspray.

Camp Lo
“Luchini aka (This Is It)” 1997, #50 (17 weeks) (download)

Camp Lo consisted of two muslim rappers from the Bronx, Salahadeen Wilds aka Sonny Cheeba and Saladine Wallace aka Geechi Suede. Their debut album – Uptown Saturday Night – is a smooth nod back to the late ‘70s early ‘80s with “Luchini” taking it’s sample from the 1980 Dynasty hit, “Adventures in the Land of Music.” Unfortunately, they didn’t release another album until 2002 and all momentum for the group was gone by then.

“Horse & Carriage” 1998, #41 (17 weeks) (download)
“Let Me Know” 1999, #99 (2 weeks) (download)

Cam’ron might be a good rapper but really he has a place in rap history mostly because he ended up having beef with what seems like everyone in the game. “Horse & Carriage” and “Hey Ma” (from 2002) might be the only songs that anyone remembers from him. But he also was part of Dipset which launched the careers of Jim Jones and Juelz Santana as well.

His first beef was a big one that went back and forth for years with Jay-Z, then had one with 50 Cent, then both Jones and Santana and then finally one with Kayne West which I don’t think Kanye ever fought back on.

C & C Music Factory/Clivilles & Cole/Freedom Williams
“Just a Touch of Love” 1991, #50 (14 weeks) (download)
“A Deeper Love” 1991, #50 (14 weeks) (download)
“Pride (In the Name of Love)” 1992, #54 (17 weeks) (download)
“Keep It Comin’ (Dance Till You Can’t Dance No More!)” 1992, #83 (6 weeks) (download)
“Voice of Freedom” 1993, #74 (4 weeks) (download)

Robert Clivilles and David Cole performed under so many different monikers that everything associated with the group is going under the C & C Music Factory banner.

Although their debut under this name sold five million copies in the U.S. alone, it would be the only true success they had as C&C Music Factory as the second album – Anything Goes! – barely had any hits.

In between the two, C & C released their dance cover of U2’s “Pride” but it was the B-side “A Deeper Love” that would chart higher in the end.

“Keep It Comin’” was a one off single from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie soundtrack.

“Voice of Freedom” is a solo hit from rapper Freedom Williams off his debut disc. He still goes on stage now and again as C & C Music Factory which has made Robert Clivilles relatively angry.

“You” 1994, #78 (16 weeks) (download)

Grunge’s low point.

“Melt In Your Mouth” 1990, #69 (11 weeks) (download)
“Nightgown” 1991, #91 (4 weeks) (download)

Candyman’s debut album Ain’t No Shame In My Game generated the two singles you see above and his most well known tune, “Knockin’ Boots.” It’s a fantastic, fun sex filled record and it certainly seemed like he was on his way to a big career. However, as quickly as he rose to fame, he dropped as his follow up – Playtime Is Over – was a failure and he never recaptured the magic after that. However, give me any of the tunes of his debut anyday. Especially “Nightgown” since he samples my boy Prince.

  • Landon Kemp

    Oh my gosh, I LOVE Tevin Campbell. I was first introduced to him through his contributions to A Goofy Movie as the pop star Powerline: “Stand Out” & “I 2 I”, and I was amazed at how different his sound was when I heard his albums. But you know what? He grew on me and gave me a bigger appreciation for lighter R&B tunes. I now have all of his albums, I love them all, and I agree that T.E.V.I.N. is fantastic. I always wonder what became of him after the 90s.  

  • drxl

    - I just noticed “Robi-Rob’s Boriqua Anthem” is the second Spanish language song on the series (the first one being B-Tribe), and both of them got only airplay chart action. The other cool thing about it is that it serves as a bridge between late freestyle and early reggaeton (with more than a little bit of cumbia and merengue).

    – Fortunately, SPIN just had something nicer to say about Candlebox just a few days ago . They are truly underrated.

  • Russ

    I think Bush is grunge’s low point, but that would just be nitpicking.

    You’re right about all Cake songs sounding the same.  When they put out a new record in 2011 I said to myself “Haven’t they written the same song enough?” but surprise! it’s actually a big improvement.

  • JT

    When I first heard the cover of “Pride” by C+C I thought it was the most sacrilegious thing I had ever heard in my life. Turning a song like that into a dance song just seemed wrong.

    Cole + Clivillés did extensive work with Mariah Carey in her early days. So they do get some props for that.

    Never understood the obsession some folks had with Candlebox.

  • steed

    I wasn’t able to get into the new Cake record. Though, you’re right, it had quite a bit of variety on it at least.

    Bush is a group I liked at the start but when they started going downhill, they went fast.

  • kingofgrief

    Yay, Disqus is working for me this week!

    “Never There” will always be forever linked in my mind to April 20, 1999. My best friend was visiting and we were driving around Beaumont (about 100 miles east of Houston) where my then-sister-in-law and her family lived. We were listening to a modern rock station whose DJ broke in to report a shooting at a high school in Colorado. More details as we get them, in the meantime, here’s Cake.

    Same best friend and I saw Freedom Williams at a multi-artist Halloween party at a Club on the north side of Houston. He did a few C&C tunes plus something new called “Fuck the Two DJs”. Apparently he felt screwed out of some royalties from that first album and from what you mentioned, it looks like the Williams/Clivilles beef hasn’t lost any heat.

  • aaaaa

    Calloway appeared on Suze Orman’s Oprah Winfey Network show, America’s Money Class, as I Wanna be Rich, with a slight change in lyrics, was the theme to said show. They performed the song during the closing credits of the final episode.