Bottom Feeders: The Ass End of the ’90s, Vol. 2
Bottom Feeders is back! And this time, we’re going ’90s on your ass. If you missed the two ’80s editions, here’s the deal. 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.
Don’t forget there’s pages 2-4 to check out if you want bonus material and top 40 info!
Section 1: The Ass End
After 7’s back story is really quite interesting due to one fact. See, almost everyone, including myself for the longest time and even the current edition of the Billboard bible of music, lists the members of the group as Melvin and Kevon Edmonds, both brothers of Babyface and Keith Mitchell, cousin of LA Reid. However, Mitchell has since come out here and there and stated that he’s no relation to Reid. Instead he was just friends with Kevon and Babyface and Reid just thought it would be a better story if he was the cousin. Pulled the wool right over my eyes.
Either way though, the group had some really good tracks like “Heat of the Moment” and “Can’t Stop” but were signed to Virgin records unheard due to the lineage, so in reality the whole group was kind of a marketing gimmick from the start. Fortunately for them though, Babyface didn’t get all the talent in that family as they turned out to be at least above average for a decent 6-7 year run on the charts.
Oh, and is “After 7” supposed to represent the time that it starts to get sexy because my son stays up until 8 pm or so, so that time seems to be a little early, don’tcha think?
“Goin’ Through the Motions” 1991, #52 (16 weeks) (download)
This was the only hit for Aftershock which was comprised of a rapper (Guy Charles Routte) and a singer (Jose Rivera). “Goin’ Through the Motions” is a pretty good representation of what they were about. They were nothing terribly special but decent enough to capture both the audience of someone like After 7 and also Color Me Badd.
Both of these tunes clearly hit the chart because people ate up the For the Record double disc Greatest Hits release in ’98 (now retitled Essential). They were two of the three new tunes on the disc which was promoted initially as having all 41 #1 hits from Alabama in one place. No doubt Alabama was a good band but keep in mind that anything and everything went to #1 on the country charts.
I mentioned back in the original ‘80s edition of Bottom Feeders that I wasn’t a big fan of Al’s singing voice (though I know that isn’t the opinion of the majority of the R&B world) so I never bothered picking up 1990’s Private Times…and the whole 9! or the awkwardly titled follow up – 1992’s Sexy Versus. My problem was simply that his falsetto just didn’t work for me however, I had no issues with his more upbeat new jack swing songs since it was closer to a rap which he performed in a deeper voice. “Misunderstanding” fits in the latter category and is enjoyable but I think “Right Now” is horribly off in the harmony vocals.
We also have our first BFS (Bottom Feeders sighting) of the year on “Misunderstanding.” That’s Mr. Teddy Riley producing, ya’ll.
“Perfect World” 1991, #90 (4 weeks) (download)
Alias was Sheriff meets Heart with Freddy Curci and Steve DiMarchi from the former pairing up with pretty much the entire backing band of the latter. And their music sounds exactly like what you’d expect getting those two together. Exactly.
“Perfect World” was their final hit on the Hot 100 which you can find on the Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead soundtrack. The dishes are done, man.
“Bounce Back” 1990, #54 (8 weeks) (download)
This was the title track from Alisha’s third and final record. I think by this point she had worn out this sound, but I’m not shocked that this was still even a minor hit in 1990. Alisha was a good singer that never truly broke through.
Odd fact: Alisha sings the theme song to the Will Ferrell/Molly Shannon shitfest, Superstar.
“Hip Hop Drunkies” 1997, #66 (9 weeks) (download)
The ‘90s had a lot of lighthearted rap tunes and a lot of filth for the sake of being filth. J-Ro, Tash and E-Swift of Tha Alkaholiks were somewhere in between. “Hip Hop Drunkies” isn’t exactly “I Got A Man” but it’s got an element of fun in it as well and if you’re going to call a song “Hip Hop Drunkies” then Ol’ Dirty Bastard was certainly the rapper that was the perfect guest. It certainly is the only song I think I’ve ever heard something like “I’m in your butthole / wherever it goes.” But that’s ODB for you.
The radio version is in the video below.
“The Actual” 1998, #75 (4 weeks) (download)
“The Actual” is one of the great lost rap songs of the ‘90s. All City only released one record and got their 15 minutes of fame as they had associated with Onyx in their heyday. Their lone record, Metropolis Gold was an intelligent and catchy record with songs produced by Pete Rock, the Rockwilder and DJ Premiere on this tune. The album suffers from what almost every rap record in the ‘90s and maybe even today does – it’s way too long – but “The Actual” is undeniably catchy.
“(She’s Got) Skillz” 1995, #57 (20 weeks) (download)
Between 1994 and 2001 I probably bought a good two thousand CDs. I don’t really know how and looking back I probably could have paid for my son’s college with the money I spent, but at one point I was going to school and working five jobs (I’m not kidding) so I thought I deserved to spend my money. But in the great purge of 2003 I got rid of probably three or four thousand CDs leaving me what I would estimate to be about maybe 400 or so CD’s from the ‘90s left.
Today, if you went through my physical CD’s, not counting “the collection” of ‘80s music, there would be a few hundred that I collected from the college radio station I worked at and maybe 100 from the decade that I actually bought. So where is this going? Two of those 100 CDs belong to All-4-One. Somehow purge after purge All-4-One made it through unscathed.
I did stop buying them after And the Music Speaks in 1995 and in fact I didn’t even know they had four more records since then but to me, these guys were just plain smooth back then. I don’t look back and think the same thing now but as the king of the mix CD, every woman that I macked on in the mid-90s got “These Arms” on the disc. I’m pretty sure none of them ever spoke to me again.
And of course there’s “(She’s Got) Skillz.” The guys weren’t exactly known for their upbeat tracks so it’s no surprise this didn’t chart higher. They sang so romantically on most of their tracks and then this one comes along where “she shimmies up my jimmy” and “in the morning when I’m yawning / she gives me her sticky bun” (I still don’t think I get this one and I think supermaning a girl wasn’t even coined yet, so…unless they were actually singing about a sticky bun…nah). Just a pretty silly track that doesn’t represent them too well at all.