Section 1: The Ass End
Solo was one of the better of the mid-to-late ‘90s R&B acts. They had a great vocal range and ability to harmonize as shown at the beginning of a lot of their videos where they would break into an a capella version of a classic R&B tune. They did a great job of blending the sexy songs with sophistication. It’s unfortunate that they only had a cup of tea on the Hot 100 and none of these guys actually had a solo career afterwards.
“You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” 1990, #87 (4 weeks) (download)
A gay club classic in any version, this was of course made famous by Sylvester in ’78. Somerville’s version is so close to the original that it simply feels unnecessary.
I barely remember the #4 hit “My Love Is the Shhh!” let alone these two. Unlike Solo, I just don’t hear anything special from these dudes named Fuzzy, Sauce and Cat Daddy. Actually, the thing that stands out the most to me about these guys is the fact that in “My Love Is the Shhh!” they don’t even sing in the song until it’s half way over already. And that’s probably what made it a hit.
Sons of Funk
“Pushin’ Inside of You” 1997, #97 (2 weeks) (download)
First of all, where’s the funk? Secondly, how many of these Master P founded bands hit the charts only to fade away as quickly as they hit? This track was featured on the I’m Bout It soundtrack which of course “starred” Master P.
“Promises Broken” 1996, #63 (5 weeks) (download)
This really isn’t a terrible song but it pales in comparison to most of the music on Grave Dancers Union which made them a household name three years prior. That’s a brilliant record while 1996’s Let Your Dim Light Shine isn’t even close. The band has said it’s their least favorite record due to Columbia Records inserting their nose into the process which they also did with the follow up, which led to Soul Asylum splitting up for nearly a decade.
Souls of Mischief
“93 ‘Til Infinity” 1993, #72 (9 weeks) (download)
These guys were another rap group in the vein of the Pharcyde, Das Efx and Black Sheep. Those guys thought they’d be chillin’ from “’93 ‘Til Infinity” but it was really just until slightly into 1994.
I think it’s very simple why these two tunes weren’t as big as “Keep On Movin’” or “Back To Life.” Singer, Caron Wheeler, left after the first record and Soul II Soul had like a half dozen singers on their second record, none of which came close to her.
“Understand This Groove” 1992, #58 (17 weeks) (download)
You won’t find “Understand This Groove” on a Sound Factory record thanks to some legal issues. This was originally released by a group called UFI and the Sound Factory version was more of an unlicensed remix than a cover tune. The original tune was then officially remixed and released on the exact same day as this song. Then Sound Factory was told they couldn’t put it on their album so they actually re-recorded it as a different song.
Sounds of Blackness
“I Believe” 1994, #99 (3 weeks) (download)
Even if only for three weeks and just one spot above the bottom of the charts, it’s still a little tough to picture a full gospel group getting played enough on the radio to hit the Hot 100 but then again I’m sure there were plenty of regions where gospel was way bigger than where I lived in the ‘90s.
The Soup Dragons were cool for a few years. It’s disappointing that most people’s first impression of the group were with the Stones cover “I’m Free” as I don’t think it represents them very well. Their fourth record – Hotwired – featured “Pleasure” and “Divine Thing” and is their most commercial and also listenable record.
“Get Ready, Here It Comes (It’s the Choo-Choo)” 1996, #96 (2 weeks) (download)
1996 was clearly the year for the Choo-Choo to be coming through. I swear there was 100 songs that rode the choo-choo train somewhere but I still think the Quad City DJ’s had the best version.
“Sugar Cane” 1998, #58 (4 weeks) (download)
I completely understand why “Sugar Cane” gave the Space Monkeys their 15 minutes of fame as white boy alternative rap was somewhat popular at this point however, the song sounded like it belonged more with EMF in ’91 than this late in the decade. And for my tastes, the chorus is just simply way too busy for me to enjoy.