Volume 93, Issue 69
Wednesday, February 2, 2000
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Guy's guys finally back together
Unless you're a hip-hop/R&B fan who enjoys living under a rock, you've likely come across the name of artist/songwriter/producer Teddy Riley countless times.
However, even some hard core fans of the genre would find it difficult to name the many projects Riley was connected with prior to his current alliance, BLACKstreet. His first group, Guy, hip-hop's premier New Jack Swing purveyors in the late '80s, are once again a functioning unit, reunited on their latest effort, Guy III.
Together with brothers Aaron and Damion Hall, Riley instituted this particular amalgam of funk, hip-hop and R&B into the urban landscape, a brand of sound still generously borrowed by countless artists today. The band's first album, Guy, released in 1988 and 1990's The Future, exhibited the group's penchant for mixing dance-friendly hits with intense, soul-bearing ballads. However, a much publicized break-up at the height of their popularity sent the trio spinning off into separate projects.
The love of music brought them back together and it's this reunion which has sent the genre into fits of hosannahs. Guy III showcases the supergroup at the peak of their talent, with Riley supplying infectious beats, immensely powerful lead vocals from Aaron Hall and integral background vocals from Damion Hall. Altogether, their collaboration makes Guy III an album destined to bump, grind, shimmy and shake through your stereo speakers.
Notable tracks include the bouncy "Dancin'," which features thrumming bass lines and '80s synthesizer chords, as well as one of the first ballads about an internet love story, "Love Online."
Altogether, Guy III remains a fine addition to the group's legacy as one of the founding members of the eclectic sound of modern urban music.
Fans of Kelis' hit single "Caught Out There," a ferocious yet empowering anthem with the lyric, "I hate you so much right now!" will find her first full length effort continues along this militant vein.
After a guest stint on Ol' Dirty Bastard's latest hit, "I Got 'Cha Money," Kelis has released Kaleidoscope, an album which proves to be an excellent and aggressive debut.
The CD is more subdued and graceful than the single, combining the minimalist beats of the Neptunes (Mase, ODB) with piercing lyrics. It seems as if Kelis is singing straight from experience. However, unlike other performers, Kelis does not use personal life experiences to make her songs more combative. Instead, she relishes in intimating her problems with the opposite sex to the listener, then asks that the guest stars (Terrar, Markita, Marc Dorsey, N.E.R.D. and Justin Vince) agree with her assessments.
The song "Wouldn't You Agree" revolves around a duet with Vince, whose voice retreats to an apologetic repetition of her accusations as his character eventually admits to infidelity.
Highlights include "Ghetto Children" ("No matter what a teacher say to you/ghetto children are beautiful") and "In the Morning" ("In the morning when you're gone/I must wait and be strong And have faith you'll return in my arms"). Only when Kelis explores lighter fare, such as "Roller Rink" does this album weaken.
Overall, Kaleidoscope is a substantial hip-hop album, filled with a surprising romantic maturity.
Copyright © The Gazette 2000