Sunday, August 14, 2016

READY FOR THE WORLD-Straight Down To Business (1991)


Ready for another throwback from the past? Having already dug up and shared some old treats from the 'R' entries in my music collection, I thought I would present one that's become a bit of a novelty and starting to become a rarity.....if it hasn't already. "Straight Down To Business" was the fourth studio album overall and the first studio album of the 90's recorded by the very r&b troupe who made the memorable hit "Oh Sheila" a household staple on 80's urban old-school radio forever. As with the recently-featured Ray Parker, Jr., I myself hadn't listened to anything at all by the READY FOR THE WORLD crew for ages and ages—perhaps not even much beyond their "Oh Sheila" hit—that is, until I decided to renew connections with them as well on this twelve-track new jack swing/funk party. The hoopla kicks off with a crowd-motivating, shout-out-to-the-world anthem, "Nuttin' But A Party", which brought me back in tune with that classic early-90's old-school hip-hop that I like and miss—fresh and clean. Right after that, the crew gets down to business with the seductive title track (love how their collective harmony slides and glides over the word 'business' when they sing ' let's get straight down to business ' in the main chorus), which is only a sneak preview of the real business that they want to attend to in the cuts thereafter. And what would that business be, exactly? Well, the steamy and seductive lyrics of "P.B.S.I." (I like their words of '' I'm your bath water when you wanna get wet ', then the part about her putting on the sexy launderette while he puts on the g-string), Track #9's "Yo! That's A Lot Of Body", where they rap about the girl being so fine that she should be in a blue jeans commercial, then the follow-up to that called "Panties & Draws" are three indicators that there's definitely some freaky business going on! As a side business, there's a few games being played by both parties. "Cat-Thang" became my #1 favorite because of its funky, upbeat house rhythm and the accompanying suspenseful sound of the chords and the melody that set up the whole 'mysterious' theme of the lady sneaking and prowling around. Plus, that playful 'meow' purred by ladies in background at end of chorus, the back-and-forth dialogue exchanged between the man and the lady comparing the female cat-thing to the man's dog-thing, then the subsequent 'ruffs' of the guys making like dogs for real in the background to answer the collective 'meows' of the ladies makes the story all the more entertaining. The ladies might still be playing the sneaking-and-prowling-around game on "No More Mr. Nice Guy", but the guys have had enough. Kinda curious, though, that the 'pump, pump, pump, pump it up' shouted at end of every chorus by the background vocalists is included here, given the somewhat negative theme of the song; I felt that the pumping-it-up would've been more suitable for this album's opener or the only other cut here with a predominant party theme: "World Party" (an excellent one to jam and ride to). Maybe that signified the man's celebratory triumph of no longer playing those cat-and-dog games? By the time all of the games and partying around are over, you'll be ready to take in the album's other three slow jams: "Ask Your Lover", "Can He Do It?" and "Would You Make Me?". There's no risky business going on with any of these three; just some serious groove when you get straight down to it:

1. Nuttin' But A Party
2. Straight Down To Business
3. Cat-Thang
4. World Party
5. Ask Your Lover
6. P.B.S.I.
7. Can He Do It?
8. No More Mr. Nice Guy
9. Yo! That's A Lot Of Body
10. Panties & Draws
11. Would You Make Me?
12. Cat-Thang (Mental Mix)

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