Friday, September 22, 2017

Various Artists-Living Single: Music From And Inspired By The Hit TV Show (1997)

ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: September 22, 2017

It is with great pleasure that I share this latest music wish fulfillment! Fond memories of my television-watching days of the mid-90's always come rushing back to me whenever I think about "Living Single", one of my favorite sitcoms from that decade and well-recognized for starring the multi-talented rapper and actress, Queen Latifah. In fact, I've come to enjoy all avenues of entertainment over the years wherever Queen Latifah is involved—particularly her various blockbuster film roles in "Set It Off", "Last Holiday and "Taxi", plus her first jazz album that I'm so hooked to called "The Dana Owens Album"—so it only made sense that I should someday acquire this soundtrack from the memorable show where she played the role of Khadijah. Appropriately, the queen gets to be featured first with the opening cut, "Ladies Night Out", where she incorporates the words to the BEE GEES classic, "That's The Way (I Like It)", with her own blend of unique, colorful rhymes to show that it's the ladies who reign supreme. It was really refreshing to hear her rapping again; I haven't enjoyed the fruits of her earliest hip-hop accomplishments in quite a long time. Then thinking about that lyrical tribute to the BEE GEES leads me now to highlight the Nonchalant/Faith Evans cut, :Until This Day", which samples the chords and the rhythm to Patrice Rushen's "Forget-Me-Nots". Looks like Will Smith's "Men In Black" theme song for the movie he starred in by the same name wasn't the only hip-hop track to sample the 80's classic! Then there's the NADANUF (I like the stylized spelling of 'not enough') hip-hop remake of "Single Life", a golden oldie which was originally recorded by the funk/soul group CAMEO back in the 80's as well; the fresh rap twist by these two ladies puts a cool feminine spin on the CAMEO classic and totally makes it a perfect fit for the 'living single' theme of the show. Speaking of throwback funk/soul artists, I now put the spotlight on the lovely Chaka Khan, whose music I haven't enjoyed much beyond the 80's. So it was a delight to hear her on something post-80's with her magnificently-performed "Pain", piercing my ears and heart with her aching words of ' why can't you give me what I want? ' while some equally magnificent jazz is featured during the midway break and at the very end with the sweet saxophone. Familiarity struck me further on what I've nominated to be your next 'Slow Jam Of The Night': "How Do You Love Someone?"; it was a chance to listen in on the ladies of the all-female r&b group, XSCAPE, after a long time as well. Also being nominated for 'Slow Jam Of The Night' is the one after: "1-4-3 (Strawberry)", which is brilliantly performed by TONY! TONI! TONE! member Dwayne Higgins; there's something so magical about the old-school groove here. Bo-Shed's "Come On In": another great hip-hop cut with a marvelous rap flow, although I favor this song's beat and that delicious moment when the guy rises above the music with his soulful declaration of 'I got what you need' in the chorus. Soulful and delicious—that would further have to describe the vocals of r&b sensation Eric Benét all throughout his smooth jazz contribution, "Superwoman". Don't know much about this K-Ball lady, but I like her sweet and angelic voice on her smooth n' dreamy "All Of Me", which is simply about giving all of her love to one special man. Then concluding this soundtrack on a high note is the dazzling duet, "I Commit To You", which I believe was played during Overton and Sinclair's wedding in the show's final episode. If it wasn't, then it will make for the ideal wedding song nonetheless. 'With this ring, I commit to you,' are just some of the words offered by this pair, but those words have a greater effect—and nearly brought me to tears—once their combined stunning vocals, and all of their moving passion that comes with it, take hold of you and your senses:

1. Queen Latifah - Ladies Night Out
2. Bo-Shed - Come On In
3. Sandra St. Victor Featuring Yo-Yo & Nonchalant - Chocolate
4. Nadanuf - Single Life
5. Chaka Khan - Pain
6. Xscape - How Do You Love Someone?
7. Dwaynne Wiggins - 1-4-3 (Strawberry)
8. Eric Benét Featuring Boney James- Superwoman
9. Nonchalant Featuring Faith Evans - Until The Day (Remix)
10. Esaga Featuring Pamela Bryant - Don't Waste My Time
11. K-Ball - All Of Me
12. Deborah Williams - Gamin'
13. Shola Ama - You Might Need Somebody (Di Classic Radio Mix)
14. Chris Gaddy & Pamela Bryant - I Commit To You

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