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11 Songs... #2

I knew it would take me a while to complete this series but I didn't think things would get this bad!?

Part 1 explored my favourite Marvin Gaye songs of ALL time and this one is actually a two-song entry which I hope will make up for the stupidly long gap in presenting Part 2.  This one (or two) are interesting choices for me as they both represent songs that made we want to delve deeper into music and start to expand beyond what I was listening to.

This entry's selection is The Roots' 'What They Do' and Method Man & D'Angelo 'Break Ups to Make Ups'.

So we're in 1998/9.  I'm in uni.  Luton of all places(!)  And my music tastes are predominately R&B and hip-hop, as was the case with nearly everyone I knew.  Thinking back, I still hold a genuinely strong affection for a lot of 90s R&B and every few months, I tend to immerse myself with as much as I can get my hands on from people like Babyface, Jodeci, Boyz II Men, R Kelly.  I was a complete stan for Bad Boy Records and almost everything that they put out, and I really don't think they/Puffy get the credit they deserve for their quality output over the years but perhaps that'll be another entry from me for another time.

'Break Ups to Make Ups', I will always credit for introducing me to so much more than I was listening to.  I knew who D'Angelo was obviously and knew of 'Brown Sugar', but it didn't mean anything to me at the time.  I had heard his voice on so many different songs but there was something about his pairing with Method Man that just had me hooked.  The way he sung that chorus - he was so fu#king cool.  He knew it and so did everybody else.  It was released 1999 before 'Voodoo' came out and this song had me chomping at the bit to get my hands on it.  'Voodoo' was the first soul album I owned and 'Brown Sugar' subsequently became the second.

The experience with 'What They Do' was almost similar.  I had never heard of The Roots and in many ways, this could be described as their breakout song.  It was certainly one that made a lot of people pay attention anyway.  Raphael Saadiq's sweet chorus isn't even what steals the show here - the lush instrumentation and the fact they knew just how good their groove was that they left it to play for the remaining 1.5 minutes of the song.  For a hip-hop record, I had never heard anything like that before!  The Roots have always stayed ahead of what hip-hop was doing as they always released good music first and foremost.  (If you don't own 'Home Grown' 1 and 2, I strongly recommend you doing so as their versality and skill shines on so many more songs!

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