Album Review • Kima, Keisha & Pam debuted their self titled album in 96 & gave us some hits. Stepping into the music scene when girl groups were taking over the music industry, Total had to come with something different to separate themselves from the others. Each member brought their own styles & personalities which is what gave them their own lane. Pam brought the tomboy vibes, Keisha brought the sensual looks & Kima brought the chill vibe. The perfect combination for the only female group signed to Bad Boy at the time.
“Can’t You See” became an instant hit as soon as that beat dropped. The sample of James Brown “The Payback” is in my top 3 favorite samples of that record & a lot of classics have used it but this one stick like grits. The Diddy bop is automatic within the first 3 seconds of the song & having Biggie featured gave the record even more boost. There second single “No One Else” is my least favorite single of theirs. I’m not sure what it is about that song, but it just doesn’t give that WOW effect like the others.
Raphael Saadiq lost his mind when he produced “Kissin You” because that song should not be as good as it is. That guitar intro really set the tone for the rest of the record. The tone of their voices was perfect for the way it’s produced. It’s a very mellow record & their voices did the song justice. Another Saadiq record was “Do You Think About Us” which didn’t get much airplay & it should have because it’s a pretty good record with the Raphael background vocals mixed with Totals, it would have gone platinum in my house.
The B cut that is noteworthy is “Tell Me” & it’s probably because of The O’Jays “Help (Somebody Please)” sample. You know I love a good sample & of the 15 tracks on this album 9 of them used samples. If you listen to former Diddy artist then you know they don’t shy away from sampled music. It just shows they know good music when they hear it. Overall, Total’s debut album definitely gave us some timeless tunes that will get the people going. They did a great job of making their own lane despite having multiple girl groups out at the time.
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