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Monday, June 5, 2023

Xscape – Off the Hook (1995) Album Review

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Jelisa M.http://melanated-source.com
Jelisa is a lover of all music, but 90's R&B has a special place in her heart. She considers the 90's a groundbreaking era for black entertainment that should be celebrated more. "Music is my love language and movies are my mistress."

Album ReviewXscape went from the homegirls from around the way to the girls you want to take home. Keeping that street swagger, the ladies gave us some real ballads on their 2nd album. They showed the world that they know how to spice it up without over doing it. Instead of the baggy jeans & shirts, they gave us the oversize suits with the flat caps. One thing that didn’t change were the vocals.

“Off the Hook” gave us 3 big hits with “Feels So Good”, “Who Can I Run to”, & “Do You Want to’. “Feels So Good” is a Xscape song that I feel people slept on. It is a straight groove, the title is exactly how you feel when you listen to it. When that 808 come through them speakers in that intro, it’s an automatic “TURN THAT UP!” Kandi’s raspy tone gliding across that beat just takes the song to another level. This one of those records you may catch the hardest guy in the room boppin’ his head to. 

Everyone knows The Jones Girls cover “Who Can I Run To” is an instant classic, but originally the ladies were not fans of the song when JD first played them the record. They thought it was too slow of a ballad, but little did they know this would become one of their biggest hits. The vocal arrangement on “Who Can I Run To” is what makes it the perfect song. Their voices blended perfectly from Kandi’s lower register to Tiny, LaTocha & Tamika’s soprano tones, it just made perfect sense. JD did a great job of producing the record to still have the original sound with a 90’s spin to it.

“Do You Want To” is another fav of mine. If you’ve read my previous article on Xscape’s 3rd album, then you know I absolutely adore Tiny’s voice. A lot of my favorite songs are those with Tiny on lead or with her killing a bridge. Her tone on “Do You Want To” was sweet but sensual. This the song you call in to the radio station during Quiet Storm hours & dedicate it to that person you know you shouldn’t be catching feelings for. Let’s throw in “Work Me Slow” because it held it’s own on the album with lead vocals from Kandi. I could see this placed in a 90’s movie love scene with candles lighting up the room. A few babies were probably made off this one.

Overall, you can’t deny the dynamic of Jermaine Dupri & Xscape because they made some timeless music together. All 3 albums are staples of the 90’s & we will be listening to them 50+ years from now. Telling the grandkids “this is real music right here!”

Check out my music trivia game Sample Me This here http://melanated-source.com

 

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