I can’t decide what angers me more: that this song is written and produced by Dre and Vidal, who are capable of way better (like this, for instance), or that so much of this song is devoted to perennial rap cameo artist Fabolous and the completely devoid of talent Rick Ross.
It’s not clear to me what it is that RichGirl offers to the marketplace as a vocal group. Or rather, nothing that they have released so far requires four singers singing in harmony, or even bothers to take advantage of the fact that RichGirl is actually made up of four singers who, presumably, can sing in harmony.
It isn’t that they should do this*:
But there doesn’t seem to be even the pretense that we’re getting music that uses multiple voices in harmony to convey some emotion or idea that can’t be conveyed in the same way with one voice (or even one voice with background singers). I think the artist, producer, or label that figures out how to do that in this historical moment when there’s an entire generation that venerates artists whose whole appeal is the absence of any musical ability whatsoever will be wildly wildly successful.
So I guess it is the former that bothers me more. I get that the marketplace is producer-driven, dance-floor focused, and completely uninterested in vocal ability. But then – why a girl group? RichGirl exists solely to sell the idea of a girl group, without actually being a girl group.
*Another post for another day: how Tiny was the best vocalist in Xscape, got the best leads on all the songs, and also how Tamika Scott’s greatness was unjustifiably overshadowed by her sister Latocha. Both of which are on display on this, their single best work.
Shai were too smooth, their harmonies too perfect, for the early 90s in which they tried to stake out their place. But interesting, that quality is what keeps their music from sounding dated or trite, especially Blackface, their sophomore album. It's probably the best male vocal group recording of the 90s behind Playa's Cheers 2 U.
Mr. Turn U Out isn't the best song on that album (that is reserved for The Place Where You Belong), but it's damn close. It should have been a single because it had all the elements that would have made it a quiet storm masterpiece. Most notably – Garfield Bright and his flawless, thick baritone on lead. Garfield on lead will always make the panties wet, and while he was all sly come on here, he is such a good vocalist that the song sounds romantic instead of corny. Also – listen out for Garfield and Darnell trading vocals at the end of the song. Tight!