Where Are They Now? Underrated Neo Soul/R&B Crooners We Loved Who Fell Off (But Shouldn’t Have)
After years of being confused about it, I’ve found that clearly, not everyone is supposed to be or going to be as big as an Usher, a Beyoncé, and most probably won’t get anywhere near MJ status on a global scale. But when highly talented individuals, especially good looking male singers with great pipes, don’t get or don’t get to sustain the popularity they once had, I always wonder why. Such is the case with the following 10 fellas, who throughout my pre-teens and adulthood, I’ve been a fan of. So what are they doing now and what went wrong on the road to stardom? Shall we find out?
And be ready to click (you’ve been warned, so save the complaints).
“And don’t you forget iiiiiit!” That was my jam! For those who don’t remember Glenn Lewis, the neo-soul singer with his funky curls and smooth voice garnered many a female fan after dropping songs like “Don’t You Forget It” off of his debut disk, World Outside My Window in 2002. The Canadian crooner was doing fairly well sales wise as his debut album peaked at number four on the Billboard 200, but as he prepared to release his second album with the single, “Back For More,” his release date got pushed back, and his album just wound up being shelved. Things haven’t been the same since…
After leaving and joining different labels, you’ll be happy to know that Lewis signed with EMI Music in 2011 and is said to be working on a new project. However, we’ll believe it when we see it. He still looks good though!
Go to a throwback ’90s party and you’ll soon notice that there’s no way to escape “This Is How We Do It.” But Montell Jordan has had more than just a few hits, because he also had our heads bobbin’ and feet two-stepping to tracks like “Somethin’ 4 Da Honeyz” and the later hit, “Get It On Tonite” in 1999. But after releasing a few more albums and having small bit parts in movies like The Nutty Professor and The Fighting Temptations, Jordan started focusing less on music and more on the Lord. At the end of 2010, the singer announced that he was going the Mase route, leaving his career behind to focus on the ministry, becoming a Worship Minister for a church in Atlanta. Since then, he has put together a gospel album, but don’t expect anymore “This Is How We Do It” type jams…
I’m sure after “Thong Song,” you were probably hoping Sisqó would go somewhere and sit down. Well, you got your wish for the most part. After all the group members of Dru Hill agreed that they wanted to try the solo thing, Sisqo went on to undoubtedly have the most success of all. But after songs like “Thong Song,” “Incomplete” and “Got To Get It” reached their peak, Sisqo had reached his peak with fans. After his second solo album didn’t gain near the same amount of success as Unleash the Dragon, the singer returned to Dru Hill, but they couldn’t duplicate their past massive success. He’s tried his hand at reality TV since then, doing Celebrity Big Brother in the UK in 2010, Gone Country in 2008, and Keith Sweat’s Platinum House in 2009. But for fans out there, you’ll be happy to know that he is currently working on his third solo album, The Last Dragon. Yay…
The last time we saw Mark Morrison and heard his very unique voice, we were jamming to the very infectious “Return of the Mack” in 1997. The album of the same name spawned a number of successful hits abroad in the UK, but “Return of the Mack” was Morrison’s bread and butter ’round these parts. However, his career kept taking a backseat to his legal troubles, which included a conviction for firearm possession around the time he was finally getting notoriety for his music. It was like that all the way up until 2009, as he was arrested for everything from assault to suspicion of kidnapping. But surprise, surprise, he’s hoping to release new music, including an album called I Am What I Am, and has been preparing for that by doing some features. It could really be the “return of the mack”! But we won’t hold our breath.
I used to love me some Mase. Not because he was gorgeous or anything like that, but his voice was so different that it was beautiful! He started gaining fame after “Touch Me, Tease Me” in ’96 and followed that success up into the early new Millennium with hits like, “Happily Ever After” with Beyoncé as his love interest in the video, “Faded Pictures,” and “Missing You.” And don’t forget about his appearance on Ja Rule’s massive hit, “Livin’ It Up.” But around 2001, musically, things slowed down and he was involved in a horrific accident. While handling his cousin’s handgun it accidentally discharged and shot him in the neck, but was able to miss his spine and vocal chords. With the exception of a lot of pain, a hole and some bandages, he walked away okay. But by 2009, he was back trying to release the album The Rose Experience, and his fifth studio album, Here, My Love, which had moderate success. He’s doing his indie label thing and is touring. Whether you see him around like that or not, he’s back!
You weren’t a lover of ’90s music if you didn’t have an appreciation for Tevin Campbell. A young man at the peak of his career, by the time Campbell was a young adult, he was really ready to go somewhere and sit down after working hard from the late ’80s all the way to the late ’90s. In his time off he kept a very low profile, with the exception of getting in a little legal trouble I won’t go into…But after appearing on the BET Awards in 2009 in a tribute to the O’Jays, and after appearing on The Mo’Nique Show, many people were calling for him to make a comeback. While on the show in 2010, he told the host that he was thinking about it. Since then, no new music, but not only can you catch him on YouTube singing some of his old jams, but he has also done work in musicals around the world, including the ever-popular Hairspray.
The king of all things ghetto at one point and time (when you have a song called “Lil N***a ‘Aint Mine” the title comes naturally), me and my sisters loved Jaheim! That voice reminded me of a hood-tastic teddy bear and he wasn’t too bad on the eyes either. With jams like “Just In Case,” “Fabulous” and “Put That Woman First,” I bumped his albums non-stop. But after dropping some platinum albums, his notoriety faded a bit. But he’s trying to chug on back, dropping Another Round in 2010 and recently starring alongside the beautiful Regina King in a video for that album’s lead single, “Finding My Way Back.” Now if he could just leave the zoot suits alone…
After leaving Blackstreet early down the line to pursue solo success, that’s when Dave Hollister and his voice really caught my attention. While “My Favorite Girl” and the album Ghetto Hymns was a success, he had his biggest hit with “One Woman Man” in 2000 as well as “Take Care of Home” off of the album Chicago ’85…The Movie. But after that, album success wasn’t easy and like many talented artists, he hopped from one label to another. As of recent, he’s reunited with Teddy Riley and the crew for a Blackstreet reunion and last time I checked, they were touring…but honestly, I think I prefer him solo dolo. But whatever works!
Tony Rich Project
For years I believed that “Tony Rich” was Babyface trying to pull an alter ego out on us because of that voice, but no, Tony Rich Project was of course his own man with own success. Coincidentally, Tony Rich started off as a songwriter for LaFace before getting the green light to get backing as a solo artist. He had mad success with the album Words, especially with the beloved platinum single, “Nobody Knows.” But after that, his second album was a commercial no no, and throughout the 2000s, if you were paying attention, you might know that he released five more albums, some through independent backing. Nothing new since then, but hopefully he’ll get back to churning out those smooth jams his fans are missing.
This guy has been the man for years, he’s just hellas of underrated. I’ve been a big fan of Joe since “All The Things,” but I also love him for jams like “Good Girls,” “The Love Scene,” and “Let’s Stay Home Tonight.” But he probably gained his most success on a track of his own with “Stutter” featuring Mystikal. But since then, people have been sleeping on his latest releases when they’re missing out on some classics! But that’s okay, Joe is still out here trying to make waves in the very interesting and changing R&B game, most recently releasing the album, The Good, The Bad, The Hot in 2011.