Sunday, September 21, 2008

"Loosey's Rap," Rick James featuring Roxanne Shante (8/20/88)
Now, this was unexpected. A full 5 years and 2 weeks after his last #1, the king of punk-funk made one final, surprise, fleeting return to the top - with an assist from Roxanne Shante, of all people (not exactly burning up the charts herself in '88). "Loosey's" is a very stripped-down track - to an extent, you can tell Rick was pretty much out of ideas - but at the same time, its minimalism is precisely what makes it so appealling. This is highly mechanistic, machine-funk. Shante plays the role of "Loosey" - and the important thing to remember about her is that while Shante is very important in the history of hip-hop (Juice Crew, y'all!), she wasn't actually a great rapper at all. But hey, you get what you pay for, right? This isn't bad at all, it's just a little treading water. B-

"Off On Your Own (Girl)," Al B. Sure! (8/6/88)
Barely more than 3 months elapsed before Sure! followed his first, seismic chart-topper with his second, a much more saucy track in which its singer warns a girl against doing things that will result in her ending up - you guessed it - off on her own. Girl. It's lovely, light, dispensable R&B, expertly made/produced, well sung, and you'll never miss it if you don't hear it again. But that doesn't make it any less dreamy-wispy. "Dreamy-wispy" is a compliment. B+

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