July 8, 2017

H-Town - Beggin' After Dark (1994)


H-Town is one of the core badass new jack swing groups of the 90s. The 80s and early 90s were more saturated with friendly, lovey-dovey swing with pop-rap and dance elements. Some of that stuff--like Guy and Keith Sweat--is dope, but I think the genre reached its peak once DeVante Swing (of Jodeci) came through with slow, complex, and smooth keyboard layerings. These groups' day-to-day style was no different from gangsta rappers at the time; they would deck themselves out in camo, curse freely, and compare their loving to a loud bag of skunk. I first heard H-Town on the mostly R&B Above The Rim soundtrack compiled by Death Row Records. I think DeVante must have something to do with this group because of his close connection to Death Row, but I'm not seeing any production credits of his for this album (I swear I did somewhere before). Luther Campbell of this Luke Records seems to guide the vision behind H-Town's music; I'm not too familiar with him, but it looks like he was a big player in this style of swing. Even so, you have to trust me that the keyboard lines and harmonies are very similar to what DeVante made for Diary Of A Mad Band. If we're comparing how cohesive and to-the-point each is, I think Beggin' After Dark is better than Diary Of A Mad Man. It's true that no song on Beggin' is anywhere even remotely close to the quality of the first four tracks from Jodeci's album, but it excels in the fact that there aren't any corny dance-rap songs or forced Busta Rhymes features. On the other hand, the main release of Beggin' After Dark clocks in at an hour and ten minutes and is very same-y throughout. I think you're better off seeking out the original 11 track album if you're going to give this a shot, but I only have the 18 track on hand--so that's what I'll upload.

Sample

Beggin' After Dark