Thursday, 14 February 2013

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?

Tevin Campbell

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


Mark Morrison

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.

Photo by Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

Montell Jordan

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…

Photo by Moses Robinson/Getty Images for Gospel Music Association


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.


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…


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!

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