Thank You For Listening: A Short Film About The Foreign Exchange
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Rewind: Al B. Sure!’s “Night And Day”

By / 10.20.10

People of the ’80s, I need your help.

On a whim, I’ve been wasting a bunch of time looking up how things were in the ’80s and ’90s. Much of my “research” lead me to spend hours digging through Google Books and YouTube to see where people’s heads were at during those years. Some of my findings – mostly found in SPIN, Ebony, Vibe and Jet Magazine – either supported my theories or flat out blew my mind. For example, I knew Bobby Brown was very popular in his time but I had no idea his debut album outsold EVERYBODY in 1989. Or the fact that Jayne Kennedy was so sought after yet no one heard a peep from her from the ’90s onward. It’s pretty interesting stuff I tell ya.

However, here’s something I can’t come to grips with. I’m well aware that Mr. Al B. Sure! was put on by the legendary Quincy Jones and his debut album went multi-platinum. But this video looks like inspiration for an SNL short more than anything what with his super-serious, weirdo snarl and that “strike a pose!” tiger uppercut he kept doing. Also I could never understand why chicks fawned over this cat with his Morse Code unibrow. Al’s no Pavarotti either. The lack of a good voice never was a barrier to having chart toppers. Nevertheless it’s interesting to observe how heads, myself included, give cats like Drake and CuDi constant criticism about their vocal chops when Al B.’s voice was nothing to shout about.

So what gives? I was just a toddler when he hit the scene so his impact is lost on me. Was it because he was young and New Jack Swing music, a genre he’s often aligned with, started to bubble when he dropped? Or were people just as crazy as they are now? In any case I’d greatly appreciate any help from the old(er) heads on this one.


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