Words By Preezy Da Kid
When reminiscing about the sound of R&B from the late ’90s to early ’00s, it would be remiss not to mention the work of Ginuwine. One of the game’s premiere male vocalists, it’s hard to imagine the last decade and change without his cache of hits.
From his entrance in the game as part of Timbaland’s Swing Mob collective to his work with industry heavyweights such as R. Kelly and Bryan-Michael Cox, Ginuwine has been known for making jams that you can ride out to as well as ballads for baby making. Being that his catalog is a big deal, we decided it’s only right that we present the Top 10 Ginuwine songs anyone should know. Raise your S-Curl kits in celebration.
Be sure to check out previous entries in The Primer Series where we break down the catalogs of many other legendary artists and groups.
“I’m just a bachelor, looking for a partner/Someone who knows how to ride without even falling off”
With those aforementioned words, R&B crooner Ginuwine was introduced to the public. A native of Washington D.C., he eventually linked up with Timbaland and his production team after paying dues behind the scenes, releasing his debut album, The Bachelor, in 1996. The project was a huge success, powered by the Timbaland produced lead single “Pony”.
Written by Static Major, the song saw Ginuwine unabashedly inviting the ladies to “take a ride,” and was a huge hit in the late summer-fall of ’96. The song peaked at number one on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop chart and number six on the Hot 100, setting up the newcomer for a promising career and making pony’s more relevant then they’d ever been before.
2. “Tell Me Do You Wanna”
“Tell Me Do You Wanna,” the second single released from The Bachelor, is a flawless exercise of style and substance. Backed by an addictive track produced by Timbaland, Ginuwine is in his zone on this one, crooning “I’m feeling confident, I just came from the bar/Sick of wondering, who the hell you are/Cause I’m wanting you, what a n*gga gotta do” while admiring a P.Y.T. in the club. While not achieving the chart success of “Pony”, “Tell Me Do U Wanna” is still a gem in Ginuwine’s catalog and breaks down what every man is thinking in the club during the ill-fated last call.*
* — Fun Fact: Wiz Khalifa sampled this track for his 2012 collabo with the Weeknd, “Remember You.”
3. “Same Ol’ G”
Now a budding star due to the success of his debut, Ginuwine was tapped by the folks behind the soundtrack to the 1998 Eddie Murphy flick, Dr. Doolittle, to contribute to the project. The resulting song, written by Timbaland, Jimmy Douglas, and Static Major (and produced by Timbo, of course), was the man-in-the-mirror-esque “Same Ol’ G”. Speaking on his personal maturation with lyrics like “I used to be the main one clubbing, but now I choose to stay at home/Most of my friends still thugging, but this time the G’s full grown,” he still proclaims to be the “Same Ol’ G” from before the fame.
4. “What’s So Different”
Ginuwine, Timbo, and company got back in the studio to record his sophomore album, 100% Ginuwine. The official single for the album “What’s So Different”, produced by Timbaland, is an uptempo number in which Ginuwine questions the integrity of his lovers intentions after two-timing a previous mate to get with him. Although it failed to achieve the same success as his previous lead single, it still remains a memorable footnote from the late ’90s for the Francis Lawrence directed video alone and it’s utilization of a sample lifted from the Monkees 1968 hit “Valleri.”
5. “None Of Ur Friends Business”
Ginuwine voiced the displeasure of many disgruntled boyfriends with his 100% cut “None Of Ur Friends Business”. The song sends shots at those gossiping, men bashing friends that females seem to always have lurking in the shadows. While not one of the bigger singles in his catalog commercially, “None Of Ur Friends Business” is definitely relevant to this day and a go-to when the wifey’s friends start with their bullshit.
6. “So Anxious”
“9 o’clock, all alone, paging you” is one of the most recognizable openings to a R&B song from around the turn of the century. The third single from 100% Ginuwine, “So Anxious” sees him impatiently awaiting his late night creep for a night of bumping and grinding, repeatedly leaving messages on her jack to out of anxiousness.
One of the signature numbers in his stash of hits, the song would become his second Top 20 pop hit and peaked at number two on the R&B charts. Directed by Chris Robinson, the video would also prove life-changing, as he would hook up with the love interest in the video, rapper Solé, who he would eventually wed in 2003.
Ginuwine continued his musical winning streak with his third album, The Life, in 2001. Debuting at number three on the Billboard charts and eventually certified platinum, the album was powered by the lead single “Differences,” which was produced by Troy Oliver and written by Ginuwine in honor of his wife. Crooning about the ways his woman has changed and completed his life, the song was a favorite among the ladies. A smash hit on radio, the single would reach the top five on the Billboard charts and become his most commercially successful single to date.
In 2002, Ginuwine was tapped to contribute to the soundtrack to Ice Cube’s comedy The Barbershop and delivered effectively with “Stingy”. Written by Johnta Austin, Bryan Michael Cox, and Jason Perry and co-produced by Cox and Perry, the song sees Ginuwine apologizing for being “stingy” with his girl’s time and affection with vulnerable lyrics. A modest hit on radio, “Stingy” remains one of Ginuwine’s more indelible performances and still gets play with R&B lovers.
9. “In Those Jeans”
For his fourth album, 2003’s The Senior, Ginuwine decided to do what most guys do on an average day: compliment a lovely lady with a little extra luggage in the rear on how damn good she looks in a pair of form-fitting jeans. Asking “Is there anymore room for me (in those jeans)” and name-dropping popular women’s brands got a positive response from the ladies.
The song was so honest the fellas had to respect “In Those Jeans,” too, making it a huge hit on radio and video countdowns. Peaking at number three on the R&B/Hip-Hop charts and number eight on the Pop chart, “In Those Jeans” would ultimately become Ginuwine’s last Top 10 hit, as well as a classic for the booty lovers worldwide.
10. “Last Chance”
Following a somewhat lackluster release commercially and critically with his fifth album Back II Da Basics, Ginuwine made a strong return with his ’09 album A Man’s Thoughts and the lead single “Last Chance.”
Written by Adonis Shropshire and produced by Bryan-Michael Cox, the song sees Ginuwine trying to win back the heart of his lover, promising “If this is my last shot to win you, then call me Jordan, fourth quarter in ’92.” The song was a success on urban radio, peaking at number three on the R&B charts, proof of Ginuwine’s staying power after a decade plus in the game and bringing his career full circle.