LA Reid and Babyface Slow Jams In The Mix
May 1st, 2016 – Exotic DJ is back with a special edition to the Smooth Jazz mix series! LA Reid and Babyface Slow Jams In The Mix. In March of 2016, LA Reid was the recipient of the Business of Entertainment award from BET for his contributions as an executive in the music industry. In addition to discovering Usher, Reid signed P!nk, Ciara and Outkast to their respective labels. He also oversaw Mariah Carey‘s most successful albums, and brought other artists, such as Justin Bieber and Rihanna to the masses.
Before all of that, Reid was a member of the Deele, an 80’s funk outfit that produced a number of hits, including Body Talk, Material Thangz, and the classic slow jam, Two Occasions. Reid then joined forces with Babyface, also of the Deele, to create one of the most successful production tandems of all time. They have 40 number one R&B singles, while earning numerous Grammy and Soul Train Awards.
“I wanted to create a mix with a theme, one where everyone can appreciate the talents of these producers,” said Exotic DJ in a recent interview. “They had a lot of hits from so many different artists, and I just wanted to take a stroll down memory lane.”
Artists in this special edition mix include Whitney Houston, with Exhale (Shoop, Shoop) from the Waiting To Exhale Soundtrack. A unique feature of the album is that all of the artists on the soundtrack are women.
There are two tracks from After 7, Ready Or Not and Truly Something Special. Founded in 1987, After 7 is a trio, featuring two of Babyface’s brothers, Kevon and Melvin Edmonds. It is said that Virgin Records signed them without seeing or hearing them.
Speaking of Kevon Edmonds, Sensitive Mood from the album 24/7, is included in this set. He has released two albums, and although they did not chart well, they have the classic Babyface/After 7 sound.
Johnny Gill appears in the set with My, My, My. This is really an all-star recording, as background vocals are performed by After 7, and the saxophone is played by Kenny G. With talent like that, how can it not be a hit?
Johnny Gill also sang background on Pebbles‘ Always. Cherrelle and Karyn White also appear on the track. Love Makes Things Happen, a duet with Babyface, is the second track from Pebbles that appear in the mix. They are keeping it in the family, as LA Reid and Pebbles were married from 1989-1996, while Cherrelle and Pebbles are cousins.
Bobby Brown has two tracks in the set, Roni and Rock Wit’cha. Both of these are from the Monster album, Don’t Be Cruel. LA and Babyface produced numerous hits for the New Edition alum. Some will say that this album saved his career, as his first album, King of Stage, only produced Girlfriend which was a marginal hit.
Before producing the Waiting To Exhale soundtrack, LA and Babyface produced most of the music for the Boomerang soundtrack. We have three tracks from that album. End Of the Road from Boyz II Men, Tonight Is Right from Keith Washington, and Love Shoulda Brought You Home from Toni Braxton. End Of The Road spent 13 consecutive weeks at number 1 on the Billboard singles chart. Boomerang also introduced Toni Braxton, who would become one of the most successful female vocalists. Braxton’s Breathe Again also appears in the set.
You cannot have a retrospective without a couple of tracks from the Deele. Two Occasions and Just My Luck appear in the set. Interestingly, the Eyes of a Stranger album was released in 1987, but Two Occasions did not chart until 1988, and this was a full year after the release. Radio finally caught wind of the track, and it became a classic hit for the group.
Tevin Campbell scores two tracks, with Can We Talk and I’m Ready. Tevin was fortunate to have some heavyweight producers in his early years. In addition to LA and Babyface, Quincy Jones, Prince and Narada Michael Walden also produced tracks for Campbell.
You Can’t Run by Vanessa Williams, TLC’s Baby-Baby-Baby, and a Love Saw It, a duet with Babyface and Karyn White close out this long mix.
One last note, Daryl Simmons co-wrote many of the LA/Babyface creations, so we would be remiss if we did not mention him as an integral part of their success.