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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite

Maxwell

1996

Buy At Rough Trade
Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite
Album Summary

Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite is the debut album by American R&B singer-songwriter Maxwell. It was recorded in 1994 and 1995, then released on April 2, 1996, by Columbia Records. Maxwell largely wrote and produced the album himself, recording in sessions at Electric Lady Studios, RPM, Sorcerer, and Chung King Studios in New York City, and CRC Studios in Chicago. The resulting music features a mellow, groove-based sound with elements of funk, jazz, smooth soul, and quiet storm. A concept album, Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite was composed as a song cycle that focuses on an adult romance, based in part on Maxwell's personal experiences. Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite was not an immediate commercial success, but it was helped by the release of its second single "Ascension (Don't Ever Wonder)" in July 1996, and the album eventually became a million-seller. It was also a success with critics, who praised it as a departure from the mainstream, hip hop-oriented R&B of the time, while earning Maxwell several accolades and comparisons to soul singers of the past, particularly Marvin Gaye and Prince. The success of Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite elevated Maxwell's reputation to that of a sex symbol and a notable performer in the music industry. He was credited with shaping the "neo soul" movement of musicians that rose to prominence during the late 1990s. Along with D'Angelo's Brown Sugar (1995) and Erykah Badu's Baduizm (1997), the album provided commercial exposure to neo soul and has since been cited by several critics as Maxwell's greatest work.

Wikipedia

Rating

2.94

Votes

11356

Genres

  • Pop
  • Funk
  • Soul

Reviews

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Wed Apr 13 2022
2

can someone please help me. i accidentally put this album on through the speakers in my room and the all encompassing smoothness has removed all friction from every object in the room. I can't open the door as i no longer have fingerprints and the door handle is slipperier than the soap in the prison showers. once i finally get out of this room the question remains will my new orb shape be the new fashion and shoot me to international fame or will i be shunned as the weird ball boy who looks like Duncan Goodhews head rolling around.

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Thu Feb 02 2023
4

This is a desert island album for me. Not because I'd want to listen to it for the rest of my life, but because you could fuck a coconut to this, and it would be consensual and probably the best sex you ever had. I'm only like 3.5% gay, and I'd fuck Maxwell to this. Christ, at 3:06 of "The Suite Theme" he just exhales forcefully into the mic. This dude must be paying child support around the world. I heard that at the end of his shows they release 50k Plan B pills from the ceiling like balloons. Stuart Matthewman (of Sade) is all over this, and it shows. If you want similar (but also more interesting and varied) music that replaces sex themes with love themes, and replaces a sexy male with a sexy female, then reach for Sade. If you want to fuck something, reach for Maxwell (although, Sade works for that too). I much prefer Sade over this in casual listening (Sade is awesome), but this accomplishes what it set out to do perfectly. It just gets stale by the end. 7.5/10

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Fri Nov 12 2021
2

This album is so "smooth" it slid in one ear and back out the other, leaving no impression behind other than a slightly slimy film to mark its passage.

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Mon Dec 11 2023
3

This is the soundtrack of moist Vaginas

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Thu Apr 08 2021
1

An entire album of songs that all managed to sound the exact same. And they sucked.

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Thu Feb 11 2021
1

I did not need to hear this album before I died.

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Wed Apr 13 2022
3

Hey, what's up Cum Knuckles? Fancy joining me for a burger and fries this coming Tuesday? We can put on some Maxwell, talk about our feelings and re-create the Hindenburg disaster.

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Sun Feb 21 2021
3

A very 3 album for me. I kept waiting for some unexpected element to surprise me and draw me in but it never really came. I like most of the arrangements/atmosphere (808s!) but nothing I can really sink my teeth into. Just makes me want to listen to Marvin Gaye.

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Wed Sep 29 2021
2

When the first track kicked in and was pretty smooth, I was wondering what the hell Robert Christgau was smoking—or perhaps more appropriately, what he wasn't—that made him give this one of his "dud" grades, and then the first vocal track started. Maxwell has a fine voice, but not a *fine* voice; I thought Sade's Diamond Life was sexier than this, and certainly better paced. This would make for a pretty good instrumental album to vibe and/or bang to, but almost every track has about 3 minutes of material for its 5 or 6-minute runtime, to the point that there are multiple tracks that sound like they're ending, only to ramp back up for another fruitless minute. I mean, seven whole minutes of Til the Cops Come Knockin', plus a 90-second reprisal at the end of the record? No wonder Public Enemy said 911 was a joke. Key Tracks: The Urban Theme, Suitelady (The Proposal Jam), The Suite Theme

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Wed Apr 13 2022
2

Sounds like George Michael having a stroke

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Sun Apr 23 2023
3

A collection of horizontal love songs I’ll likely be hitting and quitting.

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Sun Apr 23 2023
3

Smooth à la limite du kitsch. "'till the cops come knocking" reste le meilleur exemple. On traverse l'album dans un brouillard sexy rythmé par une basse groovy. Parfaitement dispensable mais en même temps tout à fait écoutable

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Wed Sep 07 2022
1

A few nice funky parts but overall very boring r&b/soul. And a terrible album cover.

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Wed Sep 14 2022
1

Wow, it's like someone made a big batch of "every-R&B-trope-I-hate" juice and forced me to chug.

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Wed Oct 14 2020
5

This... just might be my gateway drug to full-on R&B.

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Thu Jan 28 2021
5

Just what I needed to listen to today!

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Fri Mar 26 2021
5

Never heard of Maxwell but really enjoyed this. Very mellow.

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Sat May 08 2021
5

Very cool album, nice change in pace

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Wed Jun 30 2021
5

fantastically smooth and sensual. impossible not to get into the mood while giving this a listen

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Thu Sep 01 2022
4

Bit like a long bubble bath. Relaxing and smooth has hell, but after a while you get a bit bored.

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Fri Oct 20 2023
3

Smooth, funky baby-making music. The songs stretch out and groove. They take their time. They don't have anywhere else to be. They're just right here, right now, with you, baby. Dim the lights and let them work their magic.

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Mon Oct 30 2023
3

Nr. 21/1001 The Urban Theme 3/5 Welcome 3/5 Sumthin' Sumthin' 4/5 Ascension 3/5 Dancewitme 3/5 ...Til the Cops Come Knocking 2/5 Whenever Wherever Whatever 3/5 Lonely's The Only Company 2/5 Reunion 2/5 Suitelady 3/5 The Suite Theme 3/5 Average: 2,82 It achieves what it set out to be. Background music for sex. Just remains pretty unremarkable.

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Mon Mar 13 2023
2

Kenny G meets '70s elevator music. This is something they should add to the torture arsenal at Guantanamo. 10 minutes of this and I was admitting to everything from being Jack the Ripper to actually being Q.

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Sun May 07 2023
2

In the 1990s, people had sex to this sort of music. This probably explains an unfortunate amount about millennials.

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Thu Jun 30 2022
1

As smooth as diarrhea and about as welcome. What the fuck is it doing on this list? Best Tracks: The Urban Theme; Welcome; Sumthin' Sumthin'

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Thu Sep 30 2021
5

this is now on regular, workday rotation. great background for cleaning out Outlook...

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Sun Nov 28 2021
5

This is straight-up bang-time music. Red curtains, candles, glasses of wine...yeah, this is great.

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Fri Feb 18 2022
5

What a great piece of work. I wonder how I never hear of him before.

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Tue Mar 15 2022
5

Why I have never heard this before? I don't know if it just didn't get any airplay or land in the UK, but this ought to have been massive. By turns funky and mellow, and the warmness of the production just draws you in. An album you need to listen to in one go.

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Thu Oct 20 2022
5

If Mamas Gun was the companion to Voodoo this is the precursor. Jazz influenced R&B which feels both classic and modern at the same time. The title perfectly describes what we hear, as the songs flow seamlessly into each other. My only criticism is that some of the songs are a little too similar to each other but overall this is a great album.

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Thu Oct 20 2022
5

A debut from a twentysomething that is a concept album about a relationship. Sounds like a train wreck waiting to happen. I bought this when it was first released, and it blew me away. It still does. While there are refences to Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye and Al Green, Maxwell's view is his own. A great listen from start to finish.

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Thu Oct 20 2022
5

I hear a lot of childish gambino in this project. It was a very smooth album. My Favorite was the saxophone in loves the only company

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Thu Nov 24 2022
5

super fun - 9/10 maybe this should’ve come out 20 years earlier but I’m not complaining good vibes

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Mon Feb 06 2023
5

Йоу, добро пожаловать на Late Night Show Очень стильное классическое R&B, звуки которого я уверен засемпловали с удовольствием. Скачал на плеер, запустил на колоночках и кайфанул

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Sun Mar 12 2023
5

Loved this super slick and super chill

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Tue Mar 14 2023
5

a r&b hang out record. Acension is still one of the best songs of the past 30 years. His voice is silky smooth. The height of neo-soul.

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Tue Mar 14 2023
5

favs: "Dancewitme", "Sumthin' Sumthin'", "Whenever Wherever Whatever" least fav: "Reunion"

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Fri Apr 21 2023
5

This album was part of the neo-soul soul revival. This album, more than any other album brought my attention to modern soul/r&b as not just the stuff I heard on the radio that was all about getting in someone's pants. I mean there is some of that here, it is Maxwell and he is smooth, but this is more of chill at night with someone you care about and want to be close to. It's an album for mature love with smooth rolling bass lines and one of the all time great singers - who is just effortless

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Tue Jun 06 2023
5

This promises a lot on Wikipedia, so I'm ready for the swing and gliding entry of the opening track of The Shagadelic Love Pad, I mean "Urban Hang Suite". you guys hated it, but for me, its grooving sexy beats get more and more mellow and sensual using all the tell tell sounds, until its obviously romance atmosphere music and dimly lit hotel room or rug by the fire scenery comes to mind. I managed until track 10 before It actually felt a bit too cheesy and self conscious, by the time its The Suite Theme is very post coital somnolence. ha, this is so cheesy and cool, and done with such a straight face, that it made me smile. I see why the Algo suggested to play next songs from Marvin Gaye and George Howard (but not Barry WHite, that would have been too much!)

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Sun Jun 25 2023
5

Superb album a stroke of pure genius the album oozes quality from every note.

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Fri Jul 14 2023
5

Great album! So soulful, smooth, funky.

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Mon Jul 17 2023
5

L O V E This is music. Happy that everyone that goes through this list has to stop through the groove station. Pure Groove.

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Thu Jul 27 2023
5

Really digging this one as I listen to it.

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Thu Jul 27 2023
5

One of the greatest R&B albums ever made. No other notes.

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Fri Aug 11 2023
5

This is one of the more influential albums of Neo Soul. If you like D'Angelo you'll like that. And I do. I think Maxwell is even better because his smoothness and lyrical focus makes this a more coherent album that has also some more interesting instrumentation than the first two D'Angelo albums.

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Sun Sep 03 2023
5

1996 - Soul music, Neo soul, Contemporary R&B, Funk, Jazz, Urban contemporary music, Quiet storm, Smooth jazz, Retro-soul

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Wed Dec 13 2023
5

This album holds up! Classic soulful R&B. This will get you laid.

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Fri Jan 12 2024
5

I’ve always loved Maxwell It’s good to know he pioneered Neo Soul

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Thu Jan 18 2024
5

This album is incredible. Incredibly relaxing and easy to listen to. Only grievance was that it felt slightly too long, I think you could get rid of Reunion and Suitelady and it would be a perfect length.

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Thu Jan 18 2024
5

This feels like a mix between hip-hop and jazz, and I loved it. I listened to this album a couple of times, and then let Spotify keep going with similar music, but I heard nothing like this artist. It's great.

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Fri Jan 19 2024
5

This is what Neo-Soul is all about. A lot of the original songs I had heard and was never able to identify again. IT'S SEXY, IT'S CLASSIC, IT IS A MAJOR ACCOMPLISHMENT IN IT'S GENRE

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Wed Feb 28 2024
5

Deep neo-soulful night grooves. This, along with Sade, is exactly what my soul needs right now in 2024. So good on first listen. 5 big stars!!

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Sun Mar 24 2024
5

5/5. A chill and smooth soul and R&B album with disco elements. I love that the tempo slows with each song, creating a more intimate and sexy album as based on the concept. There is not really a bad song on here with serious and expressive songwriting. The songs are long but such a great album to vibe to.

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Thu Apr 25 2024
5

I enjoyed the sultry, sexy vibe of this soulful album. Like a lot of new-to-me artists on this list, its presence highlights some obvious omissions (**paging Barry White**). Still, I very much enjoyed chilling out to this and it lowered my blood pressure several much-needed notches.

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Thu Apr 25 2024
5

That was smooooooooooth. Wow! I couldn't help but be swept away by this to be surrounded by incense, wine, and candles. I'm not often a fan of the slow soul, but this was just perfection.

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Mon Apr 29 2024
5

Had never heard it and loved it!

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Fri May 03 2024
5

I am a middle aged, straight, white guy. I'm pretty sure I'm pregnant.

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Wed Oct 07 2020
4

Fuck amazing. Smooth when it needs to be smooth, grooves when it needs to groove, and a couple bangers along the way. And it only gets better the longer you listen. “Urban Theme,” “Dancewitme,” “Whenever Wherever Whatever,” “Suitelady,” and “The Suite Theme” are gems.

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Sun Mar 28 2021
4

Lounge at its peak. Whole thing drips with sex and innuendo in a hilarious way. Would never get away with this on a first date.

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Wed Jan 20 2021
4

Very smooth. I've heard Maxwell before, but never listened to this album.

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Thu Jun 03 2021
4

Pretty cool and sexy, Maxwell is just a classic classy guy with a solid voice. Hard to be mad at him

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Mon May 03 2021
4

Immediately feelin this, neo soul, bit like D'Angelo, but Stevie Wonder-ish but more smooth. Feels classy, decent chill tunes. Tailed off a bit in the middle and at the end, went a bit wet. Start was still real decent tho. 4/5.

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Wed May 26 2021
4

No idea how to describe, but I thought that this is a great album full of underwhelming individual songs. I overuse "vibe" but that's what it is, it's a overwhelming feeling of goodness permeating my daily life. Very pleasant

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Fri Apr 09 2021
4

Perfect album as the weather is heating up, lol. For some reason I feel like driving through a busy city on a Saturday night with my windows down.

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Tue Jul 13 2021
4

I remember this being released and a huge buzz around it but not much else - it just wasn't the right time for me to appreciate it... ...as opposed to now: wow - this just hits all the right notes (sure, pun intended). Smooth in the best ways but for me it is rarely boring - tremendous production and musicianship. It took everything I liked about the best Marvin Gaye but this is better - just the right doses of edge that Marvin rarely ever had (e.g. angular guitar lines on "Dancewitme"). Also point of note: while Maxwell the "singer" is clearly the feature here, the music is the big standout for me - the album starts with a great instrumental which sets the tone that this will be not just a vocal album. A great album for its genre, which while not ever going to be my favourite/daily listen it is so well-crafted that it's a keeper. 8/10  4 stars

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Wed Jun 16 2021
4

Apparently Maxwell is credited with establishing the neo-soul genre, and I always think that's so cool when an artist starts a musical trend. I really enjoyed this album...it got a little repetitive to my ears after a while, but his voice is heavenly, and the songs were cool.

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Fri Jun 11 2021
4

Wel dit was aangenaam! In het begin zeker 5 waardig maar daarvoor is het net iets te lang en viel het wat plat naar het einde toe

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Thu Jun 17 2021
4

This music is downright erotic

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Wed Jun 16 2021
4

I have no idea how this dude managed to produce two #1 hits in my lifetime and not ring a bell for me at all, but I enjoyed listening to this album. After a catchy opening it felt a bit slow for a while, but the album definitely grew on me once I hit "Whenever Wherever Whatever" and "Lonely's The Only Company".

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Thu Aug 05 2021
4

A pretty smooth album, for sure, 90's neo-soul at its best. Will get back to it.

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Sat Sep 04 2021
4

The Urban Theme made love to my ears and I never looked back Saved: The Urban Theme, Ascension (Don't Ever Wonder)*, Lonely's The Only Company (1&II), Suitelady (The Proposal Jam)

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Thu Jan 06 2022
4

Better than I expected - really pretty groovy

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Fri Jan 21 2022
4

Du bon R'n'B/soul qui se laisse écouter tout seul. Crée une bonne ambiance détente ou pour créer un mood avec un.e partenaire.

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Fri Apr 22 2022
4

An undeniably smooth album that is very easy on the ears. I liked this one quite a bit.

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Thu May 12 2022
4

A super-smooth soul album. Incredible production and I could see myself putting it on when I'm in the mood, though it does wash over me a bit without any memorable or stand out moments.

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Wed May 18 2022
4

This was a remarkably smooth album. This neo-soul record had tinges of contemporary R&B, funk, and a lot of jazz. The influence of Marvin Gaye especially could be felt. I also heard some Michael Jackson-esque vocal delivery patterns. Overall Maxwell very successfully brought these elements together in a sharp departure from the hip hop centric R&B of the mid 90s.

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Wed May 18 2022
4

I am so down with music that makes you sexier – not just feel sexier, but actually be sexier and enhance your performance, too. Just buttery smooth and awesome. Neo-soul forever.

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Wed Jun 01 2022
4

Feels wacky having this be the second album after Herbie Hancock's Headhunters today. This guy is smooth and with a silky upper register. Til The Cops Come Knockin' is a song that drips.

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Thu Jul 14 2022
4

Rating: 7/10 Best songs: Ascension, Dancewithme, Til the cops come knockin, Reunion

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Thu Jul 21 2022
4

90’s cheese aside it was a surprisingly smooth and good album

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