Revisiting the most baby-makingest record of the decade.
A long time ago I was involved in a hot, torrid romance with an insatiable lady. Actually, that's a lie. It was far from hot. There was nothing torrid about it. It was more pathetic than romantic. And that chain-smoking chatterbox couldn't have been less insatiable if she had three nipples on one breast.
Which she did. I'm not kidding.
There was one bright moment during our whatever-the-hell-we-had. I'll spare you all the sad, sordid details, but I will say we were in a dingy, ghetto motel room, and while she and I were pitifully attempting to go half on a baby, a song chorus I recognized was coming from the TV:
"All you gotta do is say yes/ Don't deny what you feel/ Let me undress you baby/ Open up your mind and just rest/ I'm about to let you know/ You make me so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so ... "
"What are you thinking about?" the chatterbox asked me later. Of course I told her nothing was on my mind, but I was thinking about how that song "Say Yes," the latest single from the new R&B duo Floetry, was the highlight of my night.
It was only a few months before when I was all by my lonesome on a late Friday night, listening to that song as well as others from their debut album Floetic, getting drunk off its booty-call potential.
While vocalist Marsha Ambrosius and spoken-word orator (or "floacist") Natalie Stewart are British-born, the album was a made-in-Philly production, as it was produced by beat-dropping neo-soul collective the Misfits (which included future pop hitmakers Dre and Vidal) and overseen by DJ Jazzy Jeff at his Touch of Jazz Studios.
That night I declared Floetic the most baby-makingest album all year. That was 2002. Now here we are in 2007, and even though we have a couple more years to go, I'm just ballsy enough to declare the still-impeccable Floetic the baby-makingest album of the decade.
I recently made the mistake of disclosing my opinion to several of my colleagues at work, who vigorously chimed in with their favorites.
"What about D'Angelo's Voodoo?"
"The Love Jones soundtrack?"
"Jodeci's Diary of a Mad Band."
They're all great classics, albums that I'm sure could easily ignite a long night of flopsweat, guttural grunts and full-fledged dirtiness. But I'm sticking with Floetic.
I gushed about the album back in 2002 in this very paper, saying that many of the songs "crackle with the kind of soulful, erotic intensity that would make any late-night booty call memorable." (Hey, that's just what happened to me.) But I also praised Ambrosius and Stewart's knack for giving joy and pain equal billing. I wrote, "even when they attempt to make the first move on a brotha, their fear of heartache is always there to get the best of them in case things get too heavy."
By mixing the neurotic with the erotic, Floetic is an album full of quiet-storm creepers that beautifully dish out the agony and the ecstasy. Who couldn't possibly feel Ambrosius' anxiety when she questions the motives of a visiting paramour on "Getting Late"? ("Why you gotta be here/ Beside me/ Watching, needing, wanting me/ I'm afraid [Don't be]/ I'm so scared that you'll hurt me, twice.") And who hasn't pondered lost love affairs the way Stewart does on "Hey You"? ("Did I leave you behind or did you let me go?")
If you still haven't made that slow-jam mixtape you were planning to make for you and your beloved, Floetic can serve as an emotionally powerful, highly effective substitute. Hell, just one of their songs can make you appreciate the hour you spent one Saturday night with a triple-nippled chatty Cathy who tasted like an ashtray.
Consider this my V-Day gift to you.
PW's Music Issue 2014