TGJ Replay: Tevin Campbell ‘I’m Ready’

Published: Thursday 14th Mar 2013 by Rashad

Much like our ‘Retro Rewind’ and ‘From the Vault’ segments, readers of That Grape Juice know what avid music lovers we are – especially of hits past.  So in a quest to re-spin the gems and jams of yesterday we introduced a new retrospective segment – ‘TGJ Replay’.

Unlike its ‘Rewind’ and ‘Vault’ predecessors, ‘Replay’ looks to dust off and showcase albums (and eras) from a library of pop music hits.  Get ready for a trip down memory lane to R&B teen sensation Tevin Campbell‘s sophomore smash ‘I’m Ready’


In an era where radio saw equal room for an abundance of R&B balladeers and the then-rising offerings of New Jack Swing, longtime Michael Jackson collaborator Quincy Jones sought to discover a talent who could effortlessly combine the two.  What he found was Texan teen powerhouse vocalist Tevin Campbell.

Showcasing a vocal talent well beyond his years (often likened to that of Whitney Houston), the teen heartthrob went on to wow crowds with soaring live renditions of hits ‘Tell Me What You Want Me To Do’, ‘Round and Round’, and more from his debut album. 

Undoubtedly in an effort to recreate some of the magic of his inaugural offering, Tevin assembled an all-star cast of producers (Prince, Babyface, etc) to craft his 1993 sophomore set ‘I’m Ready’.  Led by what would become the biggest hit of his career ‘Can We Talk’

‘Can We Talk’

…the aptly titled R&B collage displayed Tevin at his best and proved he was indeed “ready”…for a chart takeover. Flying to the top of R&B charts, the album would eventually reach double platinum status on the wings of singles ‘Don’t Say Goodbye’ and, of course, its title track ‘I’m Ready’….

‘I’m Ready’
‘Don’t Say Goodbye Girl’

Just like his debut effort, the commercial acclaim of ‘Ready’ mirrored its critical success and landed the hitmaker multiple Grammy nominations in R&B categories for its title single and fan-favorite ‘Always In My Heart’

‘Always In My Heart’

And, while ‘Shh…’ – the most risque track on the album – did not make much noise on charts, the crooner really looked to show fans he was “ready” to get his grown man on.  The song served as Tev’s first experiment with ‘sex symbolism’, littered with a number of not-so-kid friendly innuendoes.

‘Shhh…Break It Down’

While some may attribute Tevin’s sex symbol experiments and/or refusal to succumb to the late 90s hip hop dominated R&B fusions to the fall of his career, gems like ‘I’m Ready’ prove that quality still stands the test of time.  With that, we shine a spotlight on this R&B classic and can only hope that the genre’s resurgence comes on the hems of worthy talent with gifts that outweigh gimmicks and stripping.

‘I’m Ready (Live)’


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  1. SIERRA March 14, 2013

    YES!!!

    What mainstream male singer today, since Tevin, could even dream of belting out ‘Can We Talk’?

    In his prime, they didn’t refer to Tevin as ‘The Male Whitney Houston’ for nothing.

    R&B ICON.

    It’s too bad that little ‘public toilet incident’ with that male cop, in 1997, f***** up his career’. SMH.

    • COLE March 14, 2013

      It’s too bad that little ‘public toilet incident’ with that male cop, in 1997, f***** up his career’. SMH.

      ___

      I know right. A MESS. Too bad he had get caught for ppl to know he was gay… His career was never the same afterwards. 🙁

      • mob March 14, 2013

        It is sad just look how far allegedly being gay has gotten Frank Ocean who really isn’t half the talent Tevon was!

  2. COLE March 14, 2013

    OMG…

    And to think that I was BLASTING the f*** out of ‘Can We Talk’ & ‘Always in my Heart’ in my car whilst driving yesterday.

    I was 6 when this album came out and it was the first album I EVER bought. Every Black B**** LOVED Tevin.

    TREYonda, MIGUELita, FRANKeedra & LUKEtte COULD NEVER THOUGH >>>

    • Dossome March 14, 2013

      Interesting…i was 5,when this album dropped and i remember my then 12 yr old sister blasting ”can we talk” and screaming how much she loved tevin…and just last week,i visited her and she still has that album…i also wonder,can today’s top acts make records people will still hold onto decades from now???

    • Dossome March 14, 2013

      Interesting…i was 5 when this album dropped and i remember my then 12 yr old sister blasting ”can we talk” and screaming how much she loved tevin…and just last week,i visited her and she still has that album…i also wonder,can today’s top acts make records people will still hold onto decades from now???

    • mob March 14, 2013

      “TREYonda, MIGUELita, FRANKeedra & LUKEtte”

      LMFAO……picks myself up off the damn floor, reads comment again and faints again……LOL 🙂

  3. THAT GRAPEFRUIT JUICE March 14, 2013

    Oh… I know Tevin!

    Is this the same kid that Quincy Jones & Teddy Riley apparently molested.

    I heard Prince was in on it too.

    LOOK IT UP.

    • Mik Bailey March 14, 2013

      The rumor was b*******; why spread it?!

  4. MelyB March 14, 2013

    This album still sh*ts on a majority of what’s out today. Tevin was from the era when teens actually had to have TALENT to get a deal.

  5. Bey easy March 14, 2013

    FLOP

    • Music Maestro April 17, 2013

      You Flop! Have multiple seats…The Yankee stadium is empty!

  6. king z March 14, 2013

    of course the person above me would say flop. im sure ur playlist is full of bieber and katy perry. i for one looove this album. i was in kindergarten when it came out! loove “dont say goodbye”!!!

    • Mik Bailey March 14, 2013

      just somebody being stupid; they know the boy had talent!!

  7. Theman March 14, 2013

    This dude is one of the greatest r&b singers period..

  8. babymonster March 14, 2013

    awwwww is he still a prostitute?

    • Music Maestro April 17, 2013

      Stop telling your business to the world. Have multiple seats…The Yankee stadium is empty!

  9. mezzy March 14, 2013

    This album was dope. Fav song has to be Can we talk.

  10. Dossome March 14, 2013

    Yaaaaaaaaaaaaassssss….i never knew tgj would ever make a post about tevin campbell..how i love his music

    ”tell me what you want me to do,my love is always here for you,so tell me what you want me to do”(OMG,the belting in this song,todays’ artists can NEVER)

    ”I’m ready girl am ready,to love you,forever….come love me forever more”(i always feel this song whenever it comes on)

    ”always in my heart”(by the time this song was released,we all knew this kid was destined for greatness)

    can we talk,brown-eyed girl remain eternally on my playlist

    WOW,i’m thrilled finally this kid got the attention he deserved,even if it is on an urban blog post

  11. DIGGER BEY March 14, 2013

    This is so crazy, cause I’ve been playing the hell out of I’m Ready lately. The boi can sang!

    • Dossome March 14, 2013

      I honestly thought i was the only one still enjoying his music….so glad you guys still do

  12. Mik Bailey March 14, 2013

    He was such a talent; like so many young black men, wasted!

  13. Dev March 14, 2013

    TGJ you get major props for this. Can you please find out if he will be recording again?

  14. mob March 14, 2013

    Now that being gay is “fashionable” in the tv, film and music industies, I can see Tevon Campbell finding his way back into the game and being met with thunderous – albeit fake – applause from the POWERS THAT BE who really want to push a certain agenda within the R&B/Hip Hop community!

  15. NICK March 14, 2013

    I still BUMP this album HARD: good real music never gets old-HE WAS BEAST! They called me Tiny Tevin in grade school-haha (singing folk, none of that nasty stuff nah) — haha 🙂

  16. LittleJohnny March 14, 2013

    Wow!!!. I have been playing this album all day and then I come here to find an article on it. I guess great minds think alike. Or maybe we just have great taste in music.

  17. Mark111 March 14, 2013

    He was the bomb back then, I still listen to I’m Ready and Can We Talk. People don’t remember that they tried to make Usher the next Tevin, but Usher’s voice changed too early. I think they made Tevin too serious too fast, plus the whole gay thing killed his career (shows how different it was just 20 years ago.) Chris Brown voice on his first album was modeled after Tevins, play Excuse Me Miss and Just ask me to at the same time.

  18. Riqueen March 14, 2013

    Aint his n**** gay??

  19. Arie March 15, 2013

    I really need someone to drag him back to the studio again. America kill their young especially if they are black.

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