‘TGJ Replay’ is back!
Designed much like our ‘Retro Rewind’ and ‘From the Vault’ features, ‘Replay’ is That Grape Juice‘s newest retrospective segment to act as a written quest, if you will, to re-spin the gems and jams of yesterday.
Unlike its ‘Rewind’ and ‘Vault’ predecessors, ‘Replay’ looks to dust off and showcase entire albums (and eras) from a library of pop and Urban pop music hits. Next up? Unsung R&B beau Elgin Baylor Lumpkin, better known as Ginuwine.
Get into his 1999 sophomore album ‘100% Ginuwine’ below:
After galloping to the top of charts with his debut single ‘Pony’ and its parent album ‘Ginuwine…The Bachelor,’ D.C.-bred R&B crooner Ginuwine had much riding on its highly anticipated follow-up. For, not only were fans keen to see if the album’s successor would know similar critical and commercial acclaim, but spectators also placed a lens on producer Timbaland to see if his string of successes (highlighted primarily by work done with R&B songstress Aaliyah, rapstress Missy Elliott, and more) would continue.
Determined to diminish any doubt, the two would revisit the very sonic and thematic recipes that brought ‘The Bachelor’ down the aisle of double platinum success – bass driven R&B ballads lined side by side with hard-hitting mid-tempo numbers cloaked with G’s “preachy” singing style. With the addition of penning and production from the late Static Major, Ginuwine would assert that this collection of tunes would be the greatest representation of his development as an artist to date. In honor of said progression, the work was aptly christened ‘100% Ginuwine.’
Enter lead single ‘Same Ol G’:
Alongside R&B sister Aaliyah’s megahit ‘Are You That Somebody,’ ‘Same Ol G’ would find its greatest exposure via the official motion picture soundtrack to Eddie Murphy‘s ‘Dr. Doolittle.’ Though Billboard airplay rules at the time barred it from placing on Hot 100 and Hot R&B Singles charts, the strength of its radio response would be indicative of the interest in the crooner’s sophomore set.
To capitalize on the buzz, still solid months after its release, G and team selected ‘What’s So Different’ as ‘Same’s successor.
With its ‘The Matrix’-inspired video in tow, the tune and its accompanying visual would not only serve as another demonstration of the his oft-praise performance style, but also helped reassert his unique position in R&B at the time. Amidst competition from R&B’s male frontrunners, R. Kelly & Usher, he stood as a middle ground of sorts – not as sexual as his predecessor Kelly, but still able to appeal to a similar “grown and sexy” audience (on levels greater than teen sensation Usher).
On the heels of its stylized video, the song’s critical acclaim wouldn’t exactly be matched with commercial success as it would barely crack the Hot 100’s top 50 (#49 peak) and miss the R&B singles chart’s top 20 (#21 peak).
Interestingly, the absence of a top performing single did little to stunt the first week sales of ‘100% Ginuwine.’ For, upon its March 1999 debut, the album skyrocketed to Billboard 200 and R&B Albums charts’ upper rankings (#5 and #2 peak respectively). Greeting the R&B beau with a bevy of critical acclaim from the likes of Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, VIBE, SPIN, and more, the manifestation of said acclamation would translate to commercial wins for the album’s remaining singles.
Fans anxious for more from G’s ‘100%’ would show and tell such via the performance of the tunes ‘So Anxious’ and ‘None of Your Friends Business’ on charts. The last two releases lifted from the album, ‘Anxious’ would see the highest heights of its sibling singles with a #16 peak on Hot 100 (#2 Hot R&B singles peak). Quickly becoming his signature slow groove for its sensual lyrics dripping over a guitar and bass laced affair, it was followed by the similarly constructed ‘Business’ which saw nearly identical success on R&B charts (#7 peak).
The same could not be boasted for its trek up Hot 100 charts, however, as it stalled at #48.
When the dust settled, ‘100% Ginuwine’ was, much to the chagrin of fans, unceremoniously ignored by the Grammy committee, but was redeemed with American Music Awards and Soul Train Awards nominations (picking up a win at the latter’s 2000 ceremony). Much like its predecessor, the album would go on to cross the double platinum threshold and, with the journey, gain G a new legion of R&B fans.
Though ‘100%’ would be his last project to be saturated with a great percentage of its production from Timbaland, the crooner’s career would maintain buoyancy throughout the early 2000s despite rising competition from the likes of the genre’s top crooners (i.e. Sisqo, Usher, Justin Timberlake, R. Kelly, more) and teen pop sensations. The latter 2000s may not have been able to sing the same tune, but we at TGJ still faithfully bumped his hits.
Though oft-discredited or completely uncredited for his contributions to the genre, we at TGJ choose not to forget the time where G was really the male equivalent of Aaliyah. An anomaly in his ability to offer style and substance (on the performance tip), we take this time to tip our hats to what we will argue is his definitive work.
Quiet as it’s kept, while we weren’t too hot on his Prince remake of ‘When Dove’s Cry’ from his debut album, we still bump his cover of Michael Jackson‘s ‘She’s Out of My Life’ found on his sophomore set.
But, as always, you tell us: