TGJ Replay: Celebrating 20 Years of Toni Braxton’s ‘The Heat’

Published: Saturday 25th Apr 2020 by Rashad

Designed much like our ‘Retro Rewind’ and ‘From the Vault’ segments, ‘Replay’ is That Grape Juice‘s retrospective segment – 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.

In celebration of the 20th anniversary of its release, this week we’re bringing the heat by reflecting on Toni Braxton‘s third album.

Join us inside:

In the four years since the release of her sophomore album, ‘Secrets’ (click here to read our ‘Replay’ for this project), R&B diva Toni Braxton faced the most daunting challenges of her career at the time.  In addition to having to follow the mega-successes of her first two 8X Platinum LPs (the latter birthed one of the biggest hits of all-time, ‘Unbreak My Heart’), she also had to contend with an evolving musical landscape that was swapping out the gown-donning balladeers of the 90’s in favor of more Hip Hop-leaning R&B cuts and Bubblegum Teen Pop.

As if these changes weren’t enough, the one-time media darling was suffering in the court of public opinion after her 1997 lawsuit against label home LaFace Records, as well as a consequent bankruptcy filing, left her battling a bruised ego and image.

By the top of 1999, the dust from the fallout had settled and cleared the way for the recording and release of her next effort.  The project – helmed by longtime collaborators Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, L.A. Reid, and Daryl Simmons – also featured contribution from some of the biggest songwriters and producers in Pop and R&B including Diane Warren, Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins, Bryan-Michael Cox, Lashawn Daniels, David Foster, and more.

Together, they crafted her third studio album – ‘The Heat.’  The opus birthed four singles:

‘He Wasn’t Man Enough’

Hot 100 Peak: #2

‘Just Be a Man About It’

Hot 100 Peak: #36

‘Spanish Guitar’

Hot 100 Peak: #98

‘Maybe’

Hot 100 Peak: N/A

Released April 25, 2000, the album debuted and peaked at #2 on the Billboard 200 – a clear signal music lovers were more than interested in new Toni music, even in the new millennium.

Eventually certified double Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the set’s sales may have paled in comparison to its predecessors but its critical acclaim certainly met their par.  This was evidenced by its nomination for ‘Best R&B Album’ GRAMMY honors at the next year’s ceremony while its lead single was nominated for ‘Best R&B Song’ and won the ‘Best Female R&B Vocal Performance’ trophy.

20 years later, ‘The Heat’ serves as the ultimate declaration of Toni’s artistic versatility and ability to visually and sonically transform with the times while staying true to self – a point her career has proven repeatedly.

As we press play on our jam ‘Speaking in Tongues,’ tell us:  ‘what’s your favorite song from the album’?

*Click the song title to vote*

Your thoughts?

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  1. Bluebird April 25, 2020

    Great first 2 singles. Great 1st Video. But the Live performances full of Lipped moments – kind of put her on the wrong course. She fell off and the few live performances – were mumbles

    • PinotNoir April 25, 2020

      Its successor killed her ascent. Oddly, Hit The Freeway is one of my Toni faves. ?

      • citygirl April 25, 2020

        hit the freeway still BOPS

  2. I love big black c** April 25, 2020

    Spanish guitar is criminally underrated. It was meant to be Un-break my heart 2.0 but it flopped sadly. Maybe people don’t appreciated Spanish men during that time. Cuban, Colombian, puerto rican men are really good in bed IMO.

    • Bluebird April 25, 2020

      Spanish Guitar remixes were HOTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT

    • PinotNoir April 25, 2020

      Still Breathing > Spanish ?

    • Bogus April 25, 2020

      So seeing that everyone commented on here knows this album shows that you all are much older than you act on this website. Sad

      • PinotNoir April 26, 2020

        Whaaaat? So if one knows a Beatles or Callas album by heart, they were automatically born its release year? If we go by that logic, I’m 68 today. ? Chiiile, some of us are just music researchers/connoisseurs.

    • Fancy BISH April 25, 2020

      Who’s singing the background of Spanish Guitar? Whoever that is she’s throwing me off…I hear her WAY too much…she sounding like 3LW lmao…Toni running Olympic LAPS around her…lol…it should of been just a man singing the background in my opinion…El DeBarge or somebody chile lol ?

      • PinotNoir April 26, 2020

        Tamar and/or Trina? ?

  3. Only Facts April 25, 2020

    Such a great album!

  4. Armadillo April 25, 2020

    İts still mystery how spanish guitar flopped

    • Fancy BISH April 25, 2020

      Spanish Guitar was never released as a commercial single in the United States for some reason…maybe they tried to make it an airplay hit so people would buy the album instead like Killing Me Softly did for The Fugees ?This album has grown on me, but I remember buying the first single and not the album back in the day…it’s weird to think I didn’t buy it! Lack of promotion? I don’t know…but He Wasn’t Man Enough, The Heat, Fairy Tale, Speaking In Tongues and Art Of Love are bops! Spanish Guitar is a great album cut, but Diane needed to come harder than that! ? ? And Babyface is a little light on this album too…still a solid body of work tho

      • PinotNoir April 26, 2020

        Agreed. Diane’s most simplistic song. Guess everybody at that time was looking to capitalize on latin heat, with JLo’s debut, Xtina’s Mi Reflejo, Ricky Martin’s Maria …

  5. Haterz Gon‘ Hate April 25, 2020

    LEGEND!! The album was incredible and served ERRR-TANNNG we wanted: vocals, visuals, creative direction a classic Toni era!! So many bops ? My faves would have to be ‘Maybe’ – ‘Just Be A Man About It’ and ‘Fairytale’ but the album is a start to finish body of work so it’s all classic Toni ??

  6. Meme April 25, 2020

    The first 2 singles were impeccable, her image at the time, her styling, everything was just on point. It grossly underperformed for the body of work it was

    • PinotNoir April 25, 2020

      However good The Heat wad, Toni just couldn’t outsell *NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, and then-juggernaut Britney.

  7. Keith April 25, 2020

    I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE this album!!!!! It’s probably my favorite Braxton album…

  8. Just Sayin’ April 25, 2020

    Love this album so much. Spanih Guitar was criminally underrated. He Wasn’t Man Enough is still a bop.

  9. Fancy BISH April 25, 2020

    My favorite song is The Heat ? Woo chile, when Toni is ON, that vocal just flows! Her voice is errrythang! ?

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