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
Hot 100 Peak: #98
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’?