Monday, April 13, 2009

Learn Along With Werner

I bought this CD because I was curious about it and there's not much info online. Not because I thought I'd enjoy it musically at all, really. I just wanted to know. It's a full-length album by Teez feat Father MC entitled Gamin', which came out in 1999 on a label that specializes in confusing releases, Echo International. So now I have it, and I'll share what I've learned with y'all.

Ok. There's basically no information online (until now - woohoo!) about this album except the track-listing, a few production credits and the album cover, which depicts a very silly image of a woman in a sexually suggestive pose with a bear rug. The back cover (which isn't online anywhere) shows five women walking away from the camera, who appear to be runway models wearing a mix of miniskirts and bathing suits. So it's interesting, then, to learn that Teez is actually a quartet. So, are the women on either the front or the back cover actually any of the members of Teez? Who knows? I suspect not. I've included both sides in the photo, so you can judge for yourselves.

Teez actually wrote a little bio/explanation in their liner notes, which is in fact very illuminating; so I'll share the whole thing with you now (by the way, let me just say "[sic.]" in advance of all the grammatical errors):

"Samantha Dennis, Alexandria Pernier, Michelle Leonard and Joanne Defay together make up the soulful quartet TEEZ.
These four vocalists hail from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. They originally were four solo vocalists but when Father MC chose Ft. Lauderdale as the place to record his last album[note: I think they're talking about his Men With Millions album, which was never released, but you can read about it here] he needed female vocalists for backgrounds. A nation wide search was started to both find those backgrounds vocalists as well as assemble a new act for him to sign to his label.
What Father MC discovered was not an ordinary group.
The TEEZ style is best described as deeply gospel with a soulful R & B twist. Their name, TEEZ describes their visual appearance as well as their musical sound which leaves audiences everywhere wanting more.
From the man who brought you MARY J. BLIGE, JODECI and Intro his track record speaks for itself and TEEZ will prove to be yet another hit R & B group."

So, let's get to the main question I had about this album that isn't answered in the above. Just how involved is Father MC in this album. I can't think of any examples, off-hand, where an entire album was credited as featuring another artist. A single, sure. But the whole album? I guess that implies he's on every song?

Well, he's not. He effectively raps on three songs ("Fall In Love," "I Will Do" and "Boy (Teez Please Don't Tease)"); but he does also provide some generic background adlibs (of the "ah yeah," "come on," "this is how we do" and "woo!" variety) on a couple other songs. The writing credits say, "written by Teez and T. Brown" (Timothy Brown = Father MC), but they don't get song specific, so I don't know if he had a hand in writing the songs he didn't appear on.

There's also an odd little number closing out the album called "Control (Street Version)" (the non-Street Version is also on the album, and it's just another straight R&B track), with Father MC just slowly talking over the instrumental. Even if you put aside the inanity of what he's saying ("you know, four females bring out the horniness in horny people straight from Florida"), I can't imagine what the thinking was behind a "street version" where he just randomly yaks in a stream-of-consciousness for five minutes. He also keeps giving a fake laugh after everything he says and doing some "erotic breathing," Egyptian Lover-style. It's almost funny.

So, yeah. This album mostly consists of some cheap-sounding R&B tracks (produced by Timothy Moses & Pablo) with Father MC occasionally popping in to deliver your typical "rapper on a R&B song" guest verse. Teez themselves sound alright, but really lack the energy of say somebody like En Vogue that could make you care about what they're singing. They don't even sound like they care. After listening to this CD, you probably won't remember the rhythms, sounds, or words to any of the songs you just heard.

The one exception is "Boy (Teez Please Don't Tease)," which is the stupidest title, but the best song. The instrumental is jacked entirely from Schoolly D's "P.S.K." and hasn't been modified to sound any less raw than it did there. And they even cut up some Schoolly D phrases in the background as the ladies sing ("one by one, I'll knock you out"); it sounds kinda ill. In addition to having Father kick his guest verses (he actually does two on this one), one of the ladies raps on the intro as well. Now, Father MC's rhymes help to bring a little life to the rest of Gamin', but on this song they actually hurt more than they help. What sounds so good is just the ladies singing over Code Money's drums. I'm telling you, this could've gotten radio play if it was released as a single (instead they chose "I Will Do" b/w "Gamin'").

Besides that one track, this is pretty much the R&B yawner you'd expect (although looking at the crazy cover photo, you couldn't be blamed for expecting a female stand-up comedian's album either). I'd say it's for die-hard Father MC completists only, but that one song is worth giving a listen to. I can't say I have any idea what's become of Teez since this album... there was a girl-group called Teez that put out some kind of house record in 1995; but since the liner notes claim Father MC formed the group himself, I'd have to assume they're two different groups. You could probably buy that 12", listen to it and see if it sounds like the same women, but my interest really begins and ends with the Father MC connection, so we'll leave off here. :)

1 comment:

  1. I really miss walking into a store and buying an absolutely unknown album using just credit info. I remember picking up a few albums because of where it was mixed! or who mastered it! The last album I ever picked up like this was one that had some little kid standing in front of graffiti that said Native Tongue Native Son... Chi Ali's album was a fucking great addition.