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They Reminisce Over You Podcast

Episode 37: Can We Talk? Where The F**k Is Tevin Campbell? (Remix)

Originally released in January 2021, here’s another episode that we’ve taken from the vault and remixed. We talk about a true legend and discussed our favorite moments from his career, the songs that we loved, and wonder how he's been able to keep such a low profile in this day and age. Miguel compares Tevin to another R&B legend, (that Tevin himself confirmed in our IG comments) and Christina tells us about her days as video girl in Vancouver.


Miguel: Hey, welcome back. This is They Reminisce Over You. I am Miguel.

Christina: And I'm Christina. And on today's episode, we're going to be discussing one of our faves, Tevin Campbell. All the songs that we loved, why we were fans then and why we're still fans now. Let's get into it.

Miguel: Let's get into it talking about Mr. Tevin Campbell.

Christina: Tevin Campbell.

Miguel: The first time I heard Tevin Campbell was on Quincy Jones's album, Back on the Block. He was just this random little kid that came out singing this inspirational kiddie chorus type song. And everybody's like, "Ooh, he's gonna be the next Michael Jackson!" And so that was my introduction to Tevin. Was it same for you?

Christina: Ummm...

Miguel: Or did you hear about him a little bit later?

Christina: I heard about him a little bit later because this was released in 1989. So I was about 10 at the time.

Miguel: Okay.

Christina: So at that age, I was still just listening to, I don't know, whatever was on the radio and whatever my sisters listened to.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: So we were, it was not a Quincy Jones household. So the R&B I did hear growing up was more pop R&B Jody Watley or The Jets. So I did not hear of this song until later, and I kind of just looked back and found it.

Miguel: Okay. Yeah. I wouldn't say that it was Quincy Jones household.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: Because I was hearing it on the radio.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: Because by the time I'm listening to music on my own, Quincy wasn't really making hits like that.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: So I really knew nothing about him other than he made Thriller with Michael Jackson.

Christina: So the song is called "Tomorrow?"

Miguel: Yep.

Christina: I looked it up again yesterday just to remind me what it sounded like. So it's familiar.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: But this is definitely something I discovered later. Wanna hear a fun fact?

Miguel: Okay. Sure. Why not?

Christina: So the week of the release of this song or album, the number one song on The Billboard Hot 100 was... would you like to guess?

Miguel: 1989?

Christina: Yes. 1989, November 25th.

Miguel: Hmm. I don't know exactly but I'm just gonna throw it out there and say Bobby Brown.

Christina: It was "Blame it on the Rain" by Milli Vanilli. Wasn't this the video where they were dancing around with their blazers and their leggings? And that ridiculous chest bump.

Miguel: They were dancing around in blazers and leggings and chest bumping—

Christina: "I'm in love with you girl."

Miguel: In all the videos. I don't remember.

Christina: Anyways, let's—

Miguel: I just remember that they were, there was the one video where they were both chasing the girl. I don't know.

Christina: Anyways, let's go back Tevin.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: So for me, the first time I heard Tevin was "Round and Round,"and then I actually thought he was a girl.

Miguel: I can see it.

Christina: Cause his voice was high, high. I mean, his voice still is, but it was higher.

Miguel: Cause he was like 12 at the time.

Christina: Yeah, he was like 12. And you remember how back in the late 80s and early 90s, even a little bit later, they always tried to force a rap into the song?

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: So the part, when he's like, "One day I'll make it in the big city. And I'll be looking for a girl who's pretty." I'm like, oh, so I guess he's a boy, in theory, if he's looking for a girl, who's pretty.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: But yeah, I heard the song but... I don't hate it, but it wasn't anything special to me at the time.

Miguel: Right. Yeah. The song was okay.

Christina: Well, the funny thing is like now listening to it again, wearing like my Apple AirPods, which I'm sure is much better quality than the headphones I was wearing back in the, you know, late 80s, early 90s.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: I can hear Prince so clearly.

Miguel: For the first time.

Christina: Yeah. And I was like, wait a minute. Prince is singing on this song. Why did I never hear this before?

Miguel: Prominently singing.

Christina: Prominently singing on the song. So that was interesting, I guess. But it's also funny that, um, I was saying how I thought he was a girl in this song because by the time the album came out, his voice had dropped a little bit.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: But it's just funny 'cause you know, we were watching the, those YouTube twins that react to different songs.

Miguel: Yes.

Christina: And they thought he was a girl in "Can We Talk." And I'm like, his voice had dropped by then.

Miguel: Yeah. He was getting a little deeper at that point.

Christina: Yeah. Like he still had high voice, but I'm like, he sounds like a boy to me, but I mean, I guess…

Miguel: We knew who he was.

Christina: Yeah. We knew who he was and we're not just hearing like a five second clip on TikTok something, right?

Miguel: Right.

Christina: So I thought that was funny.

Miguel: Yeah. He was recording these songs for his first album when he was like 13 to 14. And the content that he's singing about is not for 13 and 14 year olds.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: Like what 13 year old should be singing "Tell Me What You Want To Do." Come on, man. You should be singing about doing your homework.

Christina: Well, I mean, that's probably why he was getting these comparisons to Michael Jackson. I mean, Michael... well, in the Jackson 5, he was—yeah, yeah—when he was singing the Jackson 5, he was quite young and he's singing about relationship stuff.

Miguel: Yeah. He's singing about like, we living together.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: Don't leave. Why you got your bag—

Christina: Yes. What do got you mean don't leave? Where's she going? He lives with her parents, in theory, she should.

Miguel: "in the hallway ret' to go."

Christina: "Ret' to go?" Yes. Not ready to go.

Miguel: "Ret' to go."

Christina: Well—

Miguel: Come on, man, you're 13 years old.

Christina: Well, "Tell Me What You Want Me To Do" was actually the song that made me a fan.

Miguel: Okay.

Christina: So when I heard that song, I was like, oh, it's that "Round and Round" kid.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: And he's singing these grown ass songs. But I mean, I was a kid at the time too. So it didn't, it wasn't weird because—

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: When you're a kid, you just don't—

Miguel: I, I didn't catch it at the time because I'm only a year older than he is.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: So he's just a kid who was singing.

Christina: Yeah. And he was older than me, even though he's still a kid.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: He was older than me. So it wasn't that weird to hear him singing about, "tell me what you want me to do."

Miguel: So now that I listen to it as an adult, like you had no business singing these songs, man.

Christina: Right. Well, by this time I had started to develop my own taste in music. So this song, not only did it make me a fan of Tevin, but it also is reflective of the kind of stuff that I was starting to really like personally, and not just listening to what everyone else was listening to.

Miguel: Okay. Yeah. I think it's funny that he was getting these comparisons to Michael Jackson only because he was young and he's singing R&B music.

Christina: And he's got that high voice too.

Miguel: Yeah. But vocally and the style of his singing—

Christina: Prince.

Miguel: Sounds nothing like Michael Jackson. Not Prince either.

Christina: I think he sounds closer to Prince.

Miguel: Nope. I'm blow your mind with this.

Christina: Okay. Alright.

Miguel: Listen to any Tevin Campbell song. I don't care which one it is. Anything after "Round and Round…" Whitney Houston.

Christina: Whitney Houston. I'm gonna have to listen to this again and think about that.

Miguel: Listen to any of his songs, he is channeling Whitney Houston.

Christina: I guess maybe the Prince and Michael Jackson comparison is easy to make just because of again, I don't know musical words, but he has a higher voice.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: So it's easy to just be like, oh, Michael Jackson!

Miguel: Yeah, that's what it was. But listen to it again.

Christina: All right.

Miguel: Once we're done recording, go back and listen to it.

Christina: All right, all right.

Miguel: Listen to all of the songs and imagine Whitney singing them.

Christina: Okay. So maybe because I finally discovered hearing Prince prominently on "Round and Round," I kept just hearing Prince after that.

Miguel: Well, on the first—no second album, Prince did like five songs.

Christina: Yeah. I was gonna say, especially, well, we'll talk about that album but there's definitely some Prince influences though.

Miguel: Yes.

Christina: I will listen to that again…

Miguel: Look at with new eyes and ears.

Christina: I will come back to you—

Miguel: All right.

Christina: With my thoughts.

[music break]

Christina: So this album is…it's a pretty solid album for a first official effort from a kid to—

Miguel: From a 13 year old.

Christina: From a 13 year old. It's still pretty good. There was like a handful of hits and songs that are good. Like "Tell Me What You Want Me To Do" did really well in the charts. And I think "Round and Round" did as well.

Miguel: I don't know.

Christina: Yeah, I looked, but now I can't remember.

Miguel: Yeah. You can still listen to it today.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: At least half of it. The other half, not so much.

Christina: Not so much.

Miguel: Yeah. It's kinda like the first Jodeci album.

Christina: I have Jodeci in my notes.

Miguel: Hey, we are in the same wavelength here.

Christina: Yeah. So you say what you wanted to say first.

Miguel: Because Al B. Sure! produced the bulk of the first Jodeci album and he did half of this album. So all of the songs that I like on this album were done by Al B. Sure!

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: And they have the background vocals by K-Ci and Jo-Jo.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: So it's essentially Tevin Campbell singing a Jodeci album.

Christina: Sort of. Okay.

Miguel: So that's why I like it. But the ones that I don't like, just like with the Jodeci album where half the album sucks. I don't like "Little Brother."

Christina: Right.

Miguel: I only like it song because hilarious. Listen to this.

[music break]

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: C'mon now.

Christina: "So what's up?" Okay. I have some similar notes. So, what I said in my notes was, this album is very reflective of like the early 90s sound where they're trying to incorporate the New Jack Swing sound, wherever they can. And then remember where everybody used to always spell their names? ‘Cause on "Goodbye," he's like "I'm the T to the E to the V the I to the N." Like you don't have to do that Tevin. And so my notes about Jodeci, is I was saying how, like he's better with ballads.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Just like Jodeci, when they try to do sort of New Jack Swing or like upbeat stuff. It's just, it doesn't work as well.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: With Jodeci they have a couple songs that worked, but for the most part, Jodeci and Tevin, they, they better with ballads and slow songs.

Miguel: Yeah. You can stick in the mid tempo lane, but— 'cause at this time, New Jack Swing was kind of dying out anyway.

Christina: Mm-hmm. So kind of like forcing it in doesn't help.

Miguel: Yeah, this kind of at the tail end of it right before the second Jodeci album and everybody started to emulate what they were doing.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: We can talk about them on another episode.

Christina: Yes.

Miguel: But, they created a shift in R&B. And I think Tevin kinda got caught up in that.

Christina: In the middle of that.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Yeah, so I'd still call it a solid effort, a solid album.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Even if it's maybe only half of it is you would actually listen to today. But I think his standout album, the one that kind of like solidified his space in 90s music is the next album, I'm Ready.

Miguel: He's ready. Again.

Christina: He's what? Probably 7…

Miguel: Not even.

Christina: 16.

Miguel: At this point—

Christina: I think he's about 16.

Miguel: When he's doing that album, he recorded it at 15 and it came out when he was 16. So I'm Ready. No you're not.

Christina: You ain't ready for shit.

Miguel: You think you are, but at the same time, I'm thinking back on it and like I said, I'm a little bit older than him.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: Just barely. And I'm thinking, you know what? This shit makes sense.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: I can use some of these lines on some of these girls, I'm going to school with. It works.

Christina: I was probably about 14, 15 when this came out. So, I mean, you know, at that age, you think you're much more grown than you are.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: So "Can We Talk," "I'm Ready." Sure. All of that stuff made sense. I think the two songs that people go to when they talk about Tevin is always, "Can We Talk" and "I'm Ready."

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: So "Can We Talk" on Spotify has been streamed 67 million times. And "I'm Ready" has only been streamed 19 million times, which obviously is still a lot. But to me, if I had to choose between the two, I actually would pick "I'm Ready."

Miguel: Nah, I'm going the other way.

Christina: You going with "Can We Talk?"

Miguel: "Can We Talk."

Christina: I mean, I like, "Can We Talk" too, but something about "I'm Ready" just kind of—


Miguel: Look at it. You can just sway from side to side as you listen to it.

Christina: Hey, I didn't say it was bad. I love "Can We Talk." All right, let's see.

Miguel: What?

Christina: Play "I'm Ready."

Miguel: I can put that on too. I'm gonna go let this ride for a little it though.

Christina: All right. Okay. You. Oh, you getting your old man shuffle on?

Miguel: Yeah. Two step king over here.

Christina: Well, according to Tevin on the Twitters, he says that, "Can We Talk" is a stalker song. I wouldn't go as far as saying, I mean on the man said it himself, but to me, I think it's more of like daydreaming on your crush. 'Cause he's basically just talking about how he sees her, but he's too shy to talk to her.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: So when he's at home, he's thinking about what he's gonna say to her the next time he sees her. He's writing her letters. I don't know if I'd call that stalker per se, other than just maybe a big crush and doing a lot of daydreaming.

Miguel: Yeah, I could see the stalker angle too.

Christina: I mean, if you were the stalker type of person. But it's not as bad as "every breath you take I'll be watching you."

Miguel: Not at all, but yeah, with "I'm Ready," I wasn't really a fan of this one.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: Yeah. It's okay.

Christina: Probably because they had snow in the video and you hate snow. Aww you didn't know nothing about snow back then. Nevermind.

Miguel: I didn't even pay attention to it.

Christina: But I will say, the "Can We Talk" video is quintessential early 90s clothing.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Right? So we were coming out of the colorful Cross Colours look where everything was like, you know, orange jeans and lots of brightly colored stripes and stuff. So it was a lot of muted, neutral colors, the plaid shirts, black vests, baggy jeans. And…

Miguel: Basically grunge, but make it hip hop.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: That's what it was.

Christina: So, I had the exact same outfit, basically. The plaid shirt, the black vest, the baggy jeans, boots.

Miguel: We all did.

Christina: Yes we did. But this kind of leads me to story time. So around this time, I was an extra in a video for a Vancouver rap group called Cipher, and the song was called "Peeps." And in the video I'm wearing this outfit.

Miguel: Of course.

Christina: The plaid jacket, the black vest, hoop earrings. So I was about 15 at this time and I thought it was so cool because it was filmed in an actual club. I mean, it was filmed during the day, so it wasn't like an actual club night, so they weren't actually serving alcohol or—

Miguel: It was a set at this time.

Christina: It was a set, yes. It but it was still a club.

Miguel: Okay. That counts.

Christina: So my friend had heard about the casting call from somewhere. So we went out to Vancouver. And so you can't see my face that clearly in the video, like if you saw a picture of me, you wouldn't look at that video and be like, "Hey look, there's Christina." But because the plaid shirt that I was wearing had like more white and gray in it, and everyone was wearing darker colors, you can see me. Just based on the outfit description. And I was getting my Aaliyah on with the little hands dance.

Miguel: Oh God.

Christina: And of course we did not get paid.

Miguel: Of course.

Christina: But I didn't care because I was like—

Miguel: You're getting paid in exposure.

Christina: I was like, I'm in a rap video!

Miguel: Oh man. If anybody wants to go to YouTube and look this up, feel free. Take a screenshot, send it to us. @troypodcast on your socials.

Christina: I looked it up. It's on YouTube[1]. Maybe we'll post it.

Miguel: Maybe we will. I think we should.

Christina: Mm-hmm cause then people don't know what to look—well, look for the girl with long hair.

Miguel: And plaid.

Christina: Hoop earrings. And a plaid shirt and a black vest.

Miguel: I wanna see this. I'm gonna have to see this.

Christina: All right.

[music break]

Christina: So we had our head to head with "Can We Talk" versus "I'm Ready." And as much as I like both, if I had to choose it'd be "I'm Ready."However, one of my other favorite songs from this album is actually "Don't Say Goodbye."

Miguel: Okay.

Christina: And I just really, really, really like this song, but I checked out how it charted on the billboards, the billboards, the Billboard. Why can't I never say this properly?

Miguel: I don't know.

Christina: Anyway. So on the Top 100, it only went up to 71.

Miguel: Okay.

Christina: Whereas I believe "Can We Talk" and "I'm Ready" was like six or nine or something like, high. But on the R&B charts, it reached 20, at least. So yeah. R&B listeners knew this—

Miguel: That's surprising that it only made 20.

Christina: I know. I mean, it's still not high as I would like it to be but considering where it's 20 on R&B and 71 on the top 100, at least the R&B fans knew to at least listen to this song.

Miguel: I guess I'm misremembering because I thought that song got a lot of airplay and for it to only reach number 20, that's surprising.

Christina: I don't know, maybe whatever radio station you were listening to gave it more airplay.

Miguel: I guess.

Christina: They weren't playing it on Casey Kasem, I don't think. Casey Kasem's Top 40 of the week or whatever it was that I used to listen to. I was off that by 14-15 though. But anyways, now looking back, very inappropriate lyrics for a 16 year old talking about, "Baby, don't stand there in the doorway, with all your bags ready to go."

Miguel: Yeah. "Ret' to go." There's some emancipated minor shit going on here.

Christina: Like what bags? At your place?

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Like your mama's place? Like is she, are you even allowed to have sleepovers?

Miguel: So many questions.

Christina: But the thing that's funny is, you know, the song he's, you know, he's begging her to stay.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: But he's also a little bit, upset. He says, "What do you think you're gonna find? A man who treats you sweeter? What are you looking for? A place where grass grows greener. The world is cold out there. I'm the one who really cares." It feels slightly toxic.

Miguel: Yeah. Tevin was one of the OG gaslight boys.

Christina: Yes. It's like, wait a minute. It sounds, uh…

Miguel: Gaslighting 101.

Christina: It's like, please, baby stay. You ain't gonna find nothing better.

Miguel: Yeah. So why are you leaving?

Christina: It's just funny listening to it now being much older and also thinking about how young he was at the time and just, you know, things change. Standards change and whatever, but I still love the song. I just think it's hilarious. Oh, and don't forget, "maybe my crime is caring about you." Wow!

Miguel: Gaslight boy. OG gaslight boy.

Christina: I still love the song and I still think it deserve to be more popular than it was at least. You know, we can only gauge by the charts by so much. Whatever it is on the charts doesn't mean that's where it is in people's hearts and minds, right?

Miguel: Exactly.

Christina: But as much as we've talked about this album and even the album previous about him singing about topics that are a little too mature for his age, uh, hello…"Shhh."

Miguel: "Break it down."

Christina: This is where the Prince influence is heavy! "I wanna do you after school like some homework."

Miguel: Emancipated minor.

Christina: Yowza!

Miguel: Oh, man.

Christina: It actually makes me, as an adult again, listening to it now, it makes me feel a little weird.

Miguel: Again, when you're 15, 16 years old, you're like, you know, what, how can I take this line and twist it? And I can use it.

Christina: I mean, I thought it was titillating back then, but it wasn't inappropriate. It was just like, oh, Tevin's singing like this? But listening as an adult, I skipped the song.

Miguel: No, I don't.

Christina: It's too weird for me. I listen—

Miguel: I still listen to it.

Christina: But yeah, he sounds exactly like Prince in this song because well, Prince wrote the song.

Miguel: That's what you get when you're hanging out with Prince. You're gonna get all of this.

Christina: "I'd rather do you after school, like some homework."

Miguel: Hey, he was getting this point across. And like I said, I was gonna take some of the line and twist ‘em up and regurgitate him out to some high school girls I'm going to school with. Because you can't say the exact same line 'cause they got this album too.

Christina: Yes.

Miguel: So you need to switch it up a little bit.

Christina: Yeah. I mean, I'm not gonna be naive and say that, you know, 15, 16, 17 year olds weren't having sex, but it just, it's weird to just hear him singing about this in public.

Miguel: Hey, he was a wild boy.

Christina: And especially because he was always portrayed as being very wholesome.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: Like, you know, we talk about these lyrics being a little too mature for him, but his persona was always very wholesome.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: His videos were very wholesome. And so this was kind of a departure from that as well, too. Which kind of made it a little more shocking.

Miguel: Not for me. It was like, you know what? Tevin seemed like a dude that I could kick it with. I liked the way he get down. Tevin's just like us.

Christina: Mmhmmm.

Miguel: What else you got?

Christina: I think that's really it for this album. I mean, there were some other good songs, like "Brown Eyed Girl," "Always In My Heart." But the ones that we've discussed are the standout ones, I guess. I do actually, I do quite like "Always in My Heart" too.

Miguel: Whitney Houston again.

Christina: Yeah, you've brought that to my attention. I can see this. I'm gonna have to give it a, a more, discerning listen again.

Miguel: Okay.

Christina: After this.

Miguel: Yes.

Christina: But one thing I wanted to mention about this album is unfortunately, this is best album outta his discography, and it's the only one that's not available for streaming.

Miguel: You can't stream it. You can't buy it. It's nowhere. I've looked.

Christina: I have a tape in storage.

Miguel: I don't have a tape, I have it on CD in storage.

Christina: Okay, I'm glad you have it on CD. Cause I'm pretty sure I don't. But I definitely have the tape. But we, we really gotta go to our storage and see what's in there.

Miguel: It's in storage but I don't want to go get it. I know it's there.

Christina: Even though this album is not available, at least most of the songs are available on his greatest hits album.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: At least we have that so that we, again, do not have to go to storage and look for it.

Miguel: Cause I'm not. I'm not.

Christina: All right. So one thing I also wanted to mention, before we move on to the next album was, remember that song "U Will Know" by Black Men United.

Miguel: Of course. I do.

Christina: That came out around that time. And Tevin was, well, it was a big collective of maybe about 40 or so, singers.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: But he was one of the lead singers. And when I was doing my research, I was watching when they performed[2] on the American Music Awards. Oh my gosh. It's so funny. You should look it up.

Miguel: Okay.

Christina: So he hits this high note that he doesn't do in the original recording. And El DeBarge is standing next to him. And he just whips his head over and looks at him like, "oh!" And then he just like, shakes his head afterwards, like, okay, this is what we're doing.

Miguel: And what's funny is on the, the actual song. Everybody else is pretty constrained. He's the only one that's like doing ad libs. And just out there.

Christina: Oh, the performance, like, there was a reason why El DeBarge whipped his head around, like he, he went there. And he was just like [gasps], as the kids say, shook.

Miguel: I'm gonna have to look this up.

Christina: Oh it's hilarious. And also here's another little fun fact. This also featured a young, pre-cornrowed D'Angelo on the keyboard.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: No, a piano on the piano.

Miguel: He wrote the song.

Christina: Mm-hmm. I didn't know he wrote the song at the time. Actually, I can't even remember if I knew who he—I don't think I even knew who he was yet. But I remember seeing him. So basically this song is a who's who, of Black male, R&B singers.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: In the early to mid 90s.

Miguel: Yeah, if you go through the list, looking back, there's some that probably didn't belong there.

Christina: I think your favs DRS might have been in there.

Miguel: So there were some people that were just hot at the time that didn't deserve to be there.

Christina: But there's definitely, definitely a strong collective. There was like Raphael Saadiq, Johnny Gill, Boyz II Men. Who else?

Miguel: Ginuwine was there.

Christina: Ginuwine. Ew, he who will not be named unfortunately was there.

Miguel: Yes. The nigga who will not be named was there. What's your man from Next?

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: RL.

Christina: RL? Just him?

Miguel: I don't know if the rest of them sang.

Christina: I hope they invited all three of them. At least let them sing background. Gerald Levert.

Miguel: Yeah, Gerald. No, I'm getting this song mixed up with "The Best Man."

Christina: Oh no. Well, "The Best Man" was only four of them.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Okay. yeah.

Miguel: RL was on that.

Christina: Ginuwine wasn't there yet.

Miguel: I don't know.

Christina: I'm pretty sure he wasn't. I don't think he was out yet.

Miguel: I'm getting the two mixed up.

Christina: Anyways. It was, it was a lot. Joe was there.

Miguel: Another dirty mackin' motherfucker.

Christina: So, yeah, basically, if you are curious about who's who of Black male R&B singers in 1994, '95, just watch that.

Miguel: Yeah. It will let you know who was hot.

Christina: And then there, there was some who were already established by that time. So like Gerald Levert who was not new. And then some who were hot around that time. And then some who were only hot at that time.

Miguel: Yeah, they were hot that week.

Christina: Yeah. What's that movie from? It was from a movie—Jason's Lyric.

Miguel: Yeah. Another classic with Bokeem Woodbine.

Christina: Oh, I never got to watch it.

Miguel: We can watch it tonight.

Christina: Aright.

Miguel: We are watching it tonight.

Christina: You know, I like me some Bokeem!

Miguel: We are watching that tonight.

Christina: What's that one line I used to say? "I ain't going out like no punk!"

Miguel: Yeah.

[music break]

Miguel: All right.

Christina: So that wraps up his second effort.

Miguel: "I'm Ready

Christina: Yes, "I'm Ready. Which leads to his third album, Back to the World.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: I literally only know the title track.

Miguel: I have it. I like half of it. The other half, I really can't get into, because like I said, he was kind of straddling both worlds with the I'm gonna do some Jodeci type production, but it was early Jodeci production. And I'm also gonna have a lot of like, LA and Babyface, making these big ballads for Toni Braxton and Whitney Houston type songs, too.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: I listened to Whitney Houston and Toni Braxton, and a lot of those type of R&B singers, the traditional R&B. Didn't really like it 'cause it reminded me of stuff like my aunt and my mom would listen to.

Christina: How old were you around this time? Oh, Back to the World. So you were probably...

Miguel: Back to the World was '96. I was 21. So when the T.E.V.I.N. album was out and you're getting that sound and it sounds like Jodeci. By '96, they don't sound like that anymore.

Christina: No they don't.

Miguel: So I kind of gravitated towards that type of R&B.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: Whereas Tevin's career kind of went towards the more traditional R&B. This album does have some production by the Bad Boy staff. The Hitmen did like three songs on it. So, those sound a lot like, stuff that Puffy was doing for like Mary J. Blige and 112 and all that stuff. So those are the songs that I like.

Christina: Mm-hmm.

Miguel: The rest of it, eh, it's too traditional. It's too much Whitney, Luther Vandross type of R&B.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: Back to the World though, I, again, just because it was Tevin Campbell, I bought it.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: Didn't hear the album.

Christina: Cause that's what we did back then. One of your favorite artists release an album—

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: You may hear a single, it doesn't matter. You just buy it.

Miguel: Yeah. And this was the first single. And I remember seeing a poster for it, like in Sam Goody or The Wherehouse or something. And he's sitting in this chair with shiny suit, which would've been okay.

Christina: But he had those braids!

Miguel: Those braids, man.

Christina: Those O-Dog braids.

Miguel: It was like only people who were still wearing those braids at that time was him and Mystikal. And they both looked equally silly wearing them.

Christina: It just didn't match what, what his persona was. I guess, I don't know.

Miguel: I don't care what persona was. He didn't need those braids.

Christina: He did not.

Miguel: Those braids were terrible. Mystikal didn't need those braids. Nobody needed those braids. At all. So it was like, you know what? I'm gonna give him a pass on the braids.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: I'll still give it a shot. And like I said, half of it, I liked. The Hitmen produced songs. I like those. There's a couple of them, other ones that I like.

Christina: I only knew the title track and I never got the CD. So I don't know any of the songs other than that one. But I did take a listen to it and it's not a bad album.

Miguel: No not at all.

Christina: But there's just no real standout songs.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: It's just, I wouldn't call it a bad album, but it's also not particularly memorable.

Miguel: Yeah. Yeah there's just maybe five, maybe six that I'll keep in rotation, but for the most part, the whole thing.

Christina: Yeah. And pretty much what you've said, like the reason why the songs don't sound bad to me is 'cause it sounds like other stuff that Iistened to at that time. 'Cause I was listening to Toni Braxton. I was listening to Jodeci. I was listening to 112. So you know, it was just all that similar sound.

Miguel: Yeah. Even the first single, "Back to The World." It doesn't slap like the rest of them. So I was like, all right, here we are. We're starting a little bit of a decline. You got these braids, but I'm still gonna give you a chance. But then you listen to the rest of the album. And again, there's the traditional R&B that I wasn't into at the time.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: But you got the production from Diddy and I think it was Chucky Thompson.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: Who did a lot of the songs that I like. You got some vocals from 112 and Kima, Keisha and Pam. They're doing a lot of the background vocals on these songs. So it sounds a lot like some Bad Boy stuff.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: And that's probably why I like it. You just drop Tevin on some Bad Boy tracks. Boom. You win.

Christina: I think he, at this point in his career, he hit that, you know, that stage where, especially when you start off really young, where you're trying to move into the new sound?

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: We came to expect him to sound a certain way and now he sounds like 112.

Miguel: Well that didn't bother me. I actually liked that of it because again, that's what I was listening to.

Christina: Mmhmm.

Miguel: But there's other songs on the album that were like, some Babyface produced ballads. I don't want to hear that.

Christina: But again, that's what I'm saying is like maybe he needed to pick a lane at least.

Miguel: And he chose the more traditional lane[3]. And I think honestly, if different songs had been chosen for singles, then it would've done a lot better.

Christina: Yeah. Maybe I'll give it another listen, because like I said…

Miguel: Do that.

Christina: Maybe, you know, it's one of those things where you just gotta let it sit and hear it a couple times. It sounds like stuff that I like.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: So. there's no reason why I wouldn't like it more. That's basically what the last album sounds like. Uh, what was it called? Just Tevin?

Miguel: It was just Tevin Campbell.

Christina: Just Tevin Campbell. I never heard this album either. I think it was 1999.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: It was released.

Miguel: It was his last album. It's crazy to think about that his last album was in 1999.

Christina: That's twenty... one... years ago?

Miguel: Good maths. Good maths.

Christina: Quick maths. Yeah. I had never heard of this album. I didn't even know if there was an album release until we was looking up stuff for this.

Miguel: I knew it was released but I haven't heard anything from it.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: I actually meant to listen to it before we were recording this and I forgot. I got caught up listening to Skillz's Hip Hop Confessions podcast. And I forgot to actually listen to this one. But I'm gonna do it after we're done recording.

Christina: I took a quick listen, where I just skipped through the songs just to get a feel for what it sounded like. So if you liked the Bad Boy produced songs from the last album, you might like this.

Miguel: Okay.

Christina: I have the same sort of feelings about it, where it's not a bad album, but again, there's really no standout songs. But by this time it sounds like he was trying to go with sort of the current trend of R&B because the songs sound a lot like Donnell Jones or Case. Or like those kinds of R&B singers.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: From my, quick listen, I think he was also singing a little bit lower than "Can We Talk," "I'm Ready "sort of again, I don't know my musical words, but it does sound a little bit more like the popular R&B male singers at that time.

Miguel: Okay, then I should like it.

Christina: Yeah. Apparently he had some songs on the, some Goofy movie soundtrack that—

Miguel: "I2I?"

Christina: I had never heard of this "I2I" song until you mentioned your coworker was saying something about it. And I was like, what? What is this song? And so—

Miguel: Yeah, he's in The Goofy Movie. He plays Powerline.

Christina: I did not know this.

Miguel: I think he's got three songs on the soundtrack.

Christina: Because when I was looking up his streams on Spotify, of course, those two songs popped up.

Miguel: That's funny.

Christina: And I was like, well, I guess that opened him up to another set of fans.

Miguel: Hey, you get that money where you can, man.

Christina: That Disney money.

Miguel: Yeah. If you gonna be in The Goofy Movie, go for it.

Christina: Yeah. That "I2I" is not for me though.

Miguel: Yeah of course it's not for you because you are not a eight year old child right now.

Christina: But good for him.

Miguel: It was targeted towards kids who were watching the Disney channel that time.

Christina: I'm gonna stick to my T.E.V.I.N. album. And I will probably give these later two albums a couple more listens.

Miguel: Okay. Yeah. If you go to the Back to the World album, you listen to the title, track. And then look into credits. Find produced by Sean "Puffy" Combs and dot dot dot for Bad Boy. Start with those. And then you can circle back to the Babyface stuff if you so choose. But I don't.

Christina: Well, I tend to like Babyface written songs a little bit more than you do. So I will definitely give it a little, another listen or two.

Miguel: I think you'll like it.

[music break]

Miguel: Something that I find interesting, like I said, his last album was 1999. And the man just disappeared. It's hard to stay gone and nobody sees you. Like he pops up every couple years to do like B.E.T. awards. Come do some tribute or something and then disappears again. He might pop up and do a quick tour, South Africa or something. Disappear again. Somebody talking spicy about him on Twitter. He pops up, says something. He's gone again.

Christina: He was a quality follow on Twitter.

Miguel: Yes.

Christina: So I'm sad—it looks like he's gone for now.

Miguel: I went looking for him the other day and was disappointed that he was gone.

Christina: I'm sad 'cause he was definitely a quality follow.

Miguel: He sure was.

Christina: Tevin Campbell, if there's some crazy chance that you are actually listening, please come back.

Miguel: Yeah. If anybody can get me in touch with Tevin, please do. I would like to have at least a 15 minute conversation with him.

Christina: Or at least come back to Twitter, with your spicy takes.

Miguel: Let's start with Twitter and then let's have a conversation.

Christina: Oh, one of my favorite moments of him just popping up outta nowhere was when he just randomly recorded himself singing "Can We Talk." And I'm assuming he's in his home, 'cause he's just comes sliding through a door and just starts singing[4] and was like 20 years anniversary of this song. Hope you guys like it. It's the only video on his YouTube channel.

Miguel: Of course it is.

Christina: And it's from 2012. And he just comes sliding in…. [aaaaaa] and there's like one single light in the room. And that's it.

Miguel: He just comes and goes when he pleases. Like I have social media now, now I don't. Come back. At some point, come back. Come save us. Come save us in 2021 Tevin Campbell.

Christina: Save us from what?

Miguel: You're our only hope.

Christina: What's he saving us from?

Miguel: Everything. So I guess we can, can wrap this up.

Christina: Yeah, I think that even though despite the last two albums didn't really do well in terms of sales and this and that. He still had a, illustrious career in my opinion.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Because I mean, it's hard for first of all, it's hard to get one hit. And then a lot of people who get one hit, can't get a second hit.

Miguel: They can't.

Christina: Or they have one good album and can't get a second good album. So I think he's already done a lot more than a lot of other artists. And you can't have a conversation about 90s R&B without including him. And so I think that his career, despite maybe some ups and downs or whatever is something to be admired.

Miguel: Yeah. And you bring that up and…[laughs] back when Aretha Franklin passed, I'm not gonna say who it is because she's been dragged enough for her comment. Immediately people started asking who should memorialize Aretha at her funeral. And someone who will remain nameless—

Christina: Okay. I don't know who you're talking about.

Miguel: She tweeted something. "I saw someone mention Tevin Campbell should do it. What, uh, rock did they drag that name from under?" And Twitter went ballistic. She was getting destroyed left, right and center.

Christina: I don't remember who said it.

Miguel: It was regular people responding. It was celebrities responding. Everybody was just pouring on this woman. And it was hilarious to see that so many people are out here in favor of the Tevin Campbell support. Ava Du Vernay was like, basically you're a fool. And now that you've brought it up, I'm trying to figure out a way I'm gonna write Tevin into a script for one of the episodes of Queen Sugar. And then couple months later, I see him on the set of Queen Sugar.

Christina: I need to get back into that.

Miguel: Because she wrote him into the script.

Christina: Okay. Now I definitely, really need to get back into that.

Miguel: It's just stuff like that.

Christina: That's hilarious.

Miguel: So are some of us out there who are still waiting for the Tevin Campbell comeback. And those who aren't, they keep getting smacked to the the side.

Christina: Mm-hmm.

Miguel: And put back into their place.

Christina: I do remember this Twitter controversy.

Miguel: Controversy.

Christina: Cause I remember how we put together a Tevin Campbell essentials playlist? And I couldn't remember why.

Miguel: That was why.

Christina: That must have been the reason.

Miguel: That was why.

Christina: Cause I just remember something happened where everyone had to be like, no, let us remind you about king Tevin alright?

Miguel: Yes.

Christina: He gets regular rotation on my playlist, regardless of whoever said that. She don't know what she's talking about.

Miguel: She knows now.

Christina: Yeah. All right. So I guess this brings us to the end.

Miguel: Yeah, that wraps it up for us. So if you want to listen to what we've been talking about today, we've put together a companion playlist to go along with our episodes. So if you're on Spotify or Apple Music, you can search the TROY Podcast on there and the playlist will come up if you so choose.

Christina: Thanks for listening and joining us today. Don't forget to rate, subscribe on your podcast service, a choice. And five stars, or, you know, just don't bother.

Miguel: Yeah, I agree. Five stars or I'm coming to your house.

Christina: If you're not gonna rate five stars, just, just don't listen anymore. How about that?

Miguel: I agree.

Christina: You could also follow us on Twitter.

Miguel: On the bird.

Christina: AKA the bird app @troypodcast. Same thing on the ‘gram. troypodcast. T-R-O-Y podcast. See ya'll in two weeks? Or so?

Miguel: Two weeks, three weeks, we'll see how it goes.

Christina: Alright. See you next time.

Miguel: Bye.