Blackstreet: Teddy Riley, Chauncey Hannibal, Mark Middleton, Eric Williams.
Additional personnel includes: Mystikal, Mr. Cheeks.
Recorded at Future Recording Studios, Virginia Beach, Virgina.
Blackstreet may have broken up over creative differences and corporate reshuffling at their label after the release of 1999's FINALLY, but the lure of working within a group format again proved too much for Teddy Riley, who reformed the group for 2003's LEVEL II. Riley's status as the father of new jack swing means these 17 songs bristle with the kinds of grooves and beats that found his trademark sound serving as the bridge between the electro-funk of the '80s and hip-hop-driven R&B of the '90s. Peppered with plenty of scenarios of pursuit and seduction, some of Riley's more overt musical innuendoes include a moanin' remake of a Rose Royce track re-titled "Ooh Girl," the future Quiet Storm classic "Deep" where Chauncey Hannibal makes like Prince with a vocoder, and rhyme-driven jam "She's Hot."
To avoid looking like incorrigible playas, the gentlemen of Blackstreet also include a fair amount of more romantic overtures like the straightforward, harmony-soaked declaration "Baby You're All I Want" and the lush "You Made Me," with its gospel-flavored overtones. Helping do some of the heavy lifting are special guests Mystikal on the closing beat-fest "Wizzy Wow" and original Blackstreet member Dave Hollister on the Babyface-like acoustic ballad "Bygones."
What the critics say...
Rolling Stone (2/20/03, p.62) - 3 stars out of 5 - "...BlackStreet's singing rarely falls below the spectacular - it's both intricate and instant..."
Uncut (6/03, p.92) - 3 stars out of 5 - "...It exhibits a peculiar strain of genius....It's guilty as sin and just as much fun....You have to like the way they work it..."
- Ticket To Ride (Intro)
- Don't Touch - (featuring Mr. Cheeks)
- She's Hot
- Ooh Girl
- Friend Of Mine
- Interlude: What's The Fuss?
- You Made Me
- It's So Hard To Say Goodbye
- Why, Why
- Look In The Water
- Baby You're All I Want
- How We Do
- Interlude: Still Feelin' You
- Brown Eyes
- Wizzy Wow - (featuring Mystikal)