May 15, 2022

Ruff Endz - Love Crimes (2000)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: R&B
Label Number: EK 69719

© 2000 Epic Records
As "No More," Rough Endz's debut single, kept rising on the R&B/hip-hop charts during the summer of 2000, Epic Records kept delaying the release of Love Crimes, their first album, finally issuing it the same week that "No More" hit number one. The Baltimore-based duo employs a sweet-and-sour dichotomy typical of soul teams dating back to Sam & Dave and as recent as K-Ci & JoJo, with David "Davinch" Chance's smooth tenor contrasted by Dante "Chi" Jordan's gruff baritone. Of course, Rough Endz are closer to the latter predecessors than the former, much closer, in fact. Musically, this is formula contemporary R&B: the tempos are mostly slow, the beats pronounced, and the songs are either expressions of idealized love or romantic dismissals based on infidelity. (In this context, even Diane Warren's "If I Was the One," a typically hackneyed tale of a best friend's lust, seems original.) The choruses are lengthy and carried by a high-pitched vocal group as the lead singers improvise expressively. After a couple of verses and a bridge, each track contains an extended out-chorus section. What matters, of course, is the singers' emoting, and Chance and Jordan know all the necessary vocal tricks to make these lover-man jams work. It's too bad they have gone for street credibility by injecting the occasional obscenity and "N" word when such language is gratuitous on this kind of record. Oddly, those same words have been dropped out in the rap version of "No More," entitled "Cuban Linx 2000" and featuring Ghostface Killah and Raekwon, that ends the disc. Love Crimes demonstrates that the two singers who make up Ruff Endz have soulful vocal chops; next time it would be nice if their material were less contrived, but in a genre as circumscribed as contemporary R&B, that may be asking a lot.

tags: ruff endz, ends, love crimes, 2000, flac,


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