Wednesday, June 02, 2004
Paula Campbell - Who Got Next?
Paula is an R&B singer who has had 2 singles that have been big hits all over Bmore/Washington radio for the past year and a half but hasn't blown up nationally yet. Her album finally dropped (regionally, at least) back in April, and last week I finally found a store that stocked it.
"Take You Home" is the current hit and is so far one of my favorite singles of the year and I've been doing everything I can to hype it outside my city where noone knows it. It's got those big bleacher-stomping "Grindin'"/"Tipsy"/"We Will Rock You" drums that people love so much, plus squishy synth bass and random tire squeals. Nothing really groundbreaking for post-Aaliyah/"What About Us" female R&B but still really well done and as hot as anything on mainstream radio right now. The chorus is jacked from Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam's "I Wonder If I Take You Home", which was already jacked just a year or two ago by that Angie Martinez f/ Kelis song, but I think this one is better. And there's now a remix featuring Comp (!), which is unfortunately not on the album, but there is a good ballad version called "Spend The Night" that's a bonus track at the end of the CD.
"How Does It Feel" featuring Tim Trees was Paula's first hit, and is produced by the Baltimore club king Rod Lee, so it's a very Baltimore-sounding record, flat drum sounds and spare synth stabs. I remember the first time I heard this I was driving across the Bay Bridge on new year's day 2003, and one of the 2 rap stations in town at the time (one has since changed formats) debuted it, boasting about this hot exclusive, and then not 20 minutes later, the rival station played it, and it spread like wildfire from there.
The rest of the album is pretty solid, no other Rod Lee productions, but about half of the tracks are produced by Jarod Barnes, who did "Take You Home". There's also a couple tracks featuring Neke, who's a DJ on 92Q and has a MC Lyte-esque voice. On the back cover of the album Paula is sporting a topless-with-strategically-placed-suspenders outfit like Lil Kim did on the cover of La Bella Mafia, and let's face it, it's just not a good look.
I saw Paula open for Kanye/Young Gunz when they played UMBC a few weeks back, and she had 8 (!) backup dancers and only did like 3 songs and wasn't a really great vocalist, but when she has the right material she sounds good, and as long as she keeps doing hot tracks and repping Baltimore I'll be supporting her. Her website has some MP3's but unfortunately they're only minute-long clips.