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"B2K" is the self-titled R&B album from a group consisting of members Omarion, J-Boog, Raz-B and Lil' Fizz. Their style is a blend of pop and R&B, and it marked the changes in the R&B genre at the turn of the century as all the male vocals groups had phased away and boy bands had just about done, they came through as a refreshing take on boybands, with a street appeal.
Although this was released in 2002, almost all of it was recorded the year before this as you hear them state the year in almost all the songs. If they had of recorded it in '02, then they would have had the busiest year of their life as they went on to release two LPs and an album in the year aswell.
1. "Got's To Be"
For an opener, I was quite dissapointed by this track, but it seems to grow on you with time, so don't be completly off-put from the whole album from this single song. They talk about how they get jealous very easily, so they have to be there with their girl constantly, so they do miss out on anything in their life, or allow anything to happen to them.
We are greeted with a slow song to get us in the right sort of mood for this music, and I would have thought that as their audience will be the young teens or under at this stage, that they would have gone with sometihg more up-tempo to get us ino it, but I felt that it was to establish their genre, as for this it is definately R&B, as they didn't want to come with the pop stuff too early on and hinder their chances of more traditonal R&B fans from getting invovled.
We are introduced to this one by being told "This one is for the brothers", just so the males have some reason to buy it too, because otherwise all of the music would be gerallt towards a female audience. To accomodate for this switch, the beat has more Hip Hop added to it than in their other tracks, just to show they are aware of what we want to hear.
B2k take a chance to talk us through their expereinces with girls, and tell us what is required to make the relationships work. The male fans are given something which they can relate to, and I felt they pulled it off.
3. "Why I Love You"
We are given an acoustic song hear, making them sound very pure as everything is done in minimal qunatites, so it is essentially the group (well more Omarion) singing with very little production to get their point across and make it seem genuine and although I felt they acheived this, the song as a whole didn't really appeal to me as it was all too plain and offered no variety.
4. "Uh Huh"
I don't see any differnce between this and a track which they released in the following year as "Uh Huh '03", it's exactly the same song. Regardless of this, we have a very fun and hyped-up dance here which guaranted to get you moving and its a really good uplifter when you're just not in the mood to do anything.
The lyrics in this don't have too much menaing and don't really effect the impact of the song, because it is jus tabout a nice dance-R&B beat which is designed to just excite you through the brasswind-driven tune.
5. "B2K Is Hot (Skit)"
6. "B2K Is Hot"
When I went back to listen to this, I expected to hear a lot of pop tunes with a slight hint of an R&B presence, but this was a great way to break into the game with this debut single, as this was pretty much the opposite, and this was what I preferred as I couldn't have listened to a full popo album.
With all of this in mind, and taking the year (2001) into consideration, you get a proper early '00s tune, which really attempted to separate itself from the '90s sound in this genre with a range of new acts and the new millenium still in the air. The group bigs themselves up here to get the listeners on their side.
This one uses some influence from Latin music with it's guitar riff, which seems to create the idyliic fantasy atmosphere, which is essential for this one to work. From this, the whole idea is expanded on through the lyrics which speak on the most attractive girl at school (yeah you forget they were this young for a bit).
8. "I'm Not Finished"
Everything is slowed as we are given a strange synthesizer beat which used a wide variety of odd sounds which don't come together well at all, so with a shambolic instrumental, the words are seen to be pretty much meaningless, especially in this pop sub-genre of R&B. This being said the song is a complete flop as you have singing over watery sounds and ringing which throw you off everything in the track.
9. "Come On"
B2K funk things up once again with another bouncy club tune which sounds like a male version of Destiny's Child's "Bills, Bills, Bills" in terms of how the production has been done, this one just has a little more Hip Hop embedded within it to keep it flowing and clearly a masculine song from how everything is harder and funkier.
I have to admit that although I enjoyed the song a lot, the theme of it was far too simialr to other tracks on the album, and they were just going for the things which we expect to be hearing from a pop-R&B act to sing, but it drags it out too much.
10. "Hey Little Lady (Interlude)"
11. "Hey Little Lady"
When you compare this to later material from the boys, this sounds like the 'Part 1' to "Girlfriend", off their second album, "Pandemonium!" in terms of the themes which are discussed here, they are almost identical to that song, the only difference being that here they is a specific girl in mind, and in their album from later on in the year had them singing about simply wanting a girlfriend, because they were so lonely.
12. "Baby Girl"
The pace is taken down for this slow and sexy ballard for the girls. The whole thing is basically Omarion's chance to sine as the beat is very minimalistic, and the rest of the group only come together for the chorus for some nice harmonies.
From this early stage in their career, you already see that O(marion) is the stand-out guy in the boyband, and he really has a lot more talent than the rest of them, but I can't sit through ballards, whiuch are only designed for females to enjoy.
13. "Your Girl Chose Me"
This is a fun track which only a teenage act could pull off do to the nature of the song, which reveals all through the title, and the quartet work through this idea and just talk about what they aren't able to offer when they obviously can't.
This is another bouncy club tune to bring the mood up, but it sounds far too similar to some of the other tracks, which were done in this way, so it does show that the production team were attempting to rinse out all the energy from the same simple beats and drag them out into all the other songs.
I really enjoyed listening to the bassline in this track. It's done in such a simplistic wway, but it manages to bring out so much fun out of the track that you are forced to bounce along to it. I felt that the infectious beat made the track what it is, and it wouldn't matter what they sang to it, t would remain a banger.
The title is all you really all you need to get an idea of the theme for this as they admire the girls that they see, and declare thier love for them. The beat allows the track to be sang in a bouncy way, and it seems to make it seems to make the lyrics flow a lot easier.
15. "Last Boyfriend"
I really liked the concept of this track as it isn't something which you come across too often, but by doing something very different to what is usualy done works for a fresh group like B2K.
This is the first time where you have real rebellion against girls from the group, because throughout the album they have spoke about nothing but love for them, and now they are finally standing up by telling them not to argue because they aren't their former boyfriend, so they don't want to be treated like the ex was.
I expected big things as I read Jermaine Dupri did the production for this track, but he didn't really bring that much, or as much as he could have done, so I was left diasspointed, but the lyrics kep me interested.
I have to say that overall, all that you got from this album was Omarion singing the song, J-Boog and Raz-B joining him on choruses and when there is a song with a high tempo, you have Lil' Fizz do a little rap, so J-Boog and Raz-B weren't really acknowledged for the majority of the LP, and Lil' Fiz' raps weren't never that good, so it was all about O, and I didn't reallt like this. This will probably cause problems now that the group has reformed without Omarion, because no one is strong enough to carry he group through with the only personality coming from Fizz, but as he is the rapper it won't work.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Gots To Be
3 Why I Love You
4 Uh Huh
5 B2K Is Hot
6 B2K Is Hot
8 I'm Not Finished
9 Come On
10 Hey Little Lady
11 Hey Little Lady
12 Baby Girl
13 Your Girl Chose Me
15 Feel This Way
16 Last Boyfriend
17 Here We Go Again