The Compton, California-raised R&B singer was unique in the fat that with his debut, "They Never Saw Me Coming" saw TQ taking R&B in a new direction by performing songs which essential took on what Gangsta Rap acts out of the West Coast had to say, and sung it, to show that there are other ways to express this without having to enter into the Hip Hop world.
1. "Change" (Intro)
This was his breakthrough single and it saw him blazing through with a killer R&B hit for the late nineties. It finds that he does an anthem for those out on the West Coast of the US (Cali in particular) with one which tells the stories of gang activities and all things which are linked to this as a result whilst having some sort of attachment to the G-Funk of the very early nineties in the production.
3. "If The World Was Mine"
You see that here Atlanta's Jazzy Pha jumps on the production, and if you are aware of what he was about around that sort of time then you should know that it this is all about the funky synth driving it, as he comes with a tune which appears to bring about a contrast form the tune prior to it with a club one for just getting loose to.
You hear that even by this early stage in the album, you can see the undeveloped sound of his material with much of the content of the songs overlapping already and many melodies recycled through the songs, and here he chooses to do one which basically sounds like the second part to the one just before it, so it doesn't really do all that much.
5. "They Never Saw Me Coming"
Here you get the eponymous track from the album and it gets the singer coming with one which you could liken a Montell Jordan a few years after his debut as the artist came through with a similar sort of gimmick to him, but here we have a much more rounded character, but just not with the same sort of drive in the song material. Although it must be said that for this particular one, as the beats make a significant twist, it feels much rougher and exciting while he explains what he is to the R&B game.
6. "Don Breezio" (Lude)
7. "Gotta Make That Money"
After what was a rather clichéd interlude from him, you get into something which you really can't brush off as you feel a funky synth melody riding through this one and it gets you hyped up as he gets back to the sort of material which is aimed directly towards the streets for one which has him dealing with those on their hustle. Vallejo's E-40 even makes an appearance to show some West Coast love.
8. "I Get Around"
The material in this particular one sounds like a mix of many specific things with a kind of 1992 R. Kelly production being adapted from 1995-stllyed Bone Thugs material and I felt that because it was so obvious where the influence came from, you couldn't really big him up for the material which he delivered here.
This is an eye-opening tale form the artist which has him talking the listeners through some real-life stuff straight out of the West Coast to get us understanding exactly what life was like for him as he grew up in this end of the world with an emotive one about how a close friend died due to a drug accident. I didn't think it was formed that well into a track, but some may fall for the tragedy of the recording.
10. "One More Lick"
Tha Eastsidaz' Tray Dee aids him out on this one to show more support form the West coast Rap world, and I felt that here it really helped things out as he does something which you really expect to get from a West Coaster. However I have to say that I was disappointed by how this part was segregated from the rest of the track as it cuts off and turns into a track which deals with something completely different, but each part it is good for what it does.
11. "A*s Or Weed" (Lude)
12. "Darlin' Mary"
You see that for this one we have him dipping into more of the kind of production which you would have expected from West Coast Rap of the time as it attempted to work out an alternative for the perfect sounds of the G-Funk in the early nineties and so it does sound to be very much of-the-time in the fact that it takes on minimal arts of the past, but does its most to try and distance itself from it. The tune is a pretty unmemorable one here, but nice when you hear it.
13. "When I Get Out"
Here you have a duet as he performs with Ericka Yancey in one which really makes the direction of the album shift significantly as you see that things move on from the street tunes to one which deals with the other side of this world with one which ash him talking us through how difficult it is for the families who are split up when one parent is incarcerated.
14. "Weed Or A*s" (Lude)
15. "Your Sister"
You see that here the artist gets down to more of the funky Jazzy Pha work, and in an appropriate fashion, as he turns his attention towards the girls, this one has him working with Too $hort, and the Oakland rap legend does what is needed to give this rather crude tune what it needs so that you don' dwell on how bad the situation is.
16. "Bye Bye Baby"
You get a powerful track here where you have him telling another story which has him explaining the situation which you hear played out in a skit format before the song gets underway as a man has to try and cope after getting his girl killed after a drive-by. It is decent, but not all that special as it just takes an earlier tune and alters the main subject.
17. "The Comeback"
This Kurupt and Daz as Tha Dogg Pound backing him up, you see that they get into a track which has them talking listeners through exactly what goes through the heads of those who are forced to retaliate after having close people murdered, and I felt that it was done in a manner which explained it well whilst taking it towards the full Gangsta Rap ways.
18. "Better Days"
Ending this album off, you get one which works well off the tune prior to it as it deals directly ith the consequences of what has happened and how life in the area is just a vicious cycle of how nothing can ever be revolved,. He chooses to direct things towards the relationship with his girl to try and overcome all that is going on in his world.
Personally, I didn't really think that this all was all-that and was a little overrated in that what he does with it wasn't really that original and had been done to some degree by a few others(and better in some cases). Much of what you get is just recycled and doesn't go anywhere, but a few of the tunes take you by surprise and take you in with their subject matter. However it is often the case that the way it is told isn't quite as successful.