(From Chain album; 1990)
It's understandable that Americans never give any kudos to Soul II Soul for fusing R&B and Hip-Hop in song form because it screws up the narrative that Puff Daddy & Mary J. Blige pioneered the practice in 1992. Unfortunately, this means that Americans then end up writing their own artists outta history - artists like The Family Stand who scored an international hit with Soul II Soul's remix of Ghetto Heaven two years before Mary's debut with Real Love.
Not that the British are much better, mind. Very few folk in my country acknowledge that Soul II Soul's remix of Ghetto Heaven was the obvious blueprint for Massive Attack & Shara Nelson's Unfinished Sympathy, and now Massive Attack are somehow considered more important than Soul II Soul. Unfinished Sympathy is a legit classic, but there's an important rule every British citizen must adhere to: we only credit Bristol when we're talkin' Portishead or Sara & Keren from Bananarama.
Ghetto Heaven and Unfinished Sympathy are in that weird category of songs I tried to play out several times before realising they're both great and danceable but also quite depressing and melancholy.
Nellee Hooper very much the link here though, coming out of the Wild Bunch and playing a big part in those first Soul II Soul records.
As for the Puff/Mary J thing, that always gets credited to Kid Capri and Ron G's blend tapes but that seems a bit of a stretch. It could well be where Puff got the idea from but DJs had been doing that forever - Hot Day springs to mind as does a bunch of tapes of London pirate radio in the 80s.
The Wild Bunch gave Nellee Hooper wings, Soul II Soul made him fly.
DJ Milo from The Wild Bunch going on to produce for Zhigge/Buddah Nation, and Alley High is another weird one. I guess Salaam Remi is the link there.
Trevor Nelson absolutely loves this song.
Fresh 4 repped Bristol too.
Wishing On A Star deserved a better singer imho.
Probably why US DJs ran with the b-side, which was just Faze O - Riding High x Funky Drummer.
Yanks had the right idea.
Ha, my dad had (most likely still has) a couple Soul 2 Soul cds. I'll check it out next time I'm visiting. Kind of a left-field stuff since he grew up on 70's rock and jazz, but for some reason I remember him really liking the S2S stuff.
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