I Can't Call It: Love Life - Tamia

Posted On Wednesday, June 17, 2015


I've never liked Tamia. Never saw the hype. I HATED that damn song off Q's Jook Joint "You Put A Move On My Heart" (I actually LOVE the song now) and to me she's always just been that cute chick who married Grant Hill. That's it. Now, don't get it twisted I knew shorty could blow. But she always ended up in that crew of shortys who can sing but just never blow up club. Other notable members of the club are Deborah Cox (who is a BEAST), Fantasia (her last album was dope BTW) and Jennifer Hudson. (what other woman can lose damn near 300 pounds AND get Timbo to produce her lead single and STILL not sell records?) These shorty's have enough talent to be A list singers but for some reason, they just never blew. And to be honest, as far as Tamia's singing steez is concerned, her entire catalogue is just one song with me and that's the jawn she did with Fab "Into You." That's it. Seriously...that's it. Well, of course now that I dig "You Put A Move On My Heart" that one is in there too but after that it's a wrap. And when I did the knowledge on shorty, I peeped that her new album on tap "Love Life" is her 6th album! Tamia's had out 6 albums?!?!?!? I'm glad how many albums has Tamia dropped was never a question on Jeopardy cause I damn sure would've said "what is 1?" But then something crazy happened...I heard the first single off this new album "Sandwich & A Soda" and the ish is BONKERS! I mean, bonkers like, listen on repeat for 40 minutes bonkers. And not only is the beat just stupid (you can thank Pop & Oak outta Philly for that) but it's the way Tamia is riding that beat. It's like, all of a sudden Tamia went from being Georgetown bougie to being 14th & U cool. On "Sandwich..." she has this swag I've never heard from her before, this flow that was just crazy. In fact, listening to this reminded me of the first time I heard Tribe's "Butter" and was like "ohhhh, this is the reason why Phife is in the group." I mean, where has THIS Tamia been for the past 15+ years? But here's the better question, is THIS gonna be the same Tamia I get for the next 13 songs? And answer is simply, yes.



The Pop & Oak produced "Love Falls Over Me" sets the album off on a dope note and has Tamia schooling us on how Grant makes her feel, "when my hear beats harder, and my thoughts get louder and my tongue gets tied up/that's when your love falls over me/making me hot like summer, nuthin when I don't wanna/I don't know what I'm under/when your love falls over me" and "Chaise Lounge" has Tamia telling dude there's no need to go upstairs cause we can make it happen right here. No reason to go into the MONSTER that "Sandwich & A Soda" is cause all you gotta do is hear the beat & hear Tamia tell you "and when it's all over/I'm gonna fluff your pillow for you/bring you a sandwich & a soda" and it's a wrap. The Dream & Tricky aka Godz of Analog produced "Nowhere" has Tamia telling Grant she ain't going nowhere, "I want it, I need it, say you'll never let me go/we go over and over, just thought I 'd let you know/how I feel when you're not around, falling for you more/my anything my everything/I'll never tell you no" while "Special" has a Beyonce/PM Dawnish feel to it and has T telling Grant how special their marriage is to her, "I need you, I wanna be engulfed by you/you keep me high, feels like I'm drugged by you/when I'm being loved by my baby/it would take a fool to not know that what we have is something special."



"Like You Do" bangs and has T telling her Grant that nobody knows her body like he does, "can't nobody do my body like you do/I done met a couple guys but they don't know my body like you do/the way you're making it talk, I can hear it get louder/way you're putting it down your daddy would prouder/can't nobody do my body, like you do." The Polow Da Don produced "Stuck With Me" just reeks with nuthin' but remnants of Booty Collin funk and makes your face scrunch up just listening to it. The Stereotypes produced "No Lie" has Tamia reassuring Grant that their love ain't going no where, "I don't mind, giving you all I got/cause baby boy you're mine/my love, my life, the only thing that matters is /you and I, see you don't have to question my heart/I'll be loving you for all time" and "Day One" is a dope ballad saluting how T & Grant have held it down in this marriage game for 16 years, "if I could do it all again, I would/give me the bad days along with the good/my heart is even more in love, then it was on day one/funny how it all falls into place, we grew even closer with every mistake/it's crazy how we're still in love, the way we were on day one." The album ends with Tamia remaking one of my favorite songs with Deniece William's "Black Butterfly" and trust me when I say you won't be mad at it either but my favorite banger on the album (which I didn't think was possible cause I LOVE "Sandwich...") is the Chuck Harmony produced "Lipstick." If you thought Tamia's sexy swag was on 100 on "Sandwich..." it's on a milli on "Lipstick." "Got on the little dress you like, the champagne is sitting on ice/with strawberries and candlelight/my heels about 7 inch high, the slip is running up my thigh/the kill daddy's it's your tonight/and you're so turned on that you can't even breath/your fingertips are all over me/no turning around, cause now/my couture is on the floor, french kisses for mi amor/you whisper to me, I need some more/then you starting losing control/messing up my lipstick, pulling on my hair/ruining my outfit I don't even care/you need to understand, that I'll do anything for my man/nothing but egyptian cotton on the bed/don't you worry about that, I just wanna sweat/you need to understand, that I'll do anything for my man." Word? Yup, this is the Tamia I've been waiting to hear from.



To be honest, I'm actually blown away by "Love Life." I don't know if it's because my expectations for this album were basically zero or if I'm just being a prisoner of the moment but I won't hold you, Tamia did her thing on this album! One of the things that I absolutely LOVE about this album is that it's basically one long love song to Grant. I know black folk only care about Will and Jada but we've had Grant & Tamia right under our noses for years and don't ever mention their names. But these two have been going strong for 16 years and NOBODY can front on that! I've got this philosophy with NBA players that goes a 'lil something like this. You get drafted and you get your rookie deal which is basically crumbs on the table compared to the big time money you can make. After that 3-4 year deal is up, that's when you go for that max contract which may put you on a losing team in the middle of nowhere (see Carlos Boozer leaving Cleveland when they got Bron to go to Salt Lake City) but you get that $100 million dollar deal and then after those 6 years are up, THEN you go to a team and try to win a chip. (see Carlo Boozer going to the Bulls after the Jazz) And I feel like something similar happens in the music biz, especially with women in R&B. It's like you get a deal and the label or your management gives you this persona they want you to have to sell records and have mass appeal but then by your 4th album or when your contract is up and you get a chance to actually be you, then that's when you finally get to make the record that reflects who you really are.



Look at Beyonce for example. If you look at B's discography, I've always thought of her on some bougie ish. And that's the same way I saw Tamia all of these years, like this chick can't be cool like that. But then when B's 5th album dropped, we got this whole new Beyonce. This chick is cursing, telling chicks "this my shit, bow down." This chick is giving head in the whip without crashing it on some Noreaga ish, throwing up gang signs in the 5th ward! Nah, this ain't the Beyonce that I knew. Now, some folk were disgusted by it like "she's trying to be like Lady Gaga or Nicki Minaj to try to sell records" which had to be one of the dumbest thing I ever heard cause #1, B don't need any help selling records and #2 Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj wanna be B! Nah, I looked at it like THIS is the real Beyonce. Not the one that the label or her pop wanted her to be and  I think B got tired of it and with this last album she was on some ole Common ish like "this is me." I mean, you can't get much realer then setting a song off with "let me sit this ass on you" right? And with "Love Life" I think THIS is the real Tamia. The Tamia who's not only sexy but knows how to use that sexiness in her music. The Tamia who's got that around the way swag. The Tamia who's production matches that swag. The Tamia who is passionate about her man. I mean, there's no way Grant can listen to this album and not smile ear to ear. Yeah, this is the Tamia I've been waiting for and I'm sure I'm not the only one. And even though it took her 15 years to get here, I could care less. I'm just glad she's finally here.

4 outta 5 mics
 

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