That’s My Jam is a weekly feature where one person from the Selective Hearing staff goes to wax poetic about music that is pivotal to their musical tastes. Whether that would be an album, a song, or anything in-between. We all had to start somewhere.

Jon  B Bonafide

Release Date: May 23, 1995

Track Listing

  1. Bonafide
  2. Simple Melody feat. Bootsy Collins
  3. Love Is Candi
  4. Mystery 4 Two
  5. Someone To Love feat. Babyface
  6. Time After Time
  7. Overflow
  8. Pretty Girl
  9. Pants Off
  10. Isn’t It Scary
  11. Burning 4 You
  12. Gone Before Light
  13. Love Don’t Do

Review

Blue eyed soul.  The term refers to white artists who remade African-American music for white audiences.  Back in the 60’s and 70’s it was called cultural appropriation, today it’s just called modern R&B with artists such as the late Amy Winehouse, Joss Stone, Duffy, Adele, Justin Timberlake and Robin Thicke establishing themselves amongst the heavyweights in the genre.

Back in the 90’s a young man by the name of Jonathan Buck (a.k.a. Jon B) was part of the blue eyed soul movement.  A singer, songwriter from California he caught the attention of Tracey Edmonds (the then wife of Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds) and wrote for some of the bigger R&B acts of the time such as After 7, Toni Braxton and Color Me Badd.

In 1995 he made his solo artist debut with Bonafide. Fueled by the duet Someone To Love (with Babyface) and Pretty Girl the album spent almost the entire year on the Billboard Top 200 album chart, achieving platinum status.

Taking a more refined, lover man type approach to R&B; Bonafide is full of mid-tempo, funk and jazz influenced tunes combined with lush, sex drenched ballads.

Seeing that ballads are the bulk of the content, skip the first 4 tracks if you just want to get to the core of what the album is about. Jon B maximizes the potential of these songs slickly gliding along the slow groove setting a defined mood with a quality selection of smooth and seductive material perfect for sweet baby making or a late night chill out sipping your favorite sophisticated adult beverage.

Seeing that this is more of a pure R&B album, you will not find any traces of Hip-Pop or any guest rappers dropping pointless bars unrelated to the content of the song itself. That obviously may not please the modern day Urban music connoisseur who is used to such things. But if you are one who is more for the bedroom and less for the streets this will fit your needs just fine.

The funny thing about Bonafide is that even though it had the mega power of Babyface and Epic records behind it was not considered Jon B’s breakthrough album. That did not come until 1997 with his second album Cool Relax. Still, I consider it a hidden gem in the world of 90’s R&B and album worth investing some time in.

Bonafide

iTunes