Jesse Powell

'Bout It

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While new jack swing was urban contemporary's dominant sound in the late '80s and early to mid-'90s, the style that dominated late-'90s R&B was so-called "jeep soul" -- slow-grooving, slow-grinding R&B that was appropriate for cruising around in a jeep. Jeep soul didn't return R&B to the type of greatness that characterized it in the 1960s and 1970s, but it had its moments. One release that was appropriate for the late-'90s jeep soul crowd was Jesse Powell's 'Bout It, which isn't a gem but is generally decent. The singer doesn't incorporate an abundance of rapping (something many jeep soulsters were doing), but his producers do favor a very hip-hop-ish production style on "Up and Down," "I Wasn't with It," and other selections. Powell doesn't provide anything for the dancefloor -- most of the time, he gets into a comfortable medium-tempo groove, whether he's being romantic or overtly sexual. Not a remarkable CD, but competent and usually likable.

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