Here & Now

I Can Deliver

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In the 1980s, some older R&B artists hoped that rap would lose its popularity and go away. Not only did it not go away, but rap kept getting bigger and bigger and, in the 1990s, hip-hop elements were an integral part of many R&B recordings. In 1993, urban contemporary didn't get much more hip-hop-drenched than I Can Deliver, the debut album by Here & Now. Not to be confused with various rock acts that went by the Here & Now name in the 1970s and 1980s, this underexposed duo consisted of an R&B singer (Derrick Dwight Patterson) and a rapper (Wyatt Jackson). Patterson, who is heavily influenced by Guy's Aaron Hall and the Gap Band's Charles Wilson, dominates the songs, but Jackson's rapping puts some icing on the cake. And the two complement one another nicely; the singing/rapping contrast is as successful on romantic ballads like "Let's Start Over Again" as it is on up-tempo funk offerings such as "Ten Times the Power" and "The Here and Now Sound." It's also effective on "She Loves Me (Not)," which employs a house beat and is the most club-oriented thing on the album. Many of the male urban contemporary acts that had the Aaron Hall influence and the hip-hop-meets-soul approach in the 1990s tended to sound manufactured and formulaic; their work sounded like the product of a marketing meeting rather than genuine artistic inspiration. But that isn't a problem for Here & Now, whose I Can Deliver comes across as organic rather than contrived and was among 1993's more memorable urban releases. Unfortunately, it wasn't among the more successful, and the duo didn't provide any more albums for Atlantic.

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