Edward U. Howard

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Not to be confused with either the gospel keyboardist or romantic R&B singer/songwriter of the same name, the man most commonly identified as Edward U. Howard or just plain Ed Howard is linked with two…
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Not to be confused with either the gospel keyboardist or romantic R&B singer/songwriter of the same name, the man most commonly identified as Edward U. Howard or just plain Ed Howard is linked with two soul songs of social consciousness that have become popularly covered standards.

In the case of soul material, cover versions in the rap style often involve much brand new text welded onto the back of the original chorus. Such is the case in the reintroduction of a character identified in a song title as either the "Little Ghetto Boy" or "Lil' Ghetto Boy" depending on inclinations involving grammar and access to loose apostrophes.

Originally associated with the wonderful Donny Hathaway on a 1972 release, this song received an updating courtesy of Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre. Songwriting credits which resulted place Howard in the company of these two hip-hop maestros, sometimes omitting the real co-composer of the song saga. That was Earl DeRouen, a talented percussionist and Hathway songwriting partner who shows up on recordings by Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, and others.

Howard's other song credit of note received an even more lavish reception in terms of cover recordings. Written with Hathaway, the hopefully prophetic "Someday We'll All Be Free" has been recorded more than 20 artists including the Average White Band, Alicia Keys, Bobby Womack, and Mutabaruka & the Roots All-Stars.