Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds pretty much revolutionised the sound of ‘90’s R&B with solo tracks like ‘Whip Appeal’, ‘This Is For The Lover In You’, ‘Give U My Heart’ and many, many more.
But he did a whole lot more via his prolific LaFace record label, which – via acts like TLC, Outkast, P!nk and Usher – defined ‘90’s R&B, and left an indelible imprint on music culture.
This Sunday, the remaining five Idols take on his songbook – (plus some newer Mzansi music) and we wish them the best of luck because it’s no easy task!
Here’s what’s on the menu:
Thapelo: Boyz II Men – End of the Road
Thaps ain’t messing: this is one of THE biggest songs of the ‘90s/all time – an award-winning, record-breaking road trip co-written by Babyface. The only problem? It’s so iconic – we have faith in our Idol though, and if he nails this it’ll be a season highlight.
Ty Loner: Boyz II Men – The Color of Love
Our boys are being brave this week – this is from a l’il later in their career but no less powerful: a full force exercise in soul subtlety. Watch the Idols SA backing singers shine on this gem – Ty better keep up!
Nozi: Faith Evans – Never Let You Go
Speaking of backing vocalists … Nozi is gonna have to be in sync! Faith is tremendous in her own right on this Babyface-assisted R&B number 1, but the additional attendees elevate the hell out of it. It’s in Nozi’s wheelhouse, fo’ sure – she just needs to play nice.
Noxolo: Tevin Campbell – Can We Talk
How cute was Tevin Campbell?! This song is pure class – and Nox is savvy enough to recognise. A highly hip-hop attuned tune from Babyface and long-time collaborator Daryl Simmons, it’s a staccato and glide and Noxolo will do well to gravitate – and be great.
Mpilwenhle: Toni Braxton – Another Sad Love Song
We’re back into BIG song territory, but Mpilo has the skills to back up her gut, surely? This track won a Grammy and spawned three different music videos. It doesn’t harm that LA Reid helped, but it’s a singular effort with a killer chorus. Nailing this equals one step closer to the finale.
Zee: Toni Braxton – Breathe Again
We’ll ‘Breathe Again’ when Zee brings this home – texting Toni Braxton: how do you whisper a chorus? Rare talents: Toni, Babyface, and Zee: watch them culminate on that Idols SA stage.
So, we bring it home with an array of Mzansi jams on Sunday – and there are some pretty special musical moments here too. Let’s examine:
Thapelo: Jabu Khanyile and Bayete – Sponky Ponky
“Propose again!” Lessons learned from Jabu by Thapelo (wanna propose the first time, playa?). Thapelo steps into traditional territory with this feel-good and festive exhibition and we suspect it’s fireworks.
Ty Loner: A-Reece – Mgani
Ty thinks JR will be getting what he’s putting down, but it’s a helluva risk. While it’s melodic, this is essentially a rap track – but is it where Ty finds his un-Alone Zone? You will all have to tune in to see the results – and the response…
Nozi: Kabza De Small & DJ Maphorisa ft. Ami Faku – Asibe Happy
Noz gauges where SA music is going – and it should serve her well. All dramatic build-ups, big and bold beats, blissful vocals – proper new school vibes. The Idols SA band will smash this – can our Nozi keep up?
Noxolo: Zahara – Incwad'encane
Zahara and guitar glance into the past – but there’s nothing retro about this outing. If ever there were a South African rock ‘n’ roll, it’s right here – can you nail it, Noxolo?
Mpilwenhle: Wanitwa Mos & Master KG - Dali Nguwe (ft. Nkosazana Daughter, Basetsana, Obeey Amor) - Dali Nguwe
This young daughter has already collaborated with Kalawa label boss Oskido, and this song is in tandem with the masterful Master KG. About as blissful as amapiano gets, Mpilo has a chance to set the night on fire.
Zee: Kabza de Small & DJ Maphorisa ft. Ami Faku – Abalele
You wanna take on Ami Faku, Zee? GO GIRL! Deep, deeeep tune with Kabza at the helm – we’re sure you can smash it. Go forth…