Long Time No See

by: Chico DeBarge

Chico DeBarge spent much of the late '80s and early '90s in jail after being convicted for trafficking cocaine, which meant it took a full 11 years for him to return with his second album, Long Time No See. (It may also explain the reason why he shaved five years off of his age in the accompanying press release for Long Time No See, since he may feel that he never really lived those five years anyway.) DeBarge tries desperately to fit into the trends of the '90s, adding street-level, bass-heavy rhythms and hip-hop beats to his productions. He hasn't abandoned urban soul -- many of the songs remain smooth, sleek love ballads and those are the ones that see DeBarge at his best. He weathers the changes quite well, but he can't make the mediocre tracks (and there are too many of them) convincing, and that prevents Long Time No See from being completely successful. Even so, it's a solid, respectable comeback that suggests DeBarge may be able to regain some of the ground he lost in the early '90s. [Contains bonus track] ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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