While I'm currently enjoying my first trip to the Essence Festival, where the theme is 50 Years Of Hip Hop, it dawned on me that Hip Hop and Slow Jams have a long history together. It's only fitting that I use a love song from a Hip Hop artist for this week's Slow Jam Saturday. Artists such as Drake, Nelly, and Ja Rule all made successful careers out of appealing to the ladies.
If we look back to music history, popular opinion may tell us that LL Cool J was the first to do it with "I Need Love" as the first commercially successful rap ballad. Heavy D and Slick Rick released slow jams on their debut albums within a year of LL's success. While LL did start a trend, he wasn't the first to dabble in the genre, as the title belongs to UTFO, the 1st rap group ever to record, perform & sing a love ballad with their track "Fairytale Lover."
Brooklyn-based group UTFO (an abbreviation for Untouchable Force Organization hit the scene in 1984. The group members were Doctor Ice, Educated Rapper, Kangol Kid, and Mix Master Ice. UTFO worked with the R&B group Full Force to produce their first single called "Hanging Out," unfortunately, it did not perform well. Although the single had another song on the B side called "Roxanne, Roxanne," which was about a woman who rejected their advances, it was this song that received more attention and airplay,
"Roxanne, Roxanne" led to "The Roxanne Wars" and pushed UTFO into the spotlight. While "Bite It," "Beats and Rhymes," and "Lisa Lips" were receiving airplay, it was the track "Fairytale Lover" that caught audiences off guard. Once again, featuring the production of Full Force, the song gave Kangol Kid a chance to show off his pen game when it came to ballads.
"Fairytale Lover" is a lush ballad about a couple who wants their love to be like a fairy tale. The lyrics indicate that they have faith in the enchanting nature of fairy tales and desire their love to be just as magical and unforgettable as the stories they were told in their childhood. They reference famous fairy tale characters such as Alice in Wonderland, Jack and Jill, and Little Bo Peep.
The song depicts a world filled with fun, fantasy, and love. It discusses building a home out of straw and watching cows jump over the moon. The couple wants to live in a world where rainbows appear, their dreams come true, and love never dies. They know their love won't fail as long as they believe in their fairy tale. Overall, the song celebrates the magic of love and the beauty of believing in fairy tales.
All three of the group's rappers take turns singing lead vocals on the track. While the singing isn't top-notch crooning, the vocals work for what UTFO wants to achieve.
Final Grade: B+
"Fairytale Lover" from UTFO is available on all streaming platforms.