Slow Groove Late Night R&B Jams: Shai, Carl Thomas, Champaign


carl thomasCarl Thomas was one of Puff Daddy’s R&B acts during Bad Boy’s most successful period (mid 90’s to early 2000’s). Carl hit #1 with “I Wish” and “Emotional” helped push his debut album to platinum status. On his second album, “Let’s Talk About It”, sales dwindled but his collaboration with LL Cool J on “She Is” cleverly combined Carl’s smooth, romantic R&B style with LL’s sexual rhymes.


champaign“Some people are made for each other, some people can stay together for life, how ’bout us”. Champaign, Illinois is a small town halfway between Chicago and Indianapolis. There you’ll find a satellite University of Illinois campus, the home to some major Fortune 500 company headquarters, and the answer to the trivia question “Where was the first Farm Aid concert held”. But music fans remember the city’s name for the R&B two-hit wonder band who took their hometown’s name. “Try Again” and “How ‘Bout Us” are 80’s quiet storm R&B classics that crossed over onto the adult contemporary charts.


ShaiShai’s acapella driven, slow burner, “If I Ever Fall In Love” went to the top of the charts in 1992. The song was a BET video favorite and the TV show, Martin, even featured the epic song. Pushed by the #2 hit, Shai’s debut CD went triple platinum. The two follow-up singles, “Baby I’m Yours” and “Comforter” got less attention from urban radio but were legitimate Top 10 songs that highlighted the album. The band never achieved success of this level again and four years later, the lead singer left the band.