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Stone Cold Gentleman

Google Images: Ralph Tresvant Solo Album 1990

Last post I talked about the New Edition movie, and how we learned the many times Mr. Tresvant could have went solo. During the rise of New Edition career at thirteen Ralph had the chance to be a solo artist; But he wanted to be with his boys. And post Bobby Brown "Don't Be Cruel" and Pre Johnny Gill coming to New Edition. Ralph was being groomed to be a solo star, it was obvious in the 80s, he sang lead on all the songs. 

He was a fan favorite for sure, In the movie we learned that Ralph was secretly recording his own solo album called "Living In The Dream" and even was possibly going to sign with Disney record label Hollywood Records as a solo artist. But New Edition had one more album to put out before he could go solo.

After the NE Heart Break album is when the fellas went off and did their solo thing. Bobby was already doing his thing. Johnny Gill dropped his solo album with the hits "Rub You The Right Way, My My,My, My was killing it on radio. And the total shock by many was the trio of Bell, Biv, Devoe aka BBD first album "Poison" spread like wild fire.  And these albums dropped in spring of 1990.

Most of us was bopping and singing along to BBD and Johnny Gill. On the other hand in the meantime we were waiting on Ralph Tresvant. I love NE, if I had to choose favorites, Ralph Tresvant is my #1 guy. I remember waiting to hear from him.  Finally later that same year he dropped what is now my relax and sip wine anthem "Sensitivity". He was smooth, dressed to the nines,  very charming and was letting all the ladies know that it was okay to have a man with sensitivity. 

Ralph carried himself as the gentleman, he open up doors, he gave woman flowers, kiss a lady on the hand. He was an all around good guy, while his group members presented a different approach to their style and music, which gave them more notice.  BBD had the hip hop bravado to their sound, Bobby was the bad boy with all the crazy dance moves,  Johnny is the balladeer and the romancer with a strong voice. 

All those qualities showed on each of their albums and made their albums stand out the most. Ralph was trying to go solo in 1987 but he waited and then finally was last to come out with a solo record. And looking back on it now that is ironic and weird at the same time.  Being the fact that since 1980 he was being prep for a solo career. Through out the early NE years, pre heartbreak album and he was the last one to make his grand entrance. 

And when his time finally came to shine on his own, Sensitivity was on the charts, then around early spring of 1991 his next single "Stone Cold Gentleman" and the last single of the album was "Do What I Gotta Do" which is probably the nicest break up song in modern music. According to RIAA Ralph Tresvant debut album went platinum.

Not bad at all, he had other songs on movies soundtracks, such as House Party II "Yo Baby Yo" Mo Money SDTK "Money Can't By You Love, and Best Things Things in Life are free" featuring Luther Vandross, Janet Jackson & BBD.  Late 1990 -1991 Ralph was doing his thing on the solo tip, but then in late 91 going into 92 The rise of gangsta rap came in on the radio waves and changed everything.

Which caused everyone to get a little tougher in both Hip-Hop and R&B, The good boy next door charm wasn't working unless your name was; Nathan, Shawn, Michael and Wanya better know as Boyz II Men. By this time when Ralph second solo album to come, the stone cold gentleman in a suit gave all that up and was asking who's the mack now? 

Ralph sophomore album"Its going down" arrived in early 1994 and was a dramatic difference from his debut album, first single "Who's The Mack?" sounded like a grand opus from a 1970s shaft film. The second and final single from this project "When I need somebody" sounded like the Ralph we were all familiar with but by this time it was too late. I remember this album came and went, and didn't see Ralph again until 1996 for NE Home again album.

Ralph Tresvant debut album was his only successful solo album that has a platinum or gold status. He  released his third and final solo album in 2006. The album is called Rizz-Wa-Faire and  he released the single "My Homegirl" to little fanfare.  In the new edition movie there is a scene where Ralph is speaking to a MCA record executive about getting his debut album out on the shelves.

He pointed out how he shelved his project in effort to make Heartbreak, and the response Ralph received from the MCA rep basically was we got what we wanted and your project probably not gone be bigger than NE Heartbreak.

Once The Heartbreak album was completed and was a success MCA got what they wanted. In someways it did seem like Ralph was played, he was the golden child of NE who  was destined to be next in the shadows of Micheal jackson but that didn't happen.

There is a hidden story that lies solely with this man and as for me the movie sparked my interest even more to know about  Ralph Tresvant  during the solo years. With a solid debut album, what happened with the other solo projects? Was it lack of promotion on MCA part?  Was the nice guy image too much? All things we will never know, but I do know Ralph Tresvant is a mystery in R&B.

Maybe one day we can hear his story...........

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Google Images: Micheal S. Smith Photography, Seneca Vocational H.S.
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