For a number of years after this album was released back in 1983, it was all about the hit single "Be My Lady". In my former life as a DJ on the house party circuit, I'd be doing my usual 80s set and people would always come up and ask me: "You got "Be My Lady" by DeBarge?" Sometimes they'd ask for their other 80s smash "Rhythm Of The Night" from their 1985 album of the same name, but much less often.
Then, in 1995, everything changed when Diddy the king of samples (then known as Sean "Puffy" Combs) sampled the instrumental break in "Stay With Me" for a remix of The Notorious B.I.G.'s "One More Chance" from his 1994 iconic debut, Ready to Die. The result, the smash club hit "One More Chance/Stay With Me", is one of my favourite hip-hop songs ever. (All together now: "First things first, I Poppa, freaks all the honeys, Dummies, Playboy bunnies, those wanting money/ Those the ones I like 'cause they don't get nathan, but penetration, unless it smells like sanitation...")
Ah, the glorious 90s. You were either there or you weren't.
Anyhoo, apparently a lot of people went hunting for this album at that point - not just DJs who wanted to use the break for their own mixes but ordinary folk like me who just wanted to know what the original song was like. (Those of us who had the album felt smug for a minute).
And as if to prove how enduring the break actually is, 7 and Irv Gotti used it again for Ashanti's 2002 hit "Foolish" (and "Unfoolish", which was also big in the clubs), from her debut album Ashanti and I'm not sure the same break has been used with such success on two or more completely separate songs so many years apart. Even some gospel singer called Deitrick Haddon used the sample for his song "Don't Go" from his 2006 album 7 Days. The funny thing is, unlike most songs that are sampled for hip-hop and r&b hits, when you check out the original it's not just a few bars in the break that are interesting. The whole song, written by Mark, Bunny & Eldra DeBarge, is pretty solid in its own right.
In fact, the whole album is pretty solid with much credit due to Eldra DeBarge, who produced it. Only 9 songs and the whole album is over in less than 38 minutes but once again, it's a true case of quality over quantity. Good songs, great imaginative vocals and ballads like "Time Will Reveal" and "Love Me In A Special Way" are really quite powerful. (Back then, r&b singers actually SANG!) James and El take care of the lead vocals on all the songs, except for "A Dream", the album closer, which was sung by Bunny. Incidentally, this song was also sampled - this time by Teddy Riley for the Blackstreet tune "Don't Leave Me" from their 1996 album Another Level.
No doubt someone got paid. I just wonder how much of the dross that passes for r&b today is likely to be sampled by hip-hop, r&b and gospel acts in 10, 15, 20 or 25 years time. I'm guessing not that much, if any at all.