As head of the Jimmy Ness R&B Research Headquarters, I have granted Ginuwine an honorary doctorate in plush grooves, sexual innuendo, and melodramatic croons. Despite having a catalogue deeper than Mariana Trench, his consistency in music and manicured facial hair is perennially understated. Leon Bridges reminded me of Elgin Lumpkin’s abilities when he cited the G as one of his biggest inspirations. Surprised Ginuwine influenced a soul singer? Don’t be. Elgin’s prestige is formidable. He was moonwalking years before Chris Brown’s haircut hit the scene, never recorded with Pitbull (cough Usher), and has some of the most effective baby-making concertos on planet earth.
Lady-killer DeVante Swing, who should be sainted for his musical benefaction, mentored Ginuwine. Elgin performed around DC, often as a Michael Jackson impersonator, before Jodeci’s leader inducted him into Swing Mob. As part of the ridiculously stacked talent hive, including Missy Elliot, Timbaland, Tweet, Static Major, and Aaliyah, the G was in good company. They recorded under Swing’s tutelage in a squalid NYC apartment for about two years and nicknamed themselves Da Bassment Crew.
Sleeping on the floor with low funds and little food, the focus was entirely on music. As with many people of utmost talent, DeVante suffered in other areas and his mental demons eventually fractured the union. Suge Knight was also harassing Swing, as per his renowned nature. Timbaland and Missy were the first to flee the brewing tensions. Elgin sacrificed his unreleased first album to leave soon after.
Many fans and the man himself, consider sophomore project 100% Ginuwine to be the pinnacle. Timbaland’s oddball beats were cutting edge and even now, you can’t name another r&b song that features Godzilla screams. However, while traversing Ginuwine’s soundscape, The Life and The Senior captured my preference. The first contains “Differences,” one of the best R&B songs of all time (fight me.) The latter packs impeccable jams like “On My Way,” “Stingy,” “In those Jeans,” and “Hell Yeah.” You’ll hear them on the playlist along with G’s cover of Prince’s “When Dove’s Cry,” “Miss You,” which he wrote for Aaliyah, and the much vilified, but objectively enjoyable “You Owe Me.”
I never want to hear “Pony” again as it now belongs to suburbanites, but have condoned its inclusion for obvious reasons. I drew the line at allowing anything from A Ginuwine Christmas. Hopefully there are enough velvet melodies to tide you over until the purported reunion project with Timbaland. Comments, hatred, queries, and donations to the Jimmy Ness R&B Research Headquarters all happily received below.