1. Peep This // 2. Experiment // 3. Miss You // 4. Dogg House (feat. The Poetess) // 5. Infatuation // 6. Baby Don’t Cry // 7. Precious // 8. Your Love // 9. Summertime // 10. If You Don’t Love Me // 11. Don’t Let the Sun (Go Down on Our Love) // 12. Peep This Out // 13. Light a Candle
“Why you signed Jamie Foxx?”, “Is this a comedy album?”, “Ain’t that that brother from the living colour?”
The opening track has soundbites of people questioning the legitimacy of this album, which makes sense because in 1994 Jamie Foxx was known as a comedian and an actor, but few knew the man can sing. Also novelty albums by people who only record music because they’re famous, but have no real business doing so are one of those Hollywood things that unfortunately never seem to die out. (Word to Paris Hilton)
To his credit Jamie is, as we the post-Gold Digger music audiences know, in fact a pretty good singer. On Peep This he works his way through thirteen mostly self-written and self-produced songs and considering mainstream R&B was what he was going for and the year was ’94 one has to admit that the album at least sounds authentic enough.
The album is a bit too heavy on the overly dramatic soft rocking Boyz II Men/ Jodeci inspired slow jams, so when Foxx finds some room for mid- and uptempo new jack swingers like he does on Miss You, Precious and Your Love it’s a breath of fresh air. Dog House is another standout track about Jamie being forced to spend the night in the Dog House after being caught cheating by his girl (So this is a comedy album after all) and Don’t Let the Sun Go Down (On Our Love) has our hero singing and accopanying himself on the piano and showcases his vocal talents wonderfully. Foxx is an effective singer in the tradition of Brian McKnight, but with an voice of his own, although not a very distinct production sound. But that’s not very surpising as McKnight owns that middle of the road R&B sound, and all you have to do in order to sound like him is conform to trends and be likeable. Unlike many a contemporary Jamie doesn’t engage in useless melisma, so kudo’s for that. Unfortunately there’s an a lot of repetitive, mawkish material, too much shlock.
You try telling the two singles Experiment and Infatuation apart.
“Girl, Jamie got it goin’ on”, “I didn’t know he could sing!”
Peep This Out ends the album pretty much on the same note Peep This kicked it off, except for that people are now convinced he’s a talented singer. He certainly convinced me of this fact, but apparently not record buying audiences in ’94, considering nobody seems to own this or has even heard of this album (well except maybe Kanye West). Many of Foxx’s music fans seem to believe 2005’s Unpredictable is his debut. Not to say that it deserved much better since it’s mostly not a very interesting effort, but it is a bit puzzling considering what music was actually popular at that time. In ’94 almost every song off Peep This would’ve fit seemlessly onto R&B radio.
Because this singing business didn’t turn out to be very profitable it does make sense the man waited eleven years to record another album (he had other shit to do, you know), and chose to let Kanye and Timbaland as well as a myriad of others produce it the next time around, it also makes for more interesting listening experience than this one could even dream of being.
Peep This is merely alright.
Don’t Let the Sun Go Down (On Our Love)
Except for Dog House, which could be an R. Kelly reject, Peep This plays like a long lost brian McKnight album. Which is to say a rather vanilla strain of ’90s R&B. If that’s your thing, go for it. The rest of you needs not bother.