Lost but not least! Cunnie Williams – Do I Have To (Yo’ Mama Records)
If ever wondering where Cunnie Williams is comin’ from, then don’t look any further. As we have thereafter what could be the beginning of an answer for you. And this by the likes of ‘Do I Have To’…
Not released as a single though, it first appeared credited to Soulstaff featuring Cunnie Williams on the ‘Soul Of The City vol. 1’ compilation. Then on his 1993 ‘Coming From The Heart Of The Ghetto’ debut-album on German label Yo’ Mama. And what an effort from a man in search of a conversion after the premature stop of his career as a basket player!
‘Do I have to live my life feeling pain and telling lies?’. Some questionning pretty much reflecting the life of so many youngsters in his native L.A. With Williams‘ baritone vocal accents pretty much reminding of Gil Scott-Heron at times. The whole over an irresistible Soul/Jazz flow with production work courtesy of Ralf Droesemeyer.
A definitive unsung treasure which saw the light at a period when Hamburg stood as the place to be for the lovers of the groove. With labels such as Soulciety, Yo’ Mama or Crossroads. But also the Modjo… A concert place that came to fame while welcoming the creme de la creme of the Acid/Jazz Rare Groove activists at the time.
Cunnie Williams would come to greater recognition soon after while joining forces with producer Mousse T.
– A former basketball player, Californian singer Cunnie Williams switched to a music career back in the first half of the nineties. Thus makin’ his debut with the Gil Scott-Heron-esque ‘Do I Have To’. Meanwhile sharing the duties with Soulstaff on the ‘Soul Of The City vol. 1’ compilation). Itself followed by the 1993 released ‘Comin’ From The Heart Of The Ghetto’ on Hamburg-based Yo Mama’s Recording label. A second album – ‘Love Starved Heart’ – seeing the light on the same label three years later, although remaining quite underrated as well.
He would get a wider recognition by the end of the nineties though. This while signing on Mousse T‘s Peppermint Jam label. The festive ‘Saturday’, remixed by the latter, featuring rapper Monie Love and Inaya Davis being his first success. Meanwhile ‘A World Celebration’ saw him jammin’ with Heavy D. With both of them taken from his ‘Star Hotel’ album for the label. Then Masters At Work eventually remixing ‘Spirit’ before Williams‘ departure to new horizons.
From then on, Cunnie Williams would work with French artists/producers. Beginning with de La Cosca (IAM, Akhénaton) on ‘Life Goes On’ (No Sellout). Then delivering two albums for Universal/ULM. This by the likes of ‘Night Time In Paris’, bringin’ extra successes such as ‘Come Back To Me’ and ‘War Song’ in 2002. Then ‘Inside My Soul’ two years after which, sadly enough, didn’t meet the same following. And eventually led him to cancel his early 2005 dates in Paris.
Cunnie Williams never managed to drop any extra new music since then. To the exception of ‘No Place Like Home’ which appeared as a bonus cut along with a Best Of back in 2008 on Universal.