Each week, FADER Media Style Director Chioma Nnadi will comment on the throwback style and fashion of a Suite903 artist. Today’s Re-Issue: SWV.
I grew up under the strict music tutelage of my older brother, and under his rules R&B tapes were not allowed in the house. It was either Public Enemy or The Smiths, and nothing in-between those extreme states of rage and emotion got a look in. I went to see SWV perform for the first time ever at B.B. King's this past Sunday, and for songs like "Right Here" they played, it was a trip down memory lane. It also dawned me that outside of the obvious smash hits, my knowledge of their repertoire is pretty shaky.
Since the group disbanded, Coko has turned her musical focus towards God and her most recent works are all gospel albums. "Downtown" isn't a song I remember jamming first time around, but it's a track that a lot of folks on Sunday were waiting to hear, especially the group of SWV experts that I was rolling with. The lyrics of "Downtown" aren't elicit in the 2010 sense, but they are suggestive enough that the group chose not to sing the tune that night. Admittedly I got goosebumps hearing the other hits, especially after Lelee's (my fave!) emotional speech before "Weak," where she basically said that without the necessary hood love from her fans, it would have never been a global smash. As for the influence of their look, the video for "Downtown" is a walk through some great '90s trends—6" inch neon talons, cargo vests and high cut itsy bitsy bikinis. Sisters With Voices, also with style.