Mint Condition - E-Life (2008)

Mint Condition
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Before Mint Condition released their comeback album, 2005's Livin' the Luxury Brown, many fans wondered had they heard the last from the R&B band representing Minneapolis. Not only did Luxury live up to fan's expectations but it also hit #1 on Billboard's Independent Album Charts. Not bad for a band that, at the turn of the Millennium, was the only R&B outfit signed to a major label. When they released the CD/DVD package Live From the 9:30 Club the following year, there was no question that Mint Condition's members were back to reclaim their throne as great musicians and performers. Now the masters of their own musical universe with their independent label CagedBird Records, the quintet consisting of Stokley, Ricky Kinchen, O'Dell, Lawrence El, and Jeffrey return with their highly anticipated ninth release, e-Life, and the results are another great album in the MC catalog.
Before Mint Condition released their comeback album, 2005's Livin' the Luxury Brown, many fans wondered had they heard the last from the R&B band representing Minneapolis. Not only did Luxury live up to fan's expectations but it also hit #1 on Billboard's Independent Album Charts. Not bad for a band that, at the turn of the Millennium, was the only R&B outfit signed to a major label. When they released the CD/DVD package Live From the 9:30 Club the following year, there was no question that Mint Condition's members were back to reclaim their throne as great musicians and performers. Now the masters of their own musical universe with their independent label CagedBird Records, the quintet consisting of Stokley, Ricky Kinchen, O'Dell, Lawrence El, and Jeffrey return with their highly anticipated ninth release, e-Life, and the results are another great album in the MC catalog.

However, the band decided to do something different on e-Life, and that's collaborate with other artists. The first single, "Baby Boy, Baby Girl" features the talents of Anthony Hamilton and is destined to be a Father's Day anthem. Hamilton and Stokley sing about the joys of fatherhood and as a listener, you can't help but feel good that these two vocal powerhouses joined forces to create such a great song that's full of conviction. Phonte of the hip-hop group Little Brother drops in and laces "Somethin'" with his lyrical flavor as "Golddigger," a mid-tempo joint with a southern-bounce swing, has the potential to be the next single as it tackles the negative connotations of women who seek out well-to-do men. Former Lucy Pearl and A Tribe Called Quest hitmaker Ali Shaheed Muhammad lends his skills to the drum-and-bass sounding "Why Do We Try," which finds MC treading different musical waters. Other highlights include "Nothin' Left to Say," "Back and Forth," and "Moan," which will find it's place on Quiet Storm shows and slow jam mixtapes.

For the past 17 years, Mint Condition has blessed the masses with many compelling songs. It continues to be the quintessential definition of a band and e-Life is a testament to the greatness of these talented musicians. From the first track to the last, this is one of the best albums to emerge thus far in 2008 and comes highly recommended.

By Christopher Whaley
 
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