The face of a man who knows she's coming over to watch Midnight Love later.

For the youngsters among us, in a time long long ago MTV and BET use to play music videos. They had whole shows dedicated to playing videos free of interruption and annoying hosts. This might not seem like much to you ungrateful bastards because you’ve been spoiled by the likes of the YouTube. One show in particular on BET will always have a fond place in my heart, Midnight Love. As the title suggests, Midnight Love came on at Midnight and focused on slow music and R&B. In other words, the show focused on playing music that you could make love to at midnight.

Fortunately, if the relationship was more casual than serious and you weren’t trying to make love to the woman in your presence, all you had to do was wait an hour before another infamous and now canceled BET show came on, Uncut. The only problem with Uncut is you had to close the deal within the hour; otherwise, the religious infomercials would come on and it’s just awkward to be premarital copulating while some old white guy reads from the bible in the background…or so I heard…from a friend.

Both Midnight Love and Uncut served distinctive, yet separate purposes, but what I liked about both shows is they highlighted struggling artists that you might never hear from. In the 90s the Internet was still in its infancy and there was no YouTube. If you wanted to see some bootleg artist’s video you had to wait for these shows to come on. I could highlight some of the top tier talent featured but that would be too easy. Today I want to focus on the one hit wonders, the forgotten, or the overlooked that Midnight Love introduced me to. Some of these artists I still listen to today. In no particular order and with some videos included, I introduce my 10 favorite struggle artists from the Midnight Love era.

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Mista – Blackberry Molasses: Blackberry Molasses was one of those great 90’s songs you knew all the words to but had no idea what the song meant. I actually still know all the words to this song and I still have no idea what it means. But, I wish you would try to tell me this song wasn’t/isn’t great and I will fight you to death. As a side note, Bobby Valentino got his start singing lead for this group. You can see him in the video below. I have no idea what happen to the rest of the group but Bobby V probably doesn’t either. That’s just how the game goes…

Profyle – Liar: For whatever reason the 90’s were rife with R&B boy bands of varying skin tones, harmonies, and talent. However, if you weren’t Jodeci or Boyz II Men, no one was really give you the time of day. In fact, Midnight Love might have been the only time I ever saw a Profyle video.

Ideal – Get Gone: I don’t care what anyone says, IDEAL DROPPED THE GREATEST R&B ALBUM OF ALL TIME!!! Of course, by “of all time” I mean 1999 but still… I dare someone to defy me on this one. Their album went HARD! HARD I SAY! If you bought this album right now and played it for your lady friend, you will still get laid so hard you won’t know what to do with yourself.

Aaliayh – One in A Million Remix: Honestly, I didn’t even know there was a remix to One in a Million. I was up late watching Midnight Love when they put on the mix complete with video. I was an instant fan. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not as good as the original but I’ve always been a fan of remixes just for the different sound and take they bring to a song I might already like. Or, as is the case with Usher, I actually like the Special Edition Confessions more than the album/radio version.

Latif – I Don’t Wanna Hurt You: I didn’t buy it but I heard Latif’s album was pretty good. In college, me and my girlfriend at the time essentially went through the exact situation described. Besides what adolescent man hasn’t struggled to tell his girlfriend, If I don’t tell you the truth it will only hurt you later. I still maintain Latif would have gone a lot further if he didn’t look like a pitbull.

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Playa – Cheers 2 You: I’m surprised Playa didn’t fair better. It’s my understanding they worked with and wrote for the same circle as Aaliyah, Timbaland, Ginuwine and Missy Elliot. This is great company but I guess it wasn’t mean to be. Still, they dropped arguably one of the top 3 greatest singles of my college career.

Link – I don’t Wanna See: Most people don’t even know who the hell Link is. Those people have lived a sheltered life. Link is actually most well “known” for his single How Would You Like It, which is why I purposefully chose this song to separate those in the know from those who think they know. As a bonus for the fellas, the video features a cameo from Lisa Raye aka Diamond from Player’s Club.

Calvin Richardson – Not Like This: Most every TRUE R&B fan I know already knows who Calvin Richardson is but for whatever reason Calvin hasn’t received a lot of mainstream notoriety. His song Keep on Pushin did ok but in my opinion, didn’t receive the respect it should have. I chose Not Like This because although it didn’t do very well and it isn’t even one of his best singles, the lyrics speak for themselves and I think a lot of men and women in struggle-ships can relate to words like:

I know a thing or two about the way things go
With someone as fine as you
You constantly deal with the drive-bys
And the way guys spittin at you
So it’s hard for me to think
That you ain’t had love
Ain’t been you he thought the world of
And I just can’t see
How even a playa wouldn’t be
Ready to settle down

Prophet Jones – Cry Together: Most of you will be too young to remember Prophet Jones. If you’re too young to remember Prophet Jones then you’re definitely too young to know that Cry Together was a remake of an O’Jays song. However, as far as remakes go this is one of the better ones I’ve ever heard and I think that’s why so many people liked Prophet Jones, even if they mistakenly though it was an original. I can never be upset at good music even if it’s origins are misrepresented. They did this song justice and that is not up for debate. Last night, me and my woman, we cried, we cried together…and then we made love.

Rashad – Sweet Misery: I end with Rashad’s Sweet Misery for a few reasons. This is by no means the best or highly underated song that ever came on Midnight Love. For the record, that title would go to Jesse Powel for his single, You. No, I chose Rashad for my own personal reasons. No, I won’t share those reasons. I know the song is average. I know the singing is below average. But this song means every bit of everything to me and it always will.

You’re my sweet misery,
I hate to admit it,
But you’re my everything,
The love you give me,
It’s like the perfect pain,
You’re the one I hate, the one I love, the one I blame…

That’s my list. Are there any Midnight Love artist I forgot? Further, I challenge the audience to share their favorite obscure artist from any generation and from any genre. Now if you come on here and drop some top 40 single I will use all within my means and power to find a way to ban you from this website and if possible, from life. Challenge yourselves. Think of talented non-mainstream artists, singles or bands that we should all  be listening to but you’ve wondered all your life why no one besides you does. Lets give these unknown, yet talented artists a place to shine. Selfishly, it’s 2012 and I totally need to re-up my iPod play list.

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Begin!