Throwback Thursday: Ginuwine, RL, Tyrese and Case – “The Best Man I Can Be”
The year was 1999 and the golden era of movie soundtracks was, unbeknownst to us at the time, coming to an end. The Best Man, which turned 20 years old just a few weeks ago, released a soundtrack that included one of Beyoncé’s earliest showings as a solo artist as well as tracks from Maxwell, Lauryn Hill and Faith Evans. And with all the greatness on that soundtrack, there is one track that stands head and shoulders above the rest: “The Best Man I Can Be” by Ginuwine, RL, Tyrese and Case.
With four sangin’-ass sangas on the track, you already know the vocals were crazy, but that’s not what makes this song so special. What makes “Best Man I Can Be” special is its subject matter: friendship. The subject of friendship, particularly friendship between men, is generally uncommon in popular music. We could hypothesize why that is, but whatever the case, this collaboration between four of the brightest stars in R&B is everything you should expect from such an effort. Vocals upon vocals upon vocals, with no one really outshining the rest because everybody can hold their own.
Written and produced by Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis (along with the late great Big Jim Wright), “Best Man I Can Be” is unabashed in its ’90s R&B-ness. And in an age where too many R&B artists are trying so hard to be “alternative” and “experimental,” this throwback will remind you of exactly what R&B is missing.
PS: The outfits in this video — in particular, Case’s red leather ensemble and Ginuwine’s orange turtleneck — need to be in one of the Smithsonian museums.