The Electronica/Neo-Soul/R&B duo Club 803 is made up of Geno (Singer/Vocalist/Arranger) and Daraja Hakizimana (Producer/Writer/Musician). Club 803 said of their album “The Addiction”: “Some may say and speculate this is a reference to their addiction to marijuana, music, the fast life, money, or just simply love. But no doubt it has a story and a very simple one…”
Listening to the 11 tracks on “The Addiction”, it is clear that Club 803’s sexual desires and fantasies are running on overload; certainly no more or less than that of, let’s say, Trey Songs or R Kelly, as Geno deals out sexually dripping innuendo on song like Searchin feat. Sir Twin, Touch your Legs and Fantasy . But “The Addiction” is much more than that, bringing on an old-school attitude throughout its entirety.
Only time can decide a true ‘classic’, and the process is vague and subjective. Aside from ‘hearing it’, major factors include timing and the influence it has on fellow musicians, and culture itself. Nevertheless, the musicianship on this album is of the caliber I actually thought was lost by young upcoming artists. On this, I asked myself through multiple listens whether Geno’s vocals, the production, the arrangements, could stand up to my older Soul and R&B records, and to me the answer is yes.
The virtuosic singing, songwriting, musicianship and arrangements from this crew are pretty impressive. “The Addiction” sounds like the work of men who wanted to take a step forward artistically, but also maintain their footprints solidly in the past. The music is not as clear as the more crisp, digital recordings we’re used to hearing in the majority of modern records, but that just adds to the ‘authentic’ 90’s sound, Club 803 have forged here.
There are typical Soul/R&B themes on this album, such as love, romance and of course sex, but what is even more noticeable is the a capella tributes to Donny Hathaway and Sam Cooke. Though Donny and Sam are both short tracks they evidence Club 803 and Geno’s respect for the past.
If you’re a casual music fan who only rocks to music in your car or when you go to the bars and clubs, or have a late night thing going on, this album will absolutely work for you. Moreover “The Addiction” is also for music fans with a true appreciation for musical experimentation and elite creativity and musicality.
Furthermore some R&B-Soul singers try to sound good. They try so hard it is evident in their in their songs. It sounds forced. Others do not try. Performing and singing just comes naturally to them. The difference is clear. Geno falls into the latter category. The Neo-Soul comes out of him as sure and as easily as a breath of fresh air.
“The Addiction” is a timely gift to us all, reminding us of how great the past was. Don’t head into it with lofty expectations though; just judge it on its own merits and enjoy the love put into it by Geno and Daraja Hakizimana.