UNSUNG REVIEW: Full Force
Premiers Jan 30
Surprise, Surprise.. Out of all the Unsung’s I’ve reviewed, I probably learned more about this group from this show than any other group from any other show. Seeing black men in the industry of entertainment be able to recreate themselves with the incredible odds that are against us is not an easy task and while the group has enjoyed massive success early on in their career a change in the direction of the music industry hit them hard.
The early 90s was hard on R&B Singers, black balladeers and east coast rap. The west coast gangsta rap machine was exploding and it literally happened right after I arrived in LA in 1990. I was working at Urban Network and I remember the labels were frustrated because rap was so huge and urban radio was still afraid to play it because advertisers were unfairly looking for any excuse to pull out but pop stations were free to play it with no repercussions.
There was a HUGE turnover in the early 90s in the urban radio and music scene and MANY groups were dropped or fell off when urban radio FINALLY came on board and played rap while the labels celebrated by rushing to the west coast to find more west coast rappers.
During that period, the early 90s, I remember Lisa (from Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam) coming up to Urban Network and she was in a bad mood and very shady that day. The two guys were cool but everyone noticed her disposition and I never forgot that. In this video, she admits she was carrying a deep secret for 27 years that she is (allegedly because she doesn’t state it) a cancer survivor and she didn’t want anyone to know because she didn’t want anyone to treat her differently. I immediately had to rethink my negative opinion of her because that had to be an incredible burden for her to carry while she was a rising star. She revealed this after a member of Full Force admits that he has cancer (I won’t disclose who it is here) but his tenacity and bravado are nothing short of amazing. The older I get the more I realize, you never know what a person is going through so don’t be so quick to judge. That’s the Black Church’s job (lol).
Bowlegged Lou’s timing and boldness was impeccable. When he realized the group was no longer on top and the phone stopped ringing, instead of sitting around and singing a woe-is-me, remember-the-times song, which SO many people in all walks of the urban industry tend to do, he reinvented himself and the group by approaching, at the time Sony Exec, Barry Weiss about producing white groups. Most black producers during that time would not have done that because they would have automatically assumed that was not going to happen but luckily for Lou he took a chance, nothing ventured, nothing gained.. And it worked. I like Barry Weiss and Lou and consider them both to be visionaries and I can see Barry seeing the possibilities after Lou approached him and it’s great that he did.
Full Force then began going from the coal mine to the GOLD mine working with pop acts. Let’s face it, if you are going to make REAL money in the music industry you better find a way to work on the white side. They worked with N’sync, The Backstreet Boys, Brittany Spears and others and it was a BRILLIANT move on their part. I really enjoyed this show and I’m glad to finally know more about the very first hip hop R&B group. I won’t go into much more detail but will tell you to watch this episode.