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In Effect Mode is Al B. Sure!'s debut studio album that was released on May 3, 1988 by Uptown Records & Warner Bros. Records.

TracklistingEdit

  1. Nite And Day
  2. Oooh This Love Is So
  3. Killing Me Softly
  4. Naturally Mine
  5. Day! Time
  6. Rescue Me
  7. Off On Your Own (Girl)
  8. If I'm Not Your Lover
  9. Just A Taste Of Lovin'

Album BackgroundEdit

Al B. Sure! got his initial start when he performed at the 1987 Sony Innovators Award, an annual talent showcase that awarded people who showed promising talent.

Music producer Quincy Jones handpicked him as the first winner of the contest. Warner Bros. Vice President of black music Benny Medina offered Sure! a recording contract to record his debut.

Sure! got his start in the music industry singing background vocals on Heavy D. & The Boyz' 1987 debut Living Large.

He appeared on the song "Dedication" as well as the singles "Don't You Know" and "Moneyearnin' Mount Vernon" due to being childhood friends with group member Edward "Eddie F" Ferrell. That friendship lead to him meeting Andre Harrell, who brought Sure! into the fold at his newly established imprint Uptown Records.

Sure! initially wanted to make his debut as a rapper, but later decided to focus on R&B after listening to the music his cousin Kyle West was making.

As a result, he enlisted West as the co-producer for his debut album. Sure! and West wrote virtually all the songs together, save for their cover of Lori Lieberman's song "Killing Me Softly" (which was popularized by singer Roberta Flack) and "If I'm Not Your Lover".

West recalls recording "In Effect Mode" as lacking direction because neither he nor Sure! had any idea what they were doing.

Because of Sure!'s last minute change from rapping to singing, he had to learn how to write songs and melodies in a short period of time. Within the span of six months, he made the transition from being a rapper to being a singer.

The album's first single, "Nite and Day" was the first song recorded for In Effect Mode. West wrote and recorded the music in January 1987, but he decided to abandon it when he was unable to compose any lyrics for the song.

Over a month later, Sure! heard the music and wrote only a chorus for the song, but had yet to write any verses.

By the time they went to the recording studio, Sure! had completed the song. Despite having yet to record an album, everyone in the studio felt the song was going to be a huge hit.

Producer Teddy Riley was called in to give the album some direction. He wasn't around long enough to oversee it due to being called in to work on Keith Sweat's debut album, "Make It Last Forever."

Riley produced two songs for In Effect Mode: "If I'm Not Your Lover" and "You Can Call Me Crazy", however only "If I'm Not Your Lover" made the final track listing.

"You Can Call Me Crazy" was later included on Guy's self-titled debut with Timmy Gatling's lead vocals and Sure! contributing uncredited background vocals.

Chart PerformanceEdit

"In Effect Mode" peaked at #20 on the Billboard 200 and topped Billboard's R&B Albums chart (staying on the chart for 7 weeks).

Critical ReceptionEdit

Rob Theakson of Allmusic wrote in his review of the album: "Most people would be well off just getting these songs on one of the many readily available greatest-hits compilations, but those looking to dig deeper will no doubt enjoy this album from start to finish."

Robert Christgau gave the album a "B+", describing it as "electronic cocktail soul as thrill-a-minute mood music."

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