Cupid (21st Century)
Daddy B. Nice's #66 ranked Southern Soul Artist
Cupid (21st Century)
August 1, 2020:
NEW ALBUM ALERT!:Buy Cupid's new CAPRICORN album at Apple.
CAPRICORN TRACK LIST:1
In My Eyes
Whats Your Flava
Woman Like Me
A Man That Can Dance
What We Do
feat. Andrew Jackson
You Ain't Never Gone Find Another Like Me
feat. Donnie Bolden Jr/
Me and You Against the World
Daddy B. Nice notes:He's one of the few southern soul performers to have achieved national name recognition. For, of course, the "Cupid Shuffle". Even Michelle Obama knows Cupid!
Full disclosure. I was never really crazy about it. But being an avid club dancer, I always recognized its metronomical charm and appreciated the wrinkles Cupid gave it to spice up the verses.
The thing was, it was never really a southern soul song in the strictest sense, and to be truthful, Cupid has usually declined the "southern soul" label. It was a "slide" song like V.I.C.'s "Wobble Wobble," another monster hit on southern soul radio outlets and in Delta, Bayou and Gulf-coast clubs, and it spread from there.
The definition of southern soul in the new era began to expand with these songs from the "slide" and "swing-out" borderlines. Soon Cupid became a fixture at multi-headliner, southern soul concerts, and began collaborating on records with southern soul peers. He's released a lot of music in the meantime, but nothing to catch the fans' imagination like the "Cupid Shuffle," and my Cupid-watching goes back far enough to remember "Swing Around The Rosey," which preceded it.
The album Capricorn was originally deemed for publication in 2018. I can't tell you any of the reasons for its delayed release (it's been almost five years without an album of new Cupid material) other than to say the minute I heard about the album's appearance, I wanted to know if it would have the Cupid song where he brags to his lover that she's "gonna be sore in the morning". Of any lyric of the last few years to puzzle me, this one has been it, because in my experience no woman likes or wants to be "sore in the morning". It really does hurt. (Men, think of your own stuff sore.)
Listen to Cupid singing "In The Morning" on YouTube.
Alas, "In The Morning," produced by Beat Flippa, is not on the album. "In My Eyes,"however, more than makes up for that with a memorable melody and instrumental track. Stevie J contributes on vocals.
Equally deserving is "Take That," in which Pokey Bear (in fine form) takes the first verse and contributes much more throughout.
Another fine collaboration is "Spoil You," featuring one of the most mellifluous of the new vocalists pouring into southern soul, Roi Anthony. Indeed, I've sometimes thought of Anthony as the "new Cupid". Oh, that's right. Cupid is already the New Cupid.
"Higher" is a rousing gospel tune featuring Donnie Bolden Jr., who delivers a verse with head-turning lyrics that begin:
"Everybody out here's trying to be famous,
Living up to crazy expectations..."
Capricorn looks rich in material and is easily one of Cupid's best albums to date.
--Daddy B. Nice
Listen to all the tracks from Cupid's new CAPRICORN album on YouTube.
Buy Cupid's new CAPRICORN album at Amazon.
July 19, 2015:
Cupid has been collaborating.......Like there's no tomorrow. Here are some of his most recent songs recorded with fellow performers:
Listen to Cupid & Pokey & Veronica Ra'elle singing "If It Ain't The Blues" on YouTube.
Listen to Cupid and J.B. Hendricks singing "I'm On Fire" on YouTube.
Listen to Cupid, J. Paul & Messie Cee singing "Get Messy" on YouTube.
Listen to Cupid & Chris Ardoin singing "Chooo (Dat Ting Fine Yea)" on YouTube.
Listen to Cupid & Wendell B. singing "We Steppin' Out Tonight" on YouTube.
Listen to Cupid & Mystikal singing "The Wham Dance" on YouTube.
Listen to Cupid & J. Smooth & Mr. Phat singing "Zydeco Boom (Remix)" on YouTube.
REPRINTED FROM DADDY B. NICE'S CORNER:
July 17, 2015:
CUPID FETES NEW ORLEANSSporting a new name (New Cupid) and a reconstituted band (The Dance Party Express), Cupid will be honoring New Orleans with no less than three live appearances before summer's end. He will perform at The Lyceum (124 3rd St.) July 21st, The House Of Blues (221 Decatur St.) July 31st and The Atrium at the Belle Casino of Baton Rouge (103 France St.) August 28th, singing everything from "Cupid Shuffle," "Swing Around The Rosey" and "Barbeque" to his latest, "That's Messy."
The iconic artist will also appear in Prentiss, Mississippi, El Dorado, Arkansas, San Diego and Atlanta (August 6th & 7th) before year's end. But fans of the Big Easy should be particularly pleased.
See Daddy B. Nice's Concert Calendar for details.
Listen to Cupid singing "The Cupid Shuffle" on YouTube.
Listen to Cupid singing "Swing Around The Rosey" on YouTube.
Listen to Cupid singing "(I Fell In Love With You At The) Barbeque" on YouTube.
Listen to Cupid singing "That's Messy" on YouTube.
To automatically link to Johnnie Taylor's charted radio singles, awards, CD's and many other references on the website, go to "Taylor, Johnnie" in Daddy B. Nice's Comprehensive Index.
Daddy B. Nice's Original Profile:
Cupid is the performing name of Lafayette, Louisiana-born singer, songwriter and dancer Bryson Bernard. Although he'd been forging ahead with his career for a few years, Cupid broke into Southern Soul consciousness in 2006 with his appearance on the Bruce Billups-produced sampler Southern Soul Urban Mix, the collection perhaps best known for its inclusion of Theodis Ealey's hit single, "Francine."
The song was "Swing Around The Rosey," and many insiders--including yours truly--became vaguely aware of the song long before they could attach an artist's name to it. It was a subtle song, a little ragged around the edges, but with one of those hooks that, like certain commercials, however insipid, play over endlessly in the mind.
Soon an even more intriguing track, a tune with the genuine innocence and camaraderie of early Sly & The Family Stone--"I Fell In Love With You (At The Barbeque)"--began circulating. And when--the next year--Cupid's break-out CD Time For A Change appeared with the monster line-dance single, "Cupid Shuffle," it became immediately apparent that here was a one-of-a-kind talent.
Listen to Cupid singing the Cupid Shuffle on YouTube while you read.
Cupid has some of the cool-as-ice hiphop technique of Simeo, some of the techno-synth mastery of Bigg Robb, and some of the Tin Pan Alley lyricism of T. K. Soul.
All were onetime outsiders, far from the Southern Soul mainstream, and their gradual acceptance by Southern Soul's base has broadened the definition of what it means to be Southern Soul today.
Cupid's straight-on, melody-rich songs sound "strange" to a Southern Soul ear in the same way that an unknown T. K. Soul's "Meet Me At The Spot" sounded strange a decade ago, or--frankly--the way Simeo's songs still sound strange to your Daddy B. Nice today.
We're not used to songs delivered straight up, without the usual blues or Southern Soul conventions and tics. But some artists have a way of rewarding your letting down your guard. T. K. Soul is one.
T. K. Soul, by the way, had the advantage of working in Willie Clayton' shadow at a certain point. And it was Mel Waiters who, at one of his shows, turned Bigg Robb onto the buzz of the Southern Soul scene.
In a strange twist of fate, Cupid is now working with Mel Waiters. Waiters covered "Bar-b-que" on his award-winning I Ain't Gone Do It CD of 2010 and Cupid co-sang on it. Brittany--Waiters' label--is promoting the CD.
Listen to Cupid singing I Fell In Love With You (At The Barbeque) on YouTube.
"We were chilling in the park.
That's when she passed my way.
The grill was smoking,
The feeling so right.
That's when I fell in love,
Love at first sight.
I fell in love with you
At the barbeque.
I fell in love with you
At the barbeque."
In awarding the song a spot on Daddy B. Nice's Top 25 Southern Soul Songs of 2007, I noted:
25. "I Fell In Love With You (At The Barbeque)"-----------Cupid
Is it hiphop or is it Southern Soul? Is Cupid riding Southern Soul's coat-tails, or is Southern Soul riding Cupid's coat-tails? It's all so confusing for the Louisiana "phenom" and the Southern Soul fans who like to "cupid shuffle."
"I Fell In Love With You" is the overlooked classic, and a song that shows the true Southern Soul side of the artist.
That's not to take anything away from the Cupid of the "Cupid Shuffle," which no less a personage than Michelle Obama recently singled out as an example of the frivolous entertainment options vying for her children's attention.
The success of the "Cupid Shuffle"
dwarfed any numbers put up by Southern Soul artists and reinforced the perception that Cupid was predominantly an urban r&b/hiphop performer. Dozens of Cupid Shuffle YouTube videos attest to its popularity as a dance phenomenon.
The "Cupid Shuffle" sparked renewed interest in the line-dance craze, which has continued in Southern Soul songs like Sir Jonathan Burton's "Too Much Booty Shaking Up In Here."
It also established a pattern in Cupid's own career in which almost every radio single concocted by the young singer--"Love Slide," "Do Yo Dance," "Do It With Your Boots On," "Cu-Step," "Teach Me How To Wobble," "Do My Ladies Run This Party?"--compels him to devise a new dance step routine, which in turn finds its way onto a YouTube "instructional" video. Cupid is a one-man aerobic dance star.
From the jackhammer rhythm and jazzy horns of "Wobble" to the cabaret piano and soaring, gospel-inspired vocal of "I Won't Complain," Cupid's 2011 free online mixtape Who Shot You showcases an artist who, with his cohorts Mr. Phat and Solace, has few antecedents unless you go back to early Michael Jackson or Prince.
I'll admit to passing on both uptempo dance songs--"Wobble" and "Cu-Step"--just as I was never really that enamored of the "Cupid Shuffle." The trouble is there's "grown-folks" uptempo dance music and there's "young-folks" uptempo dance music, and Cupid's fast songs are a little too fast for grown-folks' tastes.
Contemporary Southern Soul has had a few dance tunes with the hard hiphop edge of "Cupid Shuffle." Johnnie Taylor sang "Jody's Got Your Girl and Gone," and Robert "The Duke" Tillman sang "Drop."
But Cupid's emergence--and especially the "Cupid Shuffle" phenomenon--has influenced younger artists in particular to experiment with harder-edged beats and vocal deliveries: Burton's "Booty-Shaking," Sergio Davis' "Let's Go," Simeo's Love Shake" and Kenne' Wayne's "Ride It Like A Cowboy." But, with the exception of Burton's "Booty-Shaking," few of these songs have caught on.
Cupid's off-the-charts composing and vocalizing talents are a different matter. Even at his most mainstream, Cupid's songs connect with the heart, and their melodic originality take them to the next level.
But if you still have doubts, proceed immediately to the ballads "I Won't Complain" and "That Boy Can Really Sing." This is straight-ahead singing at its best: jaw-dropping technique bursting with feeling.
In "That Boy Can Really Sing" Cupid says:
"They say I'm a rapper,
And I say no. . .
I sing for real.
I sing for real."
And he does. And he's right, by the way. Rappers and hiphoppers embellish hooks, phrases, riffs. Cupid composes verse-and-chorus soul songs.
It's instructive to listen to the difference between Cupid singing Do It With Your Boots On" solo at the piano and his fleshed-out, radio-single version of "Do It With Your Boots On."
The latter employs great zydeco keyboards and Cupid's trademark, drawn out synthesizer phrases, but the quasi-acapella version is just as--if not more--intriguing, stressing as it does Cupid's incredible tunefulness. It could be Paul McCartney, Elton John or Billy Joel at the piano.
This, then is the dichotomy--the parallel paths--in Cupid's catalog. On the one hand, there is the "Cupid Shuffle," "Do Yo Dance," and all the other hiphop-fueled, dance-step-inspired material.
On the other is "I Fell Love With You (At The Barbeque)," "Swing Around The Rosey," "Cupid Draw Back Your Bow" (the Sam Cooke song, by the way, that inspired Cupid's performance name) and the other melody-rich ballads.
The ballads represent the Southern Soul side of Cupid, the fast jams represent the hiphop side. Southern Soul is both softer and grittier than hiphop (which is hard and smooth). What we have from Cupid is a stab at a hybrid sound.
Unlike many young acts, Cupid hasn't courted or used the "southern soul" label, but if Cupid ever truly went back to his Gospel/R&B roots, he'd be a giant of the genre, a musical "man" among boys.
Southern Soul fans can only hope that Cupid retains ties to the "grown-folks" sound and themes, bearing in mind that the pressures of the hiphop culture and its dominant sound are the world that, for better or worse, our young artists live, work and recreate in.
--Daddy B. Nice
About Cupid (21st Century)
Bryson Bernard (aka Cupid) was born in Lafayette, Louisiana, where he attended the University of Louisiana at Lafayette on a track and field athletic scholarship. However, Bernard left school to pursue a musical career.
Song's Transcendent Moment
"She took my breath away.
If You Liked. . . You'll Love
If you liked Grayson Hugh's "Can We Talk It Over," you'll love Cupid's "I Fell In Love With You (At The Barbeque)."
Honorary "B" Side
"I Fell In Love With You (At The Barbeque)"
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