Pleasure P - The Introduction of Marcus Cooper

Posted June 4, 2009
Tags: Pleasure P,

The boy band is dead, and Pleasure P is still alive because he got out just in time. At the...

The Introduction of Marcus Cooper Album Review

The boy band is dead, and Pleasure P is still alive because he got out just in time. At the turn of the millennium the world was in the throes of a boy-band pandemic, starting with the white pop of the Backstreet Boys and slowly spreading to the black community with the likes of B2K and (ahem) Pretty Ricky. Now their styles may differ, but all boy bands have a few things in common: they all wear ridiculous matching outfits, they all inevitably break-up, and one guy - and only one guy - goes onto solo success. For N’Sync that guy was Justin, for B2K it was Omarion, and for Pretty Ricky, it looks like that guy is Pleasure P.

Pleasure P, or as it says on his tax returns Marcus Cooper, claims he left Pretty Ricky because of problems with his production company, and that’s probably true, but he also had to know that the boy band era was on its deathbed. So P did the smart thing and started building his own career, culminating in the release of his debut album The Introduction of Marcus Cooper. An album that capably carries out R&B’s time tested techniques and themes, Introduction won’t launch Pleasure P into superstardom, but it should give him a career long after Pretty Ricky’s other members are reduced to reminiscing about the days when they used to wear spray-painted fur coats.

Pleasure P’s transformation into the much more respectable Marcus Cooper is off to a strong start, thanks to the success of his lead single Boyfriend #2. As a boyfriend number one I can’t condone any boyfriend number two shenanigans, but Boyfriend’s impact on the charts isn’t surprising. It’s got all the requisite elements: a smoothly produced beat, plenty of sexual innuendos, and P’s engaging vocals sealing the deal. It’s a similar story on I’m a Beast, a track driven by a borderline Usher-esque vocal performance by Pleasure. Unfortunately, it’s also dragged down by disappointingly generic lyrics (please Jesus, make these artists stop saying “swagger” 47 times a song), a charge that could describe the album as a whole. Pleasure/Cooper doesn’t have the slick dance moves and mainstream pop appeal to truly challenge the Ushers and Omarions out there, but there’s plenty on Introduction to suggest he can carve out his own lane in the industry.

If Marcus Cooper the man is anything like Marcus Cooper the album, then he’s got more relationship drama than Ray J. Not only is he helping some girl cheat on her man, he’s apparently fighting with his own lady. However, unlike the rest of us, he can smooth things over with an R&B slow jam, starting with the aptly titled Did You Wrong. First things first, Pleasure needs to work on his slow jam monologue skills; phrases like “we gotta put up with each other’s s**t” isn’t exactly the second coming of Boyz II Men. Monologues aside, Did You Wrong is a good but not great song that scores points for reliability. Much better is the precisely crafted (and new single) Under, a captivating track I at first thought was about romantic love, but after a few listens turned out to mostly be about cunnilingus. After women hear Under, Pleasure may have to change his name to Ladies Love Cool P.

Regular readers know I have a rule, every great R&B album needs a real baby-maker, a track that you can throw on and know, absolutely guarantee, it’s about to go down. Sadly, Introduction doesn’t truly have that track, though the simmering Let Me comes close. Still, I can forgive Introduction’s lack of baby makin magic, after all, the slow burner really isn’t Pleasure’s strength. Instead he excels when he cruises at a mid-tempo pace, as seen on the sparkling Your Love or the catchy Fire Lovin (though it should be noted that if you feel fire after lovin, you probably should see a doctor). So while The Introduction of Marcus Cooper won’t go down in R&B history, only one member of a boy band can achieve solo success, it’s a law, and as far as I’m concerned, the rest of Pretty Ricky might as well start saving up for retirement. Pleasure P’s got the position on lock.

DJBooth Rating - 3.5 Spins

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Posted June 4, 2009
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