BIG BAND: R&B bands are rare. That's why the fledgling Mint Condition, whose members write, sing and perform, is so refreshing. From the Mint Factory (###) exudes hard-edged R&B and funk, with jazzy sensibilities. Lead singer Stokley's nasal vocals recall Al Jarreau's. Like that other Minneapolis group, the Time, they have crunching grooves and memorable ballads (U Send Me Swingin').
- Jermaine Dupri, producer of rap duo Kris Kross, has another hit with female quartet Xscape, already topping Billboard's R&B chart with the sassy ballad Just Kickin' It. Their debut album, Hummin' Comin' at 'Cha (###), sassily combines hip-hop beat and attitude with wondrously smooth R&B vocals. Dupri smartly keeps the instrumentation simple and uncluttered; the melodies, memorable.
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