Fifteen years ago, the music world was blessed with the debut release from R&B singer Lil' Mo. She had already started building a name for herself, having worked with the likes of Missy Elliott and Timbaland. She contributed a bouncy tune titled "5 Minutes" alongside Missy Elliott for the motion picture soundtrack "Why Do Fools Fall in Love", and that would serve as her initial mark in music. While some felt the song underperformed, It stillresonated a great deal with fans, and that ultimately sparked preparations for Based on a True Story.
Mo would go on to contribute to a number of collaborations with a variety of artists, including Ol' Dirty Bastard, Missy Elliott, and Ja Rule, leading up to the 2001 release of her full length debut. The lead single for "Based on a True Story" was "Ta Da", a tune Mo labeled as a woman's claim to independence. The album ultimately took off with the second single, "Superwoman Pt. II", which featured a then-up and coming rapper named Fabolous. The song undoubtedly helped in pushing him to mainstream success, while also solidifying Mo's place in the game.
The success of "Based on a True Story" doesn't end there. Another single would be released later in the year, titled "Gangsta (Love 4 The Streets)". While only three singles were release from the LP, there were a number of tracks that did well with fans and ultimately made this album a classic for our generation. As we take a look at some of the album's many standouts, we want to extend love and congratulate Mo on 15-years of "Based on a True Story"! In addition to revisiting the standouts, we'll also peruse through some of those tracks that didn't make the cut.
- My Story
- Supa Star
- Superwoman Pt. II f/Fabolous
- Player Not the Game f/Carl Thomas
- How Many Times
- Friends (Those Girls)
- She Could Neva B Me
- Time After Time
- I Ain’t Gotta (Bonus Track)
- Ta Da (Bonus Track)
Intro: The “Intro” was perfect in the sense that it not only gave you a sense of what Mo could do with her voice, but she immediately let you into her world of spirituality, as she covered a bit of ‘I Love the Lord”.
My Story: I found this track to be pretty awesome to say the least, along with the album's Outro. I always wished the two could have just been combined and ultimately been longer. I was definitely feeling it from the start, but Mo really pulled me in with the breakdown near the end: "I'm giving you me, every part of me, this is my story, I hope that you see, the life I'm living, my heart I'm giving, my favor to you"... I still find myself playing that track a lot, even today.
2moro: This was absolutely my jam, as it was for a number of fans. Mo is great with ballads and slow jams, and she naturally gives every bit of all she has in belting out the right notes. She had me right at the start with "all day, you complain, it's a wonder I'm still the same, you got me on a ball and chain, can't escape, get away, it's the same ol' thang, same shit just a different day"... In the song, she's bad all she can take of that relationship, and she's on her way out the door. It's a subject that many have been in, men and women, and that alone may the song easily relatable.
Time After Time: I'm usually not big on remakes of huge classics, but I felt like Mo did a great job with taking in Cyndi Lauper's Time After Time. Musically, it wasn't much different than the original tune, yet, Mo managed to put a good spin on it and make it her own.
Gangsta (Love 4 The Streets): “Gangsta” was that track that not many expected from Lil’ Mo. For as versatile as she had become, some found it to be too far left. Nevertheless, it struck bit with her core fanbase, and did well as a single.
Ta Da: Released in 2000 as a lead single for “Based on a True Story”, Ta Da was an instant success with Mo’s audience. Written by Montell Jordan, it was one of many songs that allowed Mo to flex her strong vocal abilities.
Saturday: On Saturday, Mo sings of being left by her man for another moment, although she was led to believe their relationship would be. Yet another fan-favorite.
Songs we wish made the cut!
More Than You Know: Mo’ sang her heart out on this track. I was quite surprised it didn't make the final cut because she really took us there with her riffs and runs.
Starstruck: Starstruck was an example where Mo’ was clearly having a good time and taking it to a place a humor. Featuring Missy Elliott, Mo’ went after that boy that ridiculed and picked on her. Starstruck was that track that made humor of it all and essentially said “look at me now”.
If U Wanna Dance: A video was released for If U Wanna Dance in 1999, and while the track is definitely upbeat and sure to get you moving, it didn’t strike it big with fans in the eyes of label execs, and was subsequently removed from “Based on a True Sorry”. Nevertheless, it was definitely one of our favorites.
Club 2G: Another certified hit that takes Mo to the club with guest appearances from rapper Naam & Missy Elliott.
5 Minutes: from the time I heard "5 Minutes" on the soundtrack of "Why Do Fools Fall in Love", it was definitely a favorite. I always assumed it would make it onto the album, and as much as I would have loved to see it there, it actually makes a bit of sense not being there, considering it was already a few years old and had already been released. Still a hot jam this very day though. A video was also released for ‘5 Minutes” back in 1998.
We would love to know what you thought of the LP, and what your favorites were. Send your comments to info@ugdigitalmag, and we’ll add them into the next issue’s mil section! You can also feel free to tweet them to us at @ugdigitalmag