Album Remarks & Appraisals:
Coko embarked on a solo career in 1998 following the break-up of the highly successful swingbeat trio SWV. Her mother was a gospel artist, and Coko grew up singing in church choirs around the Bronx. She formed a duo with Leanne `Lelee` Lyons, which, with the addition of Tamara `Taj` Johnson, evolved over the years into SWV (Sisters With Voices). The trio enjoyed huge pop success during the mid-90s with the singles `I'm So Into You`, `Weak` and `Right Here`/`Human Nature`. Coko first recorded as a solo artist in 1997, while still a member of SWV, duetting with Johnny Gill on a cover version of `Fire And Desire` for the Booty Call soundtrack. She was also featured on the theme tune to Will Smith's smash hit movie, Men In Black. After the break-up of SWV, Coko went into the studio with leading producers Rodney Jerkins, Michael Powell and Brian Alexander Morgan to record her solo debut. Featuring duets with rapper Eve and label mate Tyrese, Hot Coko was a classy reassertion of Coko`s soul diva credentials. This is her long-awaited follow-up.
Personnel: Coko (vocals, background vocals); Lady Tibba (soprano, background vocals); Damon "DJ" Parker (tenor, background vocals); Tim Mole, Joey Woolfalk (guitar); The Nashville String Machine (strings); Doug Moffet (flute, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone); Daniel Weatherspoon (organ, keyboards); Michael Bereal (organ); Shep Crawford (keyboards); Calvin Rodgers, Calvin Napper (drums); Loren McGee (drum programming); Blanche McAllister, Vernard Burton, Donald Lawrence , Jason Nelson, Kim McFarland, DeWayne Woods, Lisa Jones (background vocals); Arthur "Buddy" Strong (tenor, piano, organ, keyboards, background vocals); Akil Thompson (guitar, bass guitar); Lloyd Barry (strings); Jimmy Bowland (saxophone); Vinnie Ciesielski (trumpet); John Hinchey (trombone); Big Mike Clemons (drums); Javier Solís (percussion); Clyde "Lady Tibba" Gamble (background vocals).
Audio Mixers: Chris Godbey; Craig Bauer; Donald Lawrence ; Bruce Buechner.
Recording information: C-Black Recording Studios, Hampton, VA; Eclectic Studio, Nashville, TN; HINGE, Chicago, IL; Master Sound Studios, Virginia Beach, VA; Master Sound, VA; Miralex Joint Studios; Miralex Joint Studios, Kansas City, MO; Paramount Studios, Los Angeles, CA; Reflections Studios, Charlotte, NC; Remnant Studios, Neward, DE; The Dengen, Los Angeles, CA; The Sound Kitchen, TN.
Photographer: Robert Ascroft.
Arrangers: Arthur "Buddy" Strong; Lucinda Moore .
After her tenure with the R&B trio SWV, singer Coko released her solo debut HOT COKO in 1999, which continued in the sultry, groove-oriented R&B vein of her previous outfit. For 2006's GRATEFUL, however, Coko turned to the Lord; the result is a blast of high energy testifying and worship. Many of the previous stylistic elements--pop, funk, soul, and urban contemporary--are still intact, but the messages are concerned solely with praising the Almighty, as the songs "Mighty God," "The Reason," and "Holy" attest. Bright, shimmering production complements Coko's elastic, expressive voice on this celebratory release.