Al B. Sure! co-producer Kyle West recalls the making of In Effect Mode (1988) | Return To The Classics

In Effect Mode was released on May 3, 1988 to an ever-changing R&B fan base and it became an instant success for newcomer Al B. Sure! Upon its release, Al B. Sure! created quite a buzz with his lead single “Nite and Day.” At a time where the R&B genre was at a crossroads in terms of the musical and artistic direction, Al B. Sure! arrived on the scene with a groundbreaking sound called New Jack Swing.

New Jack Swing was a new movement dominating the R&B music scene in the late 1980s. Teddy Riley is credited with ushering in this musical genre after the pivotal success of 
Keith Sweat's “Make It Last Forever” album that was released a year earlier. In Effect Mode was transcendent in proving how commercially viable New Jack Swing could potentially become as a musical genre. It helped to create a new wave of New Jack Swing performers for the ladder half of the 1980s and the early 1990s.

Alongside his cousin, Kyle West, Al B. Sure! produced, arranged and wrote every song on the album with the exception of two records. He ultimately became one of the more noteworthy figures in the R&B scene of the late 1980s and gave credence to a burgeoning genre of urban music.

Unlike most R&B singers, Al B. Sure!'s musical foundation was built in rap music. He was best friends with Eddie Ferrell (Eddie F.) of Heavy D & The Boyz while growing up in New York and his desire was to become a rapper initially, but it wasn't until after listening to the music his cousin, Kyle West was producing that he decided to pursue a singing career.

In the course of a six month period, Sure! taught himself how to write, arrange and produce R&B songs in the same vein of his idol Michael Jackson. After turning down an athletic scholarship to play sports at the University of Iowa, he shifted his focus to become a full-time recording artist. For the last few months of 1986, he spent time honing his craft in as a songwriter and musician to begin producing his debut album. In January of 1987, he met Andre Harrell who was starting his own record label called Uptown Records and here is where his story begins.

Between the autumn of 1986 through the spring of 1988 the majority of In Effect Mode was recorded in Unique Recordings studio in New York, New York.

SoulCulture recently sat down with Kyle West, the first cousin of Al B. Sure! and co-writer and co-producer of seven songs on Al B. Sure!'s debut album, In Effect Mode to talk about the process of creating the album from start to finish. Read more