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On 1983’s Robbery, one can hear R&B morphing from the warm dance floor disco of the '70s to the technology-driven pop music of the '80s. As usual, Teena Marie assumed full control of her music as writer, producer, and performer—a show of creative self-possession for which she never got enough credit, especially considering the heaps of praise given to likeminded auteurs like Rick James and Prince. Although some critics opined that soul music lost its soul in the '80s, no one could deny “Robbery,” “Playboy,” or “Ask Your Mama.” The rhythms are crispier and the choruses are touched by new wave, but Teena Marie’s voice remains a totally warm and human presence at the center of changing styles. Her voice had always been ahead of its time, so when trends started to change she sounded at home in the modern innovations. At the same time, Robbery contains one of her prettiest jazz-soul ballads, “Casanova Brown.” It's a roman à clef about Rick James: “But nobody knows when the lights go down/That the tears fall harder than the whole damn crowd.”

Customer Reviews

Love It

From the first time I laid eyes upon Teena Marie, I fell in love with her. I have loved her music since I was a child. The first time I heard Teena Marie sing was on the "It Must Be Magic" Album. I was a tot then and my parents used to play Teena Marie all the time. This album along with the others rock!!!!

Fallen Angel

Man as a child I can remember my mother playing this album every Saturday when she cleaned up the house. This type of music is missing now, everything is so sex related and it's becoming annoying.


Born: March 5, 1956 in Santa Monica, CA

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

No white artist sang R&B more convincingly than Teena Marie, whose big, robust vocals were so black-sounding that when she was starting out, some listeners wondered if she was a light-skinned African-American. Marie grew up in west Los Angeles in a neighborhood that was nicknamed "Venice Harlem" because of its heavy black population. The singer/songwriter/producer was in her early twenties when, around 1977, she landed a job at Motown Records. It was at Motown that she met her mentor and paramour-to-be,...
Full Bio

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