“Fake” by Alexander O’Neal (1987)

Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis were so at the top of their game in 1987 that they could rip themselves off and still sound fresh.

“Fake”, the first single from Alexander O’Neal’s sophomore effort, Hearsay (one of the all time classic ’80s R&B records), is a musical descendant of Janet Jackson’s “Nasty”. It’s a little funkier, and it’s sung by a significantly better vocalist, but the songs are even of a pair thematically. You can almost picture Alexander’s character responding to Janet’s lambasting on “Nasty” with this laundry list of quibbles; fake hair, fake eye color, homegirl can’t even remember Alexander’s name!

Hell, Alex even responds to Janet’s “gimme a beat!” with “can I get some nasty bass?”

Not to say the songs can’t be enjoyed individually-they are two of the jammin’est songs of their era. But it’s cool to think of them as cousins.

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