American RnB trio City High only ever released one album – eponymously titled ‘City High’ in 2001 – from which most people will only know the on song: ‘What Would You Do?’, which earned the group a Grammy nomination in 2002.
The fact that it was released over 12 years ago arguably renders City High a ‘One Hit Wonder’. But, like most one hit wonders, that does little to taint the awesomeness of this socially conscious RnB hit, which acts as an inspiring ballad for single parents. The song describes the anguish of a single mother forced into prostitution to support her son.
When I hear that smooth percussion intro I can’t help but feel a wave of nostalgic of my primary school days spent rocking out to this emotional anthem with my friends, completely oblivious to what “his daddy’s gone somewhere smokin’ rock now” really meant.
Although City High is long gone, and socially inspiring tracks seem to have fallen out of favour, there are still covers and remixes of this classic hit to keep the good vibes going. My personal favourite is the smoother synth cover released by London based band Bastille.
Hometown: Willingboro, US.
Sounds like: Arrested Development, R Kelly, Baby Bash.
Say What? City High was comprised of three members: Ryan Toby, Claudette Ortiz and Robbie Pardlo. Ortiz dated Pardlo in high school, but after the band split up in 2003, she married the third band member Toby. Pardlo later became an alcoholic and was featured on the US show ‘Intervention’ for his alcoholism.