Minnie Riperton is the definition of a perfect angel. The MOTHER of vocal registers. One of the greatest R&B musicians to ever live. 🙌🏾😭 Her life story is extremely sad as well since she passed at the very young age of 31 from cancer.
However, she lives on through the immaculate music she left behind..& we will give Minnie an abundance of flowers she definitely deserves.
Before being a solo artist, Minnie was in the group “The Gems” when she was 15. They sang background for Fontella Bass’ hit Rescue Me in 1965, & eventually had local hits in the Chicago area titled I Can’t Help Myself & He Makes Me Feel So Good!
My favorite song from “The Gems” days is Happy New Love.
Under the pseudonym Andrea Davis, she recorded hits like Lonely Girl & You Gave Me Soul!
Being around the legendary Chess Records have her the opportunity to sing background for Etta James, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, and many more legends! 🙌🏾 Eventually she sang lead for the psychedelic soul band Rotary Connection from 1967 to 1971! Eventually she went solo, & the rest is history!
The late great Teena Marie is a Minnie Riperton STAN! They were connected in many ways. She stated this on the Opus III interlude from her 1988 Naked To The World album:
“I remember your songs, & they were timeless Minnie. The perfect melody..you were a sweet & soulful bird.”
After the sad passing of Minnie, her husband Richard Rudolph was brought in to produce Teena’s second album “Lady T.” Teena dang a song that Richard wrote for Minnie, “Now That I Have You.” It’s such a touching song and you can definitely see Minnie singing this masterpiece.
Teena was also the godmother of Maya Rudolph, Minnie’s daughter! Maya is featured on the Lady T album..talking to Teena on the Too Many Colors interlude.
Minnie has been covered and sampled by some of the most remarkable musicians. Inside My Love is one of Minnie’s fan favorites. It’s been sampled by A Tribe Called Quest, J. Cole, Tupac, Aaliyah, etc. It also has been covered by Chanté Moore & Trina Broussard
Shanice covered Minnie’s signature hit “Lovin’ You,” & gave Minnie a TRIBUTE! Whew.
Stevie Wonder & Minnie were frequent collaborators! He produced songs for her albums and all. She was also featured on his song Ordinary Pain!
Come To My Garden (1970):
Favorites: Come to My Garden, Expecting, Only When I’m Dreaming, Oh, By the Way, Completeness, Whenever, Wherever, Les Fleur.
Minnie’s debut album is far from the Rotary Connection. The songs here are perfect for Minnie’s vocals, giving you soft pop blended with jazz! The ballads are everything and showcases the lovely Minnie’s immaculate vocals. Simply wonderful.
Perfect Angel (1974):
Favorites: Take A Little Trip, Lovin’ You, Reasons, Our Lives, The Edge Of A Dream, Seeing You This Way, Perfect Angel, Every a Time He Comes Around.
Perfect Angel is Minnie’s best album if you ask me. It is musical perfection! Collaborating with mentor Stevie Wonder and her husband Richard Rudolph, Minnie shines on her album with blended genres of Rock, Pop & R&B.
Her signature song (Lovin’ You) rests on this album, & it’s an interesting story of how it came to be! The melody for the song was created to be a distraction for her baby girl Maya, so she could spend time with her husband.
Ironically Maya was in the studio when it came to finish recording one more song for the album. It ended up being her one number one hit, & is her most successful hit!
The album holds many gems like the Stevie Wonder penned Take A Little Trip, & the rock influenced Reasons!
Adventures In Paradise (1975):
Favorites: Inside My Love, Baby, This Love I Have, Adventures In Paradise, Simple Things, When It Comes Down To It, Minnie’s Lament, Alone in Brewster Bay, Don’t Let Anyone Bring You Down.
The follow up to Perfect Angel didn’t live up to the expectations for critics, but if you ask ME..it’s a mellow soulful jazz affair! The quiet storm classic “Inside My Love” is LIFEEEEEEE!!!
Stay In Love: A Romantic Fantasy Set To Music (1977):
Favorites: Stick Together, Stay In Love, How Could I Love You More, Young Willing and Able, Gettin’ Ready for Your Love, Oh Darlin’…Life Goes On, Can You Feel What I’m Saying?
Minnie’s fourth studio effect is Minnie’s attempt at disco inspired jams. It’s funky, & is where Minnie uses her very powerful voice to her advantage. It’s not Perfect Angel, but it’s angelic.
Favorites: Memory Lane, Light My Fire, Love Hurts, Lover and Friend, Return to Forever, I’m a Woman, Dancin’ & Actin’ Crazy, Never Existed Before.
On what would be Minnie’s fifth album, she gives her final statement to her loved ones, fans and the music industry. Two months after the release of her self titled album, Minnie passed away from cancer at the young age of 31.
The pain in her voice is so evident in the haunting “Memory Lane.” Watching the unofficial video is so hard to do without crying. She was leaving behind her beloved husband and children (Marc & Maya).
The lyrics “I don’t wanna go,” & “Save me” just makes your eyes water..& that’s an ARTIST. You make your audience FEEL what you’re going through, & that’s exactly what Minnie did.
Her final studio album during her lifetime is such a strong LP full of songs that show how strong her vocals were. Every song is an immaculate affair. “Minnie” showcases how our songstress is in her own lane. NO ONE can ever compare.
Love Lives Forever (1980):
Favorites: I’m In Love Again, Here We Go, Strange Affair, The Song Of Love (La-La-La,) You Take My Breath Away, Island in the Sun, Give Me Time.
Love Lives Forever is a tribute to our Queen! Using recorded tracks from “Minnie” studio sessions, & re-recording backing tracks took place in early 1980.
The album had contributions from stars like Peabo Bryson, Roberta Flack, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, George Benson & Patrice Rushen. It was a final opportunity to appreciate the greatness that is Minnie Julia Riperton-Rudolph! 🙌🏾
Minnie Riperton was one of a kind. Being an inspiration to Mariah Carey, Chanté Moore, Shanice & Teena Marie, Minnie was everything an artist SHOULD be!
Minnie’s legacy lives in through her children Marc & Maya, who became a music engineer..& an actress/comedian respectively. Maya Rudolph has even channeled her mother by doing the same pose from the Perfect Angel album cover! Talk about a tribute!
Minnie is a legend and will ALWAYS get her flowers! Enough said. -MJ 👏🏾🙌🏾🌸🌼🌻🌹🌷