Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite - Release and Promotion

Release and Promotion

After production for Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite was completed in 1995, the finished product was presented to Columbia Records in Spring of that same year. However, it was shelved for nearly a year, due to issues with Columbia's management, the label's extensive reorganization and record executives' doubts of the album's commercial potential. The marketplace dominance of hip hop soul at the time of its delay contrasted the monogamous themes and vintage style of Urban Hang Suite, which may have been interpreted as old-fashioned.

Columbia executives also feared that listeners would not comprehend Maxwell's romantic concept and image. Maxwell made matters worse by refusing to allow his picture to be placed on the album's front cover; instead he preferred to have the track listing and other pertinent information about the album in place of his photo. On the issue of the cover, Maxwell later stated that "I wanted people to have the facts: the title, the selections and the fact that you had to basically buy it. I wanted people to come to the music and not base any opinion on the image". The label reached a compromise and used a promotional shot of him as the back cover, taken by photographer Eric Johnson. The album's cover artwork features a picture of a pair of golden women's shoes on the floor of a hotel room, with the bar coding prominently displayed.

In the period before its release, Maxwell wrote and demoed songs for a subsequent studio album, and embarked on an African American college tour with Groove Theory and the Fugees. Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite was eventually released April 2, 1996 on Columbia Records.

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