"Skin Tight" is the fifth studio album by the Ohio Players and the first released through the Mercury label. "Skin Tight" signified a turning point in the group's career towards a more jazzy and polished funk sound. The album began the Players' dominant platinum selling period, and would bring them a much bigger audience. In fact, this release would outsell all of their previous LPs combined. The band produced and recorded the album in Chicago, with Barry Mraz as recording engineer. The final mix was mastered by Lee Hulko.
Upon the release of this album, the Ohio Players were at the pinnacle of their long music careers, which date back to the late '50s. This album produced the number one Billboard R&B single "Who'd She Coo." The rhythm arrangement and jazzy horn arrangement are complemented by a titillating guitar, colorful vocals, and a suggestive lyric.
In the early 1980s, hardcore fans of would have loved to see the funksters come out with a truly great album and return to the top of the charts. But that didn't happen - there wouldn't be another , and it was obvious that the band was past their prime. The second of two little-known albums that recorded for in 1981, was a slight improvement over its forgettable predecessor , but it's disappointing nonetheless. Thist LP was produced by , a talented vocalist/songwriter/producer, to be sure, but is hardly his finest hour and isn't among ' more memorable releases.
Creatively, commercially, and conceptually, Pain was a major step forward for the Ohio Players. This 1971 album was quite a departure from their previous work – in the late-'60s, the Midwesterners' forte had been raw, hard-edged Southern-style soul along the lines of Sam & Dave, Rufus Thomas, and Wilson Pickett. But with Pain, they became a lot more experimental and unveiled an interesting, distinctive brand of funk that incorporated elements of jazz and blues as well as rock. The jazz influence is especially strong on "Never Had a Dream," "Singing in the Morning," and the hit title song, while "The Reds" is a progressive blues number that draws on jazz as well as psychedelic rock.
In 1988, the Ohio Players attempted a comeback with Back, their first album in seven years. Though the influential band hadn't had a major hit in over a decade, their classic funk and soul recordings of the 1970s were continuing to have an impact on black music – anyone who was into hip-hop in 1988 couldn't help being bombarded with samples of "Love Rollercoaster," "Fire," and "Skin Tight." So the Players tried to beat the younger artists at their own game by going for a more high-tech production style, eliminating horns and incorporating elements of hip-hop and urban contemporary.