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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Jus' Plezzure: I Lost This Guy (EP) (One Stop Records, 2001)

Another VERY obscure R&B trio, this time out of California in the early 2000s and distributed by Big Whale Distribution (Rome's To Infinity (Thank You.) They later released a full-length album titled Life. Love.Experiences but as of this time of writing, there are no copies of it for sale anywhere.The type of music is smooth R&B mixed with some jazz-funk influences. Not bad but sadly the sound quality of this particular EP isn't that great. For whatever reason whoever was responsible for mixing it neglected to mix it down to a stereo output.

I Lost This Guy 5:02
Shake And Break 4:08
When I Say I Love You 4:17

Lil' Mo: Based On A True Story (Advance) (EastWest, 1999)

The second unreleased version of Mo's debut album, this time featuring the much sought-after unused Missy Elliott collaborations Starstruck and Club 2G. While the first promo I posted appeared to be a professionally made bootleg this one is an authentic Elektra promo with a catalog# of 2-623794-P. For some reason, the back cover uses the same catalog# (2A-62374) from a later promo from 2001; however both are different (the later one has the same track-list as the released product and includes no unreleased

Lil' Mo: Based On A True Story (Advance) (1999)

Lil' Mo's debut album was pushed back at least twice before it finally saw the light of day in 2001. Originally intended to be released in 1999, it was fraught with delays whilst the record label, Elektra Records, decided on Mo's image and sound. Before they had even started, they had already decided to leave off the excellent "5 Minutes" (with Missy Elliott) as it had supposedly underperformed in the charts. In between the release of that and another song soon to be ejected "Ta Da", Mo released the radio-play only single "If You Wanna Dance" which would also eventually find its way into the recycling bin . This led to delays on her debut album

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Lyric: Advance Music (Promo CDr) (J Records, 2002)

Along with Isyss, LovHer and Her Sanity, Lyric was yet another female R&B group that emerged in the early 2000s. They were the first female group to be signed to Clive Davis' J Records imprint of RCA Records in 2002 but after three singles Young & Sexy, Episode and Hot & Tipsy (all restricted to 12" vinyl only and only one really widely available to boot), their album was shelved and they disappeared from the J Records roster completely. A similar fate was to befall two others newly signed to the label back then Joi Campbell

Canela: S/T (Advance CD) (Dreamworks, 2001)

Another 'shelved' album, this time from Jennifer Lopez' former backing singer Canela Cox. Discovered by Rodney Jerkins while performing at one of Lopez' concerts, Cox was brought to the attention of Dreamworks Records and immediately signed to the label in 2001. After the failure of her first two singles, Sponsor (I Need I Need) and the Jerkins-produced Everything, Cox' debut album was pushed back until it fell victim to re-shuffling upon Universal Records acquisition of Dreamworks in 2001. It's a shame as it is as good, if not better, than the stuff her former colleague Lopez was putting out at the time. Mainly a mixture of uptempo urban-pop numbers in the style of My Love Don't Cost A Thing and soft, melodic Janet Jackson type balladeering, it is a solid first effort. Mostly produced by Jerkins and his brother Freddie who mostly stick to their usual formula aside from on the futuristic, fast-slow Outta Here which sounds like it was inspired in part by Janet's What About from her Velvet Rope CD.

Featuring DJ Clue & Duro on the remix. This would begin their five year stretch of contributing top quality remixes to every popular song out at the time. 

Everything 4:13
Sponsor (I Need I Need I Need) 2:45
Love,Lust,Crime 4:39
Friend Of Mine 4:25
I Can't Let Go 4:47
Outta Here 5:47
Play Your Games 3:31
It Feels Just Right 4:39
One Day 4:33
Trust Me 4:17
Sponsor (I Need I Need I Need) Remix featuring Fabolous* 4:27

*uncredited

Tina Novak: Been Around The World [JP Retail] (BMG, Japan, 2002)

Timbaland had Kiley Dean, P.Diddy had Dream...while it was all the rage among top hip hop producers in the early 2000s to have a token pop act, Kevin 'She'kspere' Briggs - the man behind infectious urban-crossover anthems such as DC's Bug-A-Boo and TLC's No Scrubs - simply failed to impress anyone with this chick. Shelved in the U.S. after only one single, she was the first (and last) act signed to his Spere Records label between 2001-2002. Her voice bared more than a nod to his former frequent collaborator Kandi Burruss but unfortunately she did not have the same charisma. Styled to appeal to fans of Jennifer Lopez, she somehow ended up sounding more like Mandy Moore. I don't know who Briggs' inspiration was but without his partnership with Kandi Burruss it seems he simply ran out of momentum. Mostly bland, forgettable pop with a slight R&B edge, I can't blame Reid for sleeping on this album.  

Been Around The World 4:10
Shoulda Coulda Woulda 3:33
Uh Oh 3:15
Summertime 4:16
Magic 3:33
Salacious 3:33
Still 4:05
Not With Me 3:20
That's What I'm Talkin' About 3:53
Can't Deal Without Your Love 2:36
Can't Get Enough 3:26
Change 4:05
Let's Go 3:53
Been Around The World (Remix) 3:54

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Jené: Jené's Reign (Promo CDr) (Motown Records, 2002)

Further unreleased music from Louisiana native Jené who was briefly signed to Motown Records in the early 2000s but disappeared after only two singles (Get Into Something & Phenomenal Woman (Jenē's Reign.) A very talented vocalist, there is very little information on her but she allegedly fell victim to reality trash TV scandal. Her then-forthcoming debut LP was shelved and as far as I am aware, it wasn't even picked up for distribution in Europe or Japan. A front cover does exist, along with a supposed catalog #, but I have thus far been unable to find it for sale anywhere.With attitude-oozing R&B-pop songs and sweeping diva-esque ballads, it fits nicely between P!nk's 1999 debut and Kiley Dean's unreleased 2003 effort as the best blue-eyed contemporary R&B had to offer back then. Such a shame that a lot of it was slept on in favor of poppier rubbish by Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera...

Featuring production from Full Force, Christopher "Deep" Henderson, Teddy Bishop & Allen "Allstar" Gordon..

Trophy Girl 2:55
All Night Flight Pt. 1 1:07
Get Into Something 3:48
Phenomenal Woman (Jenes Reign) ft. Loon 4:36
Butterfly 4:06
Sometimes It Hurts 4:07
I Cant Deny It 4:01
Stop The Cheatin 3:06
Dont Sop 3:45
Hurts So Bad 3:42
Throw Your Tears Away 5:01
All Night Flight Pt. 2 1:09
We Dance 3:39
What I Told You 3:49
If Only You Believe 3:41

Track 1 features a sample from the Eurythmics song 1983 song Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)
Track 4 features a sample from Sylvia Striplin's 1980 song You Can't Take That Away. 

La' Trese: S/T (Abdul 215 Entertainment, 2000)

From Philly, yet another early 2000s urban-crossover artist and the daughter of 80s funk guitarist Tony Jones. Mainly an upbeat record with DC-esque R&B-pop songs mixed with a little neo soul. I don't know if it spawned any singles but it is thus far her only full-length release...

(Intro) Creep Alert 0:58
Creepin 4:07
You Just Don't Know 2:56
Love Me Like You 2:56
(Midtro) X 0:15
Can She 3:111
Jonesin 3:52
Never Say Never 4:28
Letters In My Box 4:38
Always On My Mind 3:53
Let Them Know 2:54
U 4:20
My Love 4:35
(Outro) Mail 1:04

1Vocal arrangements by fellow Philly singer Monique Moseé

Monique Moseé: A Girl Like Me (KNR Entertainment, 2000)

A very short but sweet indie R&B album from Philly-based singer Monique Moseé. A blend of Destiny's Child-esque arrangements, Latin and hip hop vibes with warm, jazzy vocals, it is her one and only album and was released in 2000. Quite contemporary, especially tracks 2 & 3 which sound like they could be lifted from any popular R&B album during the early 2000s but sadly when you exclude all the interludes and the 2 remixes it isn't really any more than six tracks in length... The artist gives props to many popular artists for inspiring her, notably Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, Whitney Houston, Kelly Price, Faith Evans and Monica Arnold.

Destiny (Intro) 0:51
Girl Like Me 3:01
I'm The One 3:15
I'm The One (Interlude) 0:48
Toda A La Noche (All Night Long) 3:33
Give It To You 4:22
S.O.S. (Interlude) 0:36
S.O.S. 3:41
''YOU'' 4:47
Girl Like Me featuring ROC-MONEE 3:11
Toda A La Noche (All Night Long) featuring ''Nitty Gritty" 3:33
Thank You (Outro) 1:56
Hidden Track: Be Careful Where You Hang (Interlude) 3:08

Friday, September 25, 2015

GND: It's About Timing (MoSound Records, 2003)

An acronym for "Girls Next Door", another obscure indie R&B trio, this time out of Cleveland, OH. Sadly I don't know anything about them but I believe the label MoSound Records was responsible for a handful of other artists during the early 2000s including former 3rd Avenue singer Moe-P and rap artist Big Cee. The style of music is smooth urban-contemporary mixed with a little blues and funk. Quite enjoyable but unfortunately the producers didn't do a very good job of mixing it; many of the songs are different volumes and there are numerous glitches (although not overpowering) in the audio...

Crazy 4:13
Shame 3:23
Kiss & Tell 4:01
I Don't Think I Care 3:47
Trippin 5:12
Runnin Away 3:28 (Sly & The Family Stone cover)
Feelin You 4:06
The One 3:20
Kiss & Tell (T.V. Mix) 4:00
Shame (Instrumental) 3:21

Thursday, September 24, 2015

N.I.O.T: It Ain't That Hard (CDM) (I Am Entertianment, 199x)

One and only release from Milwaukee trio N.I.O.T and released locally at some point  in the late 90s, possibly 1998 or 1999. No information about them but the original version features Texas rapper Awol (formally of the Houston group Blac Monks.) A great funk-influenced track but I am guilty of preferring the remix version, which is more in line with late 90s/early 2000s pop-R&B.

It Ain't That Hard (featuring Awol & Tallem) 4:46
It Ain't That Hard (Remix) (featuring Demise) 4:29
It Ain't That Hard (Instrumental) 4:25*

*hidden/unlisted track

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Treyce: All In My Game (Digitally Remastered) (Essential Media Group, 2011)

This East Coast  R&B trio were originally active in 2000 when they scored an underground hit with their one and only single All In My Game. I don't know if they ever released a full-length album back then but it has since been picked up for distribution by Essential Media Group, a label known for its CD-R re-releases of obscure classic stuff. Early 2000s, they are pretty much as you would expect a group from this era to sound with typical themes of female empowerment over sped-up hip hop beats and dark synth arrangements. As good, if not better, than similar albums by Blaque, Destiny's Child and others and it is a shame it took over ten years to release it. Available to download at your favorite mp3 store or if your a fan of the more conventional means of having your music on a disc, you can buy the CD too.

Also includes 4 bonus mixes of All In My Game taken from the original CD single, which is just as well considering that copies of this now go for $50 and up...

All In My Game 3:57
What Cha Gonna Do Without My Love 3:33
Come Into My Love 4:15
Ghetto Superstar 3:14
I Can't Get You Off My Mind 4:41
Tender Love 3:56
No Doubt 3:02
Wonder Why You Want To Break It Up 3:58
If She's Just Your Friend 2:58
Heaven Must Have Sent You 4:25
I Need A Baller 3:22
All In My Game (Radio Mix) 3:55
All In My Game (Radio Mix# 2) 3:57
All In My Game (Club Mix) 4:54
All In My Game (Thug Mix) 4:04

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Cittin Pretty: Girl Thang (CDM) (Nuendo Music Group, 2003)

A last minute addition to my indie R&B groups section...a female trio based out of Riverhead, NY in 2003. Not really comparable to any groups that I know of but their music is a mixture of pop, soul, rap and funk. Sadly there isn't any information on them but the record label Nuendo Music Group became Red Skye Records in 2006.

I Wanna Get Wit You 4:06
Come 2:59
I Wanna Get Wit You (Remix) 4:14

Monday, September 21, 2015

Jane3: Screensaver (Promo CDM) (Zomba, 2008)

Last and final venture from former music mongol Chris Stokes and released in 2008. I don't know if the group was part of his T.U.G. Entertainment roster or not but both he and his sister Jaunita Stokes served as the executive producers along with Marques Houston and T-Pain. According to a Universal Music Publishing article from back in the day, their original name was to be Jane Doe. It is as you would expect from T-Pain: electronic music with auto tuned vocals. Sadly it is also as you would expect from Stokes. Their career never progressed beyond this one single... 

Main 3:23
Instrumental 3:23
A Cappella 3:15
Callout Hook 0:30

Dame Four: How We Roll (Unreleased) (2005)

I usually don't bother with anything that I don't own a physical copy of but there are a few things that I will make an exception for providing that it was intended to be part of a legitimate album and not just a bunch of loose tracks. While many unreleased albums can be found as advances or even masters, a lot of others never even made physical format at at all. Continuing on with my current kick for early 2000s female R&B groups and duos, we begin this limited - and I mean very limited - section with Mila J's former group Dame Four or Dame for short. Managed by Chris Stokes and signed to his T.U.G. Entertainment roster in the mid

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Narae: Truly Yours (Han Music Group, 2002)

Further indie R&B from another little-known artist, this time based out of CA in the early 2000s. She released one single Truly Yours which made it to number 7 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip Hop Singles Sales chart but her album was as underground as they come. Mostly smooth R&B with soft Aaliyah-type vocals but there are a handful of uptempo tracks in the vein of DC, Brandy, Monica and other popular teenage figures at the time...

~Track 3 includes an interpolation of the Bee Gees' 1977 song How Deep Is Your Love. 

Truly Yours 3:45
You're The Reason Why 3:46
What Kind Of Love 2:59
I Wanna Be With You 3:57
No Where To Run 4:34
Let Me Know (Show Me) 3:52
Not That Kind 4:11
Can't Resist (Tonite's The Nite) 4:03
Five And Five 3:56
Find A Way 5:01
Thought I Was Your Baby 4:12
Thank - You (Begins With You) 3:37

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Premiere: Somethin' About You (Remix) (VLS) (Alien Records, 1997)

Scarce 12" by Pinay R&B/G-Funk trio Premiere featuring remixes of their one and only single Somethin' About You and two rare B-side tracks, the Blackstreet cover No Diggity and The Great White Hype soundtrack cut We Got It.  The latter track can also be found on the CD single but No Diggity is exclusive to this vinyl only. They later went on to release an album which had minor success in the underground R&B scene and featured production from Foster & McElroy (who were formerly the main producers on En Vogue's Funky Divas album.) The trio later evolved into the short-lived Fo'Real Entertainment trio Honey Luv.

Somethin' About You (Mr Grooves Mix) 3:49
Somethin' About You (Ill Na Na Mix) 3:47
Somethin' About You (A Cappella) 3:29
No Diggity (Not Included On LP) 4:12
We Got It (Not Included On LP) 3:48
Somethin' About You (Instrumental) 3:21

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Zakiya: 7 Track Album Sampler (Promo CDr) (Seven Universal, 1999)

Touted as the next Brandy, Zakiya was signed to the A&M distributed DV8 Records in the mid-90s and released two singles (Love Like Mine & My Love Won't Fade Away) and an album. She had minimal success and a follow-up project was eventually shelved by the label after only one single. Sadly only this 7-track sampler (which was only ever pressed in the UK) and a further 12" featuring one other song are in existence. The style is predominantly smooth R&B with G-Funk and even some disco influences. Slightly out-dated when compared to the new style of R&B that was emerging in the late 90s but still a lost gem nevertheless...

One More Time 3:47
Easy Lovin' You 4:12
Miss Me (You're Really Gonna) 4:42
Meditate 5:51
Baby (Don't Call Me) 5:05
Lovely 5:43
Get Wit You 3:58

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Ladi Lyke: Goonz (EP) (Grown Man Music, 2004)

Sole release from Chicago duo Ladi Lyke, whose music - along with Fe'Male's - sounded like it could be lifted off any popular album during the early 2000s. Sadly despite peaking at number 35 on the Billboard chart and being crowned "Best New Entertainers" at the Chicago Music Awards in 2005, they have not done anything else since...

Goonz 3:32
Relaxation 3:44
Love Of My Life 3:19

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Phajja: Meeting In The Ladies Room (Promo CDr) (Warner Bros, 1999)

When female vocal groups blew up in the late 90s, everybody seemed to just forget about this one. Their first album Seize The Moment had some degree of success in 1997 and was mostly known for its single So Long (Well Well Well.) While their first set had been pretty much ballad-heavy, they had been working on a follow-up that would've blown anything by Destiny's Child and even TLC out of the water. Sadly the group didn't have much luck with labels. Earlier on in their career deals with both Capitol Records and Arista Records

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

D'Mello: Best Love Story (Promo CDr) (Reprise Records, 2003)

Along with Crystal Sierra, here is another standout R&B singer from the early 2000s who fell through the cracks of the music industry. Originally from Trinidad, D'Mello got her start penning songs for the likes of 3LW and Kelly Rowland before finally scoring her own contract with Warner Bros.' Reprise Records in 2002. A skilled vocalist, she was highly praised by the label but for some reason neither of her two singles (Best Love Story featuring Mobb Deep and Never Miss A Good Thing) ever saw a proper commercial