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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Nicci Gilbert: Grown Folks Music (Advance) (MCA, 2002)

Despite what a few people on a certain music database website choose to believe, here is another full-length project that was shelved during this early 2000s. Originally one of the founding members of the R&B group Brownstone in the mid 90s, Gilbert was to follow in the footsteps of Charmayne Maxwell and Kina Cosper by going solo in 2002. A capable songwriter, initially she wrote the content that would become her debut for other artists but MCA Records offered her a deal to record it herself and so she did. Well sort of. After one

Sunday, December 27, 2015

5th Avenue: 6-Track Sampler (Promo CDr) (1999)

Further unreleased music from former Arista Records artist Blu Cantrell, this time featuring her former group 5th Avenue... Prior to her solo career in the early 2000s, not many people know that she was actually part of an all-female singing group which was a combined venture between Teddy Riley and his former group Blackstreet. I don't know how many members it had in its lineup but it appears they never made it past the

Friday, December 25, 2015

Sista: 4 All Da Sistas Around Da World (Swing Mob/Elektra, 1994)

Along with Kiley Dean's album, here is yet another full-length project from Timbaland that went unreleased back in the day. Mostly produced in conjunction with Jodeci's Donald DeGrate, this album is one of his earliest works and pretty much recorded at a time before he became known to the world as "Timbaland." Also starting out in her career was the then-unknown Melissa Elliott who was then going by the name "Misdemenor."

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

LIFE: Hooked (CDM) (Jammin' G Records, 1997)

Second of two releases from sexy Chicago quartet LIFE (Ladies In Full Effect) and again taken from their debut Tha Lick which unfortunately, as far as I can tell, never saw the light of day. As with their previous single Freaky Fantasy, Hooked is smooth, feel-good 90s R&B at its best. Both being released in 1997, I don't know which came first but I am inclined to think that maybe this one did seeing as it did not have a major distributor...

Radio Edit 4:14
Rap Version 4:14
Rap Bit's 4:14
Instrumental 4:12

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Inr-Sense: Decisions...(EP) (Knight & Daye Records, 1998)

Another old skool duo from the late 90s, this time hailing from Clinton, Maryland. Mostly influenced by New Jack Swing, their music is very reminiscent of the early 90s. Like Zephyra, it seems that it was recorded some time before it was actually released. Not much is known about them or the people involved but tracks 2 and 5 use samples from Groove Me and Goodbye Love by 80s R&B group Guy.

Lockdown 0:56
Took So Long 4:28
Decisions 1:39
Rewind 4:23
Snow 4:44

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Zephyra: The Calm Before The Storm (EP) (Self-Released, 1999)

Continuing on with the old skool, here is a further self-released EP from the late 90s. The trio, composed of all sisters, won first place on the TV talent show Showtime At The Apollo and later went on to open for Monica and Brandy on their East Coast tours. Despite being released at a time when R&B music was beginning to take on a drastically different direction, the sound of this EP is rooted firmly in the old skool. Let Me Find Out is pure New Jack Swing while the remainder of the disc is smooth 90s R&B at its best. Sadly this is the only thing that they ever did but the lead singer Elan Noelle remains active in the music biz.

I Want You    4:06
Let Me Find Out [Vocal]    4:56
Show Me    4:40
Maybe The Next Time    4:55
Let Me Find Out [A Cappella]    4:39

Cachét: Come Back To Me/Been Watchin' U (EP) (Destiny Records, 1996)

A further indie R&B group from the American south that sadly doesn't seem to exist beyond this one EP. Despite my best efforts, I can't find a scrap of information on them but the record label Destiny Records was based out of Houston TX and mainly dealt in gangsta rap. Classic old skool $hit before the era of Destiny's Child, Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins and paint-by-numbers R&B music. The only thing missing is an album...

Come Back to Me 4:21
In Or Out 5:17
Been Watchin' U 4:32
Come Back to Me (Instrumental) 4:27
In Or Out (Instrumental) 5:23

Friday, December 18, 2015

Ms Angela: Anything For You (EP) (Relentless Records, 1998)

Another quite obscure R&B artist from St. Louis, MO. Sadly I don't know anything about her but she appears to be produced by Bobby Crawford of the male vocal group Ol' Skool. Featuring 3 full tracks and 3 snippets of other songs, the sound is predominantly late 90s smooth R&B and with Bobby Crawford's velvety smooth backing vocals, the sound is very similar to Ol' Skool themselves. Sadly her full-length album is almost impossible to find.

Anything For You ft. Bobby Crawford 3:33
Anything For You ft. Rude Reese 3:56
Call Me 4:46
Whatever You Want [Snippet] 1:06
That Woman [Snippet] 1:24
All The Love [Snippet] 1:16

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Missing Pieces: First Lady's Of Lyrical Soul (Lyrical Soul Productions, 2006)

Another obscure trio, this time out of Tamarac, FL and a combination of modern soul and early 2000s throwback R&B. The group was put together by Charles Walker (a keyboardist and former member of early 2000s rhythm and blues band the Charles Walker Blues Band*) and modeled after legendary groups such as The Emotions and The Temptations rather than pop groups such as Destiny's Child and TLC. This appears to be the only thing that they ever did and was once available to purchase on CDBaby but has long since been discontinued. They no longer appear to be active though one of the members Christal has since gone solo and is carrying on the same concept with her own LP, which is available to purchase here.

~Thanks again to Nik from R&B-Music-You-Never-Knew for the heads up on this.

*Simply a guess and maybe not fact. 

Foolish Lover (Part 1) 5:10
We Cried 4:37
Missing Piece 4:12
Beauty Of A Woman 4:59
Ol' School (Bonus) 4:05
Dancing Shoes 4:24
Let Me In (Bonus) 3:59
It's Time 3:59
Just Your Girl 4:31
Why Did You 4:43
He's Just A Man 4:55
Bad Reputation 4:08
Joy (Bonus) 3:40
Step Dip Swing 5:09
Live Forever 3:54
Always Love You (Bonus) 4:01
All Man 4:13
Foolish Lover (Part 2) 5:18

Friday, December 11, 2015

A.S.K. ME: Girl Talk - Selections from their album MOVING EVERYBODY (Universal, 2000)

Along with Phajja's second album, here is yet another amazing project from a female trio that never saw the light of day in 2000. Hailing from Chicago IL, they originally started out writing songs for 90s R&B trio The Good Girls when they met Robert Clivilles of C+C Music Factory while working in an adjoining studio. Immediately they began working together and the trio provided backing vocals for most of the tracks on C+C's 1994 album Anything Goes! as well as on their self-titled album released the following year. I don't know if they

Thursday, December 10, 2015

KriStyle: S/T (Kristyle Enterprise, 2003)

Here is another stand-out release from an indie artist and combines the urban-crossover sound of the early 2000s with reggae and calypso-inspired music. Not quite as hard as D'Mello but the R&B songs sound like they could've been recorded by any popular artist back in the day, notably Monica, Brandy or even Mary J. Blige. Unfortunately I don't know anything about the artist but according to the liner notes, the project did spawn one single Gone. By coincidence there is also another hip hop/reggae fusion artist by the name of KriStyle and based out of Salem, OR but I don't think that they are one and the same person...

Working late (intro) 0:22
Say When 4:13
I'll Be Back (skit) 0:45
Always Been Mine 4:30
Take Your Name 3:44
Carribbean Connection 4:13
Midnight Love (Skit) 5:03
Alone 3:28
Always Talkin' Sh@! (skit) 0:49
Ladies Time 3:48
Feels So Good 3:27
Gone 4:23
The Fight (Skit) 0:42
Love Is 4:31
Exstacy 5:00
Why 3:24
Games 3:16

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Premiere: Always Be There (Promo VLS) (Alien Records, 1997)

Mega rare track from the 90s R&B trio which never appeared on their album. They were one of a few Pinay R&B acts during the mid 90s that had a strictly urban vibe as apposed to later ones such as One Vo1ce, Epic Voices and Immj who were influenced more by OPM and J-pop. Most of the group's debut album, thus far their one and only, was produced by Foster & McElroy of En Vogue fame. Many thanks once again to Tank of R&B Deluxe for contributing this bomb...

Always Be There (Radio Edit) 3:25
Always Be There (Instrumental) 3:25
Always Be There (A Cappella) 3:27
Always Be There (Extended Edit) 4:45
Just Do Me Right 5:45

Monday, December 7, 2015

LIFE: Freaky Fantasy (Remixes) (VLS) (Jammin' G Records, 1997)

Dope remixes of Chicago quartet LIFE's 1997 talk box bomb and kindly contributed by Tank of R&B Deluxe in France. I originally posted the cassette single here but didn't know that any remixes of the song had ever been made. Not appearing to be a promo, this 12' contains 3 different versions of the title track including the more uptempo 'Nevos Remix' and a further rap re-edit.Old skool but gold...

Freaky Fantasy (Radio Mix) 3:55
Freaky Fantasy (Fantasy Mix) 4:18
Freaky Fantasy (Nevos Remix) 4:24
Freaky Fantasy (Rap Remix) 4:56
Freaky Fantasy (Instrumental) 4:02

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Black Angel: X-Dat (Promo VLS) (Mack Dawg Records, 2000)

After posting the original 12" some months back, I am finally pleased to have the 3-track EP. The group - a female trio - was signed to NY indie hip hop label Mack Dawg Records in the early 2000s but unfortunately they never released an album and the above 12" EP is super rare to find. While the no-nonsense main track sounds like it was inspired in part by TLC, on the other tracks - particularly Down Like That - they sound more like old school SWV.

X-Dat 4:15
Down Like That 4:17
Jamie 4:19