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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Stars: Stars Anthem (Promo VLS) (Dark & Lovely Entertainment, 199x)

More obscure urban crossover - similar to Destiny's Child - from the turn of the millennium and shared once again by my regular contributor Stuaaart. Featuring the typical themes of empowerment and success through adversity, I know nothing about it but am assuming it is either a female group or duo.

Possibly unreleased although I don't know for certain.


Vocal Version 3:46
TV Version 3:43
Instrumental 3:40

Repeats same tracks on Side B


Monday, March 27, 2017

Unique: Brand New (Promo EP) (SoundMind Records, 2004) + 2

From Stuaaart's collection, a further R&B/Rap duo from the mid 2000s that you probably haven't heard of before and based out of Weston, Florida. Synonymous with music from this era, their stuff is mainly Scott Storch-esque hip hop with the exception of the title track which samples "You Make Me Feel Brand New" by The Stylistics. Mostly rap but a further release "Makes Me Dance" (which samples Debbie Debb's 1983 hit "When I Hear Music") features all vocals. Possibly a rapper/singer

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Legal Tender: A Dream/Nobody (CDM) (Lo Key Records, 199x)

A further obscure quartet from the 90s who never went beyond this one release. There is no title on the front but the main tracks are A Dream (a DeBarge cover from 1983) and the funky, smooth original Nobody which may have been released along with it as a double-A side (as from the quite old music video that can be found on You Tube.) From Queens, NY, their harmonies are very similar to Xscape's and the lead singer's voice bears more than a passing resemblance to their own lead singer LaTocha Scott's. No date of release but a review of the former song in Billboard Magazine possibly puts it at around February, 1997. Unfortunately - as with a lot of these really obscure 90s groups - they seemed to be the only R&B act on their mostly all-rap label.

****No widely circulated mp3s from unknown sources; only original purchases on my blog****

A Dream (Radio Mix) 3:45
A Dream (Instrumental) 3:48
A Dream (Drum Drop) 3:54
A Dream (Acapella) 3:22
Nobody (Radio Mix) 4:19
Nobody (Instrumental) 4:19
Nobody (Bass Mix) 4:18

Ablaize: Catch On Fire (Your Move Music, 2001)

Contemporary R&B and gospel from Little Rock natives Ablaize who were definitely up there with Trin-i-tee 5:7, Ramiyah and Out Of Eden when it came to blending powerful worship songs with hot urban flavors. Coming from somebody who is not really all that fond of gospel, I quite enjoyed their work which - from the DC-esque "independent women" anthem Ain't Gonna Be That Way to the souped-up Church favorite Catch On Fire to the soulful harmonies of Can't Hold My Peace - is mostly very radio friendly.

Catch On Fire 4:26
What Is This 4:35
Can't Hold My Peace 4:40
Ain't Gonna Be That Way 4:57
King Of Glory 4:59
Special Love 5:08
Made 2 Love U 4:50
Everything Belongs To Him 4:04
Take This Pain 5:54
Glory 4:26
Spend Some Time 5:05
Thou Shall Be Saved 4:28
The Worship Song 8:28


Monday, March 20, 2017

Floetry: Floetic Demos (2x Promo CDr) (Universal Publishing Group, 200x)

From London, a further new group (duo) to emerge in the early 2000s that came with the others. Like fellow neo-soul duo Aaries, they weren't really a replacement for Destiny's Child but did enjoy some degree of success between 2002-2005. They were helped in part by DJ Jazzy Jeff and his Touch Of Jazz Productions who previously helped bring much unsigned talent (specifically out of Philly) to prominence. Like his previous protegee Jill Scott, their music was primarily neo soul with spoken word, jazz and hip hop elements. They were signed to DreamWorks Records until it merged into

Sunday, March 19, 2017

B.E. Loved: So Real (CDM) (MoFaith Music, 2007)

A further obscurity from the mid 2000s era which I know nothing about but from Fort Lauderdale, FL as per the record company. Vocally similar to CeCe Peniston, the original track is funky soul-gospel but it comes backed with a more upbeat remix which is more in line with the mid 2000s electronic R&B sound.

Many thanks again to Stuaaart to the contribution.

So Real [LP Version] 5:13
So Real [Dexta's Lab Remix] 4:48
So Real [Accapella] 4:37

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Elicea: I Shall Survive (CDM) (Binggae Production, 2000)

From Kingston, Jamaica, a further obscure artist that I cannot find a scrap of information on but the label Binggae Production Limited appears to have been strictly a reggae label with a (very) limited back catalog of mainly 7" records (a popular format in Jamaica, even in the early 2000s and especially for DJ mashups.) The above song is primarily pop-reggaeton with a slight urban edge. Though it doesn't technically fall into the R&B category, she has deep, soulful vocals and cites Whitney Houston, Kelly Price and Yolanda Adams as main influences.

According to the inlay, she recorded three other songs for the label Bahamien Boy, Do-Wee and Blue Moon (adapted.)

Many thanks again to Stuaaart for the contribution. 

Radio Mix 3:38
Original Mix 3:44
Tracks Mix 3:43
Instrumental 3:33

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Eddie Robinson: Love, Life And Heartache (DiamondLife Records, 2000)

Not be confused with fellow Michigan (Detroit) soul & blues singer Eddie (Clay) Robinson, more Great Lakes R&B from a Lansing guy whose luscious, rich baritone echos that of Luther Vandross but whose music has a strictly contemporary feel. His only album and, as far as I know, his only release to date, it is mainly a  mixture of romantic slow jams and nu-school contemporary R&B numbers with smooth, velvety harmonies. Standout tracks include the G-Funk-inspired It's On and Will You, which is a masterpiece of quiet storm. Definitely a welcome addition to my ever-growing library of male artists and further proof that Michigan (like Chicago, IL) was - and probably still is - one of the top places to go to for quality underground R&B music.

Intro 3:03
It's On 3:35
You Can't Come Back 3:45
Interlude (Love, Life And Heartache) 0:42
Will You 4:39
Be Mine 4:16
You're My Everything 3:42
Do You Wanna Play 4:31
You're My Latest Greatest Inspiration 3:57
Love Life And Heartache 6:07
Can't Wait To See You 5:31

Monday, March 13, 2017

4D People: Got It Going On/We Are For The People/Peace~B~Still (Love Hit Music, 1996-1998)

This West Indies (Barbadian) sextuplet was active between 1996-1998. They first began as IV Play in 1996 before changing their name to 4D People which they kept up until they split. At the height of their fame in the 90s, they were one of Barbados' leading bands

Veronica Lynn: Diamond In The Rough (Promo Cassette) (RCA, 1994)

Yet another earlier failure from the RCA Records brand and shelved after one single Make Up Your Mind in 1995. Possessing a soulful, jazzy soprano, she was brought to the label's attention by her former classmate, East Coast rapper PMD, but sadly it was not to be; she possibly fell victim to 90s roster cuts although I don't know for doubly certain. There is little information on her aside from what she has written herself on her You Tube channel but she formally worked the Showtime At The Apollo circuit, winning their amateur competition twice in 1988. Her album featured production by a ton of 90s soul and R&B heavyweights not limited to Mark Morales, Corey Rooney and Roger Troutman (formally one half of Zap & Roger.) Unfortunately it remained in analog only for those lucky enough to find it.

To my knowledge, this album was only ever issued on promo cassette. Please disregard the erroneous entry on Discogs for a CD that does not exist. Once again, I own an original hard copy of this release and not sketchy mp3s from mystery sources. Being the hardcore collectors that we are, Stuart and I always strive to buy originals if we can.

Groove With Me 3:53
Make Up Your Mind 5:37
Open Your Heart 3:52
Bring It On Home 6:20
Harvest For The World (Prelude) 2:19*
Harvest For The World 4:01
If I Know 3:25
Best Time Of Our Lives 3:38
Spend My Whole Life 4:22
Diamond In The Rough 3:14
Found My Way 4:25
When It's Good 6:14

*Tacked on to the beginning of track 5; unlisted on cover and tape


Sunday, March 12, 2017

Simply Shakita: S/T (Jammin' G Records, 1995)

Obscure release from R.Kelly backing singer Shakita (Collins) and seemingly released on cassette format only in 1995. Back then, she was on the same Chicago label and produced by the same folks as this group here and her music is along the same smooth lines with great vocals and seamless production. She released one single Round-N-Round which was a minor local hit and lead to a wider distribution deal with CA indie label Raging Bull Records. Sadly though I don't think that her repertoire with them ever went beyond one promo 12" and nowadays, she works as a backing vocalist for one of Chi-Town's biggest exports R. Kelly, most notably on his 2015 album The Buffet.

Mystery mp3s of this release are already in the possession of several other so-called collectors but once again I would like to point out that my friend Stuaaart owns an original copy. Props once again to him for sending me a HQ copy.

Call My Name 5:00
Just A Touch 4:35
Love Me Only 5:11
Believe In Yourself 4:11
Can This Be Real 5:01
Love Caravan 5:02
Walk On 4:07
Who's Next 5:33
Round-N-Round 5:33
Just A Touch [Remix] 5:16

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Arika Kimble: I Thought It Was Over (EP) (Out The Hat Records, 1997)

Ultra rare EP from Arika Kimble, who - after starting out as an underground artist on the Michigan R&B circuit - later went on to win MP3.com's contest for Best New Urban artist and opened for TLC during the second leg of their Fanmail Tour. She started out signed to Muskegon label Out The Hat Records but later went on to sign with a different label Ebony Records in 1999. Sadly I don't think any work from this era exists aside from My Kind Of Guy, which was later released on split 12" via London hip hop label Stonegroove Recordings. It seems that the other artist featured on the 12"

Charli: Groupee (CDS) (Self-Released, 2006)

From Atlanta, GA, a further independent artist that sadly never went beyond a few - very local - singles.  According to information found online, she released four others but no further information can be found on them anywhere and nowhere does it mention the above release which is a smooth, sexy slow jam that wouldn't have sounded out of place on an early Beyoncé, Ciara or Ashanti CD. Vocally very similar to Ashanti, she cites Micheal Jackson, No Doubt, Madonna, Prince , En Vogue and Janet Jackson as main influences.

Many thanks once again to Stuaaart

Groupee 3:23
Groupee [Instrumental] 3:19



Additional info: https://www.sonicbids.com/band/charli/