Christynette

The UK's First Lady of Urban Soul.

Ne-Yo

Unreleased from 2001, Ne-Yo as "Shaffer".

Mya's Liberation

Mya's doomed fourth album.

Girl Power!

Unreleased R'n'B/UK Garage from 2001.

Local Virginia R'n'B on Demo Tape!

From collector's favorites to new unheard of heat, there is no shortage of great music to be found in Virginia.

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

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Freckles: Does It Really Matter (Advance CD) (JHR Music, 2002)

Unreleased project from smooth Chi-Town songstress Tanya White (AKA Freckles). She is mostly known for her song Dance With Me which made some minor waves on the music scene in 2002 but her debut CD Does It Really Matter was shortly shelved despite being as good, if not better, than similar stuff released at the time and featured production from Jazze Pha and recognition from fellow Chicago musician and mentor R.Kelly (you can definitely hear his influence on such tracks as Doesn't Really Matter and In My Room.) I don't know why it went unreleased but a failed venture by Universal to buy the independent label she was signed to may or may not have had something to do with it. There's not much information about her anywhere but she later went on to pen songs for Janet Jackson (Thinkin' 'Bout My Ex), Mya (Take A Picture) and many others. 

 Thank You    4:20
My Baby    3:48
Same Ol' Lines    3:29
Does It Really Matter    4:25
Turning Me On    3:19
Interlude    1:58
In My Room    3:53
Dance With Me    3:14
Beautiful Day    3:26
Passing Me By    3:06
You Will    3:37
Not Ready For Love    3:59
Dance With Me [Remix]    3:54

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

Monday, November 30, 2015

Tamira: Something For The Soul (Promo CDr) (Self-Released, 2006)

 I usually manage to find something about these very obscure R&B artists - even if it is just information I find on the CD itself - but unfortunately I may have drawn a complete blank with this one. Whoever the artist is, she does not have an online presence and aside from a very basic track-listing, there is no information to be found anywhere. Possibly a demonstration from a local artist but mainly mid-2000s R&B that sounds like it could've been lifted off any popular album back then - particularly by Mary J. Blige, Toni Braxton, Alicia Keys and others...

I'm Ready 3:33
Like I Do 3:53
I_H_Y_T 3:49
Someone Else 3:04
Am I Dreaming 4:04
Triflin' 2:14
Spend A Little Time 3:06
Lay Your Body Down 6:57

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Racquel: Check Me Out (Self-Released, 200x)

Yet more obscure indie R&B that I can find no information about, this time a CD-R demonstration from Michigan. Unfortunately the artist's MySpace account no longer appears to be active but her music is mainly a mixture of mid-2000s crunk R&B and some freestyle. Not a great vocalist sadly - especially on tracks 6 and 9 where she appears terribly off-key - but some of the slower tracks are quite nice and remind me slightly of Ashanti.

Very short unfortunately at just over 30 minutes long.

It Doesn't Matter 4:39
Ima Get Cha 4:06
Stress Relief 0:34
Cant Wait 4:57
Get U Hot 3:24
Trying To Trust You 3:28
Check Me Out 4:03
Get U Hot (Remix) 4:09
Trying To Trust You (Remix) 3:57

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Tiorah: Noonday Café (A-440 Productions, 1999)

Along with Aaries, here is another R&B group from the the turn of the millennium that used the neo soul format. Hailing from St. Louis Missouri, this unique trio crafted a modern soul masterpiece full of jazzy, soulful hip hop cuts and smooth, classy R&B joints. Sold entirely out of  the producer's car trunk, the buzz generated soon enabled them to open for many big names in the music biz, including Stevie Wonder and Boys II Men. Sadly they have since disbanded but the lead singer is now a host at St. Louis performance venue Cafe Soul.

Intro 1:04
Noonday Cafe 3:50
I'm On My Way 4:52
Burgundy and Honey 4:01
Got It Goin On 6:04
Why You Wanna 3:13
Friends To Lovers 3:30
Interlude 1:30
Should've Told Them About Me 4:58
Light Of The World 4:59
Closest I'll Get To Loving You 6:11
Keep On 5:16
Rush Remix (ft Ruckus) 8:56

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Miss Alizay: Dear Diary (UrbanLife Recordings Inc., 1998)

More obscure indie R&B from the windy city... The overall sound - mainly late 90s smooth R&B - is good though the artist and her producers sadly don't seem to exist anywhere. The web domain of the record label UrbanLife Recordings, Inc. now seems to be registered to an EDM label based out of London...

Jasmine (Intro) 0:49
Urban Love 3:48
Got Me Crazy 3:40
Chi Town Steppers Set 4:17
Paperboy 4:01
Games And Schemes 3:41
Gazin' Out 5:36
Parlay 4:45
So I'm Leaving 3:46
Never Miss (A Good Thing) 4:30
Crush 3:43
Dear Diary 5:04
Jamine (Outro) 1:00
Reminisce (Bonus Track) 3:38

Monday, November 23, 2015

Cáya: Fantasies Of You (MTL Records, 200x)

Along with Quanisha and Ebone, here is more exclusive indie R&B that you won't hear anywhere else and hails from Jackson, Mississippi. No date of release given but most of it very eclectic-sounding. A few tracks are bordering on trip hop, others very late 90s jazzy hip hop soul and on others it is more 70s throwback style from the early 2000s. Sadly there is no information about the artist but at least one copy of this album has been sold on Amazon in the past.

You & I (Trippin & Slippin) 4:42
The Reason Why 4:26
We Can Do 4:22
Fantasies Of You 4:18
Everytime 3:29
Lazy Dayz 3:45
I Just Wanna Dance 3:31
Give Love A Chance 4:04
Can't Let You Go 3:47
Memories Of Yesterday 3:56

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Ebone: Collage (Self-Released, 200x)

More indie R&B out of Maryland with Ebone Marlowe whose vocal stylings have been compared to those of Brandy. Mainly mid-2000s contemporary soul mixed with a little neo and a little electro, my good friend Nik over at R&B-Music-You-Didn't-Know-Existed picked it up in Baltimore this past spring. Despite being quite an obscure local-pressing, it is not the artist's first. There's no date of release but all information online points to 2006. Sadly her earlier two albums In The Beginning and I'm Ready are even more impossible to find but hopefully someone out there has them...

Intro 1:14
Norma Jean (feat. Joe Deluxe) 4:32
Singin 4 My Life 3:26
I Love Me More 4:42
Crazy 5:48
Soulful **** 2:06
Come Home (feat. Al Great) 4:40
Ooooh... 3:54
Shut It Down 4:43
Part Of The Game 3:26
Steal Away 4:46
When My Heart Can Beat No More 5:02

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Maxee: Sampler (Unreleased) (Mercury, 1999)

Cheyenne "Maxee" Maxwell was originally a founding member of 90s R&B group Brownstone along with Nichole "Nicci" Gilbert and Monica "Mimi" Doby. They were signed to Michael Jackson's label MJJ Records between 1995-1997 and were best known for their hit single If You Love Me which went platinum in 1995. By the end of the decade the group split and all three members (including new member Kina Cosper) decided to pursue solo careers. Unfortunately it was not without incident. Gilbert signed to MCA

Monday, November 16, 2015

Athena Cage: Moods (Promo CDr) (The Puffin Co., 200x)

First featured in my short-lived thrift store finds section, this amazing find by former Kut Klose vocalist Athena Cage was undoubtedly the highlight of my crate-digging. Pressed by The Puffin Co. in Washington DC, it is a very early MEGA RARE industry presentation to promote her as a solo artist. Running at just over 21 minutes long, it features a 17 minute biography and two further tracks 'Til You Come Back To Me and He Changed

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Athena Cage: The Art Of A Woman (Advance) (Pure Entertainment/Priority Records, 2001)

Further shelved music from Athena Cage who, along with Lavonn Battle and Tabitha Duncan, formed the R&B trio Kut Klose in the mid-90s. The trio, who were discovered and executive-produced by Keith Sweat, released three singles between 1994-1995 and were mostly known for appearing on Sweat's 1996 hit Twisted which made number 2 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart. Sadly their time on the music scene was

Friday, November 13, 2015

Ta-Gana: Un-mixed (Promo CDr) (200x)

Early CD-R demonstration of Ta-Gana's shelved debut featuring tracks and versions not present on the final Hollywood Records release. I don't exactly know the authenticity of it given that it says nowhere who it was made for and the disc is a silver Mitisu CD-R with printed text, but I analyzed the tracks and they are not from a lossy source. In short, the file system on the disc is CDDA and not from an MPEG (mp3) source. I am inclined to think that somebody cloned a DAT although I am not entirely sure. The different tracks included are the significantly more upbeat More, Anything and the Save The Last Dance soundtrack cut Dance Floor. All were removed in favor of slow jams and mid-tempos on the final version. Sadly the record company, in their infinite wisdom, decided that they wanted to keep her as a crooner instead. Also included is an alternate version of the track Give Me which on the final version was produced by Gregory Curtis. I don't know who produced the version here but it is slightly more uptempo and also includes an alternate vocal take.

More 4:16
Anything 3:46
Every Little Thing You Do 3:51
Something About You 5:13
There Is A Love 3:47
In The Name Of Love 4:07
Give Me 3:54
Don't You Trip 5:05
Pain 4:25
Dance Floor 4:35

Sunday, November 8, 2015

J.D. Superstar: Hot Hot (Self-Released, 2001)

Mega rare private release and kindly donated by one of my regular buyers from Germany. The album, which consists of 11 tracks, appears to be a self-pressed CD-R demonstration but despite the local producers who most likely had a hand in making it, it did not turn out half bad. Hard For The Money especially gives a slight nod to DC's Independent Women while Black Rain incorporates elements from Stand by Me by Ben E. King. A further track Hard For The Money (Remix) uses a sample from The O'Jay's 1973 song For The Love Of Money. Great production on these tracks - a mixture of DC & J-Lo-esque urban-pop, Latin-pop and some slow jams - and great vocals. Sadly the artist I know absolutely nothing about but if anybody has any further information please feel free to drop me a line.

Hard for the money (Radio edit) 2:55
Black Rain 3:42
Hot Hot 3:01
Hard for the money (Remix) 3:22
Psycho 4:07
Where 3:53
I don't want your man 3:01
Sugar Daddy 3:21
I'm down 2:51
America 2:18
FBI 2:33

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Groove Theory: The Answer (Sampler CD) (Columbia Records, 2000)

Originally comprised of producer and ex-Mantronix member Bryce Wilson and singer-songwriter Amel Larrieux, Groove Theory originally started out in the mid 90s. Their music sparked the beginning of the neo and hip hop soul movements and they are probably best known for their debut single Tell Me which reached the top 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B charts in 1995. At the end of the millennium, Larrieux left to pursue a solo career and was replaced by Makeda Davis. Having previously been with Epic Records, the new duo then signed to Mottola's Columbia Records which sadly did not end too well for them. After one single 4 Sure, Wilson left the label after expressing dissatisfaction with the way urban music was handled (you only have to look at Mottola's history with Mariah Carey to see that he wasn't necessarily the biggest fan.) They had recorded a full album The Answer which - for obvious reasons - then went unreleased. It had more of a contemporary R&B/hip hop feel than Bryce's previous effort with Larrieux which may have also played a part in the duo's demise as well. Mainly a mixture of industrial-driven hip hop and street R&B with a slight neo-soul edge.

4 Shure (Explicit) 4:00
Shy Type 3:49
If I Knew So Damn Much 3:58
Goin' Together 4:06
Body Shots (Explicit) 3:31

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Latrelle: Dirty Girl, Wrong Girl, Bad Girl (Album Advance) (Arista, 2002)

While Antonio 'LA' Reid was busy prepping the likes of Avril Lavinge and P!nk for stardom in the early 2000s, he let many genuinely talented acts slip through his fingers. Isyss and The' Rayne - two female R&B groups that could've been bigger than Destiny's Child and TLC had they been given adequate promotion - and this incredibly talented singer-songwriter - similar to Alicia Keys - who was sadly let go after two singles. On recommendation from Kenneth 'Babyface' Edmonds and his wife Tracey Edmonds, Reid had signed her on the spot and The Neptunes - continuing on with where they left off with Kelis a few years before - did a fantastic job of producing most of her debut. It was to be released in 2001 but after being pushed back about half a dozen times while the likes of Lavinge and P!nk went platinum, it was finally cancelled altogether. Classic Pharrell before the preoccupation with alternative crap artists such as Paloma Faith and Ed Sheeran and another one to add to the ever growing list of doomed projects from Reid... Props once again to Musik Guru of iAmDopeBeats for contributing this classic...

More Than You Know 4:14
You Don't Even Know (Da Da Da) 3:54
House Party 4:39
Dirty Girl 3:34
Mommy Was Daddy Too 4:15
Don't Leave 5:45
My Life 4:10
Wrong Girl (Interlude) 1:12
Deal With The Pain 3:44
Maze Of Love 4:39
Infatuated 4:25
Wrong Girl 3:48
Mystery Of Love 4:30
International Dirty Girl (Dirty Girl Remix) 3:48

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Ta-Gana: S/T (Adance Edition) (Hollywood/Third Rail Records, 2000)

Further unreleased music from Disney's Hollywood Records with Denver native Ta-Gana who, after making a few soundtrack appearances between 1999-2000, was quietly shelved and forgotten about along with fellow R&B singer Sy Smith. Yes, while most other doomed artists were at least given the privilege to record a single or two, Ta-Gana was a soundtrack-only singer. She appeared on musical scores for The Parent Trap (1998), 10 Things I Hate About You (1999) and Save The Last Dance (2001) but sadly it was not enough to warrant the release of a whole album. Raised in the bosom of the church, she was a gifted vocalist but even super-producer Rodney Jerkins could not help get this project off the ground with zero promotion. To be quite honest, I don't think that Disney knew quite what to do with anything that wasn't aimed at 7-years-olds.

Pain 4:24
Give me 5:01
I'll wait for you 3:42
In the name of love 4:05
Every little thing you do 3:51*
You're all the love 4:15
Don't trip 5:03
Something about you 5:11
No reason 4:03
There is a love 3:46
Saturday night 3:48**

*Produced by Vincent Herbert
**Produced by Rodney Jerkins

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Ruby: Dusk 'Til Dawn (Dusk 'Til Dawn Records, 2004)

Along with Crystal Sierra and D'Mello, here is another unique R&B artist from the early 2000s that went unnoticed. While Sierra had the Latin flavor and D'Mello was influenced by Caribbean and classical music, Canadian artist Ruby - real name Ruby Goralia - incorporated Hindi-style singing and slight Bhaṅgṛā influences into her music. Thankfully nothing like the fusion rubbish that was popular in the UK in the early 2000s and more in line with contemporary R&B with light breathy vocals. An exceptional album but sadly an obscure one.

I Really Like To... 4:34
Make U Mine 4:42
Tonight 4:33
Don't Wanna Try 4:15
Beautiful 4:47
Think About 4:59
No U And Me 4:29
What's The Chance 4:44
Chalte Chalte 3:00
Find A Reason 4:09
No Good 4 U 5:01
Tonight [Remix] 4:31

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Joy: Here We Go Again (GS Entertainment, 2002)

More indie R&B from the Golden State and a mixture of contemporary R&B, G-Funk and gospel. Very similar to another California artist I've posted CoCo Short but maybe not as raunchy. These days the artist Joy Normond loans her voice to Christian events and has released a further three full albums of gospel music. You can visit her site here.

To The Studio... 2:01
Here We Go Again (feat. B-Smoove) 3:08
Call Me (feat. Marlon Bowen) 4:45
Head Over Heels 4:11
Can't Get Over You 5:03
Party (Interlude) 0:35
Put Your Hands Up 3:39
Time To Get Things Jumpin' 3:39
Your Smile (feat. Ed Simental) 4:11
I Shall Not Be Moved (feat. Step Of Faith) 3:58
One Family 3:20
Haters 4:26
Bet You Didn't Know 5:06
Thank You 1:59

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Ashley Ballard: Get In The Booth (Advance Release CD) (Atlantic, 2001)

Yet more unreleased Rodney Jerkins with teen-pop singer Ashley Ballard who was signed to Atlantic Records in 2001. She was one of a handful of teen-pop singers (the other notable one being Mikalia) who were marketed as a slightly less bubblegum form of Britney Spears. While Spears and even Aguilera were churning out the same repetitive Disney channel slop in the early 2000s, a small number of others went down a slightly different route; some adopted a slightly rockier tone while others such as Ballard tried to appeal

Friday, October 23, 2015

Kiley Dean: Simple Girl (Advance) (Beatclub/Interscope, 2003)

Further unreleased music from Britney Spears' former backing singer Kiley Dean who, with the help of Timbaland, put down a first rate effort in 2003 that would've wiped the floor with many of her contemporaries. She had everything going for her - including a voice that would've put Spears and even Aguiliera to shame - but unfortunately she was lost on the dim-witted public who seemingly couldn't separate her from Tim's other former protegee Aaliyah. Dean's debut single Make Me A Song went down like a lead

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Of Age: Finally (Street Pride Records, 1999)

For those who were curious about what TLC might've sounded like had they not gone all futuristic for their third album, look no further than this indie trio, also from Atlanta, GA. Mixed by Organized Noize (who were previously involved with the production of CrazySezyCool), the style is predominantly old skool R&B with funk and East Coast hip hop influences. I'm not saying that they bear an exact resemblance to old TLC - their sound is slightly more soul than pop - but songs like He's With Me and Everybody especially sound like they might've been written with them in mind. Sadly I don't know anything about the group but the album was produced by McKinley Horton, a former keyboardist in the 80s soul & funk group Cashmere.

Interlude I 0:34
He's With Me 4:12
Almost Give Me Love 4:42
Interlude II 0:19
Ooh We Wah 5:17
Interlude III 0:19
Nobody Needs To Know 4:34
Sweet Love 4:18
No Matter 4:34
Interlude IV 0:30
Honey 5:15
Interlude V 0:19
All My Love 4:56
Everybody 3:34

Monday, October 12, 2015

Amari: Sunshine (Promo CDr) (Tommy Boy/EastWest, 1998)

Further unreleased music from Washington DC-based trio Amari and a further casualty from the terrible EastWest Records who it seems have the biggest back-catalog of shelved albums on this Earth. Originally set to be released in the late 90s, the album's lead single "Callin' (Will You Players Ever Learn?)" was featured on the Soundtrack to the 1997 motion picture "Ride." Another song "Get Down With Me" was featured on the soundtrack to the Martin Lawrence movie "Nothing To Lose." Unfortunately, due to unknown

Friday, October 9, 2015

F'Tru: And Then At Once...Success! (TPSK Records, 2001)

Another obscure group out of Milwaukee which has more of an old skool sound, mainly chilled R&B mixed with New Jack Swing influences. The group's lead singer is Patrice Downey, who is now a solo artist with a few albums on CDBaby. I don't know for certain but I believe that some of the material recorded for these (particularly the one here) may be originally be from the group's unreleased second album. A top group for smooth R&B lovers.

One... (Interlude) 0:59
Don't Ask 4:27
Keys Don't Work (Interlude) .. 0:31
Joke's On You 4:18
Fallin' In Love feat. Raw Ta.. 3:46
Lovin' You 3:44
One Nite Stand 4:23
Love Sequel 4:42
We Need To Talk (Interlude) 0:42
Stay Around 4:29
Don't Give Up On Me 3:49
Damn 4:35
You Can't Be 4:14
What Am I To Do 5:18
Ooh (Interlude) 1:58
Trouble feat. Mr Jordan 4:41
Apollo Nite 3:29
Black Moon feat. Dan Vaughn 2:46

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

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

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Dannii Minogue: Universal February 2004 Sampler (Promo CDr) (Universal Music Publishing Ltd, 2004)

At a glance this Universal Records sampler seems completely unremarkable but seeing as Dannii Minogue has been a guilty pleasure of mine for many, many years, I just had to buy this CD. Track 12 was, in part, one of the main reasons why her 2006 compilation album The Platinum Collection was scrapped as Minogue was apparently unhappy with the inclusion of some previously unreleased tracks without her permission. Shortly after the project was cancelled, Unleashed was released in its place. Some of the rejected tracks such as Tut Tut (Does Your Mother Know?) and Karma Is A Bitch leaked in HQ several years back but the above one (titled here as Each Finger Got An Attitude) sadly did not. Seeing as the project wasn't imagined until 2006, the track's inclusion on this particular sampler is somewhat of a mystery but apparently it was intended at one point to be a double-A side with the cancelled single It Won't Work Out in 2004. At 2:42 it is rather a short track but regardless I am quite happy to finally have it in HQ quality (though it does sound slightly unmixed.) 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Tslané: You Are Nothing (Without Me) (EP) (NuSoul Records, 2002)

A lot of other "collectors" turn their noses up at CDbaby artists; it seems as if an album or single doesn't cost three figures to buy then it is not worth their time but I am willing to give anybody a chance so long as it is early 2000s, the sound is good and can be purchased as an actual physical CD. I've come across quite a few amazing acts there, such as Milenia (an soulful trio made up of former backing singers for Prince) and the contemporary R&B group Fe'Male, whose unreleased work is posted here. The above artist, from Baton Rogue, LA, is also another great find. Released in 2002, it is as good, if not better, than similar work by similar artists at the time and her voice is somewhat reminiscent of a softer, more melodic Anita Baker. Unfortunately this is the only thing she ever did though it does appear (as judging from the back of this CD) that she was in the process of recording a whole album.

You Are Nothing (Without Me) 5:04
You Are Nothing (Without Me) - Radio Edit 4:26
No Not This Time 3:44
Pure Satisfaction 4:10

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) (Elektra/EastWest, 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

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