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
demo stage; I don't think they ever had a recording contract and according to Cantrell in a 2012 interview1, they all went their separate ways when Blackstreet disbanded in 1999. Other than Come My Way which appeared online as an unreleased Cantrell recording  in the mid-2000s era, nothing else by them has ever surfaced but a few CD-Rs featuring demos were made on an unofficial capacity and a good friend of mine was nice enough to send one to me. No producer credits are listed but I am assuming that Riley produced most - if not all - of it, possibly in junction with Blackstreet's Chauncey Hannibal. Musically they were somewhere between EV3 and Blackstreet though a few tracks give more than a nod as to the direction Cantrell would later take with her 2001 debut, contemporary R&B with a subtle jazzy flavor. Hannibal has a heavy presence throughout the set; as well as appearing on tracks 1 and 6, he also features by himself on an exclusive track All About You which may or may not feature the group or some of its members on backing vocals.  

A few years later, Cantrell would go on to sign with Arista Records as a solo artist but sadly I don't know what happened to the other members of this group. Riley would also endure a few years of obscurity following this, with his own solo album BlackRock being shelved by Interscope in 2001...

Come My Way (feat. Chauncey Black) 4:55
Sacrifice 4:10
What I'm Looking For (feat. Chauncey Black) 4:10*
Too Late 4:00**
Think About You Baby 3:50***
All About You (Chauncy Black) 5:12

* incorporates interpolations of I Don't Believe You Want To Get Up And Dance (Oops) by The Gap Band.
**later re-recorded by Monifah for her 2000 album Home
***contains elements from Best Of My Love by The Emotions.  

1In the same interview Cantrell also stated that the name of the group was actually 8th Avenue.