Elsie Muniz

The Urban Latina.

Kandi and Tiny

Off The Hook: Unreleased demos from the early 2000s!


The Truth About Choice.


Another shelved R'n'B group from 1997


The First Lady of SoulPower.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Mýa: Fear Of Flying (JP Test Pressing) (Universal Victor, 2000)

After searching for years for the supposed Japanese bonus tracks for Harrison's 2000 album and never being able to find them, I finally located them on this very rare Japanese test pressing. Though leaked years ago, I believe that the origin of the two songs probably goes back to a quite obscure Russian bootleg pressing (which back then could be found on several Russian mp3 download sites) and possibly originated from a very early advance copy of the album. The two unreleased tracks "Girls Like That" and "Telephone Games" were produced by Swizz Beats and Anthony Dent respectively. Granted, I never really paid much attention to the other tracks, which I assumed were identical to those that appeared on the 1st pressing of the album but turns out that here there are some

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Tiffany Villarreal: S/T (JP Retail) (Universal Records, 2004) (Original post from 4/13/16)

Along with Crystal Sierra, here is a further Hispanic diva who got shelved during the 2000s. Though more of a Brandy/Monica alternative, she had a great voice and a great team of producers behind her. Sadly she never got the promotion that her label mates JoJo and Lumidee got and her debut CD ended up being a Japanese import only. Unfortunately no stranger to failed attempts, she originally began her career in 1996 where she wrote an entire album with Missy Elliott that later ended up in the recycle bin. Overall she has been with five different labels throughout her career including Pharrell Williams' Star Trak Entertainment (where she was one third of a Latina group called "Affair"), Dr. Dre's Aftermath Entertainment and Reakwon's Rae Records. Other than Universal Records, none of them have ever yielded anything but lost opportunities but she seems to have taken it all in her stride. Alas, she was one of many that were screwed by Universal in the early-to-mid 2000s not limited to Famil (shelved completely), Dani Stevenson (ditto), Melanie Durrant (shelved but later released independently) and Tori Alamaze (dumped and her only song Don't Cha later given to The Pussycat Dolls.)

The Real Intro 0:42
Fire 3:37
Rewind The Time 4:20
You, Yourself & You 4:00
Erotic Interlude 1:12
Erotic 3:34
Go To Work 4:21
Holla At Me 3:28
For My Girls 4:09
Better Woman 3:30
Us 4:29
Set U Free 5:08
Silent Gun 4:32
Nine Months 3:54

Dani Stevenson: Advance (Promo CDr) (Universal, 200x) (Original post from 1/20/16)

Another lost gem, this time from Universal Records artist Dani Stevenson, who was mostly known for providing the hook to Nelly's 2002 hit Hot In Herre and for her own single Honk Your Horn, which was written and produced by Missy Elliott. Layering jazz-type vocals over hip hop beats and horn samples, Stevenson's style was unique yet contemporary. Sadly she was just one of many who got the short end of the stick from the very beginning from the same people who allowed the likes of JoJo and Lumidee to go platinum. When Honk Your Horn failed to reach the giddy heights they hoped, the record company, in their infinite wisdom, delayed the release of a further single for a almost an entire year. Paired up with the obvious lack of promotion, this was pretty much a career sinker for any artist. Stevenson's debut album, originally titled Is There Another?, was pushed back until her departure from the label in 2004, by which then it was shelved completely. Here it is in its entirety, albeit without the title. No date of issuance but assuming 2002 or possibly 2003. I don't know how many tracks Elliott had a hand in producing but at least one more (Jungle Up In Here) was produced by her frequent collaborator Bink. Another super exclusive brought to you by Persnickety...just remember you heard it here first. 

Intro 1:39
Yo, Yo, Yo, 3:38
Bogus 4:15
What Would You Do 4:32
Fed Up 4:21
Still In Love 4:10
Fever 3:33
My Bad 3:42
Is There Another 4:47
Honk Your Horn feat. Missy Elliot 3:51
Hot Like Fire feat. Mr Cheeks 4:05
Jungle Up In Here 4:16
Outro 1:15

Famil: Universal Records (2003-2004) (Original post from 3/14/15)

Yet another R&B girl group to emerge at the same time as the others, this time the brainchild of Vincent Herbert. Nowadays Herbert stars in a brain-dead reality show with his wife, current flavor of the week Tamar Braxton, but back in the day he was a hit record producer, producing hits for Tamar's sister Toni, DC and Aaliyah, among others. This New Jersey sister quartet, quietly active on Universal Records between 2003-2004, have three singles "Oh No", "You Belong To Me" and "Die For You" under their belt but there's barely a mention of them anywhere. To be realistic, none of them ever got a wide release with their debut "Oh No" (which was a double-A side with the Herbert-produced "Finer Things") the only one of the three

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Further unreleased music from Universal Records

Another label with a vast catalog of unreleased material in the early 2000s was UMG's Universal Records who following the merger between Universal Republic and Universal Motown went completely dormant in 2005 leaving many projects behind on the cutting room floor with it. Some I have featured here before, some I have not; hyped as "Universal's newest R&B diva" in 2003, Latina artist Villarreal's only album was shelved in the U.S. in 2004 following two singles "Rewind The Time" and "Me, Myself and You," Famil, dubbed here as "4 soulful singing sisters from Newark, NJ" disappeared completely after three singles over a two year period while Stevenson (described here as a "21 year old soulful R&B singer/songwriter with an intense attitude and spirit that would make

Friday, January 17, 2020

Born In August: Timeless Journey (Promo) (Universal/Bystorm Entertainment, 1996)

Further unreleased music from Universal Records and the brainchild of Mark Pitts, a former manager for early Bad Boy Entertainment acts. Because of his rap background, a lot of people were surprised to see him signing an R&B group - specifically one with little or no rap - but with production by Darryl "Day" Pearson (formally a member of DeVante's Swing Mob collective in the 90s), Born In August's style of emotion-filled balladeering was compared to that of Boyz-II-Men. Sadly after only one single "April" in 1996, the group disappeared completely, most likely due to lack of promotion. Showcases and TV appearances were planned for them but they were (at least at the time of a Billboard article dated 07/13/1996) without a booking agency. Unfortunately for them there was no lack of male vocal groups in the mid 90s with groups such as Intrigue and Soul For Real also recording under Universal Records at the same time. For me though, they definitely had something that was missing in a market which had begun to become overly saturated in rap and hip hop. Many thanks again to Stuaaart for sending it.

Intro 1:00
A Girl To Call My Own 3:58
Fallin' In Love 4:03
April Interlude 1:02
April 5:04
Got To Be There 5:23
Constantly 4:29
Love Thang 4:55
Me For You 4:45
Slippin' Away 4:20
Anyway 4:24
Baby Interlude 1:12
Baby 4:31
Break My Heart 5:15
Last Winter 3:40
April Remix 4:57

Further note: As far as we know it only ever existed on promo cassette and was never pressed to CD. The erroneous listing on Discogs we suspect is a bootleg, the "cover art" being traced all the way back to a Vibe Magazine article from 1996. The item above may be the only legitimate hard copy we've ever seen which is why I have posted it here.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Teddy: Soul (Promo) (Noo Trybe, 1996)

Another label that couldn't get their act together in the 90s was Noo Trybe Records. Starting out in 1994, they operated as the urban subdivision of Virgin/EMI Records and became the distributor for Houston, TX-based hip hop label Rap-A-Lot Records up until its demise in the late 90s. This was the most successful venture that they had with acts such as Luniz, AZ and others making the Billboard top 200. Sadly the R&B wing of the label was not so successful with non-existent albums from One Shade (1995), girl trio MQ3 (1997) and Shiro (1998). The above guy Teddy Martin was initially discovered as a backup vocalist for Jody Watley before he was signed to the label in 1995. The label had a lot of enthusiasm for him especially, so much so that they had him performing concerts from the get go but after two singles and an appearance on the Original Gangstas Soundtrack, he disappeared completely. Truthfully I don't think the label knew who to market him to; his first single was aimed at younger audiences but the follow up more towards adults... his shelved album "Soul" was given mainly positive reviews in the press and featured production from mainly low-key but nonetheless great producers, the most widely known of all of them being Houston, TX producer Bishop "Stick" Burrell (formally of the early 90s New Jack Swing group Quess.) After widely being seen on bootleg vinyl, my regular contributor Stuaaart finally managed to score the original promo tape a few months back. As always a big thank you to him for keeping this blog going.

You Should Be Mine (Intro) 2:13
Come Over 4:36
Can We Dance 4:29
I Will Love You 4:29
Feel Me 4:04
Never Be Over You 3:50
Come Over (Reprise) 0:48
Tell Me What You Want 5:03
Are You In The Mood 3:56
Rock With You 3:59
Ain't No Fun (Featuring H-Town) 4:38
Conclusion...(To Be Continued) 0:42

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Tha Truth: Advance Cassette (Promo) (Priority Records, 1996)

Along with Nuttin' Nyce, MoKenStef, Y?N-Vee and many more, Tha Truth was yet another girl group from the mid 90s that came and went without leaving a trace. The brainchild of Erick Sermon and DJ T-Smoov, they were best remembered for their single "Red Lights" which sampled "Bustin' Out On Funk" by Rick James. They released one album "Making Moves...Everyday" which featured appearances from Keith Murray, Redman and Sermon. A handful of songs were also written by Faith Evans and Missy Elliott early in their careers so it really was a very diverse project featuring the best of hip hop and soulful R&B rolled into one. The unreleased track "Tell Me What's On Your Mind" was later replaced with "What You Do 2 Me" (featuring Kenny Greene) prior to release and as far as we know only available on this very rare promo tape. Despite using the exact same production from Sermon, both songs sound noticeably different. Thanks again to Stuaaart for the contribution!

Tell Me What's On Your Mind 3:48

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Unreleased Mary J. Blige!

East Coast-meets-West Coast from South Central's Yo Yo and taken from her doomed fifth release "Ebony" in 1998. After four successful releases, the project was shelved due to contractual issues; most, if not all, of the guest appearances did not have proper clearance to work with an artist on East West Records and thus began the first year of many disasters for this hopeless label which would've otherwise put out quality content. Blige was replaced with Kelly Price on the promotional single release and up until now, it had not been heard before. As far as I am aware, it only exists here and cannot be found on any copies of her full album. Many thanks again to Stuaaart for this amazing score!

Do You Wanna Ride? (Featuring Mary J. Blige)    4:57
Fantasy    4:16
Counting Money    3:30
Iz It Still Good (Something's On Your Mind) (Featuring Gerald Levert)    5:42