Yolanda "La La" Brown & iCandi

The forgotten Midwest R'n'B duo that met a tragic end.

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.

From Tha'Rayne To The First Seed

Unreleased Yummy Bingham from 2006.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Kira: Love 101 / Talk To Me (Promo VLS) (SCJ Records, 200x)

A further 50 Cent reply with Kira, whose only claim to fame thus far has been for her appearance on Foxy Brown's 2008 single "When The Lights Go Out". I don't know anything about the artist but  "Love 101" is upbeat and uses the backing track to G-Unit's 2003 track "Stunt 101" while the flipside "Talk To Me" sounds like something Beyonce might've recorded during the "Dangerously In Love'' era. Again I know nothing about the artist but used to be affiliated with DJ Envy and DJ Finesse back in the day.

Love 101 3:15
Talk To Me 3:12

Lyneah: 21 Answers / Excuse Me (White Label VLS, 200x)

More unknown white label R&B from the UK and a reply to 50 Cent's "21 Questions" released in 2003. I cannot find anything about this artist anywhere but possibly related to the Simply Recordings label in the UK who in 2003 released an album of Ashanti's early demos in full. A promo remix of her 2005 song "Baby Baby" in particular was credited to "LG & Krunchie" and has a very similar sound. 

21 Answers 3:44
Excuse Me 4:07

Denim: The 1st Lady of Roc-A-Fella (Promo EP) (200x)

Before there was Teairra Mari and even Nicole Wray, there was another female artist tipped to become Roc-A-Fella's 'first lady' that not many people knew about. From Jay's former stomping ground of Brooklyn, it seems this artist fell by the wayside at around the same time Wray was tipped to become the label's next best thing and aside from a handful of appearances on mainly mixtapes and white label vinyl samplers, most of her work from back then was shelved. Despite going hard for the ROC, I don't even think she got a proper first single but I believe that "Friends (You Ain't Right)" may have had a very limited release. Her music was significantly more 'street' than Wray or Mari who pretty much stayed with the mainstream sound. The above unofficial 12" sampler contains various tracks that she recorded back then, 4 of which couldn't not be found anywhere else, including "Through The Fire" which is a freestyle over Kayne's 2003 song "Through The Wire". Again, it's a shame that nothing much became of this artist in the end but Wray was the next to suffer a similar fate when she was dropped from the label as well in 2005.

Microphone Fiend 2:59
Pump It Up 2:09
BK's Finest 2:40
Through The Fire 3:01
Many Man 3:33
Uh Ohh 1:45

Monday, May 11, 2020

Shiré (ex-LovHer): Baltimore's Daughter "The Pre-Lude" To The Album (Mixtape) (2008)

Formally one quarter of the early 2000s R&B group LovHer, Shiré (real name Talia Burgess) was the second artist to be signed to Midi Mafia's Family Ties Entertainment label and like her former group in 2003, quickly became another flash in the pan following one single "Miss My Love" in 2007. Signed to Universal Records' Street Records Corporation label in 2007, her album was again quietly shelved by the label but yet she still continues to be promoted on Universal's site - 6 years after her last ever proper single. Somewhat similar to what they did with Majic Massey, it seems that this label had a knack for stringing artists along. In LovHer, Shiré's raspy powerhouse vocals were always the most prominent and it was evident then that she was born to be a soloist in the same vein as Faith Evans or even Mary J. Blige but her work was anything but pop music. With tales of street life and broken hearts over sampled hip hop beats and dark orchestral arrangements, I don't know how many tracks here would've eventually ended up on her first album with Universal but much of it does have more of a raw, unedited mixtape feel to it. Regardless, it appeared that the general population wasn't ready for Shiré in the same way they weren't ready for Deemi. After one single which wasn't exactly promoted all that well "Miss My Love", it seems she was pushed to the background and mostly forgotten about. "Mister Manager" from this set says it all.

Change The Game 1:28
Miss My Love 3:40
Baltimore's Daughter 3:53
Twisted 2:45
Don't Deserve 2:41
I Made It 2:29
Off The Break 3:10
2nite 3:19
Cream 2:08
Think About U 2:35
I'm Scared 2:16
Mister Manager 3:26
Mann Up 2:11

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Deemi: Dying To Get Rich [Mixtape] (Family Ties Entertainment, 2006) (Original post from 2/4/17)

Back when production team Midi Mafia were at the top of their game, they followed in the footsteps of many others before them by launching their own record label Family Ties Entertainment. Again as with many other hip hop producers before them, they were looking to expand into the R&B arena and had two artists they were working with back then, the first being Puerto Rican singer Deemi (Tahu Jessica Aponte.) Like Fundisha, she was another female R&B artist from the mid 2000s who was a little too real for the general population but with gritty subject matter ranging from cutting crack with her then-boyfriend to drug and alcohol consumption, it was no wonder why Atlantic - best known for girls-next-door such as Brandy and Estelle - quickly put the brakes on her album. True, it worked for Keyshia Cole in 2005 but she was nowhere near as harrowing and by the time her second LP rolled around, even she had become 'just another R&B artist.' As quoted from a Spin review (Jun 2007) "Brooklyn single mother of two weathers domestic abuse, drugs and despair, then cathartically belts out this years most devastating R&B moment." Sadly I don't think her album ever leaked in full but some of her the songs later made it onto an unofficial mixtape of sorts "Dying To Get Rich." By this time she was releasing work under AV8 Records, a Boston-based house & hip hop label. Most tracks on this set are pretty raw although some of the music is very reminiscent of Alicia Keys' early work with sweeping orchestral passages, tinkly piano hooks and rich vocal harmonies. As for Midi Mafia, they continued to write and produce for many popular pop and R&B artists and soon scored their biggest hit to date "When I See U" by Fantasia Burrino.

Featuring appearances by Styles P., N.O.R.E. and a boatload of other East Coast rap alumni.

Deemi !!! ft. Stik-E & The Hoods 2:40
Around My Way 3:46
Ain't Nuttin' Nice 2:57
I See ft. Styles P 2:33
Hood Niggaz ft. Precious Paris 3:22
Jump ft. N.O.R.E. 3:23
Two Kinds ft. Jaheim 3:09
Tree'd Up 2:54
Round Here 2:20
So Hood 3:23
Time Flies ft. Khryst 2:45
Paper ft. Balance 4:18
I Don't Care ft. ATM 3:22
Babydaddy 2:41
Wasn't Surprised 3:12
Soundtrack Of My Life 4:05

Monday, May 4, 2020

Various: Mista Clean Records Compilation 2000 (Mista Clean Records, 1999)

From the Great White North to the Dirty South, more great R&B/Hip Hop music with Mista Clean Records, an indie label based out of East Point, GA in the early 2000s. Sadly aside from Big Docta, the vast majority of the artists featured here are quite obscure but it is very typical of the sound coming out of the South back then blending crunk, bounce and contemporary R&B to a masterful effect. Standout R&B cuts include a heart-wrenching slow jam about a woman scorned "Girl Next Door" by Reshell Reshell, and the uptempo ballad "A Moment" by STC, a male R&B trio.

The Opening 1:33 (MCDM)
Turn Dis' Mutha Out (Sho Nuff) 4:15 (MCDM ft. Blackman of DAFOE)
Give Me Your Love 4:59 (Shanelle ft. Blackman of DAFOE)
Ain't Nothin' 4:34 (Kalluvdawyld ft. Mr. Naybu)
Holy Matrimony 4:12 (DAFOE)
Make It Last 3:14 (STC)
Dat Thing 4:56 (Big Docta)
Wake Up, Wake Up (Medley Mix) 3:54 (Verse-1-Tel ft. Sherrie Mathis & Tim Crawford)
Girl Next Door 1:44 (Reshell Reshell)
Wha'z All Da Hype 'Bout 3:13 (MCDM)
Give It To Me 3:54 (Christina ft. DaMasta)
Bouncetadis 4:21 (Technique ft. Da Masta)
A Moment 4:53 (STC)
Don't Need U Nomo 3:33 (MCDM)
Right Here 4:22 (Kalluvdawyld ft. Mr. Naybu)
Making Love 4:22 (Reshell Reshell)
I Got Flo 3:42 (DAFOE)
Make It Bounce 4:29 (Big Docta ft. Da Masta and Mel-Y)
Trunin' Dis' Mutha Out 3:49 (MCDM)