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, June 30, 2020

One82: Smooth Little Thug (CDS) (Playtime Entertainment Ltd., 2002)

A further unsigned act from the 2002 MOBO Awards that sadly didn't make it through to the final rounds despite having backing from Ruff Ryders Clothing Europe (the winner of that years Best Unsigned Act - which by 2002 had changed to to Unsung Award - went to a hip hop group.)  I don't know much about them but the sound is very American. They remind me slightly of Damage. 

Smooth Little Thug 3:59
Smooth Little Thug [Slowdown Mix] 4:16

Monday, June 29, 2020

Allyson Brown: Candy (White Label VLS) (199x)

Brown was the winner of the Best Unsigned Act at the UK MOBO Awards with this Cameo-sampling dance floor shuffler in 1998. Sadly despite being signed to two major labels at one point - including Death Row - Brown has continued to remain unsigned and these days is better known as an actress. Word is that she turned down a 3-album deal with Jive Records to focus on her R&B/Garage group Lyric who released their only single "Perm" in 2001. She liked to do things her way and I give her respect for that but nevertheless what a lost talent. She hoped to garner mainstream success with Lyric - who sounded like Mis-Teeq - but sadly never did. In 2012 she appeared on The Voice where she belted out Jocelyn Brown's "Somebody Else's Guy" but nobody - especially Jessie J - even knew what to do with her. Many thanks again to my new contributor "L" for sending this along.

A1 - Candy (Mix 1) 4:23
A2 - Candy (Mix 2) 4:23
B1 - Candy (Mix 3) 4:27
B2 - Candy (X-Men Mix) 4:56

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Akin: Sailing (CDM) (Recognition Records, 1998)

Third and final single from Akin, a UK female duo who were active in the late 90s and mostly known for their single "Stay Right Here" which was produced by Cutfather & Joe. First posted back in 2019, they were another UK R&B act - along with Kleshay - who got shelved by their label in the late 90s. They originally started out signed to Warner Music UK where they released two singles "Stay Right Here" and "Private Party" before making a swift disappearance. Not much is known about them but according to the WEA archive they were originally members of a group called Intrigue and toured alongside all the notable acts back then (MN8, Eternal, Michelle Gayle.) They did appear in the lineup for the MOBO Awards in

Mish'el: Spacewalk (CDM) (Big Lion Productions, 1998)

Produced by UK Reggae/soul singer Phillip Leo (known for his 1989 hit "I Wanna Be Loved By You" and for his work with fellow reggae singer CJ Lewis), here is a further UK artist who never got an album. Not much is known about her but according to the hype sticker, she hailed from London and had completed a 15 track debut album by the time this was released. A Further single "Can You Feel It" has appeared on some promotional compilations but as with her album, I don't think that it was ever actually released. More widely seen on vinyl, many thanks to my new contributor "L" for sending this CD single along.

Spacewalk (Radio Mix) 4:35
Spacewalk (Slow Jam Mix) 4:28
Spacewalk (Club Mix) 4:38
Spacewalk (Instrumental) 4:43

Celice: Secret Love (CDM) (Lyric Records, 1997)

Another great UK street soul track more widely seen on vinyl, one of the main remixes to this was produced by British-based American producer Kojo Samuel who had previously worked with Celitia, Damage, David Lydon Hall and others. Not much is known about the artist or the label but this appears to be the only thing they ever did. Again a big thank you to my new contributor "L" for sending this along.

Secret Love (Main Mix) 4:24
Secret Love (Southside Remix) 4:22
Secret Love (Kojo Remix) 4:28
Secret Love (Main Mix With Rap) 4:23
Secret Love (Main Mix Instrumental) 4:24

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Sprinkler: Water Sign Sampler (Promo) (Island Records, 1998)

Comprised of Londoner Chardel and Dutchman Lucas, Sprinkler took inspiration from De La Soul, Soul II Soul and others when they recorded this album in 1997. Admittedly, there is always something rather humorous about a white guy rapping until you realize who he is. The guy in question was Lucas Secon who in 1991 was signed to Uptown Records by none other than Andre Harrell and has since gone on to carve out quite a career for himself as an accomplished producer. Sadly his work with Sprinkler was slightly ahead of its time though and the duo's album "Water Sign" was never released. Sadly they made the mistake of signing to Denis Ingoldsby's 1st Avenue Management which by the late 90s folded leaving many artists without labels. On Discogs, the duo somehow got lumped into the House/UK Garage category but no tracks of this genre exist on the album at all; rather their work is a mixture of neo soul and contemporary R&B featuring alternating lazy raps by Secon and soulfully crafted verses and hooks by Chardel, who was once herself a developing artist herself with Wildstar Records. From starting out as a quick moment of hilarity between myself and Stuaaart, they have since go on to become one of my most recent favorites. Many thanks again to my new contributor for sending!

Tinted Eyes 3:52
Don't Wanna Work No More 4:48
Leave _Em Something To Desire 3:41
Your Eyes Keep Me Warm 4:45
Rain Upon Your Brain 4:28
I Like You Just The Way I Am 4:48
My Big Bang Theory 4:03
Skin Up The Night 4:17
Time Is The Master 3:54
Timber 5:25
Track 11 1:41 (Unlisted)

Friday, June 19, 2020

Kim Hill: Demo (Morey Management Group, 2003)

Original demos from former Black-Eyed Peas vocalist Kim Hill which would later become her original debut "Surrender To Her Sunflower." It was to be released following her departure from Interscope Records and according to an article I managed to source online was 7 songs in length and the first single slated to be "Sunshine." Growing up listening to The Eagles, her rework of "Hotel California" is a fantastic nod to her humble beginnings while the rest of the disc hovers someplace between a steady pace of folksy R&B and eclectic hip-hop influenced soul.  Her refusal to grind on wil.i.am in a bathing suit saw her ousted from the Black-Eyed Peas in 2001 but in her own words "if a girl from a small town can move to Los Angeles with $36.00 to her name and maintain self respect, anything can happen." 

Hotel California 4:36
Sunshine 6:01
Hollywood 4:42
My Name 3:50
Read Between The Lines 4:25
Chasin' Butterflies 4:01
Fast Girl 3:38
Everytime 4:54
Open Wide 5:43

Kim Hill: Suga Hill (Self-Released, 2005) (Originally posted 10/14/2018)

Only full-length album from New York native Hill, who was formally an unofficial member of The Black-Eyed Peas between 1998-2000. Unlike Stacey "Fergie" Ferguson, she didn't appear on the front cover to their albums but her sweet-sounding vocals could be heard on many songs from their earlier career when they made great hip hop music. She was to be replaced by Fergie in 2002 but had been working on launching a solo career since the late 90s. Around this time she was briefly signed to Interscope but despite having her bandmates behind her, the album she produced was allegedly rejected as it didn't sound 'black' enough. True her sound was a little more eclectic - she grew up listening to The Eagles and Stevie Nix - but people had been trying to stereotype her for most of her

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

M.C. Mother Love featuring Nikhol Williams: Out On My Own (Cassette Single) (A.B. Records, 199x)

Further old skool rap release from Ni'Kol Williams alongside M.C. Mother Love (real name Patrisa Pierce.) There's no information about either but Ni'Kol Williams has appeared on at least one other release on the same label. The label A.B. Records was owned and operated by Hollywood, FL resident Alford Brown which as far as I can tell was still active up until 2015.

Single Mix 3:26
No Piano 3:25
Mega Mix 3:25
Instrumental 3:25
T.V. Mix (BKV's Only) 3:24
Hey-Hey-Hey 3:25
Radio Mix 3:25

Ni'Kol Williams & "Mother Love": Let's Do It Again (Cassette Single) (A.B. Records, 199x)

Further obscure release out of Florida and based off The Staple Singers' 1975 single "Let's Do It Again". There's no information about Ni'Kol Williams but she has appeared on at least two other releases on the same label, one of them for the supporting artist here Patrisa Pierce aka MC Mother Love (see my following post.) The label A.B. Records was owned and operated by Hollywood, FL resident Alford Brown which as far as I can tell was still active up until 2015.

A1 Let's Do It Again (Radio Mix) 4:33
B1 Sweet Thing (Inst.) 4:32
B2 Sweet Thing (Rap Inst.) 4:32

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Power Play: All I Am (Cassette Single) (Self-Released, 1991)

A further unique find from Virginia Beach with Power Play, a local group comprised of husband and wife Jay and Kay Moore, Nathan Dickerson and Vernon Mann. They have gone through many different line ups since their formation in the late 70s where they started out as a disco group and since then they have gone through many different styles from Motown, Funk and by the early 90s soul & R&B music. They released a soul EP in 1993 called "Energy" but here is an even earlier release by them featuring 1 track early 90s modern soul (vocals by Kay) and 1 track male-fronted soul/boogie greatness with a guitar riff to die for! They are still active and you can read more about them here.

All I Am 5:37
Fairy Tale 5:23

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Willisha Norris: Pre-Post Demo (199x)

Unreleased productions on cassette from Philly soul singer Willisha Norris, known for her only single "Don't Keep Me Waiting" in 1994. I know nothing about the artist but she does but does have a Last FM profile with more songs listed including a presumed cover of Sheena Euston's "Sugar Walls." I don't know whether she had an album or not but the above songs don't appear anywhere else and are primarily 90s modern soul cuts.

Luv Me Forever 4:25
That's The Way It Is 4:02

Unknown Demo Tape From Curtom Records (199x)

Unknown music from Curtom Records, a soul/disco label started in the late 60s by Impressions front men Curtis Mayfield and Eddie Thomas. It was most active in the 70s and 80s and the vast majority of the catalog was from Mayfield himself. There wasn't much, if any, hip hop or contemporary R&B on this label as far as I can tell but the tracks here are a mixture of punchy early 90s New Jack Swing and soulful slow jams. All but two of the tracks are instrumentals and all but one are 2 minutes or under. The final vocal track is the longest, clocking in at almost 6 minutes in length. The other vocal track, featuring a short rapped verse over an early 90s swingbeat, uses Eastwood's famous line from the 1983 movie Sudden Impact. I have no idea who any of these artists are but something about the short rap track reminded me of the early 90s LaFace group Highland Place Mobsters.

Unknown Instrumental 2:22
Unknown Instrumental 1:37
Unknown Instrumental 2:01
Unknown 1:36
Unknown 5:53