Sunday, November 8, 2020

Elsie Muniz: Urban Latina (Sampler) (Promo) (University Music Entertainment, 1998)

As the Latin explosion built up momentum in the late 90s, it is unfortunate that it seemed to be more geared towards pop music with artists such as Ricky Martin and Jennifer Lopez topping the charts. Sadly, it seems that many of these artists got by on their looks and a lot of really talented “urban” acts such as Crystal Sierra and Deemi were overlooked. Considering how intertwined hip hop was with Hispanic culture in the US, it is incongruous to me why this did not work out outside of Lopez shaking her giant booty on “Jenny from The Block.” Also of Puerto Rican extraction, Philly’s Elsie Muniz was another Latina R&B singer that was active in the late 90s that not many people knew about back then. She was signed to University Records Entertainment, the same label that brought us Dru Hill and Mya, and was mostly known for her only single “Your Eyes” which was released in 1999. Unfortunately it seemed the label was not entirely comfortable with her artistry, and feeling that they needed to even explain a Latina girl singing R&B music before it was “mainstream” to do so, her album “Urban Latina” was not released. Muniz said in a You Tube comment: "That intro (on "Your Eyes") was pushed by the record execs on this album because they felt the need to explain a Latina singing R & B during a time when it wasn't mainstream to do. As a Latina I define my identity as being a combination of ethnicities and part of my everyday existence, I personally never felt the need to justify this. The social construct of race is where the disconnect comes into play. Thankfully I was able to extract myself from that narrative many years ago." Featuring contributions from Timbaland (“As We Danced”), her label mates Mya and Terry Dexter (“Fooled by The Moon”) and then up-and-coming Latin Hip Hop crew 1 Life 2 Live (“Take Control”), it was a project that Stuart and I very much wanted to hear. While most were trying to sound like everybody else back then, Muniz brought something different to the table... Once again, it’s a real shame that this project went unreleased and that labels were so hung up on hip hop and R&B music being an exclusively “black” thing back then.
Intro    0:32
Your Eyes (featuring Nino Brown)    4:07
La Gata Negra    1:22
Take Control (featuring 1 Life 2 Live)    1:41
Does She Know    1:33
Your Eyes (Spanish Version) (feat. James de Barber)    4:08

NOTE: Though not on our sampler, “Fooled by The Moon” might sound familiar to some as it was one of many tracks by Brandy that leaked in the late 2000s that was said to have been recorded for her sophomore LP “Never Say Never.”