Christynette

The UK's First Lady of Urban Soul.

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.

Local Virginia R'n'B on Demo Tape!

From collector's favorites to new unheard of heat, there is no shortage of great music to be found in Virginia.

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Mya: Liberation (JP Promo CDr) (Universal Motown, 2006)

First conceptualized as a project called "Control Freak" in 2004, Mya's fourth album went through many changes before its inadvertent release to the Japanese iTunes store in 2007. After leaving Interscope in 2005 to sign with Universal Motown, much of the earlier material she recorded for the project was left behind and eventually many of the songs were leaked online. Suffice to say, Mya was not to make much off this project despite working on it for three years and going through two different labels. Again, a familiar name pops up: Sylvia Rhone. For anybody who doesn't know, Rhone had shelved more great R&B albums when she was in charge at EastWest Records in the late 90s and early 2000s than anybody else. Was Mya yet another victim? I don't know but I find it more than a coincidence. After that blunder, the album, then called "Liberation" was officially cancelled outside of Japan. A little less R&B than her previous LPs, it was a solid set, combining futuristic hip hop and

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Smooth: Zoom (Promo CDM) (T.U.G. Entertainment, 2004)

Unreleased music from 90s Female Mac Juanita “Smooth” Stokes and not surprisingly further unreleased music from her brother Chris Stoke’s T.U.G. Entertainment roster in the early 2000s. After the failure of TG4 (with Sevyn Streeter) and Dame (with Milla J), Stoke’s decided to go back to the formula that made him hits. After all, having two girl groups that promoted abstinence and girl power on a label that was mostly known for racy hits like “Pop That Booty” and “Naked” wasn’t really working. Juanita Stokes, known as MC Smooth or Smooth throughout the 90s, is mostly known for her sexy hits such as “Mindblowin’” and “Strawberries”in the 90s, She began her career as an MC but later crossed over to R&B and soon dropped the MC from her name altogether. In 2003 she rebranded herself yet again as “Needa-S” and signed to her brother’s T.U.G. Entertainment label which had distribution from several major labels including Sony, A&M and Universal. She released one single “Sensitive” and appeared on other singles from TG4 and Marquez Houston but her proposed album “What?” was never released. I don’t know what at point it was shelved but it seems she was still with the label in 2004 when the above single got a promotional-only release. It seems at that point she was an independent artist and had changed her name back to Smooth. Despite being the label owner’s sister, it seemed that the ladies just couldn’t get a break at this label for some reason. At around the same time projects by Jhene Ako (then just known as Jhene) and her sister Milla J were also shelved. It’s a shame because Chris Stoke’s really could churn out great-sounding R&B tracks…
 
Zoom(Edit) 3:36 
Zoom(Instrumental) 3:37 
Zoom(Acapella) 3:42 
Zoom(Hook) 0:21 
 
 

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Devious: R&B Project (Promo EP) (200x)

Further unknown R&B on promo CD out of California from an unknown male artist with a very timeless, indistinct sound. I couldn’t even estimate the era this is from but they almost come off sounding like a male version of Sade on track 2 “Try Again.” I would say this project is from the early 2000s at the very least but not entirely certain. 

Love Games 4:28
Try Again 4:53
Thinking Of You 3:55 
 
 

Friday, January 15, 2021

La Shant: S/T (EP) (Mega Records, 1994)

Obscure old school sounds on Bellmark Records from 1994. A mixture of do-wop, modern soul and New Jack Swing, there’s no information about the artist anywhere but "You’re Good For Me" is a Jackson 5 cover and "Gee Whiz" a cover of Carla Thomas’ 1961 song of the same name (also known by its actual title "Gee Whiz, Look At His Eyes"). 
 
Gee Whiz 4:27 
You're Good For Me 3:25 
Ready For The Weekend 4:00 
Teenager In Love 2:19 
 

Aaron Kane: Patterson Projects Sampler (Promo) (200x)

Random Artist Roster Sampler on promo CD out of Vineland, NJ and won on auction by Stuart a few months back. I don’t know what year this disc is from but mostly featured are tracks from the 2000s including 4 early versions of tracks from SoCal MC Melange Lavonne’s 2008 LP "The Movement" and tracks from New Jersey underground rap trio Storm Trooperz. These date from around the mid-2000s at least although there are 4 tracks from Gina Thompson’s debut LP from 1996. Whether Thompson was signed to this label at one point I don’t know, and if so, why already-recorded music from her time at Mercury Records was used instead of any new material is utterly baffling to me. Tracks 1-4 are by an artist called Aaron Kane who was formally signed with Boyz-II-Men's Stonecreek label (through Epic Records.) Long time friend of the group, Kane was signed at around the same time as Stonecreek's only established artist Uncle Sam but it was poor sales that prompted the then head of Sony Music Tommy Motolla to pull the plug on the whole thing. I don't know if any of these tracks originated from those days though tracks 1 & 2 were later released on subsequent self-released projects of Kane's. I am presuming the latter two tracks are unreleased but don't know for exact certain.  From Newport, VA, he is very much reminiscent of Robin Thicke.

Track titles on tracks 3 & 4 are approximate

So Comfortable 3:16 
Hear What I'm Say'n 3:34 
If You Could Read My Mind 4:37 
Spend The Night 3:58 
 

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Nita: New Love (Promo EP) (HUNC Records, 2004)

Promotional single from Harlem-born Juanita Colon and featuring an surprise appearance from Jadakiss. Also known as @Harlemz1stLady, she allegedly released three quite obscure albums between 02-04 but now works behind the scenes. 
 
New Love ft. Jadakiss 3:52
Hour After Midnight Hour 3:49 
French Kiss [Snippet] 1:53 
Fallen Angel [Snippet] 1:57 
Untitled [Snippet] 0:35
 

Sonique: Dear John (Promo) (TFC Entertainment, 200x)

Dramatic, soulful cut from a Memphis-based female artist who I know nothing about. No date of release but mid-2000s at the very least judging by the synthy, multi-faceted sound. 

Dear John 3:13

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Stefanonu Soul: Nu Blaze Open Mic V: 1 (Self-Released, 200x)

Another rare find from Napo who is now based out of Maryland. The artist Stefano Nu*Soul (real name Stefan Khonsu) originally hails from Youngstown, OH but recorded this set in Atlanta, GA which probably dates at around 2006/7. A fusion of conscious rap, spoken word and neo soul, he released his first single “Eat My Words” in 2010 and is now known for his mixtapes. Many thanks again to Napo and Stuart for the unreleased heat! 
 
Featuring beats from the one and only J Dilla on  track 5
 
2 Picky 4:48 
Angel Girl 3:20 
What U Be Mine 4:02 
CB Deuces-Remix 4:40 
Beautiful Ending 3:30 
Eat My Words 3:27 
Love Lessons 4:03 
Collision Of Culture 2:26 
Real Music 5:20 
PDF 4:13 
Lose A_Soul 3:23 
Vented For 5:01 
Thatz Whuz Up 4:31 
Centaur N 5:05 
What's Happenin 4:33 
 

Friday, January 1, 2021

Lea: Shuga Sweete (Soh-Lo Records, 1998)

Another rare CD found on the outskirts of DC by avid crate digger and connoisseur of all things funky N.G., formally of VA Beach. Seen from a few "collectors" before now, the set was recorded between 1993-1998 and is a blend of 90s contemporary R&B and modern soul with sweet, bluesy vocals. I don't know anything about the artist whose full name is Lea Harvey but some of the producers later went on to work with Meli'sa Morgan, Mary J. Blige and others. 

Shuga Sweete (Radio Mix) 4:55 
'Cause I Want U 5:09 
House Jam 5:06 
If-U-Not 4:40 
I Wanna Know 5:13 
Baib-A-Baib 4:05 
This Time 4:11 
Stepp 4:14 I 
Never Thought Of Lovin' You 4:25 
Shuga Sweete (Club Mix) 4:56