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.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Christynette: Bass Of My Soul (Album Sampler) (Promo) (Gemtoy, 2001)

First featured by us on our Street Beats series, UK singer Christynette was first heard on MC Malarchi's 2000 single "4 U Days" before releasing her own "Enough Love" in 2001. She was one of a handful of artists signed to independent label Gemtoy Records in the early 2000s along with MCs 2Sticky and Ghettoganza, and a further female artist Shea. Described as the UK's "First Lady of Urban Soul", Christynette appeared on the Radio 1 stage at Nottinghill Carnival and later appeared on BBC 2. Her debut album "Bass Of My Soul" was highly rated by the label but seemingly went unreleased. The only artist to get an actual release from this label it seems was Malarchi whose debut album "Forgotten World" was released in 2001. Regardless, presented here are 7 tracks which would've been on her album,  a blend of soulful slow jams and colorful early 2000s flava. A real lost opportunity along with many of these obscure single-track artists who featured on Street Beats and similar promo-only compilations sent to radio stations and DJs. As always me and my dedicated team hope to someday find more of them.

Enough Love    4:24
Gentle Distance    3:44
The Deeper We Get    4:18
Unbelievable    4:14
The Impossible    4:27
The One Who Always Loved You    4:29
Enough Love (Urban Remix)    4:55
U4Days (Remix)    4:27
Enough Love (2 Step Remix)    3:37

 Hear more unreleased heat from Street Beats here.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Fun*Dmental 03: Demo Sampler (Promo) (daWorks Entertainment, 2oox)

A further UK group from the mid-2000s who were signed to Jazz Black's daWorks Entertainment label. Black was a former producer for many notable UK R&B artists including Hinda Hicks and most artists from the Mission Records label from back in the day, including two of my all-time favorite groups Montage and Serenade. I guess they called themselves Fun*Dmental 03 to avoid confusion with fellow British hip hop/ethnic fusion group Fun-Da-Mental but they won best newcomer at the MOBO Awards in 2006. Again much like 308, they released a few singles and then disappeared despite being crowned both the label's and the UK's "premiere boy band." They changed their name to FDM soon after. 
 
Playground    1:42
Butterfingers    1:17
Trick Nut    1:33
Where She Lays    1:55
Party People    1:58
Wait A While    1:39
Untitled    1:25

308: Demo Disc (Promo) (On Point Entertainment, 2007)

 
Early demos from Croydon-based brother duo 308 who won BT Broadband's Unsigned Talent competition in 2007. Their first single "Gots To Go" was an underground success with the 2-Step influenced "Don't Confess" with Kele Le Roc also getting some notable praise. An album "No Turning Back" was slated for release though if it was ever was, it is most likely little more than a mixtape. The duo have continued to release singles through iTunes although aside from "Gots To Go" and it's b-side "No Turning Back", nothing remains of this particular project at all. Influences included Ryan Leslie, Usher and Craig David.

Gots To Go 3:47
Don't Confess 3:39
Lost For Words 3:26
Wanna Be The One 3:34
Don't Walk Away 3:32
Compromise A Way 3:51

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

YD Records Presnts: Step Up II Da Mic (Promo) (YD Records, 200x)

More rare R&B/2-Step music from out the UK with Step Up II Da Mic, a showcase with a flavor of new music from the heart and soul of London. I don't know anything about any of the artists but the project itself appears to have originated from a monthly event "Your Destiny" which showcased new up and coming talent from around the capital. The tracks themselves are a mixture of original songs and covers with "Sweet Dreams"  in particular being a cover of the popular 80s song of the same name. After being sampled half a dozen times in numerous mediocre hip hop and R&B songs, it's nice to hear a modern 2-Step take on it. A real blast from the past. No date of release but 2002 as per an archived snapshot of the web address. 

Intro    0:52   
Games You Play    3:32   
Fly Away    4:11   
Grapevine 2002    3:17   
Interlude    0:16   
The Landing    4:10   
Slow Jam    3:56   
Interlude    0:36   
Could It Be    4:04   
Sweet Dreams    3:54   
Fly Away (Remix)    4:11   
Outro    2:05   

Ebony Alleyne: Little Bit Of Love (Promo CDS) (2NV Recordings, 200x)

More early 2000s indie R&B from out the UK with Ebony Alleyne, an artist who was signed to Sony as a singer-songwriter when she was only 19 years old, only for them to pass on her when they found she could not be pigeon-holed into the typical R&B sound that was popular back then. Listening to her husky contralto over the modern beats on this song, you can definitely hear the contrast. Regardless, Sony had financed her first album to the tune of £150,000 before they got cold feet and then UK Label Expansion Records, known for their rediscovery of many great soul and R&B acts, finally brought the rights to it in 2007. It's unknown where this particular song "Little Bit Of Love" may have originated from but it was produced by Shatek King, mostly known for producing DMX' "X Gonna Give It To Ya". There is also a bonus skit on the disc from guitarist Carlos Santana that mentions a familiar name and label: Clive Davis and Arista Records.

Little Bit Of Love (Radio Edit)    3:31   
Skit (Carlos Santana Voice Mail Message)    0:33

Des: Do You Wanna Know? (Kornerstone Productons, 200x)

Further unknown R&B found by Lewsic and appears to originate from Toronto, Canada although not 100% certain. Nothing is known about the artist but the label appears to be associated with reggae music. Surprisingly though, there isn't one lick of reggae or any of the associated genres on this album. It is 100% contemporary R&B with classic soul vocals, presumably from the early 2000s (as per the label's other releases) but the sound is very mid-to-late 90s. 

Can We Be Friends    3:54
Missin You    4:26
Do You Wanna Know    3:36
Here We Go Again    4:11
Caught In A Daze    3:59
Cycle Of Life    4:17
Ain_t Gonna Get    3:39
Always On My Mind    4:33
Pay Back    3:52
I Love You    3:34
This Time    3:53
Candle Lite    3:32

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Urbanize: Future Local Heros Vol. 1 (2005)

Further R&B and Hip Hop music out of Manchester, UK with “Urbanize” featuring a selection of gems hailing from the city’s “fruitful” urban scene back in the mid-2000s. I posted the second volume here which was supposed to be spread across 3 limited edition 12” promos but I was only ever able to find the first disc. Much like the first volume, there is an overabundance of sketchy hip hop but there are a few gems here, notably Mica Townsend’s “Back In The Day” and the beatbox gem “Runaway” by Gemin-Eye and Mad Rush. Another mention goes to “Nobody’s Fool”, the finished version of which can be found here by former MOBO Runner’s Up LB & QT. 

Let Me Tell Ya    3:04    (MC Dizzy)
Tru 1    3:32    (Tearror & Da Lecturaw)
Nobody_s Fool    3:54    (Serina Wain feat. Akosua Mensah)
Get Up Off Ya Backside    3:21    (Northern Monkees)
Back In The Day    4:13    (Mica Townsend)
Bounce!    3:21    (Flava Combined)
Tears    3:47    (Versies feat. Crystalize)
Yes    3:52    (Raw T)
Nubian    3:53    (Peachez)
Lonely Girl    4:12    (Venus)
Black Butterfly    4:04    (Diemond)
When The Sun Goes Down    3:27    (David Thomas)
Runaway    4:33    (Gemin-eye & Mad Rush)

Go Blue: The Life And Soul Of Machester England (Blue Records, 1996)

R&B music from Manchester, UK, which admittedly isn’t the first place I envisage when I think about this genre of music, but it turns out there were quite a few good artists and groups from there and I am not talking about Simply Red and Lisa Stansfield. Featured here are a selection of great unsung R&B and soul acts from the 80s to the mid-90s including 52nd Street/Cool Down Zone, Victor Haynes and many more. Notable more indie picks here include sensual female singers Jummai and Fyza and more great street soul with 3D Productions. Jummai I don’t know anything about but she was a featured performer at Manchester’s In The City music conference which ran from the early 90s to the end of the 2000s. She was said to be working with Dennis Charles and Ronnie Wilson who were mostly known for their work with Eternal in the 90s. She could’ve been Manchester’s answer to Michelle Gayle but seemingly never had a single of her own. The sweet-voiced Fyza later had a self-titled album and a couple of singles in the late 90s while 3D productions only ever appeared anywhere but here and have a quite sought-after 12” which was manufactured by Fosters Ice for Kiss FM.

 
Tell Me (How It Feels) 7:17 (52nd Street)
Just A Little More 5:34 (Fifth Of Heaven)
Heaven Knows 7:59 (Cool Down Zone)
I Just Wanna Be 5:13 (FR' Mystery)
Do You (All Nite) 4:34 (Jummai)
Colour My Life (Part One) 5:03 (M People)*
This Is Love 4:59 (Victor Haynes)
Trust In You 4:46 (3D Productions)
Keep On It 4:21 (Chapter And The Verse)
Poetical Love 7:06 (Fyza)
Set Me Free 5:38 (The Bygraves)
Black Whip 4:10 (Chapter And The Verse) 
 
*NOTE: The addition of the 90s popular electronic/house group M People is a bit of mystery. Although I quite enjoyed them back in the day, I have a feeling that this may have been just a last minute addition to this set. 

Monday, March 15, 2021

The Best of Unsigned (Touch Magazine, 200x)

Another selection of underground R&B and Hip Hop music from out the UK with Touch Magazine, an urban music & lifestyle magazine which was in publication up until 2008. Notable features include Davinah who entered and won Eastside Records' talent contest Search For A Star in 2004, smooth male artist Oogie with "Promises", Collective Minds with the uptempo "About To Change" and "Slowly Surely" from Soundbwoy Entertainment artist E.C. of which the full compilation CD can be found here.

Get Out Of My Face 3:40 (Davinah)
Slowly Surely 3:40 (EC)
(Wong) Love Of Money 3:45 (D-Stubborn)
Promises 3:28 (Oogie)
About To Change 3:02 Collective Mind)
Collaboration 3:12 (Junior Dangerous)
Random Chick 4:05 (Baby Phat)
Too Hot 3:25 (Lady Chill)
Nu Breed 3:46 (Nu Breed)
Kiss My Money Maker 3:34 (Harri Best) 
 

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Junie White: Stuck On You (CDM) (Self-Released, 1999)

Another obscure find from Lewsic and what appears to be a very private, underground release from 1999 from a UK-based female singer. No information about her anywhere - it was basically just a disc sans any and all packaging - but the featured MC AK Dope has a few 12"s on Discogs. 

Stuck On You    4:01
Stuck On You (Hip-Hop Mix)    3:44
Stuck On You (Instrumental)    4:09
When I Look At You    4:01

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

X-elle: Promo EP (Platinum Artist Management, 2002)

 
Originally featured on Andros Georgiou and the Daily Star’s Magnificent 7 series, X-elle were a 4-piece girl group comprised of Sherene Flash, Chantal Springer, Charmaine Espirit and Laura Hills from the early 2000s. Their music was described as a mixture of T.L.C., Pink (presumably from her first album era) and En Vogue ‘all rolled into one’ and they were all aged between 20-24 years old when they first appeared on the Magnificent 7 compilation with the uptempo track “Boom Da Da Da.” A much less chav-tastic version of Tommi (known for their only single “Like What” in 2003), the group wrote all of their own material, choreographed their own dance moves and worked on their own production. Alas, considering the work they put in, they are still a new one to me. They toured with major label groups such as Damage, performed live for Children In Need and even had a bi-weekly residency at The Eve Club in London’s Regent Street but still we struggled to find anything about them outside of the Web Archive for the Daily Star CD. Lewsic was lucky enough to find the above disc, which appears to be a management demo from 2002, but it is most likely the only one in existence. Mixing the Spices “Girl Power” with a little urban appeal, they had a very unique, futuristic hip hop sound that set them apart from similar UK urban groups at the time such as Tommi with their more cliche American sound and Mis-Teeq with their 2-Step crossover appeal. I don’t know if there was a niche in the market for them at the time but I certainly would be interested in hearing more. 
 
Boom Da Da Da    3:33
Did You Know    3:47
Hot Boy    3:32

Monday, March 1, 2021

Various: The Black Music Unsigned Sampler (Promo) (BMG Music Publishing, 1998)

From the UK Midlands area, another selection of unsigned R&B and Hip Hop acts from the late 90s. They were part of a music conference "In The City" that ran from the early 90s to the end of the 2000s in Manchester featuring up and coming artists from a broad range of spectrums from Britpop to Hip Hop.   Female artist Jummai had appeared on a few more similar compilations and was allegedly working with Dennis Charles and Ronnie Wilson who were mostly known for their work for Eternal in the 90s. Her funky track "Sexy Baby" has since made Lewsic's top 50 Best Picks to be appearing on my You Tube channel soon. A further duo that does not appear anywhere else In Good Faith had previously won the Choice FM/Opaz Search For A Star competition in 1997 before appearing on here with "Synchronized Emotions".  Two more artists who appear to be slightly more wider known include Manchester hip hop/R&B duo Parrish who released one promotional single "Street Senorita" in 2000 and North West male R&B quartet Kash who released two singles independently between 1999 and 2000 ("Summerhot Baby"/"Baby We On It"). Compared to Manchester soul group Sweet Sensation, Kash appear here with an unreleased track "It's Over" and by 2001 were on the hunt for another label deal. 

If You Knew    4:25    (Lee Ramsey)
Run Me Down    3:30    (Bungo Chilli)
Stereo Da Da's    3:58    (Parrish)
Sexy Baby    3:15    (Jummai)
Immunisable Seekers    3:52    (Subliminal Darkness)
Girl Ya Original    3:46    (Country Culture)
Music Of My Mind    4:05    (Tune In)
Synchronised Emotions    4:03    (In Good Faith)
It's Over    4:15    (Kash)
Get Outta My Home    4:55    (Breaking The Illusion)

Various: The Magnificent 7 - Urban Grooves Vol. 3 (Promo) (Daily Star, 2002)

The Daily Star is the last place I would ever go to to find quality R&B/Hip Hop music but we were pleasantly surprised by two tracks on this mainly Electronic/Trance CD that was given away free with The Daily Star in the early 2000s. Most were featured on Essential Talent Search, which was like an early, more underground predecessor to the X Factor and launched by Andros Georgiou in 2001. Due to the high volume of submissions (350 in total), Georgiou felt that it was unfair to choose a single winner so instead teamed up with the Daily Star to release "The Magnificent 7" series which featured seven of his best picks. It was spread across 7 discs and was given out free to readers at the time. The vast majority of the submissions were dance and electronic music but hidden away on this particular volume are two great urban cuts that you won't find anywhere else. A female R&B/Rap quartet X-Elle were described as a 'mixture of TLC, Pink and En Vogue rolled into one' while smooth male vocalist Royl hailed originally from Canada after his uncle saw Georgiou's Essential Talent Search and sent in his CD. Neither went on to release anything else but X-Elle did have demo which I will be posting very soon.

Boom Da Da Da     3:31 (X-Elle)    
Movin' On Featuring – Jo Bryant 4:18 (Twister)    
We Change     3:16 (Royl.)    
Stand Up     5:27 (DS3)    
Nightmares     4:36 (Halon Dark)    
For You     7:16 (Paul Sumner)    
Perfect Man Featuring – Miss D*Vine 3:53 (XKG)