The Best of 2018

Friday, February 15, 2019

Ruude: Anytime (VLS) (II Da G's, 199x)

I first featured this group about a year ago after originally hearing them on a compilation. The compilation that they featured on "Soul Pressure! Volume 2" was originally put out by London-based label Mission Records in the mid 90s and featured  tracks from mainly underground UK urban acts such as Truce, Kruez and Sha Sha (AKA Sharon White.) Like Serenade before them, I quickly became enamored by their 90s American R&B sound which stood apart from the more reserved street soul which was popular in the underground at the time and threw major shade at the more popular mainstream groups such as Eternal. They released three singles "How Many Times" , "Luv On Da Phone" and most recently discovered the above which is a 90s hip hop groove with a hook to murder for. A picture sleeve, here we get to see the group for the first time and listed on the back is the proposed title of their first album "Fatal Attraction" which does not seem to have been released. It has no release date but guessing sometime prior to 1995 as the II Da G's remix features a sample of "Joya's Intro" by Joya Owens and was lifted from her 1995 album "Here I Am." I would say that they were comparable to SWV , definitely more so than the other South London group Eternal. Yet more great UK R&B music that was overlooked in favor of shitty boybands and the Spice Girls... despite turning heads "Stateside."

 Anytime (Album Mix)    4:08
Anytime (II Da Gz's Mix)    4:11
Anytime (Radio Rap Edit Mix)    4:03
Anytime (Radio Edit - Without Rap)    3:43
Anytime (Instrumental)    3:46

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Blacklisted Presents: Tha Crab Theory (Blacklisted Records, 1999)

Further music from Toronto-based producers Sean & Billy Alexander (originally from Detroit, MI), whose indie label Blacklisted Records is known in collector's circles for Ora, Unique and a handful of other artists/groups in the late 90s. They did a stellar job mixing smooth 90s DeVante & Roger Troutman esque R&B ("How May I Do You", "I Need A Freak") with late 90s urban-contemporary and underground hip hop flavas (Ora, Chantelle, InEssence et al.) A few I have posted here but others have not been featured, either owing to their scarcity of the fact that they did not make it off this compilation ( far as I am aware.) Filipino quartet Ora are probably the most widely known and I featured their only single "N V So" back in 2014. A solid mix of smooth, mellow R&B grooves and uptempo urban-pop numbers, their style was somewhat reminiscent of En Vogue while male group Unique, who released an EP "How May I Do You" in the late 90s, sounded somewhat like Jodeci. Also featured is the lesser

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Denosh: Counting The Dayz (VLS) (Blacklisted Records, 1998)

Further music from Canadian underground label Blacklisted Records in the late 90s with Denosh (Bennett), a talented singer from Toronto, ON who these days works as a backing vocalist for some big names in the industry. Produced by the same team behind Filipina-Canadian group Ora and fellow Toronto soloist Delisha Thomas (see previous post), it is very similar to their work with sweeping vocal arrangements and smooth 90s R&B production. This vinyl single was released in 1998 but the original song dates back to 1996 on a compilation from the label's distributor Hi-Bias Records Inc. As for Bennett, she later turned her hand to acting and scored parts in Blues Brothers (1998), Woo (1998) and Honey (2002), among others. She also appeared as a dancer in Aaliyah's 2002 song "Rock The Boat." As for music, she sadly never got beyond the supporting stage (her biggest song to date is probably Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth's 2004 single "It's A Love Thing" where she served as a featured vocalist) and these days appears to be happy singing back-up for the likes of Justin Timberlake and Demi Lovato. A real shame her knock-out voice is wasted on these pop horrors but at least she hasn't considered a career as a realtor...yet.

Counting The Dayz (Little Girl Come Home Mix)    5:07
Counting The Dayz (Instrumental)    5:04
Counting The Dayz (KJ's Soul Mix)    4:25
Counting The Dayz (Original Mix)    5:06
Counting The Dayz (Acappella)    4:09

Delisha Thomas: Can't Stop (VLS) (Blacklisted Records, 1999) (RE-POST)

Early underground recording by Ontario-based singer-songwriter Delisha Thomas who later went on to work with super producer Rodney Jerkins. She has written DeJa Vu by Beyonce and Favorite Girl by Justin Bieber but the above song might sound familiar to some as the original score was also recorded by Filipina-Canadian group Ora. Released at around the same time (1999), I don't know who recorded it first but it was not written by Thomas. Both acts were signed to the same Toronto indie label Blacklisted Records or Blacklisted 4 Lyfe Records which sadly folded before anything further could be released but Ora's entire unreleased album (including the above song) can be found here.

Can't Stop ('U Got Me Hooked' Extended) 5:49
Can't Stop (Kaje Remix) 3:35
Can't Stop (Accapella) 3:03
Can't Stop ('Can I Get A What' Remix) 4:36
Can't Stop ('Can I Get A What' Remix Instrumental) 4:31
Can't Stop (Original Mix) 5:56

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Envoy: The Envoy Project (Self-Released, 2000)

Contemporary gospel and rap from Tacoma, Washington featuring Seattle rapper Kid Sensation (Steven Spence, known here by his later moniker Xola Malik.) Written and produced by Spence, some of the R&B tracks have a similar appeal to fellow contemporary gospel groups Mary Mary and Trin-i-tee 5:7. Unfortunately, not much information on the female vocalists involved (two sisters and their aunt) but one Rhonda Kinlow continues to work with Spence and provided vocals on his 2016 album "Looking Up."

My Prayer 1:10
One More Chance 4:39
Representin' 3:27
Hopin Wishin Prayin 4:11
He Lifts Me 3:55
God Times 4:27
Him 2:44
Single Mother's Anthem 4:07
Heaven 4:26
Keep Me 4:27

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Golden Records Presents: The Block (Golden Records, 2000)

A further compilation from Seattle, Washington and a mixture of Hip Hop, G-Funk and R&B from a handful of local artists that only seem to exist here. With no artist names to any of the songs listed, this may well possibly be a group (I am not 100% certain) but the R&B tracks (7 in total) are all female-fronted.

New York, NY 4:44
Party Don't Stop 3:54
Soldier 3:09
Matrix 4:32
Can't Stop 3:43
Freakin 4:09 (R&B)
Total Package 4:17 (R&B)
Bonus Track 4:54
Last Days 5:03
Bump 4:40 (R&B)
Wanna Do Wrong 4:38 (R&B)
Still I Rise 4:16 (R&B)
What's Up 4:17
Been Around 3:59
Out The Door 4:18 (R&B)
U Don't Know Me 4:03
Me With U 4:17 (R&B)