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Friday, July 10, 2015

Tha' Rayne: Still Reigning - The Mixtape (Promo Vinyl Comp) (2002)

Originally the brainchild of Naughty By Nature's DJ KayGee, The' Rayne were yet another failed female R&B group from the early 2000s and were signed to Arista Records by Antonio L.A. Reid in 2001. The group, which originally consisted of three vocalists, went through numerous line-up changes before their management finally decided to make them into an R&B version of Salt-N-Peppa in 2002. They released three singles Rock Wit Me, No L.O.V.E. and Didn't You Know between 2001 and 2003 but their debut album Reign Supreme never saw the light of day. After the failure of the two early singles, it was pushed back at least twice and eventually shelved altogether upon Artista's merger with Sony BMG in 2004. The above vinyl compilation - stylized as a mixtape - and a further 5-track CD sampler are currently the only
source for some of these unreleased tracks in full. While the label's other group ISYSS might've appealed more to teen-pop fans at the time, Tha' Rayne had slightly more street credibility. Their unique blend of throwback soul and uptempo hip hop was later revisited by Elizabeth "Yummy" Bingham on her 2006 solo album The First Seed. Featured here are the two early singles, a collaboration She's A Queen with Queen Latifah and three previously unreleased tracks Kiss Me, Luv Bug and Party Music. Producers include KayGee, Jimi Kendrix, Precision and Jermaine Dupri. The Rich Harrison production Didn't You Know is not featured but did get a wider release on CD single. Another great group that could've gone far if only they had the right people behind them which evidently, once again, wasn't Reid...

Kiss Me featuring Lupe Fiasco 3:23
Luv Bug 4:03
No L.O.V.E. 3:24
Party Music 3:30
She's A Queen featuring Queen Latifah 4:39
Rock Wit Me 3:31