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Monday, December 31, 2018

Familiar Face: Living Waters (O.Y.T. Records, 2001)

Another obscure male 4-piece group that I've never heard of before and a mixture of contemporary R&B, gospel, modern soul and a few club tracks. The lead singer and producer Wendell Noble was previously the lead singer of The Joneses (later The Platters) and has a classic soul tenor vocal range (another member Ramon Nobel may also have been a member of the former although I don't know for certain.) Though Noble's vocals more than compliment the gospel and modern soul on this album, I don't know as if he's really suited to contemporary R&B music. No mention of this particular endeavor appears anywhere in his biography. 

Break It Down 4:07
Love Song 5:20
Recipe 4:53
I Can't Wait To See You Again 4:32
Magical Love 6:06
Can I Get A Witness 4:15
Go For It 4:29
Can't Wait 4:29
Give Me A Try 4:13
Heavenly Love 4:18
Break It Down (Club Mix) 6:20
Recipe (Club Mix) 5:22

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Courtney Dennie: Bliss (DH Productions, 2005)

More obscure R&B from out the UK with Courtney Dennie, a former backing vocalist and writer and producer with major label connections (Joe, Jodeci, Keith Murray and many others he's worked with.) From the grime influences of "Cancel The Budget" to the orchestral samples in "Dirty Storm" to the smooth "quintessential" male balladeerring of  "Lady" and  his style is a mixture of hip hop, contemporary R&B and neo soul with light, melodic vocals. Sadly it doesn't appear as if he's done much since, despite being tipped to perform at Live Aid back in 2005, but is still on Sound Cloud where he seeks to "create", "unite" and "inspire" through sound. 

Intro 1:32
Cancel The Budget 4:04
Honey Child 4:12
Cant't Live Without You 2:54
Colder By The Flame 4:00
Dirty Storm 3:13
Ain't No Thing 3:35
Lady 4:02
Mo Fish's 3:01
Superficial Life 3:36
Sky's The Limit 3:44
Miracles 3:41

Friday, December 21, 2018

Deon (AKA Dion "Deion" Jenkins): Don't Stop (R&B Music Entertainment, 2004)

Featuring production from DJ Hi-Tek, here is another find from the crates in and around Virginia Beach and hails from Falls Church, VA. Smooth early 2000s R&B at its best, the artist himself actually hails from Cincinnati, Ohio and is nowadays known by his actual name Dion or Dieon (Jenkins.) He's worked with The Game, 50 Cent and other prominent rappers in the early 2000s and was once signed to Aftermath Entertainment (although his album was not released.) He also worked with Hi-Tek on an album that allegedly went unreleased although I am uncertain if any of the songs ended up here. His latest EP "Time Wasted" can be found on Soundcloud and Bandcamp and all but 1 of the tracks are lifted from here. Sadly despite his level of professionalism and being linked with many high-profile rappers and producers, he is yet to release an actual solid album. Time Wasted for this talented guy for sure. Many thanks again to Stuaaart for the contribution and as always to our Virginia Beach dude for finding it. 

The Call 1:45
Heartbreaker 1:54
Messy 5:28
Tell Me 3:34
Certified 4:34
No Games 4:49
You Never Told Me 4:39
Wide Open 1:22
Overdose 4:09
Don't Stop 4:50
Grounded 5:22
The Last Call 1:22

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Steelo & Ayel: More obscure European groups

Courtesy of Stuaaart over @ beats4dastreets, two more obscure European (Dutch) R&B groups and duos that seemingly never went beyond one single. The first one "Steelo" I originally posted back in May and features Dutch hip hop artist Statboogie while the second (duo) were produced by some of the people behind ex-Dignity vocalist Edsilla Rombley. Both are from the late 90s with Steelo having more of a mid-90s European R&B sound (a la Cutfather & Joe) while Ayel is more early 2000s Americanized urban crossover stuff. Not quite as refined as the majors Dignity and Juice (they do sing with a slight accent in places) but nevertheless good vocals and production on both tracks.

Blue Soul, 1997
Do Me Like That [Radio Mix] 3:31
Do Me Like That [Street Mix] 3:50

TWF Music, 1999
Ya Makin' Me [Radio Mix] 3:34
Ya Makin' Me [RAyel Mix] 3:51

Friday, December 14, 2018

Smiley: Betcha Didn't Know (VLS) (Jewels Records, 200x)

Hardcore hip hop and R&B from Smiley, a female MC from Detroit who was mostly active between 1989-1983. She was known for her single "Smiley But I'm Not Friendly" and became the first female rapper from the town to receive a gold plaque. She was also known for her popular local video show The Smiley Show, which ran for 7 years. I don't know much about this particular recording by her but B-side has an almost garage house vibe with spoken word vocals and ad-libs throughout. The slowed down remix then turns it into a smooth R&B track and has different lyrics altogether and additional vocal refrains. A versatile artist who raps and sangs! Many thanks again to Stuaaart for the contribution.

Betcha Didn't Know    3:33
You Ain't Tippin' Me    3:51
You Ain't Tippin' Me [V.I.P. Mix]    4:00

iCandi: Can't Believe (Promo VLS) (Urban Street/So Famous Ent., 2003)

More unknown R&B from a Midwestern female duo comprised of Yolanda "La La" Brown and Loree Marzett aka iCandi. Very synonymous with music from that era with Beyonce-esque vocals and embattled subject matter, "Can't Believe" is a mid tempo  joint while the Souther-nish "Ooh Wee" was produced by Midi Mafia as per the shout-out at the beginning. I don't know much about them as a duo but Brown was apparently tipped for big things - she featured on the track "L.I.F.E." by Lyfe Jennings in 2006 - but sadly thereafter was the victim of homicide with her then-boyfriend at a studio in Wisconsin.

Can't Believe 3:45
Can't Believe (Instrumental) 3:52
Ooh Wee!  3:39
Ooh Wee! (Instrumental)3:39

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Rita Mosley: S/T (RM313° Entertainment, 1998)

Prior to  "Sin City" and "Unleashed", Detroit native Rita Mosley released the above album - which I am presuming was her first - in the late 90s. Despite obscurity, it is a solid album with only the remix of "Freak-N" being something I probably could pass on. A blend of smooth 90s R&B and Sade-esque neo soul, it's not mentioned anywhere online but as per Discogs it yielded one single, the double-A-Side "Freakin'"/"Motown Funk" in 1998.

Motown Funk 3:02
Freak N (Featuring Pimpeht) 3:34
My Love -N- 3:37
You Are The One! 5:06
Check It Out 4:01
People Change 3:34
Whatever Happened? 4:03
Life 3:17
Nightcap 4:13
Better Days 4:07
Freak N (Re-Mix) 4:17

Monday, December 3, 2018

Shawn: Demo EP (VPT Productions & Entertainment, 2006)

Obscure 6-track demo from an artist that I cannot find anything about but style is mature mid-2000s modern soul/contemporary R&B with a "live band" feel. The company VPT Productions & Entertainment still appears to be active and are a management firm and talent booking agency from the Atlanta, GA area. I don't know if this is an earlier incarnation of the same artist of not but does an amazing rendition of Jennifer Holidays "And I Am Telling You."

 Is This My Romeo ft. BZ    4:47
Your Mother And Me    4:59
And I Am Telling You    4:16
A Woman Now    4:59
Your Mother And Me [Club Mix]    6:25
Outro    0:33

Kerie AKA QT Browne: Holla At Me (Promo EP) (Krystal Key Entertainment, 2006)

Beyonce-esque R&B from New York songstress Kerie Cooper (AKA QT Bronwe) who initially started her career playing keyboards for R&B group Playa and Oakland-based rapper Richie Rich in the mid to late 90s. It reached no 2 on the urban indie chart and did well on the NY mixtape circuit but I don't know if a follow-up or her purported album was ever released.

Holla At Me 3:46
Holla At Me - Instrumental 3:46
Holla At Me - A Cappella 3:38
Only About You 3:19