Sunday August 5th 2001


This week I added singles from Deborah Cox, Gerald Levert, Prophet Jones,
Ginuwine, Beverlei Brown and Brian McKight to the real-audio page. More
on Beverlei Brown next week.
On the album front we saw releases from Blu Cantrell and the eagerly awaited
album from Bilal. Among next week's releases will be the new Isley Brother
album "Eternal".


Blu Cantrell - So Blu

Blu has got soul as well as the blues, it seems, judging from the hurt that permeates
many of her songs. But break her heart at your own risk. First single "Hit 'Em Up
Style (Oops!)" finds her taking revenge with a stash-busting shopping spree, while
a guy trying to crawl back into her affections on "U Must Be Crazy" finds himself
talking to the hand. With her throaty, emotional vocals, the jazzy singer can swing,
seduce and carry a torch with the best of her contemporaries. She's Arista president
L.A. Reid's first new act since taking over last summer for Clive Davis, who left to
start J Records. Reid can't possibly be blue over Cantrell


Bilal - First Born Second

Rarely has a new R&B artist been as steeped in musical history - and at the same
time unencumbered by convention - as Philadelphia singer/songwriter Bilal Oliver.
At first listen, it's easy to pick out his more obvious influences - D'Angelo, Prince,
George Clinton, Marvin Gaye - but his roots go far deeper than that. Trained in
both jazz and opera, he's adept at using his remarkably elastic voice to convey mood
and feeling in ways that go beyond the mere expression of words. His creative blend
of these various elements results in a sound at once familiar and fresh. Similarly, his
lyrics offer unique perspectives on topics that have been touched on before, and while
several top-flight producers - James Mtume, James Poyser, Mike City and others -
contribute, it is clearly his vision. The Dr. Dre-produced "Fast Lane" explores the
consequences of living on the edge; the introspective "Sometimes" examines his
own hopes and fears; and the sanctified "Slyde" pays homage to Sly Stone. Sensual
first single "Soul Sista" is a tribute to black women, while the title track addresses
societal injustice. It also references the coming of a second generation of neo-soul
artists who seem poised to take that music to a higher plane.

Other news :

Lauren Hill working on new album

Lauryn Hill is back in the studio and working on her second solo album.
The follow up to 'The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill' is expected to feature Lauryn singing, MCing and playing the guitar.
The album's targeted for an autumn release and will have a feel that's
very personal and intimate to the ex-Fugees star.

Ex-En Vogue / Lucy Pearls's solo album due in October

After spending years in En Vogue, recording an album with the short-lived Lucy
Pearl and contributing backing vocals to a number of artists, Dawn Robinson has
decided to keep her silky, soulful voice all to herself.
Robinson's debut solo album, Dawn, will hit stores October 16, with the sassy,
uptempo single "Envious" leading the way at radio in mid-September.

Avant & Jodeci prove "Two Can Play"

Let the games begin! MCA Records is set to release an album of music from
the upcoming Screen Gems comedy "Two Can Play That Game."
"Two Can Play That Game" is Screen Gems' new comedy about who's winning,
who's losing and who's just playing in the age-old battle of the sexes. When Shante
(Vivica A. Fox) a sexy, smart sister, suddenly finds herself with man trouble, she
activates her "ten day plan" to get her man Keith (Morris Chestnut) back in line.
Turns out, the men have a few rules of their own.
The hit-packed MCA soundtrack features a remarkable mix of contemporary R&B /
hip-hop artists and songs, such as Jodeci, "Stay"; Avant, "Ooh Ahh"; Chante Moore,
"Go Ahead With All That" (Jermaine Dupri Remix); Chico & Coolwadda, "Godzilla
Like"; KeKe Wyatt, "If Only You Knew"; Damozel, "Everyday's A Party"; Rahsaan
Patterson, "So Hot"; Yasmeen, "Poppin' Up"; Pam & Dodi, "Don't Have To"; The
Roots, "The Next Movement" and Jersey Avenue among many others.
The first single is Melky Sedeck's, "Kitty Kat World", which will be released to radio
on August 13, while the album attives in stored August 28th. The video, featuring the
film's co-stars Vivica A. Fox and Morris Chestnut, was directed by Christopher Erskin
(Boyz II Men) and will be impacting the airwaves soon.

Whitney Houston Lands Nine-Figure Recording Contract

Whitney Houston has inked a new deal with her longtime label Arista Records that
is valued in excess of $100 million. The arrangement, for multiple albums, was
announced by Arista Records President and CEO, Antonio "L.A." Reid. No further
details were disclosed.
Industry insiders were speculating that Houston would leave Arista to join the label's
founder, Clive Davis, at his new venture, the recently established J Records.
"Arista Records has been my home since the beginning of my career," said Houston,
in a statement. "I am happy to be continuing the relationship and I look forward to
working with L.A. Reid and the new Arista family."
She added, "I am so excited with this new deal and I'm looking forward to going into
the studio soon to start work on my next album."
Reid offered, "I couldn't be more thrilled that Whitney has decided to continue her
career here at Arista Records. No one in the world can sing like Whitney, which is
why she is regarded as the cornerstone of not only Arista but the entire music business."
Houston first joined forces with Arista Records in 1983 to record her self-titled
debut album, which came out two years later. Since that time, she has sold more than
140 million albums, singles, and videos, including more than 17 million of the
1992 soundtrack to The Bodyguard, one of the most successful albums ever in the
United States.


News 2001