Sunday July 8th 2001
Hello again and welcome to the second
edition of the weekly RnB update.
This has been a slow week as far as new releases is concerned, it must be the
hot weather. Only one new album of interest and it comes from the new male
quartet 4 Shades. But this weekend I received another excellent album in the
mail, The Cynthia Biggs project featuring Sharon Bryant, and so I'll also include
that in this update.
4 Shades - 4 Shades
This Atlanta quartet (Willie Cannon, Caesar Riley, Darryl Cannon and Fred
Frazier) was invited to sing at a Coca Cola party at 1999's Super Bowl in
Atlanta where boxer Evander Holyfield heard them sing and signed them to
his record label Real Deal Records.
Strong enough to kick out a jam for the dance floor, yet gentle enough to
caress a love song, 4 Shades is ready to take R&B harmony to a new level.
Good music comes from these four fine fellas on an album that vibes and
thrives on the human heart. From the sweet sensations of "Everything," a
caressing cut that showcases their range, depth and compassion, to the
rhythmatic "Hot and Cold," 4 Shades takes each song and wraps it in warmth
and empathy, without giving up their masculinity or strength as men.
Their debute album explores relationships with a new vigor. "Can't Let Go,"
tells the tale of the myriad of emotions that characterize a break-up.
Another hot track is "Give Me Your Hand," which explores the unfortunate
realities of abuse. It's one of Willie's favorites and exemplifies the group's
compassion for the human condition. "It came from a situation where I saw
a female friend being abused by her boyfriend," he explains. "I wanted to let
her know I would be there for her."
Don't get the idea that this album will be soft and sexy. 4 Shades' diversity
rings true on uptempo jams like "The Reasons" "Tell Me" and "Eye Candy."
As easy as 4 Shades can soak a ballad with passion, they can ride a rhythm
with heart and energy, complemented by a finger snappin', top-tappin', aint
no nappin' pulse as sexy as it is funky. The first single of this album is "Crave".
The Cynthia Biggs project featuring Sharon Bryant - No One Like You
Cynthia is known for writing such hits as
"Nights over Egypt" for the Jones girls,
"If Only You Knew" for Patti Labelle, "Living All Alone" for Phyllis Hyman as
well as songs for Teddy Pendergrass, The O'Jays and The Stylistics, most of which
together with partner Dexter Wansel. Sharon of course was the lead singer for
Atlantic Starr before leaving to persue a solo career. But after one album ("Here
I Am") she more or less disappeared in the backsground doing session work for
artists as Mary J. Blige, Phyllis Hyman, George Benson, Freddie Jackson and Bob
James.To prove to the world that her voice is a good as ever (if not better) comes
this excellent 13 track album.
Starting off with the cracking mid-tempo swayer "Whole" which puts you in the
right frame of mind from the begining. But it just gets better with the next track
"Let Them Talk", an atmospheric slice of pure class with a 99 on the goosebump
scale! And the quality continues with with the gorgeous "Let's Just Say Goodnight"
which will have you lunging for the repeat button on your stereo remote. The title
track and first single moves the tempo up a notch with a mid-tempo groove to die
for and it's hard to sit still. Another highlight is the grove ballad "Nothing Ever
Hurt This Good" which, again, has class oozing from every note. What a voice.
Also check out "You're The One" and "You Ought To Know By Now" a powerful
An album not so easy to find, but when you do, it will certainly be worth it.
As stated last week, there is going to be a
new Michael Cooper album later this
month,the single "Your Face" is out now. This week also sees a new single from
Gerald Levert "Made to Love Ya" with an album planned for september called
Other news items :
Jodeci perform together for the first time in 6 years
For one brief moment, the legendary R&B
group Jodeci was on stage performing
together for the first time in six years. It happened at L.A.'s Universal Amphitheater
in the middle of a sold-out concert featuring K-Ci & JoJo, both founding members
of Jodeci. About thirty minutes into the show, Dalvin "Mr. Dalvin DeGrate" and
Donald "DeVante Swing" DeGrate sauntered on stage to a thunderous ovation,
and proceeded to join K-Ci & JoJo for a 25-minute medley of classic Jodeci hits.
The quartet, which is reportedly halfway finished recording the new Jodeci studio
album, played a hits-filled mega-medley of love songs that sent the crowd into a
frenzy, starting with "Stay," "Come and Talk To Me," and "Forever My Lady," from
its 1991 debut album, Forever My Lady.
Jodeci (Joel "JoJo" Hailey, Donald "DeVante Swing" DeGrate, Cedric "K-Ci"
Hailey, and Dalvin DeGrate) also sang "Feenin'," from 1993's Diary of a Mad Band,
and "Get On Up," from 1995's The Show, The After Party, The Hotel, as well as a
cover of Tupac Shakur's "Toss It Up."
The as-yet-unnamed new Jodeci album is scheduled for release by MCA on
Nov. 13, to be followed by a full tour.
Cristopher Williams is back
Christopher Williams--the fine brother who
had thousands of female fans fainting
and "dreaming," is back. Pinch yourself, you're not dreaming, he's real. Christopher
Williams' first album in years entitled "Real Men Do," will be in stores August 21.
With his basic love song style still in tact, the album with it's alluring lyrics also
has a lot of mid- tempos and of course a lot of ballads. The album is sure to have
an impact. Williams' claims to have matured a bit and that his new album won't
be so much for the excited, screaming teen, but rather for the adults and young
Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes To Release Solo Album
Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes from the
R&B group TLC will be releasing her first solo
album entitled "Supernova" which is scheduled to arrive in stores on August 14,
2001. The first single off the the album will be "The Block Party".
Michael Jackson To Release New Album In September
Pop star Michael Jackson is scheduled to
release his new album "Invincible"
on September 25, 2001, according to Epic Records. The album features
production from R. Kelly, Teddy Riley and Rodney Jerkins, along with guest
vocals by the late Notorious B.I.G.