Sunday October 27th, 2002
New CD's this past week:
Kelly Rowland - Simply deep
3LW - A girl can mack
Short news stories this week:
New Edition Officially Signs With Bad Boy Entertainment
New Edition has officially joined Sean
"P. Diddy" Combs's Bad Boy
Entertainment. Combs decided to make an offer to the R&B vocal group
after agreeing to produce several tracks for its upcoming release.
The next incarnation of New Edition will feature original members Ricky
Bell, Michael Bivins, Ronnie DeVoe, and Ralph Tresvant, as well as
Johnny Gill, who replaced original member Bobby Brown in 1986. Following
the signing, Combs released a statement saying, "I look forward to
working with all the members closely on their new album and
reintroducing the world to a brand new New Edition. This new
collaboration will inevitably make music history."
New Edition's albums include 1983's Candy Girl, 1984's double-platinum
New Edition, 1985's platinum All For Love, 1985's Christmas All Over The
World, 1986's gold Under The Blue Moon, 1989's double-platinum Heart
Break, and 1996's Home Again
Gerald Levert Reveals Inspiration For 'Funny'
Soulful R&B vocalist and songwriter
Gerald Levert's brand-new album, G
Spot, released last tuesday (October 22). The CD offers 13 tracks
written by the artist himself, with the leadoff single, "Funny," still
climbing Billboard's R&B singles chart, landing most recently at Number
Many of the tunes of the new set have sprung from the thoughts and
personal experiences of Levert himself. The inspiration for "Funny" did
indeed come from a phone call, as Levert said: "Lady I was dating called
me out of the blue, and we talked and talked for like 3 or 4 hours. And
you know I was in one of those funky moods, it hadn't been a good day or
a good week. For her to call me, it was so unexpected. And a lot of
times I keep a notebook by my bed, I keep a notebook in my bathroom, I
keep a notebook downstairs in the kitchen, you know, all the places that
I'm at, I always keep a notebook. And wherever I was, I wrote, 'Funny
you should call.''
Levert was determined to capture a certain soulful feeling in his music,
and brought all his musicians and technicians to record in Philadelphia,
home of the world-famous Philly Sound engineered by producers Gamble &
Huff. It was in the studio in Philly where Levert finally developed the
musical hook for the song, as he said: "I started writing the verses,
and I wrote (sings) 'Hello Hello.' And when I got to Philadelphia and we
started to record, that was the first thing, when I looked at my
notebook.--because I had all the idea for this songs that I wanted to
put on the record--I had some titles. And I said, 'I got this idea
called 'Funny You Should Call,' but it's very important that this
'hello' part be...that we capture this 'hello'. It's gotta be something
that everybody's gonna say, everybody's gotta remember this song from
Other highlights from the G-Spot album include the uptempo "Too Much
Room," which features New Orleans rapper Mystikal, and "Oh What A
Night," which sports a guest
702 Are Wishing On A Star With Neptunes and Clipse
What happens to girl groups after they
break up? Well, if you're a
member of 702, you just take some time out to regroup - then it's back
to business as usual.
Three years after they virtually disappeared from the music scene, the
Las Vegas trio of LeMisha, Irish and Kameelah are reunited and hoping to
regain their urban pop prominence with a new album, Star, and a sexier,
The first single, also titled "Star," brings 702 back with a party-ready
track by the Neptunes and a guest appearance by the Clipse. A video
shoot for "Star" is planned for next week at a Los Angeles
roller-skating rink with director Diane Martel (Justin Timberlake,
LeMisha (now 24), Irish (22) and Kameelah (24) will release Star through
Motown Records on December 10. The album, which features production and
songwriting input from Mario Winans, Faith Evans, Mike City and the
groupmembers themselves, will show off the ladies' new maturity with
songs such as "Let Your Hair Down" and "Certified Ho."
In 1996, the girls released their first album, No Doubt, and a breakout
Missy Elliott-penned single, "Steelo." But after the release of their
second, self-titled album - which spawned the hit "Where My Girls At?" -
Kameelah left to pursue a solo career, eventually enlisting singer Faith
Evans and her husband, Todd Russaw, as her managers. Meanwhile, the
remaining members tried to fill Kameelah's shoes with new members, but
the new 702 lineups never gelled.
702 reappeared last year performing "Pootie Tangin'," the "Pootie Tang"
theme, in the movie and on the soundtrack (see "Where My 702 At? Girls
Back With 'Pootie Tangin'").
Whitney Houston's 'Just Whitney' Leaked Online
A version of Whitney Houston's forthcoming
Arista Records album, Just
Whitney (due November 26), has been leaked to websites and downloading
services. The version of the album currently online might not be the
final version that will hit stores next month, but it does include 10
new songs and a remix of the singer's latest single, "Whatchulookinat?"
ome of the Just Whitney cuts currently available online include "On My
Own," "Love That Man," "Dear John Letter," "Tell Me No" featuring Carlos
Santana, "My Love" featuring Bobby Brown, "Unashamed," "One Of Those
Days," "Things You Say," and a remake of "You Light Up My Life."
The official lead single from Just Whitney,
"Whatchulookinat?", has met
with a lukewarm response. The song has not hit the Billboard pop or R&B
charts, but it does hold the Number Six position on the Billboard
Canadian Singles Chart
In related news, versions of Craig David's Slicker Than Your Average,
due out November 19, and Santana's Shaman, due out on Tuesday (October
22), have also turned up online.
TLC Ready To Shoot First Video From 3D
TLC are ready to film the first video from
their November 12 release,
According to Arista Records, the group's T-Boz and Chilli will shoot
scenes for "Girl Talk" over a three-day period in Atlanta with director
Dave Meyers, starting on October 21.
While details concerning the clip's plot are not yet available, sources
at the label said to expect the singers to pay homage to Lisa "Left Eye"
Lopes, who died in April in a car crash.
The multiplatinum unit will also be honored with a "TLC Day" in Atlanta,
the day their album drops , by Mayor Shirley Franklin. A parade and a
concert have been planned in their honor, and T-Boz and Chilli will be
presented with a key to the city.
Janet Jackson Lays Tracks For New Album
Janet Jackson and producers Jimmy Jam and
Terry Lewis are taking the
singer's contribution to the "Chicago" soundtrack very seriously - and
they're not the only ones.
"Harvey Weinstein actually flew into town the other night and we had a
good meeting with him," Jam said of the Miramax chief who is producing
the movie musical. "We're really trying to come up with something that
is not only compatible with the movie - because obviously all the songs
are already written in more of a 1920s style of music - but melding that
in with something contemporary."
They don't have a title yet for the song, which will likely appear in
the end credits of the ensemble film, but Jam said they are well into a
tune that is "hot and danceable."
"If you think about some of the sounds and videos that she's done, like
the 'Alright' video with the zoot suit thing, or any of that, she's a
girl that grew up on musicals," Jam explained from his Minneapolis
studio on Monday. "It's important that we try to marry those types of
Before being curtailed by the "Chicago" song, Jackson was working on
tracks for her next album with Jam and Lewis and even completed one
song, tentatively titled "Truly in Love."
"It's a very straightforward love song," Jam said. "The thing we said
about it when we did it was that it could have been on any of her
albums. There's nothing trendy about it. It's a very simple love song
with few instruments and finger snaps and a lot of harmonies. It's very
reminiscent of her style over the years."
Jam said not to read too much into the timeless tune, however, as the
album could break out into any direction.
"In the case of Velvet Rope, that concept was a little pre-planned, but
on Rhythm Nation, Control, Janet and All for You the general concept
took shape after the album was being done. However, what she's feeling
at the middle time of the album is usually what the album ends up
Jam and Lewis, who are celebrating 20 years of working together this
year, have also been busy in the studio with other ladies. They produced
two tracks for Deborah Cox's new album, including the single "Up and
Down," and handled tracks for newcomer Heather Headley's This Is Who I
Am. "She comes from Broadway, so her delivery is a whole different
type of vibe," Jam said.
Jam and Lewis also have three tracks on Mariah Carey's upcoming album,
including the first single, "Through the Rain," and a collaboration with
Contrary to past reports, one album they have not worked on is Whitney
Houston's. Jam says they are ready, though, if the call comes.
"We are 100 percent committed to doing something wonderful with her,"
Jam said. "If there's one thing I've learned over the years about
[Arista Records chief] L.A. Reid, it's that he will not release anything
before it is done. We learned from the Usher record, which was
supposedly done. Then, next thing we know, we were in the studio with
him doing five songs."
Jam and Lewis have one other big project in the can. They produced the
music for the new holiday Gap commercials, which will hit TVs in
mid-November. Jam wouldn't reveal what music they remixed, but said to
expect something fun.
Mary J. Blige Plays Beauty To Jaheim's Thug On His New Album
On "Diamond in the Ruff," off
November 5's Still Ghetto, Jaheim sings,
"We started out like Bobby and Whitney/ Justin and Britney, then it all got
No wonder the New Jersey native has had some harrowing experiences with
women - he needs better role models.
"A diamond in the rough is something you don't see twice," explained the
golden-voiced singer, who also compares a past broken relationship to
that of Archie and Edith Bunker and Ike and Tina Turner. "It's something
that you had in the past and you wish you had now, something you regret
losing now that you're dealing with all this frustration."
The woes continue elsewhere on the CD. On the ballad "Back Tight" he
croons, "Looking back at all I put you through/ Too much of a thug n---a
to tell you I love you/ ... Thought I had my game tight/ Thought I had it locked
down, knowing sh-- wasn't tight."
Fortunately he finds comfort through the discord, rolling with "cash up
in the dash, heat up in the seat just in case of beef" and his boo riding shotgun
on "Me and My Bitch."
"That's the one they gonna get offended by, but it's real," Jaheim said.
"It's talking about me and my lady friend. Just freedom of speech.
Ghetto words. Ghetto terminology you use in the 'hood. You call your
chick one thing and that's what it is, but it ain't what is. I hope they
And leave it to guest star Mary J. Blige to bring a little more harmony
to his life on wax, via the jazzy "Beauty and a Thug."
"This is like a dream to me," Jaheim said of having Mary J. on his album.
Blige, who knows a thing or two about being thugged out, goes back and
forth with Jah, describing a lovable, ruffian "killer bee" and his sexy,
"His style is rough/ He wears his hair in cornrows/ Pants low," Mary
sings before Jah comes in to sing about a lady that he likens to a "rose
that grew from concrete ... from the street."
"I'm from the streets," Jaheim said, explaining that the album title
Still Ghetto comes as a continuation of his first album's title, Ghetto
Love. "I definitely don't want to take away from that because that's
where I'm from. You're going to hear a lot of that on my records."
"He's so thugged out," goes the melodic chorus on "Beauty and a Thug."
"She's so beautiful/ They're so different/ But they're in love."
While there's no word yet on whether the song will be a single, Blige
appears in the video for Jaheim's first offering off the album,
"Fabulous," which samples Teddy Pendergrass' "Wake Up Everybody" and
tries to invoke pride.
"I'm just trying lift a couple of spirits," he said. "If my spirit was
broken every day, I know a lot of people feeling the same way. Just
because you got a little fame on your shoulders it's nothing, we're
still human. I'm glad I got the songs I got, because when I get
depressed I can go listen to a record, just write another hit or
something. I feel like I'm being blessed."