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Music

From The Vault: Brandy – ‘What About Us?’

For our last From The Vault of 2012, we salute an artist that has been a highlight of our year and one we anticipate will continue to be as we cruise into 2013, She’s a favourite among our readers and is often referred to as the Vocal Bible. Of course, our penultimate pick is Brandy and her infectious hit ‘What About Us?’

Unveiled exactly 11 years ago, ‘Us’ was chosen as the launching single from Brandy’s third album, ‘Full Moon’, which proved an excellent choice since it was a worldwide smash and is among the star’s most recognizable songs.

Concocted by the omnipresent Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins alongside Lashawn Daniels, and Bran herself, the cut climbed its way to the 7th position of the Billboard Hot 100 and the Top 3 of the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop chart; it reached #4 on the UK, #6 in Australia as well as #16 in Canada.

Sonically similar to Jerkins’ work on Michael Jackson’s final album ‘Invincible’ (which was released only a few months prior), the track was -at the time- considered cutting-edge R&B, and in many ways still is. Indeed, the numerous hiccups, blipping and other high-tech sounds garnished the song (and housing album) with a distinctive futuristic coating. A coating that would go on to encourage others to try their hand at fusing R&B with alternate sounds. Influential has many definitions – and ‘Us’ is one of them.

To bring the record to life, B-Rocka turned to the great Dave Meyers who created a surrealistic world where the R&B singer reigned supreme over docile men. Complimenting the song to a tee, the VMA nominated clip would usher in a slew of look-a-likes (see:  3LW’s ‘I Do’, Britney’s ‘Boys’ and Celine Dion’s ‘I’m Alive’).

The music industry may toss, turn, sway, and shake; yet Brandy has and continues to deliver. Opportunities aplenty have presented themselves for her to hop aboard bandwagons, yet – regardless of commercial performance – she has proven with impressive consistency that she is a pioneer and an undeniable vocal muse for singers of the R&B persuasion and beyond.

If ‘Two Eleven’ is anything to go by, the soon-to-be Mrs Press still has a lot to offer, both sonically and visually.

Keep it up, B-Rocka!

Your thoughts?

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47 Comments

  1. |
    December 30, 2012 at 2:42 pm
    Bryan Dossome says:
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    i loved that FULL MOON album with my favorite being WHEN YOU TOUCH ME….i miss those days

  2. |
    December 30, 2012 at 2:48 pm
    SHA (I have DESTROYED Rita WhOra now PAIGE THOMAS) says:
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    I LOVE FULL MOON Brandy needs to drop Rico Love and get back in the studio with Rodney!!!!!

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      December 30, 2012 at 3:38 pm
      Dev says:
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      She did, it was Human and Afrodisiac and 2/11 are far superior than that album…. in my opinion. Anyway, Rodney doesn’t seem to be making hits anymore.

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        December 30, 2012 at 10:17 pm
        CHUDDS says:
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        Wasn’t Afrodisiac produced by Timbaland? That album was amazing! Brandy has NEVER released a weak album. NEVER! But you’re right, Rodney doesn’t really make good music anymore. “Scared of Lonely” on I Am Sasha Fierce was the last song that he produced that was on point.

        Rico Love had some good tracks on Two Eleven.

  3. |
    December 30, 2012 at 2:50 pm
    Mother says:
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    YESSSS! Full Moon is my favourite Brandy album and one of all time favs in general. ” All in me” and that UK garage breakdown>>>> Brandy was well ahead of the game!

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      December 31, 2012 at 1:53 pm
      credits says:
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      “anything you could ever need, baby i promise you can find in me, don’t matter if it’s a hopeless, promise i can make a reality”

      Love that part.

  4. |
    December 30, 2012 at 2:55 pm
    ƸӜƷ MC ƸӜƷ says:
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    I love this song so much! The Full moon is her best album followed by Never say never. This was Brandy’s best era, I think. I mean she looked flawless………

    • |
      December 30, 2012 at 3:27 pm
      King B>Rihanna says:
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      yes it was love your picture,did you know MJ dropped Madonna when she had the nerve to say something nasty about the legendary Ms.Janet if your nasty.

      • |
        December 30, 2012 at 3:39 pm
        ƸӜƷ MC ƸӜƷ says:
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        No I don’t remember, but it probably happened. Madonna and Janet don’t really like each other. It reminds me of how hard Janet shaded Madonna about her album “Erotica” flopping. I think she said something along the lines of “she shipped it but they shipped it right back….”

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        December 30, 2012 at 4:04 pm
        truth(slayer of icki funky ass stans b****!!) says:
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        Erotica floppd?? Didnt know that

      • |
        December 30, 2012 at 4:32 pm
        Bryan Dossome says:
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        @truth…yeah it did but madonna always gets away with underperforming since a successful world tour always made up for her commercially disappointing albums eg american life,mdna,hard candy and erotica

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        December 30, 2012 at 9:04 pm
        Citygal718 says:
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        Erotica didn’t flop. It went double platinum in the U.S., sold about 6 million worldwide, spun off two top 10 hits and had a successful world tour. It didn’t live up to full commercial expectation at the time, but a “flop” it wasn’t. Premiere artists today are WISHING for Erotica’s numbers.

        I don’t see what Madonna has to do with this topic of Brandy, but clarification was needed all the same…

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        December 30, 2012 at 9:53 pm
        ƸӜƷ MC ƸӜƷ says:
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        Erotica was released in 1992 and her previous album (the Immaculate — compilations album) sold 28-30 million ww so 6 million ww in 1992 for a major star was a flop/under-performing. I was just mentioning why Janet and Madonna disliked each other and how Janet dissed Madonna (about Erotica)….like I said in my first comment.

      • |
        December 30, 2012 at 10:26 pm
        Citygal718 says:
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        TIC was a greatest hits album, and GH albums were at their zeneth in popularity in the 90s. Casual fans and people who only like a handful of an artists songs, but would rather not spend hundreds on buying up their entire discographies and having to sift through random album tracks to hear the songs they like, tend to gravitate towards hits compilations than studio albums. That’s why TIC sold what it did. Madonna’s previous studio albums I’m Breathless and Like a Prayer didn’t do TIC numbers either. 6 million ww isn’t a monster, but it certainly isn’t a “flop” either.

      • |
        December 30, 2012 at 11:57 pm
        ƸӜƷ MC ƸӜƷ says:
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        I know that the Immaculate is a GH, that’s why I said it was a compilations, but for someone like Madonna who was high profile celebrity/artist in the early 90s to sell 2 mil in the U.S. and 6 mil ww is not great at all. That doesn’t really matter though, because “Erotica” was her best album imo and the only reason it flopped was because it was so controversial, risky, and out of the box, much like American Life, etc. At the end of the day Madonna didn’t care to appease the commercial success formula and made a masterpiece instead.

  5. |
    December 30, 2012 at 3:15 pm
    JOHNVIDAL says:
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    What? Celine Dion has been nominated for a VMA in the past? Wow she doesn´t even care about videos and still real talent finds its way to get recognized everywhere :)

    I remember watching this Brandy video maaaany times on tv back in the day (when they still showed video clips on certain music channels…)

  6. |
    December 30, 2012 at 3:20 pm
    Cream says:
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    Stop talking about the past talk about the future as in Feb 3 b****** the return of the b**** Who clock this b**** Back in 03.

  7. |
    December 30, 2012 at 3:33 pm
    Dev says:
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    If your “b****” can bring out complete masterpiece albums like Brandy, Never Say Never, Full Moon, Afrodisiac and 2/11 (i wasn’t feeling Human) Then i’ll be checking for your “b****”, But as present your “b****” is inconsistent and disposable with music and people are over the flesh coloured tights and sequinned bodysuits.

    • |
      December 30, 2012 at 3:47 pm
      Dev says:
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      @Cream

  8. |
    December 30, 2012 at 3:39 pm
    Cream says:
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    Why y’all mad it’s no my fault King B and Monica Clock the s*** out this long neck haveing ass b**** get over it b****** Brandy is Done D.O.N.E and her daughter look like a B.U.M

    • |
      December 30, 2012 at 3:49 pm
      Dev says:
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      Again, in your opinion. I’m sure many disagree. Also, to go after a child is just weak.

      • |
        December 30, 2012 at 10:18 pm
        CHUDDS says:
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        Monica, who?

  9. |
    December 30, 2012 at 3:40 pm
    I can't, just give it up Ciara *no1gonnabuyursongsgurl** says:
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    I hated this song. I’m not a big brandy fan but I like her stuff at times but to me Brandys full moon era was what turned me off from her. I hate this beat it sounds to electronic and not in a fun pop way but just crunchy… Never say Never era Brandy is Brandy IMO. This here was her ratchet attention starved twin sister who drinks n drives and has children out of holy matrimony.

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      December 30, 2012 at 3:58 pm
      truth(slayer of icki funky ass stans b****!!) says:
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      b**** ill CUT A b**** over Brandy chile!! Full Moon cd was the s*** gooowrl but to each his own…i guess chile. Death at ur name tho

    • |
      December 30, 2012 at 5:21 pm
      Brandy Stan Fan says:
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      I remember back when this came out, I really didn’t get it and the whole futuristic beat and all. But now that music is where it is and i know more about music and have studied brandy, this album was waaaaay ahead of it’s time and it set the bar and standard for r&b artists and singers every where. Full moon is truly a master piece. Only someone who is really musical and gets it would understand. And she kills this live till this day. and secondly she wasn’t drinking and driving. The accident wasn’t her fault. Someone hit her and she hit another car in the pile up. And i bet your a b****** child who was born out of wedlock. Her daughter won’t be the first just like you won’t be the last. Stop hating. Brandy is Queen and legendary and all you haters will deal. That’s all!

      • |
        December 30, 2012 at 10:45 pm
        Y says:
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        I agree, this era was AHEAD of its time!

  10. |
    December 30, 2012 at 3:55 pm
    50 shades darker - i love being black says:
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    I liked full moon. but only still listen to when you touch me, anybody, apart, like this, he is, it’s not worth it to name few

  11. |
    December 30, 2012 at 3:55 pm
    truth(slayer of icki funky ass stans b****!!) says:
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    BRAAAAAAAAANNDY!!!! AAAAAHHHHHHH BRAAAAAAAANDYchile!!!!!!

  12. |
    December 30, 2012 at 4:18 pm
    Sierra says:
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    You are truly a definition of low life to say those things about a child @ wipe “cream”

  13. |
    December 30, 2012 at 4:22 pm
    RoyalKev says:
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    ‘Full Moon’ is still my favorite Brandy album, but ‘Two Eleven’ is now a close second (really close actually). ‘Brandy’ and ‘Never-Say-Never’ are a really close third and forth best. These 4 albums >>>>>>>>>>

    http://www.thepagewithroyalkev.com

  14. |
    December 30, 2012 at 4:36 pm
    Bryan Dossome says:
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    lol…like back then when MTV stood for Music Television

    • |
      December 30, 2012 at 4:41 pm
      Bryan Dossome says:
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      Oops….this was a response to @JohnVidal’s comment

  15. |
    December 30, 2012 at 5:01 pm
    I can't, just give it up Ciara *no1gonnabuyursongsgurl** says:
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    Beyonce made it impossible to have a career and not look the part. I really believe it was Beyonce face and body that killed the era n music where physical appearance mattered less then talent. Brandy became obsolete commercially after Beyonce. Brandy is still an icon of the 90s but nothing she’s done since her prime has been noteworthy. She’s already just a minor celeb these days. So don’t come for Beyonce! Now all girls who wanna make it must look just as good as Beyonce to succeed not just know how to sing. Average looking broads with great vocals will be paid dust. Average vocals with appealing looks will be Rihanna, Rita, Beyonce is the queen of beauty!

    • |
      December 30, 2012 at 5:28 pm
      Brandy Stan Fan says:
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      Funny thing is i kinda agree with how looks seem to matter more than talent because rhianna has no talent in my opinion. she sounds horrific but because she looks good and have good writers sho create kinda catchy (yet forgettable songs) for her she’s as big as she is and she sells. The thing i don’t agree with is that when beyonce came she changed things for brandy. What changed things from brandy is her being gone so long from music and the industry changing. Also, the accident and fake marriage didn’t help. People didn’t get human and it wasn’t considered radio friendly i guess. But two eleven eats any album rhianna or beyonce has put out and shouldn’t being an artist be about being a good singer. brandy has it and she’s still beautiful. She’s just not naked and have crazy curves but oh well. her vocals are ridiculous!

      • |
        December 30, 2012 at 7:02 pm
        Mother says:
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        You need to learn when to use “has” instead of “have” chile. Your grammar is terrible. *throws English book at you*

      • |
        December 30, 2012 at 7:06 pm
        Brandy Stan Fan says:
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        Right but you got my point though! and i’m right so have a seat! :-)

    • |
      December 30, 2012 at 8:56 pm
      Citygal718 says:
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      There are so many things wrong with what you said that you can make an idiots stew with it. I’ll just make a few points…

      1) Beyonce (love her to death) doesn’t have the power to make anyone’s career obsolete, and I’m tired of her most braindead stans thinking that she does. The only power she wields is over her own. Period.

      2) Fickle standards of beauty and the success that came come with being able to market looks over talent existed *LONG* before both Brandy and Beyoncé, so acting like it was Beyonce who is responsible for changing the game in that direction makes you sound like you’re either really young (as in your mind can’t recall a time before Beyonce) or really stupid.

      3) Brandy’s greatest commercial success happened in the late 90s and early 00s…and guess what? Beyonce was around then.

      So… seriously… shut up.

  16. |
    December 30, 2012 at 6:22 pm
    Touché says:
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    She always had good music.

  17. |
    December 30, 2012 at 7:11 pm
    Touché says:
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    And a unique look.

  18. |
    December 31, 2012 at 9:20 am
    Fierce p**** says:
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    I love this song. This album was flawless too.

  19. |
    December 31, 2012 at 1:15 pm
    Ken Dahl's p**** says:
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    This is and always will be edgy R&B at it’s best.

    2/11 >>>

    Brandy 2012 was yours, and so is 2013!

  20. |
    December 31, 2012 at 1:44 pm
    chris says:
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    My thoughts are that the writers of TGJ need a grammar refresher.

    Penultimate is defined as second to last, yet this is the last “From the Vault,” article for 2012, which one is it?. To be correct, this would have been the ultimate or final pick for this type of feature, furthermore the “From the vault,” that was posted before this one would have been the penultimate pick, as it would have been the second to last “From the Vault,” that was posted for 2012.

    TGJ is too respected to be to lacks with facts and grammar, leave that to the MTO’s of the world. If TGJ’s writers spent half as much time brushing up on grammar as they did bashing Rihanna, it may have a chance of providing intelligent, discussion provoking content. Until then we’ll have to settle for decent content with horribly biased commentary.

    xoxo,
    Metta World Peace

  21. |
    December 31, 2012 at 5:39 pm
    bibi93 says:
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    Full moon = Real RnB Classik

  22. |
    December 31, 2012 at 10:18 pm
    MUSICHEAD says:
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    I loved the fact that What About Us? broke a record on AOL as the most streamed single debut with over 1 million plays in the first 24 hours of it’s release. I believe that record was previously held by Britney Spears at the time.

    The song stormed into the top 10 on the r&b charts in just 3 weeks of release

    Full Moon debuted at #1 on the r&b album charts with her biggest first week sales to date and shipped platinum on the first day of release

    2002 was a great year for Bran!

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