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From The Vault: Whitney Performs ‘And I Am Telling You’ & ‘I Have Nothing’

This week’s classic From The Vault comes courtesy of the legendary Whitney Houston. While the renown vocalist has delivered many a notable performance, one of the most potent has to be her live showing at the 21st Annual World Music Awards in 1994.

Singing three songs back-to-back (including Dreamgirls favourite ‘And I Am Telling You’, and ‘I Have Nothing’), Houston blew the roof off the building with her soaring performance.

A rousing showcase of a voice that can only be described as a gift from God.

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From The Vault: Toni Braxton – ‘Please’


Toni Braxton’s ‘Please’ is the latest video to be lifted From The Vault. Released from her gold-certified (and criminally underrated) ‘Libra’ album, the song failed to crack the Billboard Hot 100 as a result of poor promotion. However, ‘Please’ performed relatively well on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, peaking at #36. The video for the Scott Storch-produced track was direct by Chris Robinson.

Braxton shut it down in this video! She was 38 at the time of its release and she looked (and still looks) better than most women half her age. Braxton has a natural sex appeal that never seems forced; a trait that many singers lack in today’s industry. Contralto chocolate.

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From The Vault: Ashanti – ‘Only U’

This week’s From The Vault video comes from none other than Ashanti. ‘Only U’ was released in October 2004 the lead single from her platinum-selling ‘Concrete Rose’ LP and peaked at #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 making it the only song that Ashanti managed to place the top 20 of the US chart in the last 6 years. The record did even better in international territories where it peaked at #2 on the UK Singles Chart.

If Ashanti wants to return to her position as one of the leading artists in the game then this is the type of material she should be releasing. With a club-banging beat and a brilliant use of the guitar, ‘Only U’ stands as 1 of the best records that she has done to date and is a testament to her skill as an artist.

Furthermore, unlike the dated material of her last album, ‘The Declaration’, this song’s hit potential carries forward to this day. Although many suggested that Ashanti copied the style of her chart rival Beyonce for both the video and it’s accompanying single cover, there is no denying the brilliance of this record. Remember this: Beyonce didn’t invent the wheel. Tina Turner.

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From The Vault: Usher – ‘My Boo (Ft. Alicia Keys)’

Usher and Alicia Keys’ ‘My Boo’ is the video being lifted From The Vault this week. The Jermaine Dupri-produced song was featured on the re-release of Usher’s massively successful ‘Confessions’ LP. In addition to spending 6 weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100, ‘My Boo’ earned Usher and Keys a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.

There was undeniable chemistry between Usher and Keys on this record. Their vocals worked perfectly together over the simple production with neither outshining the other. It’s amazing to think that in 2004 they were the biggest stars in R&B music and 6 years later they have managed to maintain their position at the top. Excellent song.

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From The Vault: Lil Kim, Left Eye, Angie Martinez, Da Brat & Missy Elliott – ‘Ladies Night’

This week’s classic From The Vault video is Lil’ Kim et al’s 1997 remake of ‘Ladies Night’. Lifted from the movie soundtrack to  ‘Nothing to Lose’, the Missy Elliott produced cut and its accompanying video remain etched history as one of the most potent displays of female Hip-Hop unity we’ve seen to date. What’s more, their take on the already classic number packed such a punch that it still goes hard to date. Ladies, we salute you..

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From The Vault: Keyshia Cole – ‘I Should Have Cheated’

Keyshia Cole’s ‘I Should Have Cheated’ is the From The Vault pick this week. The Daron Jones-produced track was the 3rd single to be lifted from her 2005 debut album, ‘The Way It Is’, and became her 1st top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 10o, peaking at #30. ‘I Should Have Cheated’ was also Cole’s 1st top 10 hit on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, a trend that was continued by all 9 of the songs released by the singer since that time.

This record has to be one of the biggest R&B breakup anthems of the last 10 years. It captures that emotion that people experience when they come to the end of a tumultuous relationship and displays the potential of Cole to become a major force in R&B music once she puts forward the right material. Deep.

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From The Vault: Ciara – ‘Go Girl’


Lifted from the International version of Ciara’s ill-fated ‘Fantasy Ride’, this week’s classic From The Vault clip is 2008’s ‘Go Girl’. A sassy pro-female anthem, the song’s accompanying video demanded an equally hard-hitting video – which Ciara and director Melina delivered with ten-fold.

Criminally underrated, the video stands as one of the R&B stars best (despite ironically performing worst). From its futuristic Robo-diva nod, to the ironic spin on the female in the workplace, to the killer choreography, it boasts all the features of an engaging, entertaining and, above all, cracking video! Ciara, we salute you…

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From The Vault: Jennifer Lopez – ‘I’m Real (Murder Remix) (Ft. Ja Rule)’

Flashback to 2001 and Jennifer Lopez was the reigning queen of the music charts. One of the hits that made her domination undeniable was the Murder Remix of ‘I’m Real’ from her ‘J. Lo’ album of 2001. The track featured fellow has-been Ja Rule and held the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for 5 non-consecutive weeks.

However, the track was not without controversy. According to the song’s producer, Irv Gotti, Lopez was anything but real about how ‘I’m Real’ came into existence. Not only did she use the exact same sample for the original version of ‘I’m Real’ that Mariah Carey used for her song ‘Loverboy’ but Lopez also copied another Carey song for the remix. The Murder Remix of the record was specifically crafted by Gotti to sound exactly like Carey’s ‘If We (Ft. Ja Rule)’ in accordance with the instruction of Carey’s ex-husband Tommy Mottola who was supposedly trying to sabotage her career at the time. Hence, Lopez stole from Carey twice for the same song and started what would become a decade long feud. {Source}

Unoriginality aside, this was a great record and a monster hit. It’s astounding how the times have changed with both Lopez and Ja Rule’s more recent material being rejecting from the bargain bins across the globe. O well at least they could look back at their better years via Youtube.

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From The Vault: TLC – ‘Creep’


The year 1994 served up much in the way of now-classic hits; one of the notable being TLC‘s ‘Creep’. Lifted from the ladies’ monster-selling ‘CrazySexyCool’ LP, the song and its accompanying video were not only successful (standing as the group’s first #1 on the Hot 100), they went some way in establishing T-Boz, Left-Eye, and Chilli as the original pioneers of the now mainstream ‘Independent Women’ M-O.

Indeed it was gender-progressive hits such as this and ‘No Scrubs’, as well as more socially-concious releases such as ‘Waterfalls’, which helped to establish TLC as the biggest selling female group of all time. A group which the likes of Destiny’s Child owe a significant amount of their success to. TLC, we salute you.

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From The Vault: Diana King – ‘Shy Guy’

Diana King’s 90’s classic ‘Shy Guy’ is this week’s From The Vault jam. The song was included on both her ‘Tougher Than Love’ album as well as the ‘Bad Boys’ movie soundtrack. ‘Shy Guy’ proved to be Jamaican singer’s biggest hit, peaking at #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 and topping several charts around the world including the Official UK Singles Chart where it climbed to #2.

All anybody could do when this song comes on the radio is dance and sing hysterically in traffic. The 90’s era of music all always be remembered as a time when timeless songs such as this were the norm and not the exception. It’s a shame that King did not have further success on the international scene though because she has a phenomenal voice and the looks to match.

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From The Vault: Seal – ‘Kiss From A Rose’

This week’s From The Vault selection comes from none other than Seal. ‘Kiss From A Rose’ was originally released in 1994 but is probably best known for being the 2nd single from the ‘Batman Forever’ soundtrack. The song was a global phenomenon and won 3 Grammy Awards including the coveted ‘Song of the Year’ and ‘Record of the Year’ trophies.

This song is a musical masterpiece. That is all.

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From The Vault: R. Kelly – ‘Downlow (Nobody Has To Know)’

R. Kelly is no stranger to R&B classics; indeed a vast array of his material enjoys such status. For that reason and so much more, this week’s classic From The Vault clip is Kelly’s 1996 smash ‘Downlow (Nobody Has To Know)’. The song’s popularity, which saw it peak at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100, was undeniably spear-headed by its dramatic, cinematic video. Featuring Ronald Isley and Garcelle Beauvais, the clip remains a stand-out among Kelly’s already impressive body of work.

Randomness: Songs such as this really have me sighing at the state of the industry today. I mean when was the last time an outright R&B song -in the vein of this-achieved such high chart recognition. Instead, uniformity and genericness populate what was once a musically diverse industry. In days of old, one could see R&B, Pop, Rock, and Hip-Hop  songs all vying for the top spot and actually having a fair chance of achieving it. Today, top ten’s often sound like the same damn song. SMH…

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