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From The Vault: Tweet – ‘Oops (Oh My) (Ft. Missy Elliott)’

This week’s From The Vault selection comes from Tweet and is probably 1 of the most memorable songs of the early 2000s. ‘Oops (Oh My)’ featured the singer’s mentor, Missy Elliott, and was produced by former hitmaker Timbaland.

The controversial yet infectious track managed to peak at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #5 on the Official UK Singles Chart, much to the dismay of several conservative listeners. To date, Tweet has been unable to match the song’s success in either territory.

‘Oops…’ is a song that encourages people to sing along and just let loose! However, what was probably most noteworthy about this clip was Tweet’s ability to embrace her “buttery brown” skin, therefore defying the ‘light is right’ standards of beauty which plague women of colour to this day. I looked over to the left…

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From The Vault: Whitney Houston & Mariah Carey – ‘When You Believe’ (Live On ‘Oprah’)

Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey visited ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’ in 1998 to promote the animated film ‘The Prince of Egypt’ and delivered the 1st televised performance of the Academy Award-winning track ‘When You Believe’. Fast forward 13 years and the rendition is remembered as one of the most memorable moments in television history thus making it a great choice for From The Vault.

Although many argue that this song was shockingly underwhelming considering the vocal gymnastics for which both women are known, it is obvious that there isn’t a single artist today who can compare to Houston and Carey. Indeed, some singers hay have expansive vocal ranges while other have technical skill but none of them have such a combination of both.

Watching this performance does encourage the question of why Houston and Carey have not performed (or even been seen) together in over a decade. While both women have long since passed their prime, to witness a reunion of the industry’s most celebrated divas would truly be a sight to behold.

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From The Vault: Christina Aguilera – ‘Ain’t No Other Man’ (Live In Australia)

With her performance at this evening’s 53rd Annual Grammy Awards ceremony on the horizon, what better way is there to build buzz for the show than with a From The Vault selection of one of Christina Aguilera’s most memorable moments? If it’s excitement you want then you’ll feel it with ‘Ain’t Not Other Man’.

This rendition of the song is taken from Aguilera’s ‘Back to Basics: Live and Down Under’ showcasing the Australian leg of her ‘Back To Basics’ tour. The studio version of the track was released the 1st single from her platinum-certified ‘Back To Basics’ LP 2006 and peaked at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100.

What was impressive about this performance was the fact that Aguilera was belting yet easily keeping up with the choreography. A talent like hers is incredibly rare and although many may argue that she has since passed her prime, it would be difficult to find a comparable act in the younger crop of today’s performers.

Here is hoping that Aguilera can deliver such an effortless vocal showing at this evening’s Grammy Awards. With Jennifer Hudson and Yolanda Adams sharing the same stage, she has to bring her best if she wishes to stand out.

Sidebar: Aguilera will be singing Aretha Franklin’s ‘Ain’t No Way’ and this song is called ‘Ain’t No Other Man’. Coincidence?

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From The Vault: Danity Kane’s Debut Concert

Before the group eventually succumbed to the Bad Boy curse of Diddy’s mismanagement, Danity Kane was primed to fill the void in Pop music created after the departure of Destiny’s Child. To highlight the potential of these women, this week’s From The Vault features their 1st televised concert in 2006 where they performed songs from their platinum-certified self-titled debut album.

Check out the 2nd half of the show below:

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From The Vault: Alicia Keys – ‘Diary (Live On MTV Unplugged)’

At the time when R&B music was arguably at its peak in the mid-2000s there was no other female artist as consistent as Alicia Keys. This week’s From The Vault selection, ‘Diary’, demonstrates the key (no pun intended) elements of her success during that era – soulful vocals, true musicianship and superb songwriting.

This live version of the track was filmed during Keys’ set on ‘MTV Unplugged’ and released as part of her ‘Unplugged’ on album on October 7th 2005. The collection set records on the Billboard 200 by becoming the 1st ‘Unplugged’ album by a female artist to debut at #1.

Watching this performance is a bittersweet experience. It depicts a time in Keys’ career when she was still relatively new to the industry and her sound was unique as well as quite refreshing. Today, however, her music is far less impressive as she has become rather redundant in her persistent quest to emulate the R&B/Jazz sounds of her idols, Sade, and make it her own.

Perhaps motherhood will inspire Keys to refocus her artistry and strive toward reviving the refreshing elements of her early career. Maybe that will help her to have both successful singles and albums instead of just the latter.

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From The Vault: Eve – ‘Let Me Blow Your Mind (Ft. Gwen Stefani)’

Long before Rihanna’s arrival to the music industry, Eve’s blazing red hair shined in all its glory such as in this week’s From The Vault selection, ‘Let Me Blow Your Mind’. Released on May 15th 2001 as the 2nd single from her platinum-certified ‘Scorpion’ LP, the song featured Pop sensation Gwen Stefani.

‘Let Me Blow Your Mind’ was the 1st song ever to win the Grammy Award for ‘Best Rap/Sung Collaboration’ when the category was established for the 2002 ceremony. Peaking in the top 5 several charts around the world including at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, the record remains Eve’s biggest hit to date.

Back when the Hip-Pop (Hip-Hop mixed with Pop music) movement pioneered by Mariah Carey was still young, this track was a definite standout. Eve delivered rhymes that would make even the most successful male MC blush and Stefani’s vocals on the hook were subtle yet quite effective.

What was most impressive about Eve was that in a era where female rappers – Lil Kim and Foxy Brown – relied on their sex appeal to help them generate airplay, she stayed focused on her craft. That is the key reason why she will always be remembered for her talent and not because of Diana Ross played with her breasts at an award show.

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From The Vault: Christina Aguilera, Pink, Lil Kim & Mya – ‘Lady Marmalade’

This week’s From The Vault feature comes from Christina Aguilera, Pink, Lil Kim and Mya. On March 27, 2001, the group released a cover of the Labelle classic ‘Lady Marmalade’ for the film ‘Moulin Rouge!’. Produced by Missy Elliott, the song was a monster hit, climbing to #1 in almost every major territory in the world including the US where it won a Grammy Award for ‘Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals’.

Vivacious and powerful, this record was enjoyably inescapable when it was released. All 4 women delivered on their parts and brought something distinctly unique to the table.

The thought of any such collaboration occurring amongst today’s younger crop of singers, however, is almost frightful. Can you imagine Rihanna, Katy Perry, Ke$ha and Nicki Minaj doing something like this? With the exception of Minaj’s contribution, the song would amount to nothing less than blaspheme.

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