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From The Vault: Craig David – ‘Seven Days’

Before Adele, Coldplay and Amy Winehouse, a young name from Southhampton was the one waving the British flag on a worldwide scale. His name’s Craig David and today we salute him on From The Vault.

This week’s pick is ‘Seven Days.’

Serviced as the second single from the singer’s debut ‘Born To Do It’, ‘Days’ was written and composed by Mark Hill alongside the David – like the large majority of the LP.

Thematically, the song retraced the week-long romancing of a newfound love interest. To this day, it’s Craig’s biggest hit and is considered his signature song.

Wildly successful on home soil, where it debuted at #1 with sales of 100,000 units, but was also a worldwide smash peaking at #10 in the US, #4 in Australia and #9 in Canada. Not bad at all for a R&B newbie in a Britney and N’Sync dominated landscape.

The music video, directed by Max and Dania, had a ‘Groundhog Day’ theme with Craig reliving the same day over and over until he finally gets with “the” girl he met on the street.

Popular the world over, the clip was nominated for Best Video at the 2001 BRIT Awards, but lost to Robbie Williams‘Rock DJ.’

Thereafter, David’s success was heavily concentrated in the UK — despite a marked effort to further break into the American market with his sophomore album.

Now, after a hiatus of sorts (which ironically saw him relocate to Miami), the gifted star is back. With new album ‘Following My Intuition’ due in stores on September 30th, the moral of the story is to never count out authentic talent.

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From The Vault: Lady Gaga – ‘Poker Face’

From The Vault journeys back to 2008; a time when a newcomer with an eccentric style was morphing into the definitive “one to watch”. Today’s pick comes courtesy of Lady Gaga and her monumental smash, ‘Poker Face.’

Like the bulk of its parent album ‘The Fame,’ ‘Face’ was helmed by the mighty RedOne and saw Gaga proudly broadcast how much of a bluffing master she is.

It was serviced as the second single from the LP and just like its predecessor was a worldwide phenomenon – peaking at #1 not only in the US but also in the UK, France, Australia, Canada, and more.


Directed by Ray Kay and Anthony Mandler, the song’s visual was – for many – the first time the “Gaga” proposition was presented in all its glory: creative scenography, edgy concepts, high fashion, and MTV-style choreography.

The single’s success is undeniably synonymous with its video, which earned the entertainer a whooping four MTV Video Music Awards nominations. Deservingly so.


Talents like Gaga appear so infrequently that we’re not sure there has been an act as striking as her since her arrival. With towering high highs and challenging lows, Ms. Germanota has bagged herself a storied career in a mere 7 years. And, from where standing, we feel there are many more exciting chapters yet to be written.

Will LG5 be the era that turns it all around for Mother Monster and sees her regain her throne as the leading lady of Pop? We heartily hope so.

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

20 years after its release, Lil’ Kim’s ‘Hardcore’ remains hard-hitting. With an incredible singles-run, iconic videos and impressive chart stats, the Queen Bee delivered a debut era that defined dynamite.

From The Vault ventures back to that time with the female anthem ‘Ladies Night’ (Not Tonight Remix).’

The cut was co-billed ‘Not Tonight,’ yet the version serviced a single was this remix. And, though the original was produced by Jermaine Dupri, the incarnation of the track that was a worldwide hit was helmed by Rashad ‘Ringo’ Smith.

It famously (and heavily) sampled Kool & The Gang classic ‘Ladies Night’ and saw Kim backed by the fiercest female squad. Who else but Missy Elliott, Left Eye, Da Brat, and Angie Martinez. The latter of whom is renown for her radio career, yet at the time was dabbling in Rap.

This A-list cast managed to take the song all the way up to #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Rap charts; Kim’s third consecutive on that tally. It peaked at #11 on the UK Singles Chart and was a Top 5 hit in New Zealand, reaching #4.

Directed by Lance Riveira, the accompanying visual was a girl power affair and featured notable cameos from Mary J. Blige, Queen Latifah, T-Boz, groups Xscape, SWV, Total and Blaque, as well as actress Maia Campbell.

Scenes of the ladies performing were juxtaposed with clips of them being pampered by chiselled assistants. Also inter-spliced was footage from the movie ‘Nothing To Lose’ – starring Martin Lawrence – for which the song was included on the soundtrack.


Togetherness. It’s a concept that seems to be long forgotten when assessing today’s musical climate. One need not look beyond the “bad bitches” solely needing themselves on their “team.” Or the posters glorifying the “bad blood” which exists between them. The modern crop of female acts have taken the “lonely at the top” concept and run with it. Olympic style.

Kim’s gripe with some of today’s top femcees has often centered on their “supposed” lack of solidarity. Which, regardless of which side of the argument one falls on, is difficult to deny.

In any case, songs such as this, ‘Lady Marmalade,’ ‘Telephone’ and ‘Bang Bang’ prove that there aren’t many things as impactful as female acts united on a track.

We patiently await the next. In the meantime…

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From The Vault: TLC – ‘Red Light Special’

“Don’t go too fast, don’t go too slow, you got to let your body flow”

As baby-making bangers go, few can rival the timeless sensuality served up on TLC’s 1995 smash ‘Red Light Special.’ For that reason and many more, the bedroom masterpiece is this week’ selection for From This Vault.

Written and produced by the the legendary Babyface, ‘Special’ was serviced as the second single from the group blockbuster record-breaking sophomore set ‘CrazySexyCool.’

After flipping the gender script with ‘Creep’, the girls made way for some sexy time with the release of this track (which itself preceded the educational tone of follow-up ‘Waterfalls’.)

Missing out on the #1 spot due to Montell Jordan’s monumental ‘This Is How We Do It’, ‘Special’ peaked at #2 on the Hot 100 and #3 on the R&B tally. The cut was also a Top 20 hit in the UK.

Re-affirming their commitment to breaking the norm, the trio skewed edgy with the track’s accompanying video. In TLC’s world, prostitutes are males and Left-Eye is the pimp. A point that is often overlooked, yet one that was a powerful way of furthering their female-empowerment mantra. Matthew Rolston directed the visual, which was set in a brothel and featured then-model Boris Kodjoe.

Fittingly, there are no better words to describe TLC than “crazy, sexy, and cool”. Whether they were tackling social issues or goofing around, those three components were ever present. And now, years on, their message is ever-during.

These days, there are many a crazy, sexy and cool act. Yet, sadly so few have anything interesting to say. Different times, right?

In any case: TLC, we salute you!

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From The Vault: Rihanna – ‘Unfaithful’

Looking at Rihanna‘s post ‘Umbrella’ success, it’s hard to believe she was once labelled a one-hit-wonder. Today we journey back to 2006 – just before she cemented her “here to stay” status.

This week’s From The Vault pick is ‘Unfaithful’.

The follow up to 80’s kissed ’S.O.S,’ ‘Unfaithful’ was the work of winning squad Stargate and Ne-Yo; a collective who’d craft a slew of other hits for her down the line.

Serviced as Ms. Fenty’s first ballad single, it was quite a risk given the domination of danceable cuts.  Yet, it would quickly become apparent, the pick paid off as the track became the stunner’s third US and UK Top 10 – peaking at #6 and #2 respectively during Summer 2006. With the single reaching the Top 10 of several European countries, it was safe to say RiRi had almost completely done away with the notion of being a novelty act.

Based on the 2002 movie of the same name – starring Richard Gere, the song’s accompanying visual saw Ri stray on her boyfriend. A visual mirroring of the lyrics, she is depicted feeling remorseful about the act. The cinematic piece showcased a more mature side of the star; one that would only heighten comparisons to idol-turned-rival Beyonce (who is routinely praised for being able to do it all).  It was the first of many Rihanna videos directed by Anthony Mandler.


Kudos to Def Jam for releasing this track as a single; for not only did the gamble paid off,  it was a huge brick in the wall that is RiRi’s giant sized career.

The song reclaimed the narrative concerning her voice (or lack-thereof) and made her an act capable of selling an “emotional” ballad. This, in spite of whether folk thought her vocals  fit or not. Most importantly, they gave her that real, raw and relatable appeal that’s been her unique selling point ever since. Indeed, she wasn’t the scorned female, the victim, instead she was the abuser, the guilty one, the bad girl.

And just like that, a star was really born and – as they say – the rest is history.

After a decade and some change in the game, how much more mileage do you think “that Rihanna reign” has left in it?

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From The Vault: Beyonce – ‘Deja Vu’

2016 saw Beyonce get all the ladies and fellows in fiery ‘Formation.’ However, a decade earlier, it was all about the Funk.

2006’s ‘Deja Vu’ is this week’s selection for From The Vault.

After eliminating the competition and doubt about her solo viability with a perfect run of singles from her first LP and announcing the end of Destiny’s Child, expectations were rather high for Ms. Knowles to deliver with her sophomore set ‘B’Day’.

With ‘Deja Vu’ she managed to swiftly come back swinging. Sonically similar to ‘Crazy In Love’ thematically and musically (with a guest feature Jay Z to boot), the cut was produced by Rodney ‘Darkchild’ Jerkins.

A Stateside hit, the track peaked #4 and was also a smash overseas, topping the UK charts and reaching Top 20 status in numerous European countries.

[Sidenote: Surely we’re not alone in longing for a Bey x Darkchild reunion?]

Just like ‘Lemonade’ 10 years later, the song’s visual was shot in New Orleans and depicted the diva in various high fashion ensembles. Directed by Sophie Muller, the editorial piece saw a boisterous Bey striking many a pose and dancing up a storm.

Prior to then, the singer – still under 25 – had only scratch the surface when it comes to her sensuality. As such, the video was deemed “controversial” due to its not-so-subtle interaction between her and then-boyfriend Jay.

It’s funny what a difference a decade can make: from premium Pop diva to music royalty, the past 10 years have seen Mrs Carter go from strength to strength and establish herself as a trailblazer, an artist cemented in Pop culture eternally.

Will the next 10 years see her join the likes of Michael, Janet, Whitney, Madonna and Prince?  Untouchable figures; the rare breed whose star’s have soared past the highest skies into Pop Nirvana. We firmly believe so.

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From The Vault: Michael Jackson – ‘Human Nature’

It’s difficult to digest that seven years have passed since music lost its largest and most luminous star.

This week’s From The Vault is dedicated to the one and only King Of Pop, Michael Jackson. Our selection comes in the form of 1982’s ‘Human Nature.’

Released as the fifth single from the monumental ‘Thriller’ LP, the cut was penned by by Toto’s Steve Porcaro and John Bettis. Production, as like was of its housing album, was helmed by musical genius Quincy Jones.

Peaking at #7 in the US, it was ‘Thriller’’s fifth Top 10 single. Unfortunately it was not officially released in the UK, but didn’t dent it’s popularity in the region.

With its mesmerizing production and melodies, ‘Nature’ has been sampled many times over the past 30 years, most recently by Chris Brown in ‘She Ain’t You’ and of course by SWV for the remix to ‘Right Here’ back in 1992.

Uniquely, a video was never shot but numerous are the live performances which make for very emotional moments. Michael showcased that he didn’t always need an army of dancers and fast-paced music to make people “feel”, he could also rely on his voice and a magical musical arrangement and let the magic happen.

Seven years after his passing, with today’s biggest artists struggling to bring anything new to the table, it’s becoming more and more clear why Michael was and still is the King Of Pop. And no we’re not saying that to diminish them. We simply mean that in his lifetime, as an artist MJ, has done EVERYTHING there was to do with a precision and a determination that only he possessed. Thus making it hard for anybody to keep up.

From reinventing himself, to using shock tactics to make people listen, to experimenting with different genres, and writing socially woken music, he will always be the ultimate star. One whose impact is resonates both music and pop culture.

Mike, we loved you then, we love you now, we’ll love you forever. Long live the King!

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