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From The Vault : Brandy & Wanya Morris – ‘Brokenhearted’

From The Vault is back this week with a R&B duet courtesy of the Vocal Bible herself Brandy alongside Boyz II Men crooner Wanya Morris. Today’s pick is ‘Brokenhearted’.

Originally a solo track from her eponymous 1995 debut, ‘Brokenhearted’ was remixed by Soulshock & Karlin for its single release, making way for fresh new vocals by Morris.

As the 5th and last single off said album, it gave Brandy her third Top 10 in the US by peaking at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 – it also reached the 2nd position of the Hot Hip-Hop/R&B tally.

The laid-back groove’s visual – directed by legendary videographer Hype Williams – presented the ex-lovebirds in a moody yet vivid dream-like environment. Rocking her 90’s trademark box-braids, a then-aged 16 Bran was already showing all the signs of a diva-in-the-making proving yet again that age is but a number when you have « it ».

With the singer/actress recently confirming that work was underway for the follow-up to the criminally underrated ‘Two Eleven’, we can’t help but anticipate what the future holds for Ms. Norwood. Indeed, the ‘Put It Down’ vocalist’s craft seems to get stronger and more diverse with time – contrary to some other divas from the last two decades – and with her qualitative stock already sky-high, it’s quite obvious we’re in for a treat.

Bring it on, B-Rocka!

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From The Vault: Patti Labelle & Mariah Carey Perform ‘Got To Be Real’

As vocal legends go, few come more equipped than Patti Labelle and Mariah Carey.

Though from different eras, the dynamite diva’s have made it routine to honor one another at many points in their illustrious careers.

One of their most celebrated showings serves as this week’s From The Vault pick – their performance during Labelle’s ‘Live One Night Only’ TV special in 1998.

Together, the powerhouses blew the roof off the venue with a rendition of Cheryl Lynn‘s 1978 Disco classic ‘Got To Be Real’.

Watch the icons trade belts, whistles, and sass above…

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From The Vault: Danity Kane – ‘Ride For You’

This Summer, the divas of Danity Kane are heating up the airwaves with their blazing new single ‘Lemonade’. So, what better way to salute the ladies return than by journeying back to one of their break-out hits.

Yes, this week’s From The Vault pick is the group’s second single ever - ‘Ride For You’.

Released in December 2006, the track saw the then-five-piece showcase their pipes after serving up swagger aplenty on  preceding single Show Stopper’.

With the popularity of hard-hitting ballads at an all time high – thanks to the likes of Mariah Carey’s ‘We Belong Together’ and Mary J’s ‘Be Without You’, the group tapped the man responsible both tracks Bryan Michael Cox to pen ‘Ride’.

The result? A delicious slice of balladry than firmly established the “DK brand” as more than a one trick pony.

Indeed, though the track could only manage a #78 placing on the Billboard Hot 100, ‘Ride’ proved that each member possessed a powerful vocal; which, when juxtaposed against their performance ability, very much established Danity Kane as a legitimate supergroup.

Thematically, the song’s Marcus Raboy directed video saw each member navigate through different seasons. Though by no means groundbreaking, it served as a fitting visual homage to the different flavours that make up one of the best female collectives in recent memory.

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For many, the story of Danity Kane reads like a titillating page-turner. Make-ups, break-ups, comebacks, and setbacks. Yet, more than anything, it’s always felt  somewhat incomplete; cliché as it sounds, almost as if the best is yet to come.

Now a trio, it’s clear the DNA of the new DK remains as strong as ever. As such, here’s hoping the ladies reap the rewards of their hard work. Because a victory for this latest incarnation is very much a victory for every member than at has ever sung under the Danity Kane name.

danity kane ride for you From The Vault: Danity Kane   Ride For You

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From The Vault: Keyshia Cole – ‘Let It Go’ (ft. Missy Elliott & Lil’ Kim)

“When this song come on in the club they gon’ be like ‘Damn, that’s hot”

It seems  Missy Elliott knew exactly what she was talking about when she recorded that very hook.

From The Vault is back this week with the party starter that is Keyshia Cole’s ‘Let It Go’. The high-octane cut saw the R&B chanteuse team up with Missy and mother-to-be Lil’ Kim.

Proving that the sophomore slump can be avoided, ‘Go’ was the first single from Cole’s hugely successful second effort ‘Just Like You’ – which was released in 2007. Featuring the Queen B and Elliott – who also took on production duties – the track serves as quite the ladies anthem.

It became Keyshia’s first solo Top 10 hit – she previously scored herself two of those with Sean Paul’s Give It Up To Me’ and of course Diddy’s ‘Last Night’ – hitting #7 on Billboard Hot 100. Elsewhere, it reached the pole position of the Hot Hip-Hop/R&B but unfortunately wasn’t released overseas.

Despite being situated in the well-treaded club backdrop, the Benny Boom-directed video successfully “sells” the laid-back vibe of the tune. What’s more, it showcased a new side of Keyshia – one that embodied the fiery feistiness of previous releases, but with a fun twist. It’s little surprise, then, that ‘Go’ and its accompanying video  are considered Ms. Cole’s true breakthrough.

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Having recently announced the Summer arrival of her next LP ‘Point Of No Return’, we’re hopeful the project is actually the one that will see Keyshia return to the top of the Billboard tally. With her last two albums having been highly overlooked, ‘Return’ – in many ways – will be somewhat of make-or-break for the ‘Beautiful Music’ vocalist. That said, if the tracks ‘Rick James’ and ‘Next Time’ as well as their respective visuals are anything to go by, Team Keyshia is definitely on the right path.

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From The Vault: Pink – ‘You Make Me Sick’

Former R&B chick Pink and her infectious hit ‘You Make Me Sick’ are this week’s From The Vault pick.

Released in the year 2000, ‘Sick’ was the third and last single off the singer’s debut ‘Can’t Take Me Home’. Produced by Babyface, it sees Ms. Moore-Hart open up about a passionate love affair that has her going out of her mind.

Unlike its predecessors ‘There You Go’ and ‘Most Girl’, it didn’t reach the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, instead peaking at #33. However, it got to the ninth position of the UK Official Singles Chart.

Pink’s frequent collaborator Dave Meyers took charge of the visualization of the track. The result: a high-octane, colorful and hilarious piece of work. Proving that there’s only but a thin line between LOVE and HATE, it was the diva’s first of many comedy-themed videos – which became Pink’s trademark on a visual tip.

Having quite literally ruled the Hot 100 last year, the ‘Just Give Me A Reason’ vocalist seems to be in a league of her own today. Indeed, with her show-stopping stage antics and blend of soulful-Pop/Rock, she incredibly keeps gaining even more recognition at a time when her peers’ stars are starting to fade.

Here at TGJ HQ, we’ll always salivate at the prospect of new material from the ‘Just Like A Pill’ Pop-genius, and we would be lying if we said we weren’t praying for an Urban-tinged album for her next chart assault.

In the meantime…

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From The Vault: Joe – ‘I Wanna Know’

This week, From The Vault travels back to the very beginning of the 00’s with the defining R&B smash ‘I Wanna Know’ by crooner Joe.

The lead single from the singer’s third effort ‘My Name Is Joe’, the slow-jam was produced by Edwin «Tony» Nichola and produced by Joe himself. A love song by all counts, the cut stands as Mr Thomas signature song and was, according to Billboard, the 4th biggest song of the year 2000.

Having peaked at #4 on the US Hot 100 and #2 on the Hot Hip-Hop/R&B charts, it didn’t exactly achieve chart glory overseas. Still – as our non-US readers will testify – the track’s significance to modern R&B speaks louder than any chart position would or could.

The visual for the gem was helmed by Billie Woodruff and presented Joe as a knight in shining armor of sorts, rescuing a young lady after a chaotic relationship. Put simply, the perfect gentleman. A brief and quite unnecessary dance-break towards the end of clip throws things off somewhat,  but still – Joe gets an “A” for effort, ay?

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With the Grammy nominee  hard on work on new album ‘Bridges’ and R&B’s stock almost as high as it was when ‘I Wanna Know’ was released, maybe 2014 is the year that will see the vocalist bless (upper region of the) charts with his brand of grown and sexy once again. Should he serve up another classic that will also sound as fresh 14 years after its release, then we see no reason why not!

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From The Vault: Ashanti – ‘Foolish’

This week’s From The Vault comes courtesy of former Murder Inc front-woman, Ashanti. Our pick is her sizzling debut solo single ‘Foolish’.

In 2002, after a carefully planned campaign that saw Ms. Douglas featured on many a rapper’s song to great success, all eyes were on the diva to see if it was all make-believe or if the hype was legit. With no other choice but to score a home-run, the Inc. opted for the heartfelt ‘Foolish’ as their first lady’s launching single – a bold move considering the upbeat musical landscape that was the year ’02.

An exquisite pick, ‘Foolish’ went on to become one of the most successful songs of the 00′s in the US with 10 weeks spent at #1 and over 8 millions physical copies sold, as well as many Top 10 placings around the world including the UK, Australia and Japan.

Fun Fact: ‘Foolish’ replaced none other than the Ja Rule assisted ‘Ain’t It Funny’ by Jennifer Lopez at the top spot of the Billboard and was in its turn replaced by Nelly’s ‘Hot In Herre’. We’re pretty sure we don’t have to explain the connections here.

Produced by 7 Aurelius and Irv Gotti, the track’s cinematic VMA’s nominated visual was helmed by the latter and features cameos by the likes of then-label mates Ja Rule, Vita and Charli Baltimore and was of course featured Academy Awards nominee Terrence Howard. Based on the movie ‘Goodfellas’, it depicts Howard as a cheating gangster (of sorts) that Ashanti – no matter of unhappy she is – can’t seem to leave. Just like in the tune’s lyrics.

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Oh how we miss this Shany. Though the music remains of quality, the same cannot (always) be said about her most recent visual delivery. Sadly that’s often the price to pay (no pun intended) when you opt for the independent route, which is quite unfortunate because Team Ashanti did a great job establishing her as a visual artist, from this to ‘Rain On Me’ and ‘Only U’, the singer-actress has an ability to truly elevate her sound to the next level by way of amazing imagery.

Still, it’s refreshing to see an artist who stands by their beliefs and their art.

May the future be bright for the stunner and see her star shine as bright as it was once.

‘Braveheart’, in stores now.

ashanti debut From The Vault: Ashanti   Foolish

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