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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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From The Vault: Des’Ree – ‘You Gotta Be’

Des’Ree’s incredible ‘You Gotta Be’ has the distinction of being this week’s From The Vault feature. The track was the lead single from her ‘I Ain’t Movin’ album and was originally released in 1994. This simple yet uplifting record peaked at #16 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #14 on the Official UK Singles Chart, impacting the lives of many during it’s stay on the charts. I miss songs like this!

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From The Vault: En Vogue – ‘Free Your Mind’

This week’s classic From The Vault clip comes courtesy of En Vogue and their 1992 smash ‘Free Your Mind’. Lifted from the ladies ‘Funky Divas’ LP, the song  packs more than a pulsating beat…it packs a powerful message. A message conveyed oh-so-well by Dawn, Terry, Cindy, and Maxine  in its accompanying video.

Watching this kinda has me hopeful that some of today’s charting acts will be inspired to fuse powerful and necessary messages into their music – if even only to try. For, as this shows, it is indeed possible to weave-sling, Naomi Campbell walk, and rock out to a song which boasts lyrics other than those centred on the same ol’ topics of love and clubs.

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From The Vault: Anita Baker – ‘Sweet Love’

This week’s From The Vault comes from the legendary Anita Baker. ‘Sweet Love’ was one of the singles released from her critically acclaimed ‘Rapture’ album and earned Baker a Grammy Award for ‘Best R&B Song’ back in 1987. The track has been covered by several singers including Beyonce during her ‘I Am…Yours’ world tour. You better sing it Baker!

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From The Vault: Nivea – ‘Don’t Mess With My Man’

This week’s classic From The Vault clip is Nivea and Jagged Edge‘s 2002 smash ‘Don’t Mess With My Man’. The song, which peaked at #8 on the Billboard Hot 100, serves as the biggest hit of Nivea’s career, earning her a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Performance By A Duo or Group. Still goes hard today…

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From The Vault: Mary J. Blige – ‘Real Love’

This week’s throwback From The Vault clip needs no introduction. A classic if there ever was one, Mary J. Blige‘s 1992 smash ‘Real Love’ will indeed remain etched in R&B history forever.

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From The Vault: Dream – ‘He Loves U Not’

This week’s classic From The Vault clip is Dream‘s 2000 smash ‘He Loves U Not’. Many will remember the Bad Boy collective as the Danity Kane before there was a Danity Kane. Indeed, just like Aubrey, Dawn and co, Dream boasted much in the way of potential, however never got to achieve it due to poor label handling (no shocker with Diddy, ay) and bad management. Still, the four-piece left their mark with this winner of a song and video – which hit #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 when released. Enjoy.

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From The Vault: Mya, Blackstreet & Mase – ‘Take Me There’

This week’s classic From The Vault clip is Mya, Blackstreet and Mase’s 1998 contribution to The Rugrats Movie, ‘Take Me There’. An awesome meshing of the Urban and younger Pop/junior audience, the song still goes hard now. Enjoy.

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From The Vault: Madonna, Britney & Christina Rock VMA 03

‘The performance that shocked the world’ is no doubt how many will remember Madonna, Britney Spears, and Christina Aguilera‘s showing at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards, this week’s classic From The Vault video. Featuring the now-infamous ‘kiss’, this medley of ‘Like A Virgin’, ‘Hollywood’, and the Missy-Elliott assisted ‘Work It’ certainly goes down in history as of music television’s most risqué moments. However, after re-watching this 7 years later, I can’t decide whether it was actually any good or just great car-crash television?!

Like most, it was awesome seeing such a celebrated artist like Madonna grace the stage with former chart-rivals Britney and Christina. However, judging by the amount of shade thrown in the audience (Mary J, 50 Cent & Eminem, Snoop…spot anymore?!) it seemed more laughable than anything else LOL. Judge for yourself, check out the vid above…

Randomness: Christina’s vocals were on fire! Britney’s had a great backing track….  😉

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From The Vault: Monica – ‘Don’t Take It Personal’

This week’s From The Vault clip is Monica‘s 1995 #1 smash ‘Don’t Take It Personal’ – which was lifted from the then teen star’s debut LP ‘Miss Thang’. As I’m sure any R&B lover will know, the song’s reputation proceeds it. Put simply, a classic.

Tidbit: Despite only being 6 or 7 when this dropped, I vividly remember the hype around the then-new talent that was Ms. Monica. To see what a seasoned vocalist and great person she’s grown into before our eyes is a warming feeling.

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From The Vault: Lauryn Hill – ‘Doo Wop (That Thing)’

This week’s classic From The Vault video is Lauryn Hill‘s 1998 smash ‘Doo Wop (That Thing)’. As the first single from Hill’s critically and commercially successful ‘Miseducation…’ LP, the song and its accompanying video sky-rocketed the former Fugees front-woman to super-stardom. Some 12 years (yes 12 years) later, this visually looks just as good if not better than some of today’s videos. What’s more, the song still goes hard. Classic.

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