Far removed is the R&B world from the ear splitting fangirl screams at the sight of new millennium boy band, B2K. Now, the mention of the one time heartthrobs induces jokes about member Raz-B‘s boy-who-cried-rape internet antics. The rest of the guys are still releasing music, albeit to no specific hurrah. But there are still a few artist from the old T.U.G. Entertainment roster making legitimate noise on the current music scene. The all girl response to B2K, collective TG4, was ultimately shelved by the label, but produced Amber Streeter, now known as Seven of fledgling female quartet Richgirl. The 24-year-old is a frequent collaborator, and apparent muse of R&B singer Chris Brown (see ‘She Ain’t You’, F.A.M.E, In My Zone series, etc.). 2011 also saw the reappearance of B2K’s resident rhymer Lil’ Fizz’s younger cousin Jhene.
Previously signed to Epic Records, Jhene Aiko was being cross-promoted during the guy’s heyday, as the next big thing out of the T.U.G. camp – that never was. the rosy-cheek singer was featured on B2K’s sophomore effort, Pandemonium!, their Christmas and two remix EPs, opened on The Scream Tour III, officially released a single and music video, and given countless release dates. Yet, nothing ever came of the deal – apart from a handful of unreleased teen R&B/Pop cuts, that you can find somewhere on the internet. After about five years of the ongoing teasing, Jhene decided to finally severe ties with Epic Records and T.U.G. Entertainment to finish her education.
Now all grown up, the 23 -year-old mother of one is back and making music her way. Her 2011 mixtape, Sailing Soul(s), has generated a lot of buzz on the West Coast and across the internet. The moody collection of songs features guest appearances by Drake (‘July’) and Miguel (‘Hoe’), and displays Aiko’s warm vocals perfectly amidst the atmospheric production – mostly done by beat-making team Fisticuffs. The singer has specified vocal influence by Brandy, Beyonce and Sade, and cites John Mayer as major inspiration for her new role as a songwriter. Throughout the mixtape we find the singer imbue her bass heavy confections with her real life as a young woman, living in L.A., with a goal. “I got a baby to feed, barely can eat, and I’m chasing a dream,” she confesses to a foreign lover on the introspective ‘Space Jam’. Today, the B2K craze is but a teenage memory, and Jhene is fittingly in the wings singing the songs of the now broken in, adult fangirls of the last decade.
Click here to download Jhene’s free mixtape Sailing Soul(s).