When it comes to female groups, past and present TLC, will forever be my favourite. But this post is not about TLC, it’s about another female group who if I had to name my second favourite of all time would certainly fit neatly into that slot. Of course I am talking about Total!
New Jersey-bred trio Jakima ‘Kima’ Raynor, Keisha Spivey and Pamela ‘Pam’ Long made their presence well and truly felt when they burst onto the music scene with their debut self-titled album back in 1996. They were the first female group to come out of Sean ‘Puff Daddy’ Combs’ Bad Boy Records stable and possessed the same perfect combination of attitude, swagger and great music all Bad Boy artists (Faith Evans, 112, Ma$e and of course Biggie) from that era did! To sum it up Total were the ‘hood TLC (with their own something special)’ as I’ve heard people say time and time again. Can’t You See, Kissing You, No One Else (all from their first album) are still played in clubs today, and have becoming r&b classics over the years.
I’ve been meaning to do a post on the remix of former Bad Boy Records artist Craig Mack’s Flava in Ya Ear for a while, as it is a song that is never far from my mind! I play it often as it’s one of those that makes me feel really good, almost invincible, as crazy as that sounds! A lot of old school songs I listen to a lot tend to spark a memory of a certain time period in my life, which is why they are so dear to me.
This one is summer 1994. I was out of secondary school and into the big wide world of college! Hip hop was taking on a new direction. A fresh crop of rappers were emerging. From B.I.G, Craig Mack, Wu-Tang Clan, and Nas, the buzz name signed to Columbia a couple of years previous, who had released his debut Illmatic that April. In addition Dr Dre’s debut solo set The Chronic had been released the previous year (on Death Row) and was the first hip hop album I bought with my own money. As had Snoop’s Doggy Style, another one I picked up!
Mary J Blige is one of the most consistent female singers in the music industry today, and probably my favourite female singer of all time. And not just because everyone says I look like her.
Her music career has spanned nearly 20 years, which is ultra impressive for any artist, let alone a contemporary r&b singer, as this particular genre is so fickle and has seen a multitude of good acts come and go.
But Mary has managed to buck the trend by keeping things fresh – her look has evolved throughout the years. And her honest, raw and highly-relatable lyrics, have allowed audiences to identify with her on each album, e.g, her 2007/8 smash single Just Fine (below), from the album of the same name.
Since 1991, Mary has won nine Grammy awards, sold 48 million records, and has managed to maintain a huge amount of respect with fellow artists and fans.
New York rapper Mason ‘Ma$e’ Betha was signed to P.Diddy’s Bad Boy back in the mid 90s, releasing two albums initially, his debut Harlem World in 1997, and Double Up in 1999.
The first album ended up selling over three million records and featured top 10 smashes such as Feel So Good, What You Want, and Lookin’ at Me. The second album Double Up didn’t do that well by comparison, and shortly after its release Ma$e decided to give up his rap career and… become a Pastor! Yep, at the time, it was a bit of a shock, as was his hypocritical denouncing of the music industry in a much publicised book There’s a Light After The Lime.