“While he was scheming
I was beamin’ in the Beamer just beamin
Can’t believe that I caught my man cheatin'”
Those are the classic opening lyrics to “Hit ‘Em Up Style(Oops!),” the monstrous R&B laced revenge anthem by flame haired chanteuse, Ms. Blu Cantrell.
Throw in that luscious horn sample and that one-of-a-kind beat produced by legendary producer Dallas Austin, and well, it looked like our window shattering songstress was headed straight on a rise to the top of the charts forever, gurl.
Eh, not so quite. But it sure was fun while it lasted, wasn’t it?
Born in Providence as one of five siblings, Cantrell fell into the world of jazz performance at a young age, only later to be entranced by her watching her mother sing at local churches.
It wasn’t long before the “Oops” diva began recording demos, and eventually her powerful pipes caught the ears of C. Stewart…aka the one-and-only producer bad boy himself, Mr. Tricky Stewart.
While she was crafting studio for the werk that eventually went into her 2001 debut, So Blu, the singer sung along the road to stardom singing backup for a buffet of bona fide crooners including Gerald Levert, Faith Evans and Aaron Hall.
It wasn’t long before “Hit Em Up Style” didn’t just storm into our lives like a kiss off groove from the music heavens above, but it bulldozed its way to number two on the Billboard Hot 100 in the summer of 2001 (“Bootylicious” kept it from the top spot..twas a good summer) and earned the songstress two Grammy Award nomination including for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and and Best R&B Song, and she even nabbed an American Music Award nomination for Favorite Soul/R&B New Artist, all in 2002.
Although Cantrell released a follow-up album, Bittersweet, in 2003 (and garnered another Grammy nod) and did give us another hit, “Breathe” co-starring Sean Paul, but the album quickly lost steam on the charts and would ultimately become her last studio set. And while we may never know just exactly what she’s up to these days, there’s two things we must take away from spilling music tea about the one-time career of Ms. Blu Cantrell…
Number one….the early ’00s were truly the last great era of pop music…and number two….”Hit Em Up Style” is still one hell of a track.
Go on, gurl.
Blu Cantrell cover photo courtesy of You Tube.