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Forgot About Friday/Donell Jones

“U Know What’s Up”…..the dearly departed Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes.…..”Where I Wanna Be”…….baby makin’ crooner and one hell of a talent. 

Yes, those are all of the music memories and moments that make up the career of one sleek and sophisticated R&B maestro and songwriter, Mr. Donell Jones, who in his late ’90s/early ’00s hey day…..simply had it goin’ on. 

Born the son of a gospel singer, Jones grew up on the South Side of Chicago and threw himself in music at a young age to escape the streets that plagued his road to stardom during his younger years. Working hard to keep his passion afloat, Jones met former Heavy D & The Boys member  “Eddie F” Ferrell along the way and together they formed a partnership with L.A. Reid and Babyface’s legendary label, LaFace.

Mr. Jones first hit it big in 1994 thanks to his penmanship on Usher‘s “Think of You,” which hit number eight on the Billboard R&B Charts. It was from there that Reid and Face gave him the green light to record his solo debut, which would end up being the stylish, soulful 1996 release, My Heart

Although the album was a moderate success thanks to singles “In the Hood,” “You Should Know,” and Jones’ cover of the Stevie Wonder classic, “Knocks Me Off My Feet,” it was the singer’s songwriting and music production that caught the ears of everyone in the industry and beyond. This would lead Jones’ quickly becoming an established songwriter in the late ’90s, penning songs for 702, Drea, a few more for Usher and many, many more before releasing his smashing sophomore set, Where I Wanna Be, in 1999. 

Of course, it was this album that truly put Jones on the music map, as it not only went platinum, but gave us bedroom ready smashes like the still woke title track, the thumping, “Shorty(Got Her Eyes On Me,” and of course, “U Know What’s Up,” which features that irresistible cameo from the one-and-only, Mizz Lopes.

Jones released a two successful follow ups–2002’s Life Goes On and 2006’s album chart topping, Life of a Gemini, but let’s face it, the careers of pretty much every late ’90s dominating hip hop and R&B artist seemingly became forgotten right around then and Jones’ later sets–Lyrics and Forever–failed to resonate with that mainstream audience (meaning…all of us) that he once owned. 

But if there’s one thing that we do know, it’s that you actually had to have talent to make it happen like Mariah back then, and Donell Jones simply had it and then some.

And that’s something we should never, ever forget. 

Plus, you know that you’re still trying to be Julia Stiles in that classic “U Know What’s Up” flavored Save the Last Dance montage. Yes, you. 

Groove on, Mr.Jones, groove on. 

Want more shit like this all of the time? Then follow Philly Mixtape right here and here, bish. 

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Forgot About Friday/Shanice

It’s time to put that new black mini on your charge once again….

Born May 14, 1973, the lovely Shanice Wilson entered the music game at a very young age, appearing in a number of musicals and television commercials. But it was in 1984 that she truly got her big break by becoming a regular on the undeniable smash T.V.show, Kids Incorporated, and soon, Star Search came calling.

Her fiery appearance caught the headphones of A&M Records, and at the age of 11, Shanice was under exclusive contract to the label. Her debut album, Discovery, was served to us in ’87, which housed a pair of minor Billboard hits with singles “(Baby Tell Me) Can You Dance” and “No 1/2 Steppin’.”

But it was when the young starlet moved to Motown Records in 1990 that she linked up with producer Narada Michael Walden who took the helm on her Inner Child set, scoring with the hit “I Love Your Smile” (that sax still gets us every time.), as well as “I’m Cryin’” and “Lovin’ You.” The cutesy chanteuse also appeared on a number of movie soundtracks, including Boomerang and Disney‘s Pocahontas (hey, Jon Secada.), and also the famed Beverly Hills 90210 soundtrack, where she would make us swoon with her oh, so tender Jackie Taylor worthy ballad, “Saving Forever For You.”

However, by the time she released her third solo outing, 21 Ways to Grow, her music fortunes seemed to fade off a little bit and disappeared even quicker when she signed on to LaFace Records and self-titled debut (except for the moderate hit, “When I Close My Eyes.”)barely cracked the Billboard 200 album chart. (blame Mr. Reid for that one?)

These days, Shanice and her husband, Flex (of Naughty by Nature fame) are starring in their OWN reality show Flex & Shanice, which seems a million miles away from her cheeky earlier days, but there’s no denying that her shy demeanor and lovely tunes–especially, “I Love Your Smile”–will stay in our Shanice hearts for all of music eternity. 

 

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Forgot About Friday/Craig David

Go on, Mr. Craig David

That’s we are all saying in the summer of 2001 when UK DJ-turned-singer Craig David brought his funkdafied garage music flavor to headphones all across the music globe. It was during this time, Mr. David successfully transitioned from aspiring songwriter and DJ to major stateside pop star once his smooth, sensual single “Fill Me In” started to tantalize our every music thought. The English Breakfast music tea sipping singer, who only 19 years old at the time, also went on to become the youngest British male solo artist to achieve such a feat. And then he was forgotten about…

Prior to his breakthrough, David, a native of Southampton, England, was a local radio DJ and migrated up to spinning records at clubs, which allowed him to cross headphones with a buffet of England’s up-and-coming producers. It was also during his early music life days that he connected with Artful Dodger‘s Mark Hill, but his real first big music break came when he won a songwriting contest held by the group Damage, who recorded “I’m Ready,” a track David penned, and released it as a B-side to their 1997 single “Wonderful Tonight.” A few years later, Artful Dodger cooked up the bizarrely mellow “Rewind,” a track in which David provided the delicious lead vocals. Taking off on the charts, the single was billed as Artful Dodger Presents Craig David, and soon the singer would be filling us all in on his incredible talents.

Once the buttery beat of “Fill Me In” hit overseas airwaves in April 2000, the track went to number one and propelled sales of Born to Do It, David’s quite dazzling debut set. A substantial stateside deal with Atlantic Records fostered David’s worldwide success as sales of his Born catapulted to over three million. David’s ultra-sexy set also helped take the U.K. style of “garage music” out of the dark and into the mainstream music light as mega-music superstars like Missy Elliott, Beyoncé, and Usher all took a liking to the rising UK crooner and his buffet of grimy-but-groovy beats.

However, once David released his sophomore set, the gritty, Slicker Than Your Average (“What’s Your Flava?”can certainly stay though.), his heat began to cool a bit and the album didn’t come close to matching its predecessor. While all four of the set’s single releases still reached the top ten of the U.K. charts, David’s U.S. presence started to fade quite a bit. Over the course of the next few years, he would continue to release a handful of hit albums and singles in the U.K., but as far as his stateside career, well, that’s why we’re here today, unfortunately. Sigh… “7 Days,” anyone? Absolutely. 

These days. Mr. Craig still has his hand in the music game, appearing on the judging panel and performing on, the T.V. show South African Idol. He’s also gone back to his DJ roots by hosting exclusive parties at his home in Miami;developing the DJ sets that he whipped into TS5, a weekly residency on the Capital Xtra radio station.

While the days of David ruling the charts seem like a million years ago at this point, you have to admit that his bedroom ready voice and feisty, funky flow absolutely took over your early-’00s music life. If it didn’t, give his grooves another spin–you’ll be glad you did.