2-For-1: Tisha Campbell and Jasmine Guy

After reading about Debbie Allen's album over at The Isle of Failed Pop Stars (an album my mom owns, by the way), it's due time for my own installment of sitcom stars who occasionally dabbled in pop music.

When I was a little kid...this was like, early, early 90s...I remember Jasmine Guy was all over The Box. She had three big songs: "Try Me," "Just Want to Hold You" and the above "Another Like My Lover." My mom actually taped videos from the Box a lot, and while I was going through some old tapes I found a video with "Try Me" on it.

"Another Like My Lover" (#9 R&B/#66 Hot 100) and "Try Me" (#14 R&B) came out at the height of the New Jack Swing era, as you can tell by the beats. And of course "Just Want to Hold You" (#27 R&B/#34 Hot 100) was the obligatory ballad. Still, with New Jack beats and an already established reputation playing Whitley on "A Different World" (where she sang on quite a few episodes), it's weird how she never became a bigger star in the music world.

Uploaded by ice1906

The same thing happened with Tisha Campbell, who was already an established singer/actress who released who self-titled album a year after the premiere of "Martin," which is hands down one of the best sitcoms of the 90s. (My mom also has this one...) I remember seeing this on the Box as well, and as a grown-up I snicker at the lyric "no one-minute brotha/I need an overtime lover." Again, with a big voice, New Jack Swing beat and even a little reggae toward the end, Tisha saw little success as this song didn't even chart. Her album only hit #37 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart.

Like Jasmine, Tisha got a chance to display her vocal chops before releasing music, as in "Little Shop of Horrors" and "Heart and Soul," a short-lived sitcom starring Morris Day that came on NBC. If you've never heard of it, that's OK, but my mom had a near-obsessive habit with her VCR and taped a lot of things, including this sitcom where Morris played a record company exec and Tisha as his protege. (There were actually clips of this on YouTube but they were pulled! IMDB doesn't even have a proper listing for it! But the show wasn't that funny anyway...)

Of course we can't forget about Jasmine and Tisha sharing the spotlight in "School Daze," one of my top 10 favorite movies with an amazing soundtrack, including this gem "Be Alone Tonight":


Somethin' for the People

I forgot how hilarious this video was in the beginning...

The two female singers (Trina and Tamara) I'll get to in a later post, but let's focus on the short-lived trio Somethin' For the People, who hit it big with "My Love is the Shhh!" They had two more singles before this - "You Want this Party Started," "Can You Feel Me" and "With You" in 1996, but a year and a sophomore album later, "Shhh!" hit #2 R&B/#4 Hot 100 and it seemed they were headed for bigger things. Unfortunately, a second single "All I Do" peaked at #15 R&B/#47 Hot 100, and their last outing "Bitch With No Man" off their third album only made it to #39 R&B. I KNOW there's a video for "Bitch With No Man" because I remember seeing it on one of those public access channels (don't laugh) back in the day! But I couldn't find it anywhere.

At the 3:05 mark at "Shhh!", I remember having debates about whether he was singing "My love is the, your love is the shiiiiiiit" without radio or TV blocking it out. It's still a mystery to this day.

What set Somethin' For the People apart was that they weren't a cookie-cutter boy band and they actually wrote and produced their own songs. But I guess their lyrics were a bit on the raw side, and maybe a bit too gimmicky for long-term success.

How to make a comeback:

I found MySpace pages for each of the members Sauce, Cat Daddy and Fuzzy (his is private), and it looks like at least two of them have stuck to producing for other artists. However, it wouldn't hurt if they got back together as a trio again!



Growing up in Detroit, I remember the radio stations showed much love to Rome since he was from Benton Harbor, about 80 miles east. But I had no idea this song "I Belong To You (Every Time I See Your Face)" was just a big a hit nationwide: It hit #2 R&B/#6 Hot 100.

Rome had another song "Do You Like This" that hit #10 R&B/#31 Hot 100, but after 1997 we never heard from him again. There seemed to be a bit of overcrowding of solo male R&B singers at the time (Rome, Myron, Link, Sam Salter, Uncle Sam, R. Kelly, Methrone, Brian McKnight, Usher, the list goes on...) so I'll chalk it up to that.

Rome is truly MIA, as he doesn't have a MySpace page, nor does Wikipedia have an entry for him. Other than his videos on YouTube and his Billboard bio, you'd have no idea this man existed even though he had two big hits. Anyone know where he is?



In the late '90s there was a tidal wave of neo-soul and alternative-leaning R&B artists hitting the scene. However, it was still a fairly new offshoot of R&B in general, and no doubt there were issues on how exactly to market these artists so they would be accepted by the public. Several of these artists, while making music that was arguably ahead of its time, would come and go within a matter of months.

Pru hit the scene in 2000 with "Candles," this bouncy number that obviously samples Smokey Robinson and the Miracles' "The Tracks of My Tears." I remember BET playing this video a lot, and hearing this on one of the adult urban contemporary stations. Billboard has a bio of her (borrowed from Allmusic) and says she charted at #68 with this song. I remember seeing ads for the album in VIBE, but if it was released it must not have charted. However, you can buy it on eBay for as low as 69 cents!

Also, I didn't know this until recently, but infamous video vixen Karrine Steffans is the "other woman" in the video.

How to make a comeback:

Here's Pru's Myspace page, where she's still plugging out music with her band. And I gotta say, out of all the MySpace pages I've found so far, I'm most impressed with Pru's music. So hopefully she'll get some recognition.


3rd Storee/Surprise update

Over the years, several groups tried to recapture the magic of The Jackson 5 and New Edition...

...and, well, didn't quite make it to their levels, but they always get kudos for trying! 3rd Storee was no exception.

I remember seeing "If Ever" all over The Box and actually liking this song, because it sounded like an old Chi-Lites or Stylistics joint with an updated twist. It peaked at #64 R&B. A second single was released...

...but the album never saw the light of day. Even though they had the help of Next front man R.L. for this single "Party Tonight," they were signed to Yab Yum Records, a Sony imprint owned by Tracey Edmonds that had several artists (Laurnea, Jon B.) that never got their just due.

Eventually 3rd Storee finished going through puberty and the lead singer, Lil' Man, was dropped or dropped out (I never knew this until I researched it online). They signed to Def Jam and their next single "Get With Me" featured then up-and-coming rapper Joe Budden. However, they added a new backing singer and a new lead that was none other than...

J'Son! I thought he had completely fallen off the face of the earth until I read the YouTube comments on the "If Ever" video saying that it was indeed J'Son (he sings lead on the first verse) fronting 3rd Storee for their 2002 album also titled "Get With Me." I actually remember BET premiering this video, but never hearing it on the radio. Billboard lists the single peaking at #85 R&B. We never heard from 3rd Storee again.

(Joe Budden, you are also on MIA status as well...)

After some MySpace digging, I found 3rd Storee's MySpace page (which links to all the individual members' pages) and J'Son's page, where he says he was a member of 3rd Storee (which has since changed its name to Chapter 4, and says they are signed to J Records), but curiously doesn't mention his prior solo career.

I didn't know this, but apparently Lil' Man (now known as K-Young) has also been on a solo grind. The single here only peaked at #38 on Billboard's Rhythmic Top 40 chart in 2005. (In other words, you've never heard it. I haven't either.) Here is his MySpace page.

How to make a comeback:

They all have MySpace pages, so it seems like they're on their way...

Liberty City FLA

"All day...
all night...

24/7 GOOD LOVE!"

That line always sticks with me. I remember seeing this video on BET and my local cable access channel.

I couldn't dig up much info on Liberty City, except that they charted a Billboard Dance Single in 1994 and two other R&B singles -- "Who's She Loving Now" and "I Met Her In Miami," which you can see the video for. "24/7" peaked at #75 on the R&B chart.

This group sounded exactly like almost any other 90s male group and they were signed to a small imprint of Jive (home to the likes of R. Kelly and Britney Spears), so it was really easy to get lost in the shuffle. Only one album was released. However, I know someone out there other than me remembers this song!


2-For-1: Rebbie Jackson/La Toya Jackson

By no means are the Jackson sisters MIA, but with the recent news buzzing about the financial state of the Jackson family, it might be fitting to dedicate at least one post to two of the stars of the family.

Worst '80s video ever? I love it, though. So cheesy. Rebbie, of course, is the oldest member of the Jackson family, but if you ask me, has the best voice between the other sisters (Janet and LaToya). Her debut single, "Centipede," produced by brother Michael, reached #4 R&B/#24 Hot 100. The album of the same name was released in 1984, the only year (thus far) when every single member of the Jackson family had a new album on the market (The Jacksons' "Victory" with all six brothers, Rebbie's "Centipede," La Toya's "Heart Don't Lie" and Janet's "Dream Street"). Of course, "Thriller" was released a year earlier and no doubt still making an impact.

Rebbie made sporadic musical impacts between 1984 and 1998, when I first came to know her with "Yours Faithfully," which got heavy BET airplay and a bit of airplay on one of the adult contemporary radio stations where I grew up:

Rebbie's red outfit in the "Yours Faithfully" video = inspiration for Janet's red outfit in the "Feedback" video? Too coincidental, if you ask me. Also, when Janet reaches Rebbie's age, I won't be surprised if this is what her dance moves start to look like. (And they say that sans plastic surgery/vitiligo, Michael would look exactly like Rebbie...)

With this single and album of the same name released on Michael's label, it was Rebbie's last appearance in the music scene, and it's due time for a comeback.

How to make a comeback:

Since many older singers (Natalie Cole, Miki Howard, Vanessa Williams, Vesta) are going the "standards" route (releasing an album of cover songs), this could be Rebbie's calling.

As for La Toya, on the other hand...

Musically, I want to love La Toya, but she just made all the wrong moves with music. She's tried disco, dance, R&B, pop, and even country, and her last album, which had a few dance hits a few years back, has been pushed back indefinitely. On an indie label. Personality-wise, La Toya is by far my favorite Jackson. Truly an 8-year-old trapped in the body of a 50-year-old woman. Please take a look at her videos on YouTube (or check out churchoflatoya.com)

"Heart Don't Lie," seen here, was her biggest hit, peaking at #56. Digging around a few weeks ago, though, I randomly discovered a song of hers (co-written by Janet) from her second album, "My Special Love" called "Camp Kuchi Kaiai," which you can listen to if you have an Imeem account. This is a GREAT song, in my opinion...until the bridge where La Toya starts to, um...well, I'll let you listen to it and judge. (Please sign up for Imeem if you're looking for hard-to-find songs, I guarantee you'll love it!)

How to make a comeback:

I suggest La Toya go back to making reality TV and leave music alone. I loved her on "Armed and Famous," especially this clip. For a moment -- and probably the first moment ever -- she was everyone's favorite Jackson.

Let's hope if the Jacksons ever reunite, they don't decide to cover each others' songs, either:



(the video has been re-uploaded...)

A+ had the distinction of being one of youngest rappers in the game, only 16 and pushing his sophomore album when "Enjoy Yourself," the song above, was released in 1998. I remember seeing this all over BET's "Rap City" and MTV Jams. It wasn't until later in life that I found out the song sampled the disco hit "A Fifth of Beethoven," but as a kid I thought this was one of the tightest beats ever.

Plus he was only two years older than me! I kind of wanted to be a rapper too.

Wikipedia says this was a big hit overseas, but here in the U.S. the song peaked at #50 R&B/#63 Hot 100. Another single, "All I See," peaked at #29 R&B/#66 Hot 100, but I'm not remembering that song at all.

In the beginning of the song, he says "Yo Kedar/let me hold the keys to the car." Yes, that would be Kedar Massenburg, the force behind D'Angelo and Erykah Badu. However, if he was able to bring them to new heights, why couldn't the same happen with A+? And plus he didn't seem like he was 16...as far as kiddie/teen rappers went, audiences could never take Another Bad Creation of Biv 10's Pee-Wee All-Stars seriously, but A+ seemed to have a nice flow. I wonder what happened?

How to make a comeback:

Even though A+ has a MySpace page, I am considering him MIA since it seems to not have been updated in three years (the bio says "now at 23") except for a mere blog posted in January saying the site is under construction. I'm assuming he's been on the mixtape circuit as the bio indicates, and his pics show he might have a son. Regardless, A+ is pushing 28 and it's not too late to get back in the game. We're waiting on you (and we also want you to show the young cats how it's done)!



Elusion was one of 4,532,108 R&B girl groups to debut in the 90s with their single "Reality," which I remember got substantial airplay on BET. What set Elusion apart was that they were two sets of identical twins -- Tamica and Tanya, Michelle and Marie -- and they were presented with futuristic looks and concepts, hence the name, a play off the word "illusion." Think LaBelle for the new generation.

In retrospect, they kind of remind you of TLC, no? Listen to the lead singer's voice, which is very T-Boz-esque.

I have this CD single and I don't even remember an album being released, but Allmusic has a listing for their debut -- and last -- outing, "Think About It." The single charted at an impressive #34 on the R&B chart and #75 on the Hot 100, so I'm wondering why they didn't go any further with a second single or album. Let's chalk it up to getting lost in the sea of girl groups.

How to make a comeback:

Two of the twins, Tamica and Tanya, have grown out their blonde locks, dyed them dark and have embraced a more alternative R&B sound as evidenced by their MySpace page. Plus, when I found this YouTube video, Tamica left a few fan-appreciation comments, which is always good to see. I wish more of you MIA artists would do the same and let us know where you are! No word on the other two twins. However, an alternative R&B route -- something "Reality" seemed to border on anyway -- seems the way to go. Good luck, ladies!



Now I know the first four posts may not be that obscure, but I'm wondering if anyone can put their finger on this next artist:

He's so obscure that a VHS tape of his video is the only evidence we have to prove he actually existed!

OK, kidding. There actually is another video of his on YouTube and a few fan-made videos, but I'm sure most of us obscure R&B fans will always associated J'Son with "Take A Look" and this Box favorite. God, how I miss The Box. Did every '90s video have to have the big-flowing-curtains-in-the-background thing? Imagine being a set designer going to a fabric store saying, "Gimme 100 yards of red taffeta STAT!" And doesn't this song give you a Mariah Carey "Dreamlover" vibe?

After checking Billboard, Allmusic and Wikipedia (he doesn't even have a page there), little information has turned up. J'Son has charted three low-position songs ("Take a Look," "I'll Never Stop Loving You" and "I Should Cheat on You") on the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B charts, and a self-titled album was released on Hollywood Records (pre-Disney pop music takeover), but nothing more since 1998. Billboard lists "I Should Cheat On You" (what was he, like 14? Serious subject matter there...) as being produced by Rodney Jerkins. It only peaked at #72 Hot 100/#48 R&B, at a time when Jerkins-produced songs ("The Boy is Mine," "If You Had My Love") were dominating the charts.

I remember hearing a rumor back in 8th grade that J'Son was gay, but I'm pretty sure that's middle school urban legend. And since I can't find his real name, I can't even MySpace him. So if anyone knows what became of him, let me know! In the meantime, here's his Billboard and Allmusic profiles. Here's his video for "I'll Never Stop Loving You" (I vaguely, vaguely remember this) as well.

How to make a comeback:

By guesstimation, J'Son should be about 24-28 by now, which is still young enough to attempt a singing career. So what are you waiting for? A quick stage-name change and maybe a switch to a more contemporary or neo-soul brand of R&B would do a world of good. Come on J'Son, I'm waiting on a comeback!