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Tag Archives: Tracy Cruz

Cam & Dee~va’s Listening Lounge


We’ve got our hands on some great music for September….

Jill Scott The Original Jill Scott The Vault Hidden Beach Recordings
Jillscott2 Dee~va: Yeah, Yeah I know, I know, some of you are saying Jill Scott has another CD??? The answer is yes. She dropped a new record with her new label Warner Brothers this past Summer. The Current CD, The Original Jill Scott from the Vault, was put out by her old record label Hidden Beach Recordings, which she split from. The Good news is both parties will profit from her work. Now to the business of it all. This CD is compiled of previously recorded, unreleased tracks. If you are a fan like me, then you already know it’s gonna be good. Jill Scott is always consistent. You pretty much know what’s going on with her because she tends to produce honest emotional music. The Intro had be moving…I thought I was about to get a full song then it transitioned into “I Don’t Know” I started to laugh when I heard this joint…cause it seems that Jill always makes references to food in her music. In this joint, Jill invite a man to dinner and told ol boy I make a mean Shepherd’s Pie… Real Rap… I was Wondering why you don’t talk to me like you use to??? Luv it!!!! funny how that happens…”Wake Up Baby” Lovely Day was the first single released from this CD what else did you expect? Ms Scott delivered a beautiful rendention of the Bill Withers classic. This song is definitely a feel good song…. Love to Love got my Reggae fix… Then Jill took me on a nice mellow ride…Running Away….that’s my joint. The muted intro and then it was like she kicked the door open…aaahhh yeah! I’m just so prettier….when I let it go! this needs to be a Sistah’s theem song encouraging them to let the B.S.go. The message stop stressing and worrying about things you have no control over. “Comes to the Light (Everything)” is an oldie but a goodie. We heard this on the Love Don’t Cost A Thing soundtrack. I loved it when I first heard it and I love it just as much today. Then she rounded it out with Holding on pure jazz…hand me a drink …I’m done! *drops the mic and walks off*
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Cam:My girl Jilly from Philly…..we are blessed with yet a 2nd album from her in 2011; dropping nearly 3 months after the album “The Light of the Sun”. With this album “The Original Jill Scott from the Vault, Vol.1” being a series of unreleased songs, unleashed as a result of dealings between Jill and Hidden Beach, I really didn’t know what to expect for obvious reasons. Word is that these songs been sitting on “ice” for the past 10 years….But hey….this is Jill Scott….her musical accomplishments & consistency speaks for itself.
I will say that if you’re expecting this album to be a playlist of “unfinished” joints, you will be pleasantly surprised. I mean, all songs are originals; with the exception of “Lovely Day”, which is a Bill Withers remake. Jill ScottEven with this remake, she manages to put her “soulful” touch to it, which I found very refreshing. Honestly, it’s as if Jill just jumped in the lab, grabbed the mic, and gets right to it effortlessly. After a short intro “Love to Love Prelude”, the unveiling begins. Each song features some AMAZING productions, infused with soul, jazz, & R&B….& Jill’s flawless vocals. “I Don’t Know (Gotta Have You) is the perfect opening cut….it’s solid & profound, (gets your heading bobbing) and Jill’s classic delivery of telling a guy that she’s digging him…”You looked at me and smiled…and woooo honey child, I can’t explain but you move me…”. The background vocals made the song even more definitive. While it’s more of a casual, relaxed tempo, “Wondering Why” holds its own, in Jill’s unique way, she simply questions what ever happened to the conversations between her & an old friend. And then “The Light” appears….which is another solid track; & it reappears later with a “piano mix” that was cleverly done. With a more guitar vintage vibe, “Wake Up Baby”, Jill takes me back to when my granny would drop some jewels “..if he really cared for you, he wouldn’t be calling so late/…Wake Up Baby, wake up baby…he don’t really care for you, don’t you have school in the morning..”. It’s obvious with “Holding On” that Jill tapped into her sultry jazz nature; it’s obvious that Sarah Vaughn & Phyllis Hyman are a few of her influences with this one. Simply breath-taking “live” delivery.
I feel we can’t compare the Jill in this album to the Jill she is today in “The Light of the Sun.” Of course her latest album through Warner Bros. are focused arrangements, while this compilation has a “mixtape” flow. Jill is a songstress that evolves and “flexs” where she is in her life, and does an amazing job of reflecting it through her music. However, what’s amazing about this album is that these songs are so organic, and do not sound outdated AT ALL. Rather it just showcases how talented and creative this woman is….how TIMELESS her music is. Should you get this album? Without hesitation, I highly recommend it. This compilation allows us to appreciate Jill’s craft even more. Cam’s Favorites: I Don’t Know (Gotta Have You), The Light (Piano Mix), Wake Up Baby, Holding On

Khari Cabral Simmons Clementine Sun
Dee~va: One Word!…WOW! Where is my Moscato???… Khari Cabral Simmons has created a body of work that is much more than Amazing. I would have to say it’s Epic. Music has the power to move and Khari Cabral Simmons’ debut “Clementine Sun.” moves in a very extraordinary way. Every single cut on this CD is beautiful. If you are a jazzhead and like the world music vibe this CD is for you. If you just like music in general and your pallate is pretty diverse then this CD is for you. I honestly can’t give a description of each track. There is not one stand out because I love this CD as a whole. It lacks nothing. There’s nothing strange or wiered about it. He’s not making a statement. He just produced good music. I would like to say that this body of work is not dated and will probablly be timeless. I’m gonna have to tell DJ Frances Jaye to include one of these tracks on the Supercruise mix. (smiling) I Highly Reccommend this CD.
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Cam: This CD is Concise and Beautiful. Khari Cabral Simmon’s latest project “Clementine Sun” is an amazing body of work, by an AMAZING musician. Everything about this album is so crisp and fresh…purifying. kharicabralsimmons It’s obvious that Khari dwells in a place where peace, joy, & oneness lives deep within, because his music “awakens” my spirit….so nourishing. He is well established in the music scene – he played bass for India Arie, had a jazz-funk band of his own called Jiva, and has worked with countless artists, such as songstress Julie Dexter. It is infused with the flavor to soothe, energize, and invigorate. Throughout this entire album, you’ll get taken away by great horns, lots of worldly percussion, and captivating sultry vocals. Oh and let’s not forget a profound baseline throughout the entire experience. One that I have to get straight to is “Ninos”, track 5 on the album….it’s 6 minutes of BLISS.
Cam’s Favorites: Never In Your Sun, Ninos, How Could We Go Wrong, Coolamon Waltz

This album is set to release 9.27.11! You can order this CD on http://www.cduniverse.com and http://www.amazon.com . Find out more about Khari Cabral on his official site http://kharisimmons.com

Ishe + Hezekiah Project 3 Crates Production

Dee~va: San Diego meets Philly. Ishe a vocalist from California and Hezekiah a Producer /Emcee from Philly came together to create an experiment in music. It took Less than 10 days for Ishe and Hezekiah to put this CD together. It was initially supposed to be a EP to be completed in 3 days, but it ended up being a full length album. The result The Ishe + Hezekiah Project. This CD is Amaaazing!!! I enjoyed every cut on this CD. I loved the vibe of the CD. This is organic raw soul at its best. Ishe & Hezekiah deliver super dope lyrics over elctronic funky bass laden tracks. ***Warning***Warning***Warning*** Hezekiah doesn’t drop any rhymes on this CD. Now because I love all the tracks on this CD I will touch on just the standouts for me, otherwise Y’all will be waiting on me all day to talk about this CD. “Baby I stand Guard over us/ let nothing come in between you and I.” She got him and her told…and that’s wassup… Eternal Hottness…. On “Dope Game,” Ishe provides clear and conscise vocal delivery over a tight dub track produced by Hezekiah. O.M.G. This is genius. the song tells the story of how females be going thru all in love with a dude she can’t help and he won’t help himself…been there done that. Now, anybody that knows me, knows that I love to travel. The song “Paradise” puts me in the zone with its tropical vibe and finger cymbals, it makes the joint all exotic. Opportunity is a nice dance track. Sounds like a lil P-Funk, this track took me back… “When you get that call you gots to move.” This is s today’s “Jamaica Funk” I can easily see Hezekiah as a young Quincy Jones. “Go Get It”…Encouragemnet and motivation to start living your dreams. Ok, let me stop I was about to list several other tracks. The Ishe + Hezekiah Project was described as being an experimental duo. The vocals are hypnotic, the tracks are sick, the vibe is dope.. I think the experiment worked. I highly reccommend this CD
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ishe hezekiah>Cam:Did I hear this right? Hold on, Southern Cali songstress ISHE and Philly resident Hezekiah created the “ISHE + Hezekiah Project” in 9 days?!? While each of these artists have shown such dynamic talent individually, I find it so impressive how they brought their creative gifts and talents together….blessing the masses with even more good honest music. I am no stranger to Hezekiah’s ELITE resume; dude is fierce as an emcee & his resume of amazing production (for the likes of Eric Roberson, Musiq Soulchild, Bilal, etc) speaks for itself. However this is my first time hearing ISHE’s vocals in depth..and she has left me in awe. This collaboration is definitely a match made in heaven….how can you go wrong with the perfect union of organic soul and hip hop?
“Stand Guard” is really my favorite song on this album. “Girl you know you see this line…don’t cross it…He’s already spoken for….” Yes, she goes there, and I love it. yea…you may be fine, yea…but he ain’t paying you no mind when you walk by…yea…”…Oh, and let’s not forget about “Dope Game”….has such a nice smooth carribean vibe to it (horns playing in the background)….listen to ISHE as she sings “I’m in love, with a man I can not help because for some reason, he refuses to help himself…”….The blend of ISHE’s bittersweet lyrics laid nicely across Hezekiah’s hypnotic track leaves me speechless. This joint is BLAZING! As I eased into listening to “Paradise”, I instantly started smiling…closed my eyes….so sensual.. (Where’s my glass of Cabernet?) I hear a hint of that P-FUNK as I start bobbing my head to “Opportunity”….setting the atmosphere to get up and move…yes REAL dancing, the way it use to be.
Overall, the ISHE + Hezekiah Project = Magical. Both of these artists commit equally to each song, showcasing their unique art form….yet expanding their horizons. I am heavily anticipating future projects from this duo. No question about it, get this album.

Cam’s Favorites: Stand Guard, Dope Game, Paradise, Opportunity, pressure
you can find their music at http://3crates.bandcamp.com/album/ishe-hezekiah-project
Twitter @ishetheish @hezekiah3rd

Clean Lust Dirty Laundry The Mixtape Honey Larochelle

Dee~va: Clean Lust Dirty Laundry, hmmmmm……oddly enough I believe I understand the concept and the title is certainly catchy. Honey Larochelle, The modern day pin up girl, The Urban Honey Bee, is Vancouver made and Texas raised… 🙂 Honey offers a mixtape, with 13 original tracks no covers. This CD is bound to be a favorite of soul music lovers everywhere. I love how the CD flows, one track into the other…like a DJ’s mix… You can listen to this CD start to finish with out skipping any tracks. honey The material selected for this CD allows it to flow seemlessly. I know I always say this, but this is the best compliment… You can clean up easily listening to this CD. You do not have to skip a track. that’s what I call quality music. Honey saw the door cracked and pushed it on in she let us have it with #Just Rise.” Then the she killed it with the dopest lyrical play on words in Flight of the Honey Bee. My Favorite track is “Spontaneoous,” in which she tells the story of how things can go when you first meet someone. The attraction is so strong that you choose to throw caution to the wind. and do something out of the ordinary. My other cut is “Hold You For Life.” Oh that’s my Reggae fix… being forward and expressive abut waiting on a dude. Highly Reccommended

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Cam: Ms. Honey Bee… ;-)….I’ve been hearing the wonderful “buzz” about her for a while now; and I couldn’t wait to dig into her latest mixtape “Clean Lust and Dirty Laundry.” The title ALONE draws you in to find out exactly what musical art stands behind it. She’s one that would be a NEW ADDITION to my never-ending list of astounding artists. For those that knows Cam KNOWS that when I find out about a new independent artist, it’s like Christmas Day & my birthday rolled into one! When I found out that Honey has written/vocally arranged for amazing artists such as Jennifer Hudson, Macy Gray, Donnie Osmond, Roberta Flack, etc….my mouth fell open! This Vancouver-born singer/songwriter has CLEARLY made her mark within the music industry and across the globe. And I must say, she has earned a new fan/supporter….ME! *jumping up & down* 
honey2This album showcases Honey’s refreshing soprano vocals and captures her dynamic songwriting & production skills. The first thing that comes to mind when listening to her album is that Honey knows how to “switch lanes” with such poise & persona; she has such a LIVE flavor and SPUNK about her that reaches out and grabs you with each track. “Gimme a Minute” is a hot joint; very unique
Without hesitation, Miss Honey is definitely a triple-threat: an amazing singer, songwriter, & musician. And did I say this album is freakin’ FANTASTIC in everyway. Honey Larochelle is definitely a shining star to keep your eyes on.

Cam’s Favorites: Gimme a Minute, Spontaneous, Sugar Daddy, Keep My Cool, LaLaLove

Tracy Cruz Universoul Symphony

tracycruz1Dee~va: So I’m hanging out in the Neosoul Cafe Group on Facebook minding my own business… and Tracy Cruz posts a video called Love’s Galaxy…. I pressed play…and was plesantly suprised…. Tracy Cruz is the truth. Her awesome Alto voice soothes the soul with fanciful melodies of love. This soundscape begins with “Soundnation, an instrumental , a muiscal clashing of sounds that a mesh together to form an atosphere for a voyage to a land far far away where Tracy Cruz is the ruler. It has a classical felling, however this is a symphony. My test for a CD is if I can listen to it with out skipping around, then it’s a definite keeper. Tracy Cruz passes this test with flying colors. My jam is Love’s Galaxy. It has the traditional neo soul vibe. I love so many tracks on this CD I want to list them all but Definite stand outs for me are, Let’s go back, which features Tracy’s husband, producer, emcee Allen Ross, Dream Flight, and the interludes Peace of Soul 1 & 2 are so dope. Ok Back to the list… “Happy,” “Joyful Rain” and last but not least “Flowers and Candy”. I didn’t have the opportunity to hear her 1st CD Feelosophy, please rest assured I made it my business to find it. I can’t wait to hear more from this neo soul Diva. I grooved to CD and reccommend it for rotation.!!!
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Cam:There are so many wonderful indie artists that are known, and some kind of stay under the radar. That’s what I would say about Tracy Cruz. This singer/songwriter has a soulful sound with a “twist” that’s special and dynamic. With her taking vocal lessons from soul diva Ledisi, I mean, what do you expect?  While Tracy is still developing & refining herself as a singer, her sophomore album, “Universoul Symphony”, showcases her growth and confidence
Getting to the review. “Soundnation – Prelude” intro which transitions into the first solid track “Mind Travel”, where Tracy alto vocals makes its amazing appearance; not to mention the background vocals & instrumentation give this song an even stronger foundation. One of my favs, “Let’s Go Back” gives more of a funk/soul vibe…especially with Allen Ross coming in spitting a few bars. “Let’s go back to the way that we were, the day we fell in love…” Yes, I love this one. (snapping my fingers, doing my two-step). I am very impressed. This album encompasses the elements of soul, R&B, jazz, and a bit of hip-hop; displaying her creativity and uniqueness.

Chapter V Underrated Syleena Johnson

Dee ~va: Its funny how things happen, Before I even knew I was reviewing this CD, I had a conversation with a friend about Syleena Johnson, She made the statement that She is a great singer butI think she would really blow up if she had the right producers backing her… syleena johnson2< I will be sure to buy a copy of this CD for my friend. Grammy nominated soul songstress, Syleena Johnson is back…and she is ready to continue her legacy of creating grown folks music with her new CD Chapter V Underrated. Syleena shows everybody that she is ready to shake up the game. This is not your typical Syleena Johnson CD. She is vying for the title of the Queen of R & B and ready to show these youngsters what she’s got. There is a little bit of everything on this CD. Although this is grown folks music, Syleena is not catering to the neo-soul crowd. He can git he can git he can git if he’s a boss….the lead single from this CD is hot, with an even hotter video. Stand outs for me are “Angry Girl,” “My Shoes,” “Like Thorns”
Cam:And in this corner……we have Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter, model & actress Syleena Johnson….coming at us with a one “hitter quitter”, her debut album titled “Chapter V: Underrated”, set to release on 9.27.11. After being on a hiatus for a while, this soulful diva ain’t playing….she’s coming back STRONGLY….showing everyone that she’s about to take over, and this album proves she hasn’t lost it. She’s not holding back on this project with an even more ROBUST sound and look….she’s FIERCE! syleena Johnson
Syleena has always been top-notch in the game, but her working with new producers, Toxic Productions (Monica, Keyshia Cole, & Twista) is giving her an edge that wasn’t present before.
When I heard the first single from this album “A Boss”, I thought to myself “Alright now Syleena, get it girl!”. Smart move making this the first released single, because this one definitely earns a spot on the party playlists and will be kept in heavy rotation in all clubs/lounges. I actually played this one TWICE because I had to get up and dance on the first spin. 😉 Syleena keeps the party going with “Fade Away”….this is a funky joint; loving the pop vibe of this track; and the sassiness behind her vocals is infectious. Now she slows it down a bit with “Angry Girl”, partnering with the songstress Tweet; singing their plea on how the bitterness that other women harbor from past pains not only block their own happiness, but makes it harder for those that ARE indeed ready for love. I love the hook…”…Angry girl…you know you’re breaking my heart…because you’re making it so hard…for women like me to find prince charming….”. Another favorite of mines is the ballad “My Shoes”, which seems to be a sequel to “Another Relationship” from her “Chapter 3: The Flesh” album. This time she’s challenging her lover to put himself in her shoes….”What would you do if the shoe was on the other foot baby? What if it’s me that walks all over you? What if it’s me that raised my hand to you? Could you wear my shoes?”…..and shows strength & self-love by ending the song singing “I think it’s time to buy some new shoes”…. Very profound joinThis is entire album is amazing; from her ballads, up & mid tempo joints, she’s coming full force undoubtedly. Syleena has a way of putting so much heart in every verse she sings. Additionally, Syleena is having a good time with this album. She’s giving us a variety of different kinds of music – like pop, soul, some hip hop, & a taste of slow R&B joints….without going too far in the spectrum. Trust me, she won’t be considered as “underrated” for much longer. Get this album. 
Cam’s Favorites: Angry Girl, Like Thorns, My Shoes, Stonewall

Syleena Johnson presents Underrated Uncut Live from CRC Recording Studios in Chicago with special guest Tweet. A special virtual album release peformance premiering her NEW album “Chapter V: Underrated” The album features Tweet, Malone, Na’Tee, and AK (of Do or Die). You can sign up for $5.00 and tune in on September 27, 2011 at 8 pm central/9 pm eastern to watch Syleena give a uniquely organic and ground-breaking album premiere for fans around the world. @syleena_johnson
click link below
http://www.stageit.com/syleena_johnson/worldwide_performance_for_her_new_album_chapter_v_underrated/4554

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