by: Francis Tanneur
Opinions expressed are those of the individual writer for informational purpose
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(July / August 2000) 

ALEXIS: “Searching for love” (CD single) BELLA RECORDS
Score: 4 stars
Now, here’s a title that rings good to my ears, as it belongs to those productions that, from time to time, brings a bit of fresh air to the west coast of the US. Indeed, I must advise you that this track shares nothing with Progressive Freestyle or a Planet Rock beat. 

“Searching for love” comes with a great melody and a chorus that keeps echoing in your head days after you’ve listened to it. Alexis’s voice, though soothing, is still full of rhythm and life. I definitively prefer the terrific “Last lookback mix” (produced by Super JC), much faster and entertaining, be it for the rhythm or the keys, even better than the club version (“Hyperclub mix”). 

This wonderful gem by Alexis should have you convinced easily, but might also vamp dance clubs and radio playlists this summer. A song that’ll rock the scene! 

FREETYLE THE NEXT LEVEL: “A new era in Freestyle dance music” (CD compilation) D.O.S. RECORDS
Score: No stars 

With such a preposterous title (“Freestyle the next level”) we might have been legitimately waiting for something different, but also for better! Well, they messed up…

Producer Pete “D.O.S.” Othman has collected 12 songs, all of them a bunch of terrible stuff! This disaster is often the result of the bad vocal and musical quality of the songs. Only the tracks “Believe” by Nick Colon and “Loving you from a distance” by Genay sound honorable enough, but without a touch of genius though! They’re just plain, that’s all…

In spite of its failure as a way to take Freestyle upwards, it still succeeds in getting a (just) rank among the worst market releases since the birth of this music. Hey don’t laugh, it’s a breakthrough!

 D.O.S. RECORDS, the next level in mediocrity? 


And on for another deceiving and very disastrous compilation, because of the chosen musical direction, mixing West Coast songs to particularly boring East Coast’s ones. And also because of the blatant lack of originality of its two producers Rob Bolis and Baha Kizzi, that seem to enjoy repeating again and again distasteful and tasteless productions heard too many times in the past. 

For some songs, they insist too much on beat Planet Rock, and for others, they copy Artie Rodriguez’s style (who has produced the only two interesting songs on the CD) by using similar rhythm beats and melodies.  

Copying is not enough, you have to be able to do it properly! Once again, a disconcerting compilation that allows us to understand why Freestyle music is often synonymous with old stuff and laughter! 

JOCELYN ENRIQUEZ: “When I get close to you” (CD single) TOMMY BOY MUSIC
Score: 1 star  

Even though this singer is more comfortable with Dance music, she doesn’t forget the Freestyle fans that have been following her since her beginnings and she often proposes them mixes. 

However, the quality of the production doesn’t improve, but, on the contrary tends to regress, making everything sound a bit alive, thus the lack of interest.

Oh, she indeed possesses one of the most sensuous voices in Freestyle, but most often, the music and inspirations of the remixers don’t follow. This new title unfortunately sticks to the rule. DJ Cubanito (a.k.a. Alex Carmentes) makes yet “another” Electro and Progressive Freestyle mix on the Cubanito’s Electro Mishow Edit, whereas the Cubanito’s Breakbeat remix, as its name foretells it is a mixing of Breakbeat and Progressive Freestyle for the sound. 

As far as the Freestyle side is concerned, I feel really disappointed by this tack that seriously lacks originality. Well, maybe another time? 

Score: 3 stars  

Kenny Moulton (a.k.a. Kenny) is certainly one of the most influent and active character of the Bay area. Over a 10-year-career, he managed to become a VIP in song, production, (re) mixing, and he’s keep on writing songs as well. You will find his name at the bottom of numerous projects with artists, principally famous on the west coast, such as Korell, Stephanie Fastro, Diana Salinas, Emotion In Motion, Linda Low, Daisey… but also producers like Randy Taylor Weber (GALAXY FREESTYLE RECORDS), Slammin’ Sam Maxion (SLAMMIN’ Enterprises), Mark & Martha Santos (EPICENTER RECORDS), etc. 

But it’s Kenny Moulton the singer that we have here for his first album. He presents us with a showroom of his talent, yet you have to appreciate his raucous, peculiar voice! I personally had troubles getting used to it, but I have to admit that his album seduced me. There are really neat titles where his voice is somewhat different. Of course, a lot of his hits are included “Visions”, “Stay with me”, “Wanna be your lover”, “Freakin’ you”…and many others. 

An album and an artist worth discovery them. 

Score: 2 stars 

There aren’t many East Coast labels, and more particularly from New York city, that propose titles rather West Coast oriented, or even Progressive Freestyle. After Paradigm (pronounced par-a-dim) “Higher love” (1997), Caprice “There goes my heart” (1999), here comes back gorgeous Stefanie Bennett on the NewYorker EFFECTIVE ENTERTAINMENT label.  

Alas, “Back 4 my love” isn’t innovative for this style, since this track sounds like M:G. The Progressive Freestyle sound FXs are really an ordeal for the ears on the “Robert & Monk Original Extended Mix” whereas the West Coast sound remains very conventional on the “B.K.S.S. Extended mix”.  

Yet, the “child-like” voice of Stefanie Bennett is attractive, and so is the chorus. But it is not a full satisfaction. Too bad! 

SAMMY C: “My mother warned me” / “Walking down the aisle” (CD single) ROMAN EMPIRE PRODUCTIONS
Score: 4 stars  

On the occasion of the release of “My mother warned me” as a CD single (with the ballad “Walking down the aisle” as a bonus), Sammy C has crafted a plentiful amount of versions (from House music to of course Freestyle music) that allows once more this great singer to stand out from the crowd.  

Seldom are the singers that remain as productive and constant in their work. Sammy C has slowly but surely secured his place on the Freestyle scene thanks to that ability proper to him: a constant renewal of style! Indeed, there is a Sammy C’s sound characterized by melodies, keyboards, sounds a voice that are…unique. This new gem forwards this long list of singles that Sammy C has regaled us with in the past. Every mix has its own identity (the beat changes according to the versions, the keys are different, etc.) but he also tries new sounds as on “Rock Till You Drop mix”. 

In a nutshell, an accomplished artist that deserves all your attention. 

SHANNON: “The best is yet to come” (CD album) CONTAGIOUS RECORDS
Score: 2 stars  

Can we really speak of a Freestyle album? The answer is no. In spite of four cuts, all the other pieces are definitively Dance oriented or Euro Dance / High Energy. 

Nevertheless, this album isn’t out of interest for Freestylers. On the one side, there are two Latin Hip-Hop masterpieces (“Let the music play” & Give me tonight”) that broke the worldwide charts at the beginning of the 80’s and introduced to the amateurs one of the greatest Freestyle producers too: Chris Barbosa.

And on the other side, two excellent new productions that are worth it: “The best is yet to come” a good Electro product by Todd Terry and the sublime Old School title “Something about you” written and produced by Mickey Garcia and Guiseppe D. 

Two splendid pieces, that I hope, will be released as maxi single in the end. The best is then to come for Freestylers if CONTAGIOUS RECORDS label decides to play both sides: Freestyle music and Dance music. 

STEVIE B: “You are the one” (CD single) DANCE 2000 RECORDS / BOLARIS RECORDS / 805 MUSIC COMPANY
Score: 3 stars  

In 1994, you certainly danced to the rhythm of this terrific song by Count To Twenty on EX-IT RECORDS label! In this year 2000, you also will on this good remix by the Freestyle pope. 

To do so, Stevie B has surrounded himself with a nice bunch of remixers: “Glenn Gutierrez has fine-tuned four versions in the West Coast tradition, Andy & The Lamboy has made two mixes with a slow Freestyle beat and Dance keys, whereas Charles & Steve Chavez from Cibola Productions have done two versions in a more Progressive Freestyle sound. 

A good choice, the result is really interesting. 

Score: 3 stars  

Since her nice gem “You were meant for me” we kept waiting impatiently for her second title, a new treat, though a little less successful than her first one. 

Of course, we can’t be but seduced by the “Extended Club mix” (in a more West Coast style) and by the “Old School Club mix” version by Willie “Valentin” Rivera even I would have preferred a better crafted melody to strengthen Synthia Figueroa’s wonderful voice! This time the rhythm beat is maybe a little too omnipresent and fat. But let’s not be too touchy… 

The track is also included as Dance music versions by Pete “D.O.S.” Othman, and an acappella figures on this CD single. More than enough to conquer a large audience.  


My Top 10
(12”, tape & CD singles) 

1] Myrna Li: “Still I cry” Santana Music
2] Flying Steps: “We gonna rock it” JetSet / Dance Street GmbH / ZYX Music (Germany)
3] Jazmine: “Justify” Santana Music
4] Alexis: “Searching for love” Bella Records
5] Sammy C: “My mother warned me” Roman Empire Productions
6] Stonay: “Waiting” Shift Music & Media / ZYX Music (Germany)
7] Gina Dee: “Leave me not alone” ZYX music (Germany)

8] Synthia Figueroa: “Touch me” Artisktik Recordings
9] Stevie B: “You are the one” Dance 2000 Records / Bolaris Records / 805 Music Company

10] Julia-Evita Hernandez: “Come back” ZYX Music (Germany)

 My Top 10
(Compilations & medleys) 

1] George Lamond: “The hits…and more” (compilation) Robbins Entertainment LLC / Timber! Records
2] KTU Freestyle Party vol.1, 2, 3, 4 (medleys) Remix Records
3] Keepin’ Freestyle vol.2 (compilation) Detour Records
4] Fierce Freestyle Classics “ The Mix Tape” vol.3 (medley) Ubl Recordings / StreetBeat Records, Inc.
5] Classic Freestyle (medley) ZYX Music (Germany)
6] Freestyle A New Dimension In Tyme vol.2 (compilation) Pryme Tyme Records / Denmic
7] Planet Freestyle vol.4 (compilation) Odeon Records (Canada)
8] Stevie B: “Freestyle then and now” (compilation) Dance 2000 Records / 805 Music Company
9] Maximum Freestyle: “Special edition remixes!” (compilation) Maximum Freestyle Records (Canada)
10] “Where it all begins” compilation PT 1 (compilation) Epicenter Records

 My Top 5

1] Cynthia: “Thinking about you” Robbins Entertainment LLC
2] Stevie B: “It’s so good” Dance 2000 Records / Bolaris Records / 805 Music Company
3] Sammy C: “Taking it through the millenium and beyond” Roman Empire Productions
4] The Kromozone Project: “Love & energy” TBC Productions
5] Onnie: “One love” Detour Records