MUSIC REVIEWS
by: Francis Tanneur
Opinions expressed are those of the individual writer for informational purpose
only. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions or viewpoints of
Freestyle Music.Com.

Contact Francis Tanneur at:francistanneur@hotmail.com

MUSIC REVIEWS # 14

(March / April 2001) 

BAD BOY JOE PRESENTS THE BEST OF FREESTYLE MEGAMIX: “The Most Incredible Freestyle Mix Ever” (CD medley) WHAT IF PRODUCTIONS, LLC / E-LASTIK RECORDINGS INC.
Score: 4 stars 

Here is a newcomer in the (Freestyle) music business if I can allow myself this little pun! In fact, Bad Boy Joe’s name is more associated to some other genres (as for instance House Music) than Freestyle music of which this is the first official intrusion in the business with this CD! 

Joe “Bad Boy” Marcano gained a certain reputation thanks to his numerous medleys proposed in the course of his own career on the famous WKTU radio (in New York), but also as a DJ. This medley gives you the opportunity to appreciate the rigorousness, the fecundity, and the worth of his work.

During 1H13, he offers you a terrific panel of the best classics related to the Latin Hip-Hop movement with the presence of artists who made the glory days of this music as Judy Torres, Sa-Fire, Nayobe, Corina, Lisette Melendez, Johnny O, & More, Soavé, Lydia Lee Love, Information Society, Shannon, Cynthia, Fascination, Noel, Coro, TKA, The Cover Girls, Jellybean and Trilogy… to mention all of them! The main asset of this medley is the mix between the tracks that contains some beautiful edits and emulators sessions. The work is impeccable! So, you could admire his perfect control of the computer tool (he seems to be very familiar with the Cubase and Sound Forge software?).

The only criticism one can make on this medley is that Joe Marcano has preferred to turn all his attention to the mix and not to have remixed and edited completely each track. 

Although the medley is far from being “The Most Incredible Freestyle Mix Ever” (as indicated on the CD cover), “Bad Boy Joe” did an excellent job. This CD should become without any difficulty a reference, and please heaps of Latin Hip-Hoppers.

 

BOBBY LEAL FEATURING SOLEIL: “For you” / DANIELLE MARTINEZ: “All night long” / SOLEIL: “Pleasure and pain” (Promo CD single) BLFY 2001
Score: 3 stars 

Contrarily to “This love” (produced by Slammin’ Sam Maxion) and “Misdirected love” (produced by Jay Steel & Jeff Hernandez), both titles that were available last year, only on a same promotional CD, under the Club Red Entertainment label (the original label of “One more chance”’s gem released in 1990), this new EP on BLFY (Bobby Leal For You) should be out pretty soon. 

Bobby Leal proposes us the single “For you” which is a beautiful duet with Soleil (his real name is Rosalinda Sanchez) that is in the same line than his old tunes: a hoarse and grave voice, nevertheless smooth and steady at the same time, accompanied with a slow Old School rhythm beat. The style is really quiet and restful. We can even talk of a Freestyle ballad. Very convincing! 

The long friendship between Bobby Leal and Soleil permits us to discover an unreleased track recorded in 1992 by this young artist (she sang this song when she has 16 years old). “Pleasure and pain” is a superb Latin Hip-Hop tune with a Miami Sound orientation. Too bad that the recording of this song is so bad and confined because this gem is off da hook!

Both these tracks have been well produced by Fredwreck Nassar. He has notably produced and contributed to the work of some artists such as Spanish Fly, Alexander, Daize, Debbie Deb… Now, he is more involved in the Hip-Hop music and he is working with some rappers as DR. Dre, Snoop Doggy Dog and Frost. 

Concerning Danielle Martinez’s title (produced by Ernie Medina, one of the original founder member of Daize) the style is Progressive Freestyle but also oriented towards a Dance and Groovy flavor. It is a weird mixing which remains very fair. Danielle Martinez’s voice is magnificent but this production still is a disappointment. 

This new EP is an excellent way to see what you can best expect from Bobby Leal for his first full-length album “Journey from the planet Freestyle” that should be available for next summer.

 

CHICCO: “Freestyle hitmix” / “Why you crying” (CD single) MIAMI BASS RECORDS / DMG (Germany)
Score: 3 stars

Since his beginnings (in 1996) under the name of Chicco, nobody has been thinking yet about doing a medley of this popular Freestyle German singer. Now this is done, since the Miami Bass Records label concocted us an awesome megamix “Freestylehitmix” that is entirely dedicated to Chicco. 

You will be able to appreciate his talent through eight songs that built his career. All his songs are available on the medley, excepted for his best track “The great commandment” (out on ZYX Music record company in 1998) which doesn’t appear on this megamix for some questions of copyrights! In approximately 11 minutes, you can listen frenetically to “Oh girl”, “Why you crying”, “Rendez-vous” (a duet with Gina Dee), “Up & down”, “Freestyle step”, “Strange love”, “My love” and “Love is not enough”.

If you are not yet very familiar with his raucous voice which sounds like a vocal mixing between Kenny Moulton and Bobby Leal, I advise you to ardently get this medley quickly. As a bonus, you’ll find a wonderful single “Why you crying” produced in 1999.

You are really spoiled!

 

ELISSA: “I can’t stop – Freestyle hits” (CD album) TI AMO RECORDS (Canada)
Score: 4 stars

It is true that I can’t stop listening to this CD! Why? Because I simply adore the style and the voice of Elissa (with a few exceptions), and this album is a smart opportunity to corner her hits. 

This is a remarkable singer who didn’t encounter any difficulties to make a name! Even if she is better known in Canada, Elissa is also much liked by the American fans who otherwise don’t have the possibility to hear and to discover all her tracks (out mainly on the Canadian market) since the start of her career. This album (even if I prefer saying that this is a compilation more than an album!) gathers 12 songs among which two different versions for “Bailando”, “When I’m gone” and “I can’t stop”. You can find most of her tracks with the great Old School Freestyle tunes as “Don’t say”, “Forbidden lies”, and “Show me how you love me”, the Freestyle genre in which Elissa excels the best (just my opinion). You will also listen to “Back to me”, “Mamboleo”, “Forever love”, “Without you”, “Something in my heart”, and “I’ll keep searching”.

Elissa definitely deserves more attention and recognition from the Freestylers, hope this album will help her obtain a bigger notoriety!

 

FREESTYLE HEAVEN VOL.2 (CD medley) SPG MUSIC PRODUCTIONS LTD (Canada)
Score : 3 stars 

Honestly, this second medley compiled par Tony Monaco, and remixed this time by Danny D. Raponi, is more exciting than the one released in 1999.

The reason is really simple: the selection is better and more eclectic musically talking. The local production is of course well represented (Elissa, Elucid, One Voice, Allison, Joelle, Sarina Paris, 2 AM…). But the megamix also brings us a torrent of American artists as Stevie B, Robin Fox, Eva, Lil Suzy, Paradigm/Stephanie Bennett, Synthia Figueroa, Leila Seimone and the group Freestyle and his not be missed “Don’t stop the rock”!

Danny D. remixes the megamix with energy, the mixes are particularly efficacious thanks to some special effects and edits well brought up. It’s too bad that Tony Monaco felt the need to put three Euro Dance productions that have nothing to do here! This is the only small town down to this nice megamix, once again very well composed and mixed. Check it out…

 

FREESTYLE PROJECT: “From old 2 new school” (CD album) MNF RECORDS / ZYX MUSIC (Germany)
Score: 2 stars 

In comparison to their first album released in 1998, Freestyle Project put to the front their titles as artists and not as remixer as was the case for the “Free Styling” album.

With the exception of the titles “Cecilia” by Pandera and “Pump da beat” by The Freestyle Crew, this CD gives you the possibility to discover, and especially to possess, a maximum of their productions and remixes that they realized these past two years. Freestyle Project is a very active and extremely well known Freestyle band in Germany that releases a new single every three months, not to mention the several groups that took advantage of their services. In spite of a big amount of new titles, the singles contained on this CD are far to be accepted unanimously and the quality of Freestyle Project’s latest tracks leaves a lot to be desired!

However, there are some excellent tunes as “Freak tonight”, “Electric reality”, “Cecilia” and also some old songs (already available in the first album but proposed in different versions) as “Rock your body” or “Get on da floor”. Of course, all the titles and versions are available on the CD singles.

They have entered in a musical routine (they are always doing the same thing), which doesn’t sound promising for the future. I just hope this band raises its head, and the inspiration of yesteryear that made their quality and notoriety come back as fast as possible!

 

FREESTYLE VOL.13 (CD compilation) ZYX MUSIC (Germany)
Score: 1 star 

Unfortunately, there is nothing more to say about this series of CD’s that made (a while ago!) the pride of ZYX Music in Germany, and of which this thirteenth compilation is just a pathetic and deplorable representation. 

This label just compiles to fill their CD’s with old titles or with some tracks already available on CD singles most of them being mediocre. And the most important thing, the ZYX compilations don’t have the same goal than in the past: doing the promotion of the new singles to release them after on single format according to the demand. 

Yes indeed! You will find a few quite interesting products, but it’s nothing compared to the bunch of insignificant and unbearable titles featured on this comp. 

Forget about it…

 

JULIA-EVITA HERNANDEZ: “Don’t walk away” (CD single) ZYX MUSIC (Germany)Score: 2 stars 

This single sounds like two peas in a pod to her previous and first tune “Come back” released last year at almost the same period. We can already talk of a Julia-Evita Hernandez’s style!  

It’s the same crew (Carlos Antonio Gomez & Big Knows Al, living in Florida) who has produced this track, and apparently, who decided to distribute this singer only in Germany. It’s an intriguing but also clever choice that goes against the musical stream of the current Electro German productions that only proposes (for most of them) a Planet Rock beat.

Unfortunately, it would also be preferable to renew her own repertoire instead of staying in the same genre of Freestyle. The way she sings is practically identical to the tone of voice that she used in the “Come back” song. The keys and the melody are less convincing and original.

For the 2-Step’s fans, two mixes are proposed, one of them (the “two x-tended mix”) mixing some Freestyle tones to a 2-step beat and style. These are quite good! 

A little disappointment though!

 

LISA W: “Together forever” (CD single) ZYX MUSIC (Germany)
Score: 1 star 

Yep, it’s the reprise of the superb New School hit, which has revealed Lisette Melendez in 1991 and pulled up to the tops of popularity. Originally produced by Carlos Berrios on the Fever Records’ label, Adam Marano has decided to re-release this jewel of Freestyle with a different artist. 

The final result is plain and simple a pale copycat of the original. He used practically the same beat, the same melody and the same voice but Lisa W. doesn’t possess the same vocal quality than Lisette Melendez, and Adam Marano the unique talent of producer Carlos Berrios. 

In short, this is a remake that every Freestyler should avoid. I suggest you to buy or listen again to the original song by Lisette Melendez; it is definitely more thrilling!

 

MAKE BELIEVE: “For the last time” (Promo CD single) VAZRAM RECORDS
Score: 4 stars 

It is very encouraging to note that Make Believe stayed so faithful during all those years to their musical approach.

With this third single “For the last time”, we assist once again to a very nice job by Damon Cain and Danny Sarinana (with the complicity of Mario Vasquez from Vazram Records). We find again this seducing “Latin” touch and attitude that characterizes their music and also this way of singing always imbued of sensuality and human warmth oriented towards the Old School Freestyle genre. The version concocted by Willie Valentin is particularly successful, even if my favorite one is the “Original mix” the intelligence of which is to have mixed a Freestyle style to some tribal percussion magnificently composed by Ernie Mendoza Herrera. It’s very innovative, and a good brainwave!

For the last time… buy this track. Pleaaaaaaaase! Or make acquaintance with Make Believe if it’s not already done! This group from California deserves all your attention. Reaaaaaaaally!

Thumbs up!

 

STEVIE B: “Megafreestylemix” / “Young girl” (CD single) A45 MUSIC / EDEL MUSIC (Germany)
Score: 2 stars

In Germany, Stevie B is undeniably the Freestyle singer who got the most numerous medleys. His huge popularity brings us irremediably for the umpteenth time to a megamix no more exciting than the others that already exist.

Of an 8’43 length for the extended version (pretty short isn’t it?), the medley starts by the Spanish intro of “Baila (dance with me)”. After that, you will listen one after the other to the following singles “It’s so good”, If you leave me now” (a duet with Alexia Phillips), “You are the one”, (the awesome reprise of the Count To Twenty’s classic), “Young girl” and once again “Baila (dance with me)” to end with a flourish!

Remixed by computer, this “megafreestylemix” appears naturally uninteresting as far as the mix is concerned insofar as it doesn’t allow (as usual I should say!) any supplementary edits or special effects, which will be very welcomed in this kind of enterprise. Too bad!

In this CD, you will also find the track “Young girl” available in two versions: one mix using a typical Freestyle Planet Rock beat (it ‘s in fact the album version), and the other mix is a ballad in which some vocoders a la Zapp are featured and is quite different and not as groovy as the “Urban mix” of the LP.

It’s really dull and insipid, even if the tunes proposed on this megamix still stay appealing!

 

SWEET TB: “Let me fly” (CD single) MNF RECORDS / ZYX MUSIC (Germany)
Score: 3 stars  

It’s assuredly the first interesting single from the German producer’s duo MC G. Gabriel and DJ Pasi. They have kept multiplying their productions (often mediocre) for more than a year and their style is close to Adam Marano’s work (the Viper sound notably!), without forgetting to talk about the distressing rap available in most of their products!

This second single unfortunately doesn’t escape the eternal use of the Planet Rock beat, but otherwise is yet distinguishable from their previous song “Groove me” (out last year) thanks to the grace and the vocal performance of this young female singer Sweet TB. The chorus is particularly successful. We also denote in the musical background a splendid melody, which is usually the hallmark of this tandem. What a perpetual disappointment that they used the Funky Melody rhythm beat all the time. Hey guys, change a little bit!

It would be quite interesting to see them move in the New School or Old School Freestyle genres, two musical domains in which they could maybe excels. Wait and see….

 

THE KROMOZONE PROJECT FEATURING RANDY LANCE: “Luv with u” / “Want u near me” (CD single) TBC PRODUCTIONS
Score: 4 stars 

In the little world of music, Randy Lance is a character who really fascinates for several reasons! He is incontestably one of the rare artists to have the faculty to take all the possible functions (producer, remixer, singer, musician, and so on), and this new single “Luv with U” is the living proof of my words ‘cause he did everything from A to Z!

He also possesses the good habit to offer us tons of remixes in every kind of genres where he is always brimful of imagination and inspiration. All the musical trends (or almost) are represented here through 11 versions for the “Luv with U” tune. Only the two mixes for the bonus track “Want U near me” (one song that I really don’t like on the LP) are without any interest.

But to get back to “Luv with U”, it is a track that mainly draws its source of inspiration and interest in the music, and not in the vocal performance. The artistic choice of Randy Lance is to have only sampled some “words” or to repeat the same chorus again and again as for instance “I think I’m in love…Luv with U”. The remarkable work done on every version is stupefying of creativity and you can find your favorite genre (Breakbeat, Euro, Trance, and Freestyle music).

My preference goes to the Electro Freestyle sound (there’s no Planet Rock beat). The “Good vibe mixshow” offers an Electro beat very often listened to in the Progressive Freestyle productions mixed to some Euro Dance keys, and melodies in the same style as “More & more” by Captain Hollywood, whereas the “Freestyle fever club mix” presents an Electro beat with some melodies which sound more Germanic. The Trance versions are also excellent and really exiting for all of you who appreciate (as myself) this kind of music.

One more success for KromOzone Projet! It’s as simple as that… 

My Top 10
(12”, tape & CD singles) 

1] Myrna Li: “Still I cry” Santana Music
2] Sammy C: “My mother warned me” Roman Empire Productions
3] Flying Steps: “We are electric” JetSet / Dance Street / ZYX Music (Germany)
4] Free System: “This love is not right 4 you” (psycho remix) Freefiles Records / SPV (Germany)
5] Sharyn Maceren: “One and one” Captaur Records
6] The KromOzone Project Featuring Randy Lance: “Luv with U” TBC Productions
7] Make Believe: “For the last time” Vazram Records
8] Anthony Norris: “Just 4 you” MNF Records / ZYX Music (Germany)
9] Sweet TB: “Let me fly” MNF Records / ZYX Music (Germany)
10] Elissa: “Back to me” Ti Amo Records (Canada)
 

My Top 5
(Compilations & medleys) 

1] D.J. Damon Cain A.K.A. Devious D. Presents Vintage Freestyle Grooves: “Collector’s Edition vol.1” (medley) MainSource Distribution
2] The World Of Electro (compilation) ZYX Music (Germany)
3] Silverback Records Presents The SBP Product (compilation) Silverback Records
4] Bad Boy Joe Presents The Best Of Freestyle Megamix (medley) What If Productions / E-Lastik Recordings, Inc.
5] Freestyle Heaven vol.2 (medley) SPG Music Productions LTD (Canada)
 

My Top 5
(Albums) 

1] Sammy C: “Taking it through the millenium and beyond” Roman Empire Productions
2] Rockell: “Instant pleasure” Robbins Entertainment LLC
3] The KromOzone Project: “Love & energy” TBC Productions
4] The Underdog Project: “It doesn’t matter” Loops Dance Construction (Germany)
5] Elissa: “I can’t stop - Freestyle hits” Ti Amo Records (Germany)

 

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