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
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(September / October /November /December 2001)

No Stars: Useless
1 star: Poor
2 stars: Average
3 stars: Good
4 stars: Excellent
5 stars: Masterpiece

Score: 3 stars 

Once again, Bad Boy Joe should hold the attention of a bunch of Latin Hip-Hoppers / Freestylers with this second medley. The content of this new CD is also extremely rich! 

First of all, is the difference in the mix? Yes and no!

The particularity of Joe Marcano’s work is to highlight his mixes in working out on a multitude of edits between each track. In this domain, I can say that he excels, and his work appears at the same time very simple but also efficacious. But his option not to “touch” the songs – they aren’t remixed- can be an asset or a handicap. Actually, there are in my eyes two categories of Freestylers who are buying the medleys: those as myself who enjoy to see all the titles remixed, and those who prefer Bad Boy Joe’s style which consists in not remixing the songs, but in offering some good edit sessions between the tracks.

I personally like his remixing way, but my preference goes to the completely remixed medleys. Joe’s choice is respectable of course!

You will appreciate his professionalism in the mix, and his style is definitely not sloppy! 

Second, let’s talk about the selection! The content of this megamix is in my opinion particularly thrilling, and proposes 17 Freestyle classics as: TKA “Maria”, Stevie B “Spring love”, Cynthia & Johnny O “Dreamboy / dreamgirl”, Coro “Can’t let you go”, D’Zyre “Forever amor”, Collage “I’ll be loving you”, Lil’ Suzy “Take me in your arms”, Tiana “First true love”, C-Bank “I won’t stop loving you”, Judy Torres “Come into my arms”, Lisette Melendez “A day in my life without you”, Corina “Temptation”, Voyce “Within’ my heart”, Nayobe “Second chance for love”, The Cover Girls “Because of you”, Amoretto “Clave rocks” and Giggles “Love letters”.

Even if the selection is superb, we can hope for his third medley that Bad Boy Joe will manage to obtain the rights of some rare Freestyle jewels. A personal wish, that is moreover the desire of many Freestylers. We count on you Joe! 

Anyway, the cream of the cream is reunited on this gripping megamix from Bad Boy Joe. The work accomplished by this DJ deserves your interest. Don’t forget that it is “the best of Freestyle”!!! 

Have a nice listening… 

Score: 2 stars  

Freefiles is an independent Freestyle label that blew up on the German Freestyle market a few years ago thanks to some titles from The Officer (a.k.a Stonay) & Elios, Five Of Ten, Mystery P. and also Free System.

This medley of 36’13 minute gives you the occasion to listen once more to (or to discover for few of them) most of those local productions (except for Lil’ Suzy’s jam) of this record company as for The Officer & Elios “Baby gimme all your love” & “La musica”, The Officer (without Elios this time) “Cry”, Five Of Ten “If you want my love” & “Feel the groove”, Mystery P. “Smart thing” & “Right in time”, Marc Austin “Lighthouse”, Lil’ Suzy “Take me in your arms”, T.I.M “Baby I want you” and Free System “This love is not right 4 you”. 

As it is often the case in this kind of production, you will find some good and poor products, and sometimes mediocre ones! We can only have a positive look on the track from The Officer & Elios, Free System, Five Of Ten and Lil’ Suzy. But on the contrary, you will be less interested by the tracks from Mystery P., and you will be totally staggered by the wretched and bad vocal performance by Marc Austin and T.I.M (two off-keys vocal artists). 

A little advice to the Freefiles bosses, it would be good to renew their style. The melodies, the keys, the beat are too similar whatever the songs or artists! It isn’t good to stay confined to a same genre that risks, in the end, to become annoying for the fans. 

Score: 3 stars 

The Californian label Thump Records continues to reference a pleiad of Freestyle hits throughout his collection “Freestyle explosion”. 

So, you will find on this compilation 11 artists / bands and 14 titles as “explosive” as Lil’ Suzy “Take me in your arms”, Corina “Temptation”, Trinere “I’ll be all you ever need”, Sweet Sensation “Never let you go” & “Sincerely yours”, Sa-Fire “Let me be the one” & “Don’t break my heart”, TKA “Tears may fall” & “Scars of love”, Judy Torres “No reason to cry”, Stevie B “I wanna be the one”, Tina B. “Honey to a bee”, Shannon “My heart’s divided” and The Cover Girls “Funk boutique” (the only non-Freestyle track). 

This compilation is mainly destined to the young Freestyle amateurs and also to those who didn’t acquire these singles on time or would love to possess them in their own collection. All those productions are available in radio versions.  

Over 6 CD’s, Thump Records has gathered 76 tracks. Not bad! It’s also a cheaper way to get a nice anthology of Freestyle hits, nothing more! 

FREESTYLE PARADE 2K1: “Freestyle for the new millennium CD 1 of 2” (CD compilation) ARTISTIK RECORDINGS  [USA]
Score: 1 star

FREESTYLE PARADE 2K1: “Freestyle for the 21st Century CD 2 of 2” (CD compilation) ARTISTIK RECORDINGS  [USA]
Score: 3 stars 

Out in a two months interval, these two compilations proposed by Willie “Valentin” Rivera are quantitatively and musically different! 

The first comp “new millenium” is not really interesting, and resembles too much about the work done by Willie Valentin on the other Artistik Records compilations. These are always the same sounds, effects, rhythm beats repeated over and over! Don’t see any animosity to Willie Valentin in my words, but sincerely I think he is producing too much and it’s always the same with him except for a few rare exceptions. I was actually disappointed by the song from Exo and Nyasia, two artists that I really adore. This is why the production is important!!! On the other hand, I have been very seduced by Diamante’s tune “Why” (her best track produced by her accomplice Artie Rodriguez) and Poze’s track (what a voice!) “Come back to me my love” and of course the song “Come back to me” by Elissa. 

The second compilation “The 21st century” out at the beginning of this summer stands apart the first CD because it offers especially a more musical diversity and shows us very beautiful things from Willie “Valentin” Rivera. Some of the tracks are really successful as “Another time, another place” from Groove Therapy, the “original” version of “Dreaming” by Synthia Figueroa, the “Latin love” remake (originally sung by the Trilogy group) and interpreted this time by 301 East (Willie “Valentin” Rivera, Freeze and Phillip Anthony) and the superb “Always and forever” by Lorenzo D’Lan (with vocals back up of Poze).

And also two excellent productions from Chris “In the mix” Sammarco: the good track “Lost in love” by Christine Turner and the remarkable “Let’s get it on” by Amante (what a great voice!) and the nice tune by Arsenio Artie Rodriguez “You are my everything”. For the other songs that I didn’t mention, they simply didn’t entertain me and left me indifferent!  

The interludes available on this two CDs are also successful and fun. It’s good to see that some artists and producers don’t take themselves seriously and can laugh about them! 

If I have one thing to say to Willie “Valentin” Rivera it’s to produce less, to take more time on the production’s work and to surround himself with people from different musical horizons to prorogue and renew his style. He will improve his standing in my opinion! 

Score: 1 star 

After Max Music & Entertainment (Freestyle Legends vol.1 & 2), it’s the turn of Pandisc Music Corp (also in Florida) to start “his” own series of CDs dedicated to the local hits.

Is it a new lucrative option for the labels? 

Anyway, it appears important that those two labels work together to avoid putting the same songs over and over as Madi: “Can you feel my love for you”, The Cover Girls “One night affair”, Paris By Air “Voices in your head”, Voice In fashion “Give me your love” and Olga “Play another song for me” all produced by by Lewis A. Martinee, and already available on “Freestyle Legends vol.1 or 2”. Is it a good way to indirectly tribute to this well-known producer from Florida? Nah, I must be wrong! 

Then, they should avoid the non-Freestyle productions as “Woman” by Techno Love, 3 times you’re out” by Rumors and “Say you’ll stay” by Nadine Renee. 

After that, what have we? Nothing much, except for “One look is not enough” by Paul Parker, “I want you” by Teaz II Pleaz and “No one knows” by Paris By Air. A meager consolation, I grant you. 

A limited edition that should also stay very limited concerning the sales… 

KF: “kennyFreestyle” (CD album) SIDEBUSTERS INTERTAINMENT  [USA]
Score: 1 star 

This second album from Kenny Moulton (a.k.a. kennyFreestyle) is a huge disappointment! 

Practically none of the tracks managed to speak to me except for the very successful New School Freestyle song “You mean the world to me” and the superb “Forever and always”. And also the interesting Groovy and New School jam “Gimme a chance”.

Otherwise, there are too many songs (5 tracks) where he feels the need to rap…whatever the musical style. The Rap genre is not, in my opinion, his specialty! Also, on the other songs, his personal musical choices don’t suit his vocal style as the Miami Bass/Electro song “Rock your body”, the West Coast / Planet Rock tune “Tell me”, the New School track “Tonight” (the rhythm beat is too noisy!). And for the other production and styles available on this album, none of them really grab me, but on the contrary, they leave me insensitive and disconcerted. 

KF is a meddler, musically talking! He wants all the time to produce and sing in different kinds of music, and sometimes he wants to mix them together… unfortunately this time, without success. 

Well, I’ll just have to console myself with his first album “Baby it’s you”, and wait for an upcoming album better than this one! 

SAFIRE: “Bringing back the groove” (CD compilation) GLOBESTAR RECORDS / GLOBE ENTERTAINMENT LLC  [USA]
Score: 3 stars 

It was undeniably one of the most expected comp of the year 2001. Many lovers of the Diva believed that it would be the comeback of the singer…under her Freestyle label. Well, they are a little bit wrong!  

Indeed, Wilma Cosme offers us some new, refreshing and great Freestyle jams as the Freestyle ballad “I’m feeling it too”; the excellent Progressive Freestyle production from Carlos Berrios “Eyes of a stranger”; the new and interesting version of “Don’t break my heart”; the beautiful New School duet with Tony Moran “Some things never change”; and of course the grandiose duet with Cynthia on the song “Can you stand the rain”. And also two classics already known by the fans: “You said you loved me” and “Gonna make it”. It’s fair to say that Kenny Diaz did great job of composition on the different Freestyle tracks. 

But we have to recognize that even if Safire remains a true and fervent supporter of Freestyle music, she seems to orient her career toward Dance music. It’s a sign, most of her hits are remixed in Dance music. Why not! A laudable choice, even if personally some remixes didn’t really enthusiasm me (“Gonna make it”, “Love is on her mind” and “Boy I’ve been told”, then other remakes pleased me (“Don’t break my heart”, “Let me be the one”).  

Anyway, she is a great singer who possesses an admirable voice and her talent seems to be everlasting! Even if she decided to play on those musical counts (Freestyle and Dance music), I hope she would never forget her Freestyle fans as myself that vow an unlimited admiration to this great artist. 

Concerning the CD, it’s just too bad that there is only one new version of her Freestyle hits. But nevertheless it’s a nice comeback, and her compilation deserves the detour. 

SAFIRE: “Don’t break my heart –2002-” (CD single) GLOBESTAR RECORDS / GLOBE ENTERTAINMENT LLC  [USA]
Score: 3 stars 

Released in 1986 on Cutting Records, Tony Moran and Kenny Diaz have seriously revamped this wonderful Freestyle anthem. 

At the occasion of the fifteenth anniversary, the new label GlobeStar Records has literally revived this indispensable hit from Safire. Tony Moran dealt with the Dance music part of the project, and he composed 6 Dance / House / Tribal mixes particularly nice. Even if those styles are not necessarily my cup of tea, I enjoyed the different mixes. As for the unique Freestyle version, Kenny Diaz forsook intentionally the Latin Hip-Hop / Old School beat for a more New School Freestyle orientation allying a more Dance music style, in vogue since a few years. Is it the new winning formula that will permit to Freestyle music to renew with success? Why not! His remix is quite successful and convincing, even if my preference goes to the original versions on Cutting Records.

The vocal organ of Safire is always magnificent and admirable, and she didn’t need to work hard on her voice for this remake. 

The Dance music fans will dash toward the CD single which contains more versions (3 supplementary mixes and one bonus track “Love is on her mind” presented on Tribal / Dance version). While the Freestylers will be content with the superb limited 12” vinyl edition (the drawing by Alvaro is simply sublime!) that you must have in your own collection, would it only be for  Kenny Diaz’s version. 

Score: 4 stars 

When in 1986, Jerry R. Salerno created Metropolitan Recording Corporation, and released his first Freestyle production “You were the one” by Deniz, he didn’t already know that he would introduce Freestyle music to a larger audience and would contribute to the fame of this music thanks to a loads of talented artists and bands.

Under the influence of Latif Mercado (the owner of Stylin’ Free Records) who joined Metropolitan staff three years ago, they decided together to compile all the references of their amazing catalogue. Assuredly, a big and exciting moment of nostalgia! 

This first joint project proposes us a series of three wonderful CD’s (sold separately) dedicated to the “Ladies of Metropolitan” (honor to the women!!!) that propelled this major record company in front of to the Freestyle scene.

They are gathering 35 Freestyle hits, 4 Dance tracks and 29 singers/bands on those CD’s each remixed by a different DJ. The first CD has been remixed by DJ Mista Bizy (from San Antonio, Texas), the second by The Freestyle File (DJ Paradise, DJ Hi Tech and DJ June Bug from Rochester and Bufallo, New York) and the third megamix by DJ Luis “Like dis” Mendoza (from Dallas, Texas). These three remixers did a real great job, and can only be congratulated! 

It is nice and agreeable to listen again to some songs that didn’t feature (for most of them) on other medleys or compilations, but for those concocted by Metro a while ago! Only a few labels can boast to possess such a prestigious catalogue. We hope a lot from the next series dedicated this time to the “Fellaz”, and of course we also hope to see in a near future some new Freestyle singles. 

You can buy those CD’s with your eyes shut! You’ll really enjoy them… 

TAMILA D. : “You take me higher” (CD single) FREEFILES / SPV  [Germany]
Score: 1 star 

Even if the chorus is catchy and dynamic, the style of this new artist is much too conventional. I became indifferent and was left unsatisfied at long last.  

There is unfortunately nothing to say about this track that combines a common voice to a common Planet Rock beat, the effects and keys are too common…To sum up, I will say it’s much too common! And the Rap by Marc Austin is so pitiful and unbearable. Please stop him singing!!!

Concerning the two versions, well, they are …too common! No, most seriously, they are simply uninteresting and insipid. 

From the first listening, a disagreeable feeling grew up in me: this single was becoming deadly boring! For a first single, Tamilda D isn’t convincing, on the contrary, her song really stuffed me!  

THE OFFICERS: “Party” / “The Officers megamix” (CD single) FREEFILES / SPV  [Germany]
Score: 3 stars 

After a few changes, Stonay and Elios seem to have finally opted for the right career name, henceforth you should call them: The Officers. 

This new single is located in the same musical line as their previous Freestyle tunes. They continue to alternate the Italian and English languages. Their style doesn’t differ track after track, it’s always the same beat, the same melody, the same intonation of voice and keys used. So, you gonna tell me: “Geez, is this always the same thing?!?! Yep, but… 

Even if it is a risky mutual choice, I have to confess to you, and I don’t know why, this new song is still seducing. It’d be otherwise good to change their style a little…

The megamix (the short version) is quite well remixed, and will corroborate my words! 

One last word: It’s time to party! 

TRINITY: “Love-letters from Space” / “Fields” (CD single) FREEFILES / SPV  [Germany]
Score: 2 stars (“Love-letters from Space”)
Score: 3 stars (“Fields”)

This is once again a track that marries with a certain charm different musical styles (Breakbeat, Electro Freestyle and Dance music rhythms), so, it becomes extremely difficult to say if it is belongs to this or that genre!  

That comes from the fact that some Freestyle titles (SaFire “Don’t break my heart -2002-”, Rockell “What u did 2 me”, Caprice “There goes my heart” or Stefanie Bennett “Back for my love”) are more oriented toward some Progressive Freestyle and Dance music genres through the use of a faster beat and because of a voice not necessarily affiliated to Freestyle music, but rather to Dance music. This is the case of Veronica, the lead vocal of Trinity, whose voice is adaptable without any problems to every kind of music. 

This song doesn’t escape the rule! The “Miami Bass radio mix” (it has nothing to do with the Miami Bass style from Florida) is very close to the Breakbeat, nevertheless it is very Dance by its fast style. While the “Breakbeat radio” mixes Breakbeat and Electro Freestyle including a Progressive Freestyle consonance.

The two other versions propose a Hi Nrg / Dance style, which is not original! 

As for the “Fields” single (an instrumental track) it’s certainly the good surprise of this CD single. An Electro beat mixed to some nice melodies and Progressive keys that appear quite successful and truly original! 

Be curious, and let me know what you think!!!! 


My Top 10
(12”, tape & CD singles) 

1] Plummet: “Damaged” Nebulous Records [USA]
2] Sharyn Maceren: “One and one” Captaur Records [USA]
3] Christina Marie: “Turning away” (VR’s Freestyle mix) Vazram Records [USA]
4] Rockell: “What u did 2 me” (Linus mix) Robbins Entertainment LLC [USA]
5] Free System: “This love is not right 4 you” (Psycho remix) Freefiles Records / SPV [Germany]6] Star: “Could this be real” Nebulous Records [USA]
7] SBP Featuring DJ Pauly: “What am I to do?” Silverback Records [USA]
8] The KromOzone Project Featuring Randy Lance: “Luv with U” TBC Productions [USA]
9] Make Believe: “For the last time” Vazram Records [USA]
10] Safire: “Don’t break my heart –2002-” GlobeStar Records [USA]


My Top 5
(Compilations & medleys) 

1] DMA Dance Best of Freestyle File volume 1 (medley) Tantrum Music, Inc. [USA]
2] Stylin’ Free Presents Metropolitan’s Ladies Of Freestyle Vol.1, 2, & 3 (medleys) Metropolitan Recording Corporation [USA]
3] 100% Freestyle (compilation) Trendline Records / DMG [Germany]
4] Bad Boy Joe Presents The Best Of Freestyle Megamix Vol.2 (medley) What If Productions / E-Lastik Recordings, Inc. [USA]

5] Freestyle Parade 2K1: “Freestyle for the 21st Century CD 2 of 2” (compilation) Artistik Recordings [USA]


My Top 5

1] Sammy C: “Taking it through the millenium and beyond” Roman Empire Productions [USA]
2] Rockell: “Instant pleasure” Robbins Entertainment LLC [USA]
3] Elissa: “I can’t stop - Freestyle hits” Ti Amo Records [Canada]

4] Safire: “Bringing back the groove” GlobeStar Records [USA]
5] Flying Steps: “b-town” Dance Street Gmbh / JetSet / ZYX Music [Germany]