Review: Nicole Wray – Elektric Blue

Nicole Wray came back with her sophomore effort called Elektric Blue in 2001. The Elektric Blue album is rich and sultry in terms of soul. Not to mention soulful. You have love ballads such as I’m Lookin’, Bangin’, and Not My Man. You also have inspirational motivational songs such as Ghetto Children and Mama Used To Say (No Joke). She wrote and also produced a lot of the album.

This album was the successor of Make It Hot. This album of hers was supposed to the follow-up album to Make It Hot which everyone anticipated for. However her sophomore album was never officially released due to label drama. It is truly and genuinely a shame that this album was never released. However Elektric Blue was released as an album sampler and as a promo on CD. The album was issued as a promo to Japan as well. More than likely those people are holding out and don’t want to share with anyone. It’s sad. I know.

Elektric Blue is the intro and title track to the album. Hearing the introduction of Elektric Blue is an angelic breathtaking experience. The ballad is quite soulful and rich in sultry. The song has a rock meets pop and soul type of vibe due to the badass guitar.

When you’re feeling down, you must reach out and feel Elektric Blue. When you’re having doubts, you must reach out and feel Elektric Blue. That’s what Nicole Wray instructs us to do when feeling down or in doubt.

I’m Lookin’ is a late night love song where Nicole is looking for someone to love. You might have remember seeing the music video for this song on Midnight Love on BET back in 2001. I’m Lookin’ is one of those late night cruise songs. DJ Eddie F produced I’m Lookin’.

Nicole Wray is looking for someone to love and hold on to. She’s looking for you. She’s looking for someone she can trust. But she has not someone for herself truly for her. Nicole wants to be like everyone else who’s dating. Well, Nicole wonders if she’ll ever be complete. All she needs is the warmth of a man and the strength of his hand.

Mama Used To Say (No Joke) samples Junior – Mama Used To Say. In fact, Mama Used To Say (No Joke) pays homage and is a tribute to Junior – Mama Used To Say. The song Mama Used To Say (No Joke) has a rock feel to it. Rockwilder produced this song. This song also features Redman and Missy Elliott. It’s one of those old school feel skating rink type of songs as Missy Elliott explained herself on the Elektric Blue album sampler.

Mama Used To Say (No Joke) is for all those independent working people out there along with the working class people out there. Stop begging for money from your friends.

The moral to this song is to get a job occupation and get an income. Living life being ‘flat broke’ as in ‘broke as a joke’ is no fun. Stop begging for money from your friends. Stop thinking that life’s a joke. Get up off your ass and do something with yourself because you’ve got to live your life. Don’t live life for no one else. Haters gonna hate.

Talk With Time is a sweet, subtle song great for storybook telling time. It’s about her and her boyfriend not getting to see each other because there is not enough time every day out the week for them to socialize and be together. The clock is ticking in the background. Harold Lily sings in this sweet song too.

Harold Lily produced Talk With Time, Wanna Cruise, and Sweetest. Harold Lily is on this song right after the first minute passes (1:00) saying, “I won’t let you down. I love you baby!”

Ghetto Children is a sad heartfelt song about what everyday misfortune that unfortunate children deal with in their lifetime. Ghetto Children is a song that has the feels. The misfortune unfortunate children Nicole describes on this song are children that come from extreme poverty. The song Ghetto Children features Virginia rapper Bizzy Rock.

These are children that live in public housing projects such as HUD. These are children are on public assistance and welfare. Such children come from extreme poverty, the ghetto of course, and lower income areas. Neither of these children own material things in their possession. These children will never get a new bike because the rent is always due, will never experience shop till you drop, and never ride down with the top down for example. Nicole Wray encourages these children to focus your mind, be something, and stay away from trouble. Be something. Don’t let nobody stop you.

Club 2G was produced by Missy Elliott in 1999. Club 2G was originally recorded for the Elektric Blue album but was re-recorded and used for the Lil Mo – Based On A True Story album instead in 2000. Nicole Wray, Missy Elliott, and Naam are featured this song. Nicole Wray is featured in the chorus with Pam Olivia. Club 2G is similar to Supa Star in terms of mood and theme. Club 2G was featured on the television show Dark Angel in 2000. Many Dark Angel fans will recognize this song due to its dark but soulful nature. Dance music meets soul and hip hop/rap. Missy Elliott and Lil Mo do the rapping portion of the song. Missy Elliott is all over this track as she was with 5 Minutes and Starstruck. Missy adlibs on it.

Nicole Wray explains on Without You that without her man there is no her. She has nothing to be happy about without her man. Without You is a song to surf to at the beach with a vintage rock vibe and sound. This song was on the original Why Do Fools Fall In Love soundtrack. That’s another great song! Without You is a bonus track for Elektric Blue.

Nicole doesn’t know what’s up with her man. She really wants to tell he him that he is like her sunshine to her. She has nothing to be happy about without him. He really makes her smile. She does not understand why she feels the way she does. Only he can take her mind away from all the pain.

Heart and soul is what she feels for him. No other love will ever be so true. He’ll never find another girl like Nicole Wray. Only he can take her mind away from all the pain that comes every day. Only he can take her mind away from any given thing. Only he can take her mind away. She needs to know if he’s going to stay with him.

Bangin’ is an upbeat fast paced song about a man sleeping with another woman and about what Nicole will do to her main man after the love. Bangin’ has Timbaland’s signature production on it with his usual double drums over fast paced beats. The horn synths in the background were Timbaland and Missy Elliott. Bangin’ features Prodigy of Mobb Deep and Missy Elliott. A music video should have been made for the song Bangin’ (Don’t Lie).

Nicole wants to know who her man is talking to. Nicole wants to know if that chick is with him and does he love her. He better tell the truth as he will end up in an ICU. She needs to know if he is the only one he is calling. She would do anything for her man. She would love to fuck him all night. But damn it’s not alright. Does Nicole meet or reap all the benefits? Are these the only lips that he kisses? Clearly she has a thing for her man to the point where she is pissing around for him. She will always satisfy him.

You is a sad heartbreaking breakup song with a mid-tempo 2000s R&B/soul sound. You would have honestly made a good single. Nicole is attracted to a man due to the way he spits his game. That is until his crew came through to Nicole and told her some things about him that put her in the loop about what his true intentions were and what he was trying to do specifically. The basis of the song revolves around people playing games with each other.

He came around Nicole’s way about the same time everyday. He had been lookin fly no doubt. All the chicks be checkin him out. Something about the way he spit his game Nicole hooked and attracted to him. This was until his crew came through to Nicole and told her some things about him that put her in the loop about what his true intentions were and what he was trying to do specifically. Nicole is not a fool. He plays the game until the game is played on him.

Nicole saw him yesterday. He didn’t even notice her. He even waved to her but it was too dark for her to see.
She did not want to deal with him. So she found her a new man. He apparently drives a CLK.

The one who told on him and played on him is the one Nicole is into now. So who’s playing who? Can’t take losing. He should have known how to love and not to play because Nicole is not the one to be playing games with. They could have had a family.

Gonna Love You sounds like a cover of a Babyface song which is a slow love ballad. It has the same melody as TLC’s I Miss You So Much. This sound like a 90s song more than a 2000s song. You can easily tell that Babyface produced this particular composition right here.

Elektra and Missy were scared of Gonna Love You because they feared Nicole was going to become more popular than Missy herself. Elektra and Missy were scared of the song Gonna Love You because they knew this song was going to be a hit when Suga Mike and Big Baby recorded and produced this song with Nicole This song definitely would have been a hit! And a lovely single. Elektra and Missy wanted to keep her style of singing pigeonholed to hip hop/rap while Nicole wanted to sing pop and soul songs.

Single Life is ode to the single ladies who are living that single life that hold down 2 jobs without any children in the picture at all. Single Life is a short 1 minute interlude. Timbaland and Missy Elliott produced Single Life.

Sweetest is Nicole’s unique cover to Sade Adu’s classic love ballad Sweetest Taboo. Sweetest is a smooth, sexy, sultry love ballad about her boyfriend’s love being the sweetest. Nicole says “Your love is the sweetest.” His love is something that Nicole Wray is unable to describe. Sweetest is a great song to listen in the park to or on a long walk.

Wanna Cruise is one of those late night cruise songs. A song that you can cruise to when you’re in your car cruising down the highway late at night. Late at night would be the best! DJ Eddie F had produced this long extensive masterpiece of a song while Nicole Wray composed its entirety. Wanna Cruise is one of those sultry ballads along with I’m I’m Lookin’.

Not My Man (Meet Me At the Spot) is a groovy slow jam which is actually a love ballad. Not My Man (Meet Me At the Spot) is a fan favorite among Nicole Wray fans and is also Nicole’s personal favorites from her career on Elektra and Goldmind.

Don’t Have To is about Nicole not having to worry about paying rent or worry about where her next meal is coming from. It’s all good now. All she has is her hopes and her dreams. She’s going to the top whether people like it or not. Don’t Have To features Pam and Dodi as the background vocalists who are singing in the background for this song. Don’t Have To would be re-recorded in 2002 by gospel duo Pam & Dodi.

Dial My Heart is a sultry love ballad featuring Tamar Braxton’s songwriter Tamara Savage whom this love ballad was written by. Think dial my heart for love. Other than that, BillBoard Magazine confirmed Dial My Heart featuring Tamar Braxton’s songwriter Tamara Savage is on the Elektric Blue album.

Too Controllin’ is about a controlling boyfriend who runs and controls Nicole’s life. He cannot leave her alone. He often calls her throughout the night. He constantly dogs her when she is out in public. The song is memorable due the lyrics in the hook which are “Why do you have to try to control me? Why can’t you just let me be?”

Sianora (Sayanora) is a bouncy break-up tune where Nicole breaks up with her boyfriend due to drama in their relationship.

U Can’t Be Me has that popish 2000s sound with sultry R&B singing. U Can’t Be Me was produced by Suga Mike and Big Baby.

There are many factors as to why the Elektric Blue album was never released. Here are the reasons why the Elektric Blue album was never officially released.

A lack of charting singles was a reason why Elektra decided to shelve Elektric Blue. Her label was displeased with the charting performance of the album’s lead single “I’m Lookin” since it failed to chart in the single digits on the Billboard Hot 100. I’m Lookin’ only charted at #66 on the BillBoard Charts in 2001. Other promo singles for the album such as Bangin’ (Don’t Lie) and Mama Used to Say (No Joke) failed to chart. Elektra felt the album was going to repeat the same mistake. So Elektra decided to shelve Elektric Blue. Nobody was interested in late night love songs as they once were in the mid 1990s.

Warner Music Group had wanted artists with hits that were top charting on the BillBoard. Why? Because 1,000,000 copies to be sold was the guidelines for Warner Music Group because Warner Music Group had wanted artists that were hitting the Top #40 and not Top #100. Nicole Wray’s debut Make It Hot would have gone platinum or silver but instead only sold 800,000 units worldwide. She was not generating enough sales. Nicole should have known that but that’s not entirely her fault.

Promotion was very limited for this album as Elektra was promoting for other artists on their label during this time. There was hardly any decent promotion for this album. More time should have been spent trying to promote the Elektric Blue album. Blame Sylvia Rhome as she shelved so many great R&B/soul albums. Pushbacks were another factor which led the album to be shelved.

Elektric Blue was originally scheduled to be released in 2000. However when Missy Elliott signed Torrey Carter to her imprint, that pushed all the other albums back from their intended release dates. That also caused delays for her album.

Missy really killed Nicole’s career by telling her that she did not want to work with her on the semi-official album of Elektric Blue and by focusing more on herself and most of the artists who were signed to Goldmind Inc. at the time. Missy did not promote Nicole Wray’s career very well.

Missy’s focus on other artists singed to her Goldmind label was another reason why Elektric Blue never came out.

One day, Nicole got a call from Missy saying that she did not want work with Nicole on the Elektric Blue album and focus more on herself along with artists she signed to her Goldmind label. Missy Elliott and Elektra slowed down the production on the album because Missy was signing other artists to her Goldmind label every year. Nicole decided to walk away from the production because Missy Elliott and Elektra weren’t giving her the attention that she wanted or needed. Her album and her career was no longer a priority for the label. She left because they kept putting her on the back burner. She was getting tired of being placed on the back burner.

Disagreements between the producers, the label, and management is another reason this album never came out. The producers could not come to an agreement in putting this album out. Mismanagement played a big role here. Elektra and Missy were scared of Nicole being more popular than Missy herself. That is why they intentionally mismanaged her career. Mama Used To Say (No Joke), Bangin’, and I’m Lookin’ are examples.

Elektra and Missy wanted to keep her style of singing pigeonholed to hip hop/rap while Nicole wanted to sing pop and soul songs. Missy wanted to sing and also a back up singer to replace Lil Mo, Gina Thompson, and Nicole Wray. So she called Tweet back in 2000 and asked her to work on Aaliyah’s track with her. They knew each other since the early 1990s when they were in DeVante’s Swing Mob collab at Da Bassment Studios in Rochester, New York. Missy’s call was supposedly the thing that saved her life. To sum it all up, Tweet was basically a replacement for Nicole Wray. Nicole Wray was replaced in favor of Tweet.

Elektra was going through changes at the time the Elektric Blue album was going to be released. The merger between Elektra and Atlantic at the time is the reason why Elektric Blue did not get an official release. Atlantic Records now owns all of the tights to the former Elektra Records catalogues. Also Warner Music Group, which owned Elektra, was going bankrupt back in 2000.

I rate this album 5/5*****!!

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