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Review: Nicole Wray – Make It Hot

Make It Hot by Nicole Wray is filled with sultry love songs written by a handful of songwriters including herself. One can classify her album as contemporary teen pop despite her mature nature, demeanor, and aura at age 17. The hot songs on the album were Make It Hot obviously, I Can’t See, Testing Our Love (Suga), Seventeen, Borrowed Time, Eyes Better Not Wander, and much more.

Timbaland produced 25% of Make It Hot. Suga Mike produced 10%. Dent produced a chuck of songs for Make It Hot too. Playa (Smokey & Static Major) produced a significant portion of Make It Hot even though the Timbaland sound is more present and prevalent. Missy did the rest herself of course. She was responsible for promoting Nicole Wray during her career at Goldmind and Elektra.

Her album was one of the hottest albums of 1998 which went overlooked despite a couple of hot singles. Make It Hot was hot for its time for a hot moment there. However Make It Hot was not hot enough. Unfortunately Make It Hot was a flop due to lackluster sales. If Nicole had named her album with a different name, her career would have a been lot different than it is today and Make It Hot would have sold better than it did. Nicole could have been the Brandy of both Virginia and Georgia.

However, Make It Hot was not hot enough in terms of album sales and in the eyes of Elektra executives. In other words, Make It Hot was a flop due to lackluster sales performance. Her Make It Hot album sold 800,000 copies total worldwide instead of 1,000,000 (1 million) as mandated in her recording contract with Elektra Records. Missy had a deal with a Elektra that Goldmind Inc. artists debut albums must sell more than 1,000,000 copies of their first album in order to be on the label.

She focused more on the single Make It Hot rather than the album which is why her debut album was a commercial failure despite having a couple of hot songs. Although Nicole Wray tried to promote her album and single at the same time, it was a tough balancing act for her.

In the end it was Nicole Wray who got the unfair deal in the music business. She had to suffer the consequences of being dropped by Goldmind Inc. and Elektra Records after Elektric Blue was shelved and subsequently released as a promo instead. Nicole was not releasing enough hits which is why she was dropped. Luckily she is now signed to Big Crown Records as Lady Wray.

Nicole Wray faced the same issue and struggle Lil Johnny was facing when he was singed to Warner Bros. Records in 2001. Lil Johnny had a single called I Got You which was the buzz single for his debut album of the same name. Nicole Wray made the same mistake as Lil Johnny did by naming her album the same name as her buzz single which is why her album flopped unfortunately despite having a solid supporting fan base.

This is an important lesson to learn in the music industry! Never title your album the same as your single! Because your album sales will result into low album sales instead of successful album sales into stardom. Having your album titled the same name as your buzz single will throw your audience off thus resulting in lackluster album sales. Titling your album the same name as your single does not work for everyone. Even if it did work for Brandy.

For those who don’t know who Nicole Wray is, she was the first artist to sign to Missy Elliott’s Goldmind Inc. in 1998 other than Missy herself and Timbaland’s production team/duo Timbaland and Magoo. She and Missy were hailing from Portsmouth, Virginia. She had a record deal with Goldmind Inc., EastWest, and Elektra Records from 1996 to 2001 where she released her two albums Make It Hot and Elektric Blue.

Nicole had a blazing hot song called Make It Hot which hit #7 on the BillBoard in 1998 for a hot minute there! The next song that hit the BillBoard was I Can’t See back in 1998 and 1999.

The Time Is Now (Intro) is Missy Elliott explaining why this album is hot and off the chain. Missy herself explains the album is “blazing hot”. She performs her usual ad-lib raps and funky noises with her mouth. Nicole sings riffs in the background chorus. Nicole’s presence is not as huge as Missy’s despite this intro being on her debut album. Missy takes most of the spotlight as she herself is all over the intro for this album sampler

The Time Is Now (Intro) was produced by Dent in California in 1998. Although Dent, a producer from California, is credited as the producer for The Time Is Now (Intro) in the liner notes, Missy Elliott takes most of the spotlight as she herself is all over the intro for this album.

Seventeen is about Nicole making her move on the finest boy in her school in an attempt to start a relationship with him. She attempts to make her move on him. Nicole was making bold moves even though she was 17.

Seventeen was written and produced by Missy Elliott as she herself is all over the song. Nicole sings and raps on Seventeen. The song called Seventeen samples Call Me by Skyy. Yes the band Skyy. Nicole and Missy often take credit for Seventeen. Missy Elliott was the supa dupa superstar with a super flow that went super far which undoubtedly made this song hot.

Seventeen should have had a music video to accompany the song. Seventeen should have been chosen as a single instead of Eyes Better Not Wander because the song was more upbeat and Missy Elliott was all over it. With Missy Elliott being all over the song, it would have been a smart business move to further both her career and Nicole’s. Missy Elliott was the Ariana Grande of her day. Make It Hot would been a further overnight success if Elektra chose Seventeen to be chosen as a buzz single for her debut album. Seventeen would have been a guaranteed success if Timbaland produced it.

Nicole doesn’t know what’s up with this cat. But she knows he’s gonna hers. Nicole needs a super man that’s got a super tan. A man that can deactivate her body like the Superfriends.

He was the finest guy in school. He got the whole damn school locked. And Nicole thought he was cute. Nicole approaches him by asking him how he is doing. She introduces herself to him by telling her name. She slipped him her phone number. That is how their relationship began.

She tells him, “Call me if you need someone to talk to. Call me even though I’m 17. Call me when you need someone to talk to.” Nicole was making bold moves even though she was 17.

He was only 17 and Nicole was checking him out everyday. He’s no beginner. He made her hot like the middle of May. Nicole has to find a way to keep all of his attention to her. She has to find a way to keep all of his attention focused towards her that way she will not lose him to another girl. So she slipped him a paper which told him to call her at 3:00 PM. She even tells him, “You can call me up in the evening.”

Nicole knows she really wants him and really needs him. She’s gotta have him. Nicole is the type of female to hold on. Her image is not a pocketbook and she won’t get took.

Not many people know this but Nicole actually rapped on Verse 3. She wrote the lyrics to this verse as well as the other verses.

[Verse 3]
(Nicole Wray)
So what the sunshine
What’s yours is mine
You won’t succeed without trying
Never blind
See I’m the type of female to hold on
Like deodorant I roll on
And gets my flow on (uh huh)
I’m livin’ in reality
Respect me
My image is not a pocketbook
And I won’t get took
Girls get shook when they look
My style is John Blaze (John Blaze)
So I’ma make it hot and leave somebody in a daze
My age is seventeen
Call me
My age is seventeen

In Da Streets explores the problematic relationship Nicole is in with her man. Their relationship is toxic. Her man is constantly controlling her. She sees that her man is excessively worrying about her. This is because he thinks Nicole has been messing around with other men outside of their relationship. What’s up with that? That is why the song has a sense of sadness.

Nicole is asking her man to let her know what he needs and what he wants. She wants to enjoy her night. All she wants is for him to leave her alone so she can peacefully enjoy her night. She asks him, “Why you keep on asking me where I go and why I leave?” She knows he’s mad. What’s up with that?

Nicole’s man has got an attitude. This is because he thinks Nicole has been messing around with other men outside of their relationship But all Nicole does is just sit at home and wait until he returns her call. Why is it that he doesn’t trust her? Is it that he’s the one messing up? Nicole should be the one who’s questioning why her man is always asking her where she has been, where did she go, who she was with, is she out messing up, when she will be back, and if she out in the streets doing stuff.

Her man has been acting crazy. He thinks Nicole has been changing lately. He thinks she has been out here spotting other men. And if he ask her, she’ll tell him where she has been. She has been at home just waiting, waiting. He’s been been out just playing, playing. Her man, does not want Nicole to go nowhere. Anywhere period. Then if she goes, he needs to know where she’s been, where she’s go, who she’s with, and when she will be back.

Traffic Jam is an interlude that should have been left off the album and saved for her Elektric Blue album instead. The song did not feature Nicole at all. That is why. Don’t why the producers thought this would be a good idea to include this interlude on the album.

Nicole sings about how the curiosity of her man’s love is killing her inside on Curiosity. She can sense that he is feeling her. Lil Mo cowrote the Spanish guitar driven love ballad with Nicole back in 1998. Lil Mo and Nicole explore the curiosity of love together on this song.

Nicole asks her man to let her know what he wants. The curiosity is killing him. She can sense that he is feeling her because she can tell that he is interested. His actions mean more to her than words he is are too shy to say to Nicole’s friends behind his back. Won’t he say it to her face?

He has a thing for her. Nicole tells him, “Don’t you walk away from me. Don’t you be afraid of me if you wanna be with me. C’mon and roll with me.” Intensity has made Nicole sweat a brother majorly. She was sure it was him constantly paging her. All the 7 days out of the week. But he has a got a case of butterflies.

Lil Mo heard from a bird that he liked it hot. She asks for him to meet her at the spot in the parking lot. Lil Mo tells her man she’s got her mother’s car and to not go slow. It’s 11:22 PM, and at 12 AM, Lil Mo will be gone. She tells him specifically, “I got my mama’s car so don’t go slow. It’s 11:22, and at 12, I ghost, yo.”

Her man tells her he’s got 38 minutes just to make her bounce. He tells her, “Yo, slow it down lover, bout a half an ounce. I got 38 minutes just to make you bounce. So let’s take a ride. You and I. Don’t you let me pass you by. Here we go.” He caught a glimpse of Lil Mo’s Benz. Now he rolls with her. He wants to lay up in her ride and get fly with her in the driver’s seat.

He tells her, “Damn right, I wanna shine, if I can shine with you. And you say you’re getting yours, I gotta get mine too. It sounds good coming from a lady looking like you. It’s just the things we do.”

Nicole sings about how the fact that her man is sleeping with someone else is killing her on Make It Hot. He’s making love to someone else. That is the synopsis and whole basis of the song.

Nicole had a blazing hot song called Make It Hot which hit #7 on the BillBoard in 1998 for a hot minute there! The love song was constantly played on radio stations and on BET that year. Make It Hot was the jam that had everyone dancing bobbing their heads to back in 1998! Haters and lovers. Make It Hot was the jam back in 1998!

Timbaland produced Make It Hot. The beats were both upbeat and crazy as Timbaland’s beats had everyone going nuts back in the day. Missy Elliott made it both spicy and sassy with her ad lib raps as she was all over the place at the very end even though former female rapper Mocha took most of the spotlight at the very beginning of Make It Hot. Kelly Price harmonized the vocals with her angelic singing.

Nicole’s man don’t call her anymore. They don’t even kiss. Is she his fool? What must Nicole do to keep him loving her with all this love she gives? That ain’t cool. She’s got what he wants and needs. Can Nicole get another shot? This time she’ll make it hot. This time she’ll make her love hot.

Nicole calls her man at the crib. He turned off his phone. He said to call him back. How silly of her to forget what he specifically told her. Why didn’t Nicole suspect he was making love to someone else? Nicole has already suspected he was making love to someone else.

Missy Elliott is sitting on the side of the curb with a pocket of herb (weed/marijuana). I don’t know if y’all heard. Missy Elliott is as high as a bird. She can fly like Kelly and glide like skates. Missy Elliott with no Timbaland is like Puff with no Mase.

The prelude to I Can’t See should have been incorporated into the regular song instead being separated from the original I Can’t See song as a separate track. Without You from the Why Do Fools Fall In Love soundtrack should have replaced the prelude to I Can’t See.

I Can’t See is about how Nicole is in love with her man and how she cannot conceive the thought of not being with him. And how she cannot conceive the thought of him not being in her life. She cannot see herself without him. The song explains and explores her relationship with her man. Her mind is focused on him.

I Can’t See hit #7 on the BillBoard for a hot minute there in 1998 and 1999! Missy, rapper Mocha, and Nicole Wray are all over I Can’t See. This song is sultry in nature. Mocha with her wack raps don’t really help make the song stand out and prosper the most, but Missy and Nicole do.

The song I Can’t See, of course, is another love song written by a handful of skilled songwriters. The song I Can’t See was produced by Brian Morgan and of course Missy Elliott. Interestingly enough, Timbaland was not all over I Can’t See as he was on the song Make It Hot. His vocal presence is missing on I Can’t See. His voice should have been included as the male background chorus and background vocals as well.

Nicole likes what her man has been giving her. She likes the way it feels. She won’t trade it in for nothing. Nicole asks her man to not throw his love away. She tells her man, “Please don’t take your love away. Because if you leave, I’d never be the same.”

Nicole may be young in age but she know she is in love She doesn’t care what other people say about their relationship. They don’t know a thing about them. Because he’s got he back and Nicoles got his trust by not being separate. She cannot see herself without him. That’s something she cannot conceive. There’s no her without him.

Girls tried to separate them and make Nicole lose her cool. His best friend tried to play him. But Nicole held it down for him. That’s just to show her love is true. The times came when she thought she couldn’t live without him love. But she just couldn’t shake him. Memories of him weren’t enough. Now she knows that she is living for his touch. There’s no her without him. There’s no him without her. She can’t see it or feel it. She I ain’t even trying to hear it

Nicole travels the seas at a high speed for his love while dealing and experience inequality. Exchanging car keys. She freezes the bullshit on top of all situations. Relationships are long term and plus she deal with patience. She tries to fight this feeling. This really good feeling she can’t see. All they need to is intrigue in this love thing. Him and her are meant to be. He is important to her in her life.

Nervous explores the complicated relationship between Nicole and her man. Nicole discusses insecurities her man has in their relationship. Lil Mo cowrote the upbeat song with Nicole back in 1998.

Boy Nicole could’ve sworn that she told her that all those other phone numbers in her pager don’t mean jack to her. She tells him if he’s gonna start actin’ crazy to not to play her for his own uncalled insecurities by saying, “Don’t even try to play me for your own uncalled insecurities.” She is not the type of person for being played for someone else’s own insecurities.

All she ever does is give him her time. They constantly are fighting over the stupidest little things. The way he has been acting lately is not right. She tells her man, “So if you’re gonna be shady, then I can’t be your lady no more.”

Here is one example of them constantly fighting over the stupidest little things. He calls her every time she is on the road touring or whatever the case may be. She can’t answer her phone every single time it rings when she is on the road. She tells him to stop thinking that she is cheating on him with another man. She doesn’t know what she has to do to make him change. She never thought he would change towards her. He’s making her believe that he is insecure is because of her.

Pressure is an interesting interlude/skit where her man pressures Nicole to ditch her friends so he can spend time with him and lose her virginity by having sexual intercourse with him. He pressures her into having sexual intercourse with him.

Pressure was an interesting interlude/skit that producer Dent and Nicole were all over. The song is 1 minute and 11 seconds long with the duration time being 1:11. Slow and sultry are words to describe. Pressure should have been made into a full song. There is no reason why should not have been a short song instead.

In fact, Pressure sounds like an unreleased Nicole Wray song even if it is a minute an 11 seconds long. Nicole Wray fans can vouch for me here on this one.

Listen to the lyrics in the background.:
Tonight
In da street
Baby
Don’t worry
I’ll be there

Tonight
In da street
Baby
Cause that ain’t fair

Tonight
In da street
Baby
Don’t worry
I’ll be there

Tonight
In da street
Don’t worry
I’ll be there

Baby
Tonight
In da street

Don’t worry
I’ll be there

Boy You Should Listen is about how Nicole who has been warned that the man she loves can make her lose her virginity by having sexual intercourse with him. She warns her that having sexual intercourse with him will lead her to lose her virginity. Nicole will hold out on losing her virginity until she is more knowledgable about love and has more awareness about sexual intercourse.

Nicole has been warned by her mother that the man she loves can make her lose her virginity by having sexual intercourse with him. She warns her that having sexual intercourse with him will lead her to lose her virginity. Nicole will hold out on losing her virginity until she is more knowledgable about love and has more awareness about sexual intercourse.

Kisses and hugs will be enough for Nicole. She is definitely sure of this. She tells him, “Boy you should listen. Baby I ain’t concerned. I know you think I’m flippin’. You won’t catch me slippin’.”

All the other girls are grown as her and are going to ask her questions about sexual intercourse. All the other girls are grown as her. Saying all the stuff they’ve done. Saying all the stuff they done, Now they wanna know about her. She tells them that she and her man are holding out from having sexual intercourse. They’re gonna show those girls what love is all about. So when they finally do the thing it’s gonna be fine like wine. They’ll surely take some time to make sure it’s right.

Eyes Better Not Wander shows how Nicole is fed up and angered with her man getting distracted by other women when he is with her and when they are both out in public.

Nicole has had it with him her man getting distracted by other women when he is with her and when they are both out in public. She has been watching his ways all day. It seems when other ladies walk by his head can’t keep from turning. Nicole is not havin’ that there, She sees soon they’ll be heading their own ways. He can’t be hugging on Nicole when his eyes are across the street. Nicole could care less in how hard it may be for him. His eyes better not wander while he walking next to her. If she’s so fine then that’s where he should be.

She tells her man, “I could care less in how hard it may be. Your eyes better not wander while you’re walking next to me. If she’s so fine then that’s where you should be. Your eyes better not wander while you’re walking next to me.”

Nicole sees that she is just cramping his style because he is walking faster than her. She tells him bluntly, “Boy, don’t you walk faster than me.” She tells her man in an annoyed manner to go kick with her by saying, “Lemme holla at ya later. I refuse to be a hater. Go ahead. get that. You go kick it with her. Don’t trip. I’m gonna find me a new friend. It’s so disrespectful to me when you’re hangin’ out with me, but your eye’s across the street.” It’s so disrespectful to Nicole when he is hanging out with her but his eye’s across the street.

Eyes Better Not Wander is a mellow, loopy, and sultry slow jam notable for its slow vibe. The slow vibe follow the beats perfectly. The beats alone are consistent in terms of following the song. Echoes gives this song a slow feel. That song was produced by Smokey of Playa. Smokey produced hot steamy love songs such as this one, Raise Your Frown, and Testing Our Love (Suga).

Eyes Better Not Wander did not Nicole justice in terms of charting. Eyes Better Not Wander charted at #69 which eventually fell of the charts quickly. By 1999, the general public was tired of sultry slow jams and wanted more glamorous upbeat pop songs and raunchy R&B songs. That can be attributed to why Eyes Better Not Wander fell off the charts quickly. Eyes Better Not Wander should have been saved for Elektric Blue instead of Make It Hot. Her song Eyes Better Not Wander was a memorable favorite among Nicole Wray fans. Despite that, Eyes Better Not Wander did not do as well because it was a slow jam with no fast paced beats by Timbaland.

The Radio DJ skit was appropriate to play and to come before Silly Love Song. Nicole dials a phone number to call a DJ on the radio to play her a silly love song because the boy she loved broke her heart in half.

Nicole sings about the boy who she loved that broke her heart in half on Silly Love Song. Nicole so tired of all those silly love songs as none of them never ever really come true. So she tells the DJ stop playing those love songs. She sings her sadness away in this song.

Tuesday was the day he left Nicole. She has been the same since he had left her. He didn’t even tell her. He fell out of love with her. He just packed his stuff and walk out the door. So when she gets into her cars, she wants to break down and crying. Because she’d rather be at home feeling blue. Rather than be seen feeling sad. When she picks up the phone all she hears is the tone. That’s why she ain’t feeling this love thang no more.

Nicole so tired of all those silly love songs as none of them never ever really come true. She tells the DJ stop playing those love songs because the boy she loved broke her heart.

No more late night talks or making love no more. No more fighting over who’ll win the game. No more Valentine cards. No more chocolate hearts. This makes Nicole never wanna fall in love again. Can’t say she’ll swim any sea or walk any mile for free

Honestly Silly Love Song should have had a music video to accompany the song. Silly Love Song should have been chosen as a single because of the contemporary teen pop sound of the time. It would have been a smart business move.

The man Nicole is dating tells her not to be mad at her over trivial things. He tells her he will not let her down. That is what Raise Your Frown is about.

The man Nicole is dating tells her to let the rumors get in the way of their relationship and love. Because this love they have is much too strong. He pleads to her saying, “I promise you’re the only one on my resume that’s on everything. I thought you knew I love you. Will you raise your frown? You don’t have to worry. I won’t let you down. ‘Cause I’m not happy, when you’re mad at me. So don’t take your love away.”

And after the rainy days there are sunny days. Look how far they’ve made it. Nothing but trust. They fuss and fight but they know soon it will be alright. Nicole can’t ever see herself without him. They treasure each other. What can measure?

Borrowed Time focuses on Nicole Wray sleeping with another man on his time and his woman’s time. They both get back at each other by borrowing each other’s time even though they don’t belong to each other.

The song begins in dawn of early morning with a heart positive vibe. The man she is sleeping with is still in bed right next to her. Nicole wishes the man she is sleeping with could take off work for the rest of the week to be with her in the morning. She wishes he could call in to his workplace in order for him to be with her. His woman wonder where the hell he could be. She knows his girl’s thinking, “Where the hell can you be?” But he is giving good love to Nicole.

It’s a shame he has to leave Nicole. They don’t belong to each other. He can still go home to her. So he can’t belong to her. Although it feels so right, they’re still on borrowed time. No matter how hard they try they are still on borrowed time.

He feels so good. How good? Too good. My heart says it’s no use because he is leaving soon. But it’s killing her inside day by day. Even if it feels right. It’s alright to both of them though. He feels so good.

She tells the man she is sleeping with, “You gotta stop callin’ me and tellin’ me I’m where you’d rather be. It’s been 19 weeks and you’re still playin’ your games everyday.” It’s been 19 weeks and he’s still playin’ his games everyday. Nicole takes the initiate to let him go by telling him, “I would never ever want to hurt her. So I’ll take the initiative and let you go until you’re ready to come home to me. You don’t belong to me and I don’t belong to you. No matter how hard we try. We’re still on borrowed time.”

The hardest thing for Nicole will be getting over him so easy. Especially when she gave him her all everyday. Especially when she gave him her all everyday. But it’s best for them to move on. Because no matter what Nicole thinks they’ll be, he’ll never belong to her.

Borrowed Time is a smooth mellow love song with such loud powerful bravado. The echo in the background is loud and powerful with use of a controlled reverb. Lil Mo wrote Borrowed Time for Nicole Wray back in 1998. She also provides background vocals. Suga Mike produced Borrowed Time. Suga Mike has produced for artists such as Lil Mo, Nicole Wray, Timbaland, Missy Elliott, SWV, and Lil Bow Wow among others. Honestly, Suga Mike does not get the credit he deserves. People do not give Suga Mike the credit he rightfully deserves. Period.

Testing Our Love (Suga) is the last song and closer for the Make It Hot album. Nicole tests her man’s love to see whether their love is true or fake. The song serves as to test the faith of love. It’s a test of love.

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

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