Posted in MusicWorld on April 30, 2000 by

On the opening track of their self-titled Columbia Records debut album, Blaque instructs listeners to "prepare for the ultimate entertainment experience." The r&b trio proceeds to perform 14 songs that combine Motown elegance with southern funk swagger.

Apparently, Blaque's best-of-both-worlds approach has struck a chord. Their million-selling debut disc has yielded two hit singles, "808" and "Bring It All To Me." The latter tune is a commendably understated single featuring classy piano flourishes and cameo vocals by *NSYNC. Blending soul, funk, rap and pop, Blaque is clearly aiming for the crossover success enjoyed by Janet Jackson, TLC and others.

Blaque's fusion of Motor City melody and Atlanta-style soul is no fluke. Though Shamari Fears, Brandi Williams and Natina Reed hail from Detroit and New York, they were assembled under the tutelage of Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes of TLC. Taking cues from Motown founder Berry Gordy, Lopes has taught Blaque how to balance charm school sexuality with urban bravado. She has also encouraged the trio to compose songs that contrast Brandi's and Shamari's vocals against Natina's brash hip-hop rhymes.

Lopes's guidance notwithstanding, the members of Blaque possess the raw talent that often translates into superstardom. Brandi Williams' grandfather, Bobby Rogers, was a founding member of the Miracles, while Natina Reed paid her musical dues singing and playing drums in her uncle's church. These rich musical bloodlines bode well for Blaque's future.


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