It's Spring of 2003, i am sitting in a movie theatre, its evening, it's fairly quiet, and i'm watching a
Dance movie, called "Honey", there's been some great R&B, and
Hip Hop tracks during the film, Jessica Alba has entertained us, and
keet me glued with her natural dance ability, the movie is about to end, just as we think it's over, A Music Video starts playing over the closing credits, 3 sassy young women, start strutting down a sunlit sidewalk in their street clothes, accomapanied by one of the baddest intro's to an R&B song ever, "New Blaque!" shouts the Mc on the track.
People were starting to walk out of the theatre, but when that song, Blaque's "I'm Good" started pumping through the auditorium, and the Music video played on the screen alongside the credits, people stayed standing, and watched it right to the end. I Was mesmerised.
Right there and then, "I'm Good", become one of my favorite all time R&B songs, i had seen these girls before, a few years ago in "Bring it on", the cheerleading comedy film, and put their song from the movie,
'As if', on one of my very first experiments at making a mixtape, on cassette! ha ha
The Video for "I'm Good", is a great, uptempo, urban song, with cool settings to match, hot trendy clothes, and some great choreography.
Brandi, Shamari, and Natina Reed, were putting it down!
Natina's the rapper of the group, delivered a rap on "I'm Good", that is short, but feisty, and fast flowing, and
gives the song a breakdown, that takes it to another level.
On, October 26th, the eve, of her 33rd Birthday, Natina, died suddenly, and tragically when she was hit by a car. It came as a shock to me, because i had
only recently, this year, found her on Twitter, she had been kind enough to retweet some of my comments, i had heard her a very interesting radio interview with her for a website called 'I Know you got soul', and in the last week or so, she had been been very active on Twitter.
There was a buzz, that something was happening, a new chapter was beginning in the life, of this talented female rapper, an understudy of
Rap legend Lisa "Left eye' lopes, and then, i went online, and saw the news, that she was gone.
Natina Reed, was born October 28, 1979 and met fellow Band member Shamari, in Atlanta, performing in another girl group, "Intrigue', before later meeting, with Brandi Williams, at a talent show, and going on to form, Blaque, who would then go on to be discovered, and nutured by TLC Group member, and Rapper, Lisa Lopes.
Lisa's influence, can be seen in the Blaque video '808", which could
easy be taken for a TLC Video, in it's style, and what is especially interesting is how close Natina's flow, was to Lisa's.
Fast, fierce, without taking herself to serious, there was a tough side to her lyrics and vocal, when today, toughness is often confused with and replaced, Darkness. There was no darkness, in natina's rap style, only an edge,
but never far away from that was a sense of fun, and positivity that seemed to embody Lisa's, feelings on life. Blaque's 808 reached No.8
on the Billboard Music charts, they also toured with, TLC, on the fanmail tour.
Blaque's debut album, 808 went platinum, but it's follow up, "Blaque out" went unreleased, while songs have since leaked.
"Torch', the third album which was due for release in 2003, with
"I'm Good" being the lead single, and other tracks including, "
No Ganksta" and songs produced by Missy Elliot, featured,
had it's release date mysteriously pushed back to 2008, by Music World International, and then again, after that.
After leaving the leaving the group briefly, in the middle of the last decade, Natina rejoined Blaque, with Brandi and Shamari, where they were working on a new album, and a Reality Tv series.
They appeared as group at the Left Eye Legacy Music concert, on
July 2012. Natina gave birth to her son, Tren in 2002, while engaged to rapper Kurupt. During an interview at the Left Eye legacy event, Natina spoke about, how holding Tren as a boy, was Lisa's first experience holding a baby. Natina was, also working on a solo rap album, at the time of her death.
Natina came onto the scene, at a time when rap music was very different today, and she had a natural flow, and ability to rhyme, and write lyrics with meaning, i, and many others, from the response to her death, were clearly looking forward to her musical comeback, and it's a great shame for the fans, and for rap music, that we won't get to see that. During her interview with 'I Know you got soul", her persistence, was apparent, as was her drive to make rap music, that actually meant something. Another legacy, is born. Thoughts go out to Natina's family, and friends, Thank you, for your inspiration.