Before They Blow-POP! YM’s Shanell’s Mixtape Shut Up & Listen *Free Download*

Shanell at her Mixtape Release Party. Pic courtesy of FreddyO

Choreographer, Singer and songwriter Shanell aka SnL might just be ATL’s best kept secret. Not only is her sound and image refreshing, unapologetic and raw, her music is actually pretty decent as well! We first featured SnL in our Songwriter’s Revenge feature a few months back.

To drum up some publicity for her new Mixtape titled Shut Up and Listen, Shanell’s team sent out invites to her “Baby Shower” where Shanell would be unveiling her child – ie. the Mixtape she had been working on for the past several months. It was a cute marketing ploy since rumours were rampant at the time that Shanell has been seeing labelmate Lil Wayne romantically.

Shut Up And Listen is a solid effort of Trip & B (ATL Style) that exposes several sides of the Artist. Shanell experiments with dance, some house and some Ryan Leslie. She even attempts to re-make Groove Theory’s classic hit, Tell Me with labelmate Jae Millz.

There are some highlights to the Mixtapes and some songs you may want to skip, but overall the collection of songs gets me excited to hear what Shanell has in store for her full length album. Now there is some debate among R&B fans if Shanell can blow or not. I think she definitely has a voice on her, while others call her pitchy. I tend to like when Singers can belt out a tune with great emotion, which Shanell is not afraid to do at all. I just need to hear her preform live to prove the naysayers wrong.

Here are a few cuts from the Mixtape to whet your appetite. Let me know what ya’ll think of the songs below and the Mixtape.

Shanell & Ryan Leslie – I Choose You (Remix) ChokLit’s Choice

Shanell featuring Jae Millz – Tell Me

Download Shut Up and Listen Here!


Before They Blow-POP! Bertell

You may have heard about Bertell. He is the newest artist exclusively signed to Capitol Records via Bryan Michael Cox’s label BlackBaby Entertainment and Bertell’s own Upscape Music group. A Houston native, Bertell left his hometown to try his hand at a basketball scholarship opportunity in New Jersey, before leaving school his last year to return to music once again. After collaborating with Dem Franchize Boyz for their local hit, Shorty What That Do, he caught the attention of R&B Music Producer B. Cox. Together, they began working together to hone Bertell’s sound.  Bertell would soon record a hit in the buzz single She Bad featuring Houston royalty, Bun B. Bertell’s next single, Beat it Up would become his first real single and major label push.

After I peeped the  video last week and checked out his Myspace, the song grew on me.  Now before you say anything, yes, I am aware of the obvious comparisons. Beat it Up has some The Dream-inspired moments and the lyrics do remind me of the music Trey Songz is doing nowadays with his sing-songy rapper-meets-sanga style. Bertell decides to push the censors by talking about different sexual positions, including the “Suicide position” that got bleeped from the song.

The main reason I mentioned Bertell as one to watch is that his production company, Upscale Music Group (specifically T.A And Kwasi) has produced a hit with Beat it Up! It was the 3rd most-added song to Urban Radio according to Bertell’s Myspace page. This is an important feat for an artist in an Industry that is becoming harder and harder to break into.

Also, Bertell has a uniquely smooth voice. If he can get past the comparisons to other artists and the fly-by-night success of a first hit record, Bertell may have something of value to offer the R&B scene. Still, from what it sounds like, Bertell will be following in the footsteps of Trey Songz and he may have some trouble gaining real fans this way.

Nonetheless, check out Bertell’s video, then listen to the remix to Beat It Up featuring a fast-talking Twista – who is perfect for the song. What do you guys think of Bertell? Do you think he sounds like other artists or is he currently in his own lane?

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Bertrell feat. Twista – Beat it Up Remix

Before They Blow-Pop! More Young Steff!


I am still feelin’ this 20-year old singer/dancer phenom who’s hit record Slow Jukin’ has failed to pop off in the Mainstream R&B world, despite its popularity online and in other countries. Upon looking through his site, I’ve seen a lot of live footage of Young Steff’s performances and was pleasantly surprised. This kid has a near perfect Falsetto; I would love to hear what he could come up with if he collaborated with TheDream & Tricky Strewart.  Here is a behind the scenes look at the very well done video for Slow Jukin’ which was directed by Fat Cats and features choreography by one of our faves, Jamaica. The lead dancer, Rachel and Young Steff school us on how to ‘Slow Juke’. Young Steff actually made up the dance, while Jamaica smoothed it out for the ladies’ version. Check it out!

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Before They Blow-PoP!: Introducing TRISH Pt. I


We have a treat for our ChokLit Community! A new Toronto-based artist named Trish is about to make some serious moves in the Industry, and we got the Exclusive on her here in the Choklit Factory! I spotted Trish performing at a show here in Toronto. She was on the stage with two of her male dancers, and sang a couple of her songs. The crowd was the typical picky T.O crowd, but Trish was rockin’ her set out and got the crowd very interested myself included. So I was able to score an interview with the up-and-coming Stunning Singer. Peep Trish’s Little X-directed video for her single, Don’t Watch Me, and some of her music after the jump!

Vodpod videos no longer available.
Trish feat. J.Diggz – Don’t Watch Me Directed by Lil X


Before They Blow-PoP!: Introducing TRISH Pt. II

I had the pleasure of interviewing Trish the other day and it went very well! She is sweet, ambitious, cute and alot of fun! Trish has a warm spirit and it illuminates onstage when she preforms. Read the interview to know more about Trish, then go back to Part I if you missed it, to hear more about her music!

And Don’t forget to show some love to Trish’s Myspace!


Some Choklit Tidbits:

Age: early 20s

Horoscope Sign: Aquarius

Ethnicity/Background: Guyanese & Jamaican

Label: Currently signed to Life-Line Group, shopping to Labels.

#1 Music Industry Peeve: Image over talent; putting an Age on music & the artists

Who’s Dat Gurl??

ChokLit Factory: Trish we want to get it out in the open: How would you describe your Sound & your Music?

Trish: It consists of many elements: Hip Hop, Pop, R&B Funk, Rock & Roll. As long as the beat is hot, really, and I can rock with it – that’s something I want to deliver to people, y’know?  I just want people to have fun.

CF: So you don’t want to pigeonhole yourself?

Trish: No, I want to be able to expand, to try different things. If I am able to come out and present myself in a way to the public on the one form, that’s fantastic, especially if they accept me.

CF: You grew up here in Toronto (please correct me if I am wrong!), how would you describe your experience growing up in this city?

T: Yes I grew up in Toronto. [The experience] was cool. We lived in various areas of the city. You know, Toronto is a multicultural city and I’ve been fortunate to taste the different flavours of Toronto. For instance, the past 15 years I’ve been living in this community where I’ve been subjected to rap music & Reggaeton, and prior to that I was living in a community where it was Indian music. And now, when I go visit my family, our Culture’s there; there is Reggae music happening. So, I mean, growing up in Toronto has really shaped me as an artist, as a human being, really.


Published in: on June 3, 2009 at 4:35 am  Comments (1)  
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