If you follow me on Facebook you probably already know this, but a few weeks ago I stumbled upon the greatest discovery since the light bulb:
Kut Klose reunited!
Keith Sweat would be so proud.
This song is a year old – I’m not sure how it flew under my radar. Maybe because it’s not very good.
Back in 1997, I had an equally joyous revelation. I heard Allure’s first single, “Head Over Heels,” and immediately thought Kut Klose was back on the scene. Of course that wasn’t the case but their single made me an instant fan. Remember them?
Alia Davis, Akissa Mendez, Lalisha McClean and Linnie Belcher formed in the mid-90s and got their big break after a chance encounter with Poke. No, not Gumby’s orange horse – Poke and his partner Tone made up the production powerhouse The Trackmasters. Poke dubbed the girls Allure and eventually helped them get signed to Mariah Carey’s short-lived label, Crave Records.
Allure released their self-titled debut in the spring of 97. Thanks to their high-profile connections, the fledgling quartet was able to land some heavy-duty cameos for their album. “Head Over Heels” featured Nas, “No Question” featured LL Cool J and “Last Chance” was penned by Carey herself. Add Trackmaster’s top-notch production to the equation and Allure was able to create magic that summer. It didn’t take long for the album to strike gold.
But the best was yet to come – arguably their biggest hit was their remake of Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam’s “All Cried Out.” Allure’s version, featuring 112, reached No. 4 on the charts and the single went gold almost immediately.
As quickly as Allure rose to fame, things rapidly unraveled. After just one year, Carey’s Crave crumbled, leaving Allure in the lurch. But they regrouped and signed with MCA in 2000, and released the ironically titled Sunny Days the following year. The light-hearted but painfully generic “Enjoy Yourself” was in rotation on BET but failed to turn heads. Without the backing of their high-profile friends, the girls began to flounder. After Allure failed to experience sunny days, Linnie Belcher left the group.
Put yourself in Allure’s stilettos – after your promising career collides with a major speed bump, what’s your next move?
If you answered “sign with Ron Artest,” you too can become an R&B star.
Chapter III was released under the watchful eye of freakin’ Ron Artest, and shockingly, it didn’t even chart. I’m as surprised as you are. To be fair, it wasn’t bad. The video for “Uh Oh” was pretty horrible (they probably shot it in Artest’s basement), but it was a decent reggage-tinged club song.
The trio thankfully got away from Artest and dropped their fourth LP, Time’s Up, last year. I’ll be honest – I thought the Artest experiment was the final nail in their coffin so I don’t know much about this album. Thanks to a little research, it seems as though this album has been recorded on CD-Rs, which means they burn ’em on demand. I doubt you’ll find a copy in your local Best Buy – you’re better off going to Allure’s house to get one. I can’t speak on the album’s quality but reviews were pretty favorable. Check out “Going Crazy.”
Should They Come Back?: Allure certainly has had a tumultuous career. Even though they’ve had their share of missteps (Ron Artest? Really?) I think they still have something to offer. R&B groups have pretty much vanished from the airwaves – there is definitely room for a rejuvenated Allure to make a statement.
If that day comes, hopefully the girls stand on their own and not depend on their famous friends. That has brought nothing but trouble.