There used to be a time when the only singers that were allowed to do a rap hook were Mary J. Blige and Nate Dogg. Nowadays rappers think they can sing, but really it just proves how they aren’t good at rapping or singing *cough* Drake *cough* And before I go too far down that rabbit hole I present to you, the case for Tekitha and Blue Raspberry.
Most of you won’t remember who these crooners of hooks were because your only reference to singing in rap music is auto-tune or tone deaf rapper attempts at doing their own hooks to save their extra paper for child support payments and cases of lean. Tekitha and Blue Raspberry were featured on many Wu Tang Clan albums over the years since their inception in the early 90’s. They never took anything away from the rap lyrics featured on the songs, but always added to it, back when ad-mixing R&B with rap music was not only okay, but worked well. Ah the 90’s, but I digress.
When I hear R&B on a rap song nowadays I’ll either skip the track or never listen to that song again. Have I hardened in my old age? Maybe, but mostly it’s because R&B these days is less about romance and the philosophizing over the true meaning of love and more about getting it in, with the exception of artists like D’Angelo, Spooky Black and BJ the Chicago Kid. I’ve softened somewhat to R&B again recently, maybe because it seems like the one-hit-wonders that knifed us in the ears throughout the latter 2000’s are now gone and forgotten.
Since I’ve begun to miss the soulful voices that interlaced the soundtrack of my youth I have found myself asking why the Wu Tang Clan hasn’t brought these songstresses back into the fold? Partially I think it has to do with money, which isn’t easy to come by in our ever music purchase averse world, but also because people are cheap. The RZA has a history of mis-allocating money when it comes to paying artists and even the heads the Wu Tang Clan and it doesn’t surprise me to read that Blue Raspberry was only paid “2500 here and 2500 there” for her work on classic Wu Tang joints. Blue Raspberry fittingly lives in Detroit nowadays which is an homage to her love of Motown. It is also an ironic analogy for the decrepitude of the rap industry’s use of piss poor R&B singers in their music and the crumbling of what was once a rock solid partnership, akin to Spiderman building with the Avengers. My hopes are that they return to the fold like Peter Parker is to the present day Marvel Universe.
The story of Blue Raspberry’s introduction to the Wu Tang Clan is a happenstance one that involves some members of the Wu Tang Clan hearing her sing Patti LaBelle’s – Somebody Loves You Baby at an urban music convention at Bally’s Casino in Atlantic City in 1992. They gave her a copy of their demo “Protect Ya Neck” and the rest is history. Perhaps if Blue Raspberry can dig up that old Wu Tang Clan demo and sell it on ebay she can make back the money that RZA should’ve given her from the get go. She appeared on a few of the Wu Tang’s songs throughout the early 90’s like Method Man’s horrible debut album Tical up until the late 2000’s on OB4CL2. Blue Raspberry released an album called “Out of the Blue” in 2005. Later people infamously claim that she was replaced by another protege of the Wu, namely, Tekitha, although we know that not to be true since they were both working with Wu Tang into the 2000’s.
Tekitha made her debut appearance on the Wu’s sophomore album Wu Tang Forever and stuck around on the scene until the mid 2000’s when she ceased being in the limelight. She had an album called “The Prelude” and another one that was shelved called “Wisdom Body.” She is best remembered for being a stand-in on the Ghostface Killah music video All That I Got is You singing the hook and second verse since Mary J. Blige had scheduling conflicts during the video shoot. Tekitha found some success in the UK in an unlikely pairing with electronic music DJ Armand Van Helden charting all the way to #1 in the UK dance charts for a song called “Mother Earth.”
She even had a brief and tiny foray into rapping on Cappadonna’s – I Can See, off of the Slam Soundtrack. Interestingly, her most recent musical venture was with a West coast rapper from the crew Strong Arm Steady that goes by the name of Krondon. Tekitha’s range of musical endeavors from East coast to West coast rap, from Electronica to straight up R&B highlights exactly what is missing from modern day R&B and from the days when rap and R&B went together like peanut butter and jelly, like loudpack and swishers, like ice cream sandwiches and pudding cups (no really, try that last one it’s delicious). I long for a time when you didn’t have to be a “light skinted” woman shaped like Beyoncé to get any recognition in the music industry, but perhaps I am naive.
Below are some of my favorite Blue Raspberry and Tekitha songs:
1. Raekwon feat. Ghostface Killah and Blue Raspberry – Heaven and Hell
2. Raekwon feat. Ghostface Killah and Blue Raspberry – Rainy Dayz
3. iCon the Mic King feat. Blue Raspberry – Poverty
4. Ghostface Killah feat. Tekitha – All That I Got is You
5. Tekitha – I Love You So (live version)
6. Krondon feat. Shafiq Husayn and Tekitha – I’m Movin (prod by DJ Khalil)