Free Download: “Certain Special Way” from Love and Understanding by Joyo Velarde; drops 2/16

Wow. At long last it appears that we are within reach of the hip hop Siren of the Bay Joyo Velarde’s first full-length! Titled Love and Understanding, it will release on Tuesday 2/16 on Quannum Projects.

Joyo’s history with Quannum Records starts before Quannum when DJ Shadow, The Gift of Gab, Chief Xcel and Lyrics Born formed Solesides Records where she provided her background vocals to early releases by Lyrics Born, Blackalicious and Lateef. When the crew disbanded Solesides in 1999 and re-emerged as the Quannum Collective we got to hear Joyo as a lead singer on the track “People Like Me” which was part of the maiden release Spectrum which featured all of the original Solesides Crew. This was quickly followed up by a single of the pretty and airy Caribbean feel of “Sweet Angels.”

The promise of a full album for Joyo existed for nearly a decade– which isn’t to say she wasn’t busy recording providing her backing vocals for countless other releases and providing a constant presence with Lyrics Born on record and on tour. In retrospect it really seems like the four releases from Lyrics Born starting with the 2003 blockbuster Later That Day, 2005’s Same Sh*#%t Different Day, Overnite Encore live album, and 2008’s Everywhere At Once and the constant touring requirements put a voluntary hold on the recording of the album. Add to that the fact that Joyo and LB got married and had a baby in the meantime and one can see how this might take a back seat!

Thankfully, she was in the studio working on this album almost the entire time– so we were given a taste of what was to come with a couple of releases– The Hey Love! Mixtape in September 2008 included “Build This World,” and “Take You Home”, and her EP which was released last April included “Build This World,” “The Way We Are,”  and “Take You Home.”

In addition to the obvious participation from Lyrics Born, who is the Executive Producer for Love and Understanding, additional help was provided by Jake One, Asa Taccone, RJD2, Tommy Guerrero, Headnodic of the Crown City Rockers and Jumbo the Garbageman from The Lifesavas.

It will be interesting to see if Joyo tours for this. Hubby Lyrics Born’s next album As U Were is damn near completion and should drop any day assumedly. A tour for LB with Joyo opening would be really great, I think.

Tracklisting for Love and Understanding:

  1. Mama’s Got a Brand New Swag’ (So Exquisite) feat. Lyrics Born
  2. Build This World
  3. Certain Special Way
  4. Strong Possibility feat. Lyrics Born
  5. Ticket To Love
  6. With Feeling
  7. The Way We Are
  8. You Got Me (In the Mood)
  9. Lower Deck
  10. Feels Right
  11. Take You Home
  12. On and On

Click Here to download “Certain Special Way” from Love and Understanding due to drop 2/16/10.

Joyo Velarde Moves Center Stage With 5-Song EP

If you’ve been following Lyrics Born’s over 16-year career, you are familiar with the heavenly vocal counterpoint of Joyo Velarde. Joyo’s recorded career with Lyrics Born started with her “Moo baby” vocal hook on his 1997 landmark release of “Balcony Beach” which would eventually be released on the Latyrx album.

It’s been my opinion that the increasing popularity of Lyrics Born is his unwillingness to be pigeonholed into any particular music style and his tendency for very musical releases. I can appreciate straight beats-and-rhymes hip-hop, but I like my hip-hop tempered with some melody, and certainly Joyo’s presence on his recordings are part of that.

The promise of Joyo’s first solo record has existed since she released her “Sweet Angels” single in 2002 on the then-newly-formed Quannum Records. Which isn’t to say that she hasn’t been busy– since that time she has provided her voice to many recordings– mostly related to the Quannum collective like the last couple Blackalicious records, Lyrics Born, Latyrx, The Mighty Underdogs, as well as the impressively extensive touring that Lyrics Born has been maintaining since his first album Later That Day. Joyo’s album Love and Understanding was originally supposed to be released last fall and had the very cool Hey Love! mix as its calling card, which included tracks from the upcoming release.

Now the release date is slated for this November, and on May 26th, a self-titled 5-song EP will be released digitally (no physical media, presumably). The EP includes three tracks that were included in the Hey Love! mix: “Build This World,” “Take You Home,” and the Bobby Digital-produced bonus track “I Need You Boy.”

The songs on the EP are a great slice of R&B and Soul. If you are looking for the down-home funk that Lyrics Born brings, you’ll need to look elsewhere. But, the EP isn’t without its funky moments, the track shared all over is “Take You Home” which is pretty much my favorite track on the EP is a summery dance-funk track that should help build the interest in the album.

Tracklisting:
1. Build This World
2. The Way We Are
3. Feels Right
4. Take You Home
5. I Need You Boy (bonus)

Click Here to download “Take You Home” from Joyo Velarde EP.

Click Here to visit Joyo’s MySpace Page

Here is the video for “Take You Home”:

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