This is Michael Mixerr. Today I will review the R&B album Make It Hot by Nicole Wray again due to popular demand!
For those who don't know who Nicole Wray is, she was the first artist to sign to Missy Elliott's Goldmind Inc. in 1998 other than Missy herself and Timbaland's production team/duo Timbaland and Magoo. She and Missy were hailing from Portsmouth, Virginia. She had a record deal with Goldmind Inc., EastWest, and Elektra Records from 1996 to 2001 where she released her two albums Make It Hot and Elektric Blue.
Nicole had a blazing hot song called Make It Hot which hit #7 on the BillBoard in 1998 for a hot minute there! The next song that hit the BillBoard was I Can't See. Most of Make It Hot was filled with love ballads and love songs. The album is filled with sultry love songs written by a handful of songwriters.
Timbaland produced 25% of Make It Hot. Suga Mike produced 10%. Dent produced a chuck of songs for Make It Hot too. Playa (Smokey & Static Major) produced a significant portion of Make It Hot even though the Timbaland sound is more present and prevalent. Missy did the rest herself of course. She was responsible for promoting Nicole Wray during her career at Goldmind and Elektra.
Borrowed Time is a smooth mellow love song with such loud powerful bravado. The echo in the background is loud and powerful with use of a controlled reverb. Lil Mo wrote Borrowed Time for Nicole Wray back in 1998. She also provides background vocals. Borrowed Time focuses on Nicole Wray sleeping with another man on his time and his woman's time. They both get back at each other by borrowing each other's time even though they don't belong to each other.
The song begins in dawn of early morning with a heart positive vibe. The man she is sleeping with is still in bed right next to her. Nicole wishes the man she is sleeping with could take off work for the rest of the week to be with her. She wishes he could call in to his workplace in order for him to be with her. His woman wonder where the hell he could be.
It's a shame he has to leave Nicole. They don't belong to each other. No matter how hard they try they are still on borrowed time. Even if it feels right. It's alright to both of them though.
Suga Mike produced Borrowed Time. Suga Mike has produced for artists such as Lil Mo, Nicole Wray, Timbaland, Missy Elliott, SWV, and Lil Bow Wow among others. Honestly, Suga Mike does not get the credit he deserves. People do not give Suga Mike the credit he rightfully deserves. Period.
Seventeen was written and produced by Missy Elliott as she herself is all over the song. Nicole sings and raps on Seventeen. The song called Seventeen samples Call Me by Skyy. Yes the band Skyy. Nicole and Missy often take credit for Seventeen.
Seventeen should have had a music video to accompany the song. Seventeen should have been chosen as a single instead of Eyes Better Not Wander because the song was more upbeat and Missy Elliott was all over it. With Missy Elliott being all over the song, it would have been a smart business move to further both her career and Nicole's. Missy Elliott was the Ariana Grande of her day. Make It Hot would been a further overnight success if Elektra chose Seventeen to be chosen as a buzz single for her debut album. Seventeen would have been a guaranteed success if Timbaland produced it.
Her song Eyes Better Not Wander was a memorable favorite among Nicole Wray fans. Despite that, Eyes Better Not Wander did not do as well because it was a slow jam with no fast paced beats by Timbaland. That song was produced by Smokey of Playa. Smokey produced hot steamy love songs such as this one and Testing Our Love (Suga).
Eyes Better Not Wander is a mellow, loopy, and sultry slow jam notable for its slow vibe. The slow vibe follow the beats perfectly. The beats alone are consistent in terms of following the song. Echoes gives this song a slow feel.
Eyes Better Not Wander did not Nicole justice in terms of charting. Eyes Better Not Wander charted at #69 which eventually fell of the charts quickly. By 1999, the general public was tired of sultry slow jams and wanted more glamorous upbeat pop songs and raunchy R&B songs. That can be attributed to why Eyes Better Not Wander fell off the charts quickly. Eyes Better Not Wander should have been saved for Elektric Blue instead of Make It Hot.
Make It Hot was the jam that had everyone dancing bobbing their heads to back in 1998! Make It Hot was the jam back in 1998! Nicole had a blazing hot song called Make It Hot which hit #7 on the BillBoard in 1998 for a hot minute there. Timbaland produced Make It Hot. The beats were both upbeat and crazy as Timbaland's beats had everyone going nuts back in the day. Missy Elliott made it both spicy and sassy with her ad lib raps as she was all over the place at the very end even though former female rapper Mocha took most of the spotlight at the very beginning of Make It Hot. Kelly Price harmonized the vocals with her angelic singing.
However, Make It Hot was not hot enough in terms of album sales and in the eyes of Elektra executives. In other words, Make It Hot was a flop due to lackluster sales performance. Her Make It Hot album sold 800,000 copies total worldwide instead of 1,000,000 (1 million) as mandated in her recording contract with Elektra Records. Missy had a deal with a Elektra that Goldmind Inc. artists debut albums must sell more than 1,000,000 copies of their first album in order to be on the label.
She focused more on the single Make It Hot rather than the album which is why her debut album was a commercial failure despite having a couple of hot songs. Although Nicole Wray tried to promote her album and single at the same time, it was a tough balancing act for her.
In the end it was Nicole Wray who got the unfair deal in the music business. She had to suffer the consequences of being dropped by Goldmind Inc. and Elektra Records after Elektric Blue was released due to poor sales. Luckily she is now thriving on as an independent artist who is signed to Truth & Soul Records along with Terri Walker.
Nicole Wray faced the same issue and struggle Lil Johnny was facing when he was singed to Warner Bros. Records in 2001. Lil Johnny had a single called I Got You which was the buzz single for his debut album of the same name. Nicole Wray made the same mistake as Lil Johnny did by naming her album the same name as her buzz single which is why her album flopped unfortunately despite having a solid supporting fan base.
This is an important lesson to learn in the music industry! Never title your album the same as your single! Because your album sales will result into low album sales instead of successful album sales into stardom. Having your album titled the same name as your buzz single will throw your audience off thus resulting in lackluster album sales. Titling your album the same name as your single does not work for everyone. Even if it did work for Brandy.
Pressure was an interesting interlude/skit that producer Dent and Nicole were all over. The song is 1 minute and 11 seconds long with the duration time being 1:11. Slow and sultry are words to describe. Pressure should have been made into a full song. There is no reason why should not have been a short song instead.
In fact, Pressure sounds like an unreleased Nicole Wray song even if it is a minute an 11 seconds long. Nicole Wray fans can vouch for me here on this one.
Listen to the lyrics in the background.:
In da street
I'll be there
In da street
Cause that ain't fair
In da street
I'll be there
In da street
I'll be there
In da street
I'll be there
The prelude to I Can't See should have been incorporated into the regular song instead being separated from the original I Can't See song as a separate track. Without You should have replaced the prelude to I Can't See.
Traffic Jam was an interlude produced by Dent. Dent took over most of Traffic Jam even though V is credited in the background vocals inside the liner notes for Make It Hot. What's so odd about that is Nicole Wray is not even included on this interlude. Traffic Jam should been saved for Elektric Blue instead of Make It Hot. Traffic Jam should have been replaced with I Can't See (Funk Remix) that had featured Cam'ron.
Both Nicole Wray and Lil Mo wrote Nervous for which they both perform on. They both sing about how they fight over the stupidest little things when it comes to love. They give all their time to us as time is on their hands. The song is notably fast paced. Insecurity is one word to describe Nervous.
Make It Hot was hot for its time for a hot moment there. However Make It Hot was not hot enough. Unfortunately Make It Hot was a flop due to lackluster sales. If Nicole had named her album with a different name, her career would have a lot different t than it is today and Make It Hot would have sold better than it did. Nicole could have been the Brandy of both Virginia and Georgia.
In the end it was Nicole Wray who got the unfair deal in the music business. She had to suffer the consequences of being dropped by Goldmind Inc. and Elektra Records after Elektric Blue was released. Nicole was not releasing enough hits which is why she was dropped. Luckily she is now signed to Truth & Soul Records (known for Lee Fields fame) with Terri Walker (of Def Jam fame) in a duo called Lady which has now disbanded.
I rate this album, Make It Hot, 5/5*****!!
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