This has been a fun week of diggin' in the crates, searching for those soul sistas that have blessed soundtracks over the years, yet have never quite got the same love once they branched out onto solo discs. And while you'd probably be able to pick both Tammy Lucas and Caron Wheeler out of a lineup under the right circumstances, I'm not sure the same could be said for today's artist, Mona Lisa.
If you recall, the then 16-year-old from Yonkers, NY, first graced us with her presence on the 1996 Don't Be A Menace To South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood motion picture soundtrack (and yes, my fingers are tired just from typing that) with the song "Can't Be Wasting My Time," credibly navigating the hip-hop beats that also featured a cameo by my Queens home-skillets, the Lost Boyz.
In fact, the higher-ups thought so highly of the track, it served as the lead single even with a roster full of all-stars, including The Isley Brothers ("Let's Lay Together"), Joe ("All the Things (Your Man Won't Do)"), R. Kelly ("Tempo Slow") and the Lost Boyz again ("Renee"), lying in wait. Good times.
Sadly, after such an impressive introduction to the world, Mona's solo sales didn't take off with the release of her debut, 11/20/79 (her birth date), or the single "You Said." A second LP, Gettin' It On, was recorded but never released. Last year, she signed with indie label Ontourage Entertainment. And according to her MySpace page (yeah, she's my friend ... what?!?!?), she's back, in Mona's words, "ready to give my fans what they want." Which is good because, as you know, anything else would be wasting her time. And ours.
Now let's jam, '90s-style.
Mona Lisa feat. Lost Boyz: "Can't Be Wasting My Time"
The Original Mona Lisa [MySpace]