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SoulBounce’s Class Of 1996: 702 ‘No Doubt’

soulbounce-class-of-1996-702-no-doubt

R&B girl group 702 was first introduced as the featured artists on guy group Subway's single "This Lil' Game We Play" in 1994, and these teenagers weren't singing about checkers or Uno. Despite the grown subject matter, the song was a moderate hit and put the four-woman group of sisters and their cousin on the the map beyond their hometown of Las Vegas, where they got their area code-inspired name from Michael Bivins, who is credited with discovering the group. Unlike numerous featured artists who get put on only to fade into oblivion, 702 sisters LaMisha Grinstead and Irish Grinstead added childhood friend Kameelah Williams into the group, restructured as a trio and were officially ready for the world by 1996.

And the world was ready for 702 and their debut album No Doubt, which dropped in October led by the banger of a single that was "Steelo." Released in late summer, "Steelo" was a huge club record that filled dance floors from coast to coast as the group sang more age-appropriate material about a honey dip whose swag they were crushing on. The song also notably featured a verse from a singer/songwriter/rapper who was the hot new kid on the block to get on your track in '96: Missy Elliott. Maybe you've heard of her?

As dope a track as "Steelo" was, it wasn't the biggest hit on No Doubt; that distinction goes to the second single, "Get It Together." The slow jam about being in relationship limbo but still wanting to make it work resonated with many and gave the girls their first Top 10 hit on both the Billboard R&B and pop charts. A third single, "All I Want," followed but there were also some enjoyable album cuts to be found, such as "Round & Round," "Finding My Way" and the title track, that made this a worthwhile addition to your music collections back in the day and something to give a spin today that won't make you cringe from dated sounds or ridiculous lyrics. 702's No Doubt is a solid mid-'90s R&B album with exceptional vocals and tight hip-hop soul production throughout.

In 1996, there was no doubt that 702 would be around for a while, but unfortunately the group couldn't sustain itself. They dropped two more albums -- 1999's 702 and 2003's Star -- with Kameelah leaving then returning to the group between releases before she bounced for good. The Grinstead sisters returned to civilian life after 702 broke up, but Williams is still in the R&B game. Now going by the name Meelah, she's been working on a solo album since the late '90s and has released a sprinkling of songs over the years. Meelah appeared on the third and final season of the reality how R&B Divas: Atlanta in 2014, and she continues to co-parent her autistic son with Musiq Soulchild. Meelah's fans are rooting for her to win and hoping that the voice of 702 can eventually get it together.

702 No Doubt [Amazon][iTunes][Google Play]


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