Blackstreet: Teddy Riley, Chauncey Hannibal, Levi Little, Joseph Stonestreet,
Dave Hollister, Eric Williams, Mark Middleton.
Additional personnel: Janet Jackson (vocals); Eve, Queen Pen, Ja Rule, Dr. Dre, Ol' Dirty Bastard (rap vocals).
Producers include: Teddy Riley, Markell Riley, Erick Sermon, William Stewart, Blackstreet.
Compilation producer: Mike Ragogna.
Includes liner notes by A. Scott Galloway.
This compilation of the first era of Blackstreet, from its 1994 formation to its 1999 disbanding, does a good job of presenting the highlights of the vocal group's career along with some interesting obscure tracks. The song list includes most of the available chart hits by the group, the major omission being the 1999 Top Ten R&B/Top 20 pop hit "Take Me There" from the film The Rugrats Movie, credited to Blackstreet and Mya featuring Ma$e and Blinky Blink. Although the soundtrack album was on Blackstreet's then-label, Interscope, and the song appears on the group's third album, Finally, it is not included here, presumably due to some licensing conflict. Also missing, if more understandably, is Blackstreet's featured appearance on Janet Jackson's number one R&B hit "I Get Lonely," issued on Virgin Records. Otherwise, all of the group's biggest hits are featured, among them, of course, the platinum-selling title cut, "Don't Leave Me," and "Before I Let You Go." There are also album tracks such as Blackstreet's ballad treatment of the Beatles' "Can't Buy Me Love" and a couple of hard to find items: the non-album B-side of "No Diggity," a revival of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" that mixes in plenty of "No Diggity," and "Coming Home to You" from the soundtrack to the Spike Lee film Get on the Bus. The compilers have included much more from the group's first two albums, Blackstreet and Another Level, than from the less successful third, Finally, and that's a reasonable decision. The collection is not perfect, but it gives a good sense of Blackstreet's music of the 1990s. ~ William Ruhlmann