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Past Spotlight Artist
Charlene “Tweet” Keyes
In the early 2000’s, singer Nivea Hamilton carved a niche for herself as a Queen of Crunk&B. The Georgia-native’s street persona and multicolored hair accompanied emotional, soulful lyrics that often overlapped fast, dance-like instrumentals. Her career, like many other singers from the era, was short-lived. After a couple of albums, and a handful of hit singles, the singer has remained relatively outside of the spotlight since.
Nivea first appeared on the Hip-Hop and R&B radar alongside rapper Mystikal (“Shake it Fast,” “Bouncin’ Back (Bumpin’ Me Against the Wall)”) in the rapper’s 2000 hit single “Danger (Been So Long)” for the album Let’s Get Ready. Nivea provided vocals for the catchy hook and bridge, while the video served as her debut appearance in sexually provocative clothing and multicolored hair. “Danger (Been So Long)” saw major Hip-Hop success, almost reaching the Top Ten in the Billboard Hot 100, and is still one of Mystikal’s most successful songs to date.
In 2001, under Zomba Records, Nivea’s single “Don’t Mess with the Radio” served as her first solo appearance. While the dance song saw minor radio and video play in the United States and much of the world, it saw major chart success in Australia, reaching #14 on Australian AIRA Singles Chart. “Don’t Mess with the Radio” was intended to be a lead single for Nivea’s debut album, but because of its minor success, the song was widely regarded as a “buzz single” until the release of the duet “Don’t Mess with My Man” the following year.
“Don’t Mess with My Man” featured flawless vocals from singers Brian and Brandon Casey of Jagged Edge (“Let’s Get Married,” “Walked Outta Heaven,” “Where the Party At (feat. Nelly)”) and was a major, unforgettable Hip-Hop and R&B hit. The song served as the official lead single to Nivea’s December 2002 self-titled, debut album and went on to garner a Grammy Nomination. In 2003, the third single from Nivea called “Laundromat”- a song where Nivea confronts a cheating lover with laundromat-themed lyrics and video- was a major, strictly R&B hit written by, and featuring, singer R. Kelly (“I Believe I Can Fly,” “When a Woman’s Fed Up,” “Seems like You’re Ready.”) Standout tracks of Nivea were “Ya Ya Ya” featuring rapper Lil’ Wayne (“Lollipop,” “No Worries,” “How to Love”), popular love ballad “25 Reasons,” and “Have Mercy.”
In 2004, Nivea struck the Hip-Hop and R&B genre again with the Lil’ Jon-produced “Okay” under Jive Records. The Crunk&B single featured emerging Rap group Youngbloodz (“If You Don’t Give a Damn, We Don’t Give a Fuck,” “Shakem’ Off”) and Lil’ Jon (“Snap Yo Fingers,” “Get Low”, “Bia, Bia”). “Okay” was a major Urban hit and served as the lead single to Nivea’s second album, Complicated, which was released in May of 2005. The second single for Complicated, titled “Parking Lot,” about meeting a secret lover in the McDonald’s parking lot, quickly became a fan favorite. Due to the singer becoming pregnant with her first child, the label did not promote the single. Standout tracks of Complicated were the undeniable fan-favorite “Complicated,” a motivational song about leaving “haters” behind called “It’s All Good,” and the provocative “Quickie.”
After a short hiatus, Nivea prepared an album titled Animalistic in 2006. With a lead single titled “Watch It,” the album featured a lot of futuristic instrumentals and production from then-husband Terius Nash “The Dream” (“Shawty is a 10,” “Rockin’ That Thang,” “Falsetto”). Standout tracks of Animalistic were the gangster-like “Trapstar,” a song about leaving a tiresome relationship called “Once I’m Gone,” and “Butterfly (All of Me).” Unfortunately, the album was only released in Japan.
Since the virtually unnoticed Animalistic, Nivea has released videos via the sharing site YouTube for “Say Something (Remix)” with rapper Rashida (Love & Hip Hop Atlanta) and “Love Hurts,” amidst rumors of an album titled Purple Heart. There have also been several tracks with album cover art titled Nivea Undercover, like “Ain't No Sunshine,” “Footsteps in the Dark,” and “Do You Know.” Despite the popularity of these tracks amongst Hip-Hop and R&B lovers, an album from the Crunk&B singer has yet to see the light of day. Judging from various YouTube comments, Nivea has fans anxiously awaiting a release. For several years, the singer has only been mentioned in mainstream media in association with having a child by rapper Lil’ Wayne, and as the former wife, and mother to a child, of singer/producer The Dream.
About George Dwight Murff
George Dwight Murff is an English Writing major at Indiana University. He is an avid listener of all types of music, as well as an aspiring novelist. Contact him on Facebook at George Dwight Murff or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.