MEET THE “NEW” CHAUNCEY BLACK
The “New” Chauncey Black
By: Raquel M. – January 12, 2014
Chauncey Black , (born Chauncey Hannibal) is a recording artist, songwriter, music producer and model. Born in Paterson, New Jersey Hannibal attributes his diverse vocal range to his church roots. Hannibal shares, “I was in the choir since the age of nine singing lead. My mom was also a singer, so singing was everywhere around me.” After winning a multitude of talent shows in middle and high school, Hannibal slowly overcame his inadvertent shyness and decided to pursue a career in music. When the opportunity came to sing background for major artists, he took it.
Hannibal got his first big break while working part-time at Teddy Riley’s studio in Virginia Beach, VA. In 1991, the American R&B group BLACKstreet was created by Chauncey Hannibal and Teddy Riley with Hannibal pegged as lead vocalist. The group’s name is a portmanteau of Hannibal’s nickname (Black or C. Black) and Joseph Stonestreet’s last name (Street), which birthed the name BLACKstreet.
The original members of the group were Teddy Riley, Chauncey Black, Levi Little, and Joseph Stonestreet. Stonestreet was soon replaced by Dave Hollister before they began work on their self-titled debut album. With a second restructuring, new members Mark Middleton and Eric Williams (who were originally wanted for the first line-up) joined the group in replacement of Hollister and Little. After changing from hip-hop dominated tracks to pure R&B, BLACKstreet had a breakthrough and established their legacy as the kings of “New Jack Swing”.
The debut album BLACKstreet was a platinum-selling success, featuring singles “Joy” and “Booti Call” which became Top 40 hits, “Before I Let You Go” was an even greater hit landing in the Top 10. The subsequent project, 1996’s Another Level album was a clear success due to the top single “No Diggity” (with Dr. Dre), which was a No. 1 hit in several countries and skyrocketed to the Billboard Hot 100 in November 1996.
BLACKstreet’s No Diggity captured a 1998 Grammy for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. Other hit singles “Fix”, “Don’t Leave” and “Can’t Get You (Out Of My Mind)” on the Another Level album sold over 4 million copies and became certified multi- platinum. The third BLACKstreet album entitled Level II included “Think About You” and “Girlfriend/Boyfriend”(with Janet Jackson featuring Eve and Ja Rule), but neither of the songs were released commercially. Overall, BLACKstreet has been an extremely successful group, selling two-million copies of their self-titled debut album, and Another Level selling over eight-million copies worldwide.
After a decade of unfathomable success, group members eventually splintered into solo careers. Black was signed by Busta Rhymes to the Flipmode Squad label in 2003. He appeared on Busta Rhymes’ “You Can’t Hold The Torch” from The Big Bang album, and on a song with French rapper Kery James, “Encore”, from his album A l’ombre du Show Business in 2008. During the same year Black completed his solo album entitled, Church Boy. The first single from the album, “Everyday Is Your Birthday” was released fourth quarter 2008 and quickly ranked on the Billboard Hot Adult R&B Airplay component chart.
The single, “Every Day Is Your Birthday” is a feel-good song that caters to everyone. Black describes it as aggressive R&B music. Unfortunately, the Church Boy album was never released in its entirety. Black’s career with Busta Rhymes and Flipmode Records was short-lived due to irreconcilable differences between Flipmode and Geffen executives.
Many people don’t realize how creatively gifted Chauncey Black is as a producer and composer. His humble demeanor won’t allow him to toot-his- own-horn for playing such an intricate role in composing the hits we love so much; “Before I Let You Go”, “Call Me” featuring Jay Z, “No Diggity”, “Don’t Leave Me”, “Fix”, “Physical Thing” and so many more.
Black’s reputation supersedes him with fans and peers alike, so much that Kanye West paid tribute to Black on the song “Everything I Am” on his Graduation album. Kanye sums it up by saying; “I’ll never be picture perfect Beyonce, Be light as Al B. or black as Chauncey, Remember him from Blackstreet He was as black as the street [was], I’ll never be laid back as this”.
Since the band split, there have been several reconciliation attempts between Chauncey Black and Teddy Riley. Black purchased the Trademark to the name BLACKstreet after discovering it had been abandoned by Riley for more than a year (2010). The two continued to work together on the restructuring of the group, but to no avail; they officially parted ways in mid-2012. Former members continued to pursue solo projects, while Teddy Riley created a group entitled “BS2” after legal allegations of Trademark infringement from Chauncey Blacks’ legal team. BLACKstreet and BS2 are in no way affiliated.
C. Black gives his best attempt to rise above trivial gossip. He explains, “I’m the type who’ll trust you until you try to take advantage of me. Some feel so threatened by the success of others that they have to drag you down or do shady business to stay on top, or they’ll lose all sense of [their] self-identity. This time around I’m not dealing with internal politics and control-freaks. Now, it’s solely about the fans and the music just the way it should be.”, explains Black.
Outside of rumors and false allegations, Chauncey Black still remains the sole owner of BLACKstreet (The Band) and CEO of Blackstreet Entertainment, Inc. Although, C. Black has great interest in putting the group back together, he maintains that timing is everything and wants to do it right.
“I refuse to just throw together a few guys who can sing, then call ourselves BLACKstreet or BLACKstreet number “8” [he laughs]. I know fans and promoters don’t want to pay top dollar for that; they can go to a Karaoke bar to hear just anyone sing a BLACKstreet song.”
Back on the scene in 2014! Being the poster child of perseverance, Black has a whole new outlook on friends, family, love and happiness. In 2006 he began a healthy Vegan lifestyle, maintaining his chiseled physique and taking the fountain of youth by force.
“…all the mistakes made when I was young, we all live and learn. Now I just want to focus on being a better man than I was yesterday and remain thankful for all God’s blessings.”
Continuing to perform worldwide as a solo artist, Chauncey Black woos crowds with his sultry voice, remaining the perfect combination of class and sex-appeal. He takes the audience from the club to the bedroom and back again in his own unique way. “It’s soulful and hard, soulful street music”, says Black.
The timeless sounds of C. Black’s solo projects in addition to the BLACKstreet hits, are available in stores and via iTunes and continue to captivate the crowd during his live performances.
Chauncey Black – Everyday Is Your Birthday