The Story of Pop: 2000 (Chapter 3)

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Bringing you the sights and the sounds of the UK charts from the year that Keanu Reeves stepped into The Matrix on the big screen and when Sara Cox joined the breakfast show on Radio 1, this is The Story of Pop: 2000. This week: a lesser spotted gem of turn of the millennium R&B…

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OK. So this week’s featured hit wasn’t left over from the Christmas hits as the others we’ve met so far were, but given promo and airplay had built up for it prior to 2000, it might as well have been.

Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, R&B smoothster Donell Jones had released his debut album ‘My Heart’ back in 1996. But it was three years later with the release of his second album ‘Where I Wanna Be’ that he really came to prominence.

The album’s first single ‘U Know What’s Up’ had already been a huge hit on the Billboard charts in the States, thanks in part to its guest rap from his labelmate, the late Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes of TLC (spoiler alert: we’ll be meeting her again later in the series).

Once released out the traps here in the UK in January 2000, the single rocketed to #2, becoming one of the first big hits of the new century. But it proved to be his only hit of note here, as the follow up ‘Shorty (Got Her Eyes On Me’ barely scraped the top 20 when released that May. For this week though, it’s all about ‘U Know What’s Up’, a forgotten gem of 21st century R&B that’s worth a revisit now.

Don’t forget to follow our brand new playlist on Spotify – updated weekly so you never miss a song from the story of pop in 2000. And you can leave your memories of the songs below in the comments or Tweet us, using the hashtag #StoryofPop2000.

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