I knew that I loved LeToya Luckett when I noticed in the thank-you notes for Destiny’s Child’s immaculate sophomore album, The Writing’s on the Wall, that she shouted out Pappadeaux’s crawfish platter.
Of course, there was already an affinity there—she’s from the same hood in Houston I’m from (Hiram Clarke, ho)—but really, that crawfish mention cemented it. As a bit of a Destiny’s Child scholar, I love the tracks “Get on the Bus” and “Say My Name” in particular because you can actually hear Luckett’s voice on each of them. Y’all know that Beyoncé is my lord and gyrator, but there was a lot of “Stop singing my part now, baby!” back in the earliest DC days. You really hear Luckett in the hook of “Say My Name,” but, well, we know how that all ended.
After Luckett and LaTavia Roberson exited the group, they launched the girl group Anjel, which didn’t pan out, either—ultimately leaving Luckett to go solo. Her first album, LeToya, was released in 2006 and led by the single “Torn.” Not only was LeToya one of the stronger releases of that period in R&B, because it is certified platinum, but it also gives Luckett bragging rights for being the only Destiny’s Child member besides Beyoncé to have a certified album.
However, it’s her second album that sticks out to most. Lady Love was an excellent album despite her then-label, Capitol Records. It’s a strong effort not enough people got to discover at the time. While her single “Regret” managed to perform well, it was majorly ignored because of the label’s lack of effort. Unfortunately, as with many of the black artists on Capitol’s roster at the time—Cherish and J. Holiday, among others—Luckett’s debut success was lost because the label basically treated “the blacks” on its roster the same way President Sweet Potato Saddam treats black folks on any given day of the week. At the time, I tried to ask my Creole relatives to put a root on the execs there, but most of them told me to sit the hell down and figure out how to do a roux first.
Those disappointing sales and the dissolution of her deal with the label spawned a very lengthy musical hiatus for Luckett. It’s not as if she hasn’t been working, though. We’ve seen her as an actress on Single Ladies, Rosewood, Ballers and Treme and in films with the likes of Taraji P. Henson and Ashton Kutcher.
I’m all for going in the direction Black Jesus sends your checks, but it’s been way too long since Luckett released a new album. We’ve had little teases here and there, but nothing like a full-fledged effort. Finally, though, Luckett has begun the rollout of a new album.
Using her acting chops, Luckett recently released the video for her new single, “Back 2 Life.” The single will launch her long-awaited third album, Until Then.
Girl, it’s about time. No shade, but damn, it’s been a smooth seven years since Lady Love.
If I sound like a stan, I’m fine with that, but of all the members of my hometown group, Luckett had proved herself to be the other one who will consistently give you quality music. As much as I love the variety of R&B, I miss artists who don’t sound like Bryson Tiller or sing like rappers trying to shake off their stroke—or anything that falls under “I’m so different.”
I like the kind of R&B singers who remind me of the tradition I was exposed to in the 1990s. With that in mind, welcome back, LeToya Luckett. It took you several years, but better late than never, beloved. I hope you still have Tank’s number. I hope you still know south side still holding. And I hope this album comes before the new president bans us all from listening to music that doesn’t begin and end with, “Sieg heil, mein führer.”