Lijuana (LL Juna)

Daddy B. Nice's #57 ranked Southern Soul Artist



Portrait of Lijuana (LL Juna) by Daddy B. Nice
 



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"Wasn't None Of You"

Lijuana (LL Juna)

Composed by LLJuna Weir




Listen to a long sample of Lijuana singing "Wasn't None Of You" on YouTube while you read.

Lijuana (or LLJuna) is yet another exception to the usual rule I've followed in constructing this new Top 100 Southern Soul chart. She's never published an album, although a local disc was distributed in Mississippi in 2005. But her deeply-underground song "Wasn't None Of You" caused a sensation among the few who were privileged to play or hear it.

I myself heard it played most often by legendary WMPR (Jackson, Mississippi) radio jock DJ Ragman in 2005 and 2006. Ragman often introduced it with a "Tell it like it is!" or "Say everything you need to say, woman!"

And Lijuana does. The obvious precedent for "Wasn't None Of You" is Shirley Brown's "Woman To Woman," which cast the primary template for female R&B song-slash-voice-overs, in the same way that Latimore's "Let's Straighten It Out" set the form for male R&B song-slash-voice-overs.

However, Lijuana carried the sing-and-talk form to a whole new level, incorporating a hiphop contemporaneity---more cultural than musical--and in the process finding the sweetest spot any Southern Soul diva has ever reached.

The slice-of-life realism is so cutting edge that it bears comparison to hiphop's arguably greatest female rant, "Oh Yeah" by Foxy Brown, especially the Sprigga Benz, reggae-beat version hosted by DJ Envy.

Another precedent for Lijuana's "Wasn't None Of You" is the late, great Jackie Neal's "That's The Way We Roll," a family-oriented lullaby that seemed to simultaneously satisfy the listener's urge to be transported back to the happy days of childhood while at the same time basking in the hippest R&B sounds (at the time) by the hippest Southern Soul singer in the South.

It's no exaggeration to say that had Jackie Neal lived and herself recorded "Wasn't None Of You," it likely would have been considered her masterpiece. "Wasn't None Of You," with its unforgettable chorus of heavenly-sounding female singers, is torn from the same celestial cloth as "That's The Way We Roll," and it's the inspired meshing of the tough-ass but heart-breakingly realistic female talk and the mesmerizing, lullaby-like melody/chorus that makes "Wasn't None Of You" unique.

Lijuana's "Wasn't None Of You" is one of the songs your Daddy B. Nice has long wanted to rescue from oblivion. In the late nineties, I felt the same way about the whole Southern Soul canon up to that point. The word of the time was anxiety. Would anyone out there ever listen to this music from the deep South, or would it be lost forever?

The success of Southern Soul over the last decade hasn't been so much in conquering the "Billboard" charts (that still seems improbable) as in making a name for itself. The power of the word, i.e. writing about the music, does make a difference, and a significant fraction of the music-loving audience has come to know and propel Southern Soul music into the 21st century.

Now, as if all the pieces were finally coming together, I can report a rare find: a long sample of Lijuana's "Wasn't None Of You" on VOP Records/Radio.

Listen to Lijuana singing a long sample of "Wasn't None Of You" while you read.

Your Daddy B. Nice has been waiting for this song to hit the Internet for years. Play the song which says "Wasn't None Of You snippet". It's not really a "snippet," running four minutes long, but the meat of the song (which runs almost six minutes) has already passed.

When the sample begins, Lijuana is just about to begin her long, rambling rant-slash-voice message to her wayward hubbie. First-time listeners may wonder what all the fuss is about because the melody may not yet be working through the background of Lijuana's rap and consequently their minds.

For that (the entirety of the song), we must wait for this song to make YouTube. However, the monologue returns to the main verses and Lijuana's made-famous-in-the-song "background" accompanying Lijuana in a rousing, all-female finale to the main melody.

From its enticing beginning, with its frank talk and Isley's-style lead guitar introduction (never to be heard from again), the song progresses through one musical permutation after another, rolling its aria-like melody over and over while Lijuana explores the theme of an angry yet diplomatic woman trying to save her marriage.

How diplomatic?

Well, at one point, Lijuana confides that it would be hard for her and the kids to make it without him. "I don't have any choice, y'all. He makes plenty of money."

The chorus is:

"Are you leaving me?
Let me know.
Is it over?
Are you sho'?

I can't take
Your running around,
But if you still love me,
Please stay around."

The verses follow one another like pearls on a necklace.

"Is it my hair?
My clothes?
Are the things that we do
Getting old?

Sometimes
You want to fight for love.
What I thought was mine,
Now I feel it never was.

So be a man, baby,
And let me know
Where we stand.
Are coming home?
Am I in your plans?"

Humor mixes in with the domestic drama, as it often does in real life. Lijuana's extended riff on the way her man's flame looks like--

"Saw you stumbling out of the club
With a woman with tracks in her hair
Trying to look like Beyonce
But looking like Wesley Snipes in "To Wong Foo". . .

Wasn't none of you, was it?"

--is hilarious.

The music, by the way, is layered, classic acoustic guitar, keyboards, and finally lead electric guitar all taking jazz-like "nods" at the undulating melody line, and yet Lijuana's vocal is so all-consuming the song seems more akin to an acapella outing, just Lijuana and her "background," as she calls her Greek chorus of singers.

We might expect this inspired convergence of so many musical high points in a song by Shirley Brown or Peggy Scott-Adams or Denise LaSalle. But it's safe to say that none of those divas ever recorded a six-minute song with the sheer amount of information, detail and humor Lijuana packs into "Wasn't None Of You."

And yet the inspired arrangement makes the song--and all its wealth of emotion, friendly persuasion and seasoned sadness--pass by as serenely as a tug on a sunset-lit river. Quite simply, Lijuana's "Wasn't None Of You" is one of the top two or three testifying tunes in all of contemporary Southern Soul.

--Daddy B. Nice


About Lijuana (LL Juna)

Lijuana (aka LLJuna Weir and Lijuana Grennell-Weir) is a native of Natchez, Mississippi. After attending Alcorn State University, the Art Institute of Atlanta and Jackson State University, Weir went to work as an administrator at Alcorn State University, outside Vicksburg and Natchez, where she specialized in marketing, sports and radio.

In 2005 Lijuana recorded the single, "Wasn't None Of You." Distributed primarily in central and southwestern Mississippi and eastern Louisiana, "Wasn't None Of You" was championed by DJ Ragman at Jackson, Mississippi's WMPR.

Weir was awarded the National Association Broadcaster "Best Documentary" for "The Curtis Mayfield Story" in 2000, "Who's Who in Broadcasting" in 2005 and the NAACP's "Woman of the Year" in 2008.


Song's Transcendent Moment

"And sometimes he makes me so mad
He makes my background sing."


Tidbits

1.

January 26, 2012: (from August 2007)

A Lijuana Sighting In Natchez from "The Boogie Report"

Lijuana at Theodis Ealey's Homecoming concert in Natchez, Mississippi. (August 2007)

"Next we were introduced to a special guest that Theodis had invited to perform--a lovely lady by the name of Duchess Lijuana Grennell-Weir. She is employed by Alcorn State University's WPRL Radio as station manager, WMIS/WTYJ Radio as station manager, and is CEO of VOP Media.

Lemme tell ya, in a power-packed medley the "Duchess" took us on a musical trip through the history of modern music that blew us all away. Yes, even rap. This young lady is truly Natchez's best kept secret. She's a master entertainer in her own right."

Jerry "Boogie" Mason

2.

January 26, 2012: From Daddy B. Nice's Mailbag (2009)

WHO DID THIS SONG?

Dear Daddy B. Nice,

I have e-mailed several people and called many radio stations trying to find the correct name/artist/cd for this song. I've only heard it on one radio station and the dj there told me the singer's name is le juna but no record story or internet search has heard of this artist. I think the name of the song is "are you leaving me" or "is it over".

The chorus of the song goes as followed:

Are you leaving me let me know
is it over are you sho'
I can't take your running around
but if you love me still stay around

the beginning of the second verse goes:

is it my hair my clothes
are the things that we doing getting old

that's all I can remember, please help me!!! The song was released somewhere between 2004 and 2005.

S.P.

Daddy B. Nice replies:

Dear S.P.,

Thank you for this letter. I know this song, I love this song, and I wish I could "stream" it for every reader in the world instantly. This is one of the great overlooked masterpieces of Southern Soul.

The song's title is "Wasn't None Of You". The singer is a lady named Lijuana. As you say, it came out in 2005. Like you, I was never able to find a hard copy or an indie label, nor could I ever furnish my audience with a sound sample.

Nevertheless, I thought so much of "Wasn't None Of You" that I distinguished it as follows three years ago:

Daddy B. Nice's Top 25 Southern Soul Songs Of 2006

4. "Wasn't None Of You"--------Lijuana

Hooky melody, inspired arrangement, with the most authentic, personable female monologue since Shirley Brown's "Woman To Woman."


My source for the record was DJ Ragman at WMPR in Jackson, Mississippi. He championed it--in fact, I'd guess that's where you heard it. You can contact DJ Ragman by going through the LINKS page to WMPR.

The production on "Wasn't None Of You" is incredible. The atmosphere is contemporary and street-wise. The rap-track is nothing short of fantastic. And the chorus--which Lijuana exhorts as "my background"--delivers the sweet-as-honey melody in just the right places. And I stand by what I said in 2006. It's the best female monologue since "Woman To Woman." Actually, in 2009, it's even better.

Thanks again for the letter. I'm glad to give this song some exposure once again. It could still be a huge hit.

Daddy B. Nice



If You Liked. . . You'll Love

If you liked Jackie Neal's "The Way We Roll," you'll love Lijuana's "Wasn't None Of You."





EDITOR'S NOTE

Over the last year I've been dropping hints to the younger musicians.

"Be watching because there's going to be something coming on the site that'll be a real blessing for the younger people."

And I've also been telling a lot of deserving new artists to bide their time, that their day to be featured in a Daddy B. Nice Artist Guide was coming, and long overdue.

Now, at last, the day has come.

The great Southern Soul stars are mostly gone. There's a new generation clamoring to be heard.

Rather than waiting years to go online as I did with the original Top 100, this chart will be a work-in-progress.

Each month five new and never-before-featured artists will be showcased, starting at #100 and counting down to #1.

I estimate 50-75 new Artist Guides will be created by the time I finish. The other 25-50 Guides will feature artists from the old chart who are holding their own or scaling the peaks in the 21st Century.

Absent will be the masters who have wandered off to Soul Heaven. And missing will be the older artists who for one reason or another have slowed down, become inactive or left the scene.

The older generation's contributions to Southern Soul music, however, will not be forgotten.

That is why it was so important to your Daddy B. Nice to maintain the integrity of the original Top 100 and not continue updating it indefinitely.

(Daddy B. Nice's original Top 100 Southern Soul covered the period from 1990-2010. Daddy B. Nice's new 21st Century Southern Soul will cover the period from 2000-2020.)

When I constructed the first chart, I wanted to preserve a piece of musical history. I heard a cultural phenomenon I was afraid might be lost forever unless I wrote about it.

There will be no more changes to the original chart. Those performers' place in Southern Soul music will stand.

But I see a new scene today, a scene just as starved for publicity and definition, a scene missing only a mirror to reflect back its reality.

The prospect of a grueling schedule of five new artist pages a month will be daunting, and I hope readers will bear with me as I gradually fill out what may seem at first inadequate Artist Guides.

Information from readers will always be welcome. That's how I learn. That's how I add to the data.

I'm excited to get started. I have been thinking about this for a long time. I've already done the bulk of the drawings.

In a funny way, the most rewarding thing has been getting back to doing the drawings, and imagining what recording artists are going to feel like when they see their mugs in a black and white cartoon. Hopefully----high! An artist hasn't really "made it" until he or she's been caricatured by Daddy B. Nice.

In the beginning months, the suspense will be in what new stars make the chart. In the final months, the suspense will be in who amongst the big dogs and the new stars is in the top twenty, the top ten, and finally. . . the top spot.

I'm not tellin'.

Not yet.

--Daddy B. Nice

Go to Top 100 Countdown: 21st Century Southern Soul


Honorary "B" Side

"Wasn't None Of You (Remix) f/ Tavarus"



5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Wasn't None Of You by  Lijuana (LL Juna)
Wasn't None Of You


CD: Wasn't None Of You (Single)
Label: VOP

Sample or Buy
Wasn't None Of You (Single)


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Wasn't None Of You (Remix) f/ Tavarus by  Lijuana (LL Juna)
Wasn't None Of You (Remix) f/ Tavarus


CD: Wasn't None Of You (Single)
Label: VOP

Sample or Buy
Wasn't None Of You (Remix) w/ Tavarus


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Don't Go There by  Lijuana (LL Juna)
Don't Go There


CD: Don't Go There (Single)
Label: VOP

Sample or Buy
Don't Go There (Single)


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Talk To Me by  Lijuana (LL Juna)
Talk To Me


CD: Wasn't None Of You (Single)
Label: VOP

Sample or Buy
Talk To Me (Single)


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