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This is what happened to Blu Cantrell after she 'disappeared' following her rapid rise to fame

This is what happened to Blu Cantrell after she 'disappeared' following her rapid rise to fame

Blu Cantrell was supposed to be the next big thing.

In the early 2000s, Blu Cantrell was one of the biggest names in R&B, and even gave Beyoncé a run for her money.

Tracks like ‘Hit ‘Em Up Style (Oops!)’ and ‘Breathe’ shot up the charts in the US and beyond but, after years of success, the singer disappeared from the public eye.

So, what happened to Blu Cantrell?

Rise to fame

Blu, real name Tiffany Cobb, moved from Rhode Island to New York City to try and make it as a singer when she was just 17 years old.

Despite her obvious talents, Blu had no luck in the Big Apple. But during a random visit to Atlanta to visit her sister, someone finally took an interest in her.

Blu had been visiting the city when someone approached her in a hotel lobby and told her that she looked like a singer - funny they should say that!

“And I said, ‘Well, actually, I am a singer'. I guessed it was a pickup line but he brought me to RedZone and they signed me after they heard me sing,” Blu told Pollstar in a 2001 interview.

Before long, Blu had five different record labels fighting for her to sign with them, which is a bit more like it, if you ask me. Eventually, Blu agreed to sign with Arista Records, though she may have signed on that dotted line a little too eagerly…

Blu released her first big hit 'Hit Em Up Style' after signing to Arista Records.
YouTube/Blu Cantrell


Blu released her first single ‘Hit ‘Em Up Style (Oops!)’ in April 2001 and it was an immediate hit. The song reached number two on the Billboard Hot 100 and even earned her a Grammy nomination for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance - pretty decent for your first ever single.

Younger readers may have noticed that 'Hit ‘Em Up Style (Oops!)' actually started doing the rounds again recently thanks to TikTok. At the time of writing, a sped up version (all the rage these days) of the single has 11.8 million views on the app.

The success continued for Blu that year, with the release of her debut album So Blu, which was certified platinum. She was on the up and up all the way through 2003, when she released her second album Bittersweet, which included the hit single ‘Breathe’ featuring Sean Paul (which, coincidentally, also became a TikTok hit, thanks to Troye Sivan’s cover) and earned her her second Grammy nomination, this time for Best R&B album.

Beyoncé ‘Feud’

In the midst of all her success, Blu was constantly plagued with rumours that she had an intense feud with superstar Beyoncé. Of course, Beyoncé is arguably the biggest pop star in the world today, but in the early 2000s, Beyoncé had *just* launched her solo career with the album Dangerously In Love, and was in the early stages of her relationship with Jay-Z.

Since Blu had a close friendship with Jay, and was releasing chart-topping R&B singles right around the same time as Bey started to, it was only a matter of time before the whispers started.

Blu insisted to anyone who asked that there was nothing going on between her and Jay, though she did once admit to Wendy Williams that she had a ‘big crush’ on him.

“I still have a crush on him now,” she spilled. “I don’t care who he’s dating, I always had a crush on him.”

Rumours of a feud were fuelled even further when Blu pointed out the similarities between her songs and Beyoncé’s.

There were strong rumours of a feud between Beyoncé and Blu.
REUTERS/Alamy Stock Photo

Speaking to The Guardian, she noted that the music video for Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s song ‘Bonnie & Clyde’ looks an awful like the promo for her song ‘Round Up’, which came out first.

If you REALLY want to go down the wormhole, Beyoncé whispers in the song ‘Signs’: “I was in love with a Sagittarius… I’ve been hurt by a Pisces.” And would you believe me if I told you that Jay-Z is a Sagittarius and Blu is a Pisces?

“Maybe she's trying to do it to get press, but I want to make her understand, if she goes there with me it's the wrong move," Blu warned at the time.

"She needs to understand what she's doing and what she's getting into. I'm a master at singing.”

Take that last quote with a pinch of salt.

Before we move on, it’s also worth noting that, when Beyoncé and Jay-Z welcomed their first child in 2012, they named her Blue Ivy. Coincidence?

Both Blu and Beyoncé had hits with Sean Paul around the same time.
YouTube/Blu Cantrell

Blu disappears

In 2004, Blu’s success slowed down massively in 2004, after leaving her contract - mainly because Arista simply forgot to renew it.

It was only then that she realised that she hadn't made nearly as much money as she should have during her time at the label.

Speaking to You Know I Got Soul about what she would have done differently, she said she wishes she’d have been more educated on the music business before she signed that Arista contract.

“I would have got my lawyer because that lawyer ended up representing them, which was a conflict of interest so they were all working together to basically take what was mine,” she claimed.

“Nobody really knows the whole truth but me and them, but I was really taken advantage of.”

UNILAD has approached Sony Music, who has since acquired Arista, for comment.

Elsewhere in the 2012 interview, Blu revealed where she had been for the last few years.

“I needed to take time off,” she admitted.

“I spent a lot of time overseas and I was living in London and I needed a break just to take time for myself because being an artist is a 24/7 thing. It’s no sleep, no eating and it’s a lot of hard work.”

Blu Cantrell in 2020.
ZUMA Press, Inc. / Alamy Stock Photo

In that same interview, Blu teased a third album that she’d been working on, and even guaranteed that the release would go ‘right to the top’, but for some reason or other, that album never saw the light of day.

Blu was most recently seen in public in March 2020, right before the pandemic hit.

She had been performing in London as part of Fatman Scoop’s throwback arena tour, which also featured artists like Nelly, Shaggy, Eve, Mya, and Salt N Peppa.

Blu, who was 44 at the time of the tour, sounded just as strong as ever while she performed her early 2000’s hits.

Where she’ll pop up next is anyone’s guess.

UNILAD has approached representatives for Blu Cantrell for comment.

UNILAD has been on a musical throwback with our new REWIND series. We look at some of the biggest (and briefest) stars of yesteryear to see what they've been up to since.

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Featured Image Credit: YouTube

Topics: Music