A Family Business

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A Family Business
A Family Business.jpg
Soundtrack album by Various artists
Released June 19, 2011
Recorded 2009–2011
Genre R&B, pop, dance-pop
Length 40:46
Label Saguaro Road, Time–Life, Knockout
Singles from A Family Business
  1. "Talk to Me"
    Released: November 22, 2010

A Family Business a 2011 compilation album released on Saguaro Road Records and Time–Life Music. Based on the American reality series Brandy and Ray J: A Family Business which aired on the VH1 network between the years of 2010 and 2011, it was released as a soundtrack accompanying the series' second and final season. Executive produced by the Norwood family, the show chronicled the backstage lives of singers Ray J and Brandy Norwood, while taking on larger roles in their family's management and production company, R&B Productions.[1]

The album features previously unreleased content from both siblings and their parents Sonja and Willie Norwood as well as contribution from Norwood's daughter Sy'rai, her half-sister Rain Smith, and fellow singers such as Tasha Scott.[2] Production on the compilation was handled by several producers, including Big Bert, Clinton Sparks, and The Jam. Upon release, critics such as The Washington Post declared it an "awkward and adorable and really, really wholesome collection."[3]

Background and development[edit]

Collaborative efforts between Brandy Norwood and her brother, fellow R&B singer Ray J, had been in talks since 2005, when Brandy was firstly signed to Ray J's record company Knockout Entertainment. It was announced that the siblings along with rapper Shorty Mack and other performers, would form a supergroup called TKO (Tha Knock Out) and release a debut album of the same name in 2006.[4] Plans eventually fell through though, also because Brandy was involved in a fatal car crash. It wasn't until late 2008 when further news surfaced about a collaboration project between Brandy and Ray J. Billboard reported that the singers considered releasing an album called R&B, "a nod to the siblings' respective first initials as well as their chosen style of music."[5] Yet again after the commercial failure of Brandy's Human (2008) album, this project was postponed.

In early 2010, VH1 reality show Brandy & Ray J: A Family Business was announced and in addition to starring siblings Ray J and Brandy, their parents Willie Norwood and Sonja Bates-Norwood were also set to appear. In June, Ray J announced that the title of the collaborative album would be named TKO – Trust, Knowledge & Opportunity. The label Time-Life was announced as well as the fact that it was no longer going to be a duet album but more of a "spiritual, feel-good [family] album".[6] By August 2010 the first studio footage of Brandy recording the album was released to the internet. While Billboard announced Brandy's song "Lifeguard" to be the project's lead single,[7] it was the Brandy, Ray J and Willie Norwood collaboration "Talk to Me" which was eventually released as the album's first single on November 22, 2010. It failed to enter any Billboard chart.[8] Even though the album was first announced to be released in March 2011[9] to coincide with the second season of Brandy and Ray J: A Family Business, it was not until June that the album was made available for purchase.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic2.5/5 stars[10]
Blues & Soul10/10 stars[11]
Channel 242/5 stars[12]
MOBO4/5 stars[13]
The Telegraph Encore3/5 stars[15]
The Washington Postmixed[3]

Upon release, A Family Business earned generally mixed reviews by critics. Jon O'Brien from AllMusic applauded Brandy's tracks but found the album schmaltzy, commenting "while it's likely to provide several "oohs" and "aahs" at a Norwood family get-together, for outsiders it's a sickly sweet affair proving that Brandy is their only real and genuine star."[10] Allison Stewart, writer for The Washington Post, declared it an "awkward and adorable and really, really wholesome collection", and added: "Brandy's solo tracks are welcome reminders of what a great voice she has." Less enthusiastic with the remaining tracks, she wrote: "Ray's Chris Brown-goes-to-the-disco tracks are less essential and everything else is critic-proof. Who's going to criticize Brandy's daughter, Sy'rai Smith, blithely autotuning her way through a pint-size banger about how much she loves her family — even though it's awful?"[3]

Melody Charles from Soultracks also praised Brandy's contribution to the compilation, but was critical of the rest. She wrote that "except for the bittersweet number, 'Gone', which is sung by Tasha Scott the rest of the CD fumbles around between 'hit' and 'miss'. Ray J's contributions seem to exist only as reinforcement of his infamously-earned lady-killer image and are too overloaded by Auto-Tune to showcase his true vocal ability, as is the TV show's theme." Charles concluded that "if you're a fan of the VH1 series, then there are gems on this CD that will deepen your appreciation for the bond that the Norwoods have maintained under the glaring spotlight. Otherwise, those waiting for what Brandy and Ray J are cooking up next will simply regard this collection as a passable distraction."[14] Similarly, Chuck Campbell from the Scripps Howard News Service wrote for The Telegraph Encore that "overall, the collection is serviceable, if gratuitous, and notable only for possibly generating interest in a new Brandy album."[15]


  • The first single from the album, "Talk to Me", an R&B/pop ballad with vocals by Brandy, Ray J, and Willie Norwood, was released to digital outlets and radio on November 22, 2010.
  • The dance pop song "Turnin' Me On" by Ray J was released as the second single on May 3, 2011.
  • "Gone" by Tasha Scott was released as the compilation's third single on July 26, 2011. It also the singer-actress' debut single.[16]

Track listing[edit]

1."A Family Business" (aka "Family Business Theme")Brandy Norwood, Willie Norwood, Jr., A. Aiken, C. Ross, Willie Norwood, Sr.Brandy, Ray J, Willie Norwood Sr, Sonja Norwood4:41
2."Turnin' Me On"Aaron Fresh, Jordan Omley, Michael ManiRay J3:17
3."Talk to Me"Scott "Shavoni" Parker, Tommy NiblackBrandy, Ray J, Willie Norwood Sr.4:52
4."My Family"Robert SmithSy'rai & Rain Smith3:22
5."Lifeguard"Jordan Omley, Michael Mani, Antonio RayoBrandy4:01
6."Ready to Roll" (featuring Shorty Mack & TKO)Willie Norwood, Jr., Derrelle Owens, S. Singh, Stefvon KowlessarRay J4:16
7."Sonja, Sonia, Sonya"C. Johnson, Willie Norwood, Sr.Willie Norwood, Sr.2:59
8."Gone"Tasha Scott, Anthony Saunders, Darion Harris, Lamar Tribble, Samuel ss Simpson, Candace Moore, Robert NormonTasha Scott4:23
9."I Don't Care"Clinton Sparks, Brandy Norwood, C. Gibson, Grigancine, Stacy BartheBrandy3:21
10."Home Grown"M. Green, Willie Norwood, Sr.Willie Norwood, Sr4:37
11."Epilogue"Vini ReillySonja Norwood1:01

Release history[edit]

Region Format Date Label
France, CD, digital download June 10, 2011 Rhino
United Kingdom
United States July 26, 2011 Saguaro Road, Time–Life, Knockout


  1. ^ "Brandy & Ray J to Star with Family in VH1 Reality Series". Rap-Up.com. 2006-07-16. Retrieved 2010-02-04.
  2. ^ Weiss, Mitchell (2011-04-16). "Review: Brandy & Ray J — A Family Business". SceneInTown.com. Retrieved 2011-04-16.
  3. ^ a b c Stewart, Allison (2011-07-22). "Album review: Brandy and Ray J, "A Family Business"". The Washington Post. The Washington Post Company. Retrieved 2012-12-29.
  4. ^ Blaze, Donya (2006-08-08). "Ray J Goes for TKO with Own Label". AOL Music. Bellsouth.com. Archived from the original on 2013-06-28. Retrieved 2013-04-08.
  5. ^ "Billboard Bits: Brandy/Ray J, Paisley/Underwood". Billboard. Retrieved 2007-04-08.
  6. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gWdcWaDW-A
  7. ^ http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/956212/brandy-talks-dancing-with-the-stars-bristol-palin-new-music
  8. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrXENW1tpeA
  9. ^ http://www.singersroom.com/news/6678/Brandy-and-Ray-Js-Family-Business-Album-Set-For-March-2011-Release
  10. ^ a b O'Brien, Jon. "A Family Business - Brandy, Ray J". AllMusic. Retrieved April 13, 2013.
  11. ^ http://www.bluesandsoul.com/review/1513/win_a_copy_of_brandy_and_ray_j_a_family_business_album/
  12. ^ http://www.channel24.co.za/Music/AlbumReviews/Brandy-and-Ray-J-A-Family-Business-OST-20110705
  13. ^ http://www.mobo.com/news-blogs/album-review-brandy-ray-j-a-family-business
  14. ^ a b Charles (2011-07-22). "Brandy - (with Ray J) - A Family Business (2011)". Soultracks.com. Retrieved 2012-12-29.
  15. ^ a b Campbell (2011-07-07). "Brandy - (with Ray J) - A Family Business (2011)". Scripps Howard News Service. The Telegraph Encore. Retrieved 2012-12-29.
  16. ^ http://urbanbridgez.com/ubgblog/2011/07/26/ub-spotlight-actress-singer-tasha-scott-releases-debut-single-gone/

External links[edit]