Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Afrobeat, the Next Hit Music Trend in the U.S.?

By Guest blogger Rashida Peterson

The blending and borrowing of different musical genres has been occurring since the beginning of time and certainly since the beginning of the music industry. Considering so much of the music industry is based in the U.S., many recording artists see a breakthrough into the U.S. market as part of successful expansion and an opportunity to increase sales. Such is the case with Afrobeat, music created in the West African countries of Nigeria and Ghana. Afrobeat is a combination of traditional instruments used in tribal celebrations with elements of jazz percussions, horns, western guitar, and of course vocals. The legendary Fela Kuti made Afrobeat popular in the 1970s. There are still pure Afrobeat bands including Kuti’s two sons Femi and Seun Kuti, who each lead Afrobeat bands.

New and mostly younger artists have emerged and have borrowed again. This time, combining Afrobeat with American styled lyrics to make up-tempo songs that lend themselves to the carefree feeling of dancing all night long. These songs on their own are changing the music industry in Nigeria, London, and throughout Africa. Young artists sell out shows with popular songs like Jaiye Jaiye by Wizkid, Ayo by Davido, Your Number by Ayo Jay, Personally by P-Square and the list goes on and on. Afrobeat is popping and is beginning to garner the interest of American artists particularly in R&B and Hip-Hop. One of the first collaborations was in 2012 with P-Square and Rick Ross in Beautiful Onyinye. It was well received, making it on Hip-Hop stations. While this track did not make it to the top of the billboard charts, it was clearing the beginning of a new trend when you have P Square, one of the largest artist groups in Africa, leading the way.

In the last six months, American Hip-Hop and R&B artists have been releasing new collaborations, many of which are in heavy rotation in markets like New York, Houston, and the DC Metropolitan Area.  Check out some of the latest releases not to be missed:

  • I Swear by Ice Prince ft. French Montana
  • Fans Mi by Davido ft. Meek Mill
  • Ojuelegba (remix) by Wizkid ft. Drake and Skepta (UK artist)

You know something is fire when it lands on a celebrity's Instagram.  Recently, Alicia Keys and Swizz Beats featured Ojuelegba on theirs.  In addition, R&B artists Jeremih, Rihanna, and Chris Brown all have Afrobeat remixes with mostly Nigerian artists. While most of these songs are in English, they are distinctly African.

For something extra special, check out Ghanaian artist, Sarkodie and Acehood’s new release New Guy below.  It features Sarkodie rapping in Twi, a Ghanaian language widely used in major cities. He is also know as the Twista of Ghana and was featured in the 2012 BET Hip-Hop Awards Cypher.

Pick up one of these tracks or many others set to be released on iTunes or stream on spotify or google play. You can thank me later.

Rashida definitely has a passion and appreciation for Africa and its many cultures, which is reflected in her organization 1847 Philanthropic.  Learn more about her and organization's mission here.  You can also follow her via Twitter @1847Philanthrop

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

SYTYCD Season 12: Top 6

So You Think You Can Dance? (SYTYCD)

Last night, the Top 6 Street and Stage contestants performed with an All-Star and a fellow contestant, along with their solos.  The All-Stars were Joshua (Season 4), Alex (Season 7), Anya (Season 3), Melanie (Season 8), Robert (Season 7), and Marko (Season 8).

Here are my favs. . .

Contestant: Jaja (Street) & All-Star Alex
Style:  Contemporary
Song: Youth by Daughter
Choreographer: Tessandra Chavez

I loved how smooth the transitions were from animation to contemporary movements.  As Nigel said, Jaja's ability to capture that in and out of lucidity was amazingly executed.  Jaja is seriously the one to beat.  She is the most constant!

Contestant: Virgil (Street) w/ All-Star Melanie
Style:  Contemporary
Song: All is Now Harmed by Ben Howard
Choreographer: Justin Giles

The vulnerability he showed in this choreo was beautiful and natural

Contestant: Hailee (Stage) w/ All-Star Robert
Style: Jazz
Song: Haunted by Beyonce
Choreographer: Nick Florez & RJ Durell

That upside down split into a kick was EVERYTHING!

In the end, Jim (Stage) and Megz (Street) were eliminated.  Once again, Jaja needs to just go ahead and take this win. . but we will see who are the next to We start this all over again next week to see whose next to leave.  I'm going to go ahead and call it. . . Jaja should be this year's winner!

Monday, August 31, 2015

The Recap Report: 8/31/15

The Recap Report:  A feature post that highlights interesting music news collected from the music streets you might have missed

Nearly 20 Years Ago, Lauryn Hill Made an Album So Perfect It Nearly Ruined Her Life - How The Miseducation was the rise and fall of Lauryn.

After 'Compton' Success, DJ Premier Eyes Gang Starr Biopic - Straight Outta Compton success starts the trend of other hip-hop biopics to be made.

Shakira, Jennifer Lopez, Pitbull Set For HBO Doc 'Latin Explosion' - Doc explores and celebrates the historical and cultural impact of Latino music and musicians in the U.S.

Why Nashville Is Becoming a Recording Mecca for Jill Scott & Other R&B Stars - R&B music returns to Nashville.

M.W.A. - Fozzie Bear and Kermit the Frog perform N.W.A.'s Express Yourself

Friday, August 28, 2015

New Release Friday: 8/28/15

The Weeknd - Beauty Behind the Madness

Beauty Behind The Madness

~MusicLife Pick~
I'm diggin' on the album embodies a sound and theme of beauty and madness that creates a wonderful musical marriage.  The content is definitely for mature adults only.  Listen to:  Tell Your Friends, Losers, Can't Feel My Face, Often

Preview album here

See what upcoming albums will drop on our New Album Releases page

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

SYTYCD Season 12: Top 8

So You Think You Can Dance? (SYTYCD)

Last night, the Top 8 Street and Stage contestants performed solos and with All-Stars, which also included the additions of Ricky (Season 11), Robert (Season 7), Paul (Season 10), and Fik-Shun (Season 10).  Unfortunately, this week the choreo for some of the Team Street dancers showed flaws.  

Here are my favs. . .

Contestant: Hailee (Stage) & All-Star Fik-Shun
Style:  Hip-Hop
Song: Let it Go by Chonique Speed
Choreographer: Luther Brown

Wow, Hailee was on fire and definitely captured the flavor of the choreo.  As Nigel, said she and Fik-Shun were like bread and butter.

Contestant: Gaby (Street) w/ All-Star Robert
Style:  Contemporary
Song: Angel by Sarah McLachlan
Choreographer: Mandy Moore

Her performance was simply beautiful!

Contestant: Jaja (Street) w/ All-Star Ricky
Style: Broadway
Song: Let's Face the Music and Dance by Nat King Cole
Choreographer: Al Blackstone

Jaja does embody character, like Paula said!  As Nigel said, every style she does, she does it well.

Contestant: Team Stage
Style: Contemporary
Song: Give Me Love by Ed Sheeran
Choreographer: Tessandra Chavez

Loved the concept of 2 different couples with slightly different choreo at times but then come together at other times in sync.

In the end, Derek (Stage) and Neptune (Street) were eliminated.  We start this all over again next week to see whose next to leave.  I'm going to go ahead and call it. . . Jaja should be this year's winner!

Friday, August 21, 2015

New Release Friday: 8/21/15

The Foreign Exchange - Tales From the Land of Milk and Honey

Tales From The Land Of Milk And Honey

Preview album here

See what upcoming albums will drop on our New Album Releases page

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Weeknd Promotes Upcoming Album With Fall Tour 'The Madness'

The Madness Fall Tour

On the heels of his successful song Earned It, off the Fifty Shades of Grey Soundtrack, and the recent single I Can't Feel My Face, The Weeknd will hitting the road this Fall.  The Madness Tour will promote his sophomore album Beauty Behind the Madness, dropping Aug. 28.  Tickets go on sale the same day the album is released.

Tour Schedule

Nov. 3 – Toronto, ON – Air Canada Centre
Nov. 6 – Chicago, IL – United Center
Nov. 7 – Detroit, MI – Palace of Auburn Hills
Nov. 11 – Newark, NJ – Prudential Center
Nov. 12 – Boston, MA – DCU Center
Nov. 14 – Uncasville, CT – Mohegan Sun
Nov. 15 – Washington, DC – Verizon Center
Nov. 16 – New York, NY – Madison Square Garden
Nov. 18 – Brooklyn, NY – Barclays Center
Nov. 24 – Montreal, QC – Bell Centre
Nov. 27 – Winnipeg, MB – MTS Centre
Nov. 29 – Calgary, AB – Scotiabank Saddledome
Nov. 30 – Edmonton, AB – Rexall Place
Dec. 2 – Vancouver, BC – Rogers Arena
Dec. 5 – Oakland, CA – Oracle Arena
Dec. 8 – Los Angeles, CA – The Forum
Dec. 13 – Houston, TX – Toyota Center
Dec. 15 – Atlanta, GA – Philips Arena
Dec. 17 – Tampa, FL – Amalie Arena
Dec. 19 – Miami, FL – AmericanAirlines Arena

Click here for ticket info


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