Friday, July 29, 2016

New Release Friday: 7/29/16

Fantasia - The Definition Of...

Preview album here

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

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Toni Performs Greatest Hits on Fall Tour

Toni Braxton announced this week that she'll be hitting the road this fall performing her greatest hits.  This is a fan's dream, nothing but the hits from Unbreak My Heart to Another Sad Love Song!

Tour Schedule

Oct. 8 – Oakland, CA @ Paramount Theatre
Oct. 9 – Los Angeles, CA @ Microsoft Theater
Oct. 12 – Detroit, MI @ MotorCity Casino Hotel
Oct. 14 – Kansas City, MO @ Sprint Center
Oct. 15 – Northfield, OH @ Hard Rock Live
Oct. 16 – Chicago, IL @ Arie Crown
Oct. 20 – Tupelo, MS @ Bancorp South Arena
Oct. 21 – Tunica, MS @ Horseshoe Tunica
Oct. 22 – Savannah, GA @ Johnny Mercer Theatre
Oct. 26 – Hollywood, FL @ Seminole Hard Rock Casino
Oct. 28 – Charlestown, WV @ Hollywood Casino at Charlestown Races
Oct. 29 – Baltimore, MD @ Lyric Theatre
Oct. 30 – New Brunswick NJ @ State Theatre
Nov. 4 – Houston, TX @ Arena Theatre
Nov. 5 -Thackerville, OK @ Winstar Casino
Nov. 9 – Englewood, NJ @ Bergen PAC
Nov. 11 – Westbury, NY @ Theatre @ Westbury
Nov. 12 – Atlantic City, NJ @ Circus Maximus

Click here for ticket info.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

VH1 Honors Queens of Hip Hop

After being gone for 6 years, VH1’s Hip Hop Honors returned last night to pay homage to the lady pioneers of Hip Hop in its theme All Hail the Queens.  Missy Elliott, Queen Latifah, Lil Kim, and Salt-N-Pepa were honored with Eve as host.  This was way overdue to honor women who paved the way for other women in the industry to have a space in Hip-Hop.  But also it allowed women to go beyond music and venture in TV, film, theatre, cosmetics, fashion.  These are women that definitely represented strength, and confidence, especially in their sexuality.

Here are my reviews on the tributes:

Missy Elliott 
  • Eve, Remy Ma, Nelly Furtado, Trina, and Lil Mo
I wish they had done a medley of all the honorees to start the show instead of starting with Missy's.  I loved how the medley was done but wish the lyrical portions were longer.  Out of all the performers, Eve killed it!  She's needs to get back in the studio, pronto!

I remember when Missy first came out with The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly), everybody was talking about how weird the video was as she served us something totally out of the box visually.  Missy continued the trend with many other visually amazing videos and dance routines.

Queen Latifah
  • Yo Yo, Monie Love, Da Brat, Lady of Rage, and Rah Digga
I loved the way Queen had the opportunity to showcase her skill on stage and joined by other female MCs to honor her.

I remember when the Black Reign album came out and everybody was singing U.N.I.T.Y.  I was never that good memorizing rap lyrics so I went home and played the song over and over to write them down (no Google or Rap Genius back then, lol).  The next day, I was rapping along with everybody.  Winky's Theme was another song I loved where Latifah delivered a very emotional and powerful vocal performance.  Definitely a precursor to her later venturing into Jazz.

Salt - N- Pepa
  • Eve, Ashanti, KeKe Palmer, Dreezy
This tribute was just okay for me. . it was missing something.  Could've done without Ashanti.  Once again, Eve held it down.

I remember as a kid watching the Push it video and trying to do the dance.  To this day, who doesn't still do the dance when the song comes on?

Lil Kim
  • The Lox, French Montana, Rich Homie Quan, Teyana Taylor, Desiigner, and Dej Loaf
So ummmm, how awkward was it to see Faith Evans, Biggie's wife, introduce Biggie's mistress???? #icant.  And what an embarrassment for Rich Homie Quan who had to be saved by Lil Kim when he forgot the damn lyrics.  Lil Momma was doing the most up there, lol. Teyana definitely was channeling Kim and lookin like Marvel Comics Storm during All About the Benjamins, smh!

Click here to view the video footage

The best part was the closing performance when Latifah performed U.N.I.T.Y. and was joined by many female MCs who's been in the game and gave them their props.  That summed it up right there. . .ALL HAIL TO THE QUEENS!!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Thursday, June 30, 2016

How One Biggie Lyric Influenced Kwame's Musical Direction

June is Black Music Month.  Throughout the month, check out a series of features that recognize the power of Black music, those who made it, and the contributions to today's music and culture.

I was watching an episode of TV One's Unsung on 80's rapper Kwame when I discovered that in 1994, during his popularity decline, it was one line from Biggie's song Unbelievable (0:56), off his debut album Ready to Die, that sealed Kwame's musical coffin.

Since 1988, Kwame had been on the scene making hits and having a very successful music career.  Heading into the 90's, the music sound began to change and unfortunately, Kwame's music couldn't quite catch up to this change.  Then this fairly unknown rapper known as Biggie or Notorious B.I.G. comes along and with one line, Your life is played out like Kwame and them fucking polka dots, he putting the last nail in Kwame's musical coffin.  Biggie's lyrical influence was so huge that music fans took that lyric at face value and stopped supporting Kwame's music.

The aftermath is really no surprise as it's very common, particularly in rap.  Rap has always weighted a lot in the black community, serving as the voice of the streets.  The words spoken might as well come from God himself.  You combine that much power and a solid fan base and it's a wrap!  Rappers refer to other rappers, historical figures, and celebs all the time in their songs whether it's to address a beef or to further emphasize a point.  In this case, I think it was the later since I don't even think he had anything against Kwame.  It was just a line that basically spoke to Kwame's music industry reality and Biggie just reaffirmed it.

In 2000, Kwame's career was resurrected as a music producer, working with many artists like LL Cool J, Mary J. Blige, Keyshia Cole, Missy Elliott, and Christina Aguilera.  He also wrote scores and music for films like Drumline, Step Up 1 & 2, Stomp the Yard, Freedom Writers.  In addition, he produced Vivian Green's fifth album Vivid.

My apologies for not giving you a series in celebration of Black Music Month like I usually do.  But feel free to read posts I've done in previous years to celebrate here.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Prince Tributes Save the 2016 BET Awards

For those who missed the 2016 BET Awards night, below are the highlights of the show . . .

(click on title links to view performances)

Most of the performances weren't even worthy of me posting the links.  Desiigner, the "rapper" who sings that song Panda was a damn joke!  He jumped around the stage and audience the entire time. . . I guess he forgot the memo that he had to actually perform and rap too, smh!

Alicia Keys was doing way too much over there, tryin to be E. Badu with that beat machine.  She should've just performed In Common in its original form or at least kept the beats machine to a minimum and sequed into the song.

The only performances you need to know about are below:

Beyonce opened the show with a powerful performance later joined by Kendrick who as usual spit some dangerous rhymes.

Maxwell was good but was it just me or did anybody see his right hand shaking during several moments of his set?  I'm not gonna say what I thought it looked like and put those negatives vibes out there but I hope he's okay.

Jhud did the damn thing and I liked how she made the song her own.  Very emotional driven performance.

That performance right there was EVERYTHING, especially when she performed one of my favs I Would Die 4 U.  Definitely one of highlights of the show.

This was a great way to close out the Prince tribute and the show.  Sheila ROCKED!!!  And yes, that was Prince's ex-wife Mayte dancing on stage.

The performances that happened before commercials showcasing up and coming artists like Anderson .Paak who performed Come Down were great.  I liked how they they increased their airtime to play this go around. #BETgotthememo

To view all performances, click here.


Once again, it's the Best Group category that continues to confuse me.  All the nominees were not groups but collabs! #kanyeshrug

To view all the winners, click here.

Overall Show

If it wasn't for the Prince tribute, the show would've been a bust.  Great strategic move of BET for spreading the tributes through the show so people had to watch the entire thing.  However, they should've kept all the tributes together which would've flowed better and made it more cohesive.

Tracee and Anthony were entertaining hosts.  I continue to love their energy and chemistry together.

Jesse Williams speech as he accepted the Humanitarian award was EVERYTHING.  He continues to speak the truth.  If he didn't hear it or even need to hear again, click here.  There are rumors going around he is set to play Harry Belafonte in a biopic. . .sounds good to me if true!

Monday, June 13, 2016

TV One Debuts First Feature Film on R&B Singer Miki Howard

On Sunday, TV One debuted its first biopic production focusing on the R&B singer Miki Howard.  TV One had featured Howard on their TV series Unsung and if you saw it, this film served as an extension that offered a little bit more detail.  If you didn't see the Unsung special, this movie gave you a great picture of Miki's life and career. Teyonah Parris played Miki along with Darius McCrary as Gerald Levert, Gary Dourdan as Miki's first real love interest and father of her 2 sons, LisaRaye as famous music exec Sylvia Rhone, Vanessa Bell Calloway as Miki's mother, and Indira Khan, Chaka Khan's real life daughter who played Khan.

Here are some of my observations from watching:

  • According to this, Howard hung out a lot with Chaka Khan (who knew?) and it was Khan that turned Miki on to drugs or at least did it with her often
  • Due to her not having a stable family, Miki longed for love and an instant family.  As a result, her need to be loved, should found herself in undesirable relationships.
  • I know it must be pressure to play your mom, but Indira was killing me with doing Chaka's laugh, lol.
  • Apparently, the first label Howard was on kept comparing her to Whitney Houston when Miki just wanted to be noticed and promoted as herself.
  • Miki was a fighter when it came to the direction in her career and love life.
  • Darius did a decent job playing Gerald Levert
  • One thing that was irritating was the network would cut to commercial at weird moments like in the middle of an action.

Overall, this was a great debut effort by TV One and I hope this will not be the last.  Lifetime, take notes!


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