- Chris Brown faces possible jail time after probation was revoked following his October arrest and pending trial for assault. [CNN]
- Tim Witherspoon, Kelly Rowland's longtime boyfriend/manager, popped the question to the singer via Skype -- and she said yes. [PM]
- Amazon named Adele's 21 the best-selling album of all time on its site, with the singer's album 19 also making the top 10 list. [VIBE]
- Friends and family launched a fundraiser to support Dev Hynes, better known as Blood Orange, after a fire destroyed his apartment. [PF]
- Despite his fervent denials, there is growing criticism surrounding R. Kelly and his alleged previous interactions with underage girls. [EBONY]
- Target announced they will not sell Beyoncé's self-titled album, declining to stock the CD after its exclusive run with iTunes ends on December 18th. [HP]
Justin Timberlake was named iTunes Artist of the Year for his album The 20/20 Experience. [THR]
Last month, Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, Ali Shaheed Muhammed and Jarobi took to the stage in at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, then again at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan, as the opening act for two of Kanye West's NYC Yeezus Tour stops. Collectively known as A Tribe Called Quest, it was fitting that the group's triumphant return to the stage coincided with the 20th anniversary of their seminal release, Midnight Marauders. The performances were also important for another reason -- they marked the last time that the guys would perform together as a group. Despite the fact that they had made this declaration at various times throughout their nearly 30 year existence, it seems that this time, they really mean it.
If you've been keeping as keen an eye on Ledisi as we have over these past few months, then you've probably noticed her svelte look, new attitude and fresh pep in her stilettoed step. We've seen all in play in her music video for her single "I Blame You" as well as her smoldering Black Girls Rock! performance, and by the looks of the cover for her upcoming album The Truth the sexy won't stop there. With a come hither look on her face, her luxurious locs flowing and her skin -- the most we've ever seen her show on an album cover -- looking so almondy and smooth, Led is bringing more than new music to the yard. We'll get to unwrap Ledisi's gifts on March 11th, but The Truth is available for pre-order on iTunes now.
Star Slinger is back with his latest installment leading up to his New Year's Eve performance in Chicago. The first song in the set of four, "I/IV," was a sweet play on Anita Baker's "Sweet Love." The next diva to take center stage in one of Star Slinger's edits is none other than Dallas' own Erykah Badu. Star Slinger puts his own little twist on Erykah's "My Life," an album track from 2000s Mama's Gun. Rather than give us the straight up soulful house of the first installment, the producer lets the original track's bright piano shine while he muddies things up a bit with a dirty bass line and nasty kick drum. From there, he flips and chops the vocal, reassembling the verses and choruses and creating an almost completely different animal than the original. After taking two of our favorite divas to places we never imagined, I can't wait to see whose vocals will appear on the inevitable "III/IV" when it drops.
One of the most promising voices to emerge in 2013 was undoubtedly soulful Brit Sam Smith. Thanks to a handful of stellar collaborations, solo tracks and a debut EP, Sam has put himself front and center as one to watch in 2014, and anticipation has just increased tenfold as he has just announced his debut album In the Lonely Hour, set for release on May 26th. We have already heard the album's title track and his newest single "Money On My Mind," and now we get to hear snippets of several other tracks in the album's two minute teaser video. On the strength of these samples, this is definitely going to be an album we pick up on release day.
I'll admit to not being all that familiar with the works of respected jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves, but, after taking a listen to her latest LP, Beautiful Life, I've made it my mission to get familar. What first drew me towards the album (which gets a February 2014 release in the US) was the all-star line-up, which includes the legendary George Duke and SoulBounce favorites Lalah Hathaway, Robert Glapser and Gregory Porter, but the main attraction soon proved to be Dianne's stunning vocals. The whole album is worthy of your attention, but her reworking of the Marvin Gaye classic "I Want You" deserves a special mention, as the song is completely transformed from a steamy soul number into a smoothed out, jazzy mid-tempo that really does do the original justice. Give it a spin then head over to SoulTracks to grab a free download of the track.
Here at SBHQ anticipation for Zara McFarlane's upcoming If You Knew Her has been steadily building, thanks to her take on Junior Murvin's "Police & Thieves" and the Leron Thomas-assisted "Angie La La." Now we have a third single from the album to feast our ears upon, and it might just be the best yet. "Open Heart" features Zara's backed by just a hang (a UFO-shaped steel percussive instrument), providing a flawless backdrop for her beautiful vocals to weave in and out of. With a release date of January 20th, this album will be the perfect remedy to those post-Christmas blues.
Though Blood Orange's eclectic and episodic Cupid Deluxe isn't in need of tampering with, who says that there isn't room for experiment? Ignoring the rules, Brooklyn-bred New Wave collective Holy Ghost! and Blood Orange (aka Dev Hynes) have decided to mash together their techniques to re-imagine Hynes' hazy kiss-off "You're Not Good Enough." The collision of these two acts gives "You're Not Good Enough" a funkier, bass-riddled backdrop that takes it from being a musing synthesized lure into something to form a Soul Train line with. While others may think this is unnecessary, I find it a win-win and a perfect additive to what is the Cupid Deluxe experience.
Toni Braxton and Babyface's highly anticipated album of duets, Love, Marriage & Divorce, is less than two months away. While that amount of time seems like agony for R&B lovers and fans of the two, we've been able to soothe the pain of the wait with the album's lead single "Hurt You," their many television performances of the track and even an unexpected Christmas duet from the two. And now we have another track to hold us over with the beautiful and heartbreaking "Where Did We Go Wrong?," the album's next single. A simply arranged track, with mellow guitar reminiscent of Babyface's hit "When Can I See You," the track finds Toni's sultry voice going up against Babyface's falsetto as they question the ending of their relationship. "Where did we go wrong? Is at all my fault?" they each question, pleading for answers that they may never be able to get. Though two months is a relative eternity when waiting for good music, I'm sure this bittersweet morsel will be more than enough to tide fans over until the album's release on February 4th.
Last week fashion brand ASOS teamed up with British singer Jessie Ware to throw an online house party of crazy proportions. While the ASOS All Nighter may have been overshadowed by a certain superstar taking over the internet, the party was still one you needed to be at and we've got the footage to prove it. Jessie Ware headlined the event, with acoustic stripped-down versions of songs from her album Devotion, including "Running" and "Sweet Talk." But the highlight of Ware's performance was when she was joined by a string section for a stirring rendition of "Night Light," "Wildest Moments" and a new track, "True Believers." If you are late to the Jessie Ware party it's safe to say that you will be a true believer after this performance. You can check out Jessie Ware's intimate set right here before heading over to the ASOS All Nighter website to catch the rest of the party.