I hold the artists I call my favorites to a higher standard. Pardon me, but once an artist has done something deemed to be worthy of ad nauseum-repeating on my iPod, I expect much more from them. See Sense, Common and West, Kanye. This being said, I have tried to stay away from the nagging sense that my beloved Mos Def's forthcoming album, The Ecstatic, will be a sonic flop based on the tracks I have heard. Trust me when I say that I want--in fact need--these songs to lift me to new heights as his previous two albums have. Alas, this is not the case. While "Quiet Dog" has a great audio sample of Fela Kuti in the beginning, the rest of the song is woefully repetitive. Sorry, Dante. Maybe next time.
Are you excited yet? Are you pumped up? It's t-minus two days and counting until the official big screen release of the Fox Searchlight film Notorious. We'll be the first to admit that this project was met with great, great skepticism, especially when the casting was announced last year. But then something happened. The behind-the-scenes clips from the set started showing up online. And suddenly, we stopped shaking our heads and started bobbing them instead. Our collective side-eye stopped twitching when the extended trailer surfaced, and shots of 1990s Brooklyn, the beats that defined the era, and Biggie's smooth vocals flooded our laptops. I mean, do we wish Angela Bassett would've at least tried to channel Voletta Wallace's Jamaican accent? Of course. And do we really believe Anthony Mackie as Tupac? Nope. But even that's not enough to curb our enthusiasm over what could be a pretty B.I.G. deal. Even Lil Kim's latest shenanigans can't shake us.
It slipped our minds, too. This week, Amerie turned 29. Whatever reasons Amerie doesn't "hit" with some folks are inconsequential at this point, and please spare us the Beyoncé comparisons. Cats were comparing her to Mary J. during the course of All I Have and it was tired then. Sometimes you just dig someone. There's no science to it, no parsing worth engaging in. With that, we wish Amerie a Happy Belated Birthday with a quick blend of some banging tunes of hers. This one is for the fans. Tracklist after the bounce.
You know what they say--what don't come out in the wash will damn sure come out in the rinse! Now that Jermaine Dupri no longer holds an executive position at Def Jam (better for both parties, IMO), the Discipline Wars are naturally heating up again. Did Def Jam and Dupri part ways because of the way Janet's album was received? Or did L.A. Reid place JD into an impossible situation? To hear JD tell it (to Essence) the former half of LaFace's hands were deep into Discipline's execution:
He chased her because he wanted to get her on the label so bad, and when things didn't go right he had a scapegoat for her whole album [not doing well]-me. But what people don't know is that Janet's whole album was designed and made by him. He picked every song. I produced two songs on the entire album. I had a better track record with her at Virgin.
I've been seeing the name Suai on various blogs for the past few months, and I'll admit to not paying much attention and clicking past it every time. But surely the Brown Sugar blog, Clutch and Giant magazine couldn't all be wrong. And they're not. I finally sat down to listen to the Detroit born and bred singer's tunes, and I'm here to tell you that the hype is real and well deserved. The daughter of a music teacher, Suai (pronounced "sway") is a singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist who has drawn comparisons to Alicia Keys because of her adroit piano playing and polished vocals, and she is poised to be the latest in a long line of R&B singers to come out of the Motor City. She's currently putting the finishing touches on her debut album, The Perfect Girl, which is scheduled to be released this spring and includes production from Akon on her first single, "Stronger." Her association with a konvict notwithstanding, anyone who got their hands on the Hidden Beach Yes We Can: Voices of a Grassroots Movement compilation already got a taste of Suai and knows that she can blow. Signed to Universal Motown for the past few years, she jokingly makes reference to still working at Starbucks even though she has a record deal on her MySpace page. With her CD right around the corner, soon enough Suai will be on the opposite side of the counter and able to turn in that forest green apron for good.
Suai: "The Perfect Girl"
Suai feat. President-elect Barack Obama: "Am I All Alone?"
Christina Milian is back with a new video. I know, I know, don't all yawn at once. Sike! I actually sorta kinda like Ms. Milian and this clip is for her "comeback" record, "Us Against the World," which marks the lead single from her upcoming Dream in Color on MySpace Records. This one may be worth a gander or two if for nothing else than the eye
candy quotient consisting of Xtina in barely there outfits and her
musclebound paramour in the desert. I'd say this video is the perfect "take that" to scrawny ex Nick Cannon, no?
So yesterday marked the 50th Anniversary of the record label that changed it all: Motown Records. This milestone passed by silently around these parts, but it is no less important and worthy of a year long celebration. There should be "Dancing In The Street" and all that goodness. Not one of us who enjoys music today can deny the overarching influence that Motown has had on everything in the industry from production, to artist development, and beyond. And how could we ever forget that this is the label that brought us The Temptations, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, Martha and the Vandellas, Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, The Jacksons. I mean, come on. Legendary is an understatement, and it is without a doubt that Berry Gordy, Jr. and the entire Motown enterprise are among the greatest contributions the United States of America have produced. Ever. Happy birthday, Motown! [RT]
One of my favorite femcees Amanda Diva has flipped Beyoncé's "Diva" in a move that was a match made in Hip Hop Heaven. I mean seriously, whether you love or hate Bey's song, Amanda Diva's name fits into it so perfectly that it only made sense for Deev to jump on the beat with her freestyle flow on "A Diva is a Hustla." And a quick glance at Diva's resume will show that she is a hustler for real. Girlfriend has mad projects lined up this year including a new mixtape, Spandex,
Rhymes & Soul, coming March 3rd, the second season of her hilarious DivaSpeak TV, more facetime on VH1 and she's the new spokeswoman for Karma Loop TV. Whew! I got tired just typing all that. Amanda Diva stays on her grind, and I love her for that. I also love that she hooked SoulBounce up with our very own version of "A Diva is a Hustla." It's short but sweet...kinda like myself.
Amanda Diva: "A Diva is a Hustla" (SoulBounce Edit)