Call the Law: Janelle Monae Has Become a Very Bad Girl

Bad Boy Records doesn't exactly have a noted history of nurturing and producing some of the most talented, creative artists in the industry, especially when it comes to R&B. Occasionally, they've struck Gold and Platinum while producing some quality, borderline classic records. Faith Evans' soulful track record only became flawed once she abandoned ship. 112 and Total both managed to provide soulfully brazen counterparts to the bubblegum boom of the 90s and early 00s. And Carl Thomas provided a refreshing respite from the oversexed, overproduced R&B thugs polluting the airwaves. But artists like those came few and far in-between Diddy's numerous ill-fated attempts at signing hip-hop's next savior (Black Rob, Shyne, Loon, etc.), his manufacturing of R&B generics (Mario Winans, Cheri Dennis, the best-forgotten New Edition reunion), his pitiful attempts at top-40 crossover (Dream, Cassie, Jordan McCoy [provisionally pitiful]), and his embarrassing foray into reality TV (Da Band, Danity Kane [guilty pleasure], 826 Boys).  

So what exactly is a, let's say liberal, CEO like Sean Combs going to do with a futuristic rock & roller dissatisfied with the current state of the industry, deems record consumers too ADD-stricken and pleasure-driven to appreciate quality music, and has, after visiting the future, opted to package and release her music in a more economical (for the producer) yet more expensive (for the consumer) manner as volumes of 5 tracks compared to a standard 10-12 track LP? Not to mention having a style and sound of music that is pleasantly indefinable and would have difficulty acquiring any level of playlist comfort on any dominant radio format. At any rate, 2008 will be the year to find out as Janelle Monae, who surprisingly fits the aforementioned description, has inked herself a major label record deal with none other than Bad Boy Records.

How an artist of Ms. Monae's caliber will fit in with such a diverse roster, as well as how much creative control will have to be compromised in order to maintain Bad Boy's level of mainstream marketability will be interesting events to watch unfold. But hopefully instead of this being a sign that the alternative generation is slowly submitting themselves to conformity in exchange for mainstream acceptance, it's more of a small sign that Bad Boy Records is slowly evolving and their latter will very well wind up being greater than their first. 

Yes, we can dream. It's what Dr. King would have wanted.


20 Responses

  1. I REALLY don't know what to think of this..... Janelle and Puffy seem like oil and water... that comparison doesn't even do them justice. This is palestine and israel.
    From listening to Janelle's interviews, this doesn't seem like the ideal situation for her, but we'll see..
    I hope they prove me wrong.

  2. I'm equally dumbfounded, but all we can do is wait and see.

  3. Well, this is the beginning of the end for her!! Why would anyone want to be on anything he is associated with... R.I.P Janelle

  4. I can't see how this will work out well for her benefit. Oh well, good luck to her anyway.

  5. I dont like this. I dont like this at all.

  6. Wow. Just wow.
    Diddy = Big Red from The Five Heartbeats

  7. Janelle Monae = wonderful.
    this news = abysmal.

  8. this is gonna be very, very, very interesting...

  9. This may just work out. Clearly Puff is trying to diversify Bad Boy and bring a new image to the label. I will be soooo angry if she gets shelved for like 5 years or something. Do my girl right Sean!!!

  10. I'm sure her album will never see the light of day.

  11. @ Jennifer: By 'interesting' you mean 'tragic', right? lol! I'm hoping against hope this is just a rumor. a sick, twisted, rumor. If it turns out to be true, I'll blame Bush.

  12. btw, it's uncanny how this photo looks exactly like the future baby-momma that I would always see in my dreams.

  13. I read that Cheri Dennis was giving this entire thing the gas face.

  14. I hope I'm wrong about this pairing. He's never really been truly vested in any artist except as a platform for his ego.
    This will be interesting.

  15. Bwahaha @ Butta. True, true. He has been known to slap the taste out a negro's mouth. What are my office hours again?

  16. $9.99 says she drops before Cheri Dennis.

  17. My agree with several of the postings I have read. It doesn't seem like an ideal situation for Janell. I hope bad boy does a better job for Janell then def jam has done for Chrisete Michelle. Shout out to "Biggs" at Four Kings production for actually sealing the deal.

  18. People, No good can come from this.
    Last night I dreamed Puffy was dancing in the background and singing hooks in a Janelle Monae video. Woke up in a cold sweat.
    Somebody call the police!

  19. This shit still has me floored. I've lost what little respect I had for Diddy because I highly doubt he will contribute anything productive and proactive to Janelle's career that won't stop short of selling her out for dollar signs. Ugh! The things women still have to do just to retain their voice in the industry. A true sin and a shame.
    PS: Nice writing style, Shooter! Hope to read more of your work in the future!

  20. the bigger question is: what happened between janelle and big boi&andre 3000? why didn't they jump at the chance to sign her? i chalk this up to her being young and trusting of the big bad wolf/dorian gray creature. he's too self-ish/self centered to nurture true talent...that's why mary j left, faith evans left, and the neglect of carl thomas was unforgivable. he wants to be the talent he signs and if he can't find a way to be in their kool-aid, he dumps it(artists) down the sink. janelle will have to learn the hard way, she is young and doesn't know "everything" about the business she's in. we learn by these kinds of mistakes... poor thing. i just hope she survives bad boy to really come out to give us her music and doesn't do a lauryn hill