Clouds hover over New York City. The rain can’t decide if it wants to fall or stay put. Brandy‘s wearing a bright multi-colored striped sweater paired with a tan quilted skirt as if you’d walk outside to find the sun shining. She’s glowing. A woman from her team primps her long black tresses before her smiling face is visible to anyone in the room. To introduce myself I extend my tiny hand. She reaches out her arms instead. She wants a hug. That’s Brandy. The once girl, now woman, who has grown up before our eyes has the genuine spirit of a woman who’d prefer an informal hug opposed to the formal handshake. Read more…
It’s Friday, so let’s get into that Brandy! No, not that brandy, you sophisticated lushes. I’m talking about the R&B singer whose singles probably were the soundtrack to your adolescence. Quit waxing nostalgic about sitting up in your room long enough to vote in today’s Friday Face-Off Music Video poll. You decide which Brandy jam you’re down for the most: “I Wanna Be Down” or “Put It Down.” Okay, now have that drink while we make our case for each.
Artists love sampling their favorite Swedish singer Lykke Li, the latest being Brandy. As Brandy prepares for the October 16th release of Two Eleven the R&B singer released “Let Me Go” from what’s considered B’s anticipated comeback album. Immediately a mash up of Lykke’s Li’s “Tonight” plays with an added flare thanks to Bangladesh who produced the single. The soft melody over guitar strings and minimum drum beat on the original is now a faster, more bass heavy version. Read more…
Kaleidoscope Dream is the magical sophomore album by Miguel, an LP in which he infuses the sounds of rock, soul and funk into the expanding box that is modern R&B. On “Adorn,” which is currently No. 1 on the Hip-Hop/R&B charts, he croons about love and intimacy over the funky bass line. “‘Adorn’ is romantic, but it’s dirty at the same time,” he told us the day his album dropped. “It’s all the highs of love with all the coolness of the party.” Then there’s “Use Me,” “Do You,” “Arch & Point,” and “Pussy Is Mine” that explore the beauty of intimacy. While “Do You” is as much about the sensuality (“Do you like hugs? Do you like love?”) as it is about sex (“I wanna do you like drugs tonight”), the provocative “Pussy Is Mine” is completely about Miguel’s friend with benefits making him feel like it is all his. Read more…
For every Michael, Beyoncé and Usher, there’s a Christina, Mariah or Rihanna. Try as they might, the latter group of hot pop acts just can’t coordinate that whole singing-while-dancing thing. Their beats and belting may be tight on the radio, but when it comes to rocking dance moves in a music video, even some of the best sirens fall flat. For your amusement, check out these hilarious GIFs (you’re welcome) of crooners we adore who demonstrate some of the worst rump shaking we’ve ever seen. Debate our list in the comments below and, more importantly, let us know whose lack of rhythm we failed to catch.
Mariah Carey - “Shake It Off”
Moroccan and Monroe weren’t even zygotes yet, but Mariah looks like she was practicing serious mom moves in this video. Luckily, Mimi’s vocal acrobatics helped us shake off the memory of her awful wannabe thug life bleacher rocking, so all is forgiven.
NICKI MINAJ UNVEILS HER “PINK FRIDAY” PERFUME ALL DECKED OUT WITH A PINK WIG
It’s when outer space and the future meet. Nicki’s perfume bottle is certainly unlike any other design on the market with its bustier, ‘Nicki Minaj’ gold chain, pink lips and signature pink wig to match. What can we say? It’s so…Nicki. [SPIN]
LAURYN HILL’S TAX WOES CONTINUE
As if facing three years in prison after being found guilty for not paying back taxes wasn’t enough to make anyone pull out their hair, Ms. Hill apparently owes the state of New Jersey $440,000 in back taxes. Luckily, she has yet to be charged criminally for this particular case. [JUICY]
P!NK IS FIERCE ON THE COVER OF BILLBOARD MAGAZINE
“I felt like I was in this video game and I collected all the gold coins and talismans you could collect — I had to either move to the next level or quit,” P!nk, 32, says on the phone from Santa Monica, Calif.’s Shutters on the Beach resort. “There’s this whole techno takeover going on right now that just does my head in, and I knew I didn’t want to do that. I’d rather dance around and sing goofy songs.” [Billboard]
[Photo: Getty Images/Billboard]
Graffiti in neon colors? Check. Brandy rocking box braids and a ‘fro? Check, check. Brandy giving us the 90s/early 2000 vibe that solidified her place in music history? Yes! For her second single from Two Eleven Brandy enlisted director Hype Williams for a visual blast from the past. It’s a dance off in the parking lot, and Brandy’s gunning for the win of who has the best moves, which isn’t easy with Chris Brown as your competition.
Ponder on this: Brandy was 15-years-old when her debut self-titled album Brandy dropped. At 33 the R&B songstress still has the powerful voice beautiful enough to put goosebumps on your arms. At 93.9 WKYS’s free concert held at the Howard Theatre in D.C., Brandy performed Put It Down in a royal blue romper. Brandy is back like she never left! Along with a couple backup dancers, B puts the ‘umph’ in every choreographed move hitting each gyration flawlessly. Similar to her BET Awards tribute to Whitney Houston, it’s obvious Brandy is here to win. The vocals? My god. Like every time Brandy opens her mouth (remember her singing Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” in her bathroom acapella?), even performing a song about putting it down between the sheets, she reminds you why she’s a true vocalist to the core. Read more…
Yes, the royal couple of hip-hop and R&B were at last night’s BET Awards, front and center. Beyonce and Jay-Z were the second and third most nominated artists (respectively) of the night, only behind their play brother Kanye West. Although the Carters didn’t perform it was a great night for both hip-hop and R&B. Usher, Chris Brown, Melanie Fiona, Maybach Music Group crew, Nicki Minaj and countless others brought their A game. As hard as it was to choose only three, here are our top three performances from BET Awards 2012.
3. G.O.O.D. Music swerved on everybody.
Nothing gets a crowd hype like dropping the beat to one of the hottest songs of the summer. Big Sean emerges on top of a neon lit Lamborghini to the beat of “Mercy.” Pusha T delivers his verse followed by 2 Chainz. The crowd explodes when 2 Chainz hits the stage. It’s safe to say 2 Chainz is the latest rap phenomenon. Being Kanye he skips his “Mercy” verse and appears as the beat changes to “Way Too Cold.” When he finishes his first verse, he raps an acapella freestyle before dropping the mic. It doesn’t get much better than that for an opener. Read more…
Within the last 10 years there hasn’t been a music success story quite like the one of Kanye West. He managed to transform himself from a well respected but not yet household name producer to a global rapper. He began producing in the late 90s for heavy hitting acts and became known for his soulful beats. It wasn’t until 2001 when he got his big break from Jay-Z’s “Izzo (H.O.V.A.).” From there he continued producing but began vocalizing his interest in rapping. Admittedly, no one one believed he could rap, thus labels weren’t willing to take the risk on signing him. Finally he signed to Dame Dash and Jay-Z’s Roc-A-Fella record label and debuted College Dropout in 2004. Kanye had proved everyone wrong, not only showing that he could rap, but that he could be great while doing it (College Dropout debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard charts).
That was eight years ago when Kanye was a hungry 27-year-old trying to turn his dreams into reality. Today he’s 35 with five albums under his belt, one collaboration album, countless producer credits, a fashion line and his own G.O.O.D. Music record label. Publicly, he’s been scrutinized for his crass statements on live TV. His public missteps and ego aside, Ye continues to be one of the greatest music talents that has emerged in the last decade. To honor his 35th birthday, check out our list of his 35 greatest songs (which we have also turned into a Spotify playlist). Feel free to disagree with our list and add your own in the comment section below.
35. “Who Gon Stop Me”
The production is insane, Kanye and Jay’s verses are a mere bonus.
34. “Hell of A Life”
Yeezy’s darkest moment has him falling in love with a porn star. Naturally, it doesn’t end well.
For the dream chasers out there, “I wonder/if you know/what it means/ to find your dreams.”
32. “All Falls Down”
We can’t help but think of Stacey Dash every time we hear this one.
31. “Gotta Have It”
Outside of the tambourine in the opening, there’s a whole lot of flossing in this one track. Read more…