by (@wordweaver555)

Concert Review: 5 Reasons We Love Elle Varner

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Since she burst onto the music scene in 2012 with her debut album, Perfectly Imperfect featuring the bubbly single “Only Wanna Give It To You,” Elle Varner has proved that she belongs in the musical spotlight. Just when we thought we couldn’t adore this 25-year-old starlet any more than we already do, she appeared at her old stomping grounds: New York City’s popular B.B. King Blues Club & Grill on December 7th. Elle sang her heart out and gave us five more reasons to love her.

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The Complete List Of Songs From Love And Hip Hop Atlanta Season One

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During the most dramatic or emotional scenes of Love and Hip Hop Atlanta there’s a song that serves as the soundtrack specific to that situation. Joseline‘s pregnancy test debacle was matched with Trey Songz‘s “Heart Attack.” Mimi drove over Stevie J‘s boxed clothes to Labyrinth’s “Earthquake.” Not only are the songs perfect for what’s going on in each scene, the featured tracks have also put viewers on to artists they may not have been familiar with. We can’t count the number of “Love and Hip Hop Atlanta brought me here” comments on the YouTube videos of the songs featured. For your listening pleasure we’ve compiled a list of all the songs featured in season one of LHHATL right here in one place. Thank us later. Read more…

by (@unclegrambo)

The Best Albums Of 2012 (According To Your Friendly Neighborhood VH1 Staffers)

VH1 Best Albums Of 2012

Last week, we successfully brought you the VH1 staff’s favorite songs of 2011 without any bloodshed, and we’re happy to report that no one’s brain exploded while trying to narrow down the amazing albums of 2012 into a concise list. Again, what VH1 staffers enjoyed in 2012 was a rich and vibrant tapestry of genres, created both by newcomers and veterans.

As far as consensus is concerned, there were 23 LPs that appeared on multiple ballots, but only 6 that appeared on four or more lists: Miguel‘s Kaleidoscope Dream (7 ballots), Emeli Sandé‘s Our Version Of Events and Frank Ocean‘s channel ORANGE (6 ballots apiece), Kendrick Lamar‘s good kid, m.A.A.d. city (5 ballots), Taylor Swift‘s RED and Macklemore & Ryan LewisThe Heist (each with 4 ballots).

Now, on with the show!
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by (@lindseyweber)

From Last Night’s Soul Train Awards All You Need Are Miguel And Elle Varner

You might not have caught The Soul Train Awards on Centric last night. In a flurry of Sunday night programming (plus Liz & Dick Lifetime!) it would’ve been easy to skip the award show dedicated to awarding the best in hip-hop and R&B. If you did choose another route, here’s your tl;dw (That’s “too long, didn’t watch.”) rundown: Cedric the Entertainer hosted, Anthony Hamilton did “Lovely Day”, Leah LaBelle did Teena Marie’s “Square Biz”, Fantasia paid tribute to Aretha with “Don’t Play That Song For Me”. There was a New Edition tribute (in which Bobby Brown failed to thank his departed former wife Whitney Houston?), Keyshia Cole performed “Enough of No Love” from her new album Woman to Woman, and X-Factor winner Marcus Canty did Luther Vandross‘ “Never Too Much”. On the hip-hop side, 2 Chainz was there. Naturally.

Perhaps in the strangest moment, Tyrese‘s “Stay” won Song Of The Year, despite being released independently from his album, Open Invitation. It beat out John Legend, Trey Songz, Estelle, Wale, AND Usher–making it a true underdog. Tyrese most likely knew this, stating in his acceptance speech that today’s R&B is “insecure, since everyone is doing house and techno music” (a weird nod to Usher, perhaps?) But tonight, he continued, “Real R&B is winning”.

And now for the best performances…

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Miguel’s Kaleidoscope Dream Puts The Soul Back In R&B, Despite His Feeling That The Genre Has Become A ‘Caricature Of Itself’

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…