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Read my blog, listen to my shows, read my books...then you'll know me. Thanks.

9.30.2008

September Music In Review: New Music Tuesday (Lite)

The long awaited album of American Idol Alumnae, Oscar totting, Jennifer Hudson was released on September 30th, (hopefully this album can make up for B.E.T's Best New Music Artist award that she racked up before the album came out, last year) the 13 track set makes excellent use of Jennifer's usually heavy, soulfully robust voice that is undoubtedly a refresher from the crap guised as R&B as of late. Jennifer is an phenomenal recording artist - she makes excellent use of the studio by displaying maximum talent, revealing it on a minimal level, giving her the cross over appeal that could easily crown her the next Aretha Franklin. Although I was expecting a little more R&B, a little more soul - what I got was a perfectly sprinkled Clive Davis record very remnant of Whitney Houston's debut album. I could have done without the experimentation, but somehow it works and balances out what we would have expected. Vocally the album gave me everything I needed and more. Superb debut from an entertainer with limitless potential. B

Standout Tracks: Spotlight, My Heart, Pocketbook, Giving Myself, Invisible

P.S. I love the fact that Jennifer and Fantasia did a song...but I could have done without the sewer litter subject matter.

I've been a fan of Robin Thicke since he entered on the scene under the string of Pharell Williams and Andre Harrell, riding through New York City on a Bicycle with long hair resembling a washed out transplant hippy from San Fransisco light yeared to present day. I think what I love the most about Robin Thicke he is himself...and the original Justin Timberlake, if that makes sense, if you get what I am saying has been consistent in making great music from the start and that's what he does. He is very accurate in his experience being white singing soul (black) music (ask Teena Marie how she feels)and I love that he voices that, however, he's popular because he's white. Many BLACK artists who have been clearly been influenced by Marvin Gaye, Donny Hathaway and Stevie Wonder have not seen the minimal success that Mr. Thicke has...so I think he should continue doing him and enjoy his privileges while he can...because Maxwell is on the horizon, but that doesn't mean he didn't make a phenomenal CD. Put on your headphones or what ever listening device you have and the output will instantaneous remind you of the orchestrations of Barry White. The vintage soul sound of the 70's will creep through with enough dash of acoustic guitar to remind you of a salsa dancing scene...or a a feel to watch Saturday Night Fever. I think Robins use of instruments is brilliant. He infuses strings and horns better than I've heard anyone do in a while - and the fact that he uses instruments that you can distinctively identify makes him more universal, which makes him a real musician. Overall the cd is a great feel good CD that is for clear relaxation purposes...I think Terrance Howard was trying to achieve what Robin did with his new cd...take notes. B

Standout Tracks: Magic, Loverman, The Sweetest Love, Something Else, Cry No More, Sidestep

Joe is one of my favorite male singers. Johnny Gill, Brian McKnight, Rahsaan Patterson are the others. What I like best about Joe is that he always seems to some how craft the perfect R&B CD each and every time, this time is no different, except he didn't write any of the tracks, which is far left from what the 7 Grammy Award nominated, 16 year industry vet usually does. When an artist goes off and does something different a few things could happen; but what does usually happen is that "magic" that makes them there isn't as strong as it usually is. Joe defied the odds and put together a stellar R&B that Usher should be jealous of. While Joe's material isn't bad, it' isn't the the material that I'm use to hearing him sing. He usually gives us ballads and more raw singing. The signing and the ballads, yes - but there was a lot more fast tempo songs than I expected. Vocally, Joe will always be on point - he can sing anything and make it feel like hot chocolate on a winter day. I appreciated the fact that he included snippets from his next cd. What I don't appreciate is how underrated Joe is as a singer and writer. But everyone will get there due.

Standout Tracks: Why Just Be Friends, By Any Means, Chameleon, Sorry, Hurt Behind My Eyes. A-


Ne-Yo has an innate ability to write songs out of this world - he also has that creative spark to entertain you during a live performance. So it should be no surprise that the modern day Babyface came with an R&B/POP infused CD that is going to only solidify his place in music. The only two things I didn't like about his CD were his constant sipping of Jesus Juice that allowed him to channel his inner Michael Jackson more than once. I could almost see Ne-Yo doing the "Smooth Criminal" in the booth and grabbing his Sidekick exposed dick in honor of his idol. The other thing I could have done without was the all of the cross over writing he was doing on this album, but this only validates my theory that he's done with performing and he only wants to focus on writing - the thing that not a one industry vampire can suck him of. And it doesn't hurt that he has a backbone and isn't afraid to call you out, I appreciate him 100% more for that. Another great CD, but I don't think we'll be getting anymore...and I think we're all okay with that, but if there is another one it will be in a while and we'll either won't care or appreciate it better than we did the others.

Standout Tracks: Nobody, Single, Miss Independent, Fade Into The Background B-

P.S. Why hasn't he done something with Guy, New Edition or Babyface first? New Kids on the Block could have waited.

9.22.2008

4 Keeps: The Introduction

Current mood: hopeful

you speak to me in the still of the night - when I'm myself. Unedited by the worlds politically correct assumptions. Only holding me back from saying what I really wanted to say to you.

somewhere along the complexities of our lives; we were taught to deflect and pretend. But in the end the immediate unmasking took place and i somehow missed the sign that you threw me...only holding you back from saying what you really wanted to say.

yes...if you only knew.
watching from afar knowing you were hot to the touch.
never making eye contact...only glimpses of your character...now remembering when it happened.

now i'm sitting here with my decision already made.
you made the effort. you planted the seed.
it's up to me to water it.
and it keeps pushing me to say...

i'm on my way.

9.20.2008

Downgrade To The Maxx: The 90's Revisited (Lite)

Anyone who knows me knows that I swear by late 80’s early 90’s music. You name it, Shanice Wilson, Janet Jackson, Pebbles, Karyn White, Lalah Hathaway, Bobby Brown, Guy, Whitney Houston, Johnny Gill…can someone please send Karyn White a message and tell her that we are still waiting on a show and a interview or something…I need her to single-handedly handle bringing back R&B music, thanks...

Now, so I am sitting with Andre, thrashed on a midnight run to Popeye’s… (OMG, the actual thought of me writing this out loud made me laugh in shock and utter disbelief. A midnight run to Popeye’s? That is bizarre. But it happens to the best of us.) So as I am driving down the block, I hear an advertisment – yes AD-VER-TIS-MENT, not advertisement, there is a difference, that Johnny Gill, Bobby Brown and Ralph Tresvant will be performing a concert in Los Angeles on November 9th. I had to pull over the car and make sure I heard this right…my first concert ever in LIFE WAS THE NEW EDITION, BBD, RALPH TRESVANT W/ AL B. SURE! CONCERT AT THE FORUM! DON’T PLAY! I immediately made my decision to be at ticket master tomorrow morning after I get an Oil change to buy a front row ticket in that muthafucka, because this will put the Icing on the cake after seeing Janet Jackson perform the other night…I am still trying to process that. Why was I crying tho…?

Anyway. In my honest opinion of the court, there is one male entertainer other than Michael Jackson that will get my vote – and that is BOBBY BROWN. Call it whatever yall want to call it but BOBBY BROWN is a showman out of this planet. I don’t care what the man does when he’s off, but when he is on that stage he is serious about connecting with a crowd and giving them a show that is unforgettable and I have to witness this myself, because artists like he and Janet don’t even come out that often.

Its like why isn’t Johnny Gill, who is a premier singer (Remember Silent Prayer with him and Shanice? Don’t trip!) Still making records? He has fans, I we need a song…what yall really need to do is get the Johnny Gill album with “Rub You The Right Way” on it and get into his track, “Just Another Lonely Night” and you’ll understand why Brian McKnight is popular. Johnny Gill can sing circles around a few people I wont call out – but it’s fucked up that the people with the most talent either never get the proper credit, get hated on, or just quit because of the pressure…I am taking advantage of this show, I am not missing this concert At all.

What I love most about the music of that era, it produced some of the most phenomenal entertainers that I’ve seen in all history of black music. Not only were they great performers and singers – the feel of the music, the expression behind the music and the music that they produced evoked a unifying spirit amongst people that will never die. All of them, my favorites
I applaud singers like Shanice, Tamia, Deborah Cox, Jody Watley, Lalah Hathaway and a few others that have gone the independent route to continue to do what they do best. That is a big risk as an artist. But there are plenty of loyal fans that have been there from the start that are waiting on that moment to see some of the people that we’ve grown up with do their thing like we remember, while showing these knockoff’s what it’s really about.

I feel it’s a great tragedy that we don’t have serious award shows anymore to pay homage and rightfully pass the torch to the new era of stars like Mario, Trey Songz, Ciara, Chrisette Michelle and others, who clearly reflect and mirror that sheer raw talent like some of my favorites from 20 years ago.

Can someone revive Don Cornelius for one last get down and have him put together an all star line up featuring the stars of the late 80’s early 90’s??? Staring Karyn White!!! I need her to come from her Secret Rendezvous and for Pebbles to come from out her Backyard and Give Us The Benefit…Ooooh…and Can Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, L.A. Reid & Babyface do one collaboration album?

Thanks…

My point to saying all of this was that I was listening to 93.5 instead of my usual KJLH and they had such a mix of music – I felt like I was at home listening to the I-Pod. They went from Prince (Another creative genius out of the universe), “Let’s Go Crazy” to Bobby Brown then I heard that commercial for that concert and that’s when I got excited and programmed 93.5 to number one and shifted KJLH to number 2.

I mean, KJLH, I love them for what they do. Kevin Nash is great…the morning show not so much. It’s too early for me to ask where Cliff Winston is. But Theo is the Rhythm of L.A. I remember him being on the air during the Riots in 92…when it was 92.3 The Beat…wow, the good ol’ days…I’ll always associate Theo with L.A.

Can I stop rambling now…?

Johnny Gill, Bobby Brown, Ralph Tresvant! Sunday November 9th – 7:30! Greek Theater Not to be missed! Tickets go on sale in like 8 hours…they have other dates all over!! Relive the glory of real entertainment, great singers and the touch of some of the greatest producers of all time: JIMMY JAM & TERRY LEWIS, L.A. REID & BABYFACE.

-end-

Al B. Sure needs to quit playing too and make him a Night and Day remix.

9.18.2008

Standy By For The Bigger Message.

So the point is that I am horrible at keeping commitments lately, this being one of them. It seems as though I have become too dependent upon the audio medium and forgot the roots of this blog and why it connected with so many people since it's inception in 2005. But that doesn't mean that I have stopped connecting...

I've been having a series of phenomenal days, even in the wake of senseless hogwash that I could do without. Life has been great - and it always has been. It's just I allowed others to spin me around so much to the point where I thought life was shit. As soon as I stopped enabling others lack of responsibility, I respected life and my place in it more.

A few years ago before I became a frequent, almost permanent, some what of a resident of the District of Columbia - I met a person who was a reader in my blog, who I lived in D.C. The first time I went to D.C. in 2006 we met and we remained in touch. A few weeks ago he sent me an IM and asked if I would be in L.A. this week - I told him only for a special event...The Janet Jackson show. He then proceeded to tell me that he was flying out...needless to say the show was AMAZING (Standby for the bigger message. September 24th 2008, the Season 6 Premier of In The Mix With Trent) and so was his presence. He reminded me why I HAVE TO continue to do what I am doing and Janet who is my sole inspiration, reminded me that we are all in a fight of Good and Evil and we are all the Chosen ones - the only reason why we were called into existence.

I am still processing, so I'll need all of the time Between now and Wednesday when I hit the Mic.

P.S., I love Ne-Yo's new CD. Lloyd is still a banger, Year of The Lover is not to be slept on!!! Janet should have had Ciara open for her and pass the torch properly - because clearly Janet is retiring after this run, although I appreciate LL COOL J as an artist as well as one of the only LEGENDARY hip-hop artist to successfully make great music over 20 years, not very many people can claim that. Janet and Lalah are true talents...for what they do so is LL. We can look at many people have fallen off between the death of Disco and the birth of great music and visibly see who is REAL and who isn't. Light always outshines darkness.