50 years and counting.
After checking out Smokey Robinson's twitter page, I came across these amazing prints. Yes, Smokey Robinson is on Twitter but back to the subject at hand. The legendary singer/songwriter/producer/music executive contacted Shepard Fairey to create a portrait to celebrate 50 years in the music biz. (Fairey is the artist, graphic designer, and illustrator behind the well-known Barack Obama 'HOPE' posters.) Fairey created two illustrations for 'America's Greatest Living Poet', one reflects a 1970's Smokey with a Black Power centered fashion sense and the other one showcases an early 90's Smokey. Prints can be purchased on eBay.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
50 years and counting.
Fantasia's latest video came across my desk a few days ago. Initially, I hesitated to watch. Days later, I have finally given in. I'm not much of a 'Tasia fan. Let me explain, Fantasia is a talented vocalist, head & shoulders above most of her contemporaries, but she has yet to find her stride. The material presented to her fails to match her extraordinary vocals. 'When I See U' was her last great effort, the video was as equally impressive as the song. 'Bittersweet' is a bit different. The song is everything but a hit song but the video is surprisingly attractive. Fantasia turns it up a notch and adds a touch of grace to the video. Sit back and watch Fantasia's visual flashback to a bittersweet relationship, the type of relationship that goes sour but you can't help thinking about the other person.
a purple invasion.
Three days later I am still a tad bit disappointed with Prince. Why? The Purple One failed to perform at the BET Awards. Now, Prince fans across the country have another reason to be upset. In a move that is sure to delight European fans, Prince has decided to release his latest album, 20Ten, as a freebie with various European publications. Prince has joined forces with England's Daily Mirror and sister publication The Daily Record to giveaway more than 2.5 million copies of 20Ten on July 10. The rare deal will also include a milestone exclusive interview, considering Prince has refused British interviews for more than a decade. Fans in Germany and Belgium are just as lucky. Germany's edition of Rolling Stone magazine will also include the new album in its' August issue. Legions of Prince fans who plan on catching the Purple One at Belgium's Werchter Festival are in for an extra treat. The Belgium paper, Het Nieuwblad, will include copies of 20Ten on July 10, the same day as the festival.
Free giveaways are nothing new to Prince. In 2007, his album Planet Earth was distributed with copies of U.K's Mail publication. No word yet on if, how and when 20Ten will be released stateside. No need to fret, our European friends will more than likely share the goodies. In the meantime, enjoy BET's tribute to Prince in its' entirety.
let's get 'closer'.
Allow yourself the opportunity to get a bit 'Closer' to Corrine Bailey Rae. A visual treat accompanies the equally infectious and seductive single 'Closer.' The video proves to be a delicate mixture of style, substance and sexiness. Sit back, relax, press play and enjoy the next three minutes and forty three seconds. Be sure to check out Corrine's live performance of 'Closer.'
talk of the town.
Chris Brown's BET Awards performance ranks as one of the year's must-see TV moments. Three days later, people are still talking about his tribute to The King of Pop. A few people, who had the pleasure to witness Chris Breezy's performance in person, spoke directly to Rap-Up.com and expressed their thoughts on the emotional performance. Peep what Keri Hilson, Mario, Tia Mowry, Melody Thornton, Wale, BET's Stephen Hill & others had to say. What do you have to say? Drop a few words in the comments box.
philly soul chick.
After a brief retreat from the spotlight, R&B newcomer Jazmine Sullivan has been busy applying the finishing touches on her as-yet-untitled sophomore album. The Philly native supplied a few details via Twitter. Check out her tweets below & listen to her lastest single, the Missy Elliott produced 'Hold You Down.'
and then there was soul.
While cruising the net I ran into the video below. The video, titled 'A Brief History of Soul Music,' takes a visually compelling look at a handful of men that have provided their artistry to the genre of soul music.Take a quick thirty three seconds out of your busy Wednesday and press play.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
After receiving word that Prince would receive BET's Lifetime Achievement Award I was hoping Raheem DeVaughn would be apart of the festivities. One listen to Raheem's rendition of Prince's 'I Would Die 4 U' would leave the listener feeling the same way. In typical Prince fashion, the tribute featured an all female line up, that included Janelle Monae, Esperanza Spalding, Alicia Keys and Patti LaBelle. (Side note: where the hell was Shelia E?) Prince appeared to be pleased with all those who paid tribute to him, I'm sure he would have been equally pleased if Raheem performed in his honor. Give Raheem's version of 'I Would Die 4 U' a listen and let us know what you think. Is it a worthy cover? Or is it lackluster?
from new ark to israel.
NPR radio has undertaken the painstaking task of selecting fifty voices to include in their 50 Great Voices series of awe-inspiring stories chronicling voices from around the globe and across time. Reclusive musical genius Lauryn Hill is one of the chosen few. NPR journalist Zoe Chace had the rare opportunity to interview L. Boogie after a even more rare performance at the Harmony Festival in Santa Rosa, California. (Peep the video below.) Listen to the commentary and interview below. Click here to hear more from the interview including Lauryn on her creative experience & being both a rapper and singer.
her music.her pain.her tragedy.
Let's go back to October of 2008. On Chicago's South Side there was news of a triple homicide. A woman, her son & grandson lay dead. It wouldn't be long before word surfaced that American Idol alum & Oscar winning actress Jennifer Hudson was in the middle of the tragic event. The deceased woman was her mother, the man her brother and the young boy her beloved nephew. For the first time since the brutal triple murder, the actress and songstress speaks candidly about the tragic events. Next Monday, VH1's rock-doc 'Behind The Music' is focusing squarely on Jennifer Hudson. According to J. Hud the October '08 tragedy was "all a blur, it was surreal. It was like I was outside of myself." Jennifer also reveals that for "almost two weeks straight . . . [I was] inside one room with just family and friends coming in and out. I prayed when I'd get up in the morning and prayed before I lay down at night." Without a doubt, her prayers have been answered. Check the teaser below.
i feel a song.
"I'm not fool enough to ever think/That I could be the master of my fate/But it's up to me to choose my roads in life/Rocky may well be the ones I take..." read the lyrics to a 1974 song recorded by Gladys Knight & The Pips. 'The Need To Be', a poignant song of self affirmation, is included on the group's third Buddah Records release I Feel A Song. Gladys & The Pips made the switch to Buddah after leaving Detroit and Motown Records. A turn of events that is somewhat reflected in the aforementioned lyrics. Pure coincidence or deliberate intentions? Who knows. What is known is that Gladys Knight chose the right road. There have been a few bumps along the way,including the loss of a child & gambling addictions, but as the lyrics in 'The Need To Be' read, "There's the need to be something more than/Just a reflection of a man/I can't survive in someone's shadow/I need my own spot to stand..."
Monday, June 28, 2010
the great debate.
Jermaine Jackson appeared at the BET Awards as an ambassador of the legacy of his late brother. He was also there to introduce the world to the "one tribute performance we've yet to see." Less than 24 hours later, the internet is abuzz with skepticism surrounding that "one tribute performance." The man behind the tribute was R&B heartthrob Chris Brown. On one side of the fence you have those who believe Chris' performance was a genuine display of raw emotion, the other side of the fence is full of people who believe the performance was a well orchestrated PR stunt. As a Mass Communications grad, I too detect Brown's tribute was a well orchestrated public relations stunt. His once bright career has been at a dangerous standstill since headlines across the world chronicled the unfortunate incident between Brown and then-girlfriend Rihanna. Chris Brown was set to perform in tribute to MJ during 2009's BET Award, BET execs had a change of heart at the last minute. That performance was to be the performance that put Chris Brown back on the map. One year later, Chris Brown had to do more than just perform. He had to pull a stunt that would leave viewers speechless, garner old and new fans alike, & be the talk of media outlets around the globe. He did just that. Kudos to his PR team. However, I believe Chris Breezy could have easily garnered a similar reaction without the tear-filled emotional breakdown. Clearly, as seen in the video below, his vocals aren't on par to sing certain MJ songs but he is a great dancer capable of fantastic MJ dance tribute. Plenty of performers are overcame with emotion but a true professional would sing and dance through any sea of emotions. Needless to say, Chris Brown is officially back.
a king-sized disappointment.
While one high yellow brother who rose to popularity in the 80's delighted the masses last night, another one left us all a bit disappointed. A consummate performer and entertainer, Prince walked on stage and accepted his Lifetime Achievement Award without performing. What a disappointment! I reassured myself that BET would shake things up a bit and allow Prince to close the show. (That would have been a genius move.) I was wrong. There would be no performance by Prince. In my mind, Prince was to be the highlight of the show. The artist who will forever be known as Prince is an innovator, icon, legend, the list goes on and on. Why wouldn't he perform? BET's young audience was in need of a brief history listen, a storied history that stretches back to the 70's. They needed to witness the definition of an entertainer/musician/singer/performer. Prince is the quintessential embodiment of the aforementioned. I was hoping to post his performance but Alicia Keys' rendition of 'Adore' is a worthy substitution. Enjoy!
what a surprise!
BET CEO Debra Lee warned viewers of a "comeback surprise" on the red carpet. Who had any idea that surprise would come in the form of Detroit native & Motown alum Eldra Patrick "El" DeBarge? The sultry falsetto soul singer, minus his famous siblings, appeared on-stage without introduction. Moments later, the figure dressed in black turned to the audience and began singing, "I've had some problems....." The falsetto was instantly recognizable. Legal troubles, drugs & prison behind him, El DeBarge pleased the BET audience with a medley of DeBarge faves including 'All This Love,' 'I Like It' & 'Rhythm of The Night.' Without a doubt, one of the night's highlights. Check it out and drop a few words in the comments section.
something to soothe.
Let's start the workweek on a good note. How does a FREE Jill Scott mixtape sound? Courtesy of DJ Phaze & SoulBounce this mixtape is sure to provide some well-needed relief from a hot & hazy summer. Check out the tracklisting below and a teaser video for Jill's upcoming album.
TRACKS Free (Intro)..One Is The Magic #..Love Rain (Coffee Shop Mix) feat. Mos Def..Slide feat. Jeff Bradshaw..Breathe..Whenever You're Around..Insomnia..8 Minutes To Sunrise feat. Common..Hate On Me...Exclusively..Warm Up..Real Thing..He Loves Me (Lyzel In E Flat)..Gimme..Whatever (Scott Wozniak Mix)..Street Life (Scott Wozniak Mix)..The Real Thing..How's It Make You Feel..Only You..Said Enough feat. The Isley Brothers..Good Morning Heartache feat. Chris Botti..42nd Street Happenstance (Can't Explain)..Honey Molasses..My Love
Sunday, June 27, 2010
a taste of chicago.
I guess I'm a day late and a dollar short when it comes to the music of BJ The Chicago Kid. I came across his videos on Vimeo and I'm quite impressed with the young cat from Chi-Town. According to his Vimeo page, he has worked with artists such as Mary Mary, Musiq Soulchild, Stevie Wonder, Kanye West, Usher, Mario, Mary J. Blige, and Jamie Foxx. An impressive array of artist, to say the least. Thanks to Google, I came across one of his mixtapes, A Taste Of Chicago. Click here to download A Taste of Chicago. In the meantime, check the videos below as BJ takes on classics from the likes of The Isley Brothers & Marvin Gaye.
I was introduced to Baby Huey and The Babysitters a few days ago after discovering John Legend & The Roots have released a cover of the band's Curtis Mayfield penned 'Hard Times.' I had to dig a little deeper. Surprisingly, the short-lived band was signed to Curtis Mayfield's Curtom Records, thanks largely to Donny Hathaway. The band's 400 pound front-man James Ramey, also known as Baby Huey, died of a heart attack shortly before the release of the band's debut album, The Baby Huey Story: The Living Legend, which somehow slipped through the cracks of soul music. (After Ramey's death, The Babysitters briefly employed a young Chaka Khan as their lead singer before disbanding). Following in the footsteps of Sly & The Family Stone, the band's sound was rooted in psychedelic soul. Baby Huey possessed a howling, wailing, voice that was as tender & sentimental as it was rough. The Baby Huey Story: The Living Legend featured several Curtis Mayfield compositions, as well as a brilliant cover of Sam Cooke's 'A Change Is Gonna Come.' Baby Huey & The Babysitters turned Cooke's enduring anthem into a psychedelic fueled soul sermon that combined rock, soul & gospel. Nine minutes and thirty one seconds later, Baby Huey & The Babysitters turn you into a believer.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
it's a shame.
Raphael Saadiq can do no wrong in my eyes. His last album, The Way I See It, is living proof. The Soul Man recently paired up with Levi's Pioneer Sessions, an effort to allow contemporary artist to record the songs that inspired their sounds. It's no surprise Mr. Saadiq picked the Stevie Wonder penned, Spinners' classic 'It's A Shame.' Raphael Saadiq fails to disappoint with this remake. It's not easy remaking a classic but Mr. Saadiq proved his self once again. Check out the remake below, it would be a shame not to.
never can say goodbye.
blame it on the boogie.
The good folks at SoulBounce have cooked up some good ish in honor of the beloved Michael Jackson. The mixtape above, is the first in an SoulBounce exclusive series of MJ mixes. Summer of Michael Jackson, Vol 1: Sunshine takes a deep look at MJ's early Motown career as a member of the Jackson 5 and as a young, very young solo artist. Hurry up & download this gem.
Friday, June 25, 2010
remembering katherine & joe's son.
Are you in need of a MJ mixtape that spans a large portion of his illustrious, amazing career and features reworks, remixes and original MJ jams? Look no further, Lil' Dave of Philly's Ill Vibe Collective has created the perfect MJ mixtape. Download it and enjoy the sheer brilliance of Michael Joseph Jackson.
TRACKS/ Jackson 5 - I Want You Back (Ken Kobayashi intro)/ Jackson 5 - I'll Be There (Small Circle of Friends remix)/ Cro-Magnon - Never Can Say Goodbye/ Jackson 5 - Never Can Say Goodbye (Beatnick & K-Salaam remix)/ Jackson 5 - Never Can Say Goodbye (Neptunes remix)/ Jackson 5 - Dear Darling (DJ Muro remix)/ Zed Bias - I Can't Help It (Unreleased)/ Jackson 5 - I Wanna Be Where You Are (Dallas Austin remix)/ Grooveman Spot - Jelly Beans (Billie Jean)/ Jackson 5 - It's Great To Be Here (Kenny Dope remix)/ Jackson 5 - Get It Together (Umbo remix)/ Jackson 5 - Hum Along and Dance (United Future Organization remix)/ Jackson 5 - Life of the Party (Ian Saint Laurent Dub)/ Michael Jackson - Get On The Floor (Holy Ghost edit)/ Michael Jackson - Bad (The Captain remix)/ Michael Jackson - Rock With You (Ezel Remix)/ Michael Jackson - Rock With You (Masters At Work Remix)/ Michael Jackson - Lady In My Life (Timmy Regisford & Quentin Harris Remix)/ The Jacksons - Things I Do For You (Da Wiesel remix)/ Michael Jackson - Sunset Driver/ Michael Jackson - You Can't Win (The Wiz)/ Michael Jackson - Got the Hots/ Michael Jackson - Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' (Demo Version)/ Michael Jackson - Shake You Body (Demo Version)/ The Jacksons - Surprise Song/ Michael Jackson - Love Never Felt So Good (Demo Version)
one year later.
Today marks one year. June 25, 2009 will always be remembered as the day Michael Jackson died. Losing Micheal has been, in a real sense, like losing a close relative. We all grew up alongside the music of MJ. His music transcended generational gaps. My 52 year older mother grew up listening to the soulful sounds of Michael and his brothers. She even dreamed of one day marrying Mike. Born six years after the release of Off The Wall and two years prior to Bad, the timeless music of Michael Jackson played throughout the soundtrack of my life, the life a child growing up in inner-city New York during the 90's.
Michael epitomized everything that was cool. There was a time when we all, boys & girls, wanted to be MJ. We wanted the black penny loafers, the black leather jacket, the glove, and the jeri curl! We can all remember our very first introduction to MJ and how we spent countless hours trying to imitate his signature dance moves. We can all remember when someone, having just discovered MJ's music, came to the playground and tried his or her best to duplicate MJ's dance moves, body and facial movements and vocal magic. Within a few minutes, a battle would ensue as everyone on the playground was trying to be just like Mike.
Believe it or not, the entire world speaks the same language, the enduring music of Michael Jackson.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
how we got over!
In case you haven't heard, The Roots are set to drop their 11th studio album, How I Got Over, next week. In anticipation of the new release, the band has hit us with this promo video. Sit back & take a look back with the help of Dr. King, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X and others who helped us get over!