I was introduced to Breezy Love Joy's EPK some time ago and, because it didn't hold my attention, I blew it off and kept it moving. After looking at his video for "Probabilities," however, I am more intrigued to find out more from this Los Angeles-based drummer, producer, singer, and lyricist. Some of you may call me old-fashioned by liking a track so obviously jazzy and say that my Native Tongue roots are showing. The trouble is, they always do, and I can't deny the undeniable. I'm liking this so far, and will be doubly interested to see what else he has in store.
Our eyes have been subjected to some suspect videos lately, but leave it to Monica to deliver one with both style and substance for "Everything To Me," the lead single for her highly-anticipated album, Still Standing. We loved this song when we first heard it, but this video upped the ante. Monica plays wife to NFL baller Chad Ochocinco and mother to a cute-as-a-button daughter, but who's that Latina always lurking in the background? Director Benny Boom skillfully has us thinking that she's a jump-off and the reason why Monica and Chad are in a courtroom seemingly going through divorce proceedings. But the script gets flipped in the end when we find out that she's a stalker and the one on trial. Let's hear it for a video with a storyline! Aside from that, Monica is a vision of loveliness throughout, wearing couture pieces from recently-deceased fashion designer Alexander McQueen, who she dedicated the video to. Kudos to everyone involved in this for a video well done.
We've been checking for rapper M.anifest for a minute now, and he continues to impress with his verbal output. His latest, "Sankofa (My History)," is equal parts headnodder and history lesson. He flows over a G-funk-ish beat, but unlike those gangsta-glorifying songs of old, he spits lines like "Columbus aint no real discover" and "I learned my ABC's before I threw some D's." And anyone who can slip Copernicus and Nelson Mandela in the same song gets mad points. M.anifest is like the love child of Lauryn Hill and Brotha J of the X-Clan--bringing Afrocentrism back one jam at a time. [H/T: 2DB]
M.anifest: "Sankofa (My History)"
- Just the mention of a new Prince song debuting this Friday is enough to send fans into a tizzy. [PBB]
- The-Dream has already bought his unborn baby a new car and a house. A fool and his money... [SR]
- The "top" 12 females clocked in dismal performances on American Idol last night, which made us miss Angela Martin's presence all the more. [MTV]
- The Best of Soul Train is coming to DVD at the end of March. Get your pre-order in now! [ST]
Since yesterday's return of the Battle of the Beats was such a success, how about another toe-to-toe rumble in the musical jungle? Today's battle is a girlfight pitting one of our beloved '90s R&B girl groups against one of favorite Soul songstresses. In this corner we have the talented trio SWV with their mega-hit "I'm So Into You" from their classic debut, It's About Time. And in this corner we have Canadian cutie Tamia with "So Into You," a song from her eponymous debut album. Lead singer Cheryl "Coko" Clemons, backed up by Leanne "Lelee" Lyons and Tamara "Taj" Johnson, belted a banger about her love for a dude who unfortunately was somebody else's guy. Her infatuation had her in a state of confusion that we could all relate to. On the other hand, Tamia sang about a man who was all hers and she was loving every nook and cranny. This match-up may not be as cut and dried as it may seem--Team Freckle may give Coko and the girls some competition. These are two songs that we've all no doubt jammed to back in the day that have surprisingly stood the test of time. So, who's track are you still into today, SWV's or Tamia's?
SWV: "I'm So Into You"
Tamia: "So Into You"
If you don't already own Georgia Anne Muldrow and Dudley Perkins aka Declaime's most recent release, SomeOthaShip, then what are you waiting on? Especially now that the album is finally available in physical form if MP3 downloads aren't your thing. While they're on a brief East Coast tour to celebrate the release, here's another track from the disc to encourage you to add it to your collections. They're bringing the interplanetary funk--or make that fonk--on the song "fOnk w/ an O," which features Declaime rapping on his own production with GAM on background vocals and some bars from Long Beach MC LMNO for good measure. Press play below to get fonky.
Georgia Anne Muldrow & Declaime feat. LMNO: "fOnk w/ an O"
Tabi Bonney is one other DC rapper (the other being Wale) who has made recent rounds on MTV and other mainstream vehicles to gain exposure as the latest Hip-Hop lyricist reppin' the Nation's Capital. But here's the thing, he isn't much of a lyricist. While Bonney (which rhymes with Sade) has charisma galore, reminds me a bit of T.I. and is high on fly--his image is fresh to death with the latest kicks, stylish casual gear and requisite sunglasses--his rhymes aren't nearly comparable to what we would hope to warrant mainstream success. His latest song "Fever" features Raheem DeVaughn and the recurring line "This my slow jam, put peanut butter on it" illustrates my point succinctly. The accompanying video is even more elementary, with the scantily-clad video vixens and the very sexy Raheem weirdly shot in a bathroom with tiles visibly shining as the backdrop while wearing a suit and bowtie. I'm all for art and quirky out-of-the-box shots for effect, but the still shots of the models during the song did nothing but prolong this dud of a song. Even Raheem's always on point vocals could not stop one from asking how on earth this song made the cut.
I grow tired of pointless videos. With that said, look who's back with a new one, none other than Kanye West. Yeezy returns to perplex with a clip for the song "Coldest Winter" from his album 808s & Heartbreak. I'm surprised that they're still churning out videos from this album, but hopefully this one is the last--or at least it needs to be. (Seriously, Kanye, can we get some new music that doesn't sound like you phoned it in--literally and figuratively?) Once again, Ye doesn't actually appear in this video, but there is a racially ambiguous leading lady with a heaving bosom being chased by hooded ghouls through a spooky forest. Much like a bad horror movie, this would be scary if it weren't so corny. Maybe this would have been more effective if it was released around Halloween?
I know we called Wyclef out for his less than stellar performance on the "We Are The World" remake, but it needed to be done. We felt his passion, but we didn't need to hear the peal of his off-kilter yodeling. No goats were sacrificed, however, at this recent concert in Vail, Colorado when Clef toned it down and gave a pretty solid performance of two reggae classics: Bob Marley's "Redemption Song" and Brent Dowe and Trevor McNaughton's "Rivers Of Babylon." This video features footage of the live show with photos of Haiti before and after the earthquake mixed in. Wyclef is also joined on stage by South African singer Zulu who lends her voice to "Redemption Song." Now this is something that I can support and listen to without wincing.
If you haven't already donated to the Haitian earthquake relief efforts, Wyclef's organiation, Yele Haiti, is always accepting donations.
- Revisit NWA's classic Straight Outta Compton without the pesky words and just the profanities. [N9]
- Get to know some of New York's finest subway performers in this new collection. [FM]
- Harvard University has named Wyclef its artist of the year. [HN]
- Miss Jack Davey shorn is just as awesome as she is with her trademark locks. [EM]
- Raekwon ♥ Sade. Like for real. [RR]