BET Awards 2015: The Nominees

It’s that time of year again or the BET Awards. I remember when I was in middle school I would be excited to watch the show. Now it’s just gotten to be too generic, the winners are too predictable and there’s nothing really special about the performances. It’s amazing that the show has lasted 14 years. Maybe next year they’ll do something special for the 15th annual. Check out my 2014 performance review here.

Continue reading “BET Awards 2015: The Nominees”

May Favorites: Music & Scandal Fail

PicMonkey CollageIt’s crazy that we’re entering the sixth month of 2015. Before you know it, it’ll be Christmas. Enough of the ramble, let’s get into my favorites of the month. I had quite a few music favorites this month, which is surprising. Check them out below and be sure to click the links to take a listen:

I recently discovered Walk the Moon as I kept hearing ‘Shut Up and Dance’ on the radio and I absolutely LOVE their album, Talking Is Hard. Some of my other favorites from the album are ‘Work This Body,’ ‘Sidekick,’ and ‘Up 2 U.’

As for other favorites of the month I have been obsessed with my planner. I’ve been featuring my planner/etsy purchases along with “Plan With Me” in my Spicy Saturday series. The planner I use is the Me and My Big Ideas, “The Happy Planner.” I’ll be doing an update on the planner in a future post, but it’s really kept me on track with everything I have going on from blogging to grad school. Planning is the best part for sure. Catch up on my planner posts below:

TV, TV, oh TV. Now that all my shows have gone on break I’m excited for the fall, but the BIGGEST disappointment of the month would have to be the Scandal season finale. I’m glad the show has been renewed, but the way it ended left me thinking, “Really Shonda?” Olivia & Fitz end up together. Jake leaves? Melly gets kicked out? Cyrus gets fired? Papa Pope gets locked up? What happens between Huck and Quinn? Those questions alone make it sound like an amazing episode and all of it wasn’t bad, it’s jus that ending. I was really expecting something to happen to the president. I wanted Olivia to chase Jake. I wanted a CLIFFHANGER. Those two ending up together in their never ending love roller coaster is just annoying. I’m over them. I’m ready for a drama filled season. That last minute of the finale just killed me. 

Note: Be sure to click the links in bold to find items mentioned/links to related posts.

This Week In Music (V.26): Lawsuits

Welcome to another edition of This Week In Music. I’ve been absent from blogging this past Friday due to being sick, but I’m back at it. Be sure to check out my Maroon 5 concert review HERE and last weeks edition of This Week In Music HERE.

robin-thicke-blurred-lines-music-videoSo the headline of this week was the outcome of the Robin Thicke/Pharrell lawsuit against Marvin Gaye’s family. For those living under a rock, Marvin Gaye’s family were suing Pharrell and Robin Thicke for the illegal use of their fathers song, ‘Got To Give It Up’ in the 2013 summer smash, ‘Blurred Lines’. When I first heard the song I immediately thought that was what it sounded like. Well the verdict came in and Marvin Gaye’s family won LARGE. For the track to have made $16 million, the family got $7.4 million of that.

This case might be closed, but the Gaye family could be going after Pharrell’s solo smash, ‘Happy’. Gaye’s daughter says that its reminiscent of her fathers track, ‘Ain’t That Pecuilar’. Now listening to the song, yes they do sound similar, especially how each track begins. After winning $7.4 milioin is the Gaye family just being greedy? I think that ‘Blurred Lines’ was spot on ‘Got to Give It Up’. As for this one, I think that a soul clap does not account for a song being ripped off. I can hear the similarity, but not as much as ‘Blurred Lines’. If this were to go to court this surely could put into question Pharrells 20+ year as a producer. Then again, his work has never been in question before.

Listen to the similarities below:

ciara_articleWith a lawsuit win like this it’s a wonder how many other songs artists have ripped off. Jermaine Dupri feels that Ciara ripped off his track for Usher, ‘U Got It Bad’. With news of Marvin Gaye’s family winning a lawsuit like this, Jermaine Durpi is speaking out. In an interview with the Associated Press he stated:

“Ciara’s new single is a complete rip-off of Usher’s ‘U Got It Bad.’ I’m clear on what I made and I’m clear on how music influences people and I’m clear on chord changes and how people move things. It might not be as evident as the ‘Blurred Lines’ situation, but I believe the same thing happened to me.”

I stated in my review (click HERE for that) that the song sounded a lot like ‘U Got It Bad’, especially during the hook.  It’s nothing wrong with being inspired by another artists contribution to music, but it is wrong to put out a track and pass it off without giving credit. Hopefully these two can hash everything out without it having to go to court.

Listen to the similarities below:

 

Grammy Performers

It’s three weeks until the grandest stage of them all in the world of music. The 57th Annual Grammy Awards airs on February 8th. CLICK HERE for the list of nominees. Here’s who’s slated to perform:

  • PicMonkey CollagePharrell
  • Sam Smith
  • Madonna
  • Ed Sheeran
  • Ariana Grande
  • Usher
  • AC/DC
  • Erich Church
  • Miranda Lambert

I’m interested in seeing what Madonna will perform. Whether it be something new or a medley. Same with Pharrell, he could take the same route. Then again he’ll probably perform ‘Happy.’ Beyonce and Jay-Z opened the show last year and I can’t wait to see who opens up this year (insert that Madonna medley; wishful thinking). Sam Smith will probably perform ‘Stay With Me’, maybe ‘I’m Not The Only One.’ Usher hasn’t had much of  a buzz with any new music so I’m curious as to what he’ll perform.

Stay tuned for Grammy updates and as always I’ll be doing a review of the performances. CLICK HERE for my review of last years show.

Billboard Revamps the Hot 100

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Billboard have given their Hot 100 chart a new look in a partnership with Samsung. The new look allows readers to listen to the songs individually or as an entire playlist via Spotify or Rdio along with a button to watch the video.You can also share the song via Facebook or Twitter. No worries about being moved to a new page. Everything opens up on the chart and it’s easy to

In addition, in scrolling over the the artists position on the chart, to the left you can see the position of the song the previous week, the peak position, and number of weeks on the chart. There are also chart highlights separated into four categories: ‘Streaming Gainer,’ ‘Digital Gainer,’ ‘Airplay Gainer’, and ‘Hot Shot Debut.’Untitled

In sharing on Facebook and Twitter, you can create your own Top 10 based off what’s currently in the top 10 with a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 popup. You can drag the songs and add your name. Once done, share.

Check out the full view HERE and cheers to those who ranked in the top 10 this week. The ladies still rule in the top 5, but the guys are gaining. Only time will tell who.

In other news, Usher covers the latest Billboard cover. Click the pic to the interview excerpt below:

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY USHER! #LIBRASEASON

USHERNYLON3A Happy, Happy Birthday to another fellow libra Usher. To who I like to call, the full package: attractive, great vocals, and can dance his ass off, Mr. Usher Raymond IV. Usher debuted in 1994 with his self-titled debut. He followed up with six other albums and his 8th studio effort, UR, is set to be released along with the ‘The UR Experience’ kicking off in November. Still no word on the release of UR just yet.

To date Usher has accumulated a staggering amount of awards including: 8 AMAs, 20 BMAs, 2 VMAs, 3 NAACP Image Awards, 9 Soul Train Awards, and 8 Grammy’s. Aide from his 20 Billboard Music Awards, he has ranked very high on the charts. In the 2000s, he had spent 41 weeks atop the Hot 100 along with having 7 number one singles. ‘Yeah!’ came in at #2 out of 10 songs that were best-selling and most-played in the 2000s and it spent 12 weeks atop the Hot 100.

It’s amazing how long of a career Usher has had as an R&B singer and how he has been able to bounce back and forth between R&B and pop. He’s also managed to do this all while minting his killer body, never missing an 8 count, and being a father.

Happy 36th Birthday #UrsherBaby. Enjoy a playlist of my Usher favs below (via Spotify):

 

Single Reviews: Eminem x Usher x Nicole S.

PicMonkey Collage

I mentioned in a previous post that Eminem would be teaming up with Sia for a new track off the soundtrack of the new Denzel movie, Equalizer. The two previously collaborated on ‘Beautiful Pain‘ (Marshal Mathers LP 2). Their latest collab, ‘Guts Over Fear’. The beat is not my favorite, but I just love to hear Eminem rap. He’s a storyteller and to me that’s rap. Then add one of my favs Sia and it’s great. He could’ve used any singer for this track actually, but Sia’s vocals plus her accent work. Overall it’s alright. I was expecting more. I liked their first collab better.

The track is set to be featured on ShadyXV which is a 2-disc compilation album of Shady Records over the course of the past 15 years including D12, 50 Cent, Yelawulf, and new Eminem material (of course). The album is set to be released November 24th (Black Friday). Take a listen to ‘Guts Over Fear’ below:

Usher has released the third single of his upcoming, yet to be titled album. He’s done ‘Good Kisser’ (CLICK HERE for video review) and he just released the visual for ‘She Came To Give It To You’ featuring Nicki Minaj (CLICK HERE for the video review). I absolutely love the direction that Usher is going with this project. He’s giving R&B, groove, yet keeping it modern. I know before I’ve semi-bashed Usher for going ‘Pop’ on his previous albums. I love how he’s doing R&B with a twist. It’s nothing wrong with R&B with some bass. I’m just not a fan of Pop Usher regardless of how much a buzz the track gets. PLUS his dancing skills are back in full effect and he doesn’t look winded/tired when he dances now. Love the track and I’m anticipating new music. Usher has announced the UR Experience will be coming to a city near you this fall. Take a listen to the track below:

Nicole Scherzinger is back with another single off her upcoming album titled, ‘On The Rocks’. This is a ballad compared to her first single, ‘Your Love’ (CLICK HERE for video review). The song is cute, but there it doesn’t really grasp my attention. It’s mediocre and it’s as if Nicole doesn’t really have a sound. She’s done pop, takes a stab at Pop & B (R&B meets Pop), and even tries Hip Hop features. Overall I’ve never understood her sound. I’m not sure what direction she’s going. The auto tune is never needed for her because she can sing. It doesn’t add any elements or layer to the song. The song isn’t horrible, but it’s also not something that will storm the airwaves. For Nicole to have had her best music with The Pussycat Dolls it makes me wonder should they just rejoin and make another album.

Take a listen to the track below:

Video Review: Usher x Nicki Minaj, ‘She Came To Give It To You’

ursher

Usher performed his latest single, ‘She Came to Give It To You’ LIVE at the VMAs this past Sunday (8.24) and the visual has arrived along with a new single ‘Believe Me’ (review on its way). The theme of the video is an underground club. He was into a corner store, walks to the back and there’s men playing cards as he makes his way past them moving to the club part. That part of the video isn’t anything that I haven’t seen before as Trey Songz featured a similar concept in his ‘Na Na’ video (CLICK HERE for that review). Initially upon seeing still shots from the video I thought it looked a lot like ‘U Don’t Have to Call’, but I am surprised and really enjoyed it.

Getting back into the review, once Usher gets into the club, the beat drops and he is dancing his ass off. He’s performing the song with a band at certain scenes and at other times he’s singing in shadows with a dancer. The choreo is really nice and while it’s nothing crazy I love the vibe of the moves with the sound. As I stated in track review, this vibe reminds me of Earth Wind and Fire. I love how he was able to build on the groove and make it modern.

Insert Nicki Minaj who doesn’t make her appearance inside the club, but she’s in the TV room which was shown earlier in the video. She raps and does her thing and then she and Usher have cute little still shots in the video. Other than the short Pharrell cameo, Usher’s love interest in the video was Taylour Paige from Hit The Floor. Kudos to Usher on this one. I really like it.

Video Review: Chris Brown, ‘New Flame’

breezy

Chris Brown has finally released a visual for his track ‘New Flame’ featuring Usher and Rick Ross. The video has no storyline and while I would have liked one, I’m not surprised. I also would’ve like Usher & Chris to break out into some dope choreo together, but didn’t get that either.

The video is all white themed. THere’s Chris dancing on water twirling an umbrella with a top hat as girls laid around him. As for his attire he has on this pants/shorts thing which is a bit ridiculous and a super long shirt. Then there’s a scene with him standing against this wall and he ditched the shorts and the hat and added a blazer and a gold chain. Then slide to Usher who’s like on top of this mountain and then he started doing that robotic thing he did in ‘Burn’. Moving on to Rick Ross who had to have his shirt off. He could’ve wore a white shirt or something. Nope there he was sitting down with that infamous chain. Shoot to the desert scene with the all white attire still there. There’s ‘X’ blazing in the background; there’s the flame. There’s a random cameo by Tyga. Then Chris kills it at the end with his choreo.

There was nothing really spectacular about the video. I really watched to see what choreo would be involved. You can’t have a Chris Brown video without some choreo. Again I would’ve liked to see a full out routine from him and Usher. They did a little something at the end, but it could’ve been better.

Overall the dessert scene was very entertaining. I’m a fan of Chris Brown’s choreo.

Check out the video below:

This Week In Music (V.16): New Music + News

Welcome to another edition of THIS WEEK IN MUSIC!                      [As always, click the LINK!]

 

Quick chart news. Congrats to Trey Songz for having the number one album in the country, Trigga. He also ranks #1 on both R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and R&B Albums charts. To see who else ranked within the top 10  of the Billboard 200, click here and for my Trigga album review, click here. black-widow-coverIggy Azalea is still atop the Hot 100 with ‘Fancy’ for the 7th week, putting her in fifth place above Adele (‘Rolling In The Deep’, 2011) for longest reign on the Hot 100 this past decade. Holding the #1 spot is Rihanna’s, ‘We Found Love’, (2011-12). With another month a top the charts and she can set a record. Only time will tell. Iggy also released the cover art to her Rita Ora assisted track, ‘Black Widow’, one of my favorites from her album The New Classic. CLICK HERE for my review.

In other music news, I’ve mentioned in a post before that Drake and Lil Wayne would be heading on tour titled, Drake vs. Lil WayneIn an interview with MTV, Lil Wayne discussed just how the show would go down:

“Since, thank God we’ve been so successful, we’ll just be going back and forth with our hits and getting the crowd to go crazy, then just finally hittin’ the stage together.”

What better way to feed off the name of the tour than with an actual battle. That should be interesting. The tour will run from August 8th to September 27th.

rs_600x600-140711151050-600-drake-chris-brown.ls.71114_copyIn other Drake news, his ‘beef’ with Chris Brown must have been ceased because the two have been photo’d in the studio together. I know I’m not the only one who wants to her a Drizzy/Breezy collab. Let’s see how long it takes to surface.

It will have been 20 years since Usher released his debut, ,and it’s been 10 years since the release of his infamous album, Confessions. It has been confirmed that he will be opening this years MTV VMAs airing LIVE August 24th. He hasn’t performed at the VMAs since his 2010 performance of ‘DJ Got Us Falling In Love’ and ‘OMG’. Currently he has, ‘Good Kisser’ out and a new Pharrell Produced and Nicki Minaj featured track titled, ‘She Came To Give It To You’. He already did a medley at the BET Awards so who knows what he’s doing for MTV. Two other performers have been announced for the VMAs, Ariana Grande and 5 Seconds of Summer. Stay tuned to future posts for updates.

Backtracking to the Usher/Nicki collab, I did not like it upon first listen, but it has grown on me. It reminds me so much of Earth, Wind & Fire. I guess I didn’t like it because the sound was not what I was expecting with Nicki Minaj being featured on the track. Being that she’s a rapper I was expecting something more ‘club’ oriented. Nicki did great on this beat and this just adds more to her versatility. I’m interested to seeing how this does on the radio. Take a listen below:

https://soundcloud.com/usher-raymond-music/usher-she-came-to-give-it-to-you-featuring-nicki-minaj

 

yaya-and-whitney

If you were questioning if Yaya Decosta was rightly casted to play Whitney Houston in the upcoming Lifetime biopic, this picture should speak for itself. The photo is a recreation of Whitney Houston’s 1987 album, Whitney. The Angela Bassett directed film will be focusing on Houston’s relationship with Bobby Brown and will not address her untimely death. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Angela Bassett stated:

“I want you to fall into the world of Whitney and Bobby. And I don’t want to stop you at the gate with maybe the image of something familiar, someone you’ve seen from something else. Yaya was far and above the only choice.”

Lastly in music news, Beyoncé and Jay Z are heading to HBO.Their ‘On The Run’ tour will be the next installment for the Carters featured on the network. For full details, click here.

Moving on to new music, Omarion and Bow Wow have teamed up for a new track, ‘Need That Love’. I’m sorry, Omarion and Shad Moss. I’m not sure why he dropped Bow Wow, but whatever. The track does sample Michael Jackson’s, ‘Lady In My Life‘ which most people might know as LL Cool J’s, ‘Hey Lover’. As for the track it isn’t horrible. If this is the direction Omarion is going for his upcoming album he’ll be sampling a lot as he sampled DeBarge on his track, ‘You Like It’. I could hear this on the radio. Take a listen below.

 

B.o.B released a mixtape, No Genre Pt.2. CLICK HERE to download that. Not sure when or if I’ll be listening to it. Elle Varner has released her official second single for her upcoming album titled, ‘Don’t Wanna Dance’, and features A$AP Ferg. The vibe of the track reminds me of ‘I Don’t Care’ from her debut, Perfectly ImperfectI like it though and from what she’s put out so far I can’t wait to hear her album. Take a listen below:

https://soundcloud.com/ellevarner/elle-varner-dont-wanna-dance-featuring-aap-ferg

 

Until next week…