All Music Entertainment
What's Your Flavor? Choose a tab
You are viewing all articles posted under: Feature Article

Adele: Pop’s Unlikely Warrior Queen

The last few years have seen Pop’s arena welcome a troupe of fresh faced Gladiators all competing in tandem to win the affections of the  record-buying public.

There is Rihanna, whose weapon of choice changes with the sway of public opinion. Ever ready to vaguely adapt to what she believes will help her win the fight.

Then there is Katy Perry and Ke$ha, with swords forged deep in the pits of Dr. Luke‘s imaginirium. Satisfied with receiving whatever spoils of war a certain Britney Spears is too pre-occupied to claim for herself.

From the realm of Rap comes Nicki Minaj, with a battle axe stolen from Lil Kim‘s weapons cabinet.  Slicing through Hip Hop’s archaic code and conventions to carve her name in the sand as Rap’s first Pop Empress, ready for battle at any given moment.

Then of course is the reigning champion Lady GaGa, equipped with a glitter stained double edged sword. Controversy on one edge and undeniable talent on the other.

And while these assassins battle each other, hoping to out-perform one another in the pits of Pop’s amphitheatre, an unlikely contender watches from the crowd.

A lone voice amidst the noise that is Contemporary Pop.

She is Adele. Pop’s unlikely Warrior Queen.


Read This Story

The King Of R&B Is…

You voted in your thousands, all in support for who YOU feel is the Ultimate King Of R&B.

Now, after all the debate, the results are in.

Find out who you crowned the King Of R&B below…


Read This Story

Mya: Product vs Promotion

The 90s R&B teen scene was already well occupied by the Brandys and Monicas of the world by the time then-18-year-old Mya came into play.  Sporting a soft soprano and street savvy dance moves, fans were introduced to what looked like Aaliyah’s distant R&B cousin.  However, time would prove Ms. Harrison to be more than a spinoff.

With her debut single boldly professing ‘It’s All About Me’ with fellow diva-in-training Sisqo, Mya blasted onto charts with a slew of R&B top 10 hits.  Then after her 2000 sophomore smash ‘Fear Of Flying’ soared up charts and yielded her signature #1 hit ‘Case of the Ex’, the ‘Movin’ On’ songbird was quickly moving into becoming a formidable force across multiple genre tallies – still following Aaliyah’s archetype of harmonizing with hip hop hitmakers (see: Jay Z, Jadakiss).  But, it would be her enlistment on 2001’s remake of ‘Lady Marmalade’ featuring then-rising Pop starlets Christina Aguilera, Pink and Rap queen Lil’ Kim that cemented the R&B star’s view on the Pop telescope.

And while the song’s tenure on charts did raise ‘Mya awareness’ in other arenas, it ushered in a dilemma as well.  Could she follow-up the joint effort with her own solo success?  The subsequent ‘Mizzaundastood’ and ‘Stripped’ eras of Pink and Christina‘s respective careers may have lifted them to new heights, but Mya’s ‘MoodRing’ failed to strike a similar chord with fans.  Its respectable chart entry and ‘My Love Is Like Whoa’ intro set it on the ground running initially, but just a few weeks later it had ‘fallen’ off charts faster than its second single – struggling to secure Gold status.

After a brief hiatus, the songstress returned with the Lil’ Wayne-assisted ‘Lock U Down’ from her fourth album ‘Liberation’ – which freely fell into obscurity.  This Japan-only release, followed by other albums of similar suiting, all indicated that Mya had lost her footing on US Pop charts.

So what’s the problem? Her sheer talent has kept her in mention with today’s top Urban divas, while movie and talent show appearances have, to some degree, kept her ‘celebrity’ alive.  But what we want to know is: were her previous chart shortcomings marketing mishaps or musical missteps?

You weigh in.  Product vs. promotion:  Have we seen the best of the ‘Best of Me’ songstress?  Or will the right product and/or promotion bring Mya back?

Your thoughts?

Read This Story

Do Record Labels Endorse Negative Stereotypes Of Black Men?

Black men in the music industry have never been hard to find.

In today’s musical climate, there are very few genres of music that haven’t been touched by the black male, from Jay Z and Lil Wayne in the world of Hip Hop, to British boy band JLS in the realms of Pop.

For years, the issue of how black men are portrayed in the music industry has remained a well discussed one.

With even the likes of Rapper Game airing his thoughts on why many of his own contemporaries are presented in a light  contrary to their  actual realities , this is one hot topic very  few have little to say about.

Now we here at That Grape Juice HQ want you to weigh in…

Do Record Labels Endorse Negative Stereotypes Of Black Men To Help Boost Sales?


Read This Story

Jazmine Sullivan: Product vs Promotion

The 2008 debut of Missy Elliott’s Pennsylvanian protégé Jazmine Sullivan was indeed an introduction to some. But given her songwriting resume (see: Christina Milian, Monica, Jennifer Hudson) and already established Youtube following long before ‘Fearless’ hit shelves, by the time ‘Need U Bad’ blared from Urban radios, her unmistakable contralto was already a celebrity.

Showcasing a maturity in tone and technique far beyond her years, many would be forgiven for not knowing the ‘Bust Your Windows’ beauty was only 21 the year her debut LP arrived on record shelves. Heralded by many as the second-coming of Lauryn Hill, Sullivan’s soulful servings instantly gained her mainstream notoriety – some even christening her as R&B’s long-awaited messiah. Four hit R&B singles would follow ‘Fearless’ as it made an impressive top 10 debut. And, with Jazmine garnering an impressive 5 Grammy nods for the album, it appeared she was on her way to the same heights once held by Hill. Unfortunately, that trek to compeer Hill quickly turned uphill.

For, while her singles (that never made much noise on Pop charts anyway) were losing ground on home fronts, the singer was unceremoniously snubbed at the 2009 Grammy’s. This, of course, only furthering fears that the ‘Fearless’ follow-up would suffer a sophomore slump.

Enter ‘Love Me Back’ – ‘Fearless’ unsuccessful successor headed by R&B hit ‘Holding You Down (Goin’ In Circles)’. And, though marginally besting the first week sales of her first album, ‘Love Me Back’ wasn’t getting much love from record buyers. Consequently, many believe, leading the soulful songstress to ‘retire’ from the industry indefinitely.

That Grape Juice wants to know – what is the problem? Clearly one of this generation’s leading talents, the promo from her introductory hype alone helped float her first album sales. Albeit very deserved, could the lack of such her second-go-round have played a role in its successor’s sink? Lack of singles? Bad videos? Some may even argue weight gain, but the successes of the Adeles of the world could counter that argument.

Or, regardless of Jazmine’s mega-talent, was the material from ‘Love Me Back’ too dated and unappealing to garner mainstream success?

You tell us. Product vs. Promotion? What’s Jazmine Sullivan’s shortcoming?

Your thoughts?

Read This Story

Album Wars: Who Will Come Out On Top?

2011 has certainly been the year of groundbreaking albums.

From Adele‘s ’21’  at the start of the year  to Lady GaGa‘s long awaited ‘Born This Way‘ in May which was then followed by Beyonce‘s ‘4‘ in June, it is fair to say that the earlier quarters of the year proved to be a bountiful one for Pop fans everywhere.

Now it seems the final four months of the year are looking to be just as competitive, with the likes of Drake, Rihanna, Jason Derulo, Leona Lewis ,Nicole Scherzinger and Mary J.Blige all releasing new LP’s before the year ends.

Who do YOU think will come out on top?


Read This Story

Resurrecting R&B (Part 3)

R&B is on a respirator.  Once a celebrated genre that has given the music industry some of its most praised acts (see Luther, Whitney, Aretha, Marvin), the musical styling has unquestionably lost its identity to hip hop and now Electro-Pop.

The question at hand: is R&B on its last breath or is revival in its future?  In a three part series, That Grape Juice will analyze three sectors of the fallen genre:  ladies (songstresses), males (crooners), and groups (both male and female) to determine if resurrection is in its future or if it will find permanent rest in the history books

Ladies first, gentlemen next.  So, last, but certainly not least, groups.

Recently browsing a Billboard chart, I was tempted to do an R&B roll call. Single ladies? (spare, but here). Fellas? (few but still there). Groups? (*insert cricket sound*). Let’s face it, the R&B group is extinct. Gone are the glory days of Motown where The Temptations and Smokey Robinson & The Miracles dominated airwaves and The Supremes reigned supremely on radio and charts alike. The Motown movement paved a precedent by which the 70s (Isley Brothers, O’Jays, too many to mention) and 80s (Levert, Debarge, Guy, New Edition) eased on down the road to chart success. Assisting R&B’s lead solo acts in solidifying the African American presence on Billboard, they effortlessly constructed the soundtrack to this generation (and its parents’) ‘old school’.

But, while the groups of yesteryear provided launching pads for some of R&B’s brightest stars (The Supremes – Diana Ross, Levert – Gerald Levert, Labelle – Patti Labelle, Jackson 5 – Michael Jackson), the 90s saw a new brand of R&B group. While Boyz II Men and En Vogue led the pack and were arguably the greatest grandchildren of their R&B forefathers (in terms of comparability), many other 90s groups unveiled an unparalleled blend of sass, attitude, and sex appeal. TLC, SWV, and Jodeci, later followed by Dru Hill, 112, and Jagged Edge are just a few of the groups from that era who helped redefine R&B while fusing with other popular genres of the era. And with the late 90s and early 2000s being dominated by Destiny’s Child, R&B groups were still proving that they were truly ‘survivors’.

Oh, how the times change. With Destiny’s Child’s subsequent disbanding, rebanding, then re-disbanding, no other R&B groups have risen to such pop prominence since. The mid-2000s saw B2K and later Danity Kane be sole representatives of the genre on the Pop charts. That, however, was surely short-lived.

Where, oh where, did the groups go?

We’ve seen many-a-90s group reband (SWV, Jodeci, TLC, Dru Hill), while some never left. But even collectively, their presence on Pop charts is nondescript. And with no noteworthy new class in waiting to take the reins:

That Grape Juice wants to know:

Is there room for a new class of R&B groups on the charts?


Will this sector of the genre become permanently absent?

Read This Story
eXTReMe Tracker