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From The Vault: Black Eyed Peas – ‘Where Is The Love?’

“What’s wrong with the world, Mama?”

In the wake of the tragic events in Paris this weekend, this week’s From The Vault spotlight’s a song which asks a question that sadly still remains. Today’s pick is ‘Where Is The Love?’ by the Black Eyed Peas.

Released in 2003, the song’s lyrics ring oddly true in this very time of despair and sorrow. At this moment, no rant about chart trajectory and promotional video facts from the TGJ team is necessary, we’ll only encourage folk to listen to the message embedded in the track.

To everyone affected in anyway by the recent terrorists attacks in France but also in Japan, Lebanon, Mexico, Iraq, we would like to show our continued love and support in these dark moments. We pray for better and brighter days for you and your families and hope that – somehow – through it all something positive arises from all this undeserved suffering.

This one is for FREEDOM, ART, UNITY, PEACE and most importantly, LOVE!

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From The Vault: Coolio – ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’

Coolio’s monumental mid-90’s hit ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ is this week’s ‘From The Vault’ pick.
Released exactly 20 years ago in 1995, ‘Paradise’ is one of modern music’s renowned efforts  and undeniably rapper Coolio’s signature track

The song – which features singer L.V. – tells the tale of an African-American “gangster” and the reasons behind his deviant ways. With his choral background vocals and his infamous Bible-extracted opening line (“As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death”), it is heavily based on a sample from the mighty Stevie Wonder’s ‘Pastime Paradise’ from blueprint album ‘Songs In The Key Of Life’, reprising the melody of said track’s chorus to build its very own impressive one.

It served as the first single from Coolio’s sophomore effort, also titled ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ but most notably was included in the Michelle Pheiffer-led movie ‘Dangerous Minds.’ The song’s lyrical content fit perfectly with the film’s vision on African-American and Latinos youth in America.

A worldwide smash, ‘Paradise’ reached #1 in over 20 countries including the US, the UK, France and Australia. It is also the first ever rap single to sell over a million copies.
This song earned its banner act a Grammy Award as well as a Billboard Music Award.
Antoine Fuqua helmed the cut’s visual, which features Coolio in a dark room spitting his rhymes in front of an attentive Pheiffer (who reprised her ‘Dangerous Minds’ role). Footage from the movie is juxtaposed to great effect. Adding to the awards haul, the clip for ‘Paradise’ was rewarded with two MTV Video Music Awards.
Two decades on, ‘Paradise’ remains potent both musically and lyrically. And though Coolio has been absent from the charts this past decade, he will forever be a figure in Pop Culture thanks to this honest take on what it means to be young and discriminated-against in the 20th century.

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From The Vault: Justin Timberlake – ‘Like I Love You’

This week’s From The Vault pick comes courtesy of one of Pop’s brightest shining stars. Today we salute Justin Timberlake and his first single as a solo artist. ‘Like I Love You’ is this week’s selection.

Produced by dynamic duo The Neptunes, ‘Love’ what the first taste in what was to become a promising solo career for the former “boyband-er.” After leaving *N’SYNC behind, the singer got in the studio with Pharrell and Chad Hugo of the Neptunes as well as future partner-in-rhyme Timbaland to craft his debut album ‘Justified’ from which the single was extracted.

Although it wasn’t a global hit like some of its successors, it still managed to peak at #11 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Timberlake performed the track at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2002 as part of the pronounced promotional push to turn him into the next big thing. A plan that played out as desired.

Helmed by Bucky Chrome, the music video for the song showcased Justin engaging in intricate choreography – courtesy of the great Marty Kudelka – and serenading his love interest dance moves on the street in a similar fashion  toMichael Jackson in the video for ‘The Way You Make Me Feel.’

Freshly out of his bubble gum pop band as well as his relationship with a then wholesome Britney Spears, JT needed an image makeover, which probably explains the steamier scenes between him and the model of choice that can be found in the visual.

Over a decade after his solo debut, Justin ceases to amaze the masses, whether through his music or his movies. And unlike many of his contemporaries, he can allow himself to take a breather when needed with confidence that the masses will rush to the front door to see where he has gone next, and we, for one, can only commend, respect and applaud that.

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From The Vault: Trina & Kelly Rowland – ‘Here We Go’

TGJ Salutes One Of 2005's Biggest Hits

This week From The Vault journey’s back ten years to 2005 when rapstress Trina was making waves in the female rap landscape with her sassy brand of bravado.

Today’s pick is the Kelly Rowland assisted ‘Here We Go.’

Released as the second and final single from the Miami maven’s third studio album, ‘The Glamorest Life,’ the track serves as her highest charting release (as a lead act) and one of Rowland’s most successful solo appearances on the Billboard Hot 100.

The song – which sampled Force M.D’s hit ‘Tender Love’ (crafted by Jam & Lewis) – peaked at #17 on the Hot 100 and impacted the top 20 in major music markets such as the UK and Australasia. A sizeable achievement given how few female rappers have enjoyed commercial success internationally (’til this day).

Beyond the Jim Jonsin cut’s catchy sing-along-song chorus, its video is also touted as a major catalyst for its Gold certified success.

Directed by Nick Quested, the clip takes a literal approach to the song’s lyrics and relays the tale of a lady (Trina) who “can’t take no more” and kicks her no good boo to the curb while looking all sorts of stylish doing so.

The budget wasn’t big, but the accessible and relatable narrative was enough to garner the visual ample play on BET’s 106 & Park where it was a mainstay.


Much of Trina’s underrated discography boasts racy numbers that would make even the most liberal minded blush. Yet, we feel it was the more vulnerable side shown here that made the release not only refreshing but still relevant ’til this day.  Needless to say, we’re hitting replay!

DID YOU KNOW: Teedra Moses appears on the demo for the song singing what became Kelly Rowland’s parts. Click here to listen to her version.

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From The Vault: Kelis – ‘Good Stuff’

Today’s From The Vault selection was unleashed to the world over 15 years ago. The R&B gem ‘Good Stuff’ by eccentric Kelis is this week’s pick.
Released in 1999 as the second single from Ms. Rogers debut album ‘Kaleidoscope,’ ‘Stuff’, like the entirety of the LP, was produced by Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo‘s production partnership The Neptunes and features rapper Pusha T under the name Terrar – which he used when he was part of the band Clipse.

Interestingly, Kelis only cracked America in 2003 with her smash ‘Milkshake’ despite being an American artist. For the earlier part of her career, her success was only of a European persuasion, hence why the track failed to chart in the US but peaked at #19 on the the UK Official Singles Charts.
The video for the tune sees Kelis and friends breaking into a roller rink and turning it upside down. The singer can be seen rocking her then-signature multi-colored curls in the clip, which features a cameo of Pharrell and of course of featured act Pusha T with whom Rogers shares many flirty moments.
If one was to ever look up the dictionary definition of “eclecticism” surely Kelis’ picture would proudly project. From her R&B siren days, to her neo-soul efforts, her punk alternative offerings and of course her EDM output (hello ‘Fleshtone’), the former Mrs Nasir Jones has done it all musically. And the results have been ‘Tasty’ (pun intended). We applaud her for not being afraid to switch it all the way up whenever she feels like it, whether it being considered a risk or not. Her authenticity is the primary reason why even when not setting the charts alight she can still be respected by critics and the industry at large and can continue to fill up concert venues the world-over.
Kelis, we salute you, and can’t wait to witness where you go next!

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From The Vault: Michael Jackson – ‘Liberian Girl’

Yesterday marked what would have been the 57th birthday of the legendary Michael Jackson. And, with Kanye West getting ready to receive the Michael Jackson Vanguard Award at tonight’s MTV Video Music Awards, we thought it apt to dedicate this week’s From The Vault to the one and only King Of Pop.

Today’s pick is the love song and its star-studded video ‘Liberian Girl.’

The ninth and final release from the record-breaking, genre-defining, game-changing blockbuster ‘Bad’ LP, it was only released in Europe and Australia in 1989 where it was a moderate hit peaking at #1 in Ireland, #13 in the UK and #50 in Australia.

Written by MJ and produced by musical genius Quincy Jones with additional production from Mike himself, the song features a Swahili intro by South African singer Letta Mbulu. Back in ’87 when the ‘Bad’ album was unleashed, there had been much speculation concerning who Jackson was referring to… he has never disclosed who the recipient of this serenade was.

Way before Taylor Swift surprised the world with ‘Bad Blood’ and its cameo-heavy visual, the Jim Yukich-directed video for ‘Girl’ housed a plethora of A-listers (most of who remain household names today) waiting for the King to show up to shoot the visual for that very song. The big reveal? He was there all along documenting their every single move and capturing the conversation that occurred throughout the night.

A simple, yet clever concept.


Six years removed from his passing, it’s still difficult to digest that “Michael Jackson” is no longer with us. His unparalleled creativity and constant appetite for raising the bar are just a few of the reasons why – even in the afterlife – he remains untouchable. Invincible, if you will.

MJ, we love you, we miss you and once again, we say THANK YOU!

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From The Vault: Eve & Gwen Stefani – ‘Let Me Blow Ya Mind’

Long before Iggy Azalea and Charli XCX made the masses move with their infectious Hip-Pop collabo ‘Fancy’, a fierce duo were already bridging the gap between the Urban and and mainstream arena.

This week’s From The Vault is ‘Let Me Blow Yo Mind’ by rapstress Eve and Gwen Stefani.
‘Mind’ was the second single released from E.V.E.’s second offering ‘Scorpion.’. Unleashed in 2001, it was the first of two songs produced by Dr. Dre for the duo – with the second coming a few years later in the form of ‘Rich Girl.’
The single was a chart hit reaching #2 in the United States and peaking inside the Top 5 in the United Kingdom. It was ranked the 7th biggest song of the year 01 on Billboard.

The track’s visual sported “party crasher” theme with Stefani and Jeffers inviting themselves to a chic soirée before transforming it into a titanic “turn-up.” Humorously, producer Dr. Dre makes a cameo and bails out the girls (who are arrested for their antics) from their cell.

Helmed by Phillip G. Atwell, the clip won a MTV Video Music Awards in the ‘Best Female Video’ category in 2001.
It’s pairings like these which make us root for “cross-genre” ventures. Indeed, with most of today’s collabos reeking of “convenient”, it’s refreshing to see two artists, completely different from one another, bring the best of their distinctive worlds together to make sweet music.
Eve and Gwen, we salute you!

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