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From The Vault: Jennifer Lopez – ‘Get Right’

10 years…

January 4th marks the 10th anniversary of a club-banger that a decade on still gets the dance-floor ablaze.

Today’s From The Vault pick is the colossal ‘Get Right’ by the ever-fierce Jennifer Lopez.

At a time when the world was growing tired of her media presence following the “Bennifer”episode , Ms. Lopez –  with this single – was hoping to right (pun intended) the wrongs caused to her image and reposition herself as an entertainer. Needless to say, it turned out to be just what the career doctor ordered.

Helmed by ‘1 Thing’ maestro Rich Harrison alongside Corey Rooney – with Usher also participating to the song’s development – it was based around an infectious horn riff from the collaboration between James Brown and Maceo and The Macks, ‘Soul Power’.
The diva’s first release in over 18 months, it was met with favorable reviews as well as generous chart positions. Reaching the 12th position of the Billboard Hot 100, it topped both the UK Singles Charts and the World Singles Official Top 100.

Opting to unleash the song and the video the same day (a rarity at the time), it made it near-impossible for folk to disassociate the funky track from its high-octane visual. Francis Lawrence allowed Jen to tap into her acting-skills by portraying a multitude of characters all present at a hyper hip club where ‘Right’ is playing.

Renown for its editorial-looking dance-break (which remains all sorts of epic), indeed it is the kind that makes one feel like the world has stopped and nothing else matters.

The 10 years that separate us from ‘Right”s release have seen Lopez experience career ups and downs; from successful stints on American Idol, to hit singles, to not so successful albums, and a dwindling radio potency.

Still, with a rumored Vegas run on the cards, it seems the ride is anything but over for the Latin beauty and from where we stand, she seems hungrier than she has ever been, which in turn has our appetite for new music from her even more

It will be interesting to see where J.Lo will go next. Wherever she navigates her career, we’re keen to bet that 10 years from now, her star will still be shining bright.

JLo - GetRight

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From The Vault: Madonna – ‘Hung Up’

“Time goes by… so slowly”
While this week has found Queen Of Pop Madonna forced to share details about her much anticipated 13th album ‘Rebel Heart’, From The Vault journeys back to her most sonically sound effort in recent years. This week’s pick is the glorious ‘Hung Up’.
Released almost a decade ago, ‘Hung Up’ was the very first offering of the artist’s disco-heavy tenth album, the delicious ‘Confessions On A Dance Floor’. Helmed by British producer Stuart Price and the diva herself, it is famously built on a sample of ‘Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)’ by legendary Swedish group ABBA.
Released in a ‘We Belong Together’ reality, the song still managed to achieve major success on a global scale peaking at #1 in 41 countries including the UK, France, Canada and Australia – it reached #7 in the US – and has sold over 9 millions unit since its release.
Johan Renck was in charge of directing the track’s visual. Featuring many dancers – including several of the krumpers seen in David LaChapelle’s documentary ‘Rize’ as well some of her own documentary ‘I’m Going To Tell You a Secret’ – the video succeeds in relaying a raw street aura while keeping up with the glam of the late 70s/early 80s which were explored during that album campaign. From the fashion and the lighting, to the beauty shots and choreography, all comes together and explodes into a euphoric final scene where Madge is seen dancing up a storm.
Perhaps it’s us, but from where we’re standing ‘Confessions’ was the last real “Madonna” album. Indeed, much of what came after has reeked of desperation and tackiness (see: ‘MDNA’, shuffling with LMFAO at the Superbowl, reductive-gate). We’re all for exploring different sounds and textures, and clearly that’s what M-Dolla is famous for; still, we wish she would maintain some sort of regality in her music. In wanting to cater to the younger generation, it feels like the artist is continuously losing the very elements that made her the Queen Of Pop in the first place. So much to the point where she is making the same music the very artists she gave birth to are churning out —- ironically with less tasty results.
Here’s hoping the remaining 13 tracks of ‘Rebel Heart’ give back to us that very artist who has been Pop’s definitive blueprint.

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From The Vault: Luther Vandross – ‘Never Too Much’

Here at TGJ we feel it imperative to honor the originators who paved the way for our favorite artists and yours. As such, From The Vault is travelling back to the year 1981 when a certain Luther Vandross unleashed what would become a genre-defining classic. This week’s pickk is ‘Never Too Much’
The disco track was the first release from Vandross’ solo-debut of the same name. It was written and produced by the artist – as was the vast majority of its parent album. At a time where “Urban” wasn’t as accepted as it is nowadays, the single charted at a respectable #33 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was a major success on the self-explanatory and now-defunct Hot Black Singles chart where it earned the top spot. Also, the release was a Top 50 hit in the United Kingdom.
Set in a groovy New York, the cut’s accompanying music video showcases pedestrians jamming to the rhythm of the city that never sleeps while Luther can be seen in a recording studio booth wearing what can only be described as an… interesting jacket. Gotta love that 80’s fashion!
With eight Grammys, over 30 million records sold and a myriad of classics to his name, Luther Vandross through his 25+ years career has been a consistant ambassador for R&B music. Like many other deceased artists of his caliber, he is the proof that if you commit to making the most genuine and authentic art, you can live forever.

Luther Vandross’ ‘The Greatest Hits’ is available to buy now!

Click here to purchase!

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From The Vault: Blackstreet – ‘Don’t Leave Me’

At a time where male R&B groups are a rare find, it’s almost mandatory for us to journey back and celebrate those that helped redefine the genre and put it on the global map. This week’s From The Vault pick is the wholly-heartfelt ‘Don’t Leave Me’ by Blackstreet.

Produced by ever-talented band member Teddy Riley, ‘Leave’ was released as the second single from the band’s 1997 LP ‘Another Level’ and was built around a sample of 1983’s ‘A Dream’ from Motown family band DeBarge.

Interestingly, the release never charted on the Billboard Hot 100 due to a technicality but was a huge hit overseas including the UK where it charted at #6 and #1 in New Zealand.

For the Michael Martin directed music video, the band served a “90s-boyband” masterclass, complete with lyrics-explanative dance moves and questionable CGI. Granted the visual looks like it’s been commissioned by the Cheese Factory (see: that polaroid tower), it still manages to capture the passion of the song.

Long gone seems the time where the Blackstreets, Jodecis and Dru Hills of this world were ruling the mainstream charts. Hopefully the coming year and years will see a resurgence of R&B boybands to shake things up; indeed with the genre making a comeback as of late, the time is ripe for a new slew of males ensembles to step up to the plate.

Pending then…

To the 1990’s male R&B groups, we salute you! We thank you!

Random Fact: Yes, this is the same sample used on Tupac’s posthumous hit ‘I Ain’t Mad At Cha’, which has also been interpolated by newcomers Fifth Harmony on their song ‘We Know’. Queen of Hip-Hop/Soul Mary J. Blige covered the original song in 1997.

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From The Vault: Destiny’s Child – ‘Soldier’

Echoing this week’s TGJ Replay, today’s From The Vault pick is ‘Soldier’ by iconic-trio Destiny’s Child.

The second offering from the divas’ decade old ‘Destiny Fulfilled‘ LP, and follow up to club banger ‘Lose My Breath‘, ‘Soldier’ was helmed by ‘Crazy In Love‘ maestro Rich Harrison and written by the girls alongside lyricist extraordinaire Sean Garrett.

As a nod to the founding members’ Southern foundation, rappers T.I. and Lil’ Wayne are featured on the track, which at the time helped further cement their reputation as the next-big-things in Hip-Hop.

Like its predecessor, it peaked at #3 on the Billboard’s Hot 100 – as well as its Hot Hip-Hop/R&B – but had even more longevity becoming one of the biggest songs of the following year. It was a worldwide smash too peaking at #4 in the UK and reaching the 3rd position of the charts in Australia.

The Ray Kay directed video saw the trio yet again amping up the divatude, serving glam, grit, grown, and sexy. A black-and-white affair, the clip featured appearances from a heavily-pregnant Solange, Luke James, and Ice Cube and was nominated for an MTV Video Music Award in 2005.


After rising to prominence with songs that defined girl power, ‘Soldier’ and its parent album continued the trend with a flair, maturity, and a real sense of womanhood.
With ten years having passed and the ladies now possessing their own success, “soldiers” and children, we can’t help but daydream about the prospect of new music, the themes attached, and above all how epic it’d be.
DC3 may have announced their disbandment during their last tour in 2005, yet we’re remain hopeful that a reunion could still happen. After all, their destiny may be “fulfilled” as a full-time group, but there’s no reason it can’t be revisited, celebrated, and have additional chapters added in the future.

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From The Vault: Lil Kim – ‘Lighters Up’

“You don’t know, my town is the truth. Welcome To Brooklyn”

Today, From The Vault travels back to 2005 when a certain Kimberly Jones released one of her most acclaimed singles. Our pick is ‘Lighters Up’ by Lil’ Kim.

Produced by former close collaborator Scott Storch, the Island-flavored number – which samples Damian Marley’s ‘Welcome To Jamrock‘ – was the first single from Queen Bee’s fourth album ‘The Naked Truth‘. An ode to the artist’s native neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, the cut was a Urban hit in the US where it reached #31 on the Hot 100 and the 9th position of the Hot Hip-Hop/R&B charts.

Serving ghetto-fab aplenty, the accompanying Kirk Fraser video is set in various parts of Brooklyn and includes a special cameo by fellow royal Mary J. Blige, as well as comedian Katt Williams. With its documentary feel, the clip was shot a few months before the rapper’s incarceration and uses album track ‘Shut Up B*tch‘ as its introduction.


Although the last decade has seen Ms. Jones trying to re-establish herself as a chart force, it can be noted that ‘Lighters Up’ stands as Kim’s latest chart success and quite frankly nothing she has released since this song and its parent album has been anything on-par with her classic catalog.

Over the years, we’ve stated how much we’d love to see the pint-sized diva win and we firmly believe that armed with a single akin to this one she could be on the brink of the comeback that has been eluding her for so long.

Until then, Notorious Kim, we salute you!

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From The Vault: Kelly Rowland – ‘Work’

From The Vault returns this week with one of Kelly Rowland’s signature hits; it’s the worldwide smash ‘Work’.

The third single’s off Rowland’s sophomore album ‘Ms. Kelly’, ‘Work’ in its original form was produced by Scott Storch but was pushed around the world in its Bollywood-inspired remix courtesy of British DJs the Freemasons in early 2008.

Despite not receiving a  formal US release, the cut still it made ample waves in the rest of the world. Indeed, in its remixed incarnation, it reached the Top 10 in the UK (#4), France (#4), Australia (#6) and Turkey (#3) among other territories. It is one of the stunner’s biggest hits and is considered the catalyst for the next EDM-heavy step in her career.

The accompanying diva-fied of a video, directed by Philip Andelman, used silhouettes aplenty, neon lights, as well as stylised posing from Kelly and her dancers. The result? Mysterious and sensuous mise en scene, which goes hand-in-hand with the tempting lyrics of the song.


With mother-to-be Rowland hard at work on the follow-up to last year’s ‘Talk A Good Game’, it seems she is ready to revisit the Dance sound that gave her her most successful solo moments. We, for one, are uber excited by this latest development. Still, from our vantage point, it would be wise for Team Kelly to create a sound that has its roots in the genre, while boasting soul and grit (so as to stay true to Rowland’s R&B roots). EDM, in its pure form, is swiftly departing airwaves around the world. Something akin to this very remix could do wonders on a global scale for the diva.

In the meantime, check out the original version of ‘Work’ below…

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