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From The Vault: Natalie Cole & Whitney Houston Perform ‘Say A Little Prayer’

2015 was a wholly eventful year entertainment-wise, yet sadly it climaxed with the passing of songbird Natalie Cole.
From The Vault  salutes the diva with a very special performance that saw her grace the stage alongside another premium vocalist – and one of That Grape Juice‘s favorite – Whitney Houston.
Taking on the Aretha Franklin classic ‘I Say A Little Prayer’, the two singers delivered what could only be described as a vocal masterclass. Verses were traded and sensational chemistry was displayed.
This performance is only a brief reminder of just how much the music industry at large has lost with Natalie’s – and obviously Whitney’s – departure. Apart from shoulder pads and intricate hairstyles, what’s striking about this showing is the ladies’ raw talent and their dedication to the art of music and performance.
With social media’s influence in today’s pop culture at sky-high, we sincerely hope that Ms. Cole’s passing will encourage the next generation of vocal hopefuls to flip through her extensive catalogue and choose to focus on putting the talent at the forefront.
Ms. Cole, thank you for the music. Love always.

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From The Vault: Bow Wow & Omarion – ‘Let Me Hold You’

Bow Wow and Omarion‘s 2005 smash ‘Let Me Hold You’ is our pick for this week’s From The Vault.

Released during the mid-00’s in a ‘We Belong Together’ dominated landscape, the track was the launching single from the rapper’s fourth effort ‘Wanted’ and was the first of many collaborations between him and the B2K alumni.

The cut was produced by Bow’s mentor and then-it guy Jermaine Dupri alongside No I.D. and uses a sample of Luther Vandross‘ version of ‘If Only For One Night’ – originally sung by Brenda Russell.

A  huge success in America, the melodic number peaked at #4 on the Hot 100, #2 on the Hot Hip-Hop/R&B and #1 on the Hot Rap Songs tally.

Bryan Barber directed the video for the single, which – like many a 90s/00s visual – is set  at a “turnt” urban house-party. Bow Wow can be seen serenading his love interest to mixed results.

With the clip climaxing with a “to be continued” tag, its sequel came in the form of Mr Moss’ follow-up duet with former girlfriend Ciara, ‘Like You’.


After this single, Bow Wow and Omarion would go on to record an album (‘Face Off’) together, similar to R.Kelly and Jay-Z a few years prior. With Hip-Hop artists getting together more and more for joint projects – like Jay and Kanye’s The Throne or Drake and Future a few months ago – which artists would you like to see get their collabo on for a Hip-Hop/R&B LP?

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From The Vault: Janet Jackson – ‘Any Time, Any Place’

“I don’t care who’s around…”

From The Vault is back this week with an “after midnight” special. Pop royal Janet Jackson‘s 1993 hit ‘Any Time Any Place’ is this week’s selection.

Aptly, the track was the fifth single released from the artist’s eponymous fifth LP ‘janet.’, the smooth and sultry jam was yet another Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis and Jackson concoction and saw the singer thematically pushing the envelope with a voyeuristic setting.

Like all singles from the said album, the track was a monster hit, peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and most importantly spent a then-record breaking 10 weeks at #1 on the Hip-Hop/R&B chart.

Its Urban success was due mostly to its remixed version courtesy of R. Kelly who was on a critical high with his ’12 Play’ album during the song’s time of release.

The Janet jam was brought back to the public’s attention in 2012 when Kendrick Lamar and Drake sampled it for their Hip-Hop smash ‘Poetic Justice’ – in reference to the movie Jackson starred in with legendary rapper Tupac.

For its music video, Jackson adopted a literal approach and can be seen engaging in sensual play with her neighbor.

Despite causing quite the controversy at the time for its explicit content (which these days could arguably be deemed tame), the visual – like most Jackson clips – offered a message.  This time about the importance of safe-sex.

Directed by Keir McFarlane, a special edit was made for the R. Kelly remix with additional scenes.


Though we really respect and enjoy the more demure approach Janet is taking with the ‘Unbreakable’ project, we do miss “baby-making-songs.” Indeed, much like Marvin Gaye, Ms. Jackson has the ability express even her dirtiest fantasies with an unparalleled air of class and sophistication.

Whatever the case, we’re glad we have Damita Jo back on the radio and the charts again.

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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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