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Beyonce – ‘Halo’ Video

Review up in a bit…

In the meanwhile…

What do you think of the video?

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New Song: Toni Braxton – ‘Get Loose’

We reported a few months back that R&B songstress Toni Braxton had signed a new deal with Atlantic Records and was set to drop her first single ‘Get Loose’ toward the end of the year. Indeed with just a few days to go before the year is out, the song has surfaced. Produced by Rodney ‘Darkchild’ Jerkins, the uptempo song unsurprisingly has a very Darkchild 2008 sound. By that I mean it has elements similar to cuts such Brandy’s ‘Right Here (Departed)’ and Beyonce’s ‘Scared of Lonely’.

As I type and listen to the song over again, I’m still on the fence about this one. It’s decent enough on first listen, however in terms of a ‘comeback’ single and chart prospects, just doesn’t really cut it for me. A grower? Perhaps. A miss? Perhaps. {Thanks Devonte!}

Hit or Miss?

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Music

Beyonce On Saturday Night Live

Hot on the promotional trail for her ‘I Am…Sasha Fierce’ LP (look out four our review shortly), Beyonce took over Saturday Night Live last night. As well as performing current smashes ‘Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)’ (above) and ‘If I Were A Boy’, she also did a must-see skit with Justin Timberlake (all I’ll say single Ladies. Leotards. Heels LOL).

Beyonce / Justin Timberlake Skit

If I Were A Boy

Great performances! I was beginning to tire of the ”Boy’ showings – I mean, after all, it’s Beyonce. The masses don’t watch to see her just standing there. That said, she shut it down on both performances – especially Single Ladies, which was a MAJOR improvement over the World Music Awards performance. The Justin skit…ok then LOL!

What do you think of the performances?

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Music

New Songs: Ciara – ‘Explode’ & Toni Braxton – ‘Melt’

With Ciara still hard at work on her 3rd studio LP ‘Fantasy Ride’, a new cut titled ‘Explode’ from the album has surfaced. Earlier this week we posted the 22 year old’s performance of the song at the Wild Jam concert – this is the studio version. Check it out below:

I’m really liking this one; the seductive production and delivery are very in the veign of ‘Promise’ (which IMO still stands as Ciara’s defining track). That said, of the new material I’ve heard from her thus far, very little has stuck out as single worthy – this included. Here’s hoping she comes out with bang when it’s time for the album’s official lead single drops (unsurprisingly, her team are now referring to ‘Go Girl’ as a ‘buzz single’…could its poor performance on the chart have anything to do with it? Pretty self-explanatory LOL).
As previously reported, Toni Braxton is set to make her return to the charts in the coming months with a new label – Atlantic – and partnership with hit-maker Rodney ‘Darkchild’ Jerkins. A new song ‘Melt (Like An Iceberg)’ has surfaced as is believed to be from the recording sessions for her as yet untitled new album. You can listen to it below:

Real chill and laid-back, which though sufficient for some, isn’t really cutting it IMO. For Toni to make her mark in the current industry climate, without compromising her sound, I’d be looking for her to channel the sound/vibe she was working with on 00’s hits such as ‘He Wasn’t Man Enough’, ‘Spanish Guitar’ etc. Either way, I’ll definitely be paying close attention to Toni’s new material.

Hit(s) or Miss(es)?
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Music

Jennifer Hudson Performs ‘Spotlight’ On Dancing With The Stars

Yes, this is the 100th performance of Jennifer Hudson’s ‘Spotlight’ already, but still worth a post. The Oscar stopped by Dancing With The Stars this week to perform the track, which received the ‘uptempo-ish’ treatment. Great performance.
What do you think of the performance?
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Music

Toni Braxton Enlists Darkchild For New Single

Toni Braxton Enlists Darkchild For New SingleAs Toni Braxton continues to shine on the current season of Dancing With The Stars, the mother of two has shed light on her forthcoming Atlantic Records debut.

The set which is due in stores at the top of 2009, will be preceded by a single which Braxton confirmed will be hitting airwaves next month. Most interestingly, the cut is produced by none other than Rodney ‘Darkchild’ Jerkins.

It’s great to see Toni looking ahead of Dancing With The Stars; keeping the momentum going with her new project. Definitely looking forward to this one. {Source}

Your thoughts

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Music

Beyonce To Perform At MTV Europe Awards

Beyonce To Perform At MTV Europe Awards It has been revealed that Beyonce will be taking to the stage at the 2008 MTV Europe Music Awards – which take place on November 6th in Liverpool’s Echo Arena. {Source}
I’m assuming Ms. Knowles will be giving the first live performances of new singles ‘If I Were A Boy’ and / or ‘Single Ladies’. Hate her or love her, it’s hard to deny she is set to put on one hell of a show – as usual.

Your thoughts?
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Music

The Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists

The Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists To celebrate their 50th Anniversary, Billboard have released the list of Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists. Consisting of stats and chartings from all of Billboard’s charts, the list below certainly provides many a surprise:

(more…)

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From The Vault: Toni Braxton – ‘He Wasn’t Man Enough’

After filing for Bankruptcy in 1998, songstress Toni Braxton had largely been counted out by many the industry. However her year 2000 comeback with ‘The Heat’ silenced the critics and naysayers alike by spawning several hits and selling more than 6 million copies worldwide. The biggest hit to be lifted from the record was ‘He Wasn’t Man Enough’ – which spent several weeks at the top of both the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop charts. A well deserved feat, as the both the song and vid are top notch:

Watching this back kinda has me thirsty for more real talent such as Toni on today’s charts. One can only dream, I guess…

Your thoughts?

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Music

That Grape Juice Is Moving Up…

While the Blog Performance Indicator (BPI) Team are currently prepping the next installment of the Top-40 Urban Blog list (click here to see this month’s), they have released a Top Ten Blog Heat Seekers list – which we charted on. Check it out:

So here are the BPI Urban Blog Heat Seekers…The Top 10 newest, hottest urban blogs who are less than a year old and are burning it up in terms of growth and momentum. This list does not measure overall traffic or inbound links like the BPI Top 40, but rather focuses on how fast a blog is growing month over month. For example, Highbrid Nation has less traffic and inbound links than A Hot Mess, but Highbrid Nation’s metrics are growing at a faster in the past four months than A Hot Mess. So The Heat Seekers are all about growth. Get it? Good. Take a look at the chart in detail after the jump…

1.Necole Bitchie – Urban blog networking guru. Hard work and hustle is paying off. Traffic and linking momentum off the charts

2.Highbrid Nation
– Great layout, branding and dedicated fanbase is helping build traffic

3.Blogs Is Watching
– Proving regionalized hip-hop blogs outside of NY, The ATL and LA can work. Fast growing Seattle hip-hop blog

4.Soul Bounce
– An eye for unique news and well-written commentary. Already becoming an established urban blog in less than a year

5.Ill Seed
– Capitolizing on his famed AllHipHop gossip column. Took a little to build up the buzz but now traffic is growing rapidly

6.Satchel of Gravel
– The anti-street wear blog, takes a look at the anti-coporate/trend side of style and hip-hop; attracting broad audience

7.That Grape Juice
– One of the U.K.’s fastest growing urban blogs; gaining heat in the U.S. in the past three months

8. A Hot Mess
– Light hearted look at urban news with plenty of updates per day, slowly escalating to Top 5 Urban Blogs level

9. The Corporate Takeover
– Unique take on business side of hip-hop. Dedicated core group of readers allows for high linking momentum

10. Ill Doctrine
– Jay Smooth’s video blog gains popularity stemming from his original hiphopmusic.com blog

You will notice a common theme to The BPI Heat Seekers is the unique angle or twist each blog positions itself as. Some take advantage of their credibility from other sites, others find truly unique angles to share about hip-hop or urban news. But this list just proves being unique, having your own voice and getting your networking on are critical for early blogging success. Congrats to this month’s BPI Heat Seekers!

As I have, and will continue to stress, this wouldn’t be possible without you all. Thank you! Remember spread the word and keep it locked on That Grape Juice.

Any thoughts?

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Music

The Best You Never Heard: Toni, Keri Hilson, Estelle & N2U

Toni Braxton – Midnite

R&B songstress Toni Braxton delivered, what I feel to be, her most cohesive effort for a long while yet in the form of 2005’s ‘Libra’. Though the album only achieved mild success, tracks such as the smooth mid-tempo ‘Midnite’ highlight the LP’s more deserving (of success) nature. A great mix of ‘vintage Toni’ and more contemporary production, ‘Midnite’ definitely shows Braxton can more than hang with the current crop of female artists out at the moment.

Listen: Midnite

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Keri Hilson – Hands & Feet

As Timbaland protegee Keri Hilson continues to prep her debut ‘In A Perfect World’, we shine the spotlight on ‘Hands & Feet’ – a not-so-tact cut she had featured on the soundtrack to Usher’s 2005 movie ‘In The Mix’. From the Southern, club-ready production – courtesy of Danja – to Keri’s swagger with her delivery, this one is a winner. Despite having floated around for a few years, I hope it gets a placement on her album.

 

Listen: Hands & Feet

 

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Estelle – Free

 

 

While Estelle is perhaps most known for her recent chart topping effort ‘American Boy’ (both here at home and Stateside), the Londoner has been on her grind for several years now. Released back in 2004, when the multi-talented star was signed with Virgin, ‘Free’ stands as a great track, with an even better message. Random tidbits: Listening to this after so long kinda makes me see where the early Lauryn Hill comparisons came from; real Lauryn-like / LOL at “Put the weave down, do something with yourself”.

Listen: Free

 

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N2U – Baby Mama Love

Jermaine Dupri’s ill-fated stint as the Head of Urban at Virgin Records didn’t prove to be all bad; R&B crooners N2U were one of the first (and only) signee’s to the label under JD’s headship. ‘Baby Mama love’, taken from their 2005 debut ‘Issues’, is an awesome track on a number of fronts. With its engaging and unconventional subject-matter, as well as their stellar vocal delivery, the song stood as one of my personal favorites from that year.

Listen: Baby Mama Love

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Your thoughts: Hit(s) or Miss(es)?

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Music

Behind The Scenes: Mary’s ‘Just Fine’

Check out this behind the scenes look at Mary J. Blige’s great new video ‘Just Fine’ :

I’m eagerly anticipating ‘Growing Pains’, here’s hoping she delivers the goods.

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