We’re loving what we’re hearing of Lady GaGa‘s ‘The Fame Monster’ LP and have had our preview copy on replay for a hot minute now. The RedOne produced ‘Monster’, however, has been getting crazy spins here in “That Grape Juice land”. Infectious production, clever wordplay and totally ‘GaGa’, this one has ‘S-M-A-S-H’ written all over it.
This week’s edition of Best You Never Heard features little known gems by Michael Jackson, Wyclef and Claudette Ortiz, Kirk Franklin and Teedra Moses.
Michael Jackson – Unbreakable (ft. Notorious B.I.G)
While the world unsurprisingly gravitated toward Michael Jackson‘s classic songs in the wake of his death earlier this year, I found myself doing the same, yet also reaffirming my appreciation for his ‘newer’ music. Taken from 2001′s ‘Invincible’, Jackson’s last studio LP - ‘Unbreakable’ stands as one of my favourite of his more recent offerings. Produced by Rodney ‘Darkchild’ Jerkins and featuring the late, great Notorious B.I.G, this epic piano-driven cut oozes funk, with a MJ’s trademark stamp on it. Without a doubt, had ‘hit’ written all over it; interestingly this was initially supposed to be a single (accompanied by a big budget video), however contractual disputes with his label Sony K.O’ed such plans. Tidbit: R&B star Brandy features on backing-vocals.
Wyclef & Claudette Ortiz – Dance Like This
Upon hitting ‘play’ on this one, many of you will immediately think back to Wyclef and Shakira‘s 2005 smash ‘Hips Don’t Lie’. Indeed, ‘Dance Like This’ (recorded a year earlier), which features former City High singer Claudette Ortiz on lead vocals, sounds almost identical to ‘Hips’ – only with different lyrics. With both produced by and featuring Wyclef, it appears he simply tweaked Claudette’s version, which featured on the soundtrack to ‘Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights’ (straight-to-DVD) for Ms. Shakira, Shakira. With ‘Hips’ blowing up and becoming the hit it did, very few are in the know about the original – which I would argue is the better of the two versions; this primarily due to the superior vocals and all-round more logical lyrcial content. Randomness: Come to think of it, where the hell is Claudette, she’s so talented?
Kirk Franklin – How It Used To Be
I’m a sucka for ‘crossover’ Gospel tracks, and few come harder on that front than Kirk Franklin, particularly on ‘How It Used To Be’. Said to have been produced by hitmaker Bryan-Michael Cox, this stirring piano-ballad has a ‘knock’ that would see it sit comfortably beside Mary J’s ‘Be Without You’ and similar sounding songs. More over, however, the vocals and vocal arrangements cut deep, really evoking emotion. Great, great song.
Teedra Moses – Backstroke
Soulful songstress Teedra Moses served up an R&B classic in the form of her debut LP ‘Complex Simplicity’. As hard as I try, I cannot remember where I stumbled upon the CD, yet what I do remember quite vividly is playing it on my iPod one night in 2005, while laying in bed. The intention was to see what the growing underground buzz was about…let’s just say I started a love-affair with the album there and then, an affair which still holds strong today. A particular album stand-out is ‘Backstroke’, which is best described as sensuality epitomised. With it’s suggestive coos and convincing vocal delivery, this stands as testament to the undeniable talent that is Teedra Moses. Tidbit: Still waiting on her sophomore LP ‘The Young Lioness’!
Oscar and Grammy winner Jennifer Hudson has landed the role of Winnie Mandela, the former wife of Nelson Mandela, in a new biopic which will focus on the life of the one-time South African 1st lady. Check out the report via Variety below:
Hudson will play Winnie Mandela in a film that begins production May 30 in the South African locations of Johannesburg, Capt Town, Transkei and Robben Island, where the future president spent 18 of his 27 years in prison.
“Winnie” will be directed by Darrell J. Roodt, the veteran South African filmmaker whose 2006 film “Yesterday” was Africa’s Best Foreign Film nominee, and who also directed “Cry, The Beloved Country,” and “Sarafina!”
Andre Pieterse, Roodt and Paul L. Johnson wrote a script based on the Anne Marie du Preez Bezdrob biography “Winnie Mandela:A Life.” Picture is being made with South African and Canadian money, with Pieterse producing with Michael Mosca of Canada’s Equinoxe Films.
While Nelson Mandela — who’ll be played by Morgan Freeman in the Clint Eastwood-directed “Invictus” — is a universally sympathetic figure for his struggle against apartheid, his former wife is a far more complicated figure. She has been depicted as the mother and wife who was a steadfast supporter of her activist husband and who was jailed herself for campaigning for his release and fighting against apartheid. Her image was subsequently tarnished by association with a bodyguard who murdered a 14-year old alleged informer, and she was later convicted of fraud.
The filmmakers will tell the whole story, good and bad.
“I was compelled and moved when I read the script,” Hudson said. “Winnie Mandela is a complex and extraordinary woman and I’m honored to be the actress asked to portray her. This is a powerful part of history that should be told.”
Hudson, who is expected to sing the film’s theme song, won the Oscar for her screen debut in “Dreamgirls’ and followed with “The Secret Life of Bees” and “Sex in the City.”
Go Jennifer! As one of the few talents in the industry actually getting props for being one of the best, as well as being an equally great actress as she is a singer, I couldn’t more happier for Jennifer. The movie sounds like a winner too. More power to her!
Continuing along the promotional trail for her sophomore LP ‘Echo’, Leona Lewis performed current single ‘Happy’ on tonight’s episode of Dancing With The Stars. Though I’m ready for Leona to have her Mariah ‘butterfly’ moment (branch out and do something more interesting with her God given voice), kudos where kudos are due, she nailed this performance vocally.
Tidbit: The song is starting to grow on me. Still a little too ‘Bleeding Love’-esque, but not as bad as it was on first couple of listens.
R&B songstress Alicia Keys performed her new single ‘Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart’ a few hours ago on ABC’s Dancing With The Stars. While not a stage spectacle (it is Alicia), Ms. Keys did a great job! Good stuff!
JERSEY CITY, N.J. (WPIX) – The father of a boy who accused Michael Jackson of molesting him 15 years ago was found dead of an apparent suicide, Jersey City Police confirmed to PIX News.
According to authorities, the body of Evan Chandler was discovered in his Jersey City residence at about 5:35 p.m. on Nov. 5 after he went missing.
Chandler, who was being treated for an unknown illness, missed an appointment with his doctor which prompted concern, Jersey City spokesperson Stan Eason said.
After several failed attempts to get in touch with his patient, the doctor, who was not immediately identified, called the building’s concierge to check on Chandler.
The concierge later discovered the victim’s lifeless body inside the apartment at the Liberty Towers located on Hudson Street, Eason said.
Police say Chandler suffered a self inflicted gun shot wound to the head. Authorities are treating the case as a suicide.
It was back in 1994, when Chander’s then-12-year-old son Jordy Chandler accused Jackson of molesting him on several occasions between 1991 and 1994. The father and son went after the King of Pop in court and later settled the case for a reported $20 million.
In 2006, Jordan Chandler filed a request for a restraining order against his father after he allegedly struck Jordan over the head from behind with a twelve and a half pound weight.
In the wake of Jackson’s untimely death in June 2009, an internet rumor surfaced that claimed Jordan Chandler confessed to lying to police about being molested by Jackson. Jordan was coached by his father to tell the outlandish story in a scheme to get millions, the report claimed. An investigation later determined no such confession took place.
The ever-reliable folk over at Urban Bridgez have unveiled the official track-listing for Alicia Keys‘ eagerly awaited 4th studio album ‘The Element of Freedom’ (due December 15th). Rumours of an Alicia / Beyonce duet had been gathering momentum for a few weeks now, and according to this tracklist, it’s true. Check it out!
1. The Element Of Freedom (Intro)
2. Love Is Blind
3. Doesn’t Mean Anything
4. Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart
5. Wait Til They See My Smile
6. That’s How Strong My Love Is
7. Unthinkable (I’m Ready)
8. Love Is My Disease
9. Like The Sea
10. Put It In A Love Song feat. Beyonce Knowles
11. This Bed
12. Distance And Time
13. How It Feels To Fly
14. Empire State Of Mind (Part II)
First Ms. Keys’ had me amped with ‘Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart’, now a Bey duet – which is interestingly the album’s only feature.
I’ve got to hand it to ol’ Bouncy she’s venturing into the collabo territory a lot more these days (see: Lady GaGa, Usher, Justin), yet picking the best of the best to work with. Here’s hoping the track itself is gonna be worth the hype.
Pop icon Janet Jackson is currently doing the promotional rounds for her greatest hits compilation ‘Number Ones’.
Today she phoned in to Charlotte’s Power 98 to talk about a number of things, the most interesting of which was her confirmation that she is indeed single and that she and producer Jermaine Dupri are no longer an item, yet best friends – this after a 7 year relationship. Jackson, 43, asserted that she ‘adores’ him.
Other highlights from the interview, which you can listen to in its entirety below, include her liking Rihanna’s music (eye-roll) and loving Alicia Keys’, praying for the latter to be successful when she broke into the industry. She also talked spoke on being a vegan, her career and much more. A great listen.
No matter what spin Ms. Jackson (if you’re nasty) puts on it, it’s really unfortunate they called it quits after so long