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With the release of Mariah Carey’s much anticipated new LP ‘E=MC²’ today, there’s no doubt the multi-octave songstress will seemingly be everywhere this week. Carey’s first stop was the Oprah Winfrey Show yesterday. As well as performing current single ‘Bye Bye’, she spoke on, among other things, her new slim-line figure, marriage to Tommy Mottola and of course the new record. Check out the interview and performance below:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

‘Bye Bye’ Performance

Great interview and pretty decent performance; shame about the lip-synching at the end though.

Your thoughts?

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?

That Grape Juice To Interview Lil' Mama That Grape Juice will be interviewing teen star Lil’ Mama on Thursday (sorry, I know it’s kinda short notice). Set to release her much-anticipated debut ‘VYP: Voice of The Young People’ on April 29th, the ‘Lip Gloss’ rapper has been tipped by many to be the ‘next big thing’. Have any questions for Lil’ Mama? As always, drop them in the ‘comments’ section. Remember only genuine submissions will be considered. Thanks guys 🙂
Toni Braxton Cancels All April Vegas Shows According to Billboard, Toni Braxton has scrapped all her scheduled ‘Revealed’ Las Vegas shows for this month, following her hospitalisation for an undisclosed illness:

The Flamingo Las Vegas says Braxton’s show will remain dark this week while the 40-year-old Grammy winner has more medical tests following her April 7 hospitalization for chest pain. Braxton was released the following day, but last week’s shows were canceled.

Flamingo President Don Marrandino said her Tuesday-through-Saturday shows are also off, and Braxton will take advantage of a previously scheduled two-week break.

She is due to resume her show at the Flamingo Showroom on May 6. The Flamingo is offering refunds for the canceled shows.

The exact cause of Braxton’s chest pain hasn’t been made public. She has been treated in the past for pericarditis, a viral inflammation of the heart.

Braxton is in the midst of a two-year run at the Flamingo.

Here’s hoping she has a quick recovery. Selfish as it may sound, I’m wanting her to prove that she still has what it takes; I’m still kinda salty about the poor performance of her last LP – 2005’s ‘Libra’, which stands as one of my best R&B albums in a long while.


Your thoughts?

Kelly Rowland recently performed her European smash ‘Work’ at the Hilfiger Sessions in Germany. I really enjoyed this performance, just watching Kelly jam with the band. Good stuff.

What do you think of the performance?

British chart-topper Estelle performed her smash ‘American Boy’ on The Friday Night Project a few weeks ago. She nailed it! Great performance. The band really added an extra dimension to the already awesome track. ‘American Boy’ has occupied the top spot on the Official Singles Chart here in the UK for the last three weeks.

What do you think of the performance?

UK singing sensation Leona Lewis has hit the promo trail hard in the US in support of her ‘Spirit’ LP, most recently stopping by Jimmy Kimmel Live. I really enjoyed this interview; it’s one of only times I’ve seen Leona let her personality shine through and she came across really well.

Having already broken records around the globe, she seems set to do the same in the US this coming week as ‘Spirit’ is almost certainly headed for the top spot on the Billboard 200 chart. What’s more, ‘Bleeding Love’ – which already hit #1 in the US three weeks ago – looks set to ascend to the coveted position once again. More power to her!

Any thoughts?

Monica Speaks On New AlbumR&B singer Monica recently left a voicemail on her fan-site MonicaSoul.com, dishing details on her forthcoming album ‘Lessons Learned’. Slated to be released in August via J Records, the LP (which will consist of 12-14 tracks) will be preceded by a single in June/July, according to the 27 year old. As at the recording of the message, Monica confirmed she has either already worked or is in the process of working with the following producers: Babyface, Polow The Don, Bryan Michael Cox, Ne-Yo and R. Kelly.

I’m kinda surprised she returned back to work so soon, her son Romello was only born in January. Still, I can’t complain; Monica oft brings ‘IT’ with her albums. Random tidbit: Am I the only one who really liked her last effort ‘The Makings of Me?

Any thoughts?
JoJo Update In a recent interview with theLIFE.Files, JoJo confirmed that her forthcoming album, her third, will be titled ‘All I Want Is Everything’. Set for a ‘Late 2008’ release, she also revealed that the LP will boast production from the likes of Timbaland, Tank, DJ Toomp, and Polow Da Don. {Source}
As I’ve said quite a few times, JoJo’s sophomore effort ‘The High Road’ surprised me to the core; with it’s stellar R&B cuts, the album arguably served as one of best Urban/Pop releases of 2006. The 17 year old’s undeniable vocal prowess, in conjunction with the impressive list of producers, makes her LP one I’m definitely looking forward to.

Your thoughts?
Beyonce & Jay-Z At Houston Rockets Game Newlyweds, Beyonce and Jay-Z, were snapped together at the Houston Rockets vs Phoenix Suns basketball game in Houston, Texas yesterday.

In other ‘Jayonce’ news, click here to read this NY Post article that has been making the rounds recently about the mainstream media’s lack of interest in ‘the wedding’.

Your thoughts?
Mariah Covers JET Continuing along the promo trail for her forthcoming ‘E=MC²’ LP, Mariah Carey appears on the cover of the latest issue of Jet Magazine (on newsstands now). It’s set to be a busy week for the ‘Touch My Body’ singer, starting with an appearance/performance on the Oprah Winfrey Show this coming Monday, followed by American Idol on Tuesday and Wednesday. Mimi’s BET Special, which was taped last month, will air on Thursday.
* Our review of ‘E=MC²’ will be up shortly.
You can still enter our ‘E=MC²’ CD-Give-Away (which ends tomorrow) by clicking here

Any thoughts?
 Alicia Keys: 'Gangsta Rap Is A Government Tool To Incite Black-On-Black Killings' R&B songstress Alicia Keys features in the latest issue of Blender magazine. As well as checking out outtakes from her shoot – shot by Andrew Eccles – below, peep Alicia’s controversial stance on Gangsta Rap:

We ask what other gangsta rappers she liked. And that’s when Keys drives a steamroller through the wall.

“‘Gangsta rap’ was a ploy to convince black people to kill each other,” she says, putting down the sandwich. “‘Gangsta rap’ didn’t exist.”

Come again? A ploy by whom?

She looks at us like it’s the dumbest question in the world. “The government.”

Alicia says Tupac and Biggie were essentially assassinated, their beefs stoked “by the government and the media, to stop another great black leader from existing.”
{Click here to read the rest of the interview

Wow. It’s kinda unexpected to see Alicia being so outspoken. It’s a pretty deep conspiracy theory, though, and I’m not entirely sure where I stand on the whole issue. You?


{Click pics to enlarge}
Alicia Keys / Blender Alicia Keys / Blender Alicia Keys / Blender Alicia Keys / Blender

Your thoughts?

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