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Our friends over at The Most Access caught up with the ladies of Cherish on the set of their new video ‘Amnesia’. Check it out:

While the song has grown on me a little more, the video looks set to be a bore. I’m also finding it hard to ignore the striking similarities between this and the clip for their single ‘Unappreciated’. Cherish’s new album ‘The Truth’ hits stores on May 3rd.

Your thoughts?

Competition: Alicia Keys Tour Give-Away! That Grape Juice has teamed up with AEG Live, one of the world’s leading providers of live entertainment, to give you the chance to win tickets to see Alicia Keys live in concert! The Grammy Award winning superstar is currently touring the US in support of her multi-Platinum album ‘As I Am’. With special guests Ne-Yo and Jordin Sparks, the tour is unmissable!
Over the course of the next three weeks, That Grape Juice will be offering a pair of tickets to select dates of the tour in May. This weeks cities/dates are:

* San Diego, California: San Diego Sports Center – May 7th 2008

* Las Vegas, Nevada: MGM Grand – May 9th 2008

To be in with a chance of winning this week’s instalment, answer the following question correctly:

Which label did Alicia sign with first?

a) J Records

b) Columbia

c) Def Jam

Email your answer as well as your full name, age, and address (as well as State – *very important*) to [email protected]. Please be sure to put ‘Alicia Comp – Week 1’ as the subject. Winners will be selected randomly from all correct answers. Competition ends Sunday 27th April. Good luck!

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You can also purchase tickets to Alicia’s tour by clicking here

Amerie Officially Done With Columbia After months of speculation, it appears that R&B songstress Amerie has severed ties with Columbia Records, following the removal of her name from the labels roster. The singer’s third studio album ‘Because I Love It’, though critically acclaimed and a hit in Europe, did not receive a Stateside release. Instead, a succession of proposed release dates, came and went without yielding the album. Reliable sources confirm that the singer is currently locked in talks LA Reid’s Def Jam. {Source}
Here’s hoping she signs with a new label ASAP. It’s criminal that ‘Because I Love It’ wasn’t given a chance to be heard by the masses. Truly a great record.

Any thoughts?
Pretty Ricky Unveil New Member Following the departure of Pretty Ricky’s lead singer (Pleasure) last year, the group have revealed their new member – Ambition/4Play (pictured second from the right). The singer will now serve as ‘the new voice of Pretty Ricky’ {Source}
Check out the group’s first performance with Ambition (Warning: Explicit):

The group are a mess, but evidently someones liking their music…

Your thoughts?

The Best You Never Heard: Nivea, Luke & Q, Fya & Kiley DeanThis week’s edition of ‘The Best You Never Heard’ serves up songs by Nivea, Luke & Q, Fya and Kiley Dean. You can drop me your suggestions for future installments at [email protected]

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Nivea – Okay (Red-Cup Remix)

It’s not often that a song’s remix is better than the original, however this was very much so the case with Nivea’s ‘Okay’. Featured on her 2005 effort ‘Complicated’ (along with the released version), the track boasts entirely new lyrics, production as well a feature by then-husband The Dream. The ‘Crunk Craze’ that swept the industry a few years ago makes it all the more understandable why the original was released instead of this standout cut.

Listen: Okay (Red-Cup Remix)

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Luke & Q – My Turn

Some of you may remember R&B duo Luke & Q from their brief appearance in Destiny’s Child ‘Soldier’ video. Described by Beyonce herself as being ‘the total package’, the group generated a moderate buzz back in 2006 with their debut single ‘My Turn’. Indeed the pair’s unique combined vocals make for an engaging listening experience; Q’s smooth tenor complements Luke’s husky delivery surprisingly well. Though things seem to have gone quiet with the guys, there’s no denying the gem that is this track.

 

Listen: My Turn

 

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Fya – Must Be Love

 

 

Somewhat echoing the sentiments expressed by Estelle recently, UK trio Fya serve as prominent example of how the majority of urban acts here aren’t supported by the industry. The girls burst onto the scene in 2003 with their own brand of Dancehall-flavoured R&B, spearheaded by, this, their awesome debut single ‘Must Be Love’. Despite releasing a solid follow-up also, the girls were dropped by Def Jam UK soon after; a shame considering their potential was endless.

Listen: Must Be Love

 

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Kiley Dean – Kiss Me Like That

Set for stardom back in 2003 as a protegee of Timbaland, Kiley Dean found herself at the receiving end of label drama – eventually severing ties with the hit-maker’s short lived Beat Club imprint. Having recorded two shelved albums for the label, the Timbaland produced ‘Kiss Me Like That’ stands as a personal favorite. Dean recently signed with Matthew Knowles and Music World, with an album slated to drop this year.

Listen: Kiss Me Like That

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

Whitney & Ray J Attend Vegas Fight NightWhitney Houston and rumored boyfriend Ray stepped out together for the second time this week, heightening speculation that they are, indeed, a couple. The pair posed for pictures while sitting front-row centre at the Hopkins vs. Calzaghe boxing match in Las Vegas, Nevada last night. While, I’ll reserve my judgement on them dating, it’s great to see Whitney looking happy and healthy. Tidbit: Whitney’s daughter Bobbi Kristina also accompanied her mother.
Whitney & Ray J Attend Vegas Fight Night

Any thoughts?

Lifted from Missy Elliott’s 2002 LP ‘Under Construction’, this week’s From The Vault video is her worldwide smash ‘Work It’. A true pioneer of modern music video, Missy really brought her A-Game with this – arguably her best effort to date. Great song, even better vid. Check it out:

In an industry that seems bent on rehashing the same video/song formulas over and over, Missy continues to stand as a creative rarity.

Your thoughts?

50 Cent Launches Verbal Attack On Keys Following Alicia Keys controversial comments on ‘Gangster Rap’ recently, the ever-outspoken 50 Cent has launched a scathing verbal attack on the singer:

“I don’t like Alicia Keys no more. If she thinks what they consider gangsta music is [made] to bring black people down then I think my sh*t falls into that category. I don’t like people who don’t like me. I don’t like her then because that’s what provides the life for me.

I think if you ask Ice Cube the same shit, he’ll tell you, “F*ck Alicia Keys” for even saying that. Because the success he’s had as an actor and a businessman, there was no opportunity for that sh*t without N.W.A. But I don’t think that [her] classical sh*t is cool. I don’t give a f*ck if you can classically play the piano. I haven’t been classically trained, because my upbringing, nobody put me in front of a piano at that time. If they did, I would know how to do it as well as she does. I could learn how to play the piano if I was passionate about it right now.

That’s obviously my perspective evaluating what she does, and I could f*cking care less about the sh*t. So she don’t like the music that embodies the harsh realities because they’re not her realities. She hasn’t been subjected to the same things”. {Source}

While 50 does present some valid points, his argument ultimately sinks when considering the wider picture. Yes, he’s had tough experiences, however it’s hard to see what he, himself, is doing musically (or otherwise) to bring about a change in how these ‘realities’ are depicted by the media and rappers themselves. Instead, 50, and others – having long risen above their ‘hood’ beginnings – oft use their platform to release music that a) glorifies a lifestyle they are no longer lead and b) allow it to be used to, as Alicia put it, ‘government forces’ to continue to oppress young black men who aimlessly get caught up in it.

Lol, this is all getting a little wordy and essay-like, however it’s all in the name of healthy debate – something 50 should have considered when articulating his point, as this just seems like another case of 50 running his mouth.

Your thoughts?

Omarion Dropped From Record Label According to our good friend Jawn Murray over at AOL Black Voices, R&B singer has been unceremoniously dropped by his label Columbia Records. Check out the report below:

A source at the label confirmed to the BV Buzz that the Sony imprint decided to drop the former B2K lead singer.

Omarion (real name: Omari Ishmael Grandberry) signed as a solo artist to Columbia Records after B2K broke up in December 2003. His boy band was actually signed to Sony’s Epic division.

The 23-year-old singer released two solo CDs for the record company, including 2005’s ‘O’ and 2006’s ’21.’ Both albums were certified gold.

In December of 2007, Omarion partnered with rapper Bow Wow on the CD, ‘Face Off.’ To date, the set has sold 341,137 units according to SoundScan.

No word on what the singer’s plans are for life after Columbia Records.

My source speculated that if former Sony executive David McPherson fills the late Ronnie Johnson’s job as Executive Vice President and head of Urban Music at Capitol Records, its likely Omarion could end up there. McPherson was influential in B2K’s success at Epic.

Another option could be Motown Records.

Omarion’s management and production company, The Ultimate Group (TUG) has a deal with that label and released Omarion’s good friend and business partner Marques Houston’s last two CDs through Motown.

Ouch. Having noted the poor performance of his solo albums as well as the atrocity of a joint album he dropped with Bow Wow, I can’t say this is surprising. IMO it was always a case of ‘when’. Not to be fatalistic, but finding success elsewhere is still going to be a tough feat for Omarion; after all, unlike some (*cough* Kelly Rowland *cough*) Columbia did a great job promoting Omarion’s releases as well as footing the bill for the top-notch producers enlisted on his albums. Yet, all of this, and he still flops. I’m thinking it has more to do with the domination of ‘that’ market by the likes of Chris Brown and Usher, leaving the pretty indistinctive Omarion without much of a chance. Anyway, good luck to him – he’s going to need it.


Your thoughts?
Winehouse's 'Close' To Marriage Break-UpAccording to reports, controversial singer Amy Winehouse has started making plans to end her 11 month marriage to Blake Fielder-Civil:

The singer is waiting for her partner to be released from jail before she breaks the news to him, according to The Sun.

Fielder-Civil is currently awaiting trial at Pentonville Prison on charges of assault and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Winehouse has apparently missed several visits to the North London prison and is behaving like a “single woman” with friends.

“Amy does everything she can not to visit,” said a source. “She forgets she is married half the time. There are a few men she is close to and Blake can’t stand it.”

The Back To Black star’s father commented: “It wouldn’t surprise me if Amy and Blake had broken up.” {Source}

Evidently, they weren’t good for each other; so I guess this is a good thing. Maybe now she’ll be less of a train-wreck and concentrate on the music.

Any thoughts?
New Usher Promo Pics Check out these new promotional snaps for Usher’s highly anticipated new album ‘Here I Stand’ – due May 27th.
New Usher Promo Pics New Usher Promo Pics

What do you think of the pics?
Janet Jackson Readies New SingleAfter halting promotion for her latest LP ‘Discipline’ due to illness, Janet Jackson is set to release the next single from the set ‘Can’t Be Good’. Unlike previous single LUV which was only released to select formats on radio, ‘Can’t Be Good’ has a tentative radio ad date of June 9th – impacting all formats. {Source}

Whoever made the call for this must be smoking that good stuff, as this is a recipe for disaster IMO. With an album, Janet’s most promising in years, currently in free-fall on the charts, it’s hard to see the logic in releasing the most adult contemporary track on the record and hoping for a hit. Granted I’m not a fan of serving any old rubbish to radio in order to enjoy chart success, ‘Discipline’ genuinely possesses some surefire hits i.e. ‘LUV’, ‘The One’, ‘2 Nite’, as well as the title track.
In any case, with several sources confirming that Def Jam are looking to refocus their efforts on promoting her upcoming tour as a means of selling the album, I’m hopeful that things begin to pick up soon.

Any thoughts?
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