Confirmed: Usher Re-Hires Mother In a statement to the press, Usher’s record label have confirmed that the Grammy winner has re-hired his mother Jonetta Patton as his manager. Check out the report via Billboard:

In a short statement issued by LaFace/Zomba, it was announced that the artist “has dissolved his management arrangement with Benny Medina and has re-engaged Jonnetta Patton as his manager.”

Usher split his mother as his manager in May 2007. He then hired Medina, who was integral in the launch of the artist’s recent album, “Here I Stand.” In 10 weeks, it has sold 948,000 units in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. It’s the No. 8 best-selling album of 2008 so far.

However, it hasn’t come close to matching the gaudy numbers of its predecessor, 2004’s “Confessions,” which sold 3.77 million copies in its first 10 weeks and is at 9.6 million to date.

Let the ‘I told you so’s’ ensue lol. For real, this is definitely a good look for Usher IMO; maybe not for the ‘Here I Stand’ LP (which IMO was dead on arrival), but for his long-term prospects.

Your thoughts?

Review up shortly…

In the meanwhile…

What do you think of the video?

A lengthy snippet of Monica’s new single ‘Still Standing’ (also the titled of her forthcoming album)surfaced today. The Ludacris assisted sound sounds pretty good IMO. check it out below:

Hit or Miss?

This past week, R&B star Ashanti performed at Six Flags new Jersey. Check out her performance of current single ‘Good Good’, which featured a medley mix of Lil Wayne’s ‘A Milli’ and ‘Grillz’. Check out the performance below:

Good performance.

What do you think of ther performance?

Watch: ‘The Single: Monica’ SpecialFor those who were unable to catch Monica’s Peachtree TV reality show special last night, you can watch the entire thing online via DimeWars.

Click here to watch

What did you think of the show?

Fantasia Covers Sister 2 Sister R&B star Fantasia appears on the cover of the September 2008 issue of Sister 2 Sister magazine.

The season 3 American Idol winner opens up about her relationship with Young Dro, her stint in The Colour Purple, her new album and more.

What do you think of the cover?
Peep Beyonce’s latest promo shot for L’Oreal. Now, while I take on the ‘more power to her’ stance with Ms. Knowles and her never-ending endorsement deals, I can’t say I’m all too thrilled with this one. I don’t even know where to begin, so I’ll address the most obvious; she looks a completely different colour.

No, just no…

Your thoughts?
As previously reported, ‘IT girl of the moment’ Rihanna headlined MTV Italia’s Mobile Bang show a few weeks back. During her set the 2o year old performed a string of covers of hits by the likes of Beenie Man, MIA and Lauryn Hill. Check out the medley of ‘Who Am I / Paper Planes/ Doowop (That Thing)’ below:

Call me a hater or whatever else you choose, but there is no denying that was the pits. She sounded like Billy Goat Gruff with all that bleating. Horrible.

Randomness: It would be great to hear a little of ‘pre-industry cleansing’ Rihanna (aka Caribbean flavoured sound) on her new music – even if just a little. Just a thought…

What do you think of the performance?

Yes, I know I’m a lil late with this one lol…

Solange recently released the controversially titled ‘F*ck The Industry’ on her official blog ‘The Hadley Street Journal’. Speaking on the track, the youngest of the Knowles clan said:

In this journey I have been so blessed to come across many faces and spaces that have shown so much love. I hear so many folk who love that the record is a departure from most of the traditional things out right now. I get people who love my steez and encourage me to be me and I THANK YOU!!

Unfortunately I’m in an industry where diversity is not celebrated the way it should be. When some people see and hear something different it feels foreign to them and they don’t like that. Everyone has a choice of what they like and that’s a beautiful thing!!!

BUT Record labels, managers, publicist, journalist, media ect… have a tendency to see something work and try to reciprocate that with another artist thinking that’s what makes success. To me what makes success is letting people be truly who they are.

“When I heard Kanye’s “Everything I Am” I instantly fell in love. I felt my story somewhere in his. I felt his frustration yet acceptance of who he was. So I decided to put my own little twist on it:)

Warning: This song in NO WAY shape or fashion has a negative light to any of the artist I mention…I love and respect them ALL. I am just simply expressing myself and my story. When I say F.U. I am talking to no one in particular, only those that feel guilty of categorizing :)”

You can listen to the track below:

Awesome track. I’m really respecting Solange’s artistry more as the days go by.

‘F*ck The Industry’ is slated to feature on Solange’s forthcoming mixtape ‘I Can’t Get a Clearance’ (due in the coming months).

Hit or Miss?
Sugababes Working On 'Funky' Album The UK’s leading girl group, the Sugababes, are reportedly looking to serve up a ‘funkier’ sound on their forthcoming sixth studio LP. Check out the report via Digital Spy below:

Despite the girls vowing to take things slowly earlier this year, the new disc is now expected to be released in October – just one year after they brought out Change.

Orson’s lead singer Jason Pebworth, who has been working with the group in the studio, has predicted that the new record will be their best yet.

“I’ve just come out of the studio with the girls and they’re like machines – they don’t stop working,” Jason told the Daily Star. “You gotta admire them. The new tunes are taking them in a much funkier direction.

“I think this next album will be their finest moment. You’re always trying to do something special for Sugababes because they’re no ordinary pop band.”

The group are expected to perform some of their new tracks at the Virgin Mobile V Festival later this month.

In an industry oversaturated with non-singers with pretty faces, the ‘Babes – who are all great vocalists IMO – continue to stand as a refreshing breathe of fresh air. Having enjoyed the girls last record ‘Change’, I’ll definitely be paying close attention to their new LP.

Your thoughts?

{Do you want to see more of the Sugababes and similar artists on That Grape Juice?}

Mariah Carey took to the stage at the 2008 Teen Choice Awards, which aired in the US last night. The 38 year old diva performed a medley of ‘I’ll Be Loving U Long Time’ and ‘Touch my Body’. Though marginally better than most of her more recent showings, I’m still none-too pleased with Mimi’s live performance game. She was clearly lip-syncing during some parts, whereas in others it was hard to tell. For an artist renown for being ‘The Voice’ her insistence on miming like her life depended on it is becoming a little tiresome. What’s more, her lack of stage presence makes watching paint dry seem more appealing than a 2008 Mariah performance. SMH…

Anyway, here’s hoping the performance helps the, otherwise great song (IMO) on the charts; after an impressive start, the single has pretty much stalled on US radio, iTunes and consequently the Billboard charts.

What do you think of the performance?

Cassie: 'I Don't F*ck For Checks' Bad Boy’s Cassie appears in the August/September issue of Complex Magazine. The 21 year old ‘singer’ spoke frankly on a number of issues check extracts from the feature below:
On her voice:

“Based on my past and how my last album came out, I really need to come back much much stronger, I wanted to have more personality. I really want to tell a story when I’m doing a song. Vocally, either you like my voice or you don’t. I’m not trying to blow like Mariah, back when she was doing that.”

On the harshest thing that’s been said about her:

“She’s fu***** for checks. I don’t f*** for checks–I’d rather live on the street.”

On her song “Official Girl” being a marketing ploy to cash in on the P.Diddy rumours:

“Nope. It wasn’t planned. It was just a song I really loved that I heard. Nobody will ever know who “Official Girl” is about. They think it’s about certain people but it’s not. Anything that happens in my personal life is personal. I never actually put anything out there. Nobody’s really known who I’ve dated.”

On dealing with her ethnicity growing up:

“What’s funny about it is, when I was growing up, I wasn’t confused. I knew exactly what I was. My dad’s Filipino, my mom is Mexican, West Indian and black–I’m a little melting pot. In school, you were either black or white. Being Asian really wasn’t anything until I got to high school and was modeling all the time, and it was important because it intrigued people. Black people definitely didn’t claim me before. They were like, ‘Light skinned over there, she’s just not for us.’ It’s all perception. The other day, I was at the drugstore and this girl in line was like, ‘She’s next, the white girl.’ I’m not white. I’m not even close.”

Seems like she’s got a thicker skin this go round. That said, if she’s not doing…well…’you know what’ for tracks/checks, how else could her still having a deal be explained?

Your thoughts?

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