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BET UK Launching Next Week The UK version of popular US channel Black Entertainment Television – BET – will be launching on SKY next week. That Grape Juice reported back in August last year that the channel would be expanding it’s reach to the UK. Check out the report below:

Viacom Inc’s BET Networks will launch in the United Kingdom next week as the Black entertainment network expands its global reach.

The entertainment cable network, targeted to African-American audiences, will make its debut in Britain on February 28 to more than 8.8 million digital satellite homes, with a roster of U.S. shows.

It will offer shows including “106 & Park,” a music and variety show, “College Hill,” a reality show about students, and “American Gangster,” a documentary series about notorious criminals.

Over time, the channel is expected to court British programmers to develop shows, executives said.

“For the UK version of BET, we will be giving BET’s U.S. content a regionalized look and feel that reflects the UK marketplace, and as we grow and develop the channel, we look forward to partnering with the UK creative industry to give BET an even stronger British accent,” BET International General Manager Michael Armstrong said in a statement.
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Finally! With MTV Base now airing BET shows such as ‘Hell’s Date’ and ‘College Hill’, I assumed BET’s launch in the UK had been scrapped. There is very little output for Urban music, entertainment etc, so I, personally, can’t wait for next week’s launch.

Your thoughts?

As fans await more details on the re-release of Kelly Rowland’s ‘Ms. Kelly’ album, a seemingly new track has surfaced. It’s believed ‘No Man, No Cry’ was intended for placement on her shelved ‘My Story’ LP. Word is that R&B crooner Tank produced the song; indeed, the production has an undercurrent similar to that of ‘Ghetto’ from the ‘Ms. Kelly’ record. Though not groundbreaking, I’m really feeling the song; Kelly vocally exerts herself, here, in a way we’re not used to hearing from her on her solo offerings. Good stuff. {Thanks Angel}
Hit or Miss?

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Janet Jackson - 'Let Me Know'Set to be released next week Tuesday (February 26th), Janet Jackson’s ‘Discipline’ album will either make or break what could be one of music’s biggest comebacks. In the meanwhile, this new track ‘Let me Know’, which was recorded for the album, but didn’t make the final cut, has surfaced. Penned by Ne-Yo, the breezy mid-tempo offering is ‘just ok’ IMO – the vocal arrangement and harmonies are the best aspect of this otherwise so-so track. With gems such as ‘Feedback’, ‘LUV’ and ‘Rollercoaster’, it’s easy to see why this wasn’t placed on ‘Discipline’ {Thanks Andy!}.

Hit or Miss?

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'Thriller 25' Hits #2 But Is DisallowedAfter selling through an impressive 166,000 copies of the anniversary edition of ‘Thriller’, Michael Jackson will not feature on this week’s Billboard 200 chart due to a technicality. Check out the report via our friends over at SOHH below:

According to New York’s Daily News, even though Jackson’s 25th anniversary album sold 166,000 copies this week, according to Nielsen’s SoundScan, Billboard categorized the album as a catalogue- or oldies album, making it uneligible for inclusion in the Billboard 200.

Jackson’s label, Sony, argues that this should not be the case because in addition to classic hits like “Billie Jean” and “Beat It,” the album also contains six new songs.

One label source explains, “Michael went into the studio and recorded with Kanye West, Fergie, Akon, Will.i.Am – and there’s a brand-new song from Michael, and videos. It beat Grammy winners Amy Winehouse and Herbie Hancock, with 167,000 crossing the counter. Yet for reasons unfathomable to folks in the music industry, Billboard has decided to relegate it to the catalogue chart. Catalogue makes it look like the same ol’ same ol’, but with a “new cover.”

According to Billboard chart expert, Geoff Mayfield, “We were approached by Sony and Sony BMG to consider ‘Thriller 25’ as a current album. But we had to be consistent with hundreds, if not thousands, of reissues that have come to the market. There have actually been new issues of classic albums that include even more new material. We didn’t just make the decision on our own. We contacted major retailers [like Wal-Mart and Best Buy], and that was the consensus.”

Still Mayfield adds that Jackson should find comfort in knowing, “It’s the largest sum for an album on the catalogue chart to be sold in 10 years.”

BS, if you ask me. Then again, I guess it’s the inner-stan that’s making me see this as some kind of injustice?? As the article points out, though, this should come as good news to Michael and his (prospective) label; with next to no appearances, performances etc, Michael still can chart so high. Bring on that new album already.

Any thoughts?

The video for American Idol winner Jordin Sparks’ new single ‘No Air’ premiered recently. R&B star Chris Brown features on the song and video:

Decent video. Prior to now I hadn’t really warmed to Jordin’s music, and still haven’t – she has NOTHING on some of Idol’s past contestants like Fantasia etc. Saying this, ‘No Air’ is a pretty solid effort and Chris Brown’s contribution serves the song well.

What do think of the song / video?

Janet Jackson recently made an appearance on ‘What Perez Says’ Diva Special on VH1. Check out the hilarious interview below:

I always like when artists aren’t so guarded and leave the ‘media trained’ façade at home. This is easily one of Janet’s most relaxed interviews in a while. ‘Hey B*tch’ had me rolling…the funniest I’ve seen in a long while.

Your thoughts?

Usher - 'I Can't Win' & 'Moving Mountains' Despite there not being a release date for Usher’s forthcoming album, more material from the as-yet-untitled set have surfaced – ‘I Can’t Win’ and the full version of ‘Moving Mountains’ (a snippet of which was posted earlier this month).
I’m liking both tracks and feel they show a lot of artistic growth. Saying that, the songs seem kinda on the adult-contemporary side of R&B, which could be, somewhat, risqué considering his main fanbase. Still, his album is definitely one I’m anxious to hear.

Hit or Miss?

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The 2008 Brit Awards took place last night here in London. Check out the performances below:
Amy Winehouse – Love Is A Losing Game

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Rihanna & The Klaxons – Umbrella

 

More performances:

Leona Lewis – Bleeding Love

Mark Ronson (ft. Amy Winehouse) – Valerie

The Brits Award’s shunning of urban music has kinda made it a bit of a non-event for me. Still, the performances were entertaining. Rihanna was just ok, I guess. Leona was her usual near flawless self. All eyes were on the recovering Amy Winehouse, who delivered two very interesting performances. I’d be lying if I said her vocals weren’t down-right horrid in places on both songs. However, she did a pretty good job overall. Random tidbit: don’t you just love her little shimmy dance lol. For real, it’s great to see her finally getting herself together.

What do you think of the performances?

R&B singer Mario will be a contestant on Season 6 of ABC’s hit ballroom show Dancing With The Stars. Of his participation on the show, the 21 year old said:

“This is definitely something new for me. It’s exciting. Every time I watch the show, I’m amazed how honest and real everyone is.” {Source}

Hmm. I’m not too sure about this. These kinda shows tend to be for over-the-hill stars of yesterday. Still, I can’t knock his hustle factor. After the disappointing performance of his stellar ‘Go!’ album last year, he’ll likely be looking for an avenue to set up his ‘comeback’. A tidbit: over the years Mario has become less of a choreographed act, so I guess the show will be interesting on that front.

Your thoughts?

Teedra Moses - TVT Records Files For BankruptcyNew York based independent record label TVT Records filed for Chapter 11 aka bankruptcy yesterday (February 18th). The label, home to artists such as Teedra Moses, Lil’ Jon & The Eastside Boyz, Pitbull and Ying Yang Twins, have terminated the majority of their employees. It’s unknown, at writing, whether the label’s release schedule for this year will be affected. {Read more here}
I’m guessing this sheds some light on the slow-go of R&B songstress Teedra Moses’ serially delayed album ‘The Young Lioness’. If there is any justice, Teedra will get snapped up by another label – independent or a major – she’s too talented to go unheard. ‘Complex Simplicity’ still rates as one my all-time favourite R&B albums.

Your thoughts?
Rihanna's Former Crack-Addict Father Speaks Grammy winner Rihanna’s father has spoken to the press for the first time about his past addiction to crack. Below is his description of when he was caught by the ‘Umbrella’ singer taking the drug:

“I turned and looked Rihanna in the eye and instantly came back down from the high I was on. I saw her run for her mother, ask her something and then they both started to cry. I had no idea she had been watching. It was the lowest point – life just stopped and I realized what a fool I had been.”

When the Sunday Mirror tracked down the father-of-five in Bridgetown, Barbados, he was hawking tacky toys, perfume and household items from the boot of a battered Nissan car. Despite his daughter’s millions, he never asks for a penny and insists he’s happy in his work, which earns him around £250 (about $492 US dollars) for a seven-day week. He said: “The only thing I want is to be a part of her life. I have had her forgiveness, which you can’t put a price on, and I would never dream of asking her for a dollar.” {Source}

It’s great that he’s sorted himself out. I’m kinda baffled at the ‘selling stuff out of a trunk’ thing, though. Whatever floats his boat, I guess.

Any thoughts?
Pussycat Dolls Working On New CDFollowing a string of flop singles, it appears Nicole Scherzinger is taking heed to calls for her to return to the Pussycat Dolls. Songwriter Sean Garrett, in a recent interview with our friends over at Rap-Up.com, confirmed that he is currently contributing to a new Pussycat Dolls record. When probed about the status of Nicole Scherzinger’s much delayed ‘Her Name Is Nicole’ LP, Garrett stated that Scherzinger is still working on the project (huh?!) and there is to be some form of tie-in with the Pussycat Dolls album. What exactly that means is anyones guess. Whatever the case, here’s hoping it marks an end to Nicoles dire solo assault on the charts. {Source}

Your thoughts?
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