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That Grape Juice Interview: TamiaThat Grape Juice caught up with R&B songstress Tamia last month as she prepared for the start of her North American tour. During the course of our conversation, the mother of two talked, among other things, music, her role as a mother and wife, the highs and lows of being an independent artist as well as living with Multiple Sclerosis. An insightful listen, if I must so myself 🙂 Enjoy.

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Part 1


Part 2

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Click here to order tickets for Tamia’s North American tour
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Your thoughts?

Nelly, Ciara & JD On Set Of 'Stepped On My Jays' Video Check out these pics of Nelly on the set of the video for his upcoming single ‘Stepped On My Jays, which was filmed last month. The song’s producer as well as feature artist Ciara also appear in the vid – which should be premiering anytime from now.
Nelly, Ciara & JD On Set Of 'Stepped On My Jays' Video

What do you think of the pics?

This week’s From The Vault video comes in form of Jodeci’s 1995 smash ‘Love U 4 Life’. Arguably one of the greatest R&B groups to emerge in the 90’s, Jodeci delivered what many believed to be their career defining LP (their last) with ‘The Show, The After Party, The Hotel’ – from which ‘Love U 4 Life’ – a personal favourite of mine – was lifted. Check out the video, which features cameos from TLC’s T-Boz as well as Rev Run below:

Watching this back and reminiscing on some of their other hits such as ‘Freak N You’ ‘Lately’ and ‘Cry For You’, really makes the group’s current predicament (cash strapped and drugged out) all the more unfortunate. Still, the legacy they left behind, as evidenced by the string of hits they racked up, will ensure that they will forever have a place in R&B history.

Your thoughts?

Usher & Justin Timberlake To Collaborate?Though Usher’s much hyped new album ‘Here I Stand’ isn’t due in shops for a few more days yet, the Grammy winner is already talking about the projects re-release – revealing that a collaboration with old rival Justin Timberlake is potentially in the works. Some of you may remember, in response to a Rollingstone cover hailing Timberlake as the new King of Pop (nonsense anyway, as MJ has that title forever IMO), Usher said: “There simply is no comparison between me and Justin. He can’t even stand in the same lane as me, ever.”.
In an interview with The Daily Mail newspaper over here in the UK, he seems to have changed his tune:

“I regret it, because he’s a great friend of mine now. I was young and didn’t know better. We were both being kids and he turned out to be a really cool guy, and we’re talking about doing something together for the repackaging of my album. If we ever worked together, though, it would be the biggest record ever.”

This talk of a re-release prior to the original album even hitting stores kinda leaves a salty taste in my mouth. After all, why not deliver the best product you can to begin with? Anyway, I’m indifferent to the idea of a Justin collabo. Not to beat on a dead horse, but the Superbowl aftermath has made for me to lose respect for Justin both artistically and as a person….

Any thoughts?

Continuing along the road to career redemption, Whitney Houston performed at Morocco’s ‘Festival Mawazine’ last night. Check out her performance her career defining hit ‘I Will Always Love You’:

Though the video quality was pretty rubbish, I really enjoyed her performance. Obviously not her best vocal showing, however she has evidently come leaps and bounds vocally in comparison to some of her performances in the last few years. Watching this really offers hope that she may still be able to serve up the goods with her new album (due November).

What do you think of the performance?

Brooke Valentine - 'Badunkadunk'R&B singer Brooke Valentine is making another attempt at hitting it big. For those unfamiliar with Brooke, the 23 year old first surfaced in 2005 with the smash ‘Girlfight’; after the release of her debut LP ‘Chain Letter’, shortly after, things went quiet. She was unceremoniously dropped from distributor Virgin Records (though is still signed with label Subliminal), with her sophomore effort ‘Physical Education’ being effectively shelved in the process.
Though ‘Badunkadunk’ isn’t a bad effort, it certainly leaves a lot to be desired. In an increasingly crowded industry (especially among the ‘R&B Chicks’), Brooke will have to come a little harder material/substance-wise, as this is a kinda ‘samey’ and will do next to nothing to set her apart. She has a lot of potential IMO, she just needs to tap into it.

Hit or Miss?

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Following the uber short video that premiered for Kanye West’s ‘Flashing Lights’ a few months back, the second of, reportedly, three accompanying clips has made its debut. On the one hand, I commend Kanye for going left-field with the concept of his vids, it would help, though, if I could understand what the hell is going on in it lol.

What do you think of the video?

Rihanna Talks Image In a recent interview with The Guardian over here in the UK, R&B/Pop star Rihanna spoke about her ‘edgy’ image, asserting that it was her own decision to deviate from the industry norm of ‘long blonde’ hair who she identified Beyonce, Ciara, Christina Millian and Mariah as rocking:

“I felt like the whole world had long, curly, flowy blonde hair. Ciara, Beyonce, Mariah, Christina Milian. Everybody wanted to be like everybody else. So I cut my hair and they made me put my long hair back in as extensions. The second time, I didn’t have any discussions, nothing. I just cut it, I dyed it black, I went into the studio making music my way. I found myself all at once. I like things strong, edgy, a little to the left. I don’t like things that are expected – nothing cliched. When I first started, I didn’t know anything. I didn’t really have a say. The second album, I got a little more freedom”

Granted today Rihanna’s image seems pretty legit, I find her comments real hard to swallow. IMO the whole ‘I’m was good girl, now I’m bad…look at my black hair and dominatrix outfits’ was overly contrived and screamed ‘record label construct’.

Your thoughts?

Usher Covers Entertainment Weekly
With the release of Usher’s much anticipated LP ‘Here I Stand’ just a few days away (May 27th), the R&B heavyweight continues to do the promotional rounds, this time appearing in this week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly. The 29 year old opened up about a number of interesting issues – some for the first time. Check out a few quotes below:

On His Mother Not Attending His Wedding:

“My mother made a decision not to come to my wedding because she didn’t really agree with my decision,” he explains, declining to specify whether she disagreed with his choice of wife or his decision to fire her. ”I don’t know why,” he offers simply. ”She’s never told me and I’ve never asked her….It hurt me very much not to see her there ’cause I would’ve liked for her to be there, not to mention that I paid so much money for her to be accommodated and her behind didn’t show up. [Laughs] But just as she’s made stands, so have I.”

On Usher V

On Nov. 26, Usher and Tameka welcomed their son, Usher Raymond V. The new addition to his family served as an olive branch, helping heal the strained relationship with Usher’s mom. ”I have a beautiful baby boy that she’s in love with,” he says. ”She’s very happy, and he makes us all a better family, period.”

On Meaning Behind ‘Here I Stand’:

“It’s not me lashing out at anyone; it was the hottest name for the project, and a testimony to how certain I was about certain issues.”

Click here to read the entire interview

The rift between Usher and his mother had escaped my mind in the midst of all his current success. It’s good to see him finally addressing the matter, all the same though. It seems all differences have been put aside, which can only be seen as a good thing.

Your thoughts?

Bow Wow To Focus On Acting According to Billboard, Bow Wow is turning his focus away from music to acting, and has a string of acting gigs in the pipeline. Check out the report:

Actor-rapper Shad Moss, aka Bow Wow, is focusing on acting full time. Moss has joined the upcoming fifth season of HBO’s “Entourage” in a recurring role, playing Charlie, a new stand-up comic client of E (Kevin Connolly).

Additionally, he has landed a role opposite Forest Whitaker, rapper Lil Wayne and Isaiah Washington in the Weinstein Co.’s sports drama “Patriots,” about a high school basketball team in post-Katrina Louisiana.

“After 16 years in the music industry and six successful albums, I’ve decided to shift my energy to something else I’m passionate about, acting,” Moss said. “I’m going to try to be the next Will Smith.”

Like Moss, Smith started off as a rapper before segueing into acting.

I’m pretty sure the news will be greeted with joy by many. For someone who’s music and sales leave a lot to be desired, he really does come across overly cocky.

The quote did make for an interesting read, though. Six successful albums, huh? I would beg to differ. After serving up one of the biggest flops of last year with his joint ‘Face Off’ Lp with Omarion, he may just be ‘shifting his energies’ elsewhere before inevitably ending up like his (collabo) partner O – dropped from his label.

Your thoughts?

Amerie At Maxim Hot 100 Party R&B singer Amerie was snapped at the Maxim Hot 100 party earlier this week rocking a new look. Though her natural beauty is hard to deny, something looks kinda off with her latest look – I can’t put my finger on what it is though.

Amerie At Maxim Hot 100 Party Amerie At Maxim Hot 100 Party

What do you think of the pics?

Lil' Kim - 'Respirator'After a year long spell in the slammer and having parted ways with longtime label Atlantic, Lil’ Kim has returned to the music scene with new single ‘Respirator’. I’m kinda on the fence about this one, the first release from her still untitled independent debut. For the most part I’m feeling it – the production is point etc-however her sliding in and out of the vocoder effect on the verses make for an awkward listening experience at times. Having really enjoyed her last LP, 2005’s ‘The Naked Truth’, I’m definitely keeping an open ear to see what she’ll be serving up with the next record.

Hit or Miss?

 

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