Nas - 'Hero (ft. Keri Hilson)' With all the controversy surrounding the title of Nas’ forthcoming album (which is still untitled – due July 15th), one could easily be forgiven for forgetting about the actual music. The set’s first official single ‘Hero’ surfaced recently and it’s banger! Produced by Polow Da Don and featuring Keri Hilson, the cut manages to not stray from Nas’ stance in rap, whilst also being commercial enough to service to the masses. I’m really feeling this one. Random tidbit: Keri is everywhere these days. More power to her. {Many thanks to The Best of Both Offices}
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R&B star Chris Brown stopped by The Today Show yesterday promote his new LP, ‘Exclusive: The Forever Edition’ which also hit stores yesterday. Expectantly, the teen singer performed current single ‘Forever’ as part of his set. Check out the performance below:

Decent performance, I guess. The song is still the pits IMO, but the crowd obviously felt otherwise. With the right material, I really feel Chris could make a lasting impact in the industry. Maybe with the next album…

What do you think of the performance?

Ashanti performed on Good Morning America’s Summer Concert Series earlier today in support of her latest effort ‘The Declaration. As well as performing her single ‘The Way That I Love You’ (below), the 27 year old songstress reunited with former collaborator Ja Rule to perform a string of their hits. Good stuff.

What do you think of the performances?

Estelle’s third release from current LP ‘Shine’ is the Wyclef Jean produced ‘Substitute Love’, the video for which premiered on UK music TV this week. I’m real glad the song is receiving the single treatment; it’s one of the album’s standout cuts IMO. The vid’s pretty good too; Estelle looks great in it. Look out for a cameo by Kelly Rowland too.

What do you think of the video?
'The Declaration': Your Thoughts? After nearly four years of being out of the limelight, R&B songstress Ashanti is back with (aptly) her fourth studio album ‘The Declaration’, which was released on Tuesday.
With her current single ‘The Way That I Love You’ having been received well, it would seem the masses are ready to welcome Ashanti back, after largely shunning her last effort 2004’s ‘Concrete Rose’. That Grape Juice wants to know, though, what you think of ‘The Declaration’. Was it worth the wait? How would you rate it? Favourite tracks etc?? Drop you views in the ‘comments’ section…

Your thoughts?
Major Janet Jackson Update Our good friends over at SOHH were fortunate enough to have the rare opportunity of interviewing Pop superstar Janet Jackson. For all those wondering about the status of the ‘Discipline’ album, read on….(it’s not good):

I had the pleasure of interviewing Janet Jackson yesterday as part of a teleconference with a select few fellow bloggers… And I’m sorry to tell you guys this but it’s looking like the label is not planning to allow any more singles from Discipline to be released.

Here’s what Janet had to say when I asked her what her next single would be:

“That’s pretty difficult to say, only because of the record label at this point. We started off with “Feedback” and the label and myself haven’t quite seen eye to eye since the “Feedback” single so they’ve kind of basically stopped all promotion. I’m trying to figure out a way to say this, but just to say it and to be quite honest, they just stopped all promotion whatsoever on the album so I don’t think you’re going to hear another single off this album.”

Damn. What is going over there at Island???

She also revealed some details about her upcoming “Rock Witchu Tour”:

“It’s a completely different show, like nothing before in the past. My real goal is to try and do every single I’ve ever had… so I have to figure out how to fit that into two hours and yet give them enough so they don’t feel hungry for more of that song in particular.”

As for why she chose to title the tour after her song “Rock Wit U”:

“It’s fitting to me, fitting to what the show will be like. It’s a dance show, it’s all upbeat I want it to be a party onstage, a party in the arena. I’ve always said when people come to these shows I want them to forget about all their problems all the drama in their lives and just have a good time, just let it go for a couple hours and bring some happiness into their lives. It’s going to be one big party, I want to ‘Rock Witchu.'”

Last but not least Janet wanted to make sure fans know she has been keeping up with the internet talk about her not making to Europe to promote Discipline:

“I just want to let the fans know because I’ve been reading a lot what the bloggers have been saying about the record and not hearing it on the radio and stuff like that, so I just wanted to let them know where things were as well and where it was all coming from. I’ve heard people talking about me not coming to Europe in support of the record just to let them know that it was definitely in my heart to go to Europe and to support this album but it’s about teamwork, it’s not something I can totally do on my own. Unfortunately things have turned out the way that they have with the differences between the label and myself, which we have been having for the most part from the beginning. So I just want to tell them again thank you very much for all the love and all the support and I they understand the entire situation and I’m really excited to see everybody on tour. I’m really looking forward to that it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Wow. Drama at another label. I guess this explains why the ‘Disicpline’ project seems to have been halted so abruptly. There’s unconfirmed reports that Janet and LA Reid were not seeing eye to eye over the the release of the album’s second single – Janet’s preference being ‘Rock With U’. It’s a shame things have turned out as such, as the album was very solid IMO. It’ll be very interesting to see her next move after the tour i.e. new album?, new label? etc. I, for one, am hoping that she irons out her differences with Island Def Jam, as their promo efforts for their roster (Mariah, Rihanna etc) are largely unmatched by rival labels (Sony/Beyonce) aside…

This doesn’t come as a surprise, yet does at the same time (if that makes any sense)…damn.

Your thoughts?
Ciara - 'Supernatural'Some of you may remember that a snippet of this new Ciara track ‘Supernatural’ was posted back in April. The full version of the sensually smooth R&B cut, said to be the first single from her three-disc LP ‘Fantasy Ride’ has recently surfaced. Though I’m liking the track a little more after hearing it in its entirety, I still think it should be no more than album cut. If it’s a slower single she’s looking for, I’m hoping she channels something along the lines of ‘Promise’ or ‘So Hard’ from her last record..


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Serena Wlliams Covers Ebony Tennis Ace Serena Williams features on the cover for the latest issue of Ebony Magazine (on newsstands now). Though I used to think she looked kinda awkward a few years back, there’s no denying that she’s looking on-point these days.

What do you think of the cover?
With the release of Lil’ Wayne’s highly anticipated LP ‘ Tha Carter III’ rapidly approaching (June 10th), the rapper performed a set on BET’s Blueprint in support of the record. He performed his his verse from Shawty Lo’s ‘Dey Know’, ‘Tha Block Is Hot’, ‘Leather So Soft’, as well as his #1 smash ‘Lollipop’:

What do you think of the performances?

Britney To Star In New Pussycat Dolls Video It would seem Pop princess Britney Spears is set to step back into the limelight, by appearing in the music video for The Pussycat Dolls new single ‘When I Grow Up’:

The singer has apparently agreed to star in the girl group’s promo for new single ‘When I Grow Up’.

“She is doing a cameo in their new video shoot today,” a source told Metro.

Spears was spotted at Burbank, LA, the location of the group’s video shoot, yesterday. {Source}

No doubt, the world’s eyes will be on this. Should be interesting…

Your thoughts?
The Making The Band 4 clan – Danity Kane, Day26 and Donnie, stopped by The Big Phat Morning Show on Baltimore’s Q92FM radio station to promote their current tour. Check out the hilarious interview below:

They all had me cracking up; Dawn’s reaction to the Aundrea pregnant comment, to the ‘Malaysian weaves’, to Donnie and Shannon still not saying a word lol. Now all they need is to be hooked up with new singles and accompanying videos ASAP.

Any thoughts?

Michelle Williams Promo Pics
Check out these new promotional snaps for Michelle Williams forthcoming LP ‘Unexpected’ (due August 12th via Music World/Columbia). She looks great – especially in that first pic.
Michelle Williams Promo Pics Michelle Williams Promo Pics Michelle Williams Promo Pics

What do you think of the pics?