The 2007 Essence Festival took place in New Orleans this past weekend. With star studded performances from likes of Beyonce, Ne-Yo and Ciara, the three day extravaganza looked to be a great event. Check out some of the pics from the various shows:

From most accounts, Beyonce’s set was a show-stopper. The ‘Deja Vu’ singer launched the US leg of ‘The Beyonce Experience’ world tour at the event; wowing the audience with performances of many of her big hits including ‘Baby Boy’ and ‘Get Me Bodied’. Chris Brown, Kelly Rowland and Ciara are said to have done great too.
According to Hits Daily Double’s analysis of first day sales, T.I. is on course to debut atop of the Billboard 200 album chart next week with sales in the region of 500,000. The rapper’s latest offering ‘T.I. vs T.I.P’ is the much anticipated follow-up to 2006’s ‘King’ – which also debuted in the top spot. Considering the so-so performance of the singles from this new album, it’ll be interesting to see whether the CD will have a long shelf-life.

What do you think of ‘T.I. vs T.I.P’?
Yesterday, 07/07/07, was marked by the ‘Live Earth’ concert series. With an aim to raise awareness of global warming, concerts were held in eight cities around the world – Sydney, Tokyo, Johannesburg, Shanghai, London, Hamburg, New Jersey, Washington and Rio de Janeiro. A host of artists performed at the events, check out some of the performances:
Rihanna – ‘Shut Up & Drive’ & ‘Umbrella’ (Live Earth Tokyo)
Alicia Keys – ‘If I Ain’t Got You’ (Live Earth New York)
John Legend – ‘Ordinary People’ (Live Earth London)

Snoop Dogg – ‘Drop It Like It’s Hot’ (Live Earth Hamburg)

Of all the performances, Alicia Keys was a standout for me – she did great. I thought John Legend did pretty well too.

What do you think of the performances?

{Video credit: The Celebity Network}

Kelly Rowland stopped by BET’s 106 & Park on Friday to promote her new CD ‘Ms. Kelly’. The interview, recorded live in New Orleans, was pretty interesting. As well as her album, Kelly discussed her BET Awards performance and some of her embarrassing moments. Liking the little acapella version of ‘Like This’ she did at the end..the crowd was loving it. ‘Ms Kelly’ is out now.

What do you think of the interview?

Just a quick reminder about That Grape Juice’s ‘EA Games Give-Away’. This week’s edition of the competition ends on Tuesday July 10th. Click here to enter!

Following a breif hiatus, B5 are set to release their sophomore album ‘Don’t Talk Just Listen’ on September 18th – with ‘Hyrdolic’ serving as the lead single. The video for the song premiered on BET’s Access Granted earlier this week. Having heard (and posted) the track several months back, the video turned out pretty much how I expected – average. I’m still getting a vibe of ‘little boys tryna be grown’ with the track and vid. The choreography is really on-point though.

What do you think of the video?

In the wake of his terrible BET Awards performance and the general lack of interest surrounding his upcoming ‘Curtis’ album, 50 Cent must be hoping ‘She Wants It’ catches on. Confirmed as his next single (the third already from the album), ‘She Wants It’ – a Timbaland production – is a pretty good track. Aside from the ‘typical’ subject matter, I’m liking everything else about it. It’s refreshing to see 50 switch up his flow on a track – his delivery was becoming kinda ‘samey’. Justin does his thing on the hook. The Joseph Khan directed video – which will borrow elements from ‘The Matrix’ movie – will be debuting soon.

Is it third time lucky for 50: Hit or Miss?
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R&B singer Bobby Valentino has expressed his feelings over Def Jam’s special treatment of label-mate Ne-Yo. Speaking to, the ‘Anonymous’ singer had the following to say:

“I think Ne-Yo’s the face of the label and, of course, by him being the face of the label, he gets a little bit more. I see he gets a lot of extra support, a lot of bells and whistles. Sometimes, people need those things to put them over the top.

“My album, you know what it is,” he continued. “When you see me at the shows, you know what it’s about. There’s nothing sugar-coated about me. Not saying that there’s something sugar-coated about Ne-Yo, but, it’s all good.”

Considering I felt Bobby’s current album ‘Special Occasion’ was pretty good, I agree with him about getting lost in the shuffle. Despite releasing two great singles – ‘Turn The Page’ and ‘Anonymous’ – the album hasn’t shifted many units. I don’t recall there being much promo and there were next-to-no performances. Still, there may be hope yet with upcoming single ‘Rearview’ which features Ludacris – although I doubt it.

Do you agree with Bobby?

The much anticipated debut solo single from Pussycat Dolls front-woman, Nicole Scherzinger, has finally surfaced. Produced by Polow Da Don, the uptempo club track sees the ‘Don’t Cha’ singer team up with rapper T.I. Though the song is good – especially the production – I’m not sure that it lived up to the hype. Perhaps it’s due to the song having the exact same beat as one of Chili’s (of TLC) new tracks ‘Straight Jack’ (the irony). Be on the lookout for the video in the weeks ahead.

Hit or Miss?
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As Mya preps the release of her much-delayed album ‘Liberation’ ( now due September 18th), new promotional pics for the CD have surfaced. She looks great.
Meanwhile, the tracklist for the album has apparently been revealed:
2.“I Am” (featuring Charli Baltimore)
3.“Walka Not a Talka” (featuring Snoop Dogg)
4.“Still a Woman”
5.“No Touchin’”
6.“Lock U Down” (featuring Lil Wayne)
7.“Lights Go Off”
9.“Switch It Up”
10.“Give a Chick a Hand”
11.“All in the Name of Love”
12.“Life Is Too Short”
13.“Nothin’ at All”
For her sake, she needs to have brought her ‘A Game’ on this album, otherwise it’s over. The first single ‘Lock U Down’ tanked and some of the other material sounds sub-par. ‘Ridin’ – the confirmed next single – is a great track, however, and I’m hoping will turn things around for Mya.

Do you think Mya will bring ‘it’ on this album?

Singer Janet Jackson and boyfriend Jermaine Dupri celebrated their Independence Day in Miami. Judging from the pics, they seemed to have enjoyed themselves….blah lol. Interestingly, Janet seems to have put back on some of that weight she lost last year; continuing her trend of blowing up (literally) in between albums. Still, she looks beautiful. Check that third pic lol….J.Lo who?

What do you think of the pics?
It has been confirmed that ‘That’s What U R’ will serve as the first official US single from Amerie’s new album ‘Because I Love It’. Current single ‘Gotta Work’ will be for the European market only. ‘Because I Love It’ – the singer’s third album – will see its US release this summer; the CD is out now in Europe and other territories.

Though ‘That’s What U R’ isn’t the best track on Amerie’s new album, I’m liking the fact it was chosen as a single. It doesn’t sound like a rehash of her biggest hit to date ‘One Thing’ – whilst ‘Gotta Work’ arguably does. I’m hoping the song gives her the recognition she deserves; she’s a star over here in Europe, yet she struggles to crack the US.

What do you think of the single choice?