article-0-07b00efb000005dc-216_468x715

In keeping with the trend of featuring music’s most talented artists, Rihanna has been added the Grammy Awards lineup. The world renowned vocalist joins Beyonce, Lady GaGa, Celine Dion, Usher and Jennifer Hudson among others. The Grammy Awards ceremony airs on Sunday, January 31st. {Source}

This is great news! I woke up this morning and thought to myself that the Grammy ceremony was lacking some serious talent this year. None of the listed performers have Rihanna’s vocal skill or her ability to entertain the millions who will be watching. So imagine my relief when I heard that the true diva Rihanna was going to demonstrate her amazing voice on the Grammy stage. We all know that everybody in the industry wishes that they had her dial tone vocal range. I’m so excited to watch her perform! *insert sarcasm here*

Thoughts?

omarion1

While his new album ‘Ollusion’ failed to make waves on the charts, Omarion has found himself a new job. In an official press release issued by MTV today, the singer has been highlighted as the new judge on ‘America’s Best Dance Crew’. Omarion will replace Shane Sparks on the judging panel after the latter faces allegations of child molestation. The 5th season of the hit show premieres on Thursday, January 28th at 10pm ET. Here is an excerpt from the release:

“Omarion is one of the most accomplished, multi-talented young stars of his generation.  His music and music videos have influenced hip-hop dance going back to his B2k days and in more recent years as a platinum-selling solo artist,” said Liz Gateley, Senior Vice President of Series Development for MTV.  He is an accomplished dancer, artist and actor who knows what makes a good dance crew performance.  We are very excited for him to join Lil Mama and JC Chasez as our third judge.”

“Omarion is a great friend and I am looking forward to him joining the ABDC family,” said Randy Jackson, executive producer of “America’s Best Dance Crew.”  “Season Five is going to be blazing hot.”

“I’m so excited to be a judge on MTV’s ‘America’s Best Dance Crew’,” says Omarion. “Dancing and performing  is what I do and being a judge on this show will allow me to give creative feedback to the newest and hottest dancers on the rise.”

I sense that this is a good move for Omarion. Although he is not the ‘King of Dance’, as he has led himself to believe, he can definitely share his experiences in the business with the next generation. Hopefully the learning goes both ways and he picks up some new tricks from the watching them perform. That way he won’t have to resort to doing the ‘robot’ every single time he goes on stage.

Thoughts?

ak-giant4

An extensive list of celebrities are scheduled to lend their support to Haiti during a benefit concert this Friday. The ‘Hope for Haiti Now’ event will air commercial-free on over 12 networks including NBC, ABC, MTV and Vh1, starting at 8pm ET. Carded to make appearances are Alicia Keys, Beyonce, Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake, Jay-Z, Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Hudson, Rihanna, Shakira and host Wyclef Jean, just to name a few. {Source}

This is shaping up to be an event on the level of ‘Live Aid’. It’s great to see so many big acts doing their part to help Haiti in the best way they can. However, there is one person who many people have been calling to hit the stage at the event, and that’s Lauryn Hill. Certainly, it would be amazing to see her make a rare appearance to benefit the cause and sing in that way that only she can. After watching Rihanna squeal through ‘Redemption Song’ yesterday, it became only more evident how much Hill’s voiced has been missed over the years.

Thoughts?

R&B crooner Mario released the music video for ‘Ooh Baby’ via Bossip yesterday. The track serves as the 3rd single from his ‘D.N.A.’ album. To date, the LP is yet to sell more than 100k units since its release on October 13th, 2009.

In addition to the confusing editing and dim lighting, this video leaves much to be desired. For the most part, I felt like I was watching low budget clip that was rejected by ‘BET Uncut’. Moreover, the song itself is far from impressive, with the “ooh baby” hook sounded very similar to The-Dream’s ‘Falsetto’ (minus the high notes). Put simply: it’s a recession special.

Sam’s 2 Pence: Love the song, but I co-sign on the video!

Thoughts?

Megastar Mariah Carey and her long time friend/collaborator Jermaine Dupri reunited on stage this week. The duo performed their smash hit single ‘Shake It Off’ for the sold out Fox Theatre in Atlanta on Tuesday. ‘Shake It Off’ was one of 3 top 10 singles from Carey’s ‘The Emancipation of Mimi’ LP, peaking at #2.

Watching this performance makes it hard to believe that ‘Mimi’ was released almost 5 years ago. That album was truly a masterpiece and almost any song on the record could be a hit if released today. Carey and Dupri have such great chemistry together, and I hope that they colllaborate on her next studio project.  ‘Mimi’ is a prime example of musical genius at its very best.

Thoughts?

Rihanna and Maxwell took the stage on ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’ today. As noted earlier, Rihanna performed Bob Marley’s ‘Redemption Song’ and Maxwell performed his new song ‘Fistful of Tears’ from his ‘BLACKsummers’night’ album. Rihanna’s rendition is available right now on iTunes to help benefit the people of Haiti.

After watching Rihanna try to sing ‘Redemption Song’ for the second time actually took away from my first experience with the performance earlier today. Her voice sounded almost frail over the basic composition of the tune. Still, I must give her credit for improving from the renditions she gave in her earlier career. Maxwell, on the other hand, delivered solid vocals throughout, displaying what a real singer is supposed to sound like (especially when singing a high note). Check out his performance below:

Thoughts?

rihanna-redemption-song

As reported earlier, the Rihanna was set to perform Bob Marley’s classic ‘Redemption Song’ on ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’ today. Now the Bajan’s live rendition of the track has been made available for download on iTunes for a limited time. All proceeds from the sales will contribute directly to ‘Hope for Haiti Now‘. {Source}

I must admit that I’m pleasantly surprised by her performance. Although I could barely understand a word that she was ‘singing’ during the verses, Rihanna generally held her own. This performance was a definite step up from the last time she performed this song back in 2006. However, I would lying if I said that the high note at end did not give me chills (and I don’t mean the good kind).

Hit or Miss?

25

She is a singer, dancer, songwriter and all-round entertainer. Without a doubt, Beyonce is one of the most dominant forces in popular music today. Ranked as Billboard’s Female Artist of the Decade, she has accumulated more #1 songs and top 10 singles in the US than any other female act during the last 10 years, creating nothing short of an empire. However, her extensive string of timely hits  prove to be her greatest strength as well as her most prominent downfall.

With each new album, Beyonce has become progressively more mainstream; slowly replacing the classic R&B sound of her solo debut, ‘Dangerously In Love’, with catchy, club-ready tracks. Despite her immense growth as both a vocalist and performer, many argue that her music has become increasingly diluted to appeal to a more mainstream audience. In fact, some critics wonder if her most recent material such as ‘Ego’ and ‘Diva‘ would stand the test of time or be quickly forgotten like some of her past hits including ‘Check On It’.

Indeed, unlike artists such as Alicia Keys who have consistently provided timeless songs, the majority of Beyonce’s material is carded as ‘flavour of the moment’. For instance, while ‘Beautiful Liar (Ft. Shakira)’ was a major success, the question can be asked: how many casual listeners beyond her fanbase will remember that song in 10 years? On the other hand, Keys’ ‘Fallin’, ‘No One’ and ‘You Don’t Know My Name’ basically have a cult following of their own.

Hence, whilst Beyonce is certainly one of the most talented and versatile artists of her generation, many wonder if her music can be considered classic material or just radio hits. The challenge is now being put forward  for people to list her timeless pieces as a solo artist. With the exception of ‘Crazy In Love’, ‘Irreplaceable’ and ‘Single Ladies’, I myself find that task quite difficult indeed.

Do you think that Beyonce creates classic songs or

‘flavour of the moment’ hits?

The video for ‘In My Head’, the follow-up to Jason Derulo‘s smash ‘Whatcha Say’, premiered a few moments ago. Having found Derulo’s debut offering thoroughly irritating, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I was feeling this Pop/Rock/Urban fusion. The JR Rotem produced cut is definitely a winner.

About the video; it’s kinda standard-fare and pretty much serves its purpose. That said, it does a great job of introducing the masses to what Derulo has on offer; which seems to be a hybrid of the Urban-esque choreography which gave rise to the Usher’s, Chris Brown’s and co, this time with a Pop-edge musically.

Jason’s self-titled LP hits stores March 2nd.

Tidbit: Is it me or is that convenience store in the video the same one from Justin Timberlake’s ‘Like I love You’ video?

What do you think of the song / video?

Ludacris premiered the music video for his new song ‘How Low’ today. The song, which was produced by T-Minus, serves as the lead single from his ‘Battle of the Sexes’ LP which hits stores in March. To date, ‘How Low’ has peaked at #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #5 on the Hip-Hop/R&B charts.

It looks like Ludacris is trying to revive the era of the ‘video ho’ with this one. Either way, this song definitely displays a return to form for the rapper, who seemed have lost his edge in recent years. Ludacris is one of the most innovative rappers in the game and always manages to have fun with each album. Hopefully this is just the first of many strong singles from the MC.

Thoughts?

Monica-still-standing

The finale (episode 12) of Monica‘s BET reality show ‘Still Standing’ aired on BET last night. Check it out above. As usual, I’m watching it now…what are you waiting for?! LOL. Enjoy.

(more…)

Photo-Michael-Jackson-Hat-and-Glove-1024x682

With the 52nd annual Grammy Awards just around the corner, it has today been announced that the show will feature a spectacular, star-studded tribute to the late, great King of Pop Michael Jackson. For viewers at home, the segment of the show will air in 3D. Peep the report via Billboard after the jump…

(more…)

**