{CREDIT: Ciara-Harris.net}

As some of you may already know, Ciara has been named as the new face of Rocawear’s female line. It seems the urban clothing label are going all out with this campaign – using both print and television advertisements. I found the interview to be pretty interesting, hearing some of the hurdles the ‘Promise’ singer had to overcome to be where she is now.

Click here to see Ciara’s promo pics for the campaign

What do you think of the interview/pics?

As Common preps the release of his latest album ‘Finding Forever’ (due July 31st), a new track from the CD has surfaced. Produced by Kanye West ‘Drivin’ Me Wild’ sees Common collaborate with British Pop sensation Lily Allen on what is a great track. The concept of the song focuses on those who try to fit in instead of embracing their individuality – a universal message. Outside of the Urban world, Lily is one of the artists I’ve been liking and her feature on the hook really works.

Hit or Miss?

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Destiny’s Child member Michelle Williams performed at the Bombay Sapphire drinking party in Chicago this past Tuesday (July 17th). Williams sang Al Green’s classic ‘Let’s Stay Together’ – which she also covered for a GAP campaign in 2005. Aside from a few vocal snags, I enjoyed the performance. Michelle evidently has very little natural rhythm, but I like her voice – it’s different. This kind of music definitely suits her voice more than some of the Destiny’s Child material.

What do you think of the performance?

The ever-consistent Sean Paul is prepping his new album (rumoured title ‘New Age’) for a 2007/2008 release. ‘Pick It Up And Drop It’ is set to be the lead single from the LP – the follow-up to 2005’s Platinum selling ‘The Trinity’. As with most of his singles, the uptempo track is real radio-friendly; yet it differs to his previously released material. The song is a slight departure from Paul’s dancehall roots and sees the Jamaican star embrace a more dance-orientated sound. For the most part, I’m liking the track and will be on the lookout for his new CD – since the last two were great.

Hit or Miss?

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Singer R. Kelly is set to shoot a further 10 episodes of his ‘Trapped In The Closet’ saga after signing a new deal with US cable network IFC. With its storyline twists and turns, the ‘hip-hopera’ became a major success in 2006 – spurned a 12-episode DVD. As part of the deal Kelly inked with IFC, additional episodes will be shot as well as re-airings of the original 12 episodes.

I remember being hooked on the series a couple of summers back; marvelling at how great the concept was. Yet towards the end, it just got ridiculous – remember the midget, anyone? Still, I’m all for innovation (I don’t see anyone else doing anything remotely similar), so I’ll be checking it out when it debuts.

Will you be checking for the new episodes?

Former Fugees member Pras has confirmed that the group’s long-awaited reunion album is officially ‘dead’. Speaking to Billboard.com, he cited Lauryn Hill as the cause of the situation:

“We went in the studio and recorded a couple records that were incredible. But, to put it nicely, it’s dead”. “Me and Clef, we on the same page, but Lauryn [Hill] is in her zone, and I’m fed up with that sh*t. Here she is, blessed with a gift, with the opportunity to rock and give and she’s running on some b*llshit? I’m a fan of Lauryn’s but I can’t respect that.”

I kinda gathered that the project was a non-starter, but Lauryn needs to get herself sorted – more so for herself than anybody else. She performed, here in London, a few weeks back and by most accounts she was terrible – a real fall from grace. Be it drugs or whatever, I hope she’s able to address her problems soon; it would be a shame for such a talent to be wasted.

Any thoughts?

That Grape Juice has teamed up with Electronic Arts (UK) for our first video games give-away. Each week, two copies of a particular title will be up for grabs – all you are required to do is to answer the given question correctly for a chance to win. {Please be aware that due to technological variances, some titles will only be available in certain territories. You will be made aware when this is the case} This week’s title is:

Def Jam Icon (XBOX 360)

Def Jam Icon is the third installment of EA’s popular Hip Hop/Street Fighting game. With it’s cutting edge presentation and gritty feel, ‘Icon’ is one the most realistic combat titles available. ‘Icon’ also boasts an impressive character roster of Hip Hop heavyweights – including T.I, The Game and Ludacris – allowing for the player to guide their favourite to the top. The experience is enhanced by an authentic soundtrack which is comprised of hits by many of the featured artists.

*Please note: This week’s competition is only open to those who reside in PAL territories (e.g. Europe, Australia, Africa, Asia etc ) or own PAL XBOX 360 systems- as the game will not work on non-PAL systems. Click here to see if you’re in a PAL territory.

For a chance to win ‘Def Jam Icon’, answer the following question:

Which artist is NOT signed to Def Jam:

a) Jay Z

b) Ne-Yo

c) T.I

Email your answer as well as your full name, age, and address to [email protected]. Please be sure to put ‘EA Comp – Week 2’ as the subject. Winners will be selected randomly from all correct answers. Competition ends Wednesday July 25th. Good luck!
Amid the controversy surrounding Usher’s relationship with fiance Tameka Foster, the ‘Yeah’ singer isn’t sparing anyone against their union – including his own fans. Following the singer’s rant to his critics last week, the Grammy Award winner is now trying to shut down the #1 fansite dedicated to him: ‘UsherForever.com’ (one of our affiliates). NY Daily News is reporting that the singer’s lawyers have served the site owner, Erika Jackson, with papers ordering that the site close – due to Jackson’s open dislike for Foster.
It’s one thing ‘beefing’ the media, but isolating your own fans? That’s just plain dumb. It seems he hasn’t heard of something called ‘free speech’. With plans to drop an album in November, he’ll need to stop this stupidness quick, as everything surrounding him recently has been a PR disaster. If this relationship doesn’t last, it may just be curtains for Usher’s career.

What do you think about Usher’s latest actions?
A long clip of the lead single from Jennifer Lopez’s upcoming new album has surfaced. Produced by Midi Mafia, ‘Hold It, Push It’ is the first English -language solo single from Lopez in over three years. Unfortunately, the track falls short of the hype which preceded it; the song is wack- plain and simple. Production-wise it’s just ‘ok’, yet J.Lo’s lacking vocal delivery is what really lets the track down. Having said that, maybe I expected too much from her – for what reason I do not know. I’m guessing I anticipated something with more ‘umph’ to it than this, after all she needs a hit as her music career has been in the pits for sometime now. For her sake, the album has to have better cuts than this.

Hit or Miss?
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Mya recently performed at the WNBA All-Star Game this past Sunday. She performed a medley of some of her hits including ‘Case of the Ex’ as well new track ‘Still A Woman’. Aside from a few minor vocal mishaps, she did her thing – both the dancing and singing were on-point. Mya’s new CD ‘Liberation’ is due out later this year.

What do you think of the performance?

50 Cent is running his mouth again, this time about fellow rapper Nas. Speaking to XXL magazine, 50 had the following to say about the ‘Hip Hop Is Dead’ rapper:

You have different kinds of people. You have people that are extremely book smart that lack common sense so they don’t know what’s going to affect their audience. They have more information than me based on reading. For instance, Nas is a really smart guy. He reads books constantly. We were around him on the Nastradamus tour. He was almost weirder than me ’cause we would go to breakfast and he’d be there reading a book. Conceptually, I think that’s what made him drift away from what his initial audience enjoys from him and why he’s not hot right now.

Aside from the fact that Nas tops 50 in just about every way, shouldn’t the G-Unit leader be worrying about his own career? With the released material from 50’s upcoming ‘Curtis’ CD flopping all over the place, you’d think he’d look at himself first. I guess he thinks his tired routine of calling out other rappers to generate buzz will work this time. He doesn’t seem to get it – no one cares for his music anymore.

What do you think of 50’s comments?

Lil Wayne and Baby feature on the cover of XXL’s upcoming Anniversary issue. No words for this one….damn.

What do you think of the cover?