It has been confirmed that the Queen of Hip Hop/Soul, Mary J. Blige, will release her new album ‘Growing Pains’ on November 20th. The CD will be the follow-up to Blige’s hugely successful 2005 effort ‘The Breakthrough’. What’s more, it has also been confirmed that the first single is the titled ‘Just Fine’ – the track is scheduled to debut next week (September 26th)! ‘Growing Pains’ is set to feature contributions from the likes of Bryan Michael Cox, Babyface, Ne-Yo and The Game. Interestingly, Mary will be going head-to-head with Mariah Carey’s upcoming album which also drops on the same date (November 20th).
I’m kinda surprised by this, as, even though I knew Mary has been recording, I didn’t think she was ready to drop her album just yet. Still, I always welcome any new Mary material; here’s hoping she delivers like she did with the last.

Are you checking for Mary’s new album?

The video for R. Kelly’s latest single ‘Rock Star’ (ft. Ludacris & Kid Rock) debuted on Yahoo Launch yesterday (September 18th). I’m really feeling the single choices from Kelly’s current LP ‘Double Up’ so far; ‘Rock Star’ is an album highlight. It’s a shame, then, that the video doesn’t really do the track any justice. Budgeting must have been an issue, because the video comes across real cheap – especially for an artist of his caliber. There’s no positive spin to put on this one; a case of good song, ruined by a crappy video.

What do you think fo the video?

It has been confirmed that Kanye West has emerged victorious in his chart ‘battle’ with 50 Cent. According to figures released by Billboard today, West’s ‘Graduation’ album sold a staggering 957,000 copies in it’s first week – besting 50’s album sales by quite a margin. ‘Curtis’ sold roughly 691,000 copies. ‘Graduation’, the third full-length from West, also charted higher than 50 in the UK, where it debuted atop of the official album chart this past Sunday.
While I’m glad (mainly because Kanye’s CD was generally better), it’s kinda unfortunate that 50 has gone back on his promise to retire if Kanye beat him. Still, I’m guessing the damage has been done. Put simply, people aren’t checking for 50 they way they once were and this shows it.

Your thoughts?
Beyonce attended the GQ 50th Anniversary bash in New York City last night (September 18th) sporting a new darker hairdo. Yes, there are things of more importance lol, but it’s kind of refreshing to see the ‘Deja Vu’ singer do away with her blonde wigs…at least for the time being.

What do you think of Beyonce’s new look?

The video for Mario’s latest single ‘Crying Out For Me’ premiered earlier this week on BET’s Access Granted. Things have been moving really slow with Mario’s ‘Go!’ project, so it’s good to see him finally put out a second single from. I’ve had the Polow Da Don track on heavy rotation for a many months. Anyway, about the video – I’m liking it. The storyline closely mirrors that of the track and stands as one of his better vids. Following numerous delays, ‘Go!’ is set to hit stores on October 30th.

What do you think of the video?

It’s kinda been a busy couple of weeks for me recently, but I’ve tried to keep things afloat as much as possible. With that said, I’ve not actually managed to get a listen to Keyshia Cole’s new CD ‘Just Like You’ – which ‘surfaced’ (lol) last week. For those who have heard the album, let me know what you think of it in the comments section.
In her interview in the October issue of Essence Magazine, Diddy’s on-off girlfriend/baby-mama Kim Porter speaks out on their son Christian’s relationship with the child the rap mogul fathered with another woman – while with her:

“Christian’s got two beautiful sisters [the twins]. He ain’t thinking about that other one, trust me when I tell you. And I don’t play that. That situation is over there, and this is over here and I ain’t got nothing to do with that.”
Is she for real? I always knew she was not right, but come on now! Aside from coming across real immature, she seems bitter toward the innocent child – something she never seems to be when talking about Diddy. Fool.

Your thoughts?

Following the poor reception Ashanti’s recent single ‘Switch’ received, the singer and her label went back to the drawing board. It’s now been confirmed that this new track, ‘Hey Baby (After The Club)’, will serve as the official first single from her forthcoming album ‘The Declaration’. It was reported a while back that Ashanti hit the studio with Diddy and Mario Winans and this must be end result as the beat is lifted straight from Diddy’s ‘Last Night’. Though the track is good, it’s still a long way off what she should be putting out if she’s hoping for a successful ‘comeback’. A tidbit: Is she really releasing another song with ‘Baby’ in it lol?

Hit or Miss?

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Bajan beauty Rihanna performed her forthcoming new single ‘Hate That I Love You’ at Yahoo studios recently. Decent performance, but I’m still not feeling the single choice. Though I found her album to be kinda lacking in material with any substance, certain tracks i.e. ‘Push Up On Me’ and ‘Sell Me Candy’ are single-worthy material – much more so than the current single choice. Anyway, the video for ‘Hate That I Love You’ was shot last month and should be debuting in the coming weeks.

What do you think of the performance?

*Apologies about the slow(ish) updates recently, just managed to ressurect my laptop, so things should go back to normal 🙂 *

The long-awaited new single from X-Factor winner Leona Lewis, ‘Bleeding Love’, premiered yesterday on BBC Radio One. Hailed as one the the most talented singers to emerge from the UK in a long while, it is hoped that Leona can achieve the heights of success enjoyed by those she is most often likened to – Whitney and Mariah. However, judging by this track, she’s gonna have to come a bit harder. ‘Bleeding Love’, with it’s 90’s synth-pop vibe, sounds slightly dated and seems to rely heavily on the formula set by the Mariah’s & co before her. Still, the track has ‘grower’ potential and is mainstream enough to appeal to the masses. Leona’s currently untitled album will hit stores here in the UK on November 5th and the US in February 2008.
Hit or Miss?

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With a November 6th release date now set for Chris Brown’s sophomore album ‘Exclusive’, yet another track from the set has surfaced. Produced by Brian Michael Cox, ‘Throwed’ see’s the 18 year old singer embrace the ‘Go Go’ sounds of his native Virginia. Though the track is pretty decent, it doesn’t really go beyond being just that. Not even the track’s catchy chorus can save the song from coming across as being kinda generic – something most of his material has been sounding like as of late.

Hit or Miss?

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The official cover art for Alicia Key’s forthcoming album, ‘As I Am’, has surfaced. I’m definitely feeling this one – it has a real retro vibe to it.
Also, check out two new promo pics for the highly-anticipated album:
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After her showstopping performance of current single ‘No One’ at the VMA’s this past week, I’m really hyped for Alicia’s new CD. ‘As I Am’ hits stores November 13th.

What do you think of the cover/pics?