Check out this Behind The Scenes look at rapper Trina’s brand new video for ‘Single Again’, the first single to be lifted from her forthcoming album ‘Still Da Baddest’ (now due April 1st):

The video looks like it’ll be her best yet. Just a quick reminder, the great Trina interview I conducted last month will be put up on the site shortly.

Any thoughts?

A press listening session for both Mariah Carey’s latest effort and Janet Jackson’s ‘comeback’ album ‘Discipline’ was held here in London recently. The preview below, via DiscoPop, reveals a number of things about each project, including the title of Mariah’s LP, ‘That Chick’. It’s a long, yet interesting read, which should give an indicator about what one can expect from both projects {Thanks L. Thompson}:

In London, England, Def Jam boss Antonio “L.A.” Reid was showing off the two female jewels in their crown today with playbacks of the new Janet Jackson and Mariah Carey albums.

Label boss Reid seemed very excited about both of them, although that is his job, and mentioned plans for six singles from Mariah’s That Chick, which hits the stores in April.

Janet Jackson – Discipline
First up, though, was Janet’s Discipline. If you’ve heard the single, Feedback, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what to expect from the album. It’s crisp, danceable R&B lavished with Janet’s trademark velvet harmonies.

The stand-out track was probably Tonight, a bubbling club track which can only be Jackson’s response to Rihanna’s Don’t Stop The Music. Reid mentioned that some of the tracks weren’t finished – and this one sounded like it was missing a sample somewhere in the mix. Once that’s added, this could be Janet’s biggest dance success since Together Again.

Love, Love, Love and This Can’t Be Good saw the lyrical return of the sweet singer who first raised her head on Let’s Wait Awhile – all coy and bashful while falling head over heels in love.

But the sleazy siren of 20 YO is also present. Title track Discipline is a gruesome plea for fetishistic S&M sex – with Janet referring to her lover as “Daddy” while asking to be tied up and disciplined. Given that her father is a well-documented control freak who used to beat his kids, this is more than a little uncomfortable.

Speaking of family connections, there’s long been a rumour that Janet and Michael will team up again (as they did on 1996’s Scream) this year. Well, nothing I heard today confirms that rumour – but there is a track called Rock With You that appears to sample the single of the same name from Off The Wall. Could the finished version feature guest vocals by the former King of Pop? I genuinely hope not.

The remaining two tracks, Rollercoaster and Greatest Ex Ever, didn’t really set my world alight – but you never know what’ll happen on repeated listens.

The main thing seems to be that Janet is back on form, vocally and lyrically. The record is very safe and commercial, although I’m not sure where they’ll go for the third single (Tonight surely has to be the second). But as a first step towards career rehabilitation Def Jam has made a strong play for their newest diva.

Mariah Carey – That Chick
Their old diva (in terms of contract, not age, of course) is Mariah, who is riding high after the 7xPlatinum-selling Emancipation Of Mimi.

We got to hear 10 tracks from the follow-up, That Chick, which I have to say sounded more polished and commercial than Janet’s effort.

One track in particular is set to make big bucks, and that’s Bye Bye – a torch song for people “who lost they grandmothers”. I guarantee that Simon Cowell will be sick of hearing badly-realised auditions of it by the end of the year.

Lyrics were never Carey’s strong point, mind you, so her paean to loss is summed up with not-very-insightful Hallmark platitudes like “I’d give the world to see your face” and “Life goes on”. Profound, eh?

Still, at least it’s better than when she desperately attempts to prove how bang up to date she is. In Touch My Body, she purrs to her lover: “If there’s a camera up in here then I best not catch this flick on youtube (youtube)”. Not exactly the sexiest boudoir come-on you’ve ever heard, is it?

But there are plenty of good tunes to counter the awesomely bad lyrics. Migrate, about a night out with Mariah while she wears jeans (“yeah, they fit”, she informs us) is sure to be a candidate for heavy MTV rotation, although I hope to God they excise T-Pain’s hopelessly strained vocals. Lovin’ You Long Time, meanwhile, is a strutting uptempo number very much in the style of It’s Like That.

So, what have we learnt from this listening “event”? Well, I wasn’t overwhelmed by the music – despite (or perhaps because of) the fact it was played so ear-splittingly loud that it felt like I was being punched repeatedly in the ears by a cyberman. Both artists have turned in a tuneful, competent set of R&B songs, but I’m not sure that any of them have the charisma or vitality to compete with the Rihannas and Beyonces of this world.

Both albums: 6/10 (scores may go up or down after further listens at levels tolerable to the human ear).

After reading this preview and seeing that ‘she cannot-be-serious’ album title, I’m real anxious to see what Mariah’s album will serve up. Although I’m not looking for her to simply re-create ‘The Emancipation’, that album should stand as an indicator of what people want from her. This kinda has me thinking the album will largely be a collection of ‘Shake It Off’/’Get Your Number’ type tracks – which, IMO, were not the strongest on the last album. Only time will tell, I guess.

I must say that Janet’s album is looking more appealing to me at the moment. The project just seems a lot more focussed sounding. Saying this, considering Janet, herself, confirmed the album to be mainly ‘uptempo’, the previewer sure did note quite a few syruppy ballads (not neccessarily a bad thing). Again, I’ll reserve (as is logical) full judgement until I’ve heard the album(s) for myself.

Your thoughts?
The US version of the video for Kelly Rowland’s new single ‘Daylight’ premiered yesterday on her official MySpace. Though the video is pretty much the same as the version that debuted last a couple of weeks ago, the lack of crappy edited-in movie scenes makes a lot of difference – this serves as a much better clip.

What do you think of the video?
Jennifer Lopez Parts Ways With Manager Pregnant singer Jennifer Lopez has ended her relationship with veteran manager Irving Azoff. There seems to be confusion, however, as to who ditched who:

J.Lo insists that she formally ended her contract with the music industry mogul, with her rep confirming, “she let him go on Friday with no drama”.

But insiders claim that Azoff fired the mommy-to-be for being “unprofessional” and letting husband Marc Anthony “constantly meddle” with her career, according to TMZ.

Azoff allegedly sent J.Lo a letter last week, detailing in “blunt terms” why he ended the relationship.

This was reportedly followed by a “heated phone call” between the Latino diva’s people and Azoff. {Source}

Who knows what really went down? Still, I think if Jennifer wants to salvage what’s left of her flagging career, she should take an extended leave from the limelight and actually attempt making a half-decent record.

Your thoughts?

The video for Timbaland’s latest single ‘Scream’ premiered yesterday on Yahoo Music. Despite producing several hits from his ‘Shock Value’ album, the videos for them have tended to be…well…pretty underwhelming. However, there is no denying, the racy video ‘Scream’ breaks the mould – easily standing as the producer/rapper’s best solo(ish) effort to date. Great song and even better video. Nicole Scherzinger is displaying a certain ‘pizazz’ she has yet to incorporate into her own solo career…she was getting it – as was Keri.

What do you think of the video?

Janet Jackson ' Discipline Album Cover' Artistic, edgy, and ‘out there’, Janet Jackson’s cover art for her latest offering ‘Discipline’ is fantastic. The album is really shaping up to be her ‘comeback’.

What do you think of the cover?
It was announced today that talk show host and media mogul Oprah Winfrey will launch her own cable channel called OWN-Oprah Winfrey Network. Set to debut in 2009, the channel is a joint venture between Winfrey and Discovery Communication. {Source}
She really is going for world domination. Though, I’m kinda iffy about this ‘Oprah as God’ idea many seem to believe true, I’m really glad to see her doing it big like this. More power to her.

Your thoughts?
Taken from Janet’s recent feature in the latest issue of Billboard magazine, the pic above looks great. Judging from the recent press shots of Ms. Jackson for her new album ‘Discipline’, it appears she’s going for the ‘grown and sexy’ look. Indeed, she looks both.
A new press release I received today on ‘Discipline’ confirmed the titles (and the composers) of four tracks on the album:
* ‘Discipline’ (Written and produced by Ne-Yo)
* ‘Can’t Be Good’ (Written and produced by Ne-Yo)
* ‘Letchu Go’ (Produced by Jermaine Dupri and Co-Written with Johnta Austin)
* ‘Roller Coaster’ (Produced by Rodney ‘Darkchild’ Jerkins)
Interesting. Kinda random, I know, but I’m glad Darkchild has more than one track on the CD (he produced lead single ‘Feedback’ with newcomer D’Mile). He delivered a great, unexpected new sound with ‘Feedback’, so I’m particularly anxious to see what he’s done with Janet on ‘Roller Coaster’. Saying that, I’m hoping Janet wracks up at least a couple of writing credits on the album.
‘Discipline’ hits stores in the Europe on February 25th and the US on February 26th.

Your thoughts?
Whilst looking for something on my laptop, I dug up this review I wrote on the 2006 World Music Awards, which I attended here in London. Written, initially, for placement on a Michael Jackson site, I thought to share it with you guys. Enjoy.

I’m gonna cut straight to the chase…

Linsay Lohan sucked as a host…badly. She did no skits or entrance and essentially read off the auto-cue. Terrible.

Beyonce opened the show. She tore that motherf**ker down. She is a natural…it was effortless. She did the dance break from Ring The Alarm first (which I did not expect) and then went straight into Deja Vu. She performed again, didn’t see much of it though…I’ll get to why in a minute…

Even if I tried, I can’t remember a lot of the ‘world’ acts that performed. So I’ll jump straight to Nelly Furtado, who sang her new single ‘Why Do All Good Things Come to an End’. She did really good and was generally received well.

After (and sometimes during) every segment the whole arena would chant ‘Michael Michael Michael’, sing his songs etc. I’m talking from the rafters to the standing section where I was. Say what you want about him, but the man has loyal fans and could pack out most arenas across the world.

Anyway…

Paris Hilton got booed so hard, I felt sorry for her. Once she realised how bad it was, she just played up to the role of ‘spoilt show-off’.

Now the standing area was packed and I was fortunate enough to be roughly third row(ish) back there. Inevitably pushing started, I was having none of it and had words with a few people. Nonetheless I was no longer comfortable and was squashed. With no water being passed out until later, I was starting to feel the heat, yet was still anxious to see Michael etc. At the very moment I said to myself ‘imagine paying all that money to come here and faint’, I started to get woozy headed…everything turned into a blur and then it went black…all I could hear was ‘is he ok?’, ‘he’s fainted’ etc. So with that, the people I came with had to escort me from my 3rd row view to the very back of standing where I passed out on the floor…damn.

The announcer then said ‘please welcome back Beyonce’. One of the girls I went with grabbed the camera and ran. So much for looking after me (lol, I would have done the same thing…not missing **** for nobody lol). ‘To the left, to the left’ rang out and Beyonce performed again, while I was now recovering on the floor. I shook myself out of it though, drunk two Red Bull’s and woke the hell up. I was not missing Michael Jackson.

I eventually ‘excuse-me-ed’ my way close to where I was standing before. Beyonce came out AGAIN (talk about recycling the same stars) and introduced Michael Jackson as the recipient of the Diamond Award (over 100 million Thriller albums sold). I have NEVER, EVER, seen a crowd go wild like that… EVER. People were randomly bursting out in tears…genuinely in awe of him. Can’t no one say that the ‘Michael Jackson effect’ of the 80s doesn’t exist no more. It was in full effect last night. Most of you know the deal with MJ acceptance speeches…he begins to talk…gets drowned out by the crowd appreciation…says ‘I love you too’…etc lol.

Poor Rihanna…she came on straight after MJ (we were all expecting him to go straight into performance), but, no, it was her. When they announced her name…a lot of people booed. Not because they hated her, but they wanted Michael. Anyway, she sang Unfaithful. I won’t lie; the girl can, indeed, sing and has definitely developed a stage presence. Still, her voice is a little too whiney and nasal for my liking. Anyway she got a big applause after, yet seemed pissed (bitch, please) and went straight off stage…didn’t wave or acknowledge the audience at all.

The opening of Thriller started…people were expecting it to be Michael. Yet Chris Brown appeared and did a really good tribute…full red ensamble and everything. Like Rihanna his voice was a bit too whiney and pre-pubescent, however he nailed the Thriller choreography. Chris did a very respectable job. Good stuff. This, though, left the audience in a state of confusion; what was Michael to perform, if CB did Thriller?

A choir of teens filed onto the stage. They sang (mimed) 3/4 of We Are The World to the backing track and then MJ arrived. Here’s where people were a little PO’ed (after the show, might I add). He basically walked up and down the stage collecting posters, flowers etc and mumbled a few words of the song – and then left. I was told by a relative who watched the news that MJ said that he wasn’t performing and was there to collect the award. That explains why the whole We Are The World performance looked so hastily arranged. As you all know, this was built up to be his ‘comeback’ performance…in fairness to him there was never any ‘official official’ word on him performing. Rather rumors and hearsay snowballed and hyped everyone up for a Thriller-esque performance that was never going to happen. MJ and/or his people have to take slight blame for this…people bought tickets expecting him to perform…this could have been cleared up with a press release or something beforehand. It kind of leaves me a bit worried about the people MJ still has around him; surely clarifying his role at the awards beforehand would have left people in no doubt of what they were paying to see. However sitting back and letting people think it will be this show-stopping ‘comeback’ performance and then it not happening is like MJ shooting himself in the foot. Now the media over here are having field day.

I was interviewed by GMTV. I did it to, primarily, counter-act much of the negative interviews disgruntled fans were giving (and to get on TV). It wasn’t shown. The one’s aired showed fans heated and angry and nothing really positive. No surprises there.

Personally, I had a great time, mainly due to seeing Michael Jackson in the flesh for the first time as well as the spectacle that was Beyonce. The award’s itself was very badly organised, though. Long queue waiting hours, huge gaps in the show, among other things, left a very salty taste in my mouth.

With how yesterday went down, it is IMPERATIVE that Michael shows everyone why he is the superstar he is. He will forever be the King of Pop, but it seems the mainstream media as well as the general public need to be reminded. Remind them then Michael.

Any thoughts on the review?
With the season premiere date of the new Making The Band drawing ever nearer, the official trailer has surfaced. Needless to say, this looks like it’s gonna be good:

On a side note, did anyone else notice barely notice Shannon? The show first episode will air on MTV on January 28th at 10pm.

Will you be watching?

Martin Lawrence stars alongside Mike Epps, Mo’Nique and Cedric The Entertainer in his new movie ‘Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins. Check out the film’s trailer below:

Though, I’m getting the vibe that all the best parts were in the trailer, I may just go out and see this one. ‘Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins’ hits theatres across the US in February.

Will you be seeing ‘Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins’

Lil’ Kim stopped by G-Unit Radio recently to discuss a number of things including her on-going beef with Remy Ma. This is kinda getting a little tiresome, yet she’s going at her (Ma) real hard lol…listen.

Your thoughts?

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