Having had the chance to listen to R. Kelly’s latest album ‘Double Up’ (due May 29th), I was pleasantly surprised with the tracks. I was anticipating the album being gimmicky considering Kelly claiming the CD was to be ‘70% Hip-Hop & 30% R&B’. However, the album is solid and the ‘Ignition’ singer continues to show why he is largely considered to be one of the great singer-songwriters of modern R&B. Check out some of my personal highlights from the set:

LISTEN: Best Friend (ft. Keyshia Cole & Polow Da Don)
LISTEN: In The Zoo
LISTEN: Leave A Message
LISTEN: Hook It Up

Will you be buying ‘Double Up’?

American Idol winner Fantasia performed her current single ‘When I See U’ on BET 106 & Park yesterday. I’m really feeling the song and it’s great to see her finally promoting the single, especially since it’s been a few weeks since the video debuted. This performance was hot; Fantasia delivered vocally and the harmonizing with the backing singers at the end was a nice touch. In other, Fantasia news, it has been announced that the singer has won an award for Outstanding Broadway Debut Performance at the 63rd Annual Theatre World awards. This was for her performance in the leading role as Celie in the Broadway production of The Color Purple. More power to her.

What did you think of the performance?

Rihanna performed her UK #1 single ‘Umbrella’ over here this past weekend at BBC Radio 1’s ‘Big Weekend’. The Bajan beauty has really developed a stage presence and the performance was pretty good. Her live vocals still need some working on though, as there were a few obvious off-key moments during the performance.

What do you think of the performance?

The NY Daily News is reporting that Diddy allegedly assaulted his ‘Making The Band’ co-star Laurie-Ann Gibson during the filming of the hit shows new season. According to Gibson the ‘Come To Me’ rapper tried to throw a chair at her during a heated argument. Former New Edition member Michael Bivens – a guest judge on the show- is alleged to have been involved too. MTV apparently caught the incident on camera. Check out the report:

In the complaint filed with Manhattan cops May 11, Gibson said she got into a heated argument with Diddy and celebrity judge Michael Bivins during the April 25 filming of the MTV show at a branch of New York Sports Clubs in Greenwich Village.

Gibson said the two men started yelling and cursing at her when she told them the dancers had been given only a day to practice in order to see what they would do in a crunch.

Bivins then allegedly grabbed her while Diddy picked up a chair and threatened her. She said she broke free, tried to run and Bivins allegedly grabbed her once again. Then she left, the complaint stated.

Sources said Diddy fired her during the angry exchange – and at one point yelled for the MTV cameras to be shut off.

Reps for Diddy have rubbished Gibson’s claims and deemed her just another person trying to ‘take advantage of his (Diddy’s) celebrity status’; investigators looked into the claim and reported ‘no criminal’ activity’.

I find it hard to believe that Gibson – who has been associated with Diddy for more than 10 years – would make this up to capitalize on his fame. Whatever the case, it will be interesting to see if MTV screen this in the new season of ‘Making The Band’ especially since they will have to explain Gibson’s sudden removal from the show. Scandal.

Upon listening to Rihanna’s third album ‘Good Girl Gone Bad’ it is immediately apparent that – as the title suggests – the Bajan star has shed her innocent image and replaced it with a more sexed-up/edgier sound. The resulting tracks, however, are an unevenly balanced collection of great songs and tracks that are average-at-best.


This new Keyshia Cole track is slated to be featured on her anticipated sophomore album ‘Just Like You’ (due later this year). I’m really liking this one; it’s a smooth track, which samples a number of past hits – most notably Notorious BIG’s ‘Juicy’. Keyshia sounds great; Missy and Kim are welcome additions to the song too – with both delivering hot verses. I’m really looking forward to Keyshia’s upcoming CD, as the first was solid. Anyway, check out the track…
Hit or Miss?

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Kanye West – Can’t Tell me Nothing

This DJ Toomp produced track is scheduled to be the first single from Kanye’s upcoming third album ‘Graduation’. ‘Can’t Tell Me Nothing’ is a decent mid-tempo song, which sounds a lot like a typical Kanye track i.e. sample-laden. Having said this, I’m unsure why they would select this as the first single; it doesn’t strike me as first-single material. I feel that he needs to come harder than this. It’ll be interesting to hear what the other material from ‘Graduation’ sounds like.

LISTEN: Can’t Tell Me Nothing

Cassie – Sometimes (ft. Ryan Leslie)
After the flopping of Cassie’s 2nd single ‘Long Way 2 Go’ and the backlash she received from her terrible live performances, I assumed she had disappeared into music obscurity. However, she has posted this new song ‘Sometimes’ on her Myspace page, stating that it’s the first completed track from her current studio sessions with producer Ryan Leslie. To my surprise, I’m actually feeling the track. It’s well-known that Cassie has very little vocal ability, but her delivery on this is better than I’ve heard from her before; Ryan Leslie’s production is on-point too. I doubt the track is likely to gain her anymore fans, but it’s still good nonetheless.

LISTEN: Sometimes (ft. Ryan Leslie)
Jennifer Hudson – Special (ft. Papoose)
I’m not entirely sure whether this new Jennifer Hudson track is from her upcoming album or a mixtape; either way it’s good to hear some new material from the Oscar winner. ‘Special’ is a well-produced mid-tempo track, in which Hudson really showcases her power-house vocals. I do expect better from her, though, and hope that her album has more to offer.

LISTEN: Special (ft. Papoose)

What do you think of the New Songs?
Some of you may remember Kiley Dean from her time as Timbaland’s protégé back in 2003/04. After releasing two singles on the producer’s label – Beat Club Records/Interscope, Dean seemingly disappeared when it went bankrupt – having not released an album. However, she has recently been signed to Matthew Knowles’ Music World label and will be releasing an album later this year. Producers set to feature on the CD include Bryan-Michael Cox and Tanya ‘Freckles’ White (Janet Jackson etc).
It’s great to see Kiley making a return to the music scene. I was really feeling alot of her material such as ‘Kiss Me Like That’ and ‘Who Will I Run To’. I’m hoping that Music World handle her properly as she is a true talent. Check out a few of her songs:

LISTEN: Kiss Me Like That

LISTEN: Who Will I Run To {Updated Link}
LISTEN: Make Me A Song (Samples Aaliyah’s ‘Rock Tha Boat’)
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{Credit: KellyRowlandWeb.com}
While Kelly Rowland preps the release of her sophomore CD ‘Ms Kelly, more promotional shots for the album have surfaced. I’m really feeling these; as has been the case for a while now, Kelly is looking near-flawless. ‘Ms Kelly’ drops July 3rd.
This remix to Amy Winehouse’s cross-over hit ‘Rehab’ has been anticipated by many ever since Jay-Z expressed his desire to work with the British singer. After listening to the track, however, I feel kinda underwhelmed. The original version is a great song, yet neither Jay-Z or Pharoache Monch do anything to add to it. It’s great for Amy though; the more mainstream attention she gets, the better.
What do you think?

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T.I.’s video for his new single ‘Big Things Poppin’ debuted last night on BET. I’m really feeling the song and the video is pretty cool too. The concept is simple, yet effective – with only some parts coming across kinda cheap-looking. T.I.’s latest album ‘T.I. vs T.I.P.’ drops July 3rd.

What do you think?

The video for 50 Cent’s new single ‘Amusement Park’ debuted yesterday. I’m liking the track more than I originally did when I first heard it. However the video -as expected- isn’t anything special; it simply serves its purpose. Also, I must say that I think 50 is kinda slacking by releasing this as the first single from his new ‘Curtis’ album (due June 26th). He usually delivers with his first singles e.g. ‘In Da Club’ and ‘Candy Shop’ but this just ain’t doing it for me.

What do you think?