R&B singer Mario is to feature in his own MTV special in the lead-up to the release of his new album ‘Go!’ (due October 30th). As well as promoting the record, it appears the show will focus on Mario’s mother’s drug addiction. I remember reading about his mom’s problems in an interview he did a while back; though, then, he gave the impression it was a thing of the past. Whatever the case, here’s hoping they can overcome their issues.

Be on the lookout for a review of ‘Go!’ sometime next week.

Your thoughts?

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As some of you may know, R&B Ashanti appears on the cover of the latest issue of KING magazine(click here to view more scans). In her feature, the ‘Only You’ singer spoke on, among other things, her new album, as well as her current standing with INC boss Irv Gotti. Check out extracts from the interview below:Ashanti On Her New Sexy Music


K- So if we can’t talk about relationships, let’s talk about sex. The new album has a few tracks that would make Salt N Pepa proud.

A- That’s a beautiful thing, and I hope I’m more within my right.

K- Guess Nelly’s brought out the inner freak in you? huh? Lucky Bastard!

A- I hope this isn’t being said wrong. I don’t want to come off as a slut bucket. I’m not that chick, but I am a adult. I am a woman.

Ashanti On Irv Gotti

K- When we talked to Irv Gotti, he said you were doing your own thing and that you felt you’d outgrown The Inc. Is that accurate?

A- Uh, how do I address this? I feel like, creatively, I wanted to try some new stuff, just to see, because there was a lot of stuff going on. Now, I wasn’t on trial, so obviously Irv’s focus and my focus were a little bit different.

K- But just because you weren’t at the trial everyday doesn’t mean you weren’t riding for the team.

A- Exactly, and I was filming, so it was hard. People underestimate the word business. Loving someone and being creative and passionate, that’s all easy. It’s hard when it turns into business.

She looks great! I can’t stop cracking up at her ‘slut bucket’ comment lol. For real though, switching up her oft ‘safe’ subject-matter may just be what she needs to do to show people her growth both artistically and in age (she turned 27 yesterday). In regards to Irv, like everyone else, Ashanti must know The INC is a sinking ship, hence why she’s trying to spread her wings. Irv just seems bitter.

Any thoughts?

In a recent interview with Scratch magazine, hit-maker Timbaland revealed that he has been enlisted to produce the majority of Beyonce’s forthcoming new album (due Summer 2008). According to the super-producer, the album will be “huger than life”. The last time the pair collaborated was on the Destiny’s Child hit ‘Get On The Bus’ back in 1997. {Source: Thanks Toya!}
It’s evident that Beyonce’s trying to switch things up with this new CD and I, for one, am anxious to hear whatever they come up with. On the one hand, Timbaland’s unconventional style is a much needed change for Beyonce – whose last album IMO, despite A-list producers – was sub-par. Yet, at the same time, everyone and their ‘momma’ is jumping on the Timbaland bandwagon..it’s becoming old, fast. Whatever the case, it’ll be interesting to see how this all plays out.

Your thoughts?
That Grape Juice is giving you a chance to win a copy of R&B star Keyshia Cole’s great new album ‘Just Like You’!
The critically acclaimed set, Cole’s sophomore effort, features the smash hit ‘Let It Go’ (ft. Missy Elliot & Lil’ Kim) and the Rodney ‘Darkchild’ Jerkins produced new single ‘Shoulda Let You Go’. ‘Just Like You’ debuted at #1 on the Billboard R&B/Hip Hop Album chart following it’s release late last month.
For your chance to win a copy of the album, answer the following question:

What was the title of Keyshia’s 2005 debut album?

a) Love

b) The Way It Is

c) Keyshia

Email your answer as well as your full name, age, and address to competitions@thatgrapejuice.net. Please be sure to put ‘Keyshia Cole Comp’ as the subject. Winners will be selected randomly from all correct answers. Competition ends Saturday October 20th. Good luck!

*Note that the EA Games Competition will be re-started immediately following this*
R&B star Alicia Keys performed her current single ‘No One’ on the Jay Leno show last night (October 12th). She did fantastic! Each time she performs the song, she really brings it to life; makes you believe what’s she’s singing. A true performer. ‘No One’ is doing great on the Billboard Hot 100, having cracked the top top (at #8) this week. Alicia’s new album ‘As I Am’ will hit stores November 13th.
What do you think of the performance?
Ok, this becoming overkill now. Rihanna is featured on yet another magazine cover – this time the November issue of Teen Vogue. Yes, she looks good, but she needs to disappear for a while. With four months gone since the release of ‘Good Girl Gone Bad’ and the monster hit that was ‘Umbrella’, the album has sold 722,440 copies – I doubt she’s gonna be able to squeeze much more out of it.

What do you think of the cover?
R&B superstar Beyonce was on hand at the Samsung Experience store in New York City yesterday for the launching of the ‘B Phone’ – a ‘Beyonce’ branded Samsung model. Not feeling the phone myself. Whatever the case, Matthew and co are really prepping her for total world domination. I mean, in between her mega-star music status, these endorsements just keep pouring in. I can’t hate on her hustle.

Any thoughts?
Since reuniting with Ludacris’ Disturbing The Peace’ collective over at Def Jam this past April, rapper Chingy has been hard at work on his fourth studio album ‘Hate It Or Love It’. This new track ‘Fly Like Me’, which features R&B songstress Amerie, is slated to be the album’s first single. Though I’m feeling this one, particularly Amerie on the hook, I’m kinda looking it as it a missed opportunity. With his sales having been on a downward spiral recently, it may have better for him to switch things up a bit, yet this seems like a typical ‘it’s good now, but I won’t care for it later’ Chingy track.

Hit or Miss?

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I really have to give it to Fergie; despite making songs of next-to-no relevance (most of which sound pretty bad too) she’s managed to carve out a very successful solo career outside of the Black Eyed Peas. This new single/video ‘Clumsy’ is set to be the 5th single from her multi-Platinum LP ‘The Dutchess’. I’m kinda liking the Marc Webb and Rich Lee directed video. Word has it, Fergie is already recording her 2nd album which is to be released in 2008.

What do you think of the video?

Janet Jackson has really been hitting the promo trail hard for her new film ‘Why Did I Get Married’ as of late. Check out some of her most recent appearances below:
Good Morning America

Extra: Regis & Kelly: Part 1 // Part 2

Janet, alongside co-star Tyler Perry, appeared on a CW morning show yesterday (October 11th). The interview was going fine, until one of the stupid interviewers brought up the infamous Superbowl accident/incident. It’s wasn’t even funny and bizarrely came across as if he took the whole thing personally. Thankfully, Tyler kinda put the guy in check. Click below to see the interview:

Click here to watch the interview

In other Janet news, boyfriend Jermaine Dupri has revealed that the singer is working with Maroon 5 on her as-yet-untitled new album. According to the hit-making producer, the album is set to drop February/March next year. It’s good to hear of Janet working artists unexpected artists; hopefully she’ll deliver the goods come next year. {Source}

Any thoughts?

As previously reported, Usher and wife Tameka Foster are featured on the cover of November’s issue of Essence magazine. Check out a few extracts from their joint interview:

Usher on how the media and bloggers reacted negatively to the news of his engagement to Tameka Foster:

“It was like, wow. (Getting married) and having a child is something that everyone should celebrate. What’s happened to us as a culture and a people? I’m not ignorant, so I’m not going to go out there and lash out….”

Usher on how he and Tameka have stayed strong:

“Ours is not a typical love story, but it is a true one. Tameka and I have been fortunate enough to go through the thick of it in the beginning. We’ve had that opportunity to huddle up as a team, to make sure that we’re clear and speak as one voice.”

Tameka on when she knew to trust her instincts, instead of her girlfriends, about starting a relationship with her future husband:

“Thank God I didn’t listen to my girlfriends…. Usher was my road dawg. I’d seen him love, and I’d watched him date women who were not worthy of him. He was so sweet, going out of his way to cater to their every need. And I’d see them not even be grateful.”

Tameka on falling for her husband:

“I feel totally uninhibited with Usher. I’ve never been in a situation with anyone, even as far back as high school, where there were no secrets. I know I can tell him anything and he’s not going to judge me. I can finally share my dreams. And because of that, I know that man loves me.”

Blah. I find it funny how they totally dodged anything to do with the controversy surrounding Usher’s mom and their marriage. Though I don’t really care for their union, I still think there’s something kinda ‘off’ with it – no matter how much they profess their love for one another.

Your thoughts?

The video for the first single from Jay-Z’s forthcoming ‘American Gangster’ album premiered yesterday. Famed director Hype Williams directed the video for the Pharrell Williams produced ‘Blue Magic’. I don’t know if it’s because I’m not feeling the song or what, but the video is ‘just there’ to me – nothing more, nothing less. If Jay insists on cranking out more albums (especially after the lukewarm reception his last CD met), then he’ll have to come harder than this.

What do you think of the video?