Monday, December 31, 2012

Live Video of the Day: "New York, New York" (Frank Sinatra)

Frank Sinatra's iconic rendition of "New York, New York" is one that reminds me of New Years Eve in New York City and it is always played right after the ball drops in Times Square. Since we are still in the glow of New Years Eve, I thought it would be appropriate to let Frankie bring us in right. With that said, watch Frank Sinatra croon out a sublime rendition of "New York, New York" below and Enjoy!

TV Rewind: Totally T-Boz Episode 1

"Totally T-Boz" aired its debut episode this past weekend and those who are fans of T-Boz and/or TLC who missed the primeir episode should checkout this tv rewind as T-Boz begins her "comeback as a solo artists post-TLC. Peep the debut episode below and Enjoy!

New Joint: "Never Be Lonely" (Eric Bellinger feat. Amber Riley)

As promised by Ms. Amber Riley, a new joint from the songstress has hit the net and this time it's in the form of Eric Bellinger's "Never Be Lonely." While Amber is only featured on the solid mid-tempo cut, it's a welcomed new joint that will hopefully usher in a 2013 that sees the the release of Riley's highly anticipated debut LP. With that said, take a listen below to "Never Be Lonely" and Enjoy!

Song of the Day: "Auld Lang Syne (The New Year's Anthem)" (Mariah Carey)

"Auld Lang Syne (The New Year's Anthem)" - Mariah Carey
  • Writers: Robert Burns, Mariah Carey, Randy Jackson, Johnny Severin
  • Producers: Red One & Mariah Carey
  • Featured on 2010's Merry Christmas II You

Live Clip: "Hear My Call" (Jill Scott)

Jill Scott took to the Vh1 Divas Celebrate Soul stage last year performed a hair-raising and highly emotional performance of her ballad "Hear My Call," which is lifted from her recent release "The Light of the Sun." What is so special about Jill is her ability to emote and transcend the typical barriers of a performance. Jill is able to really connect with you through the screen with her powerful pipes and emotional disposition, which places Jill in a league of her own. Watch her sublime performance of "Hear My Call" below and Enjoy!

Amazing Cover: "I Will Always Love You" (Jennifer Hudson)

The biggest musical moment of 2012 for me is hands down the tragic passing of the late Ms. Whitney Houston. With that said, the best cover of 2012 in my book emerged several hours after the icons death when Jennifer Hudson took to the Grammy stage to offer up a somber rendition of Houston's most iconic hit "I Will Always Love You." I honestly still can't get over Jennifer Hudson's touching Grammy tribute to Whitney Houston during the Grammys. While her stripped down rendition didn't allow Jennifer to truly showcase off her sublime talents, the song and moment didn't call for that and her highly emotional tribute allowed for us to grieve with her, while at the same time respecting Houston's legacy. Watch her understated, yet powerful memorial performance below as we continue to remember the Ms. Whitney Houston!

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Year End Favorite Albums: 2012

Below you will find a brief outline of my top 5 albums to drop this past year. While a lot of great records were released within 2012, these 5 as well as the honorable mentions stood out to me as some of the best vocal, sonic, and lyrical work to debut this year. The list is not numerical in order of "most favorite" as the field this year was so tight and definitely offered a variety of great albums depending on your mood. Some artists had strong comebacks this year (Brandy; Alicia Keys), others were brought more into the mainstream with solid debuts (Emeli Sandé; Frank Ocean), and one cat "reintroduced" himself with a hot mixtape that snowballed into a solid sophomore LP (Miguel).  Peep the list below and in addition to several honorable mentions.

1.  Our Version of Events - Emeli Sandé

2012 brought with it the introduction of some great new artists to the mainstream and while I had been rocking with Emeli Sandé since 2011 with her sublime joint "Daddy," her debut album Our Version of Events saw her explode in the UK becoming the best-selling debut album of 2012 and making some waves here in the US as well. While she didn't pick up a lot of traction here in the States yet (chart success, Grammy nominations, mainstream radio play), her debut put forth a solid collective of songs that made this such an enjoyable album to listen to from start to finish. Some standouts in my book include "Heaven," "My Kind of Love," "Wonder," "Mountains," "Clown," "Daddy" of course, " "Maybe" and the thumping "Next to Me." As you can tell, I listed more than half of the joints featured on Sandé sublime debut and it really is worth checking out as she is not just an accomplished singer, but also a songwriter as she co-wrote her entire album as well as several tracks on Alicia Keys' Girl On Fire and Rihanna's Unapologetic.

2. Girl On Fire - Alicia Keys

Speaking of Alicia Keys, 2012 saw the release of her "comeback" fifth studio LP after taking a mini-musical break to have her first child Egypt. While I did not really feel her fourth album The Element of Freedom, Keys brought it back to the basics a bit with her latest release. Openly not fan of the title-track or "New Day," if you skip these two songs (which happen to be back-to-back on the album), you have a complete album that is up there with her best effort Songs in A Minor. The Emeli Sandé co-written "Brand New Me, "Not Even The King," and "101" are some of the real standouts from her LP which even saw her collaborate with Maxwell and Gary Clark Jr. on the grown and sexy fire of a cut "Fire We Make" and my personal favorite "When It's All Over," which features her son Egypt at the end. "Listen To Your Heart" is also a solid mid-tempo banger which has single potential written all over it. While Keys' lead single and "New Day" originally turned me off from the album, I was pleasantly surprised to find an album worthy of her immense musical and vocal talents that are still shinning over a decade since her debut LP.

3. Two Eleven - Brandy

Brandy had a true comeback in 2012 with her Chris Brown assisted single "Put It Down" becoming the biggest hit of her career since her joint "Full Moon."  While Brandy's sixth album Two Eleven was a welcomed commercial return since the release of 2008's commercial failure Human, it also marked an album that successfully combined Brandy's classic 90s sound with some more contemporary sonic discourse. Though "Wildest Dreams" seems to of stalled on radio and the charts and Brandy is busy selecting the upcoming third single to be lifted from Two Eleven, the album as a whole followed perfectly well that it is one of a few albums that were released in 2012 that I can listen to all the way through. Other standouts in my book include "So Sick," "Slower," "No Such Thing As Too Late." "Let Me Go," "Without You," the background vocal blowing "Hardly Breathing," should be next single "Do You Know What You Have," the Frank Ocean penned "Scared Of Beautiful," and "Paint This House." As you can tell, Brandy really work her behind off on this LP and the culmination of this work was one of the best R&B albums of 2012 hands down and also one of the most slept on releases in my book. Hopefully 2013 will find more commercial appeal to Two Eleven as it really has the musical gas to go for the next 12 months.

4. channel ORANGE - Frank Ocean

Frank Ocean made a huge splash last year with his mixtape "nostalgia, ULTRA" and expectations were high for his debut album and Frank delivered with channel ORANGE. Topping many best of lists and securing him a nominations for Album of the Year at the 2013 Grammy Awards, Frank Ocean's debut album push both sonic and ideological boundaries as he stayed true to himself and put out arguably one the best album of the year. Singles "Thinkin Bout You" and "Pyramids" are just two of the numerous standouts that include "Sweet Life," "Super Rich Kids," "Crack Rock," and the poignant "Bad Religion" and "Forrest Gump." There is really not that much that one can say about this album that hasn't already been said, but his critically acclaimed LP, which will hopefully find more commercial appeal after the Grammys is the clear standout of 2012 that people will be listening to years after we ring in the new year at midnight tonight.

5. Kaleidoscope Dream - Miguel

Miguel burst onto the scene at the end of 2010 with his solid debut LP All I Want Is You, and his appeal was very much rooted on the R&B charts with his hit singles "All I Want Is You," "Sure Thing" and "Quickie." With that siad, 2011 saw him build himself as an artist and 2012 has really been a breakout year for Miguel with the release of his sophomore LP Kaleidoscope Dream and his #1 hit "Adorn," which even secured him a Grammy nominations for Song of the Year. Though he was shut out of the Grammys this past year, Kaleidoscope Dream nabbed him 4 Grammy nominations for the pending ceremony. Kaleidoscope Dream has some really brilliant moments for me, but suffers a bit from its lack of cohesion in my book and is an album that I find myself skipping several tracks to get to the bangers. "Adorn," second single "Do You...," the title-track "Kaleidoscope Dream," and 'ad-libbed' "Pussy Be Mine" are the clear standouts from his solid sophomore LP.

Honorable Mentions:

Perfectly Imperfect - Elle Varner
Beautiful Surprise - Tamia
I Will Always Love You: The Best Of Whitney Houston - Whitney Houston
Landing On A Hundred - Cody ChesnuTT
Greater Than One - Dwele
Black Radio - Robert Glasper Experiment
Is Your Love Big Enough? - Lianne La Havas
True - Solange
Superconductor - Andy Allo
The After 2am Sessions LP - Ahmed Sirour 
Devotion - Jessie Ware
Heaven - Rebecca Ferguson

Cut: "Survive" (Mary Mary)

Lifted from Mary Mary's 2011 LP Something Big, "Survive" was the second and last official single lifted from the duo's project. Peaking at a solid #13 on the Gospel charts and a respectable #51 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, "Survive" was a joint that I, myself, had forgotten about until I recently came across the official video for this solid cut. With that said, (re)visit Mary Mary's "Survive" below as we all are thankful for another year!

Second Listen: "I Smile" (Kirk Franklin)

I was watching Vh1 Soul last night and during "Soul 2 Soul," they played one of Kirk Franklin's latest hits 2011's "I Smile." Lifted from Hello Fear, "I Smile" went onto peak at #1 on the Gospel charts and even more impressive, #85 on the Billboard Hot 100. As we get ready to usher in a new year, I thought it would be appropriate to revisit this sublime joint form Kirk Franklin and you can listen to "I Smale" below!

Interview: Miguel

On MTV's "This Is How I Made It," Miguel opened up about his journey to becoming the multiple Grammy nominated artist that he is today and the famed crooner stressed how his story was not one made overnight. Though he eventually signed to Jive and broke onto the scene with his debut LP All I Want Is You, Miguel struggled through a lawsuit from a former label and faced hardships when he decided not to follow the status quo. Peep his episode of "This Is How I Made It" below and get to know the man behind the music a bit more.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

After Midnight: Alicia Keys

One of my favorite youtube series is Steven Lopez' "After Midnight" where he captures his phenomenal paintings of some of soul music's most recognizable current and past faces. With that said, Lopez recently painted a sublime painting of Alicia Keys and you can peep all of the action below while we groove out to "No One."

Live Video of the Day: "Rich Hipster" (Chrisette Michele)

Chrisette Michele took to B.B. Kings this past Saturday night and during her rousing set to help promote her Audrey Hepburn mixtape, she performed one of the cuts, "Rich Hipster" and truly rocked it out. With that said, watch her let loose below and lookout for her forthcoming LP come 2013!

Interview: Jhene Aiko Top 5 LPs of 2012

RapUpTV recently caught up with Jhene Aiko to talk about her top five albums of 2012 and during their brief conversation, Jhene revealed that she was really feeling Wizard by Kid Cudi, Kendrick Lamar's good kid, m.A.A.d city, Ab-Soul's Control System, Miguel's Kaleidoscope Dream, as well as Frank Ocean's channel ORANGE. Peep her rationale why for these albums below and lookout for her forthcoming solo Def Jam debut LP come 2013!

Song of the Day: "Red" (Daniel Merriweather)

"Red" - Daniel Merriweather
  • Writer: Scott McFarnon
  • Producer: Mark Ronson
  • Record Label: Columbia
  • Released in 2009 from Love & War
  • Peaked at #5 on the UK Singles Chart

Cut: "Out My Mind, Just In Time" (Erykah Badu)

On Erykah Badu's last studio LP "New Amerykah, Pt. 2: Return of the Ankh," Badu collaborated with James Poyser and Georgia Ann Muldrow on the nearly ten-and-a-half minute opus "Out My Mind, Just In Time." While it inspired Badu's tour to support her LP, it never received the official single's treatment, but was granted a visual inspired by its theme. With that said, take a listen below to "Out My Mind, Just In Time" and Enjoy!

Live Audio: "Giving Myself" (Jennifer Hudson)

Check out this amazing live radio performance of "Giving Myself" that Jennifer gave to the Steve Harvey Morning Show back in 2008 while she was promoting her self-titled debut album Jennifer Hudson. She is blowing on this audio clip and these are the type os songs I hope will continue to find their way into her discography over time. Take a listen below and Enjoy!

Second Listen: "I Could Fall In Love" (Selena)

One of the most tragic events to impact music in the past 20 years in my opinion was the tragic passing of Selena. While she was just on the verge of global crossover success, Selena was sadly taken away from us all too early. With that said, take a second listen below to the first single, "I Could Fall In Love," from Selena's sixth and final LP Dreaming of You below and Enjoy!

Amazing Cover: "Pony 2012" (Michael Francis)

As we close out 2012, I am reminded or some of the great covers that came our way and one of them has to be Michael Francis and his amazing rendition of the Ginuwine classic "Pony." Michael Francis has been building some serious buzz since 2011 and to treat his budding fan base Michael released a phenomenal rendition of the Ginuwine classic "Pony" earlier this year. Produced by City on the Beat, this 2012 cover of Ginuwine's '96 classic is a refreshing take on this 90s classic. With that said, take a listen below and Enjoy!

Rare Performance: "Somebody Loves You Baby" (Patti LaBelle & Teena Marie)

Back in 2000, Patti LaBelle headlined "Philadelphia's Unity Day" and during her rousing set, the legendary Teena Marie came on stage for a powerful duet on Patti's "Somebody Loves You Baby." During their vocal exchange, Patti even transitioned a bit to "Shoe Was On The Other Foot" and you can watch the sublime duet below!

Set: 1996 BET "Walk of Fame" (Whitney Houston)

Back in 1996, Whitney Houston was honored with the second annual BET "Walk of Fame" award for her illustrious career in music and film. With that said, Whitney Houston took to the stage of her own honoring to offer the crowd a sublime medley filled with classic hits such as "Exhale (Shoop Shoop), "I Will Always Love You," "I'm Every Woman," and "The Greatest Love of All"  in addition to her sublime cover of "Alfie." Watch Houston's rousing yet brief set below from BET's "Walk of Fame" as we continue to remember the late icon.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

After Midnight: Jill Scott

I keep revisiting Steven Lopez's "After Might" series as he truly captures a piece of the legendary woman that he pains. With that said,  check out  Steven Lopez painting his first "After Midnight" creation which happened to be of Soul singer Jill Scott. It's a very interesting to see his creative process sped up to the beat of Scott's song. Watch it all go down below and Enjoy!

Live Video of the Day: "Spirit In The Dark" (Aretha Franklin)

Many people forget that the Queen of Soul is a talented pianist and in this live video of the day, the Queen not only shows off her phenomenal skills on the keys, but also croons out her classic "Spirit In The Dark" like only she can. Watch this sublime live performance from the 1971 Montreux Jazz Festival below and Enjoy!

Song of the Day: "Strawberry Amazing" (Miguel)

"Strawberry Amazing" - Miguel
  • Writer: Miguel Jontel Pimentel
  • Record Label: Jive
  • Featured on 2008's "Mischief (The Mixtape)"
  • Released in 2011 as a buzz single to support All I Want Is You

Live Clip: "Be Thankful for What You Got" (Omar)

UK Soul singer Omar recorded a cover of William DeVaughn's "Be Thankful for What You Got" several years ago, and ever since then, the crooner has been making the joint his own through his live performances. With that said, you can peep this live clip of Omar getting down to "Be Thankful for What You Got," during a show in Paris back in 2008. Watch it all go down below and Enjoy!

Live Audio: "Vision Of Love" (Mariah Carey)

Back in 1990, Mariah Carey made a promotional appearance on SNL to promote her debut album Mariah Carey. During a rehearsal, fans were lucky enough to get this live audio of the vocal diva warming up her pipes on her classic and first number one hit "Vision Of Love." Take a listen to this live audio of Mariah practicing below and Enjoy!

Amazing Cover: "Any Love" (Patti LaBelle)

Back in 2000, BET held it's annual "Walk of Fame" and the recipient that night was none other than Luther Vandross. With that said, one of the most memorable performances from that night had to be Patti LaBelle's interpretation of Luther's Grammy-nominated hit "Any Love." Peep Patti's sublime performance of "Any Love" below and Enjoy!

Artist News: Vivian Green tributes Whitney Houston

It would be an understatement to say that Whitney Houston inspired the current generation of singer and Vivian Green is no exception. With that said, during her recent performance at the Highline Ballroom, Vivian performed two solid renditions of Whitney's classic hits; "Why Does It Hurt So Bad" and "You Give Good Love." Watch her touching tribute performances below as we all continue to honor Ms. Whitney Houston.

Interview: Elle Varner

Elle Varner caught up with Mina SayWhat of Power 99 Philly recently from the airport as she was on her way to NOLA for Trey Songz's "Chapter V" tour and during their interview, Elle opened up about touring with Trey Songz and Miguel, performing with Nas at his upcoming New Years Eve show at Radio City Music Hall, going to Japan in the new year to promote her debut LP, her engagement rumors on Twitter,  the back-lash on Twitter when people thought he was white, and so much more. Peep Elle's interview below and lookout as she continues to make moves!

New Joint: "Unchained (Django’s Revenge)" (Raheem DeVaughn)

Raheem DeVaughn is back onces again with solid banger and this time it's in the form of the Chucky Thompson produced joint "Unchained (Django’s Revenge)." Penned by DeVaughn himself, it remains unclear if this is a leftover from the film's original soundtrack or just a riff that Raheem put together after being inspired by the film. Either way, "Unchained (Django’s Revenge)," is a dope joint that warrants a listen or two below!

Second Listen: "Listen to Me" (Baby Huey)

With a psychedelic brand of soul and a vocal style that drew comparisons to Otis Redding, the 400 pound Baby Huey was set to break nationally with his 1971 debut album. Unfortunately, a fatal heart attack prevented him from seeing the release of the disc. Baby Huey's lone album has become a sought-after collectible soul fanatics. With that said, take a first or second listen below to Baby Huey's  thumping joint "Listen to Me" below and Enjoy!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Live Video of the Day: "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" (Patti LaBelle)

Back in 1986, Patti LaBelle found herself across the pond in London and during her time there, she of course performed her definitive rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." Big hair and all, Patti shut it down as always with her anointed pipes. With that said, watch Ms. Patti perform a stirring rendition of "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" from back in 1986 below and Enjoy!

Live Clip: "Dealing" (Eric Roberson & Lalah Hathaway)

Eric Roberson and Lalah Hathaway have rarely performed their duet "Dealing" live together, but when they do, the twosome always bring it. Lifted from Roberson's last album "Music Fan First," the song is one of my favorite duets of the past decade and the two really shut it down. Watch the two go back and forth below and Enjoy!

Song of the Day: "Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Babe" (Barry White)

"Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Babe" - Barry White
  • Writer: Barry White
  • Producer: Barry White
  • Record Label: 20th Century Records
  • Released in 1974 from "Can't Get Enough"
  • Peaked at #1 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and  Hot Soul Singles

New Video: "Love & War (Fashion Film)" (Tamar Braxton)

Tamar Braxton has recently released a fashion film for her current hit single "Love & War" just in time for the holidays. While it is unclear if her current single will receive the official visual treatment, her fashion film for "Love & War" as the musical accompaniment is a solid video to last fans until an official video is released from her upcoming sophomore LP Love & War. Watch it go down below and Enjoy!

Live Audio: "Sumthin' Sumthin'" (Maxwell)

Back during Maxwell's "Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite" days, he released a smooth sensual joint entitled "Sumthin' Sumthin'." With that said, take a listen below to this live audio version of Maxwell crooning out "Sumthin' Sumthin'" below and Enjoy!

Cut: "I Love You" (Jill Scott)

Back in 2011, Jill Scott released her fourth LP The Light of The Sun and one of the bonus cuts from her latest LP on the deluxe edition was the thumping "I Love You." Having first introduced "I Love You" a year earlier while co-headlining an arena tour with Maxwell, "I Love You" is a solid recorded joint, but even better live in my opinion. With that said, take a listen below to Jill Scott's cut "I Love You" and Enjoy!

Amazing Cover: "Good Morning Heartache" (Sam Cooke)

I was at the Princeton Record Exchange yesterday and came across this gem of a record, Sam Cooke's third solo LP Tribute To The Lady - Billie Holliday. With that said, the first joint on the vinyl edition of Tribute To The Lady - Billie Holliday, is Sam's touching rendition of "Good Morning Heartache. With that said, take a listen below to Sam Cooke's amazing cover of Billie Holiday's standard "Good Morning Heartache" and Enjoy!

Second Listen: "I Wanna Sex You Up" (Color Me Badd)

Back in 1991, Color Me Badd released their most remembered joint "I Wanna Sex You Up" as a part of their LP C.M.B. and the official New Jack City soundtrack. Produced by Dr. Freeze, "I Wanna Sex You Up" would go onto peak at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Hot R&B Songs chart. With that said, take a second listen to their smooth "I Wanna Sex You Up" below and Enjoy!

Interview: JoJo's Top 5 LPs of the 2012

RapUpTV caught up with JoJo while she was kicking it on the beach and the Grammy-nominated songstress opened up about her favorite 5 LPs  of 2012 including Frank Ocean's channel ORANGE, Kendrick Lamar's good kid, m.A.A.d city, Rihanna's Unapologetic, Robert Glasper Experience Black Radio, as well as Miguel's Kaleidoscope Dream. Peep her brief interview below and hopefully we will get JoJo's highly anticipated third LP in 2013!