Tuesday, December 31, 2013
My favorite cover of 2013 and thus as we close out the year, I thought it would be nice to revisit Alice Smith's rendition of "Fool For You."
Earlier this year, Alice Smith released her sophomore album She and one of the standout joints from her LP has to be her cover of the Cee-Lo Green and Melanie Fiona Grammy-winning duet "Fool For You."
While I had forgotten about this gem from Alice, her performance of it during last night's BET telecast of Black Girls Rock reminded me of this sublime rendition of "Fool For You" and had me revisiting the brilliance of her take.
With that said, take a listen below to Alice Smith's amazing cover of Cee-Lo's "Fool Fo You," and if you haven't checked out her sublime sophomore album She, there is no time like the present to get acquainted with her dope album.
Live Audio: "I Love The Lord/ "I'm Your Baby Tonight/I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)" (Monica & Brandy)
During last year's BET Awards, Monica and Brandy were called upon to offer their vocal services to honor their late friend and mentor Ms. Whitney Houston.
Monica opened up the tribute with an impassioned rendition of "I Love The Lord" while Brandy sped it up a bit with her thumping performances of "I'm Your Baby Tonight" and "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)."
With that said, take a listen to Monica and Brandy both honor the late Ms. Whitney Houston through song below and Enjoy!
"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
While musical groups have been making a comeback for the last few years, none of them, and I mean none of them can touch the harmonies of Boyz II Men. Having put their four part harmonies to the test for over two decades now, the Boyz from Philadelphia still got it as the preceding clip shows.
Performing their joint "I Do," the sixty-five second clip proves why Boyz II Men are the gold standard of singing groups as they not only have the hits, but also the shear vocal talent to entertain you without music.
Watch Boyz II Men's phenomenal performance of "I Do" from The Mirage below and Enjoy!
2013 appeared to be a year or resurgence when it came to soulful sounds on the charts. While is has been noted that not a single Black artist topped the Billboard Hot 100 as a lead artist during 2013, even though soulful sounds were clearly making a comeback and topping the charts (see Justin Timberlake, Robin Thicke, Macklemore, etc.), that didn't mean that great music from Black artists didn't hit the airwaves and the charts.
While a lot of great records were released within 2013, these 5, ok 6, 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 (Tamar Braxton; Fantasia; some would argue Beyoncé), others were brought more into the mainstream with solid debuts (Laura Mvula, K. Michelle), and one artist "reintroduced" herself with a blaring empowered LP that warrants further attention as we enter into 2014 (Janelle Monáe). Peep the list below and in addition to several honorable mentions.
Laura Mvula is one of the artists that most excited me as we get ready to close out 2013 in a few hours and while her s debut album Sing To The Moon is one of my top five picks of 2013, I thought it would be appropriate to revisit her debut single that began her rising career.
With that said, Laura's standout joint "She" is what initially brought her to my attention and you can take a second listen to it below via the stunning official video for "She."
A week late, but better late than never as I always say. With that said, Lyfe Jennings recently released the official lyric video for his latest single "College," right before the holiday season and his new single Lyfe attests that to treat a woman right, you have to learn her.
Shot on the college campus of Clark Atlanta University, the new video not only showcases the lyrics of "College" but also the Black college experience. Therefore, watch the official lyric video to "College" below and if you like what you hear, check out Lyfe's comeback LP LUCID, which is in stores now.
Monday, December 30, 2013
Below you will find a sublime performance from Will Downing sings his 1988 hit "Free" during the 1989 Prince's Trust concert, backed by Level 42 and the CBSO, at Birmingham's NEC.
While Denice Williams originally performed this classic hit, Will offers a phenomenal rendition of her classic that warrants a revisiting if you ask me. With that said, you can watch it all go down below.
"Loving You Is Killing Me" - Aloe Blacc
- Writers: Jeffrey Scott Silverman, Leon Marcus Michels, Nicholas Anthony Movshon, E. Nathaniel Dawkins
- Producers: Leon Michels, Jeff Dynamite
- Record Label: Stone Throw
- Released in 2011 from Good Things
- Peaked at #8 on the Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 75)
Another day, another part in Beyoncé's "Self-Titled" documentary that chronicles the creation of Beyoncé's surprise fifth studio album BEYONCÉ, which has already gone onto sell over a million copies here in the States after 11 days.
With that said, "Self-Titled" Part 4 . Liberation explores the creative process behind BEYONCÉ and we get glimpses of the writing camp Beyoncé held in the Hamptons to help craft her record and Beyoncé also opens up about her heightened sexuality on the album both lyrically and visually on her audiovisual album BEYONCÉ.
Peep the latest installment of "Self-Titled" below and lookout for Part 5 in the new year.
During her June 23rd, 1994 concert stop at The Spectrum in Philadelphia, PA, Whitney Houston closed out her set with her hair-raising performance of her iconic hit "I Will Always Love You."
While I have heard numerous Houston renditions of this classic, this in my opinion is the best captured rendition of the song hands down and is also one of, if not the best live audio performances ever recorded.
With that said, take a listen below to her aw inspiring rendition of "I Will Always Love You" as we honor the legacy of The Voice Ms. Whitney Houston.
Luther Vandross' sublime duet with Cheryl Lynn on the Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell classic "If This World Were Mine," is in my book the most overlooked duet in the past 30 years of music.
While a sizable groups of individuals are aware of this brilliant remake and classic, it seems as if its brilliance has been lost and more recent generations.
With that said, peep their rare live performance of "If This World Were Mine," which is lifted from a performance at Soul Train back in the day below and Enjoy!
**As we get ready to close out 2013, I thought it would be nice to revisit my favorite mashup/mix of 2013.**
Brandy has been a major fixture in the music industry for almost twenty years now and to help celebrate her influence and lengthy career, Suzi Analogue mixed a dope mix/mashup of numerous Brandy cuts, classics and hit singles.
Entitled "The 20 Year Influence Of Brandy [Saint Heron Mix]," the set starts out with "Angel In Disguise" moves into "It's Not Worth It," "Never Say Never," "Focus," "All In Me," Bring Me Down," and her latest hit "Put It Down" before closing it out with Brandy's classic hits.
Ending with "Sitting Up In My Room," "Baby," "I Wanna Be Down," "The Boy Is Mine" and "Full Moon," this mix/mashup by Suzi Analogue is a must listen for any fan of R&B and Brandy. With that said, take a listen below to "The 20 Year Influence Of Brandy [Saint Heron Mix]" and Enjoy!
Back in 2001, Jill Scott released her live double album Experience: Jill Scott 826+ and while the set is best known for her live renditions and the single "Gimme," my favorite joint from the bonus studio LP has to be her 4Hero assisted joint "Gotta Get Up (Another Day)."
While the song was never released as a single and Ms. Scott has not performed it live to my knowledge, the song has such a necessary meaning and a dope beat to accompany it. With that said, take a listen to "Gotta Get Up (Another Day)" after the jump and Enjoy!
Sunday, December 29, 2013
Sadly there are only a few live performance of the legendary Dinah Washington's online and one of my favorites (out of the limited selection) has to be her performance of the Hank Snow joint "I Don't Hurt Anymore."
Originally recorded by Snow and Washington in 1954, the below rare performance showcases Ms. Dinah Washington belting out what would become a number 3 seller for her on the R&B charts. With that said, watch her tour de force performance below and Enjoy!
As we get ready to close out 2012, I thought it might be nice to revisit this live performance of Luther crooning his classic "So Amazing." Lifted from an award's show back in the 80s, Luther and his background singers are vocally on point as always and bring it in this sublime performance.
This is one of my favorite Luther classics and I hope you enjoy this performance after the jump!
One of my favorite joints from Ledisi's discography is her sublime take of the Duke Ellington classic "In A Sentimental Mood."
Lifted from her sophomore album Feeling Orange but Sometimes Blue, Ledisi croons and coos a phenomenal version of the song and offers up in my opinion one of, if not the best vocal version of the song to date.
Take a listen below and let Ledisi's legendary vocals take you to a higher place and lookout for her forthcoming album The Truth when it's released in March 2013!
"Sure Thing" - Miguel
- Writers: Miguel Jontel Pimentel, Jamaal Harris Pimentel
- Producer: Happy Perez
- Record Label: Jive
- Released in 2011 from All I Want Is You
- Peaked at #36 on the Billboard Hot 100 & #1 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs
Back in 2000, D'Angelo was touring the world in support of his sophomore album Voodoo and of course the crowds were all waiting to hear his instant classic hit single "Untitled (How Does It Feel)."
With that said, during his set on July 16th at the North Sea Jazz Festival, D'Angelo performed an impassioned rendition of "Untitled (How Does It Feel)" the featured some solid background vocals from a then unknown Anthony Hamilton.
While D'Angelo's rumored and highly anticipated followup to Voodoo is tentatively slated for a 2014 release, I thought it would be nice to revisit this classic through this phenomenal live recording rendition.
Therefore, take a listen below to D'Angelo's performance of "Untitled (How Does It Feel)" from the North Sea Jazz Festival and Enjoy!
Was listening to one of my smooth jam playlists earlier today, I rediscovered Quincy's Kendre assisted single "Stay Awhile." While the joint was lifted as a one off single from the up-and-coming crooner, "Stay Awhile" is a dope mid-tempo that never really got the shine I think it deserved.
Released last year in the spring, "Stay Awhile" was produced by Frank Castle and Beat Merchant and warrants some more attention as we roll into cuffing season.
With that said, take a second listen after the jump to "Stay Awhile" and if you like what you hear of the joint, you can cop a free download of it by clicking here.
Finally someone has created a mashup of D'Angelo's classic and iconic hit single "Untitled (How Does It Feel" with Beyoncé's influenced and inspired joint "Rocket," which is lifted from her recently released self-titled fifth studio album BEYONCÉ.
Crafted from rising producer JAYBeatz, "Untitled Rocket" is a solid joint that combines these two bedroom odes and while there are pieces where the mashup doesn't sink as well as it could, if JAYBeatz had access to Beyoncé's isolated vocals from the "Rocket" track," it is still a brilliant mashup that further underscores the influence and inspiration that Beyoncé took from D'Angelo's iconic joint.
With that said, take a listen below to "Untitled Rocket (A JAYBeatz Mashup)" and if you like what you hear, cop the free download while supplies last!
Saturday, December 28, 2013
"Come Back to Me" - Janet Jackson
- Writers: Janet Jackson, James Harris III, Terry Lewis
- Producers: Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis
- Record Label: A&M
- Released in 1990 from 1989's Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814
- Peaked at #2 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs
As we close out 2013, Kenny Lattimore has released some new music to carry us over to 2014 with "Heart Stops," which is lifted from his rumored forthcoming LP.
While there has been no confirmation of a new album, one would hope that with a new single that a new album will follow. Either way, take a listen below to "Heart Stops" and Enjoy!
2013 more fully introduced UK artist-on-the-rise Angel to a larger audience and while his debut album About Time has yet to see a release here in the States, hopefully 2014 will bring fortune to both Angel and us here in the States as he is one clearly talented cat with some crazy vocals on him.
With that said, Angel recently caught up with SoulCultureUK to offer a take on Pharrell Williams' anthematic single "Happy," which was lifted from the Despicable Me 2 soundtrack. Therefore watch Angel's acoustic take on Pharrell's "Happy" below and Enjoy!
I don't know about you, but I still really enjoying listening to Adele's cover of Cheryl Cole's "Promise This" that she offered up during her Radio 1 Live Lounge apperance during the early onset promotion of her blockbuster sophomore album 21.
Though Cole's "Promise This" wouldn't seem like a great cover choice, Adele slows it down a bit and lets her pipes do the rest on this stunning live audio cover. Take a listen after the jump to Adele's live audio cover of Cole's "Promise This" and hopefully 2014 is the year for the followup to Adele's 2011 blockbuster 21.
Back in 2006, The Brand New Heavies released their album Get Used to It and the lead single from the set was a Stevie Wonder B-side to his 1968 hit single "My Cherie Amour."
Originally entitled "I Don't Know Why," The Brand New Heavies take of the song "I Don't Know Why (I Love You)," boasted some strong vocals from N'Dea Davenport who rejoined the group for this LP.
With that said, take a listen after the jump to their cut "I Don't Know Why (I Love You)" and Enjoy!
Friday, December 27, 2013
One of my favorite Amy Winehouse joints is the title track to her sophomore album Back To Black, which helped Amy earn a then record tying 5 Grammy Awards in one night including Best New Artist, Record of the Year, as well as Song of the Year.
With that said, though "Back To Black" didn't gain as much acclaim as Amy's "Rehab," it in my opinion is as good if not better then her Grammy winning hit. Watch her sublime performance of "Back To Black" after the jump and Enjoy!
The holiday season, and especially Christmas always bring out the Whitney Houston film vehicle The Preacher's Wife to get me in the holiday mood and Whitney Houston's cover of The Four Tops' "I Believe in You and Me" from the film became one of the many standards in the late songstress' repertoire.
With that said, Ahmed Sirour's powerful and highly somber rendition/ tribute cover of "I Believe in You and Me," is still one of the songs that helps me mourn the loss of and celebrate the legacy of the late and great Ms. Whitney Houston.
With that said, listen below to his amazing cover of "I Believe In You and Me" and if you enjoy what you hear, you can click here to purchase it along with his "The After 2AM Sessions LP."
"Cry for You" - Jodeci
- Writer: DeVante Swing
- Producer: DeVante Swing
- Record Label: Uptown/MCA
- Released in 1993 from Diary of a Mad Band
- Peaked at #15 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Hot R&B Singles & Tracks Chart
One of my favorite remixes of 2013 has to go to Famed producer SBTRKT's take on Drake's ode to Beyoncé with "Girls Love Beyoncé.
Giving Drake's original "Girls Love Beyoncé" a facelift with a solid remix treatment that blends the original vibes of Drake's record with some of the mysterious sounds that SBTRKT is known for, SBTRKT's remix is one of the remix highlights of the year for me.
With that said, take a listen to the instrumentation remix of "Girls Love Beyoncé" via SBTRKT and Enjoy!
I am slowly putting together my '2013 top music lists' and Rebecca Ferguson's "I Hope" is definitely in the mix for me in terms of my top singles of the year. Having peaked at #15 on the UK charts, hopefully, her sophomore album Freedom will get a US release date as it has already achieved silver status in the UK after only a few weeks on sale (release date December 2nd).
With that said, the lead single form Freedom, "I Hope" is a thumping ballad that features Rebecca's haunting throwback vocals perfectly in my opinion and is both one of the year's best and also slept on singles.
Therefore, take a listen below to "I Hope," and hopefully we can get a US release dates on the books for Freedom during the first quarter of 2014!
Was reminiscing last night about how one of the highlights for me musically of 2012 was when I had the pleasure of seeing Erykah Badu live in Detroit and one of the most riveting moments of her set was her rousing performance of her cut "I Want You."
Lifted from her third studio album Worldwide Underground, "I Want You" was never released as a single from the album but proves to be one of the most riveting moments of a Badu show as I've seen her perform it multiple times with the same enthralling reaction from the crowd.
Crafted by Badu, Audrey Magett, James Poyser, and B. Rashad Smith, we can all (re)visit E.Badu's classic cut "I Want You" after the jump!
In a year when not a single Black artist topped the Billboard Hot 100 charts as lead artist, DJ Earworm's annual United State of Pop seems to further underscore the point as fewer faces of color are seen in this mashup versus years before.
While DJ Earworm doesn't pull exclusively from the coveted #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100, and thus the appearance of Rihanna's "Stay," and the Aloe Blacc assisted "Wake Me Up," it's an interesting fact to note that in the charts over 50 year existence that this is the first year this occurrence has happened.
With that said, peep the official United State of Pop 2013 (Living the Fantasy) via DJ Earworm below in addition to the list of songs utilized to create what was the year of pop in 2013.
While Robin Thicke rip-off single "Blurred Lines" appropriates certain elements of the classic "Got to Give It Up" in my book I thought it would be appropriate to revisit this classic and the far superior song as people have deemed "Blurred Lines" the single of 2013.
Released in 1976 from Live at the London Palladium, the Marvin Gaye written and Art Stewart produced track was an instant hit peaking at #1 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and US Hot Soul Singles. Written as a parody of a disco setting, Gaye's classic "Got to Give It Up" is some of those timeless evergreen jams that when it comes on, you can't help but at least give it a two-step.
With that said, take a listen to the full version of "Got to Give It Up" after the jump and Enjoy!
Thursday, December 26, 2013
The Queen of Soul, Ms. Aretha Franklin is undoubtable one of the greatest voices to ever grace the microphone and after the jump you can listen to her croon out a sublime rendition of her hit single "Angel," my personal favorite from her vast discography.
Written for her by her sister Carolyn, the live audio is lifted from an Aretha Franklin performance of this touching ballad from back during a performance in Baltimore, Maryland in 1994. With that said, take a listen after the jump to her phenomenal performance of "Angel" and Enjoy!
On July 7th, 1980 at the "14th Montreux Jazz Festival" in Switzerland, Marvin Gaye performed one of his most enthralling sets ever to be captured on tape. Released later that year Marvin Gaye - Live in Montreux 1980, was a live then VHS which showed the soul legend barring all of his emotions on stage.
With that said, watch this live performance of Marvin Gaye crooning out a phenomenal version of his classic "Distant Love." Watch and Enjoy!
"Dreamin'" - Vanessa Williams"
- Writers: Lisa Montegomary & Geneva Paschal
- Producer: Donald Robinson
- Record Label" Wing
- Released in 1988 from The Right Stuff
- Peaked at #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 & #1 on the Hot Black Singles chart
Back in 2008, Raheem DeVaughn released his sophomore album Love Behind the Melody and one of the cuts from his album was the nearly 8 minute smooth joint "Mo Better."
Though it never received the single's treatment, "Mo Better" is one of those joints that true fans of Raheem's known about and truly enjoy.
With that said, take a listen to Raheem's cut "Mo Better" after the jump and Enjoy!
Last year during BET's telecast of Black Girls Rock, Mary Mary took on the Sounds of Blackness classic jam "Optimistic." While some of my younger followers might not be aware of this joint, it is one of those joint that you just can't deny a good old two-step to.
With that said, Mary Mary added their own flavor to this powerful uplifting jam and you can peep their performance of it below as well as Sounds of Blackness' original recording of "Optimistic"!
K. Michelle's "V.S.O.P." is one of those eternal evergreen hits in my book because following the release of the original, it has now spawned three official remixes and the joint still isn't old in my book.
Following remixes by Jeezy and Rick Ross, K. Michelle has added artist on the rise August Alsina to the list of remixers who have done their thing on "V.S.O.P."
With that said, peep the latest, and final (?) remix to "V.S.O.P." below and lookout for K. Michelle's second official single, "Can't Raise a Man," when it officially impacts radio at the top of 2014!
Yesterday as what appears to be a Christmas present to her fans, Elle Varner released her Wale assisted single "Rover."
Presumed to be lifted as the lead single from Elle's 2014 sophomore album, "Rover" is a smooth solid jam from the GRAMMY-nominated singer/songwriter that is a welcomed followup to 2012's Perfectly Imperfect.
With that said, take a listen below to "Rover" and lookout for more new music from Elle as we move into 2014, as her sophomore album is expected to drop sometime next year!
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
"Soul Holidays" - Sounds of Blackness
- Writers and Producers: Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, James Harris III, and Ann Bennet-Nesby
- Record Label: Perspective Records
- Released in 1992 off of The Night Before Christmas: A Musical Fantasy
In "Self-Titled" Part 3 . Run 'N Gun aka Part 3 of Beyoncé behind-the-scenes feature that explores the creation of Beyoncé's self-titled fifth studio album BEYONCÉ, King B opens up about how her hit single "Drunk in Love" came together.
In addition to giving us a behind-the-scenes look at the shooting of "Drunk in Love," Beyoncé also opened up about the visual side of the visual album BEYONCÉ and how she was attempting to rebel against the perfection of the music video format.
With that said, peep "Self-Titled" Part 3 . Run 'N Gun below and lookout for Part 4 soon!
It's not the holidays in my household without a little Mariah Carey music in the background. With two Christmas albums under her belt, Mariah Carey is the epitome of holiday spirit and her live rendition of "O Holy Night" lifted from WPC in South Central Los Angeles is a great example of her vocal prowess.
Take a listen below to Mariah's sublime live rendition of "O Holy Night" lifted from her holiday collection as we continue to celebrate Christmas on this special day!
Several years ago Olivia Olson's recording a solid rendition of the Mariah Carey classic "All I Want For Christmas Is You" from the Love Actually soundtrack. At such a young age, Oliva Olson sang Carey's classic holiday jam like a pro and makes you wonder where she is these days as she possessed such a voice at such a young age.
While nothing touches the original in my book, Olivia's version is the best cover of this song in my opinion. With that said, you can take a listen below to Oliva's rendition of "All I Want For Christmas Is You" below as we celebrate Christmas!
It should be apparent by now, but if it isn't, Luther Vandross is my favorite male vocalist of all time. With that said, I am always revisiting his sublime holiday album This Is Christmas and the standout originals and covers.
Featuring seven original holiday jams and three covers, it is hard to choose a favorite, but "Every Year, Every Christmas" for me is always a favorite amongst "The Mistletoe Jam (Everybody Kiss Somebody)" and "With a Christmas Heart."
Therefore, take a playback to the Luther original "Every Year, Every Christmas" that he co-penned with Richard Marx ("Dance With My Father") below and Enjoy!
In honor of Christmas, I thought it would be appropriate to watch this rare performance of Whitney Houston performing a medley of "I Love the Lord" and "Joy To The World" during Celebrate The Dream: 50 Years of EBONY from back in the 90s.
I don't know about you, but a viewing of The Preacher's Wife always rings in the holiday spirit for me and revisiting the music from the soundtrack also does the trick. With that said, watch Whitney belt it out below as we wind down the holiday!
My brother was playing this joint last night as a part of his 90s playlist and I thought, why not bring it back.
Back in 1993, R&B trio Jade released their second single "Don't Walk Away," which proved to be one of the biggest singles of the year. Peaking at #2 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and climbed all the way to #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart, the song's success pushed their debut album Jade to the Max to platinum status.
In addition to selling over a million albums with their self-titled debut album, the trio scored several high profile appearances on The Tonight Show, The Arsenio Hall Show and UK's Top of the Pops. With that said, a listen below to the cut "Don't Walk Away" and Enjoy!