Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Song of the Day: "Free Yourself" (Fantasia)

"Free Yourself" - Fantasia
  • Writers: Missy Elliott, Craig X. Brockman
  • Record Label: J Records
  • Released in 2005 from 2004's Free Yourself
  • Peaked at #41 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #3 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart
  • Nominated for two Grammy Awards Best R&B song & Best Female R&B Vocal Performance

New Joint: "Marry You" (Childish Gambino)

Donald Glover is set to appear tomorrow in Magic Mike XXL and ahead of the film's release, the actor turned rap as Childish Gambino is now trying his hand as a singer, covering Bruno Mars' wedding anthem "Marry You," which is featured on the film's soundtrack.

Featuring a solid crooning voice, I am interested to hear what Childish Gambino has been cooking up in the studio and if his forthcoming effort is going to be a mixture of singing and rapping. With that said, take a listen below to his cover of "Marry You" and Enjoy!

Live Audio: "The Glow of Love" (Luther Vandross)

Back in 1980 a then unknown Luther Vandross continued his journey from behind the background  vocalist slot to headliner and with the assistance of Change and their debut album "The Glow of Love," Vandross helped position himself to garner a recording contract.

Helming lead vocals for the title track as well as their single "Searching," Vandross' vocal work with the group would help lay the foundation for his legendary career. With that said, on his live album, Vandross opted to close out the album and show with the upbeat number that helped launch his career. Listen below to his live rendition of "The Glow of Love" and Enjoy!

Second Listen: "Music" (Leela James)

Back in 2005, Leela James bursted onto the scene with her thumping ode to soul music entitled "Music." Though "Music" and her accompanying debut album A Change Is Gonna Come, didn't make the splash they both warranted, "Music" was the first sign of the musical genius of Leela James.

With that said, take a trip down memory lane with a second listen of Leela's "Music" below and Enjoy!

Amazing Cover: "High and Dry" (Roman GianArthur)

While Wondaland Records has really been promoting Jidenna and rightfully so because he single "Classic Man" is one of the songs of the summer, I can't wait until Roman GianArthur gets some shine because this brother is truly talented.

Case and point is his sublime mashup of  Radiohead's "High and Dry" with D'Angelo's "Send It On" for a phenomenal cover of "High and Dry." So soulful, Roman is definitely and artist to watch and I can't wait to hear what cut he is contributing to Wondaland's forthcoming Eephus EP.

With that said, take a few minutes and get into his aw-inspiring cover of "High And Dry" below and Enjoy!

Monday, June 29, 2015

New Joint: "I've Got Life" (Lauryn Hill)

Earlier today, Lauryn Hill's riff on the Nina Simone classic "Ain't Got No, I Got Life" hit the net in the form of "I've Got Life."

Featured on the forthcoming compilation album Nina Revisited: A Tribute to Nina Simone, Lauryn Hill's "I've Got Life" features some very politically charged lyrics further proving that her pen game has always been strong and never gone away. With increase performances and public appearances, it seems as though Ms. Hill is back on her own terms and I can't wait to hear what that brings us.

With that said, take a listen to the full version of "I've Got Life" below and Enjoy!

Amazing Cover: "Killing Me Softly" (Luther Vandross)

Back in 1994, Luther Vandross recorded a take of Roberta Flack's "Killing Me Softly" for his covers album Songs and of course his rendition of the iconic song by Ms. Flack was beyond on point.

With that said, below you will find Luther performing "Killing Me Softly" during his PBS special that originally aired during the release of Songs. Watch the phenomenal performance below and Enjoy!

Second Listen: "He Is" (Heather Headley)

Back in 2002, Heather Headley released her debut album This Is Who I Am and the album would go onto garner her two Grammy Award nominations one for Best New Artist and the other for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.

With that said, her second single "I Wish I Wasn't" became her breakout hit, "He Is" was the song that started it all and is highly underrated just like Headley and her musical discography in my book.  Take a second listen to "He Is" below and Enjoy!

Live Clip: "BET Awards Medley" (K. Michelle, Tamar Braxton, Patti LaBelle)

Last night, K. Michelle and Tamar Braxton squashed their two year beef at the 2015 BET Awards with the assistance of the legendary Patti LaBelle. While their beef has lit up the blogs and social media for years, it seems as though the ladies are over it and have decided to focus solely on the music.

With that said, K. Michelle kicked off their shared set with her current single "Hard To Do," which is lifted from her sophomore Anybody Wanna Buy A Heart? and then Tamar followed with her new single "If I Don't Have You."

After K and Tamar performed their individual singles, Tamar told the BET Awards audience, "Life is all about forgiveness, love, and unity, so tonight, I’m sorry K. Michelle, and I also forgive you." Interestingly enough, Tamar met K for the first time during rehearsals for their performance and then the duo went into a spirited rendition of the Patti LaBelle classic "If Only You Knew" where Mama Patti joined the duo towards the end.

With that said, peep the trio's performance below and Enjoy!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Live Clip: "Janet Jackson BET Tribute" (Tinashe, Jason Derulo, Ciara)

Earlier tonight, Janet Jackson was honored at the 2015 BET Awards and ahead of her acceptance speech, Tinahse, Jason Derulo and Ciara honored Ms. Jackson if you nasty with a dance tribute.

With that said, peep the performance below ahead of Janet's forthcoming Unbreakable World Tour, which is slated to kick off on August 31st!

Playback: "If I Have To" (Avery Wilson)

Avery Wilson is set to perform later tonight at the 2015 BET Awards and ahead of his performance, I thought it would be nice to take a playback to his first single "If I Have To," which is lifted from his forthcoming RCA Records debut album.

I predict now that Avery is going to have a "star is born" moment tonight at the BET Awards if all goes his way because at his core, Avery is simply a stellar vocalist and if they showcase him right, I am sure he will gain millions of new fans.

With that said, take a listen below to Avery Wilson's debut single "If I Have To" and Enjoy!

Cut: "Mo Better" (Raheem DeVaughn)

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" below and Enjoy!

Second Listen: "Otherside of the Game" (Erykah Badu)

Back in 1997, Erykah Badu released her debut album Baduizm and the game would be forever changed. Ushering in what would be referred to as neo-soul, Baduizm and Badu laid the framework for many of the legends we celebrate today.

With that said, lifted as the third single from the set, "Otherside of the Game" was a powerful ode from Badu highlighting the struggle of a ride or die chick in a relationship with a drug-dealing boyfriend and at that time offering a perspective that hadn't been heard on radio before.

While the song didn't match the success of "On & On" or "Next Lifetime," "Otherside of the Game" is a classic within Badu's discography and warrants a second listen below!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Amazing Cover: "Little Girl Blue" (Laura Mvula)

Yesterday I was in a Nina Simone mood and I was listening to both her music and other artists's covers of her wonderful discography. Of course I took a second listen to Laura Mvula's brilliant cover of the standard "Little Girl Blue."

Offering a simple piano arrangement that really allows Laura's vocals to take center stage and shine, her emotive interpretation of "Little Girl Blue" really struck me to my core and warrant a listen or two below in my humble opinion.

Second Listen: "Stronger Than Me" (Amy Winehouse)

Back in 2003 Amy Winehouse released her debut single from her debut album Frank entitled "Stronger Than Me." Co-written by Winehouse and Salaam Remi, "Stronger Than Me" would go onto become her lowest appearance on the UK Singles Chart peaking at #71.

With that said, "Stronger Than Me" would be the beginning of such a game changing career that has brought about what seems to be the latest British invasion with the likes of Duffy and Adele, Emeli Sandé, Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, to name a few. Take a second listen to "Stronger Than Me," which would go onto ignite such a stellar career below and Enjoy!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Song of the Day: "He Loves Me (Lyzel In E Flat)" (Jill Scott)

"He Loves Me (Lyzel In E Flat)" - Jill Scott
  • Writers: Jill Scott & Keith Pelzer
  • Producers: Keith Pelzer
  • Record Label: Hidden Beach
  • Released in 2001 from Who Is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds Vol. 1
  • Peaked at #46 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks Chart
  • Nominated for a 2003 GRAMMY for Best R&B Female Vocal Performance 

Podcast: "Young, Gifted, & Black" (The BackBeat)

In this week’s episode of The BackBeat, we tackle Lupe Fiasco’s letter on white supremacy, Taylor Swift’s fight for artist compensation from #Apple, #TheDream’s Billboard interview about race and music, Bobbi Kristina’s medical condition, Eminem’s new show Narc, D’Angelo’s follow up to Black Messiah, Beyoncé headlines the Made in America music festival, and Diddy’s kettlebell fight.

We also highlight new music from Janet Jackson, Fetty Wap, Jidenna, Tiffany Evans, Kendrick Lamar, Bilal, and #LeonBridges. In our Blast From the Past segment, we honor Jay Z’s Reasonable Doubt and remember Michael Jackson on the anniversary of his passing. And make sure you stay tuned to the end of the episode to hear our favorite songs of the moment.

Amazing Cover: "Four Women" (Kelly Price, Marsha Ambrosius, Jill Scott & Ledisi)

Back in 2010 during BET's Black Girls Rock, Kelly Price, Marsha Ambrosius, Jill Scott and Ledisi joined forces to perform a riveting rendition of the Nina Simone classic "Four Women."

While it has been almost five years since their riveting performance, this quartet's powerful rendition of "Four Women" still seems as if they gathered on that stage just a few days ago in my mind.

Either way you feel, watch their powerful performance of "Four Women" below and Enjoy!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Second Listen: "For Real" (Amel Larrieux)

Back in 2005, Amel Larrieux released her album Bravebird and the first single "For Real" from her sophomore effort was co-written and produced with Laru Larrieux.

Though it peaked at #45 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks, "For Real" is one of the standout joint from Larrieux's discography and you can take a second listen after the jump!

Remix: "Friend of Mine" (Kelly Price ft. Ronald Isley & R. Kelly)

Back in 1998, Kelly Price released her debut LP Soul of a Woman and a remix of her song "Friend of Mine," became the biggest hit from the album and of Kelly's career thus far.

Featuring R. Kelly and Ronald Isley, in the remix, Isley takes on the fictional role of the singer-protagonist's Godfather ("Mr. Biggs"), taking her husband (R. Kelly) to task for cheating on her with her best friend.

With that said, take a listen below to this phenomenal remix of "Friend of Mine" and Enjoy!

New Video: "The One" (Treasure Davis)

Treasure Davis released her new video for "The One" lifted off of her EP Heart Flavored Summer yesterday and the sublime clip, which is directed by Jerome D. really adds to the already standout track from Treasure Davis.

With that said, take a few minutes and watch Treasure's dramatic visual for "The One," where she plays a waitress split between two lovers below and Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

New Joint: "On Sight" (Tiffany Evans ft. Fetty Wap)

It's been a minute since we've heard from vocal sensation Tiffany Evans but the former Star Search winner has linked up with "Trap Queen" hitmaker Fetty Wap for her new single "On Sight."

Lifted as the first single from her upcoming EP All Me, the two have fun on this solid mid-tempo from Evans and hopefully "On Sight" will help take her even further into the mainstream as a voice like hers is one in a generation and she truly deserves a fair shot at stardom in my opinion.

With that said, take a listen to "On Sight" below and lookout for Tiffany's forthcoming EP All Me when it's released soon!

Song of the Day: "My Heart Will Go On" (Celine Dion)

"My Heart Will Go On" - Celine Dion
  • Writers: James Horner & Will Jennings
  • Producers: Walter Afanasieff, James Horner, Simon Franglen
  • Record Labe: Columbia & Epic
  • Released in 1997 from the Titanic Soundtrack
  • Peaked at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100
  • Won an Oscar in 1998 for Best Original Song
  • Won Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, & Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or Television at the 1999 Grammy Awards

New Video: "Cold Sweat" (Tinashe)

Yesterday, Tinashe strips things back for her new video for "Cold Sweat," which is another dope joint from her debut album Aquarius. Directed by Stephen Garnett, twists and contorts with some special effect assistance.

With that said, peep the official video for her new single "Cold Sweat" and lookout for Tinashe at the BET Awards this Sunday where she will be a part of the musical tribute to Janet Jackson.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Song of the Day: "Two Hearts" (Stephanie Mills ft. Teddy Pendergrass)

"Two Hears" - Stephanie Mills featuring Teddy Pendergrass
  • Writers: Reggie Lucas, James Mtume
  • Producers: James Mtume, Reggie Lucas
  • Record Label: 20th Century Records
  • Released in 1981 from Stephanie
  • Peaked at #40 on the Billboard Hot 100 

Amazing Cover: "Baltimore" (Jazmine Sullivan)

Earlier today Nina Revistied: A Tribute to Nina Simone went up for pre-sale on digital retailers and as part of that pre-sale, several of the songs from the album were made instantly available, including Jazmine Sullivan's haunting rendition of "Baltimore."

While a snippet of the clip had been making its rounds for the last six weeks or so, the official fully mastered version has finally hit the net and it is really just everything.

Featuring one of the most underrated voices in music right now matched with a powerful lyric and melody especially during these heightened racial times, Jazmine's rendition of "Baltimore" is one of the best things I have heard all year and is a standout cover.

Take a listen below to Jazmine's rendition of "Baltimore" and Enjoy!

Second Listen: "The Beautiful Ones" (Prince)

Back in 1984, Prince released his iconic soundtrack album Purple Rain and one of the phenomenal standouts from the album has to be "The Beautiful Ones," in my opinion. Produced, arranged, composed, and performed by Prince, the song was recorded at Sunset Sound in Los Angeles by Peggy Mac and David Leonard in early September 1983.

"The Beautiful Ones" is a haunting musical tale of emotional longing and unrequited love. Starting out as a slow falsetto ballad, with Prince's piano and organ-sounding synthesizers providing a lush backdrop, it gradually builds in volume and intensity, and by the end of the song, Prince is screaming out "Do you want him, or do you want me? 'Cause I want you." The song comes to a quiet close, with Prince's keyboards and drum solo serving as the closing instrumentation.

Never released as a single, Prince's "The Beautiful Ones" is one of my favorite joints from the 80s and you can take a second listen to it below.

Live Audio: "Only If For a Night" (Florence + The Machine)

Florence + The Machine released their own Unplugged album two years and on the brief set, Florence + The Machine included a powerful rendition of the first song off of their sophomore album Ceremonials entitled "Only If For a Night."

In true Florence fashion, she keeps it rather slow and showcases off her trademark vibrato. While the recorded rendition of "Only If For a Night" is great, I think Florence's live rendition offers up a different take that I personally prefer. With that said, take a listen below to "Only If For a Night" and Enjoy!

New Video: "What You Don't Do" (Lianne La Havas)

UK songstress Lianne La Havas is set to release her sophomore album Blood on July 31st and yesterday, Lianne released the second official single from her album with the video for "What You Don't Do."

Produced by Matt Hales of Aqualung, "What You Don't Do"  is another sublime joint from Lianne and features an old-school familiar medley with lush production and background vocals.

With that said, peep the Leila & Damien De Blinkk directed official video for "What You Don't Do"  below and Enjoy!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Song of the Day: "Passenger" (Candice Glover)

"Passenger" - Candice Glover
  • Writers: Timothy Thomas, Theron Thomas, Michael Williams, Pierre Ramon Slaughter
  • Producers: Mike Will Made-It, P-Nasty, Hill, Rock City
  • Record Label: Interscope Records
  • Featured on 2014's Music Speaks

New Joint: "No Sleep" (Janet Jackson)

Since Janet Jackson announced her return, fans have been eagerly awaiting a taste of new music and while Janet has teased a few earlier today, Janet dropped the official first single from her forthcoming album Unbreakable.

With that said, "No Sleep" reteams Janet with her legendary collaborators  Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis on a joint the trio co-wrote and produced. Take a listen to the grown and sexy smooth joint "No Sleep" from Janet below and Enjoy!

Live Audio: "Oh Boy" (Duffy)

Off of the deluxe version of Duffy's debut album Rockferry, there is a gem of a record entitled "Oh Boy" and while not a lot of people are probably familiar with this cut from the Grammy-winning UK songstress, it is one of the most slept on joints within her discography.

While it's been slept on, Duffy has performed it numerous times at several of her gigs and during a 2008 concert at St. Lukes, a fan recorded the live audio of Duffy crooning out this ballad. Take a listen below and Enjoy!

Second Listen: "Could It Be I'm Falling in Love" (The Spinners)

Back in 1972, The Spinners released their destined classic "Could It Be I'm Falling in Love" following the tremendous success of their joint "I'll Be Around."

Both lifted from their Gold selling album Spinners, "Could It Be I'm Falling in Love," is probably the lesser known of the two hits, but is one of my favorite joints from The Spinners.

Peaked at #1 on the Hot R&B charts in 1973, the song proved to be a commercial and critical hit for the band and deserves to be included on anyone's playlist of classic 70s songs and is a great joint to add to a Valentine's playlist in my opinion.

Either way you feel, take a second listen below to The Spinners' "Could It Be I'm Falling in Love" and Enjoy!

Remix: "Classic Man" (Jidenna ft. Kendrick Lamar)

Jidenna's hit single just got a major co-sign with the official remix which dropped yesterday. Featuring Kendrick Lamar, the "Classic Man" remix is a solid joint listed from Wondaland Presents: The Eephus EP, whch is due August 14th.

In addition to the remix, you can find Jidenna and Janelle Monáe's collaboration "Yoga," as well as contributions from Wondaland artists Roman GianArthur and Deep Cotton. With that said, take a listen below to the official remix of "Classic Man" and Enjoy!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Live Video of the Day: "Forever Don't Last" (Jazmine Sullivan)

Jazmine Sullivan's latest album Reality Show is hands down one of the best albums of 2015 and while it hasn't received the critical or commercial credit it deserves yet, I am hopefully that people are just late to the party and need some time to really get into her brilliant return.

With that said, one of the standout songs from her album is the set's second single "Forever Don't Last," a powerhouse ballad guided perfectly by her sublime contralto vocals. I had the opportunity to witness Jazmine on tour twice during The Reality Show Tour and the standout moment besides her encore performance of "In love With Another Man" was her riveting performance of "Forever Don't Last."

Luckily for us, Yahoo! Live and Jazmine Sullivan have uploaded her performance of "Forever Don't Last" from the night she performed it live in Birmingham, Alabama as a part of her tour. Watch her riveting performance of "Forever Don't Last" below and Enjoy!

Live Clip: "Dance With My Father" (Tamyra Gray)

Luther Vandross suffered a stroke before the release of his last studio album Dance With My Father and during the album's promotional trail, American Idol finalist Tamyra Gray was asked to lend her voice to the title-track during a segment on The Today Show in support of Vandross' album.

With that said, while we closeout the celebrations in honor of Father's Day, I thought it would be appropriate to watch her sublime take on "Dance With My Father." While Tamyra Gray does not have a huge recording career is still unbeknownst to me, but as I ponder the reasons why, watch her amazing cover of "Dance With My Father" below!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Song of the Day: "The Charade" (D'Angelo)

"The Charade" - D'Angelo
  • Writers: D'Angelo & Kendra Foster
  • Producers: D'Angelo & Questlove
  • Record Label:  RCA
  • Featured on 2014 Black Messiah

Podcast: "The Backbeat"

I created a podcast with my friend Kyera Singleton three weeks ago entitled The BackBeat and it's off to a solid start. Last week we were added to iTunes's "New & Noteworthy" section after uploading our second episode and as we get ready to release the third episode next week, I thought it would be nice to revisit the first two episodes of the podcast.

With that said, take a listen below to our playlist and if you like what you hear, click here to subscribe to us on iTunes!

Live Audio: "Clown" (Emeli Sandé)

A few years ago, Emeli Sandé released a live audio EP iTunes Sessions that featured acoustic takes of seven of her own gems and a cover of the Nina Simone classic "I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free."

With that said, Emeli luckily performed a stirring rendition of one of my favorite joints from her "Clown" and her live emotive vocal performance really takes "Clown" to another level in my book. Check it out after the jump and Enjoy!

Amazing Cover: "Between The Sheets" (Fourplay feat. Chaka Khan)

Back in 1994, Chaka Khan joined Fourplay onstage for a sublime cover of The Isley Brothers' classic hit "Between The Sheets" during An Evening of Fourplay.

With that said, Chaka Khan is of course in rare form crooning and cooing effortlessly along with Fourplay, Philip Bailey, and Phil Perry. Watch these legends lay it out on the stage during their phenomenal interpretation of "Between The Sheets" after the jump and Enjoy!