Sunday, January 31, 2016

Second Listen: "I Need This" (Jessie J)

Jessie J was one of music's breakout starts in 2011 with the release of her debut album Who You Are. While Jessie has moved onto a new album, one song in particular that I've grown to appreciate is Jessie's mid-tempo "I Need This."

Fans of Chris Brown might be familiar with the song as his take of the song was on 2008's Graffiti (Deluxe Version). Though Brown placed it on the deluxe edition of his third album, Jessie J originally cowrote it and eventually record it for her debut album Who You Are.

With that said, take a hopefully second listen below to Jessie J's rendition of  "I Need This" and Enjoy!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Podcast: "No Tears" (The BackBeat)

In this week’s episode, Iggy Azalea is back on twitter and this time she is taking shots at her record label for holding her back by not funding her music video for "Azillion". Meanwhile, Macklemore calls out Iggy Azalea, Elvis, and Miley Cyrus for appropriating black culture in his new song "White Privilege II." Speaking of white privilege, Sam Smith is shocked by racism in London *side eye alert* after witnessing his friend get racially and verbally harassed. In terms of political wokeness and activism, rappers such as Big Sean, Meek Mill, and Diddy are donating money and water to help the City of Flint during their water crisis. They are also calling out racism and the lack of governmental concern for the city’s 60 percent black population. We also call out R. Kelly for his utter lack of remorse for his long history of alleged sexual assaults against young women during his recent Billboard interview. Finally, we fan out to Beyonce’s Bday...the album is almost 10 years old!

During the songs of the week segment, Kyera shows love to Anderson.Paak’s new album Malibu. And Marcus chooses some cuts from Toni Braxton, Laura Mvula, and Rihanna.

Cut: "I Believe In Music" (Donny Hathaway)

Back in 1971 Donny Hathaway released his sophomore Atco release entitled Donny Hathaway and while the disk is probably best remembered for Hathaway's sublime covers of "A Song For You" and "Giving Up," one of my favorite gems from this record has to be "I Believe In Music."

While it will never appear on a greatest hits album of Hathaway's, "I Believe In Music" is a solid mid-tempo from the later crooner that deserves a "rediscovery" in my opinion. Therefore take a listen below to Hathaway's "I Believe In Music" and Enjoy!

Second Listen: "Talk About Our Love" (Brandy ft. Kanye West)

Over a decade ago, Brandy released her fourth studio album Afrodisiac and the set's lead single was her Kanye West assisted and produced joint "Talk About Our Love," which would welcome Brandy back to the charts after a mini hiatus.

Peaking at #36 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #16 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, "Talk About Our Love" featured Brandy's signature vocals on top of a rather slept on joint from Kanye West in my opinion. With that said, take a second listen below to "Talk About Our Love" and Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Live Video of the Day: "The Star-Spangled Banner" (Whitney Houston)

Today marks the 25th anniversary of Whitney Houston's iconic rendition of the "The Star-Spangled Banner," which in my book, no one can ever do it better than The Voice, Ms. Whitney Elizabeth Houston.

As we celebrate her groundbreaking moment in music history, The New Yorker has written an inspiring piece about Ms. Houston. Click here to read The New Yorker's sublime piece on Houston and the monumental impact she has had and watch her spirited rendition below!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Second Listen: "You Belong To Me" (Anita Baker)

Though never released as a single from Anita Baker's third album Giving You The Best That I Got, "You Belong To Me" is one of my favorite songs in her discography. Though probably only known by fans of the songstress, this smooth jazzy joint is for the grown and sexy and really showcases Anita at her vocal finest.

As today marks Ms. Baker's birthday, I thought it would be nice to revisit this gem in honor of her birthday. With that said, take a second listen below to the gem "You Belong To Me." As always coffee cups up!

Monday, January 25, 2016

New Joint: "Magic" (Tweet)

A little late on Tweet's new grown-and-sexy jam "Magic," but as I say it's always better to be late than to never be aware. With that said, before Twitter existed and a tweet was a thing, we had the phenomenally underrated singer/songwriter Tweet, who is probably best remembered by her Missy Elliott featured smash single "Oops (Oh My)."

While that song is still a jam, people often overlook Tweet's incredible musicality and songwriting ability on top of her soothing and pleasant vocals. "Magic," of course is lifted from Tweet's highly anticipated "comeback" album Charlene, which is slated for release on February 26th.

Take a listen below to "Magic" and get into the groove ahead of Charlene's release on February 26th!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Cut: "Another Sad Love Song" (Toni Braxton)

Back in 1993, Toni Braxton released "Another Sad Love Song," which was the first official single from Toni's self-titled debut album, Toni Braxton. Though she had released two singles prior to "Another Sad Love Song," this was the single that put Toni on the map to superstardom and would create the legend that we are familiar with today.

While "Another Sad Love Song" was her first major hit, a lot of work from her debut album Toni Braxton seems to of been forgotten in the current context and it's a shame because Toni's debut album is one of the best debuts of the 1990s in my opinin.

With that said, take a listen after the jump to the smooth ballad "Another Sad Love Song" and Enjoy!

Friday, January 22, 2016

New Video: "Overcome" (Laura Mvula)

A few days late on Laura Mvula's new video for her new single "Overcome," but I have finally found some time to sit back and really soak in both the song and the stunning video for her collaboration with Nile Rodgers.

Laura Mvula's debut album Sing To The Moon is still in rotation and while it's been a few years since its release, I can't wait to hear what she's been cooking up. With a powerfully haunting voice and a sublime groove, "Overcome" is already a winner in my book and her artistic and beautifully shot video further underscore the song's brilliance.

With that said, watch the visually stunning video for "Overcome" below and Enjoy!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Second Listen: "Can't Let Go" (Mariah Carey)

Back in 1991, Mariah Carey released her sophomore album Emotions and the second single from her album was the powerhouse ballad "Can't Let Go," which would go onto peak at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Written by Mariah Carey and Walter Afanasieff, "Can't Let Go" is one of those hits that sometimes gets forgotten amongst Mariah's discography that is brimming over with #1s.

With that said, I thought it would be nice to revisit this gem below.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Song of the Day: "Forever My Lady" (Jodeci)

"Forever My Lady" - Jodeci
  • Writers: Al B. Sure! and DeVante Swing
  • Producers: Al B. Sure! and DeVante Swing
  • Record Label: Uptown/MCA 
  • Released in 1991 from Forever My Lady
  • Peaked at #25 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks

Behind the Scenes: "Beggin and Pleadin" (Brandy)

Brandy did a behind the scenes interview regarding her Pop & Oak collaboration "Beggin and Pleadin" which she released towards the top of the year to help celebrate her new BET Show.

With that said, watch Brandy's behind-the-scenes studio interview regarding her new musical venture on "Beggin and Pleadin" below and Enjoy!

Cut: "Veins" (Jazmine Sullivan)

If reality shows are over dramatic and often times inauthentic, Jazmine Sullivan's third album Reality Show is the total opposite offering up a raw, harrowing and introspective view of some of the tales we might see flashed on our TV screens.

A self-noted reality show fan, Jazmine Sullivan might've been inspired by the content on our screens, but she takes it a few steps further offering some deep lyrical content and powerhouse vocals that only this legend in the making possess.

With that said, one of my favorite cuts from her new album Reality Show has to be "Veins," which opens up with a few powerful lines: "Writings on the wall, but I can't see the words it's right in front of me but my vision is blurred...".

Offering one of the best albums I've heard in a minute, Jazmine's return warrants more acclaim both critically and commercially in my opinion and "Veins" is just a tip of the iceberg that is Reality Show.

Take a listen below to "Veins" and if you like what you hear, go and support Jazmine by picking up her new album.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Trailer: "Toni Braxton: The Movie Event"

Last week a fuller trailer for Lifetime's Toni Braxton: The Movie Event was released for the TV film that chronicles the untold measures the wildly talented GRAMMY-winner took to make herself and her family whole again.

Peep the official trailer for Toni Braxton: The Movie Event below and lookout for its premiere, this Saturday, January 23 at 8pm EST/7pm CST on Lifetime.

Second Listen: "Upgrade U" (Beyoncé)

I was revisiting Beyoncé's sophomore album, the must slept on B'Day and of course one of the standout tracks from her sublime effort is her collaboration with Jay-Z, "Upgrade U."

Released originally as a promotional single for B'Day, "Upgrade U" would go onto peak at #11 and at #59 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and the Hot 100 charts respectively and is still a fan favorite almost ten years ago since its release.

With that said, take a second listen to "Upgrade U" below and Enjoy!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Cut: "Any Love" (Luther Vandross)

Back in 1988, Luther Vandross released his sixth studio album Any Love and the title-track "Any Love," which was co-written by Vandross and Marcus Miller would go onto become Luther's fourth #1 single on the then Billhoard Hot Black Singles chart while peaking at #44 on the Hot 100.

In addition to scoring Luther his fourth #1, the song was nominated for two Grammys at the 1989 Grammy Awards including Best R&B Song as well as Best Vocal Performance, Male. With that said, take a listen below to Luther's cut "Any Love" and Enjoy!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Song of the Day: "Do Right Woman, Do Right Man" (Aretha Franklin)

"Do Right Woman, Do Right Man" - Aretha Franklin
  • Writers: Chips Moman & Dan Penn
  • Producer: Jerry Wexler
  • Record Label: Atlantic Records
  • Released in 1967 from Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You
  • Peaked at #37 on the Billboard Hot Rhythm & Blues Singles chart
  • Ranked #476 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time

Second Listen: "By Your Side" (Sade)

As we celebrate Sade's 57th birthday today, I thought we'd revisit her group's stunning ballad, "By Your Side," which is still my favorite song from Sade.

Take a second listen to it below to "By Your Side" and let Sade's smoothing voice suppress your stress as we celebrate her birthday and enjoy the three day weekend.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Second Listen: "Victory" (Yolanda Adams)

Several years ago Yolanda Adams won a Grammy for her Honey hit "Victory" which won the Best Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Performance.

With that said, Yolanda lit up the stage with "Victory" as she was accompanied by The Roots and the whole house was on their feet with Yolanda's riveting performance. Revisit her classic "Victory" below and Enjoy!

New Joint: "Over And Over Again" (Nathan Sykes ft. Ariana Grande)

After teaming up in 2013 for "Almost is Never Enough," which was lifted from both Ariana Grande's debut album Yours Truly as well as the soundtrack for The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, Nathan Sykes and Ariana Grande have reteamed for "Over And Over Again," the second single lifted from Sykes forthcoming debut album.

While Sykes originally released "Over And Over Again" last year without Grande, I am sure her feature will raise the visibility and chart promise of this solid ballad, which is produced by Harmony Samuels.

Take a listen below to "Over And Over Again" and Enjoy!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Second Listen: "I Got Trouble" (Christina Aguilera)

Christina Aguilera's Back To Basics is my favorite album that Aguilera has released thus far during her career and one of the gems on the record is her Linda Perry produced and co-written joint "I Got Trouble."

 Recorded to sound as if it was playing on an actual record player, the joint is such an underrated opus that warrants several listens. With that said, take a first or hopefully second listen below to "I Got Trouble" and Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Song of the Day: "Halfcrazy" (Musiq Soulchild)

"Halfcrazy" - Musiq Soulchild
  • Writers and Producers: Taalib Johnson, Ivan Barias, Carvin Haggins, Francis Lai
  • Record Label: Def Soul/ Def Jam
  • Released in 2002 from Justlisen
  • Peaked at #16 on the Billboard Hot 100 & #2 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart

New Joint: "Trill Friends" (Erykah Badu)

I don't know about you, but I've been loving Erykah Badu's creative outlet usage of Soundcloud and earlier today she blessed our ears with another new joint entitled "Trill Friends," which is a riff on her joint "I'll Call U Back" from her dope mixtape But You Caint Use My Phone.

Take a listen below to Badu's "Trill Friends" and Enjoy!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Song of the Day: "Didn't We Almost Have It All" (Whitney Houston)

"Didn't We Almost Have It All" - Whitney Houston
  • Writers: Michael Masser & Will Jennings
  • Producer: Michael Masser
  • Record Label: Arista
  • Released in 1987 from Whitney 
  • Peaked at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100

Second Listen: "Funky Music (Is a Part of Me)" (Luther)

Back in 1976, Luther Vandross was the lead vocalist for a group coincidentally named Luther, who would release their self-titled debut album with the thumping second single "Funky Music (Is a Part of Me)."

Though the single would only go onto peak at #34 on the Hot Soul Singles chart, David Bowie would rework the song with the assistance of Luther Vandross for his joint "Fascination," which is lifted from Bowie's "Young Americans."

Take a second listen below to "Funky Music (Is a Part of Me)" and Enjoy!

Amazing Cover: "Space Oddity" (D'Angelo)

As we mourn the loss of the great David Bowie, I thought it would be appropriate to revisit one of the best Bowie covers I have heard courtesy of the legendary D'Angelo.

With that said, during his set in Paris back in 2012, D'Angelo crooned out a sublime rendition of David Bowie's "Space Oddity." Watch his amazing cover below and Enjoy!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Second Listen: "Nobody's Supposed to Be Here" (Deborah Cox)

Back in 1998, Deborah Cox released her biggest single to date, "Nobody's Supposed to Be Here," which was lifted from her platinum-selling sophomore album One Wish.

Written by Montell Jordan and Anthony "Shep" Crawford,  "Nobody's Supposed to Be Here" reached the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 on September 29, 1998. It then peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 on November 24, 1998 and spent eight weeks there, making it one of the longest stays at No. 2 for any single in the chart's history and the highest-peaking single of Cox's career.

With that said, with more attention on Deborah Cox due to her involvement in the forthcoming Bodyguard broadway musical, I thought it would be nice to revisit her biggest hit "Nobody's Supposed to Be Here" below!

Song of the Day: "As" (Stevie Wonder)

"As" - Stevie Wonder
  • Writer: Stevie Wonder
  • Producer: Stevie Wonder
  • Record Label: Tamla
  • Released in 1977 from Songs in the Key of Life
  • Peaked at #36 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and Black Singles chart.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Podcast: "#FactsOnly" (The BackBeat)

In this week’s episode of The BackBeat we get into some of 2016’s highly anticipated releases including Rihanna’s Anti, Ariana Grande’s Moonlight, Christina Aguilera’s follow-up to 2012’s Lotus, Kanye’s Swish, and Missy Elliott’s followup to 2005’s The Cookbook. In addition we speculate about new releases from D’Angelo, Erykah Badu, Beyonce and Maxwell with a shoutout to Drake. We then tackle Complex’s list of the best rappers each year since 1979, which shamefully only features one woman, Ms. Nicki Minaj. We then rejoice at Beyonce joining Coldplay at this year’s Super Bowl in addition to rumors that Rihanna might join the festivities, get into some of the new music thus far in 2016 (Kanye West’s “Swish” and “Best Friend”; Brandy’s “Beggin and Pleadin”; Fantasia’s “No Time For It”), talk about Netflix’s highly anticipated series “The Get Down,” and interrogate RZA thinking Black youth should stop scaring police.

Make sure you stay tune to the end of the episode when Marcus and Kyera get into their songs of the moment from Stevie Wonder, Bonnie Raitt, Whitney Houston, and Kelela.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Song of the Day: "Love and War" (Tamar Braxton)

"Love and War" - Tamar Braxton
  • Writers: Tamar Braxton, LaShawn Daniels, Makeba Riddick
  • Producers: DJ Camper
  • Record Label: Epic Records
  • Release in 2012 from Love & War
  • Peaked at #57 on the Billboard Hot 100 & #13 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart 

New Joint: "No Time For It" (Fantasia)

After teasing fans about new music in 2016 and releasing the single cover for "No Time For It" yesterday, Fantasia has released her new single.

Featuring a mellow mid-tempo beat and a reserved vocal from Fantasia, this is the first official taste of her highly anticipated forthcoming fifth studio album, which follows her sublime 2013 effort Side Effects of You.

Take a listen to "No Time For It" below and Enjoy!

Live Audio: "Heartless" (Melanie Fiona)

After Kanye released his groundbreaking LP 808 & Heartbreaks, a lot of singer decided to cover his melodic tune minus the auto-tune that West decided to utilize stylistically for the project. During this time, Melanie Fiona was building her then burgeoning career and even toured with Kanye as an opening act for the European leg of his Glow in the Dark Tour.

With that said, after establishing herself in 2009 with her debut album The Bridge and her #1 hit single "It Kills Me," Melanie would often cover Kanye's "Heartless" from 808 & Heartbreaks during her set and below you will find a sublime live audio capture of one of Melanie's performances of it. Listen below to her sublime interpretation of "Heartless" and Enjoy!

Second Listen: "Suitcase" (Emeli Sandé)

While Emeli Sandé is currently hard at work on her forthcoming sophomore album which will follow her breakthrough debut Our Version of Events, I thought it would be nice to revisit one of my favorite joints from the set "Suitcase."

For some reason "Suitcase" came into my mind earlier today while I was watching some TV and I immediately revisited this sublime joint from Emeli. While it never received the single's treatment, it really is one of my top five favorite joints from Our Version of Events and hopefully will receive more attention as her career continues.

With that said, take a first or second listen below to "Suitcase" and Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Song of the Day: "Not My Daddy" (Kelly Price ft. Stokley)

"Not My Daddy" - Kelly Price ft. Stokley
  • Writers: Kelly Price & Warryn Campbell
  • Producer: Warryn Campbell
  • Record Label: My Block Records / Malaco Records
  • Released in 2011 from Kelly
  • Peaked at #22 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Chart
  • Nominated for Grammy Award for Best R&B Song and  Best R&B Performance

Cut: "Ready for Love" (India.Arie)

I don't know about you, but I watched Brandy's new BET show Zoe Ever After and one the pilot episode featured a special performance from India.Arie with her cut "Ready for Love."

With that said, "Ready for Love" was the fourth and final single from her sublime debut album Acoustic Soul. Though "Ready for Love" didn't go onto chart, the Blue Miller produced joint is one of those infectious ballads that really hits you to your core and you can take a listen to it below.

New Joint: "Beggin & Pleadin" (Brandy)

After the premiere of her latest sitcom BET's Zoe Ever After, Brandy dropped a new joint on her Soundcloud page entitled "Beggin & Pleadin." Lifted from a forthcoming EP and produced by Pop & Oak, "Beggin & Pleadin" offers a different sound for Brandy that I am certainly feeling!

Co-written by Brandy and Kirby Lauren, sonically the song gives me a southern soul throwback with the electric guitar commanding the beat with Brandy's smoking vocals sharing the spotlight duties. With that said, take a listen below to Brandy's "Beggin & Pleadin" and Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Second Listen: "Sweet Life" (Frank Ocean)

As people eagerly await Frank Ocean's sophomore followup to channel ORANGE, that he teased would drop last year (in July), I thought it might be nice to revisit one of my favorite joints from his debut.

Written and produced by both Frank Ocean and Pharrell, "Sweet Life" from channel ORANGE  was one of the more critically acclaimed from his GRAMMY-winning set and as we await news on Frank's new album, you can take a second listen below to "Sweet Life."

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Song of the Day: "Crown Royal" (Jill Scott)

"Crown Royal" - Jill Scott
  • Writers and Producers: Jill Scott and Lee Hutson, Jr.
  • Record Label: Hidden Beach Recordings
  • Featured on 2007's The Real Thing: Words and Sounds Vol. 3

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Live Clip: "Focus" (Ariana Grande)

Ariana Grande is putting the finishing touches on her third album Moonlight, due later this year and while her song "Focus" is still blaring on the radio, Ariana took to Disney's 2015 Christmas Parade last year to perform the blaring cut.

Becoming the first artist in Billboard history to have her first single from her first three albums debut in the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, Ariana continues to blossom into a superstar before our eyes with her once in a generation at the key to her success.

Watch her performance of "Focus" below and Enjoy!

Podcast: "#2015Faves" (The Backbeat)

This past week on The Backbeat Podcast, Marcus and Kyera give us a rundown of their favorite moments in music in 2015! They cover their favorite albums, songs, music videos, clap backs, and the biggest surprises of 2015!

Continue to celebrate the new year with their new episode covering Adele, Jazmine Sullivan, Lianne La Havas, Drake, Future, Jill Scott, Tamar Braxton, Justin Bieber, and so much more.

Second Listen: "I Wish" (Carl Thomas)

Back in 2000 Carl Thomas released his #1 R&B hit single "I Wish" off of his debut album Emotional. Peaking at the summit of the Billboard R&B charts back in 2000, the song stayed atop the chart for six straight weeks and would go onto become Thomas' signature hit.

With that said, take a second listen below to Carol Thomas' "I Wish" and Enjoy!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Song of the Day: "Unforgettable" (Natalie Cole & Nat King Cole)

"Unforgettable" - Natalie Cole & Nat King Cole
  • Writer: Irving Gordon
  • Record Label: Elektra Records
  • Released in 1991 from Unforgettable... with Love
  • Peaked at #14 on the Billboard Hot 100