Music News ROLO: The Essence Music Festival this July – Get Your Tickets Now!

This July, Essence Magazine will be celebrating its 40th Anniversary with its New Orleans-based concert series, the Essence Music Festival (EMF). This year, female music royalty, including Janet Jackson (July 2nd), Alicia Keys (July 3rd) and Mary J. Blige (July 4th) will be the headliners.

Other performances at the show will include Monica, Raphael Saadiq, Keri Hilson, Gladys Knight, Trey Songz and many more! In addition, there will be informative seminars and art expos by local New Orleans vendors. The weekend will be a great experience for R&B fans.

The good news, is that tickets are on sale right NOW! You can purchase single day tickets if you only want to attend the festival a day at a time. Tickets for single days per person range from $53 – $212. Full festival weekend tickets range from $159 – $636. Head over to Essence right now to learn more about the Festival and to purchase tickets.

Keep in touch with the ChokLit Factory over the next few weeks as we will be providing more information on the festival as well as giveaways!

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ChokLitFactory Exclusives: Top R&B Albums of 2009 + Producers of the Year

In addition to the top songs of 2009, we added a list of the top albums as well as the top producers that kept the unique beats coming this year. We are going to keep these lists pretty short & sweet and in no particular order.

Top 10 R&B Albums of 2009

Maxwell – Black MidSummer’s Night

Mariah Carey – Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel

TheDream – Love Vs Money

Chrisette Michelle – Epiphany

R.Kelly – Untitled

Alicia Keys –  The Element of Freedom

Pleasure P – The Introduction of Marcus Cooper

Ryan Leslie – Transition

Trey Songz – Ready

Whitney Houston – I Look to You

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R&B Producers/Songwriters of the Year:

The Dream & Tricky Stewart – These are the official go-to guys for Urban Pop & R&B these days. You want a hit record? You hit up these two. 2009 was no different for the Producing pair who racked up hit records for Fabolous (Throw it in the Bag), Snoop Dogg (Gangsta Love), Rihanna (Hard) and Mariah’s full album. We will definitely be hearing more from this pair in 2010.

Los Da Mystro – One of my favorite producers, Los has recently branched out from doing songs for TheDream, producing R.Kelly’s Like I Do and Trey Songz’ I Invented Sex. You may also remember Los’ work from the Dream’s Walking on the Moon, Rockin That Sh*t and My Love.

Ryan Leslie – Not only is Ryan Leslie an incredibly gifted artist and songwriter, he is an amazing producer as well. Aside from producing his dedicated work on Transition, Leslie has also contributed tracks to Chris Brown’s Famous Girl and Mary J. Blige’s Said and Done for 2009.

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ChokLitFactory Exclusives: Top 25 Songs of 2009 Part II

So we hit you with the first 15 hot ones of 2009, and now we have the top 15. This group of songs are a bit more uptempo and more well-known songs from either veteran artists or  newcomers who broke through with a hit record. Included in the list of newcomers is Keri Hilson who rose from her role as a resident songwriter to being a resident hit -maker and artist. Melanie Fiona also made a name for herself in 2009, hoping to make an even bigger name for herself in 2010. But instead of me spoiling the suspense, keep reading the find out who makes it to number one!

14. The Dream – Rockin’ that Shit – TheDream is another artist who had a great year professionally and personally. Not only did he marry his pregnant sweetie, Christina Milian, he was promoted over at Def Jam due to his ability to score hits for Def Jam’s many artists. In 2010 TheDream will release his last solo album *tear* Love King. Rockin That Shit was the ish when it was released early last year. Heavy syths and a thumping bass complement Terius’ soft vocals. TheDream can create a melody like a beast and this song exhibits this. And if you don’t remember, the remix to this song was even better.

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13. K’Jon – Oceans – Detroit native K’Jon scored a big hit with his serene feel-good song Oceans. In it, K’Jon uses the metaphor of sailing with reaching one’s goals and happiness in life. A very nice song, with some nice vocals from K’Jon.

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12. Keri Hilson, Kanye West & Ne-Yo – Knock you Down – We predicted this song would be Keri’s last chance to hit it big and that’s just what happened. Knock You Down is Keri’s biggest hit to date, in North America and abroad. Alongside the Chris Robinson-directed video with guests Kanye and Ne-Yo making appearances, this song helped solidify Keri as a force in the Industry to be reckoned with.

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11. Dirty Money – Love Come Down – Diddy has really been feeling himself musically lately. While working on his latest album, Last Train to Paris, he hooked up with former Danity Kane member Dawn Richard and singer/songwriter Kaleena to form the group, Dirty Money. Since their formation, the group has been releasing some really promising music, the best being Love Come Down, a homage to the Total days of Bad Boys with Kaleena providing some sexy vocals over a banging beat and a Jay-Z sample from H to the Izzo.

Keep reading for the remainder of the list!

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ChokLitFactory Exclusives: Top 25 Songs of 2009 – PART I

The wait is OVA! We finally have the long-awaited LIST of 2009 for all you ChokLit fiends haha!

2009 was a decent year for R&B music and Urban artists. Unfortunately, we did not see a lot of new roads being paved or new acts breaking through, though  artists like K Michelle, Young Steff and K’Jon made some decent headway. 2009 was really the year of the veterans. Maxwell hit us back just like he said he would with a much anticipated album, Ne-Yo showed the us how to be a Gentleman, Mimi showed us she was imperfect, Alicia fell in love while R.Kelly came back for his crown. Meanwhile, in the Urban/Pop world, Rihanna brought some heat, Beyonce maintained her crown, TheDream survived the sophomore slump, while Ryan Leslie quietly retained his genius. Lets get on with the list already! Let me know your thoughts on these!

25. Charlie Wilson – There Goes My Baby – Besides being a homemade tribute to Snoop Dogg and his wife’s marriage, Charlie Wilson lands the perfect song for his syrupy drawl with this hit song. Written by Babyface and originally recorded by Calvin Richardson, Charlie definitely does the song justice.

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24. Musiq Soulchild – So Beautiful – Musiq managed to lie mostly under the radar this year with the release of his album Onmyradio during the end of 2008. I blame his lead single Radio that didn’t go over well with fans. Luckily, So Beautiful was that type of song that his fans were waiting for. One of those feel good, chill & reminisce songs. So Beautiful is a great addition to Musiq’s catalog.

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23. Ne-Yo – Never Knew I Needed – During an impromptu interview about the meaning of the title song to The Princess & the Frog movie, Ne-Yo explains, “It is about two people who feel like they know what they want…know what they need in life, then realize through meeting each other that they don’t know what they need…the realization becomes that what they need is love and they find that with each other“. That is a pretty spot-on description of the relationship of the two main characters from the movie. Ne-Yo writes and performs the song and does a very good job writing a clean, PG-rated song with substance. The soundtrack to the film was released in November 2009.

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22. K Michelle – Fakin’ it – Memphis-bred K Michelle has made a bit of a presence for herself oh the Mixtape circuit with songs like Self-Made featuring Gucci Mane, but her standout track has been Fakin’ It. It features Missy Elliot as a musical co-signer and is produced by up-and-coming production team Hitz Committee. In the song, K Michelle sings about faking ‘it’ for the man she loves but who is clearly clueless in the bedroom. The message is not Choklit-approved, but the song is dope!

*Sidenote: Here is some footage of K Michelle doing a stripped-down performance that showcases her talent. This is an Artist!!! Great voice!

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21. Young Steff – Slow Jukin’ – Even though newcomer Young Steff had a serious hit on his hands with this song, and we  sung our praises for the young 20 year old dancer/singer, his career did not really jump off as we had hoped. Still, Young Steff has a bright future ahead of him. Slow Jukin is that song them 16-year olds be playing while slow-grinding on each other, tryin to act all grown. While all the 25-year olds be gettin’ their grind on behind closed doors 😉

Keep reading!!

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