Music News ROLO: Usher’s Still Got It, Nicki Exits Rihanna’s Tour, Maxwell Prepares next Single

After months of negativity and doubt hovering over his project, Usher showed the naysayers wrong by delivering big on his newest effort, Raymond vs. Raymond. The album sold a respectable 329,000 copies in its first week which, even though sales are less than the 423,000 albums Here I Stand sold in 2008, is still a good look for Usher who has suffered a decline in popularity in the past 2 years. Usher’s prodigy/artist Justin Bieber is sitting comfortably at #2 on the Billboard charts after besting R&B Great Monica during her first week of sales. Bieber sold 290,00 copies last week. Off the strength of her lead single, Everything To Me and her reality show on BET, Monica debuted high on the Billboard charts her first week out, though sales have dropped her to #6 this week.

Good look for the R&B Artists this week…

Rihanna announced earlier this week that she was heading out on tour this Summer for her Last Girl on Earth headlining Tour.  She announced she would be hitting the road with singer Ke$ha and Rapper/Entertainer Nicki Minaj. Sadly, Nicki tweeted today that she would have to drop out of the tour:

This sucks for Nicki and the Tour. I’m a fan of Rihanna, but Ke$ha on the bill? No, thanks. I wonder what the real reason behind Nicki passing up this great opportunity…

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Music News ROLO: *Ladies Love* New Music from Mariah, Monica & Shanell!

Mariah continues to work on her Remix Project titled Angel’s Advocate and the singles continue to leak. Ribbons was one of my favorite uptempo songs on Memoirs and I’m definitely feeling the remix with Ludacris and TheDream both lending verses. Ludacris can still kill a Remix like no other!

Mariah will finally release Angel’s Advocate March 30th, where she will be going up against Usher’s Raymond Vs. Raymond, among others. The album will feature all new remixes as well as duets of songs from her Memoirs album.

Mariah Carey featuring Ludacris & TheDrem – Ribbons (Remix)

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Since Atlanta can be called the Mecca of R&B for the new Millennium, it is only natural that it births this brand of New R&B ushered in by artists such as TheDream, Janelle Monae and Shanell. Now signed to Lil Wayne’s Young Money Label, Shanell is getting the chance to showcase her talent. I like to describe her music as Trip Pop. It just sounds new age, 80s-inspired and something Prince may approve of. Here she teams up with Lil Wayne (her rumored beau ) and fellow artist Mack Maine for Deadliest Catch. I’m feeling this joint right here! It’s sexy, fresh and different, but in a good way. What do you guys think?

Shanell featuring Lil Wayne & Mack Main – Deadliest Catch

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Sweet Tooth: *Video* Monica – Everything to Me

Here is the video for Monica’s Everything to Me. As I mentioned in a previous post, Monica is wearing all Alexander McQueen designs and she dedicates this video to the late designer. Chad Ochocinco plays Monica’s love interest. I assume Monica has the choice of who plays her love interests in her videos. Judging from her past picks that include Jamie Hector (from the Wire), Rapper Young Buck and Derek Luke (Antoine Fischer), Mo likes ’em tall, dark and handsome!

For some reason, director Benny Boom thought it was a good idea to rip the plot from the ‘Hollywood classic’, Obsessed…nonetheless, the video was entertaining and had a cute surprise ending.

Monica looks flawless throughout the video; a class act as usual. My favourite part is Mo’s eyeroll at 1:41 when the stalker tries to approach her man. Monica does not play.

Did you guys like the video? Monica’s album Still Standing will be in stores March 23rd.

ChokLit’s Choice: Monica Returns with Everything To Me

I know I am late on this one. Singer Monica has been televising her latest adventures back to relevance with her television show, Still Standing, on BET. Monica and her producers, namely Bryan Michael Cox who has been overseeing the project, have been steadily trying to craft that Hit for Monica that her Label would approve. I’ve enjoyed most of the material I heard from the project, but I understood the Label’s hesitation at moving forward. Monica is one of those solid artists from the 90s that struggle to find relevance today in an Industry that feeds on scandal, sex appeal and stunts, sometimes moreso than talent itself.

Luckily, Monica was able to team up with Superproducer Missy Elliot who has an uncanny knack for producing for women in R&B, specifically for Monica. Not only did Missy Executive Produce Monica’s last hit album, After the Storm, including its hit first single, So Gone, she also produced my favorite track off of Monica’s Makings of Me album, A Dozen Roses (You Remind Me).

Monica has officially released her first single off her album Still Standing, called Everything to Me. The song was produced by Missy Elliot and features a sample from Deneice Williams’ Silly of Me. Williams is a popular singer, songwriter and producer who found fame during the early 70s and 80s. She began as a backup singer for Stevie Wonder and Minnie Ripperton. Everything to Me borrows the music from Silly of Me, while Monica sings new vocals. Everything is getting a lot of radio love and airplay, though the song is also drawing critics who say Monica shouldn’t have touched the Classic and can not compare to William’s version. My take: I never knew who Deneice Williams was before this song. (I will hand in my R&B fan card – next week) Williams has a great voice and I enjoy her version, but Monica definitley did her thing! Take a listen at both songs.

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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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Butta of the Week: Keyshia Cole & Monica – TRUST

Tha Dream Team

Tha Dream Team

I just peeped this video for Trust on ConcreteLoop, and I have to say, this is one of the best R&B collabs in a long time! I may have erroneously slept on Keyshia’s last album, A Different Me. Between what I’ve heard from this and her last single, You Complete Me, Keyshia has showed alot of maturity and growth in her music this time around.  This being her second slow-paced single, I’m glad Interscope released this. I’m also glad Monica is getting some shine. This is a great song that showcases both ladies’ vocal abilities. (Monica takes us to Chuuuch for a bit there as well!)

Now ladies (and the mens), lets talk about some fashion a bit. How fierce is Monica’s look?? Her haircut, the butter leather Marc Jacobs jacket, the Chloe BOOTS? Monica doesn’t play around. Her haircut is killin me right now. And I’m loving Keyshia’s play on the green – on her fingernails and eyelids. The video is styled very well. Chris Robinson always pays alot of attention to detail and this video is no different.

I hope ya’ll are feeling this video as much as I am 🙂 Thoughts?

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Published in: on May 7, 2009 at 12:57 am  Comments (4)  
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Music News ROLO: We got the Nu Nu in R&B music, Catch Up!

Another treat for ya’ll, some more music! Nothing too groundbreaking, but pleasant enough…check it out!

First we have Monica’s Once in a Lifetime, released a week or so ago onto the ‘Nets. Monica released Still Standing last year, but it didn’t make too much of an impact on the charts. This track,produced by Brian Michael Cox doesn’t particularly grab me, and nothing about it sticks, but it is a nice song. Some people are comparing it to Mary J. Blige’s Be Without You. Maybe after a couple of listens…

Monica – Once in a Lifetime

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Oldie Butta Goodie Bar: Monica – Angel of Mine

Where were you when you first heard this track?

Angel of Mine was featured on Monica’s second studio album, The Boy is Mine, released in 1998. The album, produced mainly by Dallas Austin, Jermaine Dupri and Rodney Jerkins,  spawned several hits, including: The Boy is Mine (duet with Brandy), First Night, Street Symphony and For you I will. The album was Monica’s biggest success and garnered triple-Platinum sales and a couple Grammy nominations.

When this song came out, ya girl was going through the motions of High School. I LOVED the video with ChokLit fella Tyrese bringin his sexy swagga! All laid up on Monica’s bed in the video like What! And Monica always had this sass to her, you could always hear in it her voice and see it in her videos. Do you remember how she had tattoos on her arms but would use arm bands to cover them so as not to influence her fans to get tatted up! Nice to see that responsibility in an Artist.

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Published in: on February 28, 2009 at 7:43 pm  Comments (3)  
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Melt in your Ears: Monica feat.Ludacris – Still Standing

monica2

Ok, so I know I’m MAD late on this! I guess Monica had premiered her Reality show, The Single back in July of last year on Peachtree TV (TBS). It was filmed in Monica’s hometown of Atlanta while recording THE Single for her upcoming album, Lessons Learned. (So no, Monica was not dropped from her Label, J records yet) Anyways, while flipping through channels tonight, I came across the show and tuned in. It was actually a very well-put together documentary of sorts!  You saw Monica with makeup; Monica with no makeup; Monica with her adorable sons; Monica curled up in bed with fiancehusband Rocko and her first born lil Rock – you get the point.  Anyways, her and Bryan Michael Cox(the go-to guy for all R&B reality shows it seems) are looking for that one single Monica needs to start out above the Rihanna’s and the Ciara’s. This is Monica, by the way, not no New Jack.

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Published in: on February 24, 2009 at 7:15 am  Comments (2)  
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