Elle Varner recently returned on the music scene with her latest musical offering which comes in a form of a new studio album simply named “Ellevation” which features a 9 tracks and two guest appearances from Wale and Rapsody.
Last week Lizzo dropped the official video to her thick girl anthem Tempo featuring Missy Elliott. This week Lizzo returns once more as she stopped by NPR’s tiny desk series.
The 31 year old performed a 3 song set which included songs from her chart topping LP Cuz I Love You. “If you can love my big black ass at this tiny, tiny little desk, you can love yourself,” said Lizzo during her set. Check out the 3 song performance below.
Mary J. Blige takes her career to new heights as she recently signed a first look tv deal with Lionsgate. The Oscar nominee will develop and produce projects under her newly-formed Blue Rainbow production company. I couldn’t be more excited to be working with Lionsgate. They are incredible collaborators and have been natural partners from when we first started talking. I can’t wait to bring all of our projects to life,” said Blige.
MJB has been showing off her action chops lately as she starred in the Oscar-nominated film Mudbound, along starring in Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy and she’ll appear next in the long-delayed season 3 of VH1’s Scream. Mary will also appear in the upcoming films Violent Heart and Body Cam.
“Mary is a very talented artist, fearless visionary and an incredible human being. We’re delighted to be working with someone with such a powerful and impactful creative voice. Every art she touches blossoms and we’re humbled she’s chosen us as her home. We look forward to all the exciting new content Mary and her Blue Butterfly banner will bring to our television slate and Lionsgate 360 orbit,” said Lionsgate TV Group chairman Kevin Beggs.
Last night Ari Lennox made her late-night television debut when she appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Serving as musical guest. The Dreamville songstress performed a Medley of her songs Up Late & BMO. Both records appear on Ari’s Shea Butter Baby debut album. Check out the performance below.
Today, Megan Thee Stallion is inducted into the coveted XXL Freshman Class. Following the success of her Billboard Hot 100 single, “Big Ole Freak,” and latest project Fever. She will also be playing the XXL Freshman show at New York City’s PlayStation Theater on Mon., July 22 and the Los Angeles show on Thurs., July 25 at The Novo.
Well on her way to becoming an inspiring household name, the rap sensation just graced the cover of Fader’s Summer Music Issue, is nominated for BET’s Best Female Hip Hop Act award, and is about to embark on the Legendary Nights tour with Meek Mill and Future. Megan’s fiery rap game and rhyme schemes also just led her to become Apple Music’s latest Up Next Artist. On the heels of this title comes her Apple Music Up Next short film, available on June 25.
After scoring his first GRAMMY win for Best Traditional R&B Performance this past Sunday, PJ Morton connects with singer Jojo as they gift their fans with this new song titled Say So.
Speaking on the collab, Grammy winner Morton said:
“I’ve always been a fan of JoJo, even back in the TRL days. Her talent was always out of this world. I knew that I wanted to make ‘Say So’ a duet and wanted to make sure it was with a voice I truly believed in. I saw that she was free and clear from her previous label complications, and I jumped at a chance to work with her! I reached out and she was down. She flew down to New Orleans and it all flowed so perfectly.”
Check out the new soulful duet below.
With the GRAMMY’s airing live this Sunday the music academy continues to add more artist to their line up. In a tweet shared this morning, the GRAMMY’s announced Lady Gaga, Fantasia, ChloeXHalle Travis Scott, St. Vincent, and Andra Day. Mark Ronson and Dua Lipa will hit the stage.
JUST ANNOUNCED: @ladygaga, @MarkRonson, @DUALIPA, @st_vincent, @chloexhalle, @trvisXX, @YolandaAdams, Fantasia (@TasiasWord), and @AndraDayMusic are set to take the #GRAMMYs stage this Sunday! https://t.co/nSqridVt2A
— Recording Academy / GRAMMYs (@RecordingAcad) February 6, 2019
They also joing previously announced performers that includes Cardi B, Camila Cabello, Janelle Monae, and more. The GRAMMY’s also announced that Jennifer Lopez will give a Motown tribute ar this years cerimony. This did not go well with Twitter as a lot of people asked Why J.lo? This is a good question to ask seeing as we are celebrating Motwon and with it being Black History month, one has to ask where are the black singers and why did J.lo even agree to do this? The GRAMMY’S will air live this Sunday at 8 p.m. on CBS.
Tweet is gearing up to releasing her new single lifted from her forthcoming fourth studio album but in the meantime she returns with her Tweet Tuesday series where it will see her releasing more unreleased musical gems from the vault and the first offering is a studio version of her track “Way To Love” which we all first heard on her acoustic album “Simply Tweet”. The soulful number sees her laying down some sultry vocals over a smooth production by Nisan Stewart, Jubu Smith and Craig Brockman.
Check it out after the jump.
Normani kicked off her solo career as she teamed up with Khalid for their hit single Love Lies, things started to kick off more as she released music with Calvin Harris, and more most recent single Waves featuring 6LACK. Now that 2019 is upon us Normani has more in store.
Before dropping off her new song “Dancing With A Stranger” with Sam Smith, Normani graced the cover of Billboard magazine. In the new issue, the breakout star speaks about her experiences as a member of Fifth Harmony, representing for brown girls everywhere.
On Going Solo:
“This was always the goal. For [Fifth Harmony] to all be able to go out, create, pursue our own solo endeavors, which is what we had been trying to pursue since we were babies in diapers. The idea was always to be solo.”
“I’m actually capable and strong enough to do this on my own. Not as Normani in the entity of Fifth Harmony, but as someone who is a totally separate and different person: Normani.”
On Repping Black Women:
“There’s so much that I have to get off my chest. And there’s a responsibility I have as a Black woman — one of the very few to have the power to kill it. Even in the mainstream, there’s not many of us. Especially chocolate girls. Like, being African-American is one thing, but girls [with] my complexion” — she gestures to the back of her hand for emphasis — “it’s unheard of. It’s me, and SZA. Who else?”
On Debate About Which Member Is Doing Best:
“Honestly? I’m in such an amazing place that I don’t feed into any of that. I’m way too blessed to even allow myself to focus on that. This is my time. Just like [Cabello] had an amazing run. I am so proud of everything that she’s doing. She’s nominated for a freaking Grammy! Like, that is amazing. And all from what girl group? Fifth Harmony. Like, that shit’s fire. And I know that all of us are more than capable of doing that.” She pauses, then revises the sentiment a bit. “I’ve come to believe that I am that talented. Before, I didn’t wholeheartedly believe that.”
On Hardship & Self-Doubt While In 5H:
“So many sessions, I would cry like I’ve never cried before,” she recalls, citing one for the song “No Way” where she was the only member relegated solely to background vocals.
Moments like that exacerbated a feeling she’d had since she was one of just three black students in her predominantly white elementary school. “It was a subconscious thing,” she says. “You think, ‘Why am I the least followed in the group?’ Even if you don’t recognize that you’re paying close attention to it, it takes a toll on your confidence. You worry — is it me? Is it because I’m black? Or am I just not talented?”
“They tried to be there for me as best as they could,” says Normani of her bandmates, her voice dropping to a level so quiet it’s almost imperceptible. “But I don’t think they had the tools that they needed, because it’s not their experience. I can give them credit for trying to be there for me, but at the same time…” She trails off. “The girls don’t experience things the way I did.”
While Normani’s solo debut is due later in 2019 the singer described the album as “sultry” and “dominant.” You can catch Normani on tour this spring as she will be opening up on Ariana Grande’s Sweetner tour. Click here to read the full billboard interview
2018 has been a rollercoaster of a year but I can honestly say we have been blessed with some of the most groundbreaking music in a while, seeing underground talent rising to the surface and delivering some music that has touched our core and made us relate. Here are YMMW top 10 albums of 2018.
1. Ella Mai – Ella Mai: I`ve been watching her grind for years now and to finally see her explode the way she did this year, was simply amazing as she is a great addition to the R&B scene and her musical approach is very transparent and allows people relate to her sound and not feel like it`s some manufactured type of shit that the industry spits out. Her self-title featured 16 tracks, it could`ve done without the Chris Brown collaboration though but overall the album saw her in her elements as her songwriting is stellar and hearing her and H.E.R on a track (Gut Feeling) together was everything as their vocals blended so beautifully and they managed to capture the rawness of the subject at hand. The album was a great introduction to such a talented artist who`s gonna hopefully build on this project for her albums in the future and keep on showcasing the truth between heartache and love.
2. H.E.R.’s -I Used to Know Her: R&B songstress H.E.R. delivered two stunning projects called “I Used To Know Her Prt 1 & Prt 2” which followed up her 2017 ‘H.E.R. Vol. 1 & 2’ that put her on the map but these projects pushed her all the way out there and saw her fan base growing and shaping her sound by exploring different elements and ways of showcasing layers to her artistry from her sharp yet direct songwriting skills to her soothing and sultry vocals and also displaying her rapping skills.
On this album she takes on depression and drug abuse and the ups and downs of love, especially on “Against Me” which is hands down my favorite tracks as she talks about being in a toxic relationship, where the guy keeps on hurting her emotionally and she stays with him as she doesn`t see that she is worthy of more than what he is giving her, she gives me Lauryn Hill vibes: She also expressed a similar feeling on is also “I’m not okay”, which expresses that she’s holding onto a relationship that is not really working, that hit me to the core. She is such a talented artist that is able to reach deep down inside you and reveal your truth and have you sit in it, till you deal with it and move on and heal.
3.Todrick Hall – Forbidden Hall’s 2016 album Straight Outta Oz was simply amazing than he went on and top it with his album “FORBIDDEN” which was beautifully and creatively crafted and accompanied it with music videos for each song that came together to create a world that takes us back to the 1940’s and 1950’s and addresses topics such as racism, sexuality and turns the tables on white privilege by making them lower class – it might make some people uncomfortable but serves a much needed messages and makes people look at their lives and make some adjustments that allows them to free themselves from limiting thoughts. The album might some heavy moments but it also features some colorful and fun tracks “T.H.U.G. (Trade)”, “B”, “Dem Beats”, “Doll Hair”, “Play”, “Forever” and the title track “Forbidden” is simply outstanding, serving a message about standing in your truth and standing by your love even when people try to tear you down.
4. Janelle Monáe – “Dirty Computer”: “Dirty Computer” was nothing more than a beautiful masterpiece of an album that saw her draw from her idols Prince, Michael Jackson, David Bowie, and James Brown. It`s her most groundbreaking and strongest musical offering since her underrated debut album “The ArchAndroid”, on this project she has truly come full circle as artist and as a black woman in this world, using her art to address so many topics that many people still view as taboo but she doesn`t care, it`s all about giving the voiceless a voice and reflect a beautiful that has its ups and downs but remain strong and pushes forward.
5. Cardi B – Invasion of Privacy: Cardi B proved many people wrong when she dropped her album “Invasion of Privacy” which was a solid offering from start to finish and featured so many layers to it and I love the fact she wanted to give the new generation something that holds so much weight to it and also showcased her roots so beautifully. Opening it with a cold track called “Get Up 10” that sets you up for a good ride as it was so raw and showed that she isn’t playing at all, she means business. She built on the track and throughout the album kept providing some quality tunes that showcased her growth and her confidence, what a great way to kick off her musical career.
6. Chole X Halle – The Kids Are Alright: Chole and Halle proved that they are more than just two girls who were signed to Beyoncé. After joining the cast of Freeform’s Grown-ish the ladies showed off their acting chops and with all the stars aligned Chole x Halle. went full force with their debut LP. With the lead single which is also the album’s title track, Chole and Halle set the pace of what we could expect from their debut album. Chole x Halle both executive produced and wrote majority of their album showing off their versatility, their on a trap-inspired songs like “Hi-Lo”, “Everywhere”, and the 90’s throwback feel song “Happy Without Me”, and their age-defying song Gown which served as the theme song for Grown-ish, Chole x Halle showed they have a lot to offer in the years to come with their music and I can’t wait to see what the future has to offer for them.
7. Toni Braxton – Sex and Cigarettes: It has been a full 8 years since Toni Braxton released a solo album, and 2018 the legendary singer made us wait no more. Toni first broke the news as she was on set of her new video Deadwood in September of 17. Then in March of 2018 Toni blessed us with her long-awaited album Sex and Cigarettes. Making this her first album to be issued with a Parental Advisory warning, Toni continued to prove why she is still a legend, with songs such as “FOH”, “Long as I Live”, and “Sex & Cigarettes”, Toni did not disappoint on this LP which even earned her three GRAMMY nominations Best R&B Performance, Best R&B Song, and for Best R&B Album.
8. Christina Aguilera – Liberation: As a Christina Aguilera fan I can honestly say I did not 100 % her last two albums but I always rooted for Ms. Aguilera. When Christina announced that she was releasing a new album this year I was excited but just prayed that she did not just put a bunch of songs together like I felt she did with Flouts, when Accelerate was put out I thought it was nice something different to get used to but knowing Christina her singles never reflect her album in a whole. When Liberation finally came out in June and I heard the project in full I was really happy with the final project. Though I wish Christina would have promoted the album more and really shined light on her songs such as “Deserve,” “Unless It’s with You,” which were two of the albums stand out cuts. Liberation has a lot of great content had Christina pushed this album more and really planned the singles right, the album would have gotten its proper justice. Even though Christina didn’t really push this LP as she should have it was still an enjoyable album and I can’t wait to hear what she has in store for 2019.
9. Mariah Carey – Caution: Mariah has become that artist that never has to make new music ever again if she decided to but I love that she continues to be inspired and show off her creativity. On her 15th studio album Caution gave us what we loved about her growing up as well as giving us some trends of today blending the two and creating this critical acclaim project. Mariah kicked off the project with her buzz track GTFO and then following up with the official single “With You.” The album definitely has its bops such as “A No No”, “The Distance”, and the album’s title track “Caution.” With this album Mariah continues to show why she is still an Icon after all these years.
10. Nao – Saturn: Nao is definitely a hidden gem in the industry Nao’s voice is a breath of fresh air, so when the news hit that she would be releasing her sophomore album Saturn I knew this project was going to be amazing. Nao kicked off the album with her single Another Life time, which gave fans that feeling we all felt when we heard “Bad Blood”. With Saturn Nao gave us both sides of her personality with dance tracks such as ‘If You Ever”, “Drive and Disconnect”, and Love Supreme” or giving us a smooth ballad showcasing her tone with songs like “Another Lifetime”, “Make It Out Alive”, and “Orbit.”