Introducing Ms. So Fine

I have always been a fan of music with a big brass sound. Don’t mess around and throw a deep, bass guitar line in there. There’s something about that type of music that really lifts your spirits and stirs up your soul. That’s exactly what I experienced when I first heard Raphael & The Ivory Jean’s new single, “Ms. So Fine”. The song also features lead vocals from Geno Young and Bobby Sparks. The band and the lead singers are definitely helping to further the Dallas, TX stamp on R&B music.

The music on the track alone is enough to make Bootsy Collins give a standing ovation. Not to mention the smooth, jazzy vocals from Geno Young and Bobby Sparks. This song puts me in the mind of being at a parade in the middle of Bourbon Street. “Ms. So Fine” has all of the elements of a savory, audible gumbo that leaves you wanting more. The object of affection on the song is a beautiful, mysterious woman that exudes an untouchable persona.

I am definitely excited to hear more music from Raphael & The Ivory Jean. I can only imagine how great “Ms. So Fine” sounds live as well. However, for now, I’ll be putting the single in heavy rotation. Check out the song for yourself. Would you Bump It or Dump It? Plus, take a listen to “You & Me” below.

 

Lil Kim: “The Break Is Over”

Although Lil Kim has remained to keep her legacy vibrant since her last full length studio album (The Naked Truth, 2005), she has remained quiet. Motherhood seems to have calmed her down. Nonetheless, she is still touring, making music and reminding Nicki Minaj where her style originated from. So, it’s not much of a surprise that her new single, “Took Us A Break” finds the Queen B getting back to basics. The song is said to be featured on Lil Kim’s upcoming album. However, many pundits wondered if she still had those fiery bars after all these years.

“Took Us A Break” flaunts a trap style flow with a little auto tune. The music video matches the song’s guttural, street appeal. There are no fancy backdrops; it’s just Lil Kim in her brightest element. Her raps are definitely still intact as she weaves in and out of the catchy production with ease. Thankfully, she doesn’t openly address Nicki Minaj here (only subtly). The truth is there would likely be no Nicki Minaj if it weren’t for the groundbreaking antics and flows of Lil Kim.

You can also catch the Queen B herself on Remy Ma’s new single “Wake Me Up”. The song will be featured on Remy Ma’s forthcoming new LP. New music from Lil Kim is definitely exciting. She should have enough material to release a double album. Either way, her presence will definitely be welcome as one of the premier female MCs who consistently pushes the envelope in music and fashion.

What Happens When Love Alters Life?

Love is a feeling we all have experienced at some point in our lives. Whether it’s the love of a romantic interest, family member or friend, we have felt the ups and downs of love. However, society tends to highlight women as the weaker sex when it comes to matters of the heart. There are many more known instances of women getting their heart broken by men. This is where Miss Doggette comes in. She has come to flip the tables on men. Miss Doggette is not one dimensional though. She has learned from her mistakes and looks to God for her refuge. 

7th Sign Publishing proudly presents, Miss Doggette (Love Alters Life). This book is a poetry collection unlike anything you have ever read before. There are two dueling concepts present here; before and after being saved by God from a hurtful place. Here’s a sample of Miss Doggette (Love Alters Life) below. This excerpt is from a piece is called “Gotta Go”. Get your copy of the book today, for a limited time discounted price, HERE

Maybe it’s not a natural thing for a woman to hit it and leave. Me, on the other hand, I think it’s pretty damn cool to get what you want and leave. It was done to me numerous of times. It looked like the best way to be.

After hours of having sex (in his mind, making love), he wipes me off and coved me up; gets back into bed, slowly moving up behind me like we’ve been together for years. He whispers, “Babe, you can stay if you want to.” I kept silent, trying to feel comfortable.

I was facing the clock on the nightstand: 1 minute…, 2…, 3…, 4…, 5…, 6 seconds. I took his arm off me and threw the covers back and said: “I’m sorry but I gotta go.” He started sitting up as I got out of bed; he looked like he was going to walk me to the door.

 

 

Lalah Hathaway: Honestly Raw, Sensual & Real

I have always been a fan of Lalah Hathaway’s voice. However, she really captured my attention when she was featured on Snarky Puppy’s song, “Something”. She did some amazing vocal acrobatics that I still haven’t recovered from. Check out the video for yourself below. I also got a chance to see her live in concert for the first time recently. She was the opening act for Mary J. Blige. The entire concert was great from start to finish. Lalah Hathaway added a really personable element of soul. She debuted her new single, a midtempo love declaration called, “I Can’t Wait”. I immediately fell in love with the song and wondered if it was from a forthcoming album. 

Within a few weeks, that question has been answered. Her new album, Honestly, is only 35 minutes long. However, her voice is so mesmerizing, I doubt listeners could take much more. She’s instantly more confident and bold than on her previous live release. Let’s take the opening title track, “Honestly” for example. She isn’t afraid to tell her ex that she’s moved on and doesn’t want him anymore. She sings, “Honestly, I don’t really want you no more/You can walk out that door”. The music video takes the song in a different context. She features highlights of injustice around the world and references the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Lecrae lends a verse on the encouraging and victorious, “Don’t Give Up”. The production here, like much of the album, has a jagged feel that marries well with Lalah Hathaway’s smooth vocals. “Change Ya Life” details why her love is superior. She’s confident in a sexy way here and offers up one of the best songs on the album. In her own words, she might “f$%^ around and change your life”. Well, alright then. Tiffany Gouche is the only other featured artist, who appears on the stutter step, bass thumper “What U Need”. If Lalah Hathway was to try her hand at trap music, this would be it. Don’t ask if she pulls it off well; that would be totally disrespectful. 

“Call On Me” is a thunderstorm slow jam reserved especially for those rainy, late nights. This song is extremely seductive. I can definitely see this one being a single on the radio. “Won’t Let It Go” is a comical, yet painfully serious tale of an ex that doesn’t get that it’s over. Lalah Hathaway proves she’s more than just a beautiful songbird. She can bring it to the streets if necessary. However, she still saves some room for vulnerability. “Y O Y” asked the simple question of why a love went sour. She recognizes that it’s time to move on, despite how painful it may be. So, honestly this album is a must have in your collection. I’ll definitely keep in heavy rotation for quite a while. 

 

Everywhere You Should Be (In The ‘Moments’)

The London alternative rock band, Everywhere, has been on the move in just a few short years. The group recent released their critically acclaimed EP, Fiction Act. Now, they are back with a brand new single, “Moments”. The group was inspired after hearing Swedish singer Kev’s original version of the song. However, their version peppers in a more celebratory and triumphant feel. You can’t help but be in a good mood while listening to this song. The production offers some amazing sounding multicultural elements. 

“Moments” urges the listener to be carefree and live in the time that counts the most, right now. Max Berga’s vocals have a bit of a melancholy tinge, which ads great character to the track. A happy go lucky voice would have honestly spoiled the track. Max’s unique vocals make the song instantly memorable and enjoyable. If you feel like there’s a blast from the past here, you’re not alone. The vibe of the production has an 80s feel. Nevertheless, the group still manages to execute a sound that sits comfortably next to the music of today. Make no mistake though. “Moments” is just one testament of a group that doesn’t fit into a mold. Instead, Everywhere continuously creates new molds with their infectious brand of music. 

So, take a listen to “Moments” for yourself. You can stream the song on Spotify today. What are you thoughts on the single?

Watermelon Under The Cherry Moon

I get it. Fall is officially here and watermelon season is out the door. Give me pumpkin spice or nothing else! I know. However, today’s Thirsty Thursday is worth you putting down that pumpkin spiced latte for just a moment. I recently discovered the WTRMLN CHRRY drink at Target. I was looking for something I could drink during the day besides water that didn’t sacrifice taste or nutrients. That’s when I found this delicious drink. It was truly more than I bargained for. 

The cold pressed drink has just a few simple ingredients, including watermelon flesh, watermelon rind, organic tart cherry juice concentrate and organic lemon juice. So, what makes this drink so cool and refreshing? I’m glad you asked. The WTRMLN CHRRY has 570 mg of potassium, which is more than your favorite sports drink. Ever heard of L-Citrulline? Well, you need it if you’re going to fight off those holiday pounds in the gym. There are 510 mg of it in this drink. Plus, the drink has 60% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C. This is not to mention it’s only 60 calories and 16 grams of carbs (13 of which are from sugar). 

I know just what you are thinking. Sounds great, but how does it taste? Freaking amazing. This is one of the best low calorie drinks I have tasted in quite a long time. It tastes like an indulgent drink that you should only taste sparingly. In fact, it is quite the opposite (at least in terms of portion control). Look no further than WTRMLN CHRRY for a great, energy boosting, hydration filled and electrolyte sparking mix of taste bud heaven. Check it out and grab a bottle for yourself. Let me know your thoughts! 

Bottoms up. You know what time it is. It’s Thirsty Thursday! 

112: The Return Of Q, Mike, Slim and Daron

Q, Mike, Slim and Daron, better known as 112, are back. Their infectious blend of Hip Hop inspired R&B has been bleeding from speakers for the past two decades. However, nearly half of that time is the break since their last album, Pleasure & Pain. The Atlanta based quartet has returned with their new album, Q Mike Slim Daron. Many fans and pundits have wondered if the group still has the same star appeal after a 12 year hiatus. Tracks like the seductive bass thumper, “Come Over” and the poignant slow jam, “Without You”, answer that question with a resounding “yes”. The latter track even samples from their hit song, “Cupid”. The group pulls off the throwback reference well, without sounding corny.

“Both Of Us” is the album’s biggest surprise. The fact that the song sounds good was expected, but the guest feature from past rival R&B band, Jagged Edge, was not. Surprisingly, each group’s set of voices blend together well. In fact, it’s one of the stand out tracks from the album. Faith Evans also stops by to lend her gospel tinged pipes on a short interlude. “True Colors” sounds a bit dated, even though it’s still a decent song. The only issue is it sounds like it was directly taken from their 90s heyday. “Wanna Be” really showcases their vocal strength as a unit. This one sounds like a shoe in for the perfect Valentine’s Day single.

“Still Got It” is a memorable and catchy reminder to their ladies that the love is still good after all these years. The group’s mentor, the “take that, take that” master himself, Puff Daddy, is absent from production on this project. Although he crafted some of the group’s biggest hits, the gamble of not including him is commendable. Their music sounds more calculated and mature now, as it should be. Don’t mistake it though. 112 still has some danceable tracks here. “Lucky” is an up-tempo declaration of how great it feels to finally find true love.

“1’s For Ya” keeps up with the current trends in music. However, the group manages to dodge conformity and create their own lane through a large majority of the album. 112 brought real R&B music back on Q Mike Slim Daron. It’s about time. Hopefully we won’t have to wait another 12 years until their next album.

 

He’s Just That Amazing

I recently had some self inflicted body damage on my car. I was so angry at myself, although it wasn’t totally my fault. Nevertheless, I had to wait to get my car fixed. I didn’t have $1000 just laying around to fix the damages. I was really starting to stress about how I would get the car fixed. Last week, I drove my car close to empty for nearly two days. I had the money for gas, but I kept procrastinating. I know, I’m working on it. Finally, I left work one day last week and had to make a B line to the gas station.

I scolded myself on the way there for being so silly to wait this long to get gas. Little did I know, it was all a part of the plan. A guy pulled up in a big Ford truck and asked if I needed body work done on my car. I usually don’t entertain those types of conversations. However, that day I did. He told me that he could fix my car (in the gas station parking lot) for just $200. I’m a very skeptical person, but that day I decided to go with it.

Long story short, he had my car looking like brand new. You can’t even tell the damage. The guy did it in less than 15 minutes. That day was such a blessing and it came at a time when I really needed a reminder from God. Sometimes God allows us to go through situations that will make us ask, “Why me?” The answer should be, “Why not me?” However, God still let me see the silver lining in my cloud.

Never give up on God. He never fails us. Everything He does is amazing and in perfect order. Speaking of amazing, make sure you check out the beautiful new gospel ballad from John Patrick Adams, “I’m Amazed”. This song truly speaks to the glory of God. He sees us and knows what we’re going through. We just have to trust Him. He’s just that amazing.

Download “I’m Amazed” on all digital retailers!

 

Snoh Aalegra: Catching FEELS

Snoh Aalegra, the Swedish born songstress, has finally released her full length debut album, FEELS. She’s the mentee of producer No I.D. Although this is her debut album, you should do yourself a favor and check out her EP, Don’t Explain. She credits the 70s, 80s and early 90s as her strongest musically influenced eras. Her music definitely showcases those influences with ease. Snoh Aalegra opens FEELS with the beautiful, sultry, “All I Have”. This is quickly followed by the low bass groove, “Sometimes”. The song features rapper Logic, who offers a poignant and memorable verse. The song has melancholy undertones, but is one of the strongest offerings on the album. 

She turns up the tempo on the self reflective and tropical sounding, “You Got Me”. Her vocals are effortlessly hypnotic. She has a delicate pain that draws the listener in for more. Here, she admits that her lover has her in the palm of his hand. The bluesy “Out Of Your Way” is a gentle dream that makes you want to stay asleep. She pleads, “Can’t you see that I’m tryin?/Can’t you see that I’m hurtin?”. Vic Mensa stops by on the Motown-esque, “You Keep Me Waiting”. Although this is one of the more lyrically dense songs on the album, it has an easy listening feel. Plus, Vic Mensa’s flow fits the track like a glove here. 

“Fool For You” sounds like the hit that got away from Jazmine Sullivan. This chilling track conveys how we have all felt like a fool for love at some point in life. However, there is something about the tone of her voice here that sounds content, even triumphant. Clearly, Snoh isn’t letting her “foolishness” for love get her down. She’s just merely stating the facts (“I should run the other way, but I stay right here”). “Time”, dedicated to the memory of her father, is an unarguable standout on FEELS. The song details those feelings of wishing we cherished certain moments more. This track is one of many that speaks volumes to her unique artistry. 

Vince Staples, another Hip Hop underground heavyweight, stops by for the theatrically produced “Nothing Burns Like The Cold”. The song sounds like a shoe in for the next James Bond film. “FEELS”, the album’s title track, has a Stevie Wonder appeal that she pulls off extremely well. This is instant vintage at its finest. She brings Paris to our auditory senses on this rich love song. Snoh Aalegra fully acknowledges the guards she has up on the sassy and melodic, “Walls”. 

Snoh Aalegra has a voice and style that is all her own. Her music is lyrically unapolegtic. Her vocals are piercing, yet soothing at the same time. She is definitely one of the most refreshing artists in R&B music (and music, period) to grace the scene in a very long time. Make sure you catch the FEELS too. 

P!nk: Trauma Never Felt So Good

 

Pink has always had a knack for conveying heartbreak through song in a way that resonates with her audience. She can be quirky and witty (“So What” and “You Make Me Sick”) or seriously gritty (“The Great Escape” and “Just Like A Pill”). Although it’s hard to believe all of these sad love songs pertain to her own love life, they sound no less authentic. Her latest album, Beautiful Trauma, was released on October 13th (Friday the 13th). There’s no bad luck here though. The title track kicks things off on a high note, with house music infused sounds. She acknowledges that this love is a drug she can’t shake. 

Eminem joins the party on the clever, pop tinged “Revenge”. The pair mesh so well together that hopefully there’s a collaborative album in the works. The song speaks of the familiar feeling of wanting to get back at an ex. The cluster of songs that follow have a more adult contemporary sound. Don’t fret. This is still Pink we’re talking about here. Her feisty attitude is still in full effect. “Whatever You Want” captures this essence with explicit verses (“Running like a dog/Feeling like I bitch too much”) coupled with a gentle chorus (“I feel like our ship’s going down tonight/But it’s always darkest before the light”). 

The lead single, “What About Us” isn’t as gutsy or brass as the ones from her previous albums. Nonetheless, the song has universal appeal. She questions the notion of a happy ever after. The song can easily be applied to a romantic relationship, friendship or the struggles of life. “But We Lost It” is tender ballad and one of the stand out tracks. She bluntly admits, “We had a thing, but we lost it”. Her voice is smooth here, with less of her signature raspy tone. This one definitely has hit single potential written all over it. 

Pink reminisces to a time when things were carefree on the nostalgic gem, “Barbies”. “Secrets” gives off a Madonna vibe, circa the late 80s. She never gets close to revealing what her secret is but guarantees that it will be hard to swallow. The two standout tracks from Beautiful Trauma are “Better Life” and “You Get My Love”. The entire album is a masterpiece. These songs put the nail in the coffin. The former, “Better Life” is an upbeat, piano driven song. The lyrics defy the production. Pink admits that she’s been watching her lover while he’s sleep at night, wondering if he’s been pining after a different life. “You Get My Love” starts off bluesy and calm. Then, she yells during the chorus to really drive her point home. It’s the perfect bone chiller to another cleverly crafted, heartfelt Pink album.

Once again, she proves she’s still got it. Plus, she still has a few musical tricks up her sleeve. Catch Pink on her Beautiful Trauma World Tour next year.