dirty martini

old music for new people

2008: the comebacks January 3, 2009

cd

despite declining sales, labels continued to throw money and effort into album promotion instead of finding new and creative ways to make money from music. which is now basically free, let’s face it.

i enjoyed these the most of all the comebacks last year.

download the comebacks of 2008

anthony hamilton – the day we met

consistent and underrated, anthony hamilton’s new album ‘the point of it all’ is a little more punchy, i think, than his previous efforts. it’s worth seeking out his mostly unknown 1996 debut if you like this side of him.

ashanti – you’re gonna miss

ashanti is that girl who has more male friends than female. she gets a lot of hate, but, she delivers some good music. ‘the declaration’ was a solid effort that would have achieved more had it not been for her audience connection issue mentioned previously, and the state of the music industry.

beyonce – single ladies

well, if you thought ‘bday’ was a disappointment…i’m hoping some of the other tunes on ‘i am…sasha fierce’ will grow on me. there’s nothing groundbreaking there though. i did love the fact that she appeared on x factor to sing with alexandra though. who, by the way, i think outsings her on ‘listen’ when she sings solo.

common – sex 4 sugar

common is taking a more commercial route this time round with ‘universal mind control’. that’s ok, it works.

erykah badu – honey

..speaking of which, his formerly crazy former missus has also lightened up a bit. see, it didn’t hurt that much did it? but for a time there it looked as if she had a touch of the lauryn hills.

john legend – can’t be my lover

i tried but failed to get into ‘once again’ but i’m loving the return to form on ‘evolver’. the reggae tracks are totally his comfort zone and the euro-electro tinged tracks even work, much as i am hating this current trend, which should in my opinion have started and ended with britney’s ‘gimme more’.

keyshia cole – where this love could end up

keyshia was hailed as the new mary. to my mind, she has not evolved or developed even slightly past her 2004 debut. this is not to say that ‘just like you’ and ‘a different me’ are bad – they’re as good as ‘the way it is’. if prince were to unleash another few albums that took up where ‘1999’, ‘purple rain’ or ‘sign of the times’ left off then this would be eaten up. but keyshia’s not prince.

mariah carey – i’ll be loving you long time

‘e=mc2’ is nowhere near as good as ‘mimi’ let’s get that out of the way. and ‘touch my body’ is shit. but as r&b albums go it’s head and shoulders above most of the crap we get launched at us these days and everyone is so relieved to see her settled and wearing some clothes for once that this is good enough.

raheem devaughn  – woman

a consistent neo-soul artist who returned in 2008, like clockwork, with ‘love behind the melody’. despite the rubbish neo-soul genre tag, surely grown up soul is where the money’s at these days?

raphael saadiq – sure hope you mean it

like several others, mostly brit, artists, he went the retro route. to great effect and in a far more authentic and endearing way than gimmicky amy winehouse and duffy. raphael has, of course, been doing this since his tony toni tone days. i could have picked almost any of the tracks from ‘way i see it’ as my favourite.

snoop dogg – cool

not much promotion behind ‘ego trippin’ as it goes, which is a shame cos i heart the retro flow of this prince-inspired track and ‘sensual seduction’.

usher – before i met you

i wonder if poor old usher realised just how critical the salivating teen girls and his momager were to his success? not at all, apparently, until ‘here i stand’ bombed and he bricked it. marrying a ropey looking older woman when you have the pick of a population? bratz generation say what?

 

when life imitates art May 11, 2008

this mariah and nick cannon thing…has to be fake surely. i know she’s madder than a bag of ferrets, but shotgun wedding to serial dater and no pre-nup? come ON…

download here

aaliyah and r.kelly – the thing i like

very seedy – aaliyah signed with r.kelly’s label at 13…and two years later they allegedly married when she was 15 although the certificate said she was 18. maybe she was? of all the discussions i’ve seen on this topic this hasn’t been raised a possibility. aaliyah went on to date damon dash. and r.kelly? not going there.

ashanti and nelly – switch

not sure if these two are still together or not – in any case both are releasing albums shortly so you can bet that they’ll let us know one way or another, depending on how their publicists decide to play it.

beyonce and jay-z – upgrade you

i want to like jayonce, but they have really dull friends like ‘new bono’ chris martin and gwyneth paltrow. on the upside, their inevitably impending offspring will have fabulously ghetto names, probably chosen by worlds’ scariest mama tina knowles. bet she’s scouring those 80s music lists for a faux francais babyname that jheri soul’s finest would be proud of.

bobby brown and whitney houston – something in common

oh how we loved bobby and whitney – 80s badboy teen falls for older woman and mends his ways. for about five years, then he has an early midlife crisis and it all goes badly wrong. now whitney is trying to replicate the good old days with an even younger model and bobby is trying to get it on with anyone who’ll have him.

brandy and boyz ii men – brokenhearted

think those child protection laws must’ve been a bit slack in the early 90s. like aaliyah, brandy fell prey to an older counterpart but *sigh of relief* it was sensible old wanya of non-threatening boyz ii men, and he apparently waited until she was 16…

common and erykah badu – the light

after splitting with andre 3000 of outkast, crazy bag lady erykah (i do mean that in a nice way) hooked up with smiley rapper common. this woman outcrazied two rappers. do not mess.

jennifer lopez and p diddy – feelin’s so good

i did like j lo and puffy. it was a shame about that inconvenient little shooting incident which scared her off. they were fabulously trashy and didn’t care. she also was channelling the best outfits of her life when they were together. i still want that green tropical versace number…

kelis and nas – popular thug

seemingly solid couple and i’m kind of impressed with nas that he chose kelis, who clearly is not your run of the mill model-video actress-clinique salesgirl by day type, which he no doubt had his pick of.

mary j blige and kci hailey – i don’t want to do anything

a bad move for mary, and i would say that jodeci were more than a little tarnished by the revelations concerning the destructive nature of her relationship with kci, which she was dealing with for years before she met kendu. karma’s a bitch – have you seen the state of jodeci lately?

notorious big and faith evans – one more chance

not the likeliest of lotharios but biggie managed to charm quite a few women in his 23 years…faith and lil kim faced off quite publicly about him for a while and let’s face it, must have felt a bit ridiculous fighting over someone so er, non-standard.

prince and vanity – if a girl answers

prince and vanity lead denise matthews had a short lived relationship, once they split, denise aka vanity, hightailed it and was replaced by patricia kotero in a new group, appollonia. *crickets* yes of course he did, why do you think she got the job? vanity went on to date slighty taller men – adam ant and billy idol.

rihanna and chris brown – umbrella

so, blabbermouth jordin sparks lifted the lid on the relationship and now they’ve been ‘spotted’, unwittingly, in kfc…oh god…i mean they’re both like, 12 years old, why do i know this?  chris has only just started to form vowels properly.

 

hiphop love songs April 26, 2007

…collective sigh of relief, one blogger isn’t getting into the whole don imus thing. quite frankly, I don’t know enough about it. more interestingly what it does seem to have triggered is renewed interest in the crusade against misogynistic and violent hiphop lyrics, a cause currently championed by russell simmons.i’m not going to delve for examples of russell‘s back catalogue that contradict this stance. it’s not big and it’s not clever – people are perfectly entitled to change their opinions.

what i’m not clear on though, is why they think the campaign will work this time round. the number of hiphop devotees has multiplied more than every other genre since the mass media last rallied in the early 90s. then, they targeted just a handful of rappers, including too short, tupac and snoop. because that was more or less the scale of the ‘problem’, a couple of record labels, a lot of overblown egos and scores to settle.

in 2007 its a whole different ballgame – they’re not attacking a subsection of underground culture, hiphop is now popular culture. no doubt, the campaign will hold up tupac and biggie‘s deaths, which now happened more than a decade ago, as proof of hiphop beef taken too far. and they were far from an everyday occurrence, the isolation of the incidents involving these tragic figures is exactly what has created their legend. far more people die on the streets every day than have hiphop icons over the last 20 years. and i’m pretty sure most of the street incidents happened to the kind of person who was going to get caught up in that world anyway. listening to eminem in your bedroom does not magically transport you out of the suburbs to the kinds of places where you might face those kind of kill-or-be-killed decisions.

perhaps the real shock factor in these deaths was borne out of a naïve assumption that a celebrity can more effectively shield themselves from someone who wants to kill them than the average member of the same community. that they were granted some kind of immunity and had transcended their circumstances through fame, rather than in fact becoming more vulnerable and a greater scalp.

what we should remember is that genuine hiphop tries to reflect real life. nwa didn’t just rap about compton to entertain you, that’s where they’re from and who they are. they were trying to give their community a voice, not suggest that their reality is anything like yours and that their actions and reactions would be acceptable within other contexts.

in the worst neighbourhoods, shot or be shot is an almost daily dilemma. tupac and biggie‘s deaths weren’t the shocking result of fiction overstepping the boundaries of storytelling, rather a sad indictment of a lifestyle they glorified for cash rather than broke out of. there wasn’t any fiction involved and their late material implied an acceptance of their fate.

so, those that should know better are regrouping to decide how to remove offensive content from hiphop. instead of convening to tackle the real life incidents that inspire it. then the rest of us can pretend its not happening anymore. great, well done.

ten non-offensive hiphop classicsdownload here common and mary j blige – come close
2004 cut from ‘electric circus’. common recognises that relationships can be hard and require sacrifice, but worth saving…

guru – when you’re near
king of non-offensive hiphop, guru and then-acid jazz ingenue n’dea davenport from the brand new heavies flirt back and forth in 1993.

guerrilla black – you’re the one
even g’s get it bad sometimes.

common and jill scott – 8 minutes to sunrise
now this one could really be messy – common has woken up next to his best friend’s girl.

foreign exchange – all that you are

how many men actively try to treat their women right?

ll cool j and boyz ii men – hey lover
ll
pioneered the hiphop ballad with ‘i need love’, then in 1995 he went one better and recruited r&b crooner boyz ii men to assist this tale of an unobtainable crush.

roots and erykah badu – you got me
new relationships are hard…especially when you meet in paris and are worried the spark will fade once you get home.

pm dawn – set adrift on memory bliss

best use of a sample ever. end of.

ali and gipp featuring letoya – almost made you

these relative newcomers are doing their thing, with ex-dc starlet letoya on board.

ll cool j – around the way girl

how come someone as fine as ll never gets his dream girl?