It seems so. After 16 years of reporting on hip-hop, R&B and fashion, Vibe magazine has ended its publication run. The magazine has succumbed to the recession, declining readership and even more declining music and fashion industry. It's so sad. We have lost our (urban America) voice in the publishing world.
I'm not going to front -- magazines like the Source and Vibe magazine inspired me to write about hip-hop and R&B music. I have always dreamed that one-day I would joined the staff of Vibe. I even sent my resume and clips to their offices (circa 1998-1999) with the hopes of getting some freelance work. No dice.
Nevertheless, what I will remember fondly about Vibe is their eye-popping covers. I still have -- in mint condition -- Vibe's first-issued newsstand copy, which is the one with Treach (from Naughty by Nature) on the cover with his arms folded. And I have other cover stars: Rosie Perez, an Afro-ed Ice Cube, Aaliyah tribute, Biggie tribute, Tupac Shakur (but the cover is ripped up -Ugh!) and a slew of others.
And of course, Vibe magazine also will be remembered for its journalism. Their controversial coverage of the East Coast/West Coast hip-hop rivalry had me running to the newsstands monthly without fail. And their "Revolutions" album reviews section was always on-point. I loved reading what cultural critic/author Scott Poulson-Bryant had to say about a particular album.
And much like Michael Jackson is/was the King of Pop, Vibe magazine is/was the King of Urban Magazine. The publication's influence and journalistic impact on the hip-hop and R&B industry is forever etched in popular culture.
Unfortunately, Vibe magazine shuttered its doors just as they were assigning and editing a Michael Jackson tribute issue. And so, there won't be a MJ Tribute from Vibe. Damn.
From the Web:
Quincy Jones is in the process of buying back Vibe magazine and turn it into an online magazine. "You better believe it, I'mma take it online because print and all that stuff is over," he told Ebonyjet.com. (Source)
RapRadar Makes It Official: R.I.P. Vibe Magazine (press release from former Vibe Media Group Content Officer Danyel Smith)
While I was surfing the Internet and listening/watching several Michael Jackson tributes online, I stumbled across the Daily Swarm's article Five Atrocious Michael Jackson Covers, which lists five of the worst MJ covers songs performed by music artists. Fall Out Boy's punk-rock "Beat It," Chris Cornell's acoustic take of "Billie Jean" and Alien Ant Farm's guitar-charged "Smooth Criminal," among others featured on the list.
But then it hit me that '90s R&B crooner Al B. Sure! recently sung a cover of Michael Jackson's touching ballad, "Lady In My Life,"on his just-released new album, Honey, I'm Home. "Lady In My Life," which was penned by songwriter Rod Temperton (of Heatwave fame), appears on Mike's best-selling-album-ever 1982's Thriller. Al B. Sure!'s remake is elegant as the original version and his falsetto gives the song a nice tender touch.
Inspired by the Daily Swarm's piece, I put together a list of the Five Thrilling Michael Jackson Covers:
Al B. Sure -- "Lady In My Life"
As I explained above, Al B. Sure did a great job reworking Michael's classic ballad from Thriller. Al B. Sure was probably shook when he heard the news that MJ had died especially since it happened just two days after he released his new album. What a sad twist of fate.
**ADDED BONUS: Check out Ne-Yo's version of "Lady In My Life" at the BET Awards this past Sunday, right HERE.
KT Tunstall - "I Want You Back" (Jackson 5 cover)
I watched KT Tunstall performed on PBS' SoundStage and she was phenomenal. I was surfing on YouTube for some old KT clips and found this gem -- her acoustic flip of Jackson 5's "I Want You Back." She added a little country twang to the Jacksons' Motown classic.
Tarrus Riley -- "Human Nature" (MJ Cover)
Tarrus Riley is a wonderful roots-reggae crooner that is mostly known for his reworking of John Legend's ballad "Stay With You." His take on Michael Jackson's "Human Nature" originally appeared on a reggae charity album, and it will also be featured on his upcoming disc, Contagious (due Aug. 4).
Maysa Leak -- "I Can't Help It" (MJ Cover)
Maysa Leak is a soulful vocalist from the jazz troupe Incognito. This MJ cover is from Maysa's 2007 covers album Feel the Fire. The collection boasts Maysa's reinterpretation of such classic gems as Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine" and Chaka Khan's "Feel the Fire," among others. Maysa even offers a nice smooth jazz reworking of Michael's "I Can't Help It."
Marsha Ambrosius -- "Butterflies"
Floetry originally penned this song in 1997 and held on to it. Fours years later, they gave it to Michael Jackson and he recorded it for his final album, Invincible (2001). Then, in 2003, the duo flipped the song for their live album Floacism. I actually prefer Floetry's original version better because Marsha's feathery falsetto is so beautiful. R.I.P. Michael Joseph Jackson. We Love You!
In my humble opinion, it is one the greatest black shows to ever grace television. I think this show is actually better than Good Times. There aren't alot of black television series today that young teens can relate to that are not only funny but offers a sense of reality to what's going on in the world today .
A What's Happening!!-style sitcom is what we need right now on network television.