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Posts from September 2007

Magic Clip

The Internets are going nuts over the news that in November Jay-Z will return with a concept disc of songs inspired by the Denzel Washington flick American Gangster (in theaters Nov. 2). Jigga was granted an early preview of the movie, which chronicles the rise and downfall of reputed '70s Harlem heroin kingpin Frank Lucas, and it had a tremendous affect on Jay and sparked a creative run of songs. "It immediately clicked with me," Jay told the New York Times. "Like Scarface, or any one of those films, you take the good out of it, and you can see it as an inspiring film."

Initially, it was Denzel Washington's idea to have Jay-Z helm the American Gangster soundtrack, but the film's producer Brian Grazer thought it was unrealistic. "I just didn't think there'd be enough for Jay-Z to do," said Mr. Grazer, who felt the film needed more of a '70s-inspired soundtrack. (Def Jam is also releasing a soundtrack featuring classic '70s songs from the Staples Singers, Bobby Womack and others.)

So far, Jay has already recorded nine songs for the collection (due Nov. 6), which he says will reflect the grittier views of the drug life from which he came from before pursuing a career in rap. "Watching [American Gangster], it brought back all these memories,” he states. "It took me back to those emotions."

Jay-Z -- "Blue Magic" (produced by Pharrell Williams)

Meanwhile, up-and-coming filmmaker Rik Cordero has directed an awesome trailer for Jigga's new single. Rik's story on his meeting with Jigga about this trailer is even more compelling. Rik is a very creative director who has helmed such great music videos like Consequence's "Uncle Rahiem" (featuring DMC), Remy Ma's "Jump" and my personal favorite, Joell Ortiz's "Brooklyn Bullshit."

"Blue Magic" (Trailer) -- Directed by Rik Cordero

I have often stated on other hip-hop blogs, that Rik is the next "Hype Williams" -- meaning that you will see Rik's vision on MTV and BET real soon and it's going to be amazing. Rik has a great eye for detail and I'm waiting for him to get the opportunity to blow up to a wider audience. In fact, Hype Williams reportedly is helming the clip for "Blue Magic." This, in my opinion, is a big mistake. I just believe that Jay needs a street-edge video and I think that Rik and his team could give him that "urban-style" imagery he needs to make the single pop. A glossy, highly stylized video may not work for this song.

But who knows? Maybe in the future, we will get to see a Jigga and Rik collaboration.

And when it does happen . . . I'm quite sure it's going to be magic.



*** Did you know that . . .

There are 37 holes in the mouthpiece of a telephone.

Playwright William Shakespeare penned 37 plays.

Michael Jackson's album Thriller spent 37 weeks atop the Billboard 200 album chart.

There's a list of 37 politically correct ways to say someone is "stupid."

Seinfeld's Elaine slept with her ex-boyfriend Jerry 37 times.

The statue of William Penn atop Philadelphia's City Hall building is 37-feet tall.

37 percent of men fantasize about their female co-workers on the job.

It takes 37 minutes to earn enough money to buy a McDonald's Big Mac.

Earvin "Magic" Johnson and Larry Bird competed against each other in 37 NBA games.

There are 37 bars in the digits of a digital watch.

INXS frontman Michael Hutchence died at age 37.

There are 37 miracles in the Bible.

SPAM -- the canned food product -- was invented in 1937 by Hormel Foods.

The 37th Amendment guarantees that you can post whatever the hell you want on the Internet.

Today is my 37th birthday.

Damn, I'm getting old!


*** -- according to 37 Heaven.


"Did you realize that you are a champion in their eyes . . ."

Kanye West -- "Champion"/"Can't Tell Me Nothin'" (Live Performance)

Kanye West moved an estimated 957,000 copies of his educational-themed LP Graduation in its first week of release, easily capturing the top spot of the Billboard 200 album chart. 'Ye bested his own 2005 release, Late Registration, which sold 860,000 discs in its debut week.

50 Cent's disc Curtis finished at No. 2 with an estimated 691,000 units sold during its six-days sales run.

Bravo, fellas!

Now that the album-sales rivalry is over, we can now focus on more important things.

Free Jena 6!


The Big Music Post

Here are a selections of songs and music videos that I'm listening/watching right now. Clickety-Click Away!

Alicia Keys -- "No One"

Alicia Keys is back! Rejoice! This is her first single from her forthcoming disc, As I Am, and it's a sure-fire radio smash. She hollering like Marvin Gaye on this track -- and that's a good thing. With all of the violence (i.e., Iraq war) and racism (i.e., Jena 6) going on right now, it makes me wanna holla. Sing, Alicia, sing!

The Dream (featuring Fabolous) -- "Shorty Is a Ten" [Music Video]

I love Dream's black-and-white video. It's sexy without being too hyper-sexual. The song is real tight and catchy. I expect "Shorty Is a Ten" to be the hit ballad of the fall, like the summer was for Rihanna's "Umbrella." Eh-eh-eh-eh. And yes, the Dream did penned Ri-Ri's smash hit.

Twista -- "For One Night"

I feel bad for Twista. This touching song will not appear on his new disc, Adrenaline Rush 2007 (in stores now). Twista didn't give any details as to why the song is not on the disc; but it's obvious that he couldn't clear the Luther Vandross sample -- which anchors the track -- with the late singer's estate (mama Vandross, doesn't like rap). Thankfully, Twista is letting everyone on the Internets[sic] listen to his eloquent serenade to his true loves -- the microphone and hip-hop, in general. Man, this song is a gem.

Chaka Khan -- "Foolish Fool"

Chaka Khan -- "Angel"

There will always be room in my heart for some Chaka . . . Chaka Kahn. She's has this funk disc coming out and it sounds, uh, funky. Duh. Now there are two links of the song "Foolish Fool," one in Windows Media Player and the other in Quicktime. Also, check out her current single, "Angel."

Wyclef Jean (featuring Akon and Lil Wayne) -- "Sweetest Girl" [Music Video]

Wyclef playing up to his refugee/rebel schtick again even though he's one of the most prolific and richest musicians in the game right now. 'Clef couldn't just do a performance video, nooooo, he had to go do this narrative clip with an incoherent story line. Whatever. The song is sweet, though.

Daron Jones (of 112) -- "I Don't Deserve You"

Congratulations to Daron Jones on his recent nuptials. It's good to see that one of the 112 members is on the solo creep. I expect the other 112 crooner Slim to hit us with something new real soon, as well. Daron's song is nice -- it has the crunk-y, R&B-ish feel to it. Not bad.

Jill Scott's new video for "My Love"

My supermarket co-shopper and future baby mama is releasing "My Love" as the second single from her new disc, The Real Thing (in stores now). It's not my favorite track on the collection, but I can't hate on her. The video is i-iight; I'm still looking for the spunky/funky Jill to come out and roar -- like THIS.

Kelly Rowland (Featuring Snoop Dogg) -- "Ghetto" [Music Video]

"Ghetto" is one of the few songs on Ms. Kelly that was listenable. Unfortunately, the video is not watchable (meaning, it "sucks"). Kelly should call it quits, save her ducats and get ready for the expected Destiny's Child reunion album in the near future.

Common (featuring Lily Alllen) -- "Drivin' Me Wild" [Music Video]

Great song. Great video.
Props to director Chris Robinson (ATL) for helming this fun clip. As usual, Com is looking like the dapper-rapper in his tuxedo suit. I hope he does a video for "Misunderstood" -- one of the stronger songs on Com's outstanding LP, Finding Forever.

Trey Songz -- "I Can't Help But Wait" [Music Video]

A nice ballad from the Virginia-native crooner. The clip matches nicely with the song. Although I wouldn't have made it into a "To Be Continued"-type of video. Only because, when it eventually does continue . . . it usually continues with a horrible second single, which ruins the first song. Confused? Exactly. Nothing good comes from "To Be Continued." But Trey Songz's song is great nonetheless.

Rihanna -- "I Hate That I Love You" (Live Performance) [Via Yahoo! Music]

The barbados cutie-pie just finished shooting the music video for her uptempo ballad so we should see it in a couple of weeks days. Here's Ri-Ri is singing it live (without Ne-Ne unfortunately).

Babyface (featurng Pharrell Williams) -- "There She Goes" [Music Video]

A throwback video, for ya. Here's Babyface trying to go hip-hop with Skateboard P.

Soulja Boy -- "Crank That" (Soulja Boy) (Travis Barker remix) [YouTube Video]

I'm not a big fan of Soulja Boy.
But he certainly has the youngins going wild over his insanely stupid dance anthem. He's proof that hip-hop is not getting older, it's getting younger. There's no hope for us old-timers -- y'all better clutch on to the Graduation LP for dear life.

Despite not being able to do the soulja dance, I'll be damn if I wasn't partyin' like a rock star listening to drummer Travis Barker's rock mix of "Crank That." Soulja Boy is going to have every long-hair, skateboard-wielding white teen doing the soulja boy dance. Talk about diversity -- now that some hot shit. Totally duuuude!

And finally, the Best Video of the Year, so far: Kanye West (featuring T-Pain) -- "The Good Life."

Props to all of the blogs for their music and video links.


Black Byrd In Heaven

Can we please have a moment of silence . . .

For James Brown's sideman and Famous Flames co-founder Bobby Byrd (1934-2007).

The legendary crooner died Wednesday of cancer at his home in Loganville, Ga. He was 73.

Byrd met James at a Georgia youth detention facility and recruited him for his gospel group the Avons. That outfit would later morph into the Flames, with James as lead singer. "He was the voice of reason in that camp," said James' former tour manager Alan Leeds, who befriended Byrd in 1964. "[He] had the respect of everybody [in the band], of the veteran musicians and of the young guys."

Bobby's voice can be heard on such classic James hits as "I Know You Got Soul" and "Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine." Both songs and other tunes were sampled heavily by such rap artists as Eric B. & Rakim, Public Enemy, Ice Cube and many others. He is survived by his wife, Vickie Anderson, and family.

Just Blaze sampled Bobby's song "I'm Not to Blame" on the Jay-Z track "U Don't Know" (from the Blueprint LP). The studio maverick offers his touching story behind the sample, in which the royalites helped Byrd and his family avoid foreclosure on their home.

Hip-hop historian Oliver Wang shows us what we already know . . . Bobby Had Maaad Soul.

Rest In Soul Power, Bobby . . .