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Posts from December 2010

To a "T": Five Teena Marie Covers


Teena Marie


The late Teena Marie is known for peerless covers of classic R&B songs like Rose Royce's "Wishing On a Star" and Motown songbird Brenda Holloway's "Every Little Bit Hurts."

So, after several hours of surfing on the Internet(s), I have found several artists who have covered some of Marie's classic tunes. Below is a list of my favorite Teena Marie covers by artists like Nicki Minaj, Johnny Gill, Marsha Ambrosius and more. Rest in Peace, Lady T.


5. Nicki Minaj -- "Square Biz" (Featuring Jadakiss & Teena Marie) [2010]

No, Nicki Minaj didn't do a duet with the Ivory Queen of Soul. This song appeared on the New Music Cartel & The Empire Present Harajuku R-N-Barbie mixtape back in January. The hip-hop Barbie and Jadakiss spit some rhymes over Teena Marie's classic song "Square Biz."


4. Cover Girls -- "I Need Your Lovin'" (1996)

The Cover Girls were the hottest female freestyle/club girl group during the late '80s and early '90s who had such hits as "Show Me, "My Heart Skips a Beat" and "Wishing on a Star" (by Rose Royce). Their cover of Marie's "I Need Your Lovin'" appeared on the group's Satisfy album.


3. Maynard Ferguson -- "Portuguese Love" (1981)

Who? Yeah, I have never heard of Maynard Ferguson either. But don't let that discourage you from watching Ferguson's exciting 10-minute jazz suite of Teena Marie's seductive ballad "Portuguese Love." The late jazz trumpeter was a respected musician and bandleader during his 40-year career. In some jazz circles, Ferguson was nicknamed "the Boss" for the way he tightly conducted his band. Check out this video and you can see why. This is a great performance and Ferguson is no slouch on the trumpet either.


Continue reading "To a "T": Five Teena Marie Covers" »

New Music: Alicia Keys - "Speechless" (F/ Eve)


Speechless Cover


This is an unofficial new song from the R&B MILF Alicia Keys. The songbird sings a lovely ode to her newborn son Egypt Daoude Dean who was born in October. You should recognized the music -- it's Kanye West's "Devil in a New Dress." Father Swizz Beatz flips the beat just a tad and tapped former Ruff Ryders alum Eve for a verse. No words on how much I love this song. Ha!


Alicia Keys -- "Speechless" (Featuring Eve)

MonsterMondays | download


Ramblin' Rose: Teena Marie (1956-2010)


Teena Marie (1956 -2010)


Can we please have a moment of silence . . . for the "Ivory Queen of Soul" Teena Marie.

The songbird reportedly passed away in her sleep on Dec. 26. According to the singer's manager Mike Gardner, Marie's daughter Alia Rose apparently discovered her mother's body at her home in Pasadena, Calif. She was 54. While there is no official announcement on cause of death, Marie's publicist, Lynn Jeter, said the singer did suffered a grand mal seizure last month. "Luckily, someone was there," recalls Jeter. "The ambulance took her to the hospital, and on the way she had another seizure." Marie was still recovering from the incident as she was preparing for an upcoming show in Atlanta before her untimely death.

Teena Marie was born Marie Christine Brockert in Santa Monica, Calif., and started performing at the age of eight as a tap dancer and appeared on an episode of The Beverly Hillbillies. She signed with Motown Records in 1976 at the age of 19, becoming one of a few white acts to record on a black-owned record label. While at Motown, Marie began a professional and romantic relationship with the late singer-songwriter Rick James. Their musical partnership would later produced the timeless Quiet Storm classic "Fire & Desire."

It Must Be Magic Cover

Marie released four well-recieved albums at Motown -- Wild and Peaceful (1979), Lady T (1980), Irons in the Fire (1980), and It Must Be Magic (1981). Undoubtedly, It Must Be Magic was Marie's most commercially successful album. The gold-selling LP featured the chart-topping hits "Square Biz," "Portuguese Love" and "It Must be Magic."

"She had so much soul -- the only thing white about her was her skin," said Motown Records founder Berry Gordy, Jr. via a statement released Monday. "She was a powerhouse performer, writer, producer and arranger. Teena Marie will always be a part of the Motown family. We will all miss her."

In 1982, Marie was embroiled in a legal battle with Motown after she asked for a release from the label. She was victorious in her landmark lawsuit that declared it illegal for record labels to keep artists under contract while refusing to release their work. The suit was named the "Brockert Initiative" (aka the TM Law). "It wasn't something I set out to do," she told the Los Angeles Times in 2004. "I just wanted to get away from Motown and have a good life. But it helped a lot of people, like Luther Vandross and the Mary Jane Girls and a lot of different artists, to be able to get out of their contracts."

In 1983, Marie signed with Epic Records and spread her creative wings by writing and producing her own music. She enjoyed her biggest success on her 1984 album Starchild with the song "Lovergirl," which crossover to the pop charts. On her 1988 LP Naked to the World, she secured her first-ever No. 1 R&B single, "Ooo La La La."

After leaving Epic Records, Marie recorded album on various labels, including Cash Money Classics and Stax Records (via Concord Music Group). Her last studio album, Congo Square (June 2009), was inspired by the music of New Orleans' French Quarter district.

"The enduring influence of Teena's inspirational, trailblazing career, could only have been made possible through her brilliant songwriting, showmanship and high-energy passion which laid the ground work for the future generations of R&B, hip-hop, and soul," eulogized Concord Music Group's chief label officer Gene Rumsey. "We feel extremely fortunate to have worked with a visionary who changed music in indelible ways. Our deepest sympathies go out to her family, friends and of course, millions of fans around the world."

Teena Marie's voice and music influenced countless of female artists including Faith Evans, Leela JamesAlicia Keys and Mary J. Blige. "[Teena Marie] inspired me vocally as a child," Blige tweeted. "Her songs I sang in the mirror with a hair brush. I'm so hurt. Rest in peace Teena [Marie]. My Love for u is forever." Meanwhile, Leela James added on her twitter: "[Teena Marie] was a true musician, that regardless of color, had soul and could sang, not sing like some of these broads out now faking the funk."

Continue reading "Ramblin' Rose: Teena Marie (1956-2010)" »

Remembering James Brown


Soul Power: James Brown


Soul icon James Joseph Brown died 4 years ago on Christmas Day in 2006. It goes without saying that James Brown was indeed a musical and cultural icon that influenced every genre of music, including hip-hop.

In 2010, Long Beach, Calif. rapper LMNO and DC-based producer Kev Brown dropped a collaborative album that was largely slept-on by rap critics. The duo's LP Selective Hearing, Part 2 was a fantastic LP of on-the-mic rapping and head-nodding productions that were inspired by the music of the late Godfather of Soul. Examples of that can be heard on the funky "Ya Know" and "James Brown, Pt. 2."


LMNO & Kev Brown -- "Ya Know"


Rest in Soul Power, James Brown.


Best Album of the Year '10: Aloe Blacc - Good Things


Good Things Album


Aloe Blacc -- Good Things


Trouble Man: Aloe Blacc

The heir to Marvin Gaye's soulful legacy has been passed on to 31-year-old singer Aloe Blacc. The crooner's fantastic album Good Things (Stones Throw) is the What's Going On for the millennial generation. Blacc has created a historical document for our economic and social times with his songs of optimism, love and redemption. While Gaye's What's Going On was told from a point of a view of a soldier coming home from the Vietnam War, Blacc's Good Things is from the vision of a man struggling through the Recession.

 Blacc's breakout single, "I Need a Dollar," is a social critique that speaks broadly to the unemployed - more so to the black working class.The helplessness in that song finds its resolution in other tracks that celebrates black love. On "You Make Me Smile," he praises his lady for holding him down as he struggles to find work. There also are cautionary tales ("Femme Fatale") and upbeat tunes ("Green Lights").

I will never forget Blacc's album Good Things. And if you don't get teary-eyed listening to "Mama Hold My Hand" then you are soulless and you need to check your pulse.


Aloe Blacc -- "I Need a Dollar" (Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Performance)

The SS x Yardie


Aloe Blacc -- "Femme Fatale"


Aloe Blacc -- "You Make Me Smile"


Aloe Blacc -- "Mama Hold My Hand"