Previous month:
January 2012
Next month:
March 2012

Posts from February 2012

Whitney Houston Laid to Rest in Hometown of New Jersey


Whitney Houston's Home-Going Ceremony


On a sunny and beautiful Saturday afternoon, Whitney Elizabeth Houston was remembered during a star-studded and emotional "home-going" ceremony at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, N.J. The 3 and 1/2 hour ceremony featured several anecdotes, hymns and remarks dedicated to the late pop icon who was affectionately called "Nippy."

R&B/soul artists Alicia Keys, Stevie Wonder, BeBe and CeCe Winans, Kim Burrell and R. Kelly were among those who sung at the funeral. In addition, eulogies were given by Houston's mentor Clive Davis; her former music director Rickey Minor; actor Kevin Costner, her manager/sister-in-law Patricia Houston and Ray Watson, her security guard for the past 11 years. Celebrities like Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey were also in attendance.

Houston’s mother, Cissy, did not speak at the service, but penned a heartfelt letter to her daughter that appeared in the funeral’s program. It read:

"I never told you that when you were born, the Holy Spirit told me that you would not be with me long, and I thank God for the beautiful flower he allowed me to raise and cherish for 48 years. God said it's time Nippy; your work is done. How I love you, Nippy, and how I miss you, your beautiful smile, your special little things you used to say to me and sometime you'd call just to say, 'hi Mommie, I love you so much.' I loved you so much more'."

Also, Houston's Godmother Aretha Franklin was supposed to perform at the service but canceled at the last minute because she was feeling ill. Bobby Brown, Houston's ex-husband, was also in attendance but abruptly left after he became visibly upset by the way his guests (9 people in all) were reportedly treated at the funeral.

Aside from that, the "Home-Going" was a fitting tribute to America's most beloved pop star.

Some of the standout performances were Alicia Keys performing "Prelude to a Kiss" and Stevie Wonder swapping out the lyrics to "Ribbon in the Sky" and singing, "Whitney's An Angel in the Sky." Another tearful moment came when R. Kelly performed "I Look to You," a song he written for Houston on her 2009 album of the same name. Kelly also co-wrote songs with Houston for the Sparkle soundtrack, which, posthumously, will be the singer's final songs before she died.

After a sermon by pastor Marvin Winans, who read scriptures from Matthew 6:25-34 (“Nothing left to be said”), the silver casket was carried by six pallbearers out of the church with "I Will Always Love You" playing in the background.

"Very very moving. That's the had something for everyone," said soul veteran Roberta Flack after the ceremony.

A private burial service for Houston will be held on Sunday (Feb. 19) at Fairview Cemetery in Westfield, N.J. The pop icon will be laid to rest in a plot adjacent to her late father, John Russell Houston, who died in 2003.


I wrote a recap of performances and speakers at my other blog Beats 'N' Tumblin

Continue reading "Whitney Houston Laid to Rest in Hometown of New Jersey" »

We Will Always Love You: Whitney Houston Dead at Age 48


Whitney Houston (1963-2012)


Can we please have a moment of silence for Whitney Elizabeth Houston. The R&B veteran whose unparalleled voice ruled pop music for over three decades has died at the age of 48.

According to the Associated Press, Houston's publicist, Kristen Foster, said the singer passed away on Saturday (Feb. 11) but didn't explain how she died or the location of her death.

TMZ reports that Houston was staying at the Beverly Hilton hotel when security called 911. When paramedics arrived Houston was found unresponsive.  According to TMZ's sources, paramedics tried CPR on her but were unsuccessful in reviving her and she was pronounced dead at the scene at 3:55PM PT.

"I am absolutely heartbroken at the news of Whitney's passing," said Quincy Jones said in a statement. "Ashford & Simpson first made me aware of Whitney when she was just sixteen, and I always regretted not having had the opportunity to work with her. She was a true original and a talent beyond compare. I will miss her terribly."

News of Houston's death came on the eve of the Grammy Awards and hours before her longtime mentor and friend Clive Davis was to hold his annual pre-Grammy party.

But none of that matters now. We have truly lost an icon in pop, R&B and soul music. When Houston burst onto the scene in the late '80s, she was the total package: She was a model-esque singer with a beautiful voice who had no limitations to her vocal talent.

Houston came from a very strong pedigree of singers. She was the daughter of gospel veteran Cissy Houston, the cousin of 'Walk on By' singer Dionne Warwick and the goddaughter of the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin. So singing and performing was simply in her blood.

Houston made her album debut in 1985 with Whitney Houston, which boasted the Quiet Storm staple "Saving All My Love for You" and the endearing "The Greatest Love of All." She followed that with her second LP Whitney in 1987, which included hits like "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" and "Didn't We Almost Have It All." In her career, Houston released seven albums and sold over 170 million copies all together worldwide.

Not only did Houston conquered music, but she also reigned in films, as well. She made her acting debut in the 1992 flick The Bodyguard opposite Kevin Coster. The accompanying soundtrack featured the chart-topping single "I Will Always Love You," which is probably the most-remade and revered song in Houston's discography. "I Will Always Love You" won Record of the Year at the 1994 Grammy Awards and Best Female Pop Vocal, while the Bodyguard soundtrack won for Album of the Year.

Houston continued her acting career starring in such movies as Waiting to Exhale, The Preacher's Wife (with Denzel Washington) and she just finished production on the remake of 1976 film Sparkle.

Outside of music, Houston's personal life was examined heavily by the media. The singer's drug usage were well-documented and she once admitted to using cocaine and marijuana on Oprah Winfrey's daytime talk show. Her marriage to New Edition crooner Bobby Brown was also fodder for the tabloids. From their union, they had one child, Bobbi Kristina. The couple would later divorce in 2007.

Among Houston's career-long accolades include 6 Grammy Awards, 2 Emmy Awards and over two dozen American Music Awards.

Whitney Houston was one of a kind. A voice that will never been duplicated, ever. Sadly, her soulful voice is now silenced.

Rest in Peace, Whitney Houston.

Thank you for blessing us with your God-given talent.

You will never be forgotten.


Songwriter Hallerin Hilton Hill, who co-wrote the song "Who Would Imagine A King", which was performed by Houston for the movie The Preacher's Wife, shares his thoughts on Whitney Houston's legacy.

Spotted: wbir

New Video: Freeway - "Master of Ceremony"


'Master of His Domain: Rapper Freeway



Check out this new video from Philly spitfire Freeway. The Mike Jerz-produced banger "Master of Ceremony" will appear on Freeway's new LP Freedom of Speech in conjunction with Karmaloop Music and Rocksmith. This joint bumps from here to Alburquerque.


One of the Best Hip-Hop Moments in Bearded Rap (yeah, it's genre)

The Big J Dilla Post 2012: We Still Love J Dilla


Remembering J Dilla


Today (Feb. 10), marks the sixth anniversary of the untimely death of hip-hop maestro James Yancey, aka J Dilla or Jay Dee or Dilla Dawg. The Slum Village member and Detroit-born producer died at the age of 32 from complications related to Lupus. Dilla may be gone, but his music and legacy has not been forgotten.

There were several tributes on the Internet(s), here are a few that I have found:

The Roots' Questlove offered an excellent summation on why J Dilla was "The Greatest Hip-Hop of All-Time." He states:

"As far as our definition of hip-hop production is concerned—as far as making beats—[Dilla] is absolutely without peer. Many will come after him and surpass him and do even crazier tricks, but for what my eyes have seen in those short nine years that I’ve known him, that’s going to be a very tall order to live up to. It’s [been]…God, six years since he passed [and] I still use his beats as the energy power pellets to my Pacmanology, if you will." -- [From XXL]


Stones Throw Records founder Peanut Butter Wolf says there's plenty of unreleased J Dilla music to present to the world. But first, he has to make sure the producer's estate is in order. [Complex]


Check out DJ Nu-Mark's J Dilla Tribute. Recorded Live at Raise It Up in 2011.


Questlove's J Dilla Tribute Mix is Fiiiyaa! Download it HERE. [Props to Rap Radar]

10 Facts About J Dilla You Might Not Know [props to Complex]

Dilla's mother Ma Dukes Talks About Dilla’s Legacy and the Future of His Estate [props to Complex]

Big Sean posted a track of him spitting bars over J Dilla's "Two Can Win" (From Donuts LP)

New Video: Phonte - "The Good Fight"


The Fighter: Rapper Phonte Coleman



This is Reality Rap. Phonte Coleman (of Little Brother fame) drops a great video for his reflective song "The Good Fight." Directed by Kenneth Price, Phontigallo relays a thoughtful message on the struggles people are facing in these dire economic times -- unemployment, foreclosure and desperation. The soulful track was produced by 9th Wonder.

Phonte's "The Good Fight" is the the antithesis of the materialistic boasting by Jay-Z and Kanye West in their kaleidoscopic video "Niggas in Paris" that dropped earlier today.