Monday, May 31, 2010
I took a break from blogging mostly because I was drowning in research papers that had to be graded before exam week. But this month I also wrote a column for Birmingham Weekly, a local alternative newspaper, about lupus and the Walk for Lupus Now Birmingham event coming up on Saturday. Click here to check it out.
Be sure to stop by tomorrow as we talk foodies and feminism.
Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend!
Friday, May 28, 2010
Former child star Gary Coleman died today at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center in Provo after suffering an intracranial hemorrhage earlier this week. He was 42.
We 80s babies know Coleman best for his role as Arnold Jackson in the hit sitcom "Diff'rent Strokes." Coleman's acting career as an adult fell short of his child star glory days, but he made occasional guest appearances on TV shows and movies. Coleman also made an unlikely run for California governor. His slogan was: "I'm the least qualified guy for the job, but I'd probably do the best job."
Coleman, whose adult height was 4 feet 8 inches, was born with failed kidneys and had undergone two transplants by age 14. His growth was permanently stunted by the side effects of dialysis medications.
According to the L.A. Times, Coleman, a resident of Santaquin, Utah, had been hospitalized Wednesday and lost consciousness the next day. He was taken off life support Friday afternoon with his family at his side.
The Lady of Rage
Why it didn't work out: Check the year - 1997. That year was dominated by Lil Kim and Foxy Brown. And while both were pretty decent artists, let's be honest, it was their money-grubbing sex talk that got them in the spotlight. Sadly, that's still the case today. That wasn't Rage's forte'.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
For those of you who have been keeping up with Georgia Mae's album reviews, you know that we've had lots of good music released this year.
In recent years, he's been known more for his antics than his music - constantly running his mouth, beating up cameramen and embarrassing little girls. Add one more antic to that list - Kanye has told his ex-girlfriend Amber Rose to shut up! From PerezHilton.com:
Sources are saying that Kanye West has signed a multi-million dollar contract with ex-girlfriend Amber Rose to "silence" her from speaking about his personal life. She reportedly agreed to never reveal any details about the rapper in return for cash. An insider says, "It's pretty common to have 'silence' agreements amongst entertainers. I heard that Amber's getting seven figures to keep her lips closed." Hmm, we wonder why Kanye is shelling out so much to keep Amber's mouth closed. What does he have to hide??
As typically childish as this seems, a part of me can't blame Kanye for wanting to keep his business behind closed doors. No one knew who Amber Rose was before she started hanging around him (have we even heard her speak yet?) and it's possible that she could start dishing dirt just to remain in the spotlight.
Don't act like it hasn't happened before. Superhead was simply a music industry plaything until she started yakking about the genitals of your favorite celebrities.
And the most recent example is groupie Kat Stacks, who claims to have slept with such stellar examples of manhood as Fabolous and the Young Money collective, minus Lil Wayne and Drake.
Quick - name three members of Young Money besides Lil Wayne and Drake.
In an age where desperate women are doing ANYTHING to get noticed, I can't blame Kanye for wanting to watch his back. However, my real question is why these dudes continue to sleep with women they don't trust? If Kanye thinks Amber Rose is a blabbermouth, why keep her around in the first place? I ain't rich and I know better than that.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Over a period of nine weeks the G-Unit general stuck to a strict liquid diet and a three-hour-a-day treadmill walk regimen to drop down to 160 pounds.
Now, we all know Toni, who released her sixth album, Pulse, a few weeks ago. But sadly, no one remembers her sisters. Originally brought together as a female Jackson 5, The Braxton's first single, "Good Life," didn't take off. Listen to that clip and you can tell that Toni was destined for stardom. She quickly went solo, winning six Grammys and becoming one of the biggest names in the industry.
It took awhile, but three of the four remaining Braxton sisters regrouped and released So Many Ways in 1996. The video for the title track is as weird as I remember. And is that Tyrese roaming around in the video? Although it was likely unintentional, the girls came off as a very watered-down version of Toni herself. And it didn't help that Toni was at the peak of her popularity at the time - it just reminded listeners that they weren't on their sister's level.
Should They Come Back: Unless they're singing backup for Toni, I'll pass.
Board meeting in the mid-90s: "So girls, we need a name for your group. Any ideas, Mo? What about you, Ken? What do you think, Stef? Wait, that's it! MoKenStef!"
Whatever Happened to: Kut Klose
Fellow group members Lavonn Battle and Tabitha Duncan were touring with Keith and Athena as of a few years ago, but they've been relatively quiet since.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Distant Relatives (released May 18, 2010)
One of my favorite things about music is the feeling you get when an album completely takes you by surprise - those albums that you don't expect much from but completely blow you away. These days, that's an extremely rare occurrence.
But it's just a great feeling when that happens.
I didn't expect much from Distant Relatives. It wasn't long ago that I ranted about my distrust of collaborative albums, and I'm not a huge reggae fan, either. Sure, I like a song here and there, but I certainly wouldn't say it's a genre I embrace, or one that I'm extremely knowledgeable about. It's like when people claim to be hip-hop fans and the only rap song they know is "Baby Got Back" - when your range is that limited, it's hard to embrace other aspects of the genre.
Have no fear, Distant Relatives welcomes you with open arms.
His scratchy chorus on "Count Your Blessings" (I've got love and assurance/I've got new health insurance/I've got strength and endurance/So I count my blessings) might seem sappy on the surface, but it's sung with deep sincerity. It provides authenticity. The same goes for the second single "Strong Will Continue." But don't write him off as just a hook man - his verse on "Nah Mean" boast as much lyrical dexterity and viciousness as Nas'.
Nas, of course, is as sharp as ever, rampaging through the chants and bongos of "Dispear" and drops one of his best verses in years at the end of "Strong Will Continue," where he criticizes himself for running around with married women and wonders aloud if his ex-wife was doing the same thing during their marriage.
The album does begin to drag about three-fourths of the way through. And although well-meaning, "My Generation," with Joss Stone and Lil Wayne (who ain't half bad when he's coherent and stays on topic), is the only only track here that slightly drifts into "corny" territory. I think the children's choir pushes it a bit over the top. But the album's closer, "Africa Must Wake Up," more than makes up for it. The weepy strings and Marley's pleading vocals makes for a tremendous rallying call for change.
Distant Relatives is the true representation of hip hop on its best day - a celebration of culture, struggle and hope for the future. Label it reggae, rap, whatever you want - simply call it powerful.
Best tracks: "Africa Must Wake Up," "Nah Mean," "Dispear"
4 stars out of 5
Monday, May 24, 2010
Friday, May 21, 2010
Thursday, May 20, 2010
The ArchAndroid (Suites II and III of IV), (released May 18, 2010)
The album, divided into two suites, truly has a cinematic theme. Both suites open with a orchestral overture that spurs memories of John Williams' themes. They just make you feel like something epic is about to happen. What follows is a sonic smorgasbord of just about every musical genre imaginable. Pop, rock, hip-hop, R&B, funk, soul, disco and even folk all meld together brilliantly.
And Check out the lovers quarrel on "Locked Inside": "I'm locked inside a land called foolish pride/where the man is always right/he hates to talk but loves to fight/Is that all right?"
"Oh, Maker" and "Say You'll Go" are treats for R&B junkies like myself. Janelle's vocals are gentle and tender - never overexerting themselves.
Very few songs disappointed. The rock-inspired "Come Alive (The War of the Roses)" and "Mushrooms &Roses" certainly aren't bad, they just weren't my cup of tea. Both the wifey and Progressive Soul's Desiree' loved them. And while I enjoyed the sentiment, something about "Make The Bus" seemed a bit unfocused.
You'll often hear critics claim that an album "transcends genres" or "pushes boundaries." Those are usually exaggerations. This album crushes, rebuilds, and redefines those very genres and boundaries. The next time T-Pain and his clones claim that "singing" auto-tune is futuristic music, slap them and give them a copy of this album.
Actually, tell them to go out and buy it.
The ArchAndroid definitely won't have the buzz that other albums will enjoy. But don't wait until awards shows roll around a year from now to hear about how great this is. It's a near cinematic masterpiece.
4.5 stars out of 5
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
But I ain't wearing that little hat.
But here's the biggest point of contention:
She a skripper!
I never understood the fascination with strip clubs. So I pay a woman to watch her grind her booty in my face, but I can in no way touch or interact with the lady? Then I get to ride home with a bunch of horny dudes and talk about how great that was? What's the point!? I might as well go to Cheesecake Factory, pay $50 to stare at the desserts in the glass case and ride home saying "man, did you see that cake? That was a good looking cake! Bet it tastes good!"
But I digress.
Folks are calling for this woman's head because of some silly contest she was in three years ago. What's the big deal?
Reader playing devil's advocate: But didn't you just criticize Ciara and Miley Cyrus for being freaky last week?
Me: First, stop being a hater. Second, I sure did. The difference is both have been in the limelight for years and both are already role models for lots of young women. It's not fair to judge Fakih for questionable actions in her past. But yes, if you catch her dropping it like it's lukewarm and/or hot at Magic City Gentleman's Club tonight, then yeah, snatch her crown because she's now a role model too.
What do y'all think? Is Rima Fakih a bad role model?
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Who told The-Dream the world was aching for a remake of "One In A Million?"
Yes, Aaliyah's "One In A Million."
You know what this sounds like? He was at a karaoke bar, probably with Christina Milian (which makes me cry). He was drunk and sleepy and ready to call it a night. But it's his turn to get on stage so he says "eh, I'll sing this real quick, then we can go home. And remind me to pick up some Cheetos."
He looks like his fingers are permanently stained orange from Cheetos.
Sadly, young'ns probably won't even realize that this is a poor remake of a vastly superior song.
Plus, do you know how much they jack up the price of flowers for holidays? I'm romantic, but I ain't crazy in love.
Usually, I would place my order at work but my laptop at the job was recently fried by spyware. And there's no way I'm gonna enter my credit card info into that computer now. It would be safer to hand my credit card to Lindsay Lohan and ask her politely not to buy crack.
Or so I thought.
Since I am a walking music encyclopedia, my bro-in-law wanted Jai to ask if I knew when Dru Hill's new album would be released. Jai came to the office, but the door was locked. Of course, she asks, "why are you locked in to office?"
NEVER tell a black woman to leave you alone.
Jai gets pissed and is adamant that I tell her what's going on, but I stay silent. Give me a break, playa, I just drove three hours from Chattanooga. I couldn't think of anything else. My mind was as muddled as a Kamaal the Abstract album. Eventually, Jai gave up before she burst through the wall like a curly-haired Kool-Aid Man.
Stupid Sisqo ruins yet another life.
Meanwhile, I couldn't find any good flowers online. Everything was either too expensive or was too lame. But I had to buy SOMETHING - or else I'd come off looking like I had something to hide. I finally found a decent arraignment. I wasn't thrilled with it but it fit the bill.
I finally emerged from the room and Jai says, "So, what were you doing in there?" giving me look like she caught me watching the Kim Kardashian sex tape. I pretty much ignored her but I had to endure inquiries all night long. I had the feeling that she thought either I was either sneaking women out of the office window or disposing of their bodies.
The next day, I got an e-mail from Jai saying "I guess I see what you were doing last night! Thank you for my flowers!" She had like a million exclamation points at the end of the e-mail.
The moral of the story is this: Ladies, trust your men. You never know what's going on behind the scenes. And fellas, if you get caught watching Kim K sex tapes, flowers will make it all better.
Monday, May 17, 2010
Friday, May 14, 2010
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
No, this isn't a "Whatever Happened To...," although it easily could be.
That's right, I said it. Detox is never coming out.
But Keke's future is much brighter with the release of Who Knew?, which is comprised of material from those two shelved albums.
The first thing you'll notice is that her voice has become even stronger during her absence. For those of you who says radio won't accept traditional R&B songs with strong vocals, I offer "Never Do It Again," where Keke apologizes to her man for her ghetto outburst. It wouldn't seem out of place on a playlist nestled between Alicia Keys and Melanie Fiona.
Keke demonstrates her amazing range on "Peace on Earth." She's simply backed by an acoustic guitar, which gives her vocals ample opportunity to soar without studio gimmicks. "Weakest" is one of those throwback slow jams that balances intensity and sexiness - never becoming overly crass or ridiculous (pay attention, Trey Songz).