Monday, December 31, 2012

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Happy New Year's Eve, everyone!

I couldn't let 2012 pass without looking back and honoring the stars who left us over the past 12 months. Their talents and notoriety have left an indelible mark on our culture - a culture we celebrate daily here at Soul In Stereo.

Before we ring in 2013, let's look back at the men and woman who have meant so much to us over the years. They will not be forgotten.


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Friday, December 28, 2012

Believe it or not, we're just a handful of days out from 2013. Where did the time go?

If you're looking for a recap of this year's hijinx, check out my annual Playa Please awards and see who is crowned the year's biggest loser. And since you're probably in the mood to reminisce  let's look back at a couple of great albums from the past. Embrace your history.

Kim Jackson remembers a time when R&B singers didn't need reality shows to make it big.


Toni Braxton, Secrets (1996)

Kim said: "My throwback album of choice is Toni Braxton's Secrets. The CD gave us such hits as "You're Making Me High" and her signature song "Un-Break My Heart." Secrets showed love, betrayal and mystery. It's wonderful work from the lil' diva."




Also check out:
"Let It Flow"
"Un-Break My Heart"

Edward walks the aisle.
Kanye West, Graduation (2007)

Edd said: "It's crazy to think that this album is the weakest in Kanye West's catalog (let's just pretend 808s & Bellyaches didn't exist, OK?). It's an extremely solid collection that marked the end of the Kanye we all knew and loved - the self-depreciating, family-oriented, soulful Ye. I'll take him over fake thug, deluded rock star Ye any day."





Also check out:
"Everything I Am"
"Stronger"

Now, it’s your turn. Email edward@georgiamae.com, hit me up on Twitter @etbowser, or stop by the comments section and share your Flashback Friday album.  Leave a couple of sentences describing what makes it so great. I’ll feature your album on the blog.
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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

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2012 was an awesome year for music. Nas, Kendrick Lamar and Frank Ocean all dropped game-changing albums and fostered a spirit of artistic creativity. For the first time in recent memory, young listeners were embracing quality music.

Brings a tear to my jaded eyes.

But it ain't always sunny in Philadelphia, playa. This year was also with loaded with SMH moments, many of which I covered right on this very (awesome) blog.

As we always do around this time of year, let's take a look back at the worst blunders of 2012 with hopes that we NEVER EVER REPEAT THEM. Their constant fails can only be described by two iconic words:

PLAYA PLEASE

Unfortunately, we had plenty of chumps to choose from: painfully unfunny comedian Katt Williams' Target rampage, Snoop Dogg pretending to be Jamaican, Drake's obsession with Aaliyah's ghost, Mary J shuckin' n' jivin' for chicken and Icki Garbaj doing what she does best - being an utter failure.

Oh, and this popular hairstyle:

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Money is so tight these days that women can only afford half of their weaves.

But their stumbles were nothing compared to the ladies and gentlemen below.

Before we crown this year's biggest loser, let's look at the runners-up:

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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Here at Soul In Stereo, we're counting down to Christmas by featuring our favorite holiday tracks. Here's today's Christmas classic:

I've had a ball sharing some of our readers' favorite Christmas songs this year. After the month we've had, we definitely deserved some holiday cheer.

We've endured depressing headlines, eternal lines at the mall and an apocalypse that was a bigger disappointment than that Icki Garbaj album. So today, let's not reflect on what has happened. Let's think about all the things we have - family, friends, life.

Whether you're stuck at work, cleaning up after the kids, or missing loved ones, be grateful for current mercies and future opportunities.

I'll step out of the way and let Nat speak to your soul.





Merry Christmas, playas!
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Monday, December 24, 2012

Here at Soul In Stereo, we're counting down to Christmas by featuring our favorite holiday tracks. Here's today's Christmas classic:

On Thanksgiving Day, after the family finished gorging itself on heaping helpings of soul food, my father-in-law shuffled over to his CD player. And these were the first words that emerged:

'Twas the night before Christmas

And all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, 

Not even a mouse....


You can't legally celebrate Christmas until you hear those words. Like putting hamhocks in your collard green, it's required by federal soul law.

I can't think of a Christmas song more beloved than this one. Many consider it to be THE definitive Christmas song and it's hard to argue that point. Sure, it ain't perfect (I've already blogged about the ridiculous lyrics) but it's so warm and familiar, like your mom's dressing.

Guess you can tell I'm ready for Christmas dinner, huh? And like that customary meal, The Temptations make the holidays complete.





Want to add your favorite Christmas songs to our monthlong playlist? Simply drop them off at edward@georgiamae.com, on our Facebook page, on Twitter @etbowser, or stop by the comments section. Merry Christmas, playas!
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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Here at Soul In Stereo, we're counting down to Christmas by featuring our favorite holiday tracks. Here's today's Christmas classic:

Don't you miss BET's Midnight Love?

Sure, by the end of its run BET was reduced to showing "R&B videos" like 50 Cent's "20 Questions" but it was always a good time - albeit a bit predictable.

From Dec. 1-Dec. 24, every single episode of Midnight Love would feature Lutha's depressing ode to the holidays. EVERY SINGLE EPISODE. Every day in December you were guaranteed to be deflated by Lutha's sad-man act.

But sometimes predictability is a good thing. As always, Lutha's voice is absolutely flawless. I guess that's what makes the song so gripping.

Lutha makes sadness sound so good, every year, every depressing Christmas.





Want to add your favorite Christmas songs to our monthlong playlist? Simply drop them off at edward@georgiamae.com, on our Facebook page, on Twitter @etbowser, or stop by the comments section. Merry Christmas, playas!
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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Here at Soul In Stereo, we're counting down to Christmas by featuring our favorite holiday tracks. Here's today's Christmas classic:

Eleven months out of the year, I'm all about Keith Sweat. But during this special time of year, there's only one name I say:

"Patti, Patti."

I literally grew up listening to Patti LaBelle's 1990 Christmas album. I know every note, every ad-lib, and to my wifey's dismay, every SCREAM. And there's a ton of SCREAMING.

Speaking of screaming, the first note Patti hits on "T'was Love," my favorite track from her Christmas album, sounds something like this:

aaaaaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHUHUHUHUHUH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (AH-AH-AH)

Poor Javacia has had to hear me "hit" that "note" every other day this month.

At Soul In Stereo studios, it ain't Christmas unless Patti is yelling in your ears.





Want to add your favorite Christmas songs to our monthlong playlist? Simply drop them off at edward@georgiamae.com, on our Facebook page, on Twitter @etbowser, or stop by the comments section. Merry Christmas, playas!
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Friday, December 21, 2012

Here at Soul In Stereo, we're counting down to Christmas by featuring our favorite holiday tracks. Here's today's Christmas classic:

Because I love y'all, I'm willing to make a sad confession:

I've NEVER seen the classic Christmas film, "The Preacher's Wife." Oh, I've had every opportunity - it airs on TV practically every year, my mom has the VHS AND DVD, my wife loves it - I just never got around to it.

Yet I've seen the Robot Chicken Christmas Special countless times. Yeah, I know, my priorities are screwed up.

I may not have seen the movie but I have heard Whitney Houston's stirring rendition of "Joy to the World" from the film's soundtrack. Poor Whitney endured a lot of criticism before she left us but no one could ever question her heavenly voice.

Revisit Whitney's rendition and take a trip to church. It's enough to make me finally watch that movie.





Want to add your favorite Christmas songs to our monthlong playlist? Simply drop them off at edward@georgiamae.com, on our Facebook page, on Twitter @etbowser, or stop by the comments section. Merry Christmas, playas!
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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Here at Soul In Stereo, we're counting down to Christmas by featuring our favorite holiday tracks. Here's today's Christmas classic:

Let's take a moment to applaud Chris Carter for nominating this gem.

The Treacherous Three (which often seemed to include way more than three people) just might be the first major rap posse. In 1984, L.A. Sunshine, Special K and the incomparable Kool Moe Dee linked up for a holiday cut that had much more edge than Kurtis Blow's celebratory "Christmas Rappin'." This isn't all about partying and presents - these guys were talking about how tough it was to enjoy the holidays when you can't pay the rent. But instead of whining, they played their strife up for laughs, like saying that they'd have to cook up Santa's reindeer for Christmas dinner. They're smiling through their troubles.

It's a pretty fun song with a powerful message. Ah, I miss classic hip-hop.





Want to add your favorite Christmas songs to our monthlong playlist? Simply drop them off at edward@georgiamae.com, on our Facebook page, on Twitter @etbowser, or stop by the comments section. Merry Christmas, playas!
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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

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You listened. You enjoyed. You voted.

We have a winner.

Thanks to everyone who offered album nominations and took time to vote for their favorites. Now, it's time to see your top picks. And even I must admit, y'all did a great job.

2012 was filled with some of the best music we've heard in years. Artists pushed boundaries and used their craft to tell phenomenal stories.

I'm actually looking forward to what 2013 has in store. If we all aren't smushed by Mayan meteors on Friday, that is.

But for now, look back at an exceptional year. Here's the cream of the crop.


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Here at Soul In Stereo, we're counting down to Christmas by featuring our favorite holiday tracks. Here's today's Christmas classic:

Stevie Wonder is a musical icon whose work has spanned decades. Although Stevie's star shined brightest in the late '70s and early '80s, I've always preferred his '60s recordings. He had so much fire and energy to complement his fantastic voice.

"What Christmas Means to Me" is one of those songs I listened to endlessly in my youth, and that included me running around and wailing like Stevie. I'm glad home video wasn't prominent in the Bowser home in the '80s. If one of those recordings were released it would hurt my chances for my next presidential bid.

Eh, it's OK. I'll put my presidential ambitions aside for another chance to wail like Stevie.





Want to add your favorite Christmas songs to our monthlong playlist? Simply drop them off at edward@georgiamae.com, on our Facebook page, on Twitter @etbowser, or stop by the comments section. Merry Christmas, playas!
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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Here at Soul In Stereo, we're counting down to Christmas by featuring our favorite holiday tracks. Here's today's Christmas classic:

Man, I've received so many Tweets and emails from y'all over the course of this countdown, worried that I had forgotten about this track. How could I possibly forget the best Christmas song in recent memory?

A few years ago, we asked readers to vote on their all-time favorite Christmas song. The winner? This classic cut from Boyz II Men and Brian McKnight.  It's a great choice; their harmonies are absolutely flawless.

Rest easy. There's no way I'd let your favorite song slide down the chimney unnoticed.





Want to add your favorite Christmas songs to our monthlong playlist? Simply drop them off at edward@georgiamae.com, on our Facebook page, on Twitter @etbowser, or stop by the comments section. Merry Christmas, playas!
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Monday, December 17, 2012

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You've nominated your favorite albums of 2012. Now it's showtime.

Thanks again to everyone who passed along music that made 2012 so great. We received dozens upon dozens of nominations for deserving artists.

But there can only be one winner. And that winner is up to you.

I've narrowed the nominations to the top 20 picks. Simply look to the right of this post and vote for what you believe are the three best albums on the list.

The poll will be open until Tuesday at 6 p.m. CT. I'll announce the winners - including album of the year - Wednesday morning.

What are you waiting for? It only takes .9999999 seconds to vote.

Speak your mind before the world ends!

Or something.
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Here at Soul In Stereo, we're counting down to Christmas by featuring our favorite holiday tracks. Here's today's Christmas classic:

I've had a ball sharing our readers' favorite holiday songs this month. We've heard some great tracks that spark lots of memories. And more are on the way.

But here in Soul In Stereo Studios, there's only one Christmas song that truly gets me in the spirit. Ironically, the holidays don't truly begin until I hear the following line:

Tis' the season to be jolly, but how can I be when I haaaaave noooooooobooooodyyyyy?

It's crazy that, arguably, THE most heartbreaking Christmas song of all time is the one that triggers the most warm Christmas memories for me.

This isn't a song seeking the return of a loved one, or reminiscing about a lost love. No, these ladies know their man is GONE and there's nothing they can do. And as depressing as that sounds, their voices are anything but that. The emotion, so to speak, they convey is so visceral. Listen to 'em scream "What do they do!? What do they do!? At Christmas..." The Emotions aren't going through the motions - they demand an answer.

I've probably played this Christmas song more than any other we'll feature this month. Yeah, it's depressing but it's awesome too.

Ladies and gents, my favorite Christmas song EVA:





Want to add your favorite Christmas songs to our monthlong playlist? Simply drop them off at edward@georgiamae.com, on our Facebook page, on Twitter @etbowser, or stop by the comments section. Merry Christmas, playas!
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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Here at Soul In Stereo, we're counting down to Christmas by featuring our favorite holiday tracks. Here's today's Christmas classic:

My wife loves Michael Jackson.

My wife HATES Jackson 5-era Michael Jackson.

Apparently, she can't take his pre-pubescent, squeaky voice - although she has no problem with grown-up Mike's adulthood squeaky voice. Nor the fact that even as an adult he work the same sized pants as an 11-year-old. But I digress.

I'll admit "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" is pretty ridiculous. Apparently Mike is too dumb naive to realize that his mom is kissing his dad dressed as Santa.

Or maybe he realizes that papa Joe would NEVER dress up like Santa so the fat man must be an impostor. Lord, if Joe saw Katherine with another Santa, the Jacksons would be singing "I Saw Daddy Kicking Santa Claus."

Well, it wouldn't be the holidays without a family brawl. When it comes to drama, The Jacksons never disappoint.





Want to add your favorite Christmas songs to our monthlong playlist? Simply drop them off at edward@georgiamae.com, on our Facebook page, on Twitter @etbowser, or stop by the comments section. Merry Christmas, playas!
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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Here at Soul In Stereo, we're counting down to Christmas by featuring our favorite holiday tracks. Here's today's Christmas classic:

Today, I think we have a first.

This marks the first and only time your favorite music blog has featured anything from pop princess Britney Spears. It was nominated by SIS stalwart Eric. Either I'm slipping or I'm just in the holiday spirit because I actually enjoyed this cut! Shocking.

"My Only Wish (This Year)" is overloaded with sugary sweetness, but isn't everything this time of year? Check it out.





Want to add your favorite Christmas songs to our monthlong playlist? Simply drop them off at edward@georgiamae.com, on our Facebook page, on Twitter @etbowser, or stop by the comments section. Merry Christmas, playas!
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Friday, December 14, 2012


Have you shared your favorite albums of the year yet?

No? Then what are you waiting for? Don't flood my inbox complaining that Meek Mill's album wasn't up for next week's vote. I'll just laugh.

And I'll laugh harder knowing you're a Meek Mill fan.

Anyway, we've racked up more than 20 nominations but more are welcome. There are still a few glaring omissions. Here's all you need to know:

Simply leave the names of your favorite albums in this post's comments, on our Facebook page, tweet me @etbowser or email me at edward@georgiamae.com. 

You can nominate up to five albums. Any genre is welcome. If you want to nominate three, great. Two? Cool. Just one? Do your thing.

Nominations end tonight at 9 CT. Voting begins next week. Good luck to your favorites. Except poor Meek.




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Here at Soul In Stereo, we're counting down to Christmas by featuring our favorite holiday tracks. Here's today's Christmas classic:

Today's entry comes from longtime Soul In Stereo supporter and occasional blogger Desiree', whose encyclopedic knowledge about music rivals my own.

I'll be honest - her knowledge surpasses mine.

For example, I totally forgot this song existed. But the second Angie Martinez started her rap verse it all came flooding back. This is one of those song that always popped up on the radio while I was fighting holiday traffic - yeah, Christmas in the city definitely has its drawbacks. But that madness is all part of the holiday's charm.

Thanks for the reminder, Desiree'!





Want to add your favorite Christmas songs to our monthlong playlist? Simply drop them off at edward@georgiamae.com, on our Facebook page, on Twitter @etbowser, or stop by the comments section. Merry Christmas, playas!

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

It's that time again, when we reflect back on the year that was music.

And man, what a year it was. If you ask me, 2012 was the most notable year in music in the past decade.

Now, it's my turn to ask you.

For the next couple of days, we'll be accepting your nominations for Soul In Stereo's 2012 Album of the Year. There's plenty of great stuff to pick from - hook us up!

Here's all you need to do:

Simply leave the names of your favorite albums in this post's comments, on our Facebook page, tweet me @etbowser or email me at edward@georgiamae.com. 

You can nominate up to five albums. Any genre is welcome. If you want to nominate three, great. Two? Cool. Just one? Do your thing.

We'll accept nominations through Friday at 9 p.m. CT. Next week, we'll vote on the top picks and Wednesday I'll announce the winner. The choice is yours!

Just make sure you don't choose Icki Garbaj. Ugh. Don't make me ban y'all.

Oh, and since I'm sure you're dying to know, here are my five nominees for best albums of 2012:

Nas, Life Is Good

Kendrick Lamar, good kid, m.A.A.d city

Frank Ocean, Channel Orange

Miguel, Kaleidoscope Dream

Big K.R.I.T., Live From the Underground

Let us know your favorites! Don't leave it up to me, unless you want this man named album of the year:


And he didn't even have an album this year!
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Here at Soul In Stereo, we're counting down to Christmas by featuring our favorite holiday tracks. Here's today's Christmas classic:

I apologize in advance for the ratchetness that will soon follow.

Tralana Wyatt nominates the most guilty of guilty-pleasure Christmas songs, courtesy of the Quad City DJs. If you haven't had the pleasure of hearing this '90s, ahem, treasure, here's what in store:


I want 12 hundred dollars
11 pairs of shoes
10 fingernails
9 packs of weaves
8 male strippers
7 bus passes
6 diamond rings
5 months freeeeee reeeeeent
4 bangles
3 pocketbooks
2 earrings
And a man witta lot of munn-ney!

Forget visions of sugarplums, imagine Santa's sleigh sitting on 28-inch dubs with a bevy of racially-ambiguous elves twerkin' in the front lawn.

It's so ridiculous that you can't take it seriously, which honestly makes it kinda fun.

Go on and get crunk for Christmas. I won't judge.




Want to add your favorite Christmas songs to our monthlong playlist? Simply drop them off at edward@georgiamae.com, on our Facebook page, on Twitter @etbowser, or stop by the comments section. Merry Christmas, playas!
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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Here at Soul In Stereo, we're counting down to Christmas by featuring our favorite holiday tracks. Here's today's Christmas classic:

One of the most important rules of writing is that your first take isn't the best.

But in the realm of soulful Christmas classics, the first is ALWAYS the best.

The Eagles' 1978 cover of "Please Come Home For Christmas" gets a lot of love, but not on this blog, playa. It pales in comparison to the original version, recorded by Charles Brown. His voice is tailor-made for such a somber tune.

Listen for yourself. Sorry, Eagles fans, you lose this round.





Want to add your favorite Christmas songs to our monthlong playlist? Simply drop them off at edward@georgiamae.com, on our Facebook page, on Twitter @etbowser, or stop by the comments section. Merry Christmas, playas!
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Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Here at Soul In Stereo, we're counting down to Christmas by featuring our favorite holiday tracks. Here's today's Christmas classic:

The wife often accuses me of not having enough fun when listening to music. She says I approach music like a science project, dissecting each and every syllable.

Eh, she has a point. But that doesn't mean I can't recognize a fun track when I hear it.

TLC's "Sleigh Ride" is just pure fun. From Left Eye making her wish list to Santa mackin' in his Cadillac, I dare you not to crack a smile while listening. It's so goofy and energetic that even a musical curmudgeon like me has to bust out a two-step.

Watch TLC put the fun back in the holidays.






Want to add your favorite Christmas songs to our monthlong playlist? Simply drop them off at edward@georgiamae.com, on our Facebook page, on Twitter @etbowser, or stop by the comments section. Merry Christmas, playas!
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Monday, December 10, 2012

Here at Soul In Stereo, we're counting down to Christmas by featuring our favorite holiday tracks. Here's today's Christmas classic:

I think Carla Thomas is a stalker.

Have you really, really listed to the lyrics of her classic 1963 tune? On the surface, it sounds like she's just reconnecting with a old friend. But you can tell by the excitement in her voice that she wants to be more than friends:


It's funny that I haven't thought to call you before 
And why is it I haven't seen you around anymore?
Another year has passed and I can't erase
The memory of your smiling face 
So I have to call you up and say
Gee whiz it's Christmas


Carla, you can't fool me. You've been thinking about calling your old flame for months now - you were just waiting to use Christmas as an excuse. You can hear it in her voice Then she spends the remainder of the song trying to drag the guy to some dumb party, talking about how the "fireplace will be glowing." She's trying to set the mood, y'all. The reason why she "hasn't seen him around anymore" is because he's been avoiding her!

Think I'm reading too much into it? No, trust me - this is the thirstiest Christmas song in history. Don't believe me? Check it out.





Want to add your favorite Christmas songs to our monthlong playlist? Simply drop them off at edward@georgiamae.com, on our Facebook page, on Twitter @etbowser, or stop by the comments section. Merry Christmas, playas! 
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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Here at Soul In Stereo, we're counting down to Christmas by featuring our favorite holiday tracks. Here's today's Christmas classic:

Ready for a little hip-hop history? Kurtis' Blow's "Christmas Rappin'" was the first major hip-hop record to be released. A revolution began in 1979, all thanks to Kurtis Blow.

In recent years, Kurtis has come under fire from jaded fans who complain that his music was too simplistic. That's like calling the Wright brothers failures because they didn't invent the space shuttle. Kurtis paved the way for every single rapper that followed over the next 30 years.

And it all started with a Christmas song.





Want to add your favorite Christmas songs to our monthlong playlist? Simply drop them off at edward@georgiamae.com, on our Facebook page, on Twitter @etbowser, or stop by the comments section. Merry Christmas, playas! 
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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Here at Soul In Stereo, we're counting down to Christmas by featuring our favorite holiday tracks. Here's today's Christmas classic:

Not even during the holidays is my lovely wife spared from Keith Sweat blaring from my speakers.

You didn't know Keith has Christmas classics? Playa please, the man is a walking mistletoe. You don't have to listen to "Be Your Santa Claus" to know what's on the menu - Keith trying to seduce the ladies underneath the tree.

Ah, Keith, you never disappoint.





Want to add your favorite Christmas songs to our monthlong playlist? Simply drop them off at edward@georgiamae.com, on our Facebook page, on Twitter @etbowser, or stop by the comments section. Merry Christmas, playas! 
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Friday, December 7, 2012


Game

Jesus Piece (Deluxe Edition) (to be released December 11, 2012)

When it comes to getting under the skin of hip-hop fans, few rappers are more skilled than The Game. For example:

- Constant - and I do mean constant - name-dropping of every rapper who ever existed

- Bizarre beefs with D-list rappers

- Questionable tattoos that are covered up later



- And don't forget about the time he played himself on the old game show Change of Heart


But what's often lost in that whirlwind of hate is that Game is a very, VERY good rapper. His 2005 debut, The Documentary, was a near classic and last year's R.E.D. Album was just as noteworthy.

This year, Game waited until we celebrated Jesus' birthday to drop Jesus Piece with an album cover that I'm sure will continue to incur the wrath of fans. Why is Jesus dressed like Lil Wayne dressed like a Blood?

Game knows what he's doing. He loves the attention.

If there are any grandmothers out there who are intrigued by the stained-glass album cover and want to give their grandchildren some wholesome gospel rap this Christmas, put the CD down and walk away slowly. Just listen to the track "Church" - where Game commands a stripper to "climb back up that pole to meet Christ" and guest King Chip says "that baby oil is like holy water" - and you'll know this isn't approved by Kirk Franklin. At least I hope not.

Songs like "Pray" and the title track creatively build upon the holy concept, as Game fashions himself as a guardian angel for a troubled woman on the former, and gets introspective on the latter. But most of the other  concept songs - especially "Hallelujah" - waste the concept. There's not much there but organs and Jamie Foxx screaming 'WELL' like a sweaty preacher. It's like Game heard Meek Mill's "Amen" song, said "Imma do a whole bunch of songs like that!" and poof.

But let's not forget, when Game is focused, there are few better on the mike. Despite the title, "Heaven's Arms" isn't nearly as gimmicky as other concept tracks and allows Game to do what he does best - spit pavement-cracking lyrics over concrete-hard beats. The same goes for "Name Me King," where he and Pusha T make a potent combination. A focused Game is nearly unstoppable.

Game also takes us down memory lane. "All That (Lady)" chops up the old D'Angelo hit ("Lady," duh) but the ensemble cast of Lil Wayne, Big Sean, Fabolous and Jeremih seem pretty bored. "Celebration," which rides on Bone Thugs-N-Harmony's "1st of Tha Month" is MUCH stronger and is perfect for your holiday gathering. Just make sure grandma isn't around.

I wish Jesus Piece had more tracks like the bonus cut "Blood Diamonds," a pretty fascinating look at the progress of blacks over the centuries and the things that continue to hold us back: "Vote against Obama, now you diving in the deep end/I'd rather take my chances at this water fountain, drinking." It's enough to cancel out the ridiculousness of the other bonus track, "I Remember." The less said, the better. Which means it'll be blowing up your radios soon.

Jesus Piece is far from Game's worst release - there are some real gems here - but it seems a bit like a lost opportunity. The album concept is strong but track quality is all over the map, from immaculate to embarrassing. With a bit of editing and more focus, Jesus Piece could have made it to the promised land. Unfortunately, it's just more ammunition for Game's haters.

Best tracks: "Name Me King," "Celebration," "Heaven's Arms"

3.5 stars out of 5
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Here at Soul In Stereo, we're counting down to Christmas by featuring our favorite holiday tracks. Here's today's Christmas classic:

When you think of Christmas and The Temptations, I'm sure there's one song that comes to mind. We'll get to that one later. First, we'll take a look at one of their lesser-known holiday tracks.

"My Christmas Tree," nominated by Trace, is sooooo depressing. Can you imagine looking at your scrawny, dim Christmas tree while reminiscing about your lost love? The tree's angel "has gone away." I thought we were supposed to be merry and bright this season?

It's a beautiful song, no doubt, but you probably won't hear this one at the company Christmas party.





Want to add your favorite Christmas songs to our monthlong playlist? Simply drop them off at edward@georgiamae.com, on our Facebook page, on Twitter @etbowser, or stop by the comments section. Merry Christmas, playas! 
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Thursday, December 6, 2012


Big Boi

Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors (Deluxe Edition) (to be released December 11, 2012)

We're mere weeks away from the year 2013. Can we please stop sleeping on Big Boi's skills?

In recent years, Andre 3000 has been heralded as one of the greatest to ever bless a mike. But Antwan Patton, the other half of the mighty Outkast, always seems to be the odd man out. Big Boi has long been considered the more grounded ying to Dre's eclectic yang.

Don't be mistaken: Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors, Big Boi's second solo album, proves that he can get just as funky as his rap soul mate.

"The radio got y'all like zombies," Big Boi declares on "The Thickets." Heed that warning - if you like your rap pre-packaged in a Young Money/MMG radio-friendly box, Big Boi will leave you scratching your head. But you're open to unconventional hip-hop, Big Boi is your funkmaster.

"Objectum Sexuality" bumps with the soul of the P-Funk All-Stars while "CPU" is a updated take on "Computer Love." Big Boi's a master of taking familiar themes and  energizing them with 21st century electricity. Meanwhile, "Raspberries" and "Thom Pettie" dial back the funk to a slow Southern crawl:  The seats in your 'Lac will be so laid back that you won't be able to see over the dashboard.

If that's not your thing, Big Boi is still eager to prove why he's one of raps elite. "Lines" lets him flex his lyrical muscles while "In The A" delivers the knockout blow, outshining guest stars T.I. and Ludacris. Remember when those two hated each other? They gladly pushed old beefs aside to stand alongside a veteran.

Big Boi solidifies his status as elder statesman on "Tremendous Damage" and the subsequent "Descending." I'm not a big fan of the sing-songy flow he uses on the first verse of the former (backs bad memories of Nelly) but both songs show the growth and maturity that are born from life's hardships.

The only failing of Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors is the lack of a standout track. The single "Mama Told Me" with Kelly Rowland is decent but gets lost in the shuffle. The bonus tracks on the album's deluxe edition fare a bit better with the raunchy but catchy "She Said OK" and "Gossip," where Big Boi takes aim at kids wearing tight clothes "like they're Dancing With the Stars without the judges or the dance floor." Heh.

Humor, wit and funkiness make Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors a strong release, although it's slightly below 2010's Sir Lucious Leftfoot.

While Andre spits two great verses a year, Big Boi is consistently making great albums. Will y'all respect him now?

Best tracks: "In The A," "She Said OK," "Lines"

4 stars out of 5
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Here at Soul In Stereo, we're counting down to Christmas by featuring our favorite holiday tracks. Here's today's Christmas classic:

Today's entry, nominated by Tralana Wyatt, seems so much older than it actually is. Remember when Mariah Carey was the cute girl next door with dark hair and was only somewhat weird? That seems like ages ago. Mariah 2012 would eat Mariah 1994 alive, then shriek in that terrifying 8th octave of hers.

Mariah's "All I Want For Christmas Is You" definitely calls back to older Christmas classics despite being released relatively recently - if you consider my mid-90s days as a high-school freshman "recent."

Enjoy Mariah's greatest Christmas contribution. If not, Mariah 2012 will shriek at you.





Want to add your favorite Christmas songs to our monthlong playlist? Simply drop them off at edward@georgiamae.com, on our Facebook page, on Twitter @etbowser, or stop by the comments section. Merry Christmas, playas! 
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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Here at Soul In Stereo, we're counting down to Christmas by featuring our favorite holiday tracks. Here's today's Christmas classic:

Tired of all those Christmas jingles that miss the true meaning of the season? "Now Behold The Lamb" gets right to the heart of the matter. No magical creatures or candy canes here - just awe and admiration of the young messiah. The message is so powerful that my hometown church performed this song year-round.

Songs like "Now Behold The Lamb" remind us why this season is so special.







Want to add your favorite Christmas songs to our monthlong playlist? Simply drop them off at edward@georgiamae.com, on our Facebook page, on Twitter @etbowser, or stop by the comments section. Merry Christmas, playas! 
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Tuesday, December 4, 2012



Here at Soul In Stereo, we're counting down to Christmas by featuring our favorite holiday tracks. Here's today's Christmas classic:

What did you do at work yesterday? Well, I listened to DMX singing "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" for about four hours straight, which means my workday was much more productive that yours.

I'm not sure whose idea it was to get X to sing Christmas carols but that person should win a Nobel Peace Prize. The video went viral yesterday afternoon and instantly a new Christmas classic was born.

Witness the dog get into the holiday spirit as only he can: jumping around like a maniac while his chains chime like sleigh bells. 

X, you'll go down in hissss-stor-reee. WHAT! C'MON!








Want to add your favorite Christmas songs to our monthlong playlist? Simply drop them off at edward@georgiamae.com, on our Facebook page, on Twitter @etbowser, or stop by the comments section. Merry Christmas, playas! 
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Monday, December 3, 2012

Here at Soul In Stereo, we're counting down to Christmas by featuring our favorite holiday tracks. Here's today's Christmas classic:

Today's entry was nominated by my own lovely wife. "Back Door Santa" is the most un-Christmas song ever. It's the "Bad Santa" of holiday music. Honestly, I have no idea why "Back Door Santa" is considered a Christmas song - it's just Clarence Carter being his usual lecherous self, lookin' for lovin' in all the wrong places. That doesn't stop the wifey from giggling at him every year. Just take a look at these ridiculous lyrics:


I keep some change in my pocket 
In case the children at home
I give them a few pennies 
so we could be alone
I leave the back door open 
so if anybody smells the mouse
and wouldn't Santa be in trouble
if there ain't no chimney in the house


 It's definitely more funny than festive and that humor makes it so endearing. Check out 1968's "Back Door Santa" and Clarence Carter's eternal hunt for Christmas cookies.



Want to add your favorite Christmas songs to our monthlong playlist? Simply drop them off at edward@georgiamae.com, on our Facebook page, on Twitter @etbowser, or stop by the comments section. Merry Christmas, playas! 
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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Here at Soul In Stereo, we're counting down to Christmas by featuring our favorite holiday tracks. Here's today's Christmas classic:

Soul man William Bell is best known for two tracks - 1961's "You Don't Miss Your Water," and the 1967 Christmas staple "Everyday Will Be Like A Holiday." What makes this song so great, besides Bell's great voice, is the nontraditional topic. He isn't singing about snow or Santa Claus, he simply longs for his woman to return. His holiday isn't defined by a calendar, it's shaped by the love of his life. William Bell is speaking on the real reason for the season.


Want to add your favorite Christmas songs to our monthlong playlist? Simply drop them off at edward@georgiamae.com, on our Facebook page, on Twitter @etbowser, or stop by the comments section. Merry Christmas, playas! 
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Saturday, December 1, 2012

Drag out your gaudy decorations and rock-hard fruitcakes, the holidays are here!

Nothing gets me in the holiday mood more than classic Christmas music. Whether it's Nat King Cole warming my heart or Patti LaBelle yelling in my eardrum, every note takes me on a journey - times filled with great memories, great food and great people. I'm sure you feel the same way.

From now until Christmas, every day we'll feature a classic tune guaranteed to fill you with holiday cheer. You're highly encourage to request your favorites. If not, be prepared for four weeks of Patti LaBelle and Keith Sweat Christmas tunes. Y'all know how I do.

We'll start off with a song that has become a Christmas staple. Donny Hathaway's voice is flawless. It's as pure and unique as a Christmas morning snowflake. We lost Donny much too soon, but thanks to "This Christmas," his voice will forever define our holidays.



Want to add your favorite Christmas songs to our monthlong playlist? Simply drop them off at edward@georgiamae.com, on our Facebook page, on Twitter @etbowser, or stop by the comments section. Merry Christmas, playas! 
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