I was first introduced to Jhené Aiko on Kendrick Lamar's "Growing Apart." Her voice is gentle and somewhat tinged with a sultriness that often encroaches on cutting aggression. Aiko understands where to emphasize her voice, wrapping it around the lyrics to achieve a hypnotic mix of hip hop and R&B. Souled Out, the debut from the singer is made up of mid-temp melodies that emerge as freestyles, rather than songs. This is not a bad thing because Aiko has stated that her process of recording music is one of letting it unfold rather than rushing.

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Originality is such a hard thing to come by these days that it’s no wonder you’ll see so many movies, TV shows and music that look and sound the same.
 When is the last time you heard a song or movie that you couldn’t compare to something else prior? Probably never. That doesn’t mean that originality or creativity has died, but just means that people have a brand new way of seeing things. One of the greatest movies of all times, Star Wars is often compared to Star Trek. They have forums of geeks and nerds sighting the familiarities between these two, I’ll save you the time and say that I’ve seen all the Star Wars series and none of the Star Trek franchise despite their many TV shows and spin-off movies but I'm aware of how they tend to overlap each other in some aspects.


Blacc Hollywood is the fifth studio album from Wiz Khalifa - the rapper known for creating chill songs about getting high and living the high life. Being more of a fan of his mixtapes because he seems to offer more impactful, heavy-hitting rhymes on those, listening to Blacc Hollywood solidified my opinion even further.


Being born in the 90’s certainly touched the new up and coming triple-threat artist Jo’zzy aka @dopebyaccident in a special way. She’s the protégé’ of super producer Timbaland and a talented singer/songwriter/rapper. Not only is the 90’s an inspiration and influence, but a way of life for this 24 year old; whose real name is Jocelyn Donald. She says of new single “Tryna Wife”, “It’s just nostalgic music and only the beginning. Some of today’s R&B and Hip-Hop can be so watered down and cookie-cutter, but my style of music makes you think of the 90’s.”


"They only get to see a certain part of your life and it’s not even fifty percent. It may be about fifteen percent of your life that these people are getting to watch so that’s never a good thing because you become this fifteen percent of what people get to see and there’s way more to most of us that are on that show..."  ~Bambi


“One thing I feel that happens a lot on the urban side of music, not as much on the mainstream pop side of music is that if artists don't come out for a few years, we forget that we loved them. This was not just some song I liked, but this was my favorite group in the world. I feel like the urban audience, we don't hold our stars up like the pop audience do. Their stars will put out an album tomorrow and it will still be double, triple, quadruple platinum…”  
~Brandon Casey of Jagged Edge 


 
 

 

 

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During her set at SOB's Summer Concert Cruise, Elle Varner brought out her father, Jimmy Varner, an accomplished musician in his own right.  Together they performed "Not Tonight" from Elle's debut album, Perfectly Imperfect.  Her father, dressed in a blue collared shirt, with an LA fitted, took a seat at the keys and impressed, helping take the song to another level.  Check out the beautiful performance here....

Read more: Elle Varner Performs "Not Tonight " with Her Father, Jimmy Varner


Blackstreet performed in the Coca-Cola Lounge at the 19th Annual Essence Festival in New Orleans this year.  BS2 as they like to call themselves features Teddy Riley with new members, Sherman "J-Stylz" Tisdale, Lenny Harold & Tony Tyler.  The group was joined onstage by original member, Dave Hollister.  To end their show they performed their hit record, "No Diggity."  Check out video footage from the show here...

Read more: Blackstreet Performs "No Diggity" at 19th Annual Essence Festival


Faith Evans gets it. She knows what fans want and she understands how the business of the entertainment industry works.  During her performance in the Coco-Cola lounge on Day 2 at Essence Festival, she proved all those things to be true, putting on an exceptional display of professionalism during a spectacular one hour plus performance. 

Read more: Faith Evans Brings That Ol' Feeling Back at Essence Fest 2013

At her recent show at New York City's Gramercy Theatre, Lil' Kim went into a performance of her last major hit single, "Lighters Up."  She introduced it with her rendition of "Empire State of Mind," singing and rapping over the track Jay-Z and Alicia Keys made famous.  Check out the video of the entire performance here...

Read more: Lil' Kim Performs "Lighters Up" at NYC Show (Video)

Water is essential for color, clothes, and hair. It is the reason why many fashion lovers and neutral audience members enjoyed Pier 59 Studios, the site of this year's Nolcha Fashion Runway Show. Upon entering the pier, excitement arose within, for it was my first time there, and the welcoming environment immediately impressed. 

Read more: Nolcha Fashion Week Runway Show 2012: Baruni, Gulschachereli & Angelys Balek

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