It was my first time at Sneaker Pawn in Harlem, an exclusive spot that’s more than just a sneaker store. I climbed the steps to the brownstone and met rapper Trip Lee upstairs where we took a seat on a bench surrounded by sneakers and sports gear. What a great setting to just kick it! We chopped it up discussing his new album Rise, the journey that led him to choosing his passion of music and much more!


Growing up in Sacramento, Victoria Monét started writing her own songs at a very young age. She comes from a musical family, so one might say that she was born to be a singer. Monét admits that it was a natural fit for her and she’s been singing and dancing for as long as she can remember; getting her start in the church.  She's come along way, now signed to Atlantic Records.  October was a big month for her as she was featured on two tracks on T.I.'s latest album, Paperwork.  She also made her iTunes debut with her own release, Nightmares & Lullabies Act I.  She is more than just another female singer that will be here today and gone tomorrow, Victoria Monét has all the makings of the real deal.  We caught up with her for the full story, before the breakthrough.


Joe Budden was never supposed to make it this far. Whether it was from the drugs or the streets, he probably should've been down and out somewhere. Once the music industry took hold of him that was only supposed to be one more powerful force that would eat away at him and leave for dead. And Def Jam surely tried. Looking back at where he started, it’s a wonder that he's still here. Had it been today's industry, he probably would've succumbed to the politics, but thankfully he's been in it since 2003. Hip-Hop aficionados are grateful for his time in the spotlight and for his Mood Music lyrical diary entries as well as his “emo” rap forays.


Lil’ Mo
emerged on the music scene in the late 90’s lending her voice to hits like, “Hot Boyz” by Missy Elliott, “Put It On Me” and “I Cry” both by Ja Rule. Still it was her breakout single, the 2001 “Superwoman pt. II” that helped solidify her name is music circles. The Fabolous assisted song led to the release of her debut album, Based On A True Story, garnering her tons of fans. With her success came the drama however, including an incident in San Francisco where she was attacked with a bottle of champagne and required 20 stitches. There also came industry beefs with some of the same people she found early success with, most notably Ja Rule.


If you know football, you know Deion Sanders. Primetime! Mr. “Must Be The Money.” Neon Deion. The Hall-of-Famer and two-time Super Bowl champion hasn’t really needed an introduction since his meteoric rise in the NFL spotlight, but these days it’s his moves off the field that require conversation. The second season of his reality show, Deion’s Family Playbook premieres on OWN Network on Saturday, November 1st at 9p.m. EST. For those that aren’t familiar, the show features Deion in a light that many might not be familiar with—Deion as a family man raising 10 children. That’s not all however, as Deion also helps run a charter school in Dallas Texas, Prime Prep Academy for grades K-12, and a nonprofit organization, Prime Time Association (aka TRUTH), which teaches young adults through sports and education.


Jagged Edge's eight album, JE Heartbreak II finds the quartet reunited with producer Jermaine Dupri, label So So Def and their original management Mauldin Brand Agency. The theme here is all about bringing back true R&B, so the guys shy away from Rap features or features of any kind, as well as Hip-Hop infused beats. Slow jams are plentiful in this 12 song album and with Bryan Michael Cox assisting the Casey twins on songwriting and production, its very much reminiscent to the sound of early Jagged Edge albums.



 
 

 

 



Sex Therapy finds Robin Thicke sounding more mature than past albums. Fewer complexes than Something Else and the genre infusion of A Beautiful World, this fourth release offers melodies that display the artist’s progression and growth.

 

The title track is a groove where Thicke taps the right notes with the ladies. Filled with romanticism and Polow Da Don audio skills, Thicke creates an upgrade of “Lost Without You,” from The Evolution and “The Sweetest Love,” from Something Else. Rap/R & B duets have always proved to be successful and with “Meiplé,” pairing Jay-Z with Thicke,he finds success once again. DJs and dance floor fanatics will find this cut agreeable. The hook along with Thicke’s descent into storytelling offers a different side of the singer.

Duet choreography continues on the impassioned collection with “It’s In the Mornin,” a ballad where Snoop Dogg adds west coast flavor to an appealing sensual jam and “Shakin It For Daddy,” which features Nicki Minaj. Thicke and Minaj perform well together over a rapid vibe.
The standouts on Sex Therapy are the sampling of Marvin Gaye ‘s “Trouble Man,” on “Million Dollar Baby” where Thicke shines his falsetto with effortless dexterity and the 90’s Jock Jam “Elevatas,” where Thicke revisits sounds exhibited on A Beautiful World with Kid Cudi and a Michael Jackson woo thrown in for good measure. Joining his talent with rapper, The Game, Robin Thicke, invents a superb closer in the final standout track “Diamonds.” The lyricism is devotional and touching as he discusses the importance of mothers in the lives of children with the hook “pressure builds diamonds.”

Sex Therapy has some hits and some misses, but it is to be expected as few albums are flawless. Robin Thicke is finding his sonic niche as noted by the samba breeze of “Just Right” and the Prince-like havoc of “Rollacoasta.” Despite this, his vocals along with the collaborative tracks are top notch making for an enjoyable listen.

Sex Therapy receives a PAR

Kyle's Picks from Sex Therapy
Robin Thicke f/ Jay-z - Meiple
Robin Thicke f/ Snoop Dogg - It's In The Morning

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