rea diddy toni braxton
rea and ye ali
rea grammys
rea babyface walk of fame
rea and nas
rea and boyz ii men
rea and candice
rea and kevin hart
rea and ludacris
usher and rea
rea film nas
REA
REA
REA
Latest entries

Rea Melissa Davis: Entertainment and Music Journalism

Read More

AllHipHop: Coverage x Rea Soul Train Awards 2014

Screen shot 2015-01-03 at 6.24.15 PM
The Soul Train Awards is one of the biggest nights in R&B. Centric celebrated and honored R&B legends and soul music’s brightest new stars at this year’s Soul Train Awards, which taped in Las Vegas on Friday, November 7. Wendy Williams hosted the night’s festivities, which included performances from Chris Brown, Jodeci, Tinashe, Lil’ Kim, Missy Elliott, Da Brat, Nico & Vinz and more.

Chris Brown opened the show kicking things off by performing a medley of his hits, including “Yo (Excuse Me Miss),” “New Flame,” and “Loyal.” Wendy Williams lit up the stage with a glitzy toast to Vegas, waltzing alongside Boris Kodjoe in the show’s opening number. Audience members joined We Are Toonz and their troop of dancers to show off their best rendition of this year’s breakout dance craze, the Nae Nae. Jodeci reunited on the Soul Train Awards stage to perform classic fan favorites “Freek’n You,” “Come and Talk to Me,” “Stay” and “Forever My Lady.” In addition the legendary group brought out B.O.B. to debut their new single, “Nobody Wins.” Kool & The Gang were honored with the Legend Award for their outstanding achievements and contributions to soul music. To celebrate the award, a bevy of acts including Tamar Braxton, Joe, MC Lyte, Ma$e, Doug E. Fresh and more performed the group’s greatest hits. Legendary emcees Lil’ Kim, Missy Elliott and Da Brat reunited and closed out the night with a crowd-pleasing performance of their 1996 platinum single “Ladies Night” in tribute to Kool & The Gang.

Before all of the show action, AllHipHop.com’s Rea Melissa Davis caught up with Tank, Tyrese, Ledisi, Tinashe, Sevyn Streeter,Total, Liv Warfield, Eric Benet, Flavor Flav, Nile Rodgers, MC Lyte, Nico & Vinz and more to discuss who they were most excited to see perform and what they were working on. Check out our video recap below.

The show will air on Centric and BET on Sunday, November 30, 2014 at 8PM ET/PT.

Read More

AllHipHop Interview x Rea Exclusive: Jodeci Interview At Soul Train Awards

Screen shot 2015-01-03 at 6.12.15 PM
Photo credit:Gabe Ginsberg / Getty Images Contributor

Screen shot 2015-01-03 at 6.20.09 PM

The 1990’s garnered many R&B groups but none quite like Jodeci. It was an era dominated by New Jack Swing where Jodeci married R&B soul and Hip Hop to create a sound that is classic and timeless even today. You can’t talk about R&B, soul, and New Jack Swing without mentioning Jodeci, the Bad Boys of R&B; the Black Guns and Roses. This year the 2014 Soul Train Awards pulled out all kinds of surprises with the biggest being the reunion performance of iconic R&B group Jodeci. Their reunion is arguably the biggest reunion in R&B/ Hip-Hop history with 19 years since their last studio album and 8 years since a performance with all four members. The iconic quartet, hailing from Charlotte, North Carolina achieved much success in the ’90s including five No. 1 R&B hits like “Stay,” “Forever My Lady,” and “Come and Talk to Me.” The quartet also performed these hits on the Soul Train Award’s stage.

Jodeci traversed the musical landscape and redefined R&B as we knew it. They brought those church chords to R&B; that gritty soul, and silky vocals. In 2011 I asked DeVante Swing what it was like to write, produce, arrange, and play on such pieces beginning at age 16? He softly replied, “I just wanted to make dope music.” K-Ci stated to me last year that the group is not getting back together because they never broke up. Mr. Dalvin also told me the reason the group is still relevant today and revered as one of the best R&B groups ever is because they put out quality and timeless music. He said that one could not rush quality and when it was time for Jodeci to return they would.

Well the stars were aligned and Jodeci proved why they are R&B royalty at The 2014 Soul Train Awards which will air on Sunday November 30. Before all of the action, AllHipHop caught up with the quartet to discuss their comeback and their reunion performance at the award show. Check out the clip below.

Read More

AllHipHop: ASCAP Hosts ATL Legends Dinner Honoring L.A. Reid, Brings Out Babyface, T.I., Usher, Big Boi, Timbaland, and More Coverage x Rea

Screen shot 2015-01-03 at 5.54.36 PM

Each year, ASCAP’s Rhythm & Soul division recognizes individuals who have brought great honor to the city of Atlanta through their achievements in music and recently, ASCAP hosted its Third Annual Atlanta Legends Dinner honoring Antonio “L.A” Reid. The dinner, held at the Mandarin Hotel in Atlanta’s Buckhead area, was hosted by prolific Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter Usher, Grammy award-wining Big Boi of the iconic rap duo OutKast, and music executive/producer Kawan “KP” Prather.

Screen shot 2015-01-03 at 5.57.28 PM

The night included a speech from LaFace co-founder and friend Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, frequent collaborator/partner songwriter Daryl Simmons, and a video montage featuring André 3000, Mariah Carey, TLC, Jennifer Hudson, Avril Lavigne, and Jennifer Lopez. This year Usher, BabyFace, Cee-Lo Green, Big Boi, T.I., Shanti Das, Kawan “KP” Prather, Timbaland, Kandi Burruss, Polow Da Don, Big Gipp, T-Mo, Bryan Michael Cox, Johnta Austin, Chaka Zulu and more were among the guests at the dinner to salute L.A. Reid.

Screen shot 2015-01-03 at 5.58.37 PM

Screen shot 2015-01-03 at 5.58.45 PM

BigBoiUsher

Usher, Babyface, Daryl Simmons, and Big Boi shared anecdotes about working with Reid. Usher talked about L.A. helping birth his career. “I may not have had a shot had I not gotten in front of L.A. Reid,” said Usher. He went on to describe Reid as a mogul that was able to motivate those around him, calling him the glue that held LaFace together and pushed everyone to be the best. Usher referred to Reid as the godfather of Atlanta music and culture.

Screen shot 2015-01-03 at 6.00.03 PM

Babyface and Daryl Simmons took to the podium to reminisce on the birth of LaFace records. Babyface and Simmons shared that they all moved to Atlanta to start a new record company and to be a big fish in a small pond. Both agreed that it was Reid’s dream and vision to start their own record company and sign their own artists. Reid accepted his award dancing to the podium with Bobby Shmurda’s “Hot N*gga” playing in the background. Before closing out the evening L.A. Reid took a moment to share some of his fondest LaFace memories like TLC’s Left Eye asking for $750,000 for the “Waterfalls” video & mareketing Donell Jones and OutKast.

AllHipHop caught up with Babyface, T.I., Big Boi, Timbaland, Kandi Burruss, Bryan Michael Cox, Johnta Austin and more to discuss the impact Reid made on their career as well as the LaFace era. We also spoke with L.A. about how it felt to be honored for his contribution to music. Check out the video recap below.

Read More

AllHipHop Exclusive: Interview x Rea Exclusive: TLC’s Chilli Reflects On CrazySexyCool Album’s 20th Anniversary

Screen shot 2015-01-03 at 6.29.10 PM

Screen shot 2015-01-03 at 6.31.11 PM

Photo by Jim Smeal/WireImage

Some albums are just classics that live on forever as staples in their genre. One such album has to be the legendary TLC’s CrazySexyCool. The album laced with sexy and sultry ballads and even some up-tempo flava is still regarded as one of the greatest albums of all time. CrazySexyCool, written and produced by the likes of Babyface, Dallas Austin, Jermaine Dupri, and more displayed a relatable identity for fans as Left Eye represented the Crazy, Chilli the Sexy, and T-Boz the Cool. As the multi-diamond album turns 20, it’s only right to reflect on the Atlanta trio’s successful sophomore project.

The album peaked at three on the Billboard 200 chart and spent over two years on the Billboard album charts. The album was certified Diamond by the RIAA making TLC the first girl group in history to be awarded diamond status. To date, CrazySexyCool has sold over 23 million copies worldwide, becoming the best-selling album by an American girl group, and the second best selling album worldwide behind the Spices Girls’ Spice. All four singles from the album reached the top 5 of the Billboard Hot 100, two of them reaching number one.

The lead single “Creep” topped the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks, and was one of the biggest singles of 1995, coming in at number three in Billboard Year End Hot 100 Singles of 1995. It also reached number one on the Hot R&B and Hip Hop Songs Chart. The third single, “Waterfalls”, became TLC’s most successful song, spending seven weeks at number one. It was also the second-biggest single of 1995 according to Billboard, giving TLC two songs in the Top 3 of the 1995 Billboard Year-End chart.

“Waterfalls,” stands as one of the greatest songs of all time as TLC used R&B soul, Hip-Hop, and an enormous music video budget to bring light to societal issues like HIV/AIDS, and the country’s issue with inner-city drug problems. The album also won two of the six Grammy Awards it was nominated for at the 1996 Grammy Awards. This classic album was undeniably a smooth, seductive collection of contemporary soul. The album is timeless.

Two decades later CrazySexyCool remains just as relevant, even bringing in a new generation of fans with the VH1 produced Crazy Sexy Cool: The TLC Story biopic.

To celebrate 20 years of CrazySexyCool, AllHipHop caught up with TLC’s Chilli to discuss the making of the album, its impact, TLC’s legacy and more!

AHH: We are celebrating the CrazySexyCool album’s 20th anniversary. Talk about the making of that album; I know there were some big name producers involved such as Babyface, Dallas Austin, Jermaine Dupri and more.

Chilli: We used the same producers that we always worked with. We worked with Dallas, Babyface, and Jermaine on the first and second album the only thing we had new was Organized Noize. Phife Dawg from A Tribe Called Quest did the interludes. People don’t do interludes anymore and I don’t know why they don’t; they are so fun. It was a really fun album to make. This is a time where we weren’t always in the studio together; sometimes we went in one by one because everyone was so busy. I spent so much time recording with Babyface and it was a great album to make.

AHH: The album went Diamond, and TLC was the first group to achieve that success, talk about that feeling.

Chilli: It’s very exciting; it was a dream come true. It’s hard to reach a lot of people especially that amount of people. We love the fact that people love us because we are being who we are. We aren’t acting. We are very serious about the messages we put out. The girl power thing is really who we are. I think fans loved that we are so relatable; we are like your girlfriends or your sisters. When people can relate they understand and connect better.

AHH: Every single reached the top 100 Billboard Countdown, and the album has been referred to on many lists as one of the greatest albums of all time. Does it feel surreal now? Did it feel surreal back then?

Chilli: Back then It was times when it didn’t seem real, but we came out during a time when people really bought albums; it was no downloading. The competition was steep. We never looked at girl groups as competition; we looked at Boyz II Men and Jodeci. We wanted to hit numbers like M.C. Hammer because he was selling like crazy. The fact that we were able to compete with those guys is when we really got excited.

AHH: The lead single was “Creep”. Was that a unanimous decision to make it the lead single?

Chilli: A lot of times when you have your main producer that takes lead in your project they usually have the first single. But we loved all of our singles so we didn’t care what was released first. It was one of those albums where we liked every song. With CrazySexyCool the stars were really aligned for us because that was really a great album.

AHH: People always say they miss the 90s and the era that was CrazySexyCool. When I think of this album I think of smooth seductive vocals, contemporary soul, great songs, voluptuous beats, great song writing…. how would you define the album and the era?

Chilli: I would define it like the title; our personalities…. the music…. that whole era for us was Crazy Sexy Cool Period.

AHH: What do you miss about 90s R&B?

Chilli: We were more than R&B we were Hip-Hop and Pop as well. As far as R&B is concerned now I feel what’s missing is the lyrical content. You have people that are singing but its missing the lyrical content and the stories. When I think of Jodeci’s albums like Forever My Lady we don’t have records like that anymore. And Boyz II Men songs like “End of the Road” or “Bended Knee” like really; songs that people want to hear at their wedding. Songs that could be you and your boo’s record. Now you’re just talking about beating it up. What the hell are you supposed to be beating up? I know you are not talking about my vagina because now you aren’t going to get it (chuckles). There’s no more fore-play, no more courting, no dating. It’s straight to the bed.

AHH: How did R&B go from “I’ll Make Love To You” to pull your panties to the side?

Chilli: It’s okay with some songs like that but not when superstars make songs like that all the time when they have the power and ability to do more. It’s disappointing especially from seasoned artists or a whole album. It’s not cool; it’s no more variety. It was so much variety in the ’90s.

AHH: “Waterfalls” was the most successful track to date from the album. Everyone remembers where they were when the video came out. The video, the message, The Grammy nominations, TLC winning two of those Grammy nominations. How did it feel from having the vision of the record and the video to it coming to fruition and the success that followed?

Chilli: Left Eye was up there all the time so we made her go sell it to them with what we wanted it to look like and what we thought it would cost. Radio wasn’t jumping on the record they didn’t know what we were talking about. The video brought it to life. Videos then told the story. Radio was still on “Creep” because they had seen the video. Once we teamed up with F. Gary Gray to bring our vision to life, it was over at that point. The rest was history.

AHH: What is a crazy behind the scenes moment from the CrazySexyCool album?

Chilli: The infamous Vibe Cover. Vibe set us up but we totally fell for the ookie doke . Lisa had burned the house and everything and at the video shoot we would take whatever a stylist would bring rip it up and make it a TLC outfit. There were police uniforms and firemen suits. When I saw the firemen suits I was the one like we have to wear these. I wasn’t thinking about what had just happened and the fact that my sister is on probation and if she does anything wrong she can go to jail. They weren’t thinking either they were like yeah this is dope . And I’m sure Vibe was like we are going to have the cover of life. It was so innocent we just saw fashion and the picture they chose with Lisa with her lip to the side like “and what” and a nonchalant attitude of the situation. When it came out the judge called immediately. We got in a little bit of trouble (chuckles) but it’s water under the bridge. We weren’t trying to be some smart asses and not take the situation seriously, but that’s what it appeared to be (from the shoot).

AHH: Is there anything you would like to leave with your fans?

Chilli: I just really want to thank them for just loving TLC and embracing the outside of the box way we think and how we do everything. They were riding with us the whole time. Most are grown now and have kids and have introduced our music to their kids and that means the world to me. We always stuck together. We are real sisters that love each other, but we never abandoned each other and our fans never abandoned us.

Read More

AllHipHop: Article x Rea: Free & AJ To Host Final Episode of 106 & Park

Screen shot 2015-01-03 at 6.35.24 PM

Photo by Frank Micelotta/ImageDirect

After an impressive 14 year run, America’s No. 1 music variety show on cable television, 106 & PARK, will host its final daily on-air show tonight December 19, 2014. The show will be hosted by 106’s first and arguably favorite hosts, Free & AJ. The 106 & PARK brand will continue to produce various specials throughout the year, including its annual New Year’s Eve show, 106 & PARTY, along with live event experiences at the BET Awards and BET Experience. 106 & PARK plans to become the hottest online hangout as it will make a shift to a digital only format on BET.com.

Free and AJ took to their Instagram pages to express their excitement for hosting the final show as well as their appreciation for being a part of a show that impacted so many.

Free stated,

“Soooo. On Friday December 19, AJ Calloway and I get to do it one more time like we used to do it.. Together for the final act of 106 & Park. So grateful to have been a part of this show, when we started it was but a dream! Join us as we say goodbye…. and celebrate 14 years of amazing guests, talented hosts and the livest audience on the ONE and ONLY 106 & Park! Salute BET.”

AJ stated,

“This Friday Dec 19th 2014 we will be in the building to host the final 106 & park AJ Calloway and Miss Free this is the end of an amazing journey that started in a small studio called Metropolis on the corner of 106th St and Park Ave in Spanish Harlem on Sept 11, 2000 and it impacted so many around the world. We love and thank all of the fans over the years, tune in Friday for our final bow together.”

Stephen Hill, BET’s President of Music Programming and Specials, had this to say about the show via BET.com:

“AJ accepting Janet Jackson’s challenge to…dance. Bow Wow laying that kiss on Tyra Banks (or was it the other way around?). Free crawling around the set LIKE Catwoman WITH Catwoman Halle Berry. Julissa’s taking over Halloween as “Wonder Woman.” Keshia brilliantly bonding with First Lady Michelle Obama. Paigion flying around the world with Rihanna on a 777. Rocsi salsa dancing with Victor Cruz and putting him to shame. Shorty and Ms. Mykie’s killer rap, “The History of Justin Timberlake,” visably thrilling JT himself. Terrence beatboxing while Jamie Foxx rhymed. Tigger making Tom Cruise do the of-the-moment “motorcycle dance.”

One thing is for sure we’ve all been touched by an era of 106 & Park whether it be the Free and AJ, Big Tigger & Julissa, Terrence and Rocsi, Pagion, Shorty, Mykie, Bow Wow or even the latest with Keshia and Bow Wow. 106 has put Hip Hop, R&B, entertainment, and pop culture as well as youth culture on television daily since the turn of this century. BET plans to take 106 to the digital realm as it’s the space in which their audience interacts with music the most. BET wants viewers to understand that there will still be major specials 106 & Party, and for the BET Awards 106 & Park Presents: Live, Red and Ready. The network, being sure not to minimize the new direction, stated that they realize it’s a big change but the “livest audience” will still be entertained well in the digital domain.

106 & Park will have its final daily on-air show tonight at 6 p.m. on BET.

Read More

AllHipHop.com MTV VMAS Red Carpet Recap Coverage x Rea

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 9.47.03 PM

Trophies often take a back seat at the VMAs to all of the craziness but this year wasn’t too crazy. Miley Cyrus won the top honor Sunday at the MTV Video Music Awards, but it was Beyonce‘s finale performance and the on-stage cameos of Jay Z and Blue Ivy that stole the night. In fact as Beyonce accepted the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard award after her electrifying performance (of her entire self-titled album), Blue Ivy was shown clapping her hands and saying “Yay, Mommy” into the mic. Jay Z called her the “greatest living entertainer.” Cyrus won the video of the year for “Wrecking Ball” and Nicki Minaj opened with her rump-shaking “Anaconda”.

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 9.59.57 PM

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 10.00.23 PM

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 10.00.46 PM

Performers included Taylor Swift, Usher, Sam Smith, Maroon 5, Rita Ora, and Iggy Azalea. Rapper-actor Common also held a moment of silence for Michael Brown, the unarmed 18-year-old who was fatally shot by a police officer on Aug. 9, before he presented the award for best Hip-Hop video. “Hip-Hop has always been about truth and has been a powerful instrument of social change, from Melle Mel to Public Enemy to Kendrick Lamar,” Common said. “Hip-Hop has always presented a voice for the revolution.” The 2014 MTV VMAS brought great excitement to Inglewood, California Sunday night.

AllHipHop caught up with a few artists and personalities on the red carpet. Check out the recap video above.

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 10.01.05 PM

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 10.01.37 PM

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 10.02.08 PM

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 10.02.30 PM

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 9.59.21 PM

Read More

AllHipHop.com Alternatives Oprah Kicks Off ‘The Life You Want Tour’ in Atlanta Article & Coverage x Rea

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 9.32.20 PM
Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Oprah Winfrey and her team of phenomenal guest speakers kicked off her 8 city “The Life You Want Weekend” this past weekend in Atlanta, G.A. The tour began with day festivities in Atlanta’s Centennial Park. Bounty hosted a power breakfast for media, tastemakers, and key influencers on Friday morning. The event was the official kick-off to the take over of Oprah’s pop-up town “O-Town”. The panel included celebrity chef Carla Hall of ABC’s “The CHEW,” Karmetria Burton, Supplier Diversity for Delta Airlines, and Nicole Jones of Honesty Jewelry. Each spoke on their journey to success and shared inspiration and tips for how to keep going and continuing to achieve and succeed. CoverGirl, Olay, Pantene, Tide, Charmin, Crest, Kroger and IKEA also had presentation tents as well.

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 9.34.42 PM

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 9.35.03 PM

Friday evening Winfrey packed out Phillips arena for day one of her two-day life changing tour experience. Winfrey opened by sharing a story of her friends (such as Gayle King) asking her did she know she was coming to Atlanta with her tour despite the fact that she didn’t have a hit record out and the fact that she couldn’t dance. The crowd erupted with laughter. Lady O is quite the comedian as she made other hilarious jokes throughout Friday evening. Winfrey’s lack of musical and rhythmic talent mattered least as thousands packed out the arena to hear the Queen of All Media speak and emit the inspiration they needed to transform their lives.

The second day of the tour featured Deepak Chopra and Elizabeth Gilbert, inspirational speaker Iyanla Vanzant and pastor Rob Bell. Winfrey shared many anecdotes from her personal live and journey; many comedic and others soul-stirringly inspirational. There was a personable aspect of the tour; Winfrey made it “an intimate gathering with Oprah” instead of a lecture. The speakers collectively spoke about identifying one’s life purpose and led exercises about the necessary action to take to reach those goals.

The tour has upcoming stops in Auburn Hills, Michigan; Washington, D.C.; Newark, New Jersey; Houston, Texas; Miami, Florids; Seattle, Washington and a final date in San Jose, California.

Oprah brought the Atlanta tour to an end by thanking those in attendance for spending their hard-earned money to attend, and she encouraged them to go forward in their daily lives with the notion that “Together we rise.”

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 9.35.27 PM

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 9.35.52 PM

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 9.36.12 PM

Screen shot 2014-09-08 at 6.17.17 PM

Screen shot 2014-09-08 at 6.19.14 PM

Screen shot 2014-09-10 at 1.39.11 PM

Screen shot 2014-09-10 at 1.40.49 PM

Screen shot 2014-09-10 at 1.43.20 PM

Screen shot 2014-09-10 at 1.44.52 PM

Screen shot 2014-09-10 at 1.45.04 PM

Screen shot 2014-09-10 at 1.45.19 PM

Screen shot 2014-09-10 at 1.45.33 PM

Screen shot 2014-09-10 at 1.45.43 PM

Read More

AllHipHop.com R&B Alternatives Keith Sweat’s 53rd Birthday Celebration: An Epic Night In R&B Coverage x Rea

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 9.03.53 PM

Photo credit: Joi Pearson

R&B Legend Keith Sweat and Jamahl King /Steps Events made it a night to remember for Sweat’s recent birthday celebration at his nightclub, Fuego, in Duluth, Georgia (an Atlanta suburb). It was an epic night in R&B as Joe, Case, Tank, 112, Silk, Dru Hill, Lyfe Jennings, J Holiday, Christopher Williams, and more hit the stage to perform their hits in celebration of the R&B icon’s birthday. V103’s Ryan Cameron reminded the crowd that there were R&B legends on the stage and joked that many of those in the audience had in fact gotten pregnant off of their songs. Comedian and actor Carl Payne took the mic starting his speech with his infamous bird call from the classic sitcom Martin. He went on to say he felt like he nailed the R&B look, even though he was the only “non-singing” male on stage. He said, “now you may not have gotten pregnant off of me but I got you through a lot of hard times (alluding to Martin).” Comedian Bruce Bruce sang a Keith Sweat “There You Go Telling Me No Again” snippet on the red carpet for us. It was a magical night in R&B music.

AllHipHop’s Rea Melissa Davis was on the red carpet speaking with the singers about the impact Sweat made on their careers, what it felt like being there to celebrate his birthday, the current state of R&B, as well as what they’re currently working on. Check out our video recap above.

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 9.16.54 PM

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 8.59.14 PM

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 9.12.17 PM

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 9.13.02 PM

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 9.13.25 PM

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 9.13.55 PM

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 9.02.48 PM

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 9.02.53 PM

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 9.03.13 PM

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 9.03.23 PM

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 9.03.39 PM

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 9.03.53 PM

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 9.04.11 PM

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 9.04.27 PM

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 9.04.37 PM

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 9.04.56 PM

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 9.05.03 PM

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 9.05.17 PM

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 9.14.18 PM

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 9.14.53 PM

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 9.15.15 PM

Read More

AllHipHop.com Alternatives Usher’s New Look Foundation Celebrates 15th Anniversary Coverage x Rea

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 8.48.30 PM

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 8.56.35 PM
Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 8.56.06 PM

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 8.56.18 PM

Usher Raymond IV recently celebrated the 15th anniversary of his non-profit organization The New Look Foundation in Atlanta, Georgia. Atlanta native Ludacris hosted the star-studded gala, which drew around 450 attendees. Celebrity guest in attendance included director Kenny Leon, boxing icon Sugar Ray Leonard; singers Rico Love, Josh Kauffman, super producer Jermaine Dupri, Blake Shelton, and producer and songwriter Bryan Michael Cox.

The President’s Circle Awards Luncheon was held at the St. Regis Atlanta hotel (in the upscale Buckhead neighborhood). Usher created the organization at the age of 20, with the backing of his mother.

The luncheon celebrated community influencers that have inspired youth to pursue their passions while making a significant impact in their respective professional fields. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed was honored with the Service Legacy Award alongside other notable honorees that included sponsors and outstanding students. The foundation raised more than $1 million through the luncheon. A live auction was held during the ceremony which raised an additional $98,000.

Former U.S President Bill Clinton, actor Robert De Niro and singer Pharrell Williams all posted video messages congratulating Usher on foundation’s success.

Usher’s foundation has helped more than 21,000 worldwide since its 1999 bright beginning. The mission of the foundation is to grant disadvantaged youth the exposure to talent, education, career and service as the program provides mentors, internships, and travel opportunities.

AllHipHop’s Rea Melissa Davis caught up with Usher, Ludacris, Sugar Ray Leonard, Josh Kaufman, Kenny Leon, and some of the honorees to discuss how important it is to empower today’s youth. Check out our red carpet video above.

Photo by Moses Robinson/Getty Images

Read More

AllHipHop.com R&B Alternatives Let’s Talk The State of R&B Inspired By Boyz II Men’s Shawn Stockman Article x Rea

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 8.19.40 PM

I talk often about my discontent with the state of R&B and missing what it used to be, so after seeing an Instagram post by Boyz II Men’s Shawn Stockman, I felt it would now be a good time to write about the state of R&B.

Remember at one time when rap was allegedly pronounced dead or a little unconscious and auto-tuned pop songs had taken over the charts? Has this same thing happened to R&B? The genre has certainly seen icons like Patti LaBelle, Whitney Houston, Luther Vandross, Marvin Gaye, and many more come through, but what is the current state of R&B now? Perhaps discordant sounds and hyper-sexual themes have moved us from baby making music to a pop or hip hop blended kind of R&B. The genre has gone from “I’ll Make Love To You” to “pull your panties to the side”. It seems to be more about making a quick hot single than making a lasting and indelible mark on music. If it’s about money only and making “popcorn music” then one’s artistry is already at jeopardy. R&B is having an identity crisis.

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 8.21.38 PM

Many artists have spoken about the genre and why it seems to be dying compared to the hip hop and popular genres. Some believe that R&B has lost its way compared to the dominance it held in ’90s. Another argument is songs lack real vocals, real emotion, live instrumentation, and love. R&B should not be “pull your panties to the side and these hoes ain’t loyal” but it is right now. R&B was a genre that gave you great vibes and evoked emotion in ways that no other genre could. R&B shaped the music industry for decades, but now it seems to have abandoned the amazing foundation it was built on (think ’60s,’70s, ’80s, ’90s). Interesting enough genres like country music have been able to stay true to their roots and continue to sell and win big.

Boyz II Men was recently awarded top R&B group of the century by the RIAA. Boyz II Men’s Shawn Stockman stated “If no one else is gonna say it, guess I will! It’s simple, the songs are too damn raunchy! You cannot play half the rotation from black artists on prime time radio because the songs are too suggestive! There’s no mystique, nothing romantic or gentlemen-like in the lyrics! Yeah, it might get you turnt in the club, and a small group of people may support it, but it’s not enough to get airplay in those formats that matter! And despite what advertisers to stations may think, I personally don’t believe that all young kids want to hear is that type of music all day. Change the songs producers, writers! You are the taste makers, not the labels! And then you will see a change!”

He went on to say, “What’s with R&B singers trying to be thugs? Cut that sh*t out and make some good music.”

Stockman also commented on why artists like Justin Timberlake and Robin Thicke are dominating the R&B genre right now. “While bruh bruh’s in the club talking about sluttin’ chics out calling them b*tches, JT and Robin are in the lounges romancing them.”

What happened to real R&B? I’m talking that ’60s-’90s R&B feel. What happened to timeless classic R&B, when people were really singing, true vocals, a cappella tracks, sick vocal runs, live instrumentation, love songs, sensuality, the funk, the new jack swing, the neo soul, doo-wop, the tight harmonies, the sick vocal arrangement, funky bass lines, ballads, when vocals or even production alone would give you chills or raise the hair on your arm or even make you cry with emotion? It’s incredible how you can play songs from years ago that still make you “jam” because the timeless quality of the music. But where is this kind of R&B? R&B’s role in both American and black culture is too crucial to let it fade to black or conform.

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 8.23.24 PM

The genre has gone completely pop or hip hop. The rappers are singing or the songs sound almost techno. Today’s production such as auto tune and things of that nature also affect the soulfulness of the music. R&B production, composition, and vocals at times are a little monotonous now. Sure there are some truly talented singers keeping the genre alive such as Fantasia, Marsha Ambrosius, John Legend, Jennifer Hudson, Pharrell, Chris Brown (at times), Frank Ocean, Miguel, The Weeknd, Bobby V, Neyo, Trey Songz, Melanie Fiona, TGT, Sevyn Streeter, and Usher just to name a few, but how could something so amazing fade to black or be on life support as a genre. Veteran R&B solo artists and groups are still touring and making music such as Beyonce, Toni Braxton, Babyface, Mariah Carey, R.Kelly, Mary J.Blige, Maxwell, Eric Benet, Kelly Price, The Isley Brothers, New Edition, Boyz II Men, Jagged Edge, 112, Silk, Dru Hill, K-Ci and JoJo and many more but even still, for some, the efforts seem to be scattered or come across as an afterthought in relation to mainstream success sometimes.

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 8.29.16 PM

Even at a time when artists like Jodeci, Mary J. Blige, Timbaland and Aaliyah, Total and Biggie married hip hop & R&B you still felt the presence of R&B. Now many will argue that there is not a lot of separation.

As a journalist who just turned 26 I have been fortunate to make some amazing strides in 5 years as I have talked to/(and or interviewed) Boyz II Men, Jodeci, Dru Hill, Jagged Edge, Silk, 112, R. Kelly, Babyface, Teddy Riley, TLC, Donell Jones, Kelly Price, Eric Benet, The Isley Brothers, New Edition, Kenny Lattimore, Brandy, Monica, Faith Evans, Nicci Gilbert, Xscape, H Town, Shai, SWV, Ginuwine, Tyrese, Tank, Keith Sweat, Mint Condition, Monifah, RL, Angie Stone, Mariah Carey, Jermaine Dupri, Bryan Michael Cox, Chante Moore, KeKe Wyatt, Case, Charlie Wilson and many more amazing artists and producers that were influential from the 60-90s/early 2000s era. Many talked about how amazing R&B used to be and what they are doing to continue to keep the style and genre afloat. The key phrase is “used to be” showing their acknowledgement of the fact that there has been a change or shift. Some have remained positive and optimistic by saying that R&B is in a good place, and it’s evolving.

R&B Group Silk stated that R&B is missing love. John Legend stated that he continues to write love songs because they come naturally to him because he grew up on them. “I grew up on Marvin Gaye. There’s something about it. It’s so universal. Everybody feels these things,” said Legend. John Legend’s “All Of Me” is a top record and its just his vocals and the piano proving that R&B still has a place in people’s hearts and it’s still amazing enough to be supported.

At the 2013 Grammy’s Chris Brown stated to Ryan Seacrest, “A lot of the music nowadays, I love it, but it’s very gimmicky. Even some of my music is gimmicky,” he laughed. “But I just want R&B to go back to the real music—a lot of instruments, the real band, essence of being able to perform and be an entertainer.”

What happened to radio and record label support for R&B? What happened to artist development? Nowadays a R&B artist would be lucky to get their song heard on the radio. Some stations are strictly hip hop format and others claim to be hip hop and R&B but may only spin a few R&B songs a day or play songs that are rap with a R&B hook or R&B featuring a rapper. Consequently R&B is confined (when it comes to radio) to what have been labelled the old school stations or online playlist stations like Pandora, thus making it a generational gap for exposure to real R&B as the “old school” stations cater to/ attract an older demographic. R&B, without elements of other genres or overly sexual themes, seems to be a risk to record labels nowadays.

Some say that people don’t want to hear what they used to hear in R&B. Although music is supposed to evolve I believe that this is false. People absolutely still want to hear what they used to hear in R&B music. R&B used to have that magic that made you want to be in love. It had that magic to speak to your emotions or something you were going through. It was timeless so it would take you back to a time in your life each time you heard a song. Where are the story tellers? Where are the completely amazing bodies of work? Where is the music that makes you reflect on life and love?

If R&B and its support don’t go back to focusing on quality not quantity, in a couple of years the genre could be defunct.

Read More

AllHipHop.com: The 20th Anniversary 2014 Essence Festival Brings Out The Stars! Prince and More Headline Article x Rea

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 6.05.50 PM

Photo Credit: Maya Washington

Essence hit it big again this year for their 20th anniversary. The Essence Festival’s 20th anniversary set a record for annual attendance, with more than 550,000 participants celebrating four days of R&B music, community, and black culture between the New Orleans’ convention center and the Mercedes Benz Superdome. The festival attracted 10,000 more people than the 2013 festival that was closed out by a sold out Beyonce encore performance.

Essence Communications Inc. president Michelle Ebanks said she woke up to a great sense of pride following the 2014 Essence Festival celebration.

Over 80 musical performances highlighted by Prince, Lionel Richie, Charlie Wilson, Mary J. Blige, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Janelle Monae, The Roots and more highlighted the festival. The convention center also hosted more than 150 speakers addressing everything from solutions to crime and violence to growing entrepreneurs.

Some of our AllHipHop team volunteered with 200 young girls and boys that participated in the #YesWeCode initiative that Prince partnered with over the weekend. The initiative targets low opportunity children and teaches them how to code and create their own apps that can change the community.

Essence executives thanked Mayor Mitch Landrieu for the city’s ongoing partnership. Both the city and Essence stated that they are committed to locking the festival into a new deal.

Thursday night Trey Songz, Nas, Jazmine Sullivan and more kicked off the Essence Festival weekend!

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 5.44.28 PM

Photo credit: Josh Brasted/Getty Images

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 5.44.34 PM

Photo credit: Erika Goldring/Getty Images

R&B crooner Trey wooed the ladies as usual with his vocals, solid band, and handsome looks. His lead guitarist led some amazing solos as well. Songz, eager to please, came out of his t-shirt at last for his female fans. Rapper Nas, Thursday’s headliner, performed an entertaining set as fans helped him celebrate the 20th anniversary of his debut album Illmatic. He remarked that he loved ESSENCE for recognizing the influence of Hip Hop. Jazmine Sullivan sang her entire heart out running through a couple of her hits that reminded fans why they fell in love with the Philly native in the first place.

Friday night belonged to LEGEND PRINCE! Prince brought the house down as he performed hit after hit after hit during his 24 song set. Halfway into his set he stated, “That was just he sound check.” and “Do you know how many hits I have?” Prince delivered an electrifying performance then left the stage abruptly. Just as fans wondered and worried it could be over, they joined forces to chant “Purple Rain, Purple Rain.” The singer then returned to the stage to close out with his 1984 hit “Purple Rain.” The main stage also turned into a funk royalty jam when Prince and Nile Rodgers teamed up to cover David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance.”

90s R&B legends SWV held down the Superlounge on Friday performing hits like “Right Here (Human Nature). SWV is one the world’s top selling female R&B groups of all time, and over the weekend they reminded fans why!

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 5.48.17 PM

Photo credit: Josh Brasted/Getty Images

The Queen of R&B and Hip Hop soul, Mary J. Blige brought down the house from main stage on Saturday, performing all of her classic hits including “Real Love”, “You Remind Me”, “Not Gon’ Cry”, “I’m Going Down” and more. Blige rocked the dome with effortless precision. Fans were out of their seats dancing and singing during the entire set. Blige represented nearly all of her 12 albums found in her discography this night. The powerfully raw singer closed with her hit “Family Affair.” Fans rocked and jammed all the way out of the Superdome.

Hot Stories from All Hip Hop

LIV-Jay-zHip-Hop Rumors: Insane Jay Z Stalker Says Bill O’Reilly Is The New Malcolm X
Big Sean Breaks Down “All Figured Out”Big Sean Joins Jay Z’s Roc Nation
VIBE_Magazine_1VIBE Magazine Ends Print Edition, Lays Workers Off
SparksClinton Sparks Breaks The Tradition Of Institutional Ideas
Young ACEXCLUSIVE: Young A.C. Talks “Enzo F60″ Project, Lil Meech & Lil Mouse + South Florida Hip Hop
george_zimmermanGeorge Zimmerman Threatens To Kill Man In Road Rage Incident, Reports Say
Kanye-WestHip-Hop Rumors: Is Kanye Doing Yeezus Part Two?
Jay ElectronicaHip-Hop Rumors: What Does Jay Electronica Have Up His Sleeve?
Lil KimLil Kim Shares Favorite ‘Ready to Die’ Memory With B.I.G.
Chuck Creekmur (AllHipHop) w_ Keith Clinkscales (REVOLT)Revolt TV Closes Out The Summer In Style!
illmaculateProfiles In Battle Rap: Illmaculate
LilKim_2014-Sep-09Mixtape Download: Lil Kim – “Hard Core”
LIV-Jay-zHip-Hop Rumors: Insane Jay Z Stalker Says Bill O’Reilly Is The New Malcolm X
Big Sean Breaks Down “All Figured Out”Big Sean Joins Jay Z’s Roc Nation
VIBE_Magazine_1VIBE Magazine Ends Print Edition, Lays Workers Off
SparksClinton Sparks Breaks The Tradition Of Institutional Ideas
Young ACEXCLUSIVE: Young A.C. Talks “Enzo F60″ Project, Lil Meech & Lil Mouse + South Florida Hip Hop
george_zimmermanGeorge Zimmerman Threatens To Kill Man In Road Rage Incident, Reports Say
Kanye-WestHip-Hop Rumors: Is Kanye Doing Yeezus Part Two?
Jay ElectronicaHip-Hop Rumors: What Does Jay Electronica Have Up His Sleeve?

AllHipHop.com Alternatives, Features
The 20th Anniversary 2014 Essence Festival Brings Out The Stars! Prince and More Headline
by Rea Melissa Davis @Reyonce_ July 7th, 2014 @ 4:41am
Screen shot 2014-07-09 at 7.40.10 AM

No Comments

Rate This

Share with Shortlink:

Photo Credit: Maya Washington

Essence hit it big again this year for their 20th anniversary. The Essence Festival’s 20th anniversary set a record for annual attendance, with more than 550,000 participants celebrating four days of R&B music, community, and black culture between the New Orleans’ convention center and the Mercedes Benz Superdome. The festival attracted 10,000 more people than the 2013 festival that was closed out by a sold out Beyonce encore performance.

Essence Communications Inc. president Michelle Ebanks said she woke up to a great sense of pride following the 2014 Essence Festival celebration.

Over 80 musical performances highlighted by Prince, Lionel Richie, Charlie Wilson, Mary J. Blige, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Janelle Monae, The Roots and more highlighted the festival. The convention center also hosted more than 150 speakers addressing everything from solutions to crime and violence to growing entrepreneurs.

Some of our AllHipHop team volunteered with 200 young girls and boys that participated in the #YesWeCode initiative that Prince partnered with over the weekend. The initiative targets low opportunity children and teaches them how to code and create their own apps that can change the community.

Essence executives thanked Mayor Mitch Landrieu for the city’s ongoing partnership. Both the city and Essence stated that they are committed to locking the festival into a new deal.

Thursday night Trey Songz, Nas, Jazmine Sullivan and more kicked off the Essence Festival weekend!

Screen shot 2014-07-09 at 7.30.05 AM

Photo credit: Josh Brasted/Getty Images

Screen shot 2014-07-09 at 7.34.57 AM

Photo credit: Erika Goldring/Getty Images

R&B crooner Trey wooed the ladies as usual with his vocals, solid band, and handsome looks. His lead guitarist led some amazing solos as well. Songz, eager to please, came out of his t-shirt at last for his female fans. Rapper Nas, Thursday’s headliner, performed an entertaining set as fans helped him celebrate the 20th anniversary of his debut album Illmatic. He remarked that he loved ESSENCE for recognizing the influence of Hip Hop. Jazmine Sullivan sang her entire heart out running through a couple of her hits that reminded fans why they fell in love with the Philly native in the first place.

Friday night belonged to LEGEND PRINCE! Prince brought the house down as he performed hit after hit after hit during his 24 song set. Halfway into his set he stated, “That was just he sound check.” and “Do you know how many hits I have?” Prince delivered an electrifying performance then left the stage abruptly. Just as fans wondered and worried it could be over, they joined forces to chant “Purple Rain, Purple Rain.” The singer then returned to the stage to close out with his 1984 hit “Purple Rain.” The main stage also turned into a funk royalty jam when Prince and Nile Rodgers teamed up to cover David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance.”

90s R&B legends SWV held down the Superlounge on Friday performing hits like “Right Here (Human Nature). SWV is one the world’s top selling female R&B groups of all time, and over the weekend they reminded fans why!

Screen shot 2014-07-09 at 7.32.39 AM

Photo credit: Josh Brasted/Getty Images

The Queen of R&B and Hip Hop soul, Mary J. Blige brought down the house from main stage on Saturday, performing all of her classic hits including “Real Love”, “You Remind Me”, “Not Gon’ Cry”, “I’m Going Down” and more. Blige rocked the dome with effortless precision. Fans were out of their seats dancing and singing during the entire set. Blige represented nearly all of her 12 albums found in her discography this night. The powerfully raw singer closed with her hit “Family Affair.” Fans rocked and jammed all the way out of the Superdome.

90′s R&B crooner Tevin Campbell hit the stage of the Superlounge performing his hits “Can We Talk”, “Always in My Heart”, and “SHHH (Break It Down).” Campbell proved that he “still has it” in two ways: vocals, and the fact that he packed out the entire room of the Superlounge. When he began singing crowd favorite, “Can We Talk” he asked the audience to let him sing his song, and for them to come in on the hook.


Hot Stories from All Hip Hop

LIV-Jay-zHip-Hop Rumors: Insane Jay Z Stalker Says Bill O’Reilly Is The New Malcolm X
Big Sean Breaks Down “All Figured Out”Big Sean Joins Jay Z’s Roc Nation
VIBE_Magazine_1VIBE Magazine Ends Print Edition, Lays Workers Off
SparksClinton Sparks Breaks The Tradition Of Institutional Ideas
Young ACEXCLUSIVE: Young A.C. Talks “Enzo F60″ Project, Lil Meech & Lil Mouse + South Florida Hip Hop
george_zimmermanGeorge Zimmerman Threatens To Kill Man In Road Rage Incident, Reports Say
Kanye-WestHip-Hop Rumors: Is Kanye Doing Yeezus Part Two?
Jay ElectronicaHip-Hop Rumors: What Does Jay Electronica Have Up His Sleeve?
Lil KimLil Kim Shares Favorite ‘Ready to Die’ Memory With B.I.G.
Chuck Creekmur (AllHipHop) w_ Keith Clinkscales (REVOLT)Revolt TV Closes Out The Summer In Style!
illmaculateProfiles In Battle Rap: Illmaculate
LilKim_2014-Sep-09Mixtape Download: Lil Kim – “Hard Core”
LIV-Jay-zHip-Hop Rumors: Insane Jay Z Stalker Says Bill O’Reilly Is The New Malcolm X
Big Sean Breaks Down “All Figured Out”Big Sean Joins Jay Z’s Roc Nation
VIBE_Magazine_1VIBE Magazine Ends Print Edition, Lays Workers Off
SparksClinton Sparks Breaks The Tradition Of Institutional Ideas
Young ACEXCLUSIVE: Young A.C. Talks “Enzo F60″ Project, Lil Meech & Lil Mouse + South Florida Hip Hop
george_zimmermanGeorge Zimmerman Threatens To Kill Man In Road Rage Incident, Reports Say
Kanye-WestHip-Hop Rumors: Is Kanye Doing Yeezus Part Two?
Jay ElectronicaHip-Hop Rumors: What Does Jay Electronica Have Up His Sleeve?

AllHipHop.com Alternatives, Features
The 20th Anniversary 2014 Essence Festival Brings Out The Stars! Prince and More Headline
by Rea Melissa Davis @Reyonce_ July 7th, 2014 @ 4:41am
Screen shot 2014-07-09 at 7.40.10 AM

No Comments

Rate This

Share with Shortlink:

Photo Credit: Maya Washington

Essence hit it big again this year for their 20th anniversary. The Essence Festival’s 20th anniversary set a record for annual attendance, with more than 550,000 participants celebrating four days of R&B music, community, and black culture between the New Orleans’ convention center and the Mercedes Benz Superdome. The festival attracted 10,000 more people than the 2013 festival that was closed out by a sold out Beyonce encore performance.

Essence Communications Inc. president Michelle Ebanks said she woke up to a great sense of pride following the 2014 Essence Festival celebration.

Over 80 musical performances highlighted by Prince, Lionel Richie, Charlie Wilson, Mary J. Blige, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Janelle Monae, The Roots and more highlighted the festival. The convention center also hosted more than 150 speakers addressing everything from solutions to crime and violence to growing entrepreneurs.

Some of our AllHipHop team volunteered with 200 young girls and boys that participated in the #YesWeCode initiative that Prince partnered with over the weekend. The initiative targets low opportunity children and teaches them how to code and create their own apps that can change the community.

Essence executives thanked Mayor Mitch Landrieu for the city’s ongoing partnership. Both the city and Essence stated that they are committed to locking the festival into a new deal.

Thursday night Trey Songz, Nas, Jazmine Sullivan and more kicked off the Essence Festival weekend!

Screen shot 2014-07-09 at 7.30.05 AM

Photo credit: Josh Brasted/Getty Images

Screen shot 2014-07-09 at 7.34.57 AM

Photo credit: Erika Goldring/Getty Images

R&B crooner Trey wooed the ladies as usual with his vocals, solid band, and handsome looks. His lead guitarist led some amazing solos as well. Songz, eager to please, came out of his t-shirt at last for his female fans. Rapper Nas, Thursday’s headliner, performed an entertaining set as fans helped him celebrate the 20th anniversary of his debut album Illmatic. He remarked that he loved ESSENCE for recognizing the influence of Hip Hop. Jazmine Sullivan sang her entire heart out running through a couple of her hits that reminded fans why they fell in love with the Philly native in the first place.

Friday night belonged to LEGEND PRINCE! Prince brought the house down as he performed hit after hit after hit during his 24 song set. Halfway into his set he stated, “That was just he sound check.” and “Do you know how many hits I have?” Prince delivered an electrifying performance then left the stage abruptly. Just as fans wondered and worried it could be over, they joined forces to chant “Purple Rain, Purple Rain.” The singer then returned to the stage to close out with his 1984 hit “Purple Rain.” The main stage also turned into a funk royalty jam when Prince and Nile Rodgers teamed up to cover David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance.”

90s R&B legends SWV held down the Superlounge on Friday performing hits like “Right Here (Human Nature). SWV is one the world’s top selling female R&B groups of all time, and over the weekend they reminded fans why!

Screen shot 2014-07-09 at 7.32.39 AM

Photo credit: Josh Brasted/Getty Images

The Queen of R&B and Hip Hop soul, Mary J. Blige brought down the house from main stage on Saturday, performing all of her classic hits including “Real Love”, “You Remind Me”, “Not Gon’ Cry”, “I’m Going Down” and more. Blige rocked the dome with effortless precision. Fans were out of their seats dancing and singing during the entire set. Blige represented nearly all of her 12 albums found in her discography this night. The powerfully raw singer closed with her hit “Family Affair.” Fans rocked and jammed all the way out of the Superdome.

90′s R&B crooner Tevin Campbell hit the stage of the Superlounge performing his hits “Can We Talk”, “Always in My Heart”, and “SHHH (Break It Down).” Campbell proved that he “still has it” in two ways: vocals, and the fact that he packed out the entire room of the Superlounge. When he began singing crowd favorite, “Can We Talk” he asked the audience to let him sing his song, and for them to come in on the hook.

90s favorite, R&B quartet 112, held down the Superlounge Saturday bringing the heat as they performed some of their most classic dance tracks like “It’s Over Now.”

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 5.52.43 PM

Photo credit: Josh Brasted/Getty Images

Marsha Ambrosius killed the Ford Super Lounge performing her hit song “Late Nights/Early Mornings” while mashing it up with a cover of Prince’s “Sex On Fire” as well as her new song “Friends and Lovers.”

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 5.54.13 PM

Photo credit: Josh Brasted/Getty Images

Philly’s own Jill Scott opened her set with her song “Gimme”.

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 5.55.19 PM

Photo credit: Josh Brasted/FilmMagic

Sunday Uncle Charlie Wilson and Lionel Richie held down the main stage in classic legend form. Uncle Charlie showed fans once again that he is a true performer. The music industry’s famous uncle is 61 but you wouldn’t know it from the way he shows up and shows out every time he hits the Essence main stage. At one point Wilson and crew hit the stage to perform in suits embellished with LED lights. Wilson’s energy level had fans in awe. It seemed as if the dancers had to keep up with him. 61 is the new 20. Uncle Charlie brought the crowd to the dance floor, to the bedroom, and to church.

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 5.56.39 PM
Photo credit: Josh Brasted/FilmMagic

Lionel Richie had a nice set, although it was tough to follow Charlie Wilson. His band gave some pretty solid guitar solos. Richie proceeded to give a nice run of Commodores favorites that were ultimately the highlight of the show. Richie pleased the crowd with “Zoom,” “Brick House” and “Hello” as well.

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 5.58.01 PM

Photo credit: Erika Goldring/Getty Images

Erykah Badu also helped Essence Festival celebrate their 20th anniversary by performing her hits like “On & On” and “Next Life Time.” The neo-soul chanteuse boomed with the backing of her live band and even kicked a freestyle for fans. After jokingly saying goodnight to her fans, the soul singer eased into her classics “I Choose You”, “Next Lifetime”, “Apple Tree”, “Love of My Life”, and Tyrone.

Fans were also treated to the likes of performances by Day 26, Doug E. Fresh, Jagged Edge, Elle Varner, Estelle, Sevyn Streeter, Kelly Price, Liv Warfield, Michelle Williams, Naughty By Nature, August Alsina, Raheem DeVaughn, and more in the Superlounges.

Read More

AllHipHop.com: VH1’s “ATL: The Untold Story of Atlanta’s Rise In The Rap Game” Red Carpet < Film coverage by Rea

Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 5.36.06 PM
By Rea Melissa Davis and Ashley Marietta
Sunday night Atlanta music legends, media, music executives and tastemakers packed out the Rialto Theater in Atlanta , Georgia to attend the advance screening of “ATL: The Untold Story of Atlanta’s Rise in the Rap Game”. Also referred to as ATL Rise, the special is a 90-minute documentary for VH1 that explores how Atlanta earned the mantle of hip-hop dominance, a fascinating ride to the top of the rap game that pioneered a seismic shift in American music as well as well as allowed Atlanta to command the reputation as hip-hop’s center of gravity. Ludacris, Usher, T.I., Future, Lil Jon, Jermaine Dupri, and Jeezy are among the Atlanta based music stars that will appear in the doc. Pioneers of the Atlanta rap game Kilo Ali, Raheem the Dream, MoJo, MC Shy D and the producers of Organized Noize also appear in the documentary. For a while now, Atlanta has emerged as one of the south’s trendiest and most influential entertainment hubs so it was only right for VH1 to pay a visit to the Dirty South. The documentary will air tonight on VH1 at 10 p.m.
AllHipHop caught up with Ludacris, Pastor Troy, Shanti Das, Killer Mike, Chaka Zulu, Kawan Prather, DJ Nabs and more to discuss Atlanta’s contribution to Hip Hop over the years, their favorite classic Atlanta rap moment, and whether or not Atlanta is accurately represented in the documentary. Check out the red carpet recap below.

Read More