It was 1995 when the film, ‘Panther’, hit theaters. ‘Panther‘ tells the story of a guy name Judge, who returns home from Vietnam, beset by violence and police brutality/discrimination. Judge’s friend, Cy, tells him about a group (panthers) he’s organizing. Cy convinces Judge to join him, with the mission to end the violence and police brutality/discrimination. However, Judge becomes pressured by police to become an informant against one of the other leaders of the Panther organization.

At that time, I remember the impact ‘Panther’ had on me. In my late teens, the film’s story made me more aware of what the Panthers were all about and the changes that were needed (and still need today). The soundtrack was also impressive. One of my favorites was the inspiring single, “Freedom”, by some of the best female R&B/soul and Hip-Hop artists of that time.

Not only was I inspired by the song, but seeing all of my favorites come together was everything!

There are two versions. The “rap” version was FIYAH!!!

Hit play to both versions below!

Remember the days when we couldn’t wait to turn on the radio?

The music that played across the airwaves was music that made us smile and reminisce…music that snatched our souls and made us yearn for more…music that made you want to fall in love and stay in it….music that just made you feel good!

Today, most of us barely listen to the radio for a few reasons.

Music today has lost so much substance, meaning, value and the lyrics are so degrading and misogynistic, you can’t help but wonder if the music actually reflects the dynamic between men and women, which has changed for the worst. It has gotten so bad over the years that we keep the radio off so that our kids doesn’t become exposed to such negativity.

Let’s go back to the days when music meant something.

There were love songs like “On Bended Knee” by BoyzIIMen, “With You” by Tony Terry, “Soon as I Get Home” by Babyface, “Can We Talk” by Tevin Campbell, “Yearning For Your Love” by The Gap Band, “P.Y.T” by Michael Jackson, “Nothing Compares to You” by Prince, “A Long Walk” by Jill Scott, “Brown Sugar” by D’Angelo, “I Need Love” by LL Cool J, “Pretty Brown Eyes” by Mint Condition, and ANYTHING by Luther Vandross.

There were conscious, supportive, and happy songs like “Lost Ones” by Lauren Hill, “Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin, and “Brotha” by Angie Stone”.

You can’t even change the dial on the radio without hearing demeaning lyrics, which in many cases, us women dance to at the club, as long as the beat is right!

It used to be rap artists that were the primary musicians with misogynistic lyrics. Unfortunately, lyrics of such nature has carried over into the R&B scene. Titles like “These Hoes ain’t Loyal”, and R&B songs with the word “bitch” thrown in a few times, A lot of these R&B songs are no longer pleasant to our ears or our hearts.

We, as fans, want to support these artists because they are talented. But, how can we spend money on a project that teaches their fans, particularly the young and impressionable ones, that treating women with misogynistic behavior is okay?

As a fan of music and an observer, I am convinced that the music of today has shown us the true dynamic between men and women in these modern times. I’m convinced the true dynamic between women and men is partly the reason dating has become hard to do.

But that’s a whole new blog post

 

The bottom line is I don’t want to turn on the radio and hear “you stupid ass bitch, I ain’t fuckin’ with you!”, whether it’s censored or not. That particular song is not “R&B”, but that’s not the point, for those who wants to point that out.

I’ll either keep it on one station I’m satisfied with or listen to my customary playlist.

I see Ne-Yo, and Pharrell, and John Legend, and Jill Scott, and Kem, and Tyrese, and Ledisi, and Fantasia, and Musiq Soulchild, and BJ The Chicago Kid, and Kenny Lattimore, and a few other artists who are keeping R&B alive, safe, pleasant, and worth spending money on to add to our music collection.

Meanwhile, we search the internet for other talented and unknown artists who are missed under the radar, because the over-saturation of pop and unpleasant R&B has taken over the airwaves.

I understand that times change with each generation.

I understand that the generations under mine like the music they’ve grown accustomed to listening to.

However, that doesn’t change the fact that what they listen to lacks substance.

 

 

 

When it comes to great films, I think it’s important for them to have a soundtrack that represents the film’s theme so effortlessly. The films that I’ve chosen are guaranteed to be among the list of many movie/music lovers when it comes to favorite soundtracks. Simply put…these soundtracks will never go out of style.

 

The Beautiful Ones - Prince

Movie’s release year: 1984

Favorite track: “The Beautiful Ones” by Prince

 

Movie’s release date: 1995

Favorite track: “Count On Me” by Whitney Houston and CeCe Winans

 

Movie’s release year: 1997

Favorite track: “Hopeless” by Dionne Farris

 

Movie’s release year: 1996

Favorite track: “Missing You” by Brandy, Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight, and Tamia

 

 

Movie’s release year: 1997

Favorite track: “We’re Not Making Love No More” by  Dru Hill

 

 

Movie’s release year: 1991

Favorite track: “I Wanna Sex You Up” by Color Me Badd

 

 

Movie’s release year: 1996

Favorite track: “On The Line” by Michael Jackson

 

Movie’s release year: 1994

Favorite track: “Anything” by SWV

 

 

 

Movie’s release date: 1994

Favorite track:  “Crooklyn” by Crooklyn Dodgers

 

 

Movie’s release date: 1998

Favorite track: “Your Home is in My Heart” Chante Moore and BoyzIIMen

 

Movie’s release year: 1999

Favorite track: “What You Want” by The Roots

When I first heard “If I Ever Fall in Love” by Shai, I immediately convinced myself that no other person or group could do any better. I’ve been biased since the nineties….until Pentatonix and Jason Derulo proved me wrong.

These guys perfectly executed the timeless and classic hit made famous by the handsome brothas of Shai. I’m sure they are proud to have passed the torch to a group that could effortlessly snatch souls with it as they have!

Press play below!

 

 

CeeLo Green’s Alter Ego, Gnarly Davidson, wants you to know he has a crush on “Jay-Z’s Girl”.

We all know that Hip-Hop mogul Jay-Z’s girl is his wife, mega superstar, Beyoncé, which makes for a comical song and visual that pokes fun at Beyoncé’s adoring fans. “Jay-Z’s Girl” is a spin from Rick Springfield’s “Jessie’s Girl”. The John Colombo-directed video stars CeeLo’s stand-in, “Little Fun” as Beyoncé’s admirer.

Check out the hilarious visual below!

What do you get when you mix house with Opera?
You get Septimius The Great!

This Baltimore native proves that you can turn your dreams into fruition with dedication and the courage to be different.

Although this former model doesn’t have much of a musical background, Septimius had a vision to create unique dance music that would break barriers and have everyone on their feet. Now, Septimius is a musical innovator with global recognition and ready to take on any critics that said it couldn’t be done!

What is that, you ask?

Incorporating opera with house music!

With the help of opera singer, Carmelita Bartholomew, Septimius The Great is making a permanent and well-deserved presence in the music industry! By blending rap with opera over incorporated music styles like house, dance, electronica, and pop, this duo has proven that thinking outside the box can benefit you in many ways.

Septimius’s Debut CD ‘To Be Emperor’ has been well-received both domestically and internationally, and it has also landed the duo Grammy nominations in 4 categories, including Best New Artist.

If you want to know more about this amazing artist, check out his website. In the meantime, check out his Pre-Grammy send-off event/performance, covered by Out & About with Lakia & Aneesah!

For the past ten years, I have noticed a decline in groups. When I say groups, I mean those 4, 5, and 6 member groups that effortlessly snatched our souls single after single. Those groups that give us a recollection of memories today, bringing us back to the days when music had substance and the radio was LIFE! I miss those days when our R&B groups used to sang their ASSES AWFFF, while either doing a choreographic routine or gyrating their hips on somebody’s stage!

TODAY….it’s like R&B groups have become a thing of the past. While I can appreciate the solo artists out there doing their thing (namely Ne-yo, Monica, and Jill Scott…just to name a few), I’m convinced that nothing gets your five senses jumpin’ like a good solid soulful R&B group!

 

 

 

 

 

  Groups were heavy duty in the nineties! From The Whispers to BoyzIIMen, my generation was definitely blessed to grow up as young adults during a time where music was created to transform you; lift you up, make you smile like your first love, and make you feel good like Saturday mornings. That’s what groups did for us!

Our girl groups sang lyrics that girls in love could only dream about saying and our boy groups were our perfect boyfriends in our heads. Groups gave us options to choose “our favorite”. Groups gave us an inside look at how a song can be created so beautifully with unified voices. Groups made us confident with singing their songs out loud with our friends without caring if we sounded terrible.

The vocal groups that dominated the nineties has left a tremendous impression on us. So much so, that we see how the vocal group phenomenon have all died down by the domination of pop and hip hop. Groups are indeed a thing of the past and I’m sad about all of it!

Today, the music that stay on rotation at our local radio stations  is music birthed by computers, as opposed to five part harmony. The demise of vocal groups took place when the popularity of R&B music left. It hurts my heart to see that the music industry struggles to keep it alive. There’s a much need for groups today, considering the fact that the industry is saturated with solo artists who prefers to either work by themselves or throw in a “featured artist” on a couple of singles.

It’s like groups have faded away into a distant memory. We miss the harmony, the matching outfits, the charisma, the package of talent displaying the individuality of each member collectively, and the overall feeling they gave us when singing our favorite tracks.

There’s a saying when you begin to miss an old lover.

I want that old thang back

R&B music and the groups that sang them made me feel all giddy.

I remember the days when I couldn’t WAIT to rip open that new CD I had purchased, just to hear that 3,4,5 part harmony blasting from my stereo’s speakers. I can’t even remember the last time I experienced that.

Where have R&B groups gone?

Will they ever come back?

 

Singer/actress, Letoya Luckett, is back on the music scene with brand new music and a brand new look to match!

The former member of Destiny Child, who rocked a shoulder-length wrap with a bang for many years, is now rocking a cute pixie cut and showing it off in her newest visual.

“Bak 2 Life” is the latest single from the forthcoming album,  ‘Until Then’. The Michael Vaughn Hernandez-directed visual to Luckett’s hot new single is an 8-minute movie that tells the story of a couple at odds. In one scene, Letoya’s character meets Cynthia, her man’s “best friend”, for the first time. The meeting turns into an uneasy moment for Letoya, as she watches the two inappropriately embrace. The plot thickens when Letoya suspects that her man is a little too friendly with his female best friend. The video ends with a heated argument between LeToya and her man, resulting in her leaving the relationship.

The scene with the girlfriend meeting the best friend has circulated throughout the internet, having fans asking themselves what they would do if they were in that situation.  The treatment conceptualized behind this thought-provoking visual provides a cautionary tale for those who are dealing with someone who has a best friend of the opposite sex.

Press play below!

What would YOU do if you were Letoya’s character?

I was watching a web series by Issa Rae Presents when I caught a tune accompanying one of the scenes. I fell immediately in love with the charming tune so hard, I had to purchase music by the artist who’s been on the independent scene for some time.

Her name is Alex Isley and I am forever a fan!

Via Website:

 

Alex Isley discovered her love of music and passion for performing at an early age. She takes great pride in the influence and legacy of her family’s music; her father, Ernie Isley, and her uncles are collectively the Isley Brothers. From living room shows to elementary school talent shows, she began to cultivate her passion into a career as a musician.

She started classical vocal training at the age of 12 and later went on to attend the LA County High School for the Arts, where she discovered her love for not only listening to, but for performing jazz as well.

Singers such as Ella Fitzgerald and Kurt Elling made an immense impression on her and her approach to performing, which she incorporated in her performances as a Jazz Studies major at UCLA. During her college years, Alex began songwriting, drawing from her own life experiences as well as those of friends and family. She wrote most of what would later become her first self-written and produced debut EP, “The Love/Art Memoirs,” which she released in Spring, 2012. The EP’s single, “Set In Stone,” was featured in the film “The Last Fall,” which debuted on BET and is currently airing on Netflix.

In August 2013, she released her second self-written and produced project, “DreamsInAnalog,”, which has been well-received around the world. Aside from her own music, she has more recently collaborated with those of different sound aesthetics including:Brandon Williams and Moonchild (On Williams’ “Leave Love Be”), Scarface (“Mental Exorcism”), and Kendrick Lamar’s 2016 Grammy Award-Winning, “These Walls”.

Alex’s third and most-recent self-written & produced collective,
L U X U R Y, is now available on Bandcamp, iTunes, and Amazon. She is currently working on several visuals as well as planning to take to the stage nationwide and beyond.

 

I have ‘L U X U R Y’, her latest project on repeat! Catch snippets of Luxury below!

 

 

This is her hit from her ‘Dreams In Analog’ project.

Click here for more music by Alex Isley.

 

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