Wednesday, March 31, 2010

New Video: Janelle Monae "Tight Rope"

Janelle Monae featuring Big Boi
Tight Rope [Video Premiere]
Director: Wendy Morgan

Channeling her inner James Brown and Jackie Wilson, Janelle Monae stars in a quirky clip to accompany her first single from her upcoming album The ArchAndroid. Her EP Metropolis: The Chase Suite told the story of an android which fell in love with a human. The attraction was prohibited so she was pursued by the authorities. Judging by her full length album's title, she is keeping up with that storyline. Anyway, Monae has a refreshing image. She is androgynous while still maintaining every once of femininity. I guess beauty can't be hidden by tuxes. Be sure to check out her album when it hits stores May 18th

Trey Songz Gets Wet & Goes Vintage

Singer Trey Songz
for VIBE Magazine April/May issue

The R&B sensation talked with VIBE about his recent rise to the top among the overcrowded crop of artists in the genre. Jeezy is on the alternate cover.
Below is an accompanying video from VIBE's website:

Trey also recently did a shoot with Complex Magazine, looking back on “the era of bop and blues, when record labels were as perfectly dressed-down as their artists.”

Complex Magazine
Photography: Leanne Mueller
Stylist: Anoma Ya Whittaker
Prop Stylist: Eddie Walker

Oh My God, Usher...

Usher ft. Will.I.Am
OMG [Video Premiere]
Director: Anthony Mandler

The song is a grower. Usher is a bit old to sing a song called OMG or say thing like "she got a booty like pow pow pow". However, I'm sure that the song will be a huge club hit. It has Black Eyed Peas written all over it and no one can seem to resist dancing to a BEP hit. I enjoy seeing Usher really dance in the video and I like his army of vixens. It gives a Robert Palmer feel to me without being too literal. I'm sure that this will be a good single choice for Mr. Raymond. By the way, that shadow dance was hot and executed nicely.

Usher's newest album Raymond vs Raymond is in stores now.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

New Video: MGMT "Flash Delirium

Flash Delirium [Video Premiere]

What an interesting video. The duo MGMT who was nominated for Best New Artist Grammy in this year's ceremony is back with their sophomore album Congratulations due next month. They have decided not to officially promote any radio singles and focus on the album as a whole for the release.

From an interview with New Musical Epress, a UK popular music magazine:
"We'd rather people hear the whole album as an album and see what tracks jump out rather than the ones that get played on the radio – if anything gets played on the radio!"
Goldwasser explained. He added: "There definitely isn't a 'Time to Pretend' or a 'Kids' on the album. We've been talking about ways to make sure people hear the album as an album in order and not just figure out what are the best three tracks, download those and not listen to the rest of it."

Interesting point. In a time when people only download the singles from iTunes or illegally, the art of a great album often gets lost. I dig them. And to think, I never would have gotten into them if it were not for Solange's blog.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Contributing Editor: The New Black

Models David Agbodji, André Douglas, Ibrahim Baaith,
Mike VanMuers, Nate Gill, Oraine Barrett, Salieu Jalloh
for Contributing Editor
Editorial: The New Black
Photography: Jules Schratter

Contributing Editor features seven of the most prominent male models of color. Shot by Jules Schratter, the editorial is great. Black male models have been getting a lot of love and attention from the industry lately with rising stars popping up in major campaigns as well as the popularity of Centric's Model City. It's nice to see this diverse group of men of color. Not one look is the same among them. The shoot features handwritten testimonies from each guy about his journey in modeling. Please check out the full editorial. It's an impressive inside look. Black is beautiful. Indeed

[View the FULL EDITORIAL HERE at Contributing Editor]

Music's Poet Laureate: Erykah Badu

Erykah Badu
Window Seat
[Official Video]
Director: Coodie Rock
Inspired by Brooklyn-based duo Matt and Kim

The video for Badu's first single off of her new album was filmed in downtown Dallas with no crew, no set, and in one take. The controversial clip is thought provoking which is always the case for Badu. She uses allusions to the JFK Assassination (opening audio and gunshot at the end). The reference ties in with the words she speaks at the end.

Spoken word from the video:
"They play it safe…Are quick to assassinate what they do not understand. They move in packs ingesting more and more fear with every act of hate on one another. They feel most comfortable in groups, less guilt to swallow. They are US! This is what we have become, afraid to respect the individual. A single person within a circumstance can move one to change, to love our self, to EVOLVE."

Badu's new album New Amerykah, Part II: Return of the Ankh is the second installment of the series of a planned three albums. The first, New Amerykah, Part II: 4th World War, dealt with political and social issues while Return of the Ankh surrounds more personal issues such as love. Since Worlwide Underground, Badu has been taking a more abstract approach to music. Her albums have consisted of sparse sounds and have been more about an aesthetic. The new album seems to be a throwback to old Badu style with slinky soulful tracks and R&B samples. The soul is back and Badu still stands as the who only neo-soul girl who has stuck to her guns while still evolving. (Jill Scott and Angie Stone have both gone more commercial while India.Arie has plateaued.) The new album is stellar. I especially love the Out My Mind, Just in Time which reminds me of Green Eyes from the Mama's Gun LP. Erykah Badu stands out as more than a musician to me. In a world void of African American political/spiritual leaders that we had in the past, Badu uses her art to act as our own Stokely Carmichael and Angela Davis. She is not alienating; only truthful. A true artist. A true poet.

Key Tracks: Window Seat; Umm Hmm; Turn Me Away (Get Munny); Out My Mind, Just in Time

Erykah’s fifth album, New Amerykah, Part II: Return of the Ankh, will be released on Tuesday, March 30.

New Video: Kelis "Acapella"

Acapella [Music Video Premiere]
Director: Rankin and Chris Cottam

Let me preface this by saying I have never considered Kelis to be a singer. However, I have always loved the fact that she is not one dimensional. Bordering along the lines of crazy, the Bossy singer always keeps us guessing. Here with the clip for her international hit Acapella, she serves up some images that are quite intriguing. Kelis never goes half way. When she does something, she goes all in. The video has a tribal feel which is a stark contrast to the urban Kelis Was Here days. I love the track. David Guetta is on fire right now. The song serves as the first single for her upcoming album Flesh Tone. Remember, Kelis was shaking things up long before Gaga.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Daily Tea: No Worries

With a child's heart, go face the worries of the day
With a child's heart, turn each problem into play
No need to worry no need to fear
Just being alive makes it all so very clear
-Michael Jackson, With a Child's Heart

Sometimes, we let life's problems weigh us down. Learn to turn life's lemons into lemon drop shots. :) It could always be worse. There is difference between coping and moping. Lean on someone, talk about it, or channel it into an activity. Try to remember that just being alive is a blessing in itself. Find a way to be carefree and laugh a little.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Michelle Tackles Health in Her Own Way

First Lady Michelle Obama
covers Newsweek

Health seems to be on the minds of the Obamas lately. Mrs. O herself tackles her platform of childhood obesity in this week's Newsweek magazine. The issue includes an article written by the first lady herself. "Michelle on a Mission" provides some insight into the first lady's "Let's Move" initiative. The initiative's mission can be summed as as follows:

"Let's Move is about families making manageable changes that fit with their schedules, their budgets, and their needs and tastes. It's about giving parents the tools they need to keep their families healthy and fit, and getting more nutritious food—more fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and less sugar, fat, and salt—into our nation's schools. It's about helping grocery stores serve communities that don't have access to fresh foods, and finding new ways to help our kids stay physically active in school and at home."

Also, here are some great pics of the Obamas dancing at the recent White House Governors Ball. They are too cute.
Official White House Photos by Pete Souza

The Bionic Woman: Christina Stages Comeback

Above is the official album cover for Christina Aguliera's Bionic as well as the single cover as well.

From her official website:
Aguilera’s been hard at work in the studio for the past year and is pleased to announce the release of her highly anticipated 4th studio album Bionic (RCA Records) on June 8th, 2010. The first single from Bionic is the fiercely energetic anthem “Not Myself Tonight”, produced by Polow Da Don. The song will premiere on at 6pm EDT on 3/30, impacts radio on 4/5 and will be available on iTunes on 4/13.

Aguilera describes the album as a unique mix of many genres and styles of music, “I was able to explore and create a fresh, sexy feel using both electronic and organic elements with subject matter ranging from playful to introspective. I am so excited for my fans to hear the new sound. It is something I don’t think anyone will expect.”

Christina and her label have been hitting the promo hard with this one. Her Greatest Hits LP with Keeps Gettin Better at the helm got lost under the cloud of Gaga. With Lady Gaga still reigning supreme, it will take more than good music to break through her pop hold. I'm glad that Christina's team is creating mystique around this record to excite people and invoke anticipation. Christina is one of the greatest voices that this generation of pop has seen but she has always struggled conceptually. I hope she makes a smashing comeback.

The Daily Tea: Knowledge is Power

"The beginning of knowledge is the discovery of something we do not understand."
-Frank Herbert, American science fiction author

Intelligence is not necessarily limited to the possession of knowledge. Intelligence can mean having a thirst for knowledge. We won't understand everything in life. Sometimes the more questions that we ask, the more questions arise. The key is to always continue to learn and gain wisdom. Never give in to apathy. Read more. Listen more. Look up words that you don't know. Gain a better understanding of what's going on in the world around you. Whether you are honing skills to help you perform better at your craft or just building your vocabulary by doing word puzzles, no one gets too old to learn something new.

Baptiste Giabiconi gets Iconic

Model Baptiste Giabiconi
for L'Officiel Hommes China
Stylist: Barnabé Hardy; Make up: Brigitte Hymans
Hair: Ramona;Photo Assistant: Yi Yang
Styli st Assistant: Nicholas Galletti; Digital & Retouch:Julien Bornet
Photography: Xiang Sun

Channeling iconic music figures such as Sinatra, Michael Jackson, David Bowie, Prince, Gaga, and more, the number one male model in the world shines in this editorial for the Chinese version of L'Officiel Hommes. It's nice to see him photographed by someone other than Karl Lagerfeld. Baptiste is set to start a recording career of his own soon and is recording his debut album. Hmm...we'll see how that pans out.

Zoe Saldana in Nylon

Actress Zoe Saldana
for Nylon Magazine
Photographer: Matthew Frost

Fresh off the heels of Avatar success, little Miss Saldana has four films slated for release in 2010 as well as a Star Trek sequel in the works. Not too shabby. A long way from Drumline.
Model David Gandy
for GQ Style Germany
Photography: Greg Lotus
Stylist : Grant Woolhead

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

New Video: Usher's "Little Freak"

featuring Nicki Minaj
Little Freak [Music Video Premiere]
Director: TAJ

I don't know what it is but I love this song. I am not a fan of Nicki but she is hot as a feature. She is the collabo queen lately. Anyway, hopefully Usher is getting his mojo back since his album is about to drop. This is on heavy rotation on my playlist and is one of my official hot weather songs.
[Can you spot Ciara in the clip?]

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Short Story: Chanel Iman for Allure

Model Chanel Iman
for Allure Magazine, April 2010
Editorial: Short Story
Photography: Patrick Demarchellier

Fresh Face: Red's Robbie Morimoto

Model Robbie Morimoto
Red Model Management's new find, fresh from Tokyo, Japan.