6/26/08: Jill Scott
Jill Scott's latest album 'The Real Thing' is coming to a television screen near you. And it's going to be a sight for your eyes and a pleasure to your ears. On June 29, TV One will premiere an original music concert special featuring the neo-soul high priestess in all of her glory. Titled 'Jill Scott: The Real Thing Tour (Live in Philly),' the one-hour special features the two-time Grammy Award winning wunderkind performing a mix of her classic hits such as 'A Long Walk' and 'The Way,' juxtaposed with material from her newer projects, including the inspirational anthem 'Golden' and the tell-it-like-it-is, take-no-prisoners 'Hate On Me.' The special (Scott's very first) was filmed in March 2008 at the Liacouris Center in Philadelphia. Encore airings of the show are scheduled to air on July 3, July 5, and July 11.
Despite going through legal woes over the past few years, neo-soul originator D'Angelo is back in the studio working on a new album. According to 'Billboard,' the singer is expected to release his new as-yet-untitled album next year on J Records. The company bought out his contract in 2005 from Virgin Records (who released his first two albums). Fans can expect the man legally known as Michael D'Angelo Archer to hook up with Raphael Saadiq once again, the two previously worked together on Saadiq's 2002 hit 'Be Here.' Although the album is still in its early stages, the 'Brown Sugar' crooner has plans to also land John Mayer on the opus, with a single to hit the airwaves by the end of the year. Until that time comes, fans can catch some of D'Angelo in his former glory with the recently released compilation, 'The Best So Far,' featuring hits, rarities and previously unreleased videos.
6/26/08: Gerald Albright
This week, one of the most sought after saxophonists in contemporary jazz, Gerald Albright, will release his eleventh solo project titled, 'Sax for Stax.' The set features eight covers from the Stax Records catalog , in addition to three originals written by Albright. The multi-talented sax player reached out to vocalists Will Downing, Ledisi, and Philip Bailey to help recapture classic music such as Issac Hayes' top five hit 'Never Can Say Goodbye' and the Staple Singers' hit 'Respect Yourself.' "I went through two box sets with over 20 CDs to pick songs that felt good and would work well melodically for the saxophone," Albright said.
6/26/08: Swizz Beatz
Just last year super-producer Swizz Beatz was hospitalized for exhaustion, and by the looks of it hasn't slowed him down a bit. The hip-hop hit-maker has been in the studio crafting hits for Jay-Z, G-Unit, Ludacris, T.I. , Alicia Keys, and surprisingly the icon himself Michael Jackson. The Bronx native (legally known as Kasseem Dean) recently revealed his plans to not only produce some music for the King of Pop, but produce his tour as well. "I'm probably gonna be producing his tour and everything," he explained to 'MTV.' "I'm designing planes for Gulf Stream and everything. They called me. I'm around different people. I'm around billionaires. I'm around people like that." This October Swizz Beatz plans to release his new studio opus entitled, 'Life After the Party.'
6/26/08: Erykah Badu
This fall, Erykah Badu is planning on bringing some of her voodoo experiences on the road the neo-soul diva was recently added to the tenth annual "Voodoo Experience Festival," held October 24-26 in New Orleans. In addition to Badu, Wyclef Jean, Joss Stone, and Lupe Fiasco are among the other acts on board to join alternative rock headliners R.E.M. , Nine Inch Nails and Stone Temple Pilots. Tickets are priced at $115, while a three-day VIP pass will available for a whopping $450.
Trying to maintain a successful career in the music industry as well as Hollywood can be a bit strenuous for some rappers. But not Ludacris! Luda (as he is also known as) not only has his new album, 'Theater of the Mind' slated to hit stores in September, he's also in the process of filming a few movies. On Halloween, the actor/rapper will be appearing in Guy Ritchie's new film 'RocknRolla.' He also recently finished shooting 'Max Payne,' a crime thriller fronted by Mark Wahlberg. When asked which profession he likes most, he simply replied: "Music is still my number-one love. I just balance a lot of different things now." Hollywood is still calling him, though. To date, Ludacris has starred in the Academy Award winning movie 'Crash,' the John Singleton-produced 'Hustle & Flow' and 'Fred Clause,' alongside Vince Vaughan.
6/26/08: Ne-Yo/Keyshia Cole
The 2008 Reggae Sumfest is guaranteed to kick off with a bang! On July 18, new-school R&B superstars Ne-Yo and Keyshia Cole are tapped to headline this year's international night at the Montego Bay festival, which takes place from July 13-19. Reggae Sumfest will also showcase the best of the best in Dancehall and Reggae music including Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Elephant Man, and Lady Saw, among many others.
Crafting hit music for The Black Eyed Peas and Justin Timberlake can only inspire an artist/producer such as Will.I.Am (born William James Adams Jr.)to go beyond the music industry. Fans can expect to see the Black Eyed Peas front-man in the forthcoming X-Men movie, 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine,' playing a role opposite of Hugh Jackman. Will.I.Am recently revealed to 'MTV News' that the character he'll be playing is a teleporter by the name of John Wraith. In addition to 'X-Men,' the producer also landed a role in the 'Madagascar' sequel. "With 'Madagascar 2,' I think there has to be an angel or something or my grandma's prayers guiding that," he says. "It's pretty, pretty dope. And I'm grateful and happy about it all." 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine' is expected to hit theaters in May 2009.
After releasing her debut album 'January Joy' internationally, Mashonda returns with two new singles 'All or Nothing' and 'No Panties' from her forthcoming untitled album. The Harlem reared singer describes her first single 'No Panties' as being "all about giving your man whatever he desires; no limits." In addition to her new music hitting the radio airwaves, the ex Mrs. Swizz Beatz (real name: Mashonda Tifrere-Dean) is the creative director and model for an upcoming coffee table book entitled, 'Alter Ego Revealed.' Mashonda's new album is set to drop in early next year.
6/26/08: Lauryn Hill/Kanye West
'Entertainment Weekly' magazine recently unveiled its 'New Classics' list in which they ranked the best in music, movies, TV shows, and books from over the past 25 years. Lauryn Hill's mega-selling solo debut 'The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill' landed at number two slot behind Prince's timeless classic 'Purple Rain,' which held down the top spot. Other artist that made the list included Kanye West (No. 4), Jay-Z (No. 7), Outkast (No. 12), Beyonce (No. 19), Mariah Carey (No. 21), Nas (No. 28), and The Notorious B.I.G (No. 40), among many others.
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