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Roc-A-Fella's new stars...

Published by Warren Dell under on Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Jay-Z seems to have settled into his position as Def Jam president, as well as regaining the Roc-A-Fella name and re-shaping it’s roster he’s been signing some fresh new talent to look out for.

Rihanna, Ne-Yo and Teiarra Mari are all youngsters coming into the game but with Jay behind him have big futures ahead of them.

Rihanna impressed Jay so much that she was signed on the spot, and her debut album Music Of The Sun will hit stores August 30th with Pon De Replay as the lead single. Joining Rihanna is another seventeen-year-old Teiarra Mari whose been dubbed the Princess of the Roc.

After being discovered by producer Darryl Simmons she found herself auditioning for L.A Reid and now finds herself alongside Jay in the latest XXL magazine. Completing the trio of youngsters is Ne-Yo, who wrote Let Me Love You for Mario and can boast writing credits for Mary J Blige, B2K, Faith Evans and Musiq. Getting his name from the character in the Matrix, Ne-Yo will certainly be happy if his debut single can reach the heady heights of some of the those aforementioned artists.

Meanwhile after the split with Damon Dash, the Roc-A-Fella name will be held by Jay and he talks about the split in this months XXL magazine, following up on the interview they had with Dash previously. Staying with Roc-A-Fella are Kanye West, Young Gunz, Memphis Bleek, DJ Clue and Foxy Brown.



Published by Warren Dell under on Monday, June 20, 2005

Looking out the window at work and seeing the beautiful sunshine has got me thinking about anything and everything other than work. As attentions turn to summer holidays, barbecues and sitting in beer gardens I thought I would drop a favourite summer track of mine every now again, for you to escape and reminisce about. If you want to mention a favourite summertime track drop me an email.

To get things going I have to start at what is undoubtedly the best summer track of all time, courtesy of Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince. Summertime was released in the summer of 1991 off of the Homebase album and still sounds as great as the first time I heard it. You know summer is here when you first hear this on the radio, let’s hope the weather does justice to it. Someone fire up the BBQ!

Lord Of The Decks 3...

Published by Warren Dell under on Thursday, June 16, 2005
The first and last word in Grime DVD’s is back for a third outing. Courtesy of Hotheadz Promotions Lord Of The Decks 3 is now out with a 2 DVD + 1 CD package, well worth your money.

With over 3 hours of footage spread across the DVD’s anyone who is anyone is featured from Kano to Bruza, Roll Deep to Lethal B as we are treated to interviews, freestyles, videos and behind the scenes footage.

The CD is hosted by D Double E and features exclusives from Akala, Wiley and Crazy Titch amongst others.

There really are too many highlights on there to mention but particular attention must be paid to the extended footage of the trip to Germany where Lethal B, D Double E, Target, Kano and Jammer have all gone to perform. Not to give too much away as amongst the radio appearances and rave footage are some hilarious moments including Jammers show stopping drop kick!

If your local record shop doesn’t stock this then and are worth looking at.

I want one...

Published by Warren Dell under on Friday, June 10, 2005


Toys aren't just for kids anymore! Walk into any streetwear fashion shop and you'll find a range of collectables but these have got to be two of the best. If you've been looking to fill that void since you put that action man down, or barbie if your a girl, Addict are releasing two 12 inch figures of their sponsored artists DJ First Rate and Rodney P. Both figures will come with a range of clothing and accessories like microphones and turntables and as you can see in the picture are very realistic. Retailing at £85 each, the release date hasn't been confirmed yet, but you can pre-order them from the Addict website

Omarion - O

Published by Warren Dell under on Thursday, June 09, 2005
Crossing the line between boy band and R’n’B act, teen heartthrobs B2K seemed to have the world at their feet. After two albums and a successful film, which spawned the hits Badaboom, Got’s To Be and Bump, Bump, Bump the last thing expected was for the group to part ways. But early last year that’s what happened and it seemed obvious that Omarion would follow his brother Marques Houston and go solo.

O is his debut offering and although the album plays it safe and doesn’t stray too far away from his B2K days, some of the tracks display a more racy, raunchier side and overall O is a decent album.

The album opens up with the dreamy I Wish, about a friend who Omarion falls for, and then leads into the first of two cuts where heavyweight producers have been brought in. Touch is produced by The Neptunes and features Pharrell on backing vocals while Drop That Heater is another track from Rodney Jerkins welcome return to the scene.

Both tracks are up-tempo numbers ready for club spins and will likely feature as singles. In fact it’s the up tempo tracks that are the albums highlights. Take It off has another heavy beat behind it and sees Omarion in playa mode where he gets straight to it dropping the line, I don’t mean no disrespect/but a nigga really trying to fuck witchu.

Big Boi of Outkast fame provides the big name guest appearance on Never Gonna Let You Go but in truth, the funky track doesn’t really need his appearance as Omarion does a good job of the track himself. And that’s no disrespect to Big Boi, it’s just another example of marketing guys wanting to put an emcee on an R’n’B when it’s not needed.

On the slower material we get to see more of that maturity and the transition from teen heartthrob to young adult. While tracks like I Know and Fiening You lack the lyrics that Usher would deliver, Growing Pains is an interesting number where Omarion gets off his chest the B2K split.

The title track O and In The Dark will have the young teeny boppers going wild but the album is good enough to provide the older fans of R’n’B with value for money. Like the recent Mario release, Omarion isn’t the finished article by far but as is evident on his debut, he will have a long career ahead of him and has taken the jump from being in a successful group to going solo with aplomb.

Amerie - Touch

Published by Warren Dell under on Thursday, June 09, 2005
When we first heard Amerie on the heartfelt, Why Don’t We Fall In Love, we expected success but despite delivering an excellent album to critical acclaim, she didn’t have the sales to show for it.

Now three years on and with a number of release from the likes of Ciara, Beyonce and Mariah Carey there is a lot of competition in the female solo world. But when the single 1 Thing hit, not only had Amerie returned with a bang, the soundtrack to the summer was set.

Produced by the much under rated Rich Harrison, 1 Thing is so different from anything on the radio at the moment that you can’t escape it’s heavy drum beat and enthusiastic vocals.

The partnership of Harrison and Amerie has brought together an album that sounds unlike anything currently out there at the moment. Touch is a classy affair with it’s soulful retro R’n’B stylings combined with Hip-Hop beats which you could see your favourite MC’s spitting over.

The album also lets us get to know Amerie a little better as she unleashes a sexier side on the track Touch, produced by Lil Jon, and this Crunk and B number sounds much better than recent singles by Ciara and Brooke Valentine.

But not to disrespect those two artists, Amerie sounds more like a seasoned vet than one of the new school coming though, such is the superiority of the songs.

If hard pressed to name highlights than the b-boy feel of Man Up, which features
Nas, Like It Used To Be and Rolling Down My Face. Enough evidence that the future of R’n’B and modern Soul is in good hands.

Common - Be

Published by Warren Dell under on Monday, June 06, 2005

As time goes on, and despite what music is available at the current time, we will always have albums that are looked back upon with great fondness. Marvin Gaye’s What’s Goin On to the more recent Illmatic and Blueprint albums from Nas and Jay-Z respectively have all stood the test of time, and are just some of the albums that have shaped music’s growth.

Now one of Hip-Hop’s most respected sons can add his offering to that collection.

In a time where Hip-Hop albums are quickly forgotten and stick to the same tired formulae of club smash, ladies joint and filler, Common’s sixth label release is much needed, perhaps not just for Hip-Hop but for the Chicago MC himself.

After the release of the Electric Circus, many had questioned whether Common had fallen off, had the relationship with Erykah Badu really softened the man who had brought us such great social commentary on tracks like Sixth Sense.

In all fairness the album was misunderstood by those who weren’t used to the switch up in style, Common has after all never been afraid to touch on the softer subject of love with classics like, I Used To Love Her, the metaphor speaking ode to Hip-Hop and more recently his biggest hit to date, The Light.

That hit was supposed to escalade Common into the realms of MTV rotation and platinum sales but was never forthcoming, Be however is set to change all that.

The albums first single, The Corner takes it back to the Windy City over a boom-bap driven beat provided by Kanye West, as he reminisces about the Chicago corners that were a part of everyday life. The track is so unlike anything on the radio at the moment and confirmed to us that Common is back with a bang.

The track Go is a more softer affair as Common raps about a particular fantasy over a more R’n’B beat, reminiscent of Musiq Soulchild’s Forthenight. The track Chi-City is as the name suggests about his beloved Chicago and addresses a number of topics on his mind from so many raps about rims/surprised niggas don’t become tyres and I’m back like a chiropract/with b-boy survival rap.

With Kanye West behind 9 of the tracks, Common will become more accessible for listeners who before would have given his CD a miss. But Kanye’s inclusion is no marketing ploy as he provides some of his careers best production and only heightens the anticipation of his soon to drop Late Registration album.

The albums only other producer is J-Dilla, who provides Common with the heart warming Love Is, which samples Marvin Gaye’s God Is Love, and the final track on the album It’s Your World which features the vocals talents of Bilal.

It’s hard to choose a particular track as a highlight as they are all exceptional whether it’s talking about hustling to make ends meet on Food or the John Legend assisted They Say.

With only 11 tracks the focus is on just the best material and won’t leave you wanting to touch the skip button, a nice change from albums that provide too much filler and leave the buyer short-changed.

With artists like Chingy and 50 Cent giving us syrupy love songs, raps about how much money they’ve got and portraying the role of a gangster in a hero like fashion, Common’s words are needed more than ever in the mainstream environment. Loyal fans will love Be and hopefully enough newcomers to Common’s music will pick it up as it’s a bona fide classic.


Published by Warren Dell under on Saturday, June 04, 2005
Caught Skinnyman live last night at the M Club in Southampton, first time I'd got to see him and got to say my respect for him went even higher. So many times when you see a US act live and pay £25 you get ripped off with a half-assed performance but with Skinny, you really felt the passion in his delivery. As a side note they also had an open mic afterwards which my mate Lavvi took part in. It was a bit of a free for all but he did his thing. It was his first time up on stage and is currently hard at work getting material together. One to watch out for. But then I would say that!

Music Update...

Published by Warren Dell under on Wednesday, June 01, 2005
Apologies for the lack of updates the last fortnight. I've been away on work experience at FHM which was great fun, but am back to update you on the latest music. We have singles from The Mitchell Brothers, a return for Donell Jones and the new album from future star Bobby Valentino. Coming up very shortly will be reviews for the much anticipated Common album, Amerie and Omarion's latest sets.

Bobby Valentino - Give Me A Chance


Already a smash in the US and looking to do the same on these shores is the debut album from Bobby Valentino, Give Me A Chance and the label behind its release is from an unexpected output.

Ludacris Disturbing The Peace camp aren’t who you would expect to release an R’n’B album but they have and what a scorcher it is!

From the opening single Slow Down, about spotting an attractive female to the slow ballad Love Dream, it’s clear we have a real talent on our hands.

Bobby used to be in R’n’B group Mista but after that didn’t work out he got to work on securing a solo deal and being from Atlanta, its made sense to sign with one of ATL’s finest Luda.

Luda has only got involved with album creatively by featuring on the title track Give Me A Chance that hopefully will be the next single.

On the slower side of things Bobby gives up his playa card by saying there is One Girl For Me and the falling in love vibe of My Angel.

Other highlight include Tell, Come Touch Me and Gansta Love.

Unfortunately like any other new R’n’B star, Bobby will have to live with the comparisons to Usher but he is his own man and although not as strong vocally he has gone about crafting his own style. With producers Tim & Bob handling the bulk of the production the album has a nice coherent sound.

With Mario’s recent release, and albums coming out this year from Donnell Jones and Joe, there is a lot of competition in the male R’n’B market but Bobby more than holds his own and shows what a future he has. An essential album.


The Mitchell Brothers follow up their account of being stopped by the police with more tales of London life on the excellent Harvey Nicks. Featuring Sway the three lads tell us of their trouble when popping into the popular department store over a Mike Skinner production. There are plenty of lines that will raise a smile but it’s Sway steals it with a “little girl with a pen ran up to me and said I know who you are/and when I gave her my autograph she said mum is this how you spell Lemar”. All three of these guys look set to have a big year and it’s original material like this that will have lovers of grime and Hip-Hop appreciating them.

After people downplaying the R’n’B scene for trying to be Hip Hop or too many poppy tracks being released 2005 looks like the year that it slams the critics with so many quality releases already this year. Joining that list and a welcome return after nearly three years away is Donnell Jones who gives us a taster for his new long player with Special Girl. This is a quality slab of R’n’B that oozes class as Donell lays down what a woman must have to get with him over a slow tempo jam of the highest calibre that we have come to expect from the man. Perfect for playing at home relaxing or with your girl. Special Girl is the perfect taster for a new album due later this year.

After getting their wish to leave Bad Boy granted 112 dropped a disappointing first album for Def jam but are quick to follow up with a new album and are back to the high standard we have come to expect from a group who released classics such as Only You and Peaches and Cream. You Already Know sees the group getting back to making that sexy, sensual music we like with lyrics on the more descriptive side detailing how they are going to put it down form the bedroom to the kitchen floor. Hot stuff indeed.

The Black Eyed Peas return with Don’t Phunk With My Heart. The track further moves them away from their sound we had become used towards a more accessible pop sound, which will no doubt bring more success ahead of the release of their Monkey Business album, collaborators on the set include James Brown and Justin Timberlake.

Jon B's Everytime gets a reworking with a remix featuring Beenie Man and Ferena. More on the dancehall tip than the original that featured the late Old Dirty but no will doubt have you 'thunder clapping' on the dancefloor.

R.Kelly is out to put the dramas of the Best Of Both Worlds fiasco behind him with a new album. First offerings have been the original and remix of Sex In The Kitchen which lyrics don’t leave much to imagination. Word is that neither of these will feature as a an actual release though.

The next single from the queen of Crunk & B, Ciara is Oh featuring Ludacris, verging on a chopped and screwed style while John Legend supports his live shows with the release of Ordinary People. Hot off the release of No.1 Spot Ludacris will be releasing Pimpin All Over the World with a video to follow shot in Africa.

More reviews on the way...hold tight.


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