Bruno Mars and Anderson.Paak just dropped a video for “Leave the Door Open,” the lead single from their highly anticipated joint album, Silk Sonic.
“Leave the Door Open” — though a collabo — is firmly in Bruno Mars’ creative territory, which is old school R&B revival with lyrics that sound like they were written for an SNL skit starring Andy Samberg. And I’m not necessarily complaining.
Early signs show that Bruno Mars’ star power hasn’t waned and that the public still appreciates that throwback sound, with one Twitter user praising him for “keeping hair pussy music alive.” In under 23 hours, the “Leave the Door Open” video has already been viewed 5.1 million times on YouTube, making it a strong candidate for a No. 1 debut. Watch this space, and while you’re at it, watch the video below.
Drake just dropped Scary Hours 2, a three-track EP and a follow-up to his 2018 EP. Overall, if this is what we should expect on Certified Lover Boy, Drizzy needs to go back to the drawing board stat.
In any case, we have a visual for the EP’s first track, “What Next.” Check it out below.
South African singer, songwriter and activist Miriam Makeba would’ve turned 89 years old today, so in honor of this Afropop legend, let’s revisit her signature hit, “Pata Pata.”
Originally recorded in the ’50s — some say as early as 1956 — by the Skylarks (of which Makeba was a member), “Pata Pata” was a club banger in its day. The song, originally written and sung in Xhosa, is basically the soundtrack to a dance craze — think “The Twist” by Chubby Checker or “Lean Wit It, Rock Wit It” by Dem Frachize Boyz.
In 1967, Miriam Makeba re-recorded “Pata Pata” as a solo act and included spoken verses that are done in English. In the spoken verses, she explains that “Pata Pata” — which translates to “touch touch” — was a dance the young’ns used to do in Johannesburg back in the day. This version of the song would go on to become a transatlantic hit and her biggest in the States, peaking at No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Long Live Mama Africa!
Singer, dancer and songwriter Montsho-Eshe from the Grammy-winning group, Arrested Development, joined us to talk about her life, her career, and the current state of popular music.
Today marks exactly 15 years since Canadian singer Daniel Powter debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 with his No. 1 single, “Bad Day.” And if that wasn’t enough of a reason to revisit this song, today also happens to be the Daniel Powter’s 50th birthday.
“Bad Day” is the kind of song that gets you singing along almost immediately. Its lyrics are easy to remember, and overall, the song feels familiar. The melody and piano line are reminiscent of an old Lionel Richie ballad, and as a matter of fact, it was one of many soulful-ish rock songs sung by white men in skullies at that time.
Daniel Powter was never able to replicate the success of “Bad Day,” which is a shame because its parent album is full of gems. He was able score a few other hits abroad, but “Bad Day” would be his one and only song to crack the Billboard Hot 100. America didn’t do right by him, but it’s alright.
Happy birthday, Daniel Powter!
Chloe x Halle just dropped a video for title track of their sophomore album, Ungodly Hour, and it is a sexy yet futuristic affair with dashes of haute couture. The video isn’t particularly different from anything we’ve seen from the duo, but the Bailey sisters can do no wrong in my eyes these days, so I approve.
Watch the video below.
Entrepreneur and brand influencer Emmanuel Egolum stopped by to chat about Meek Mill and 6ix9ine’s run-in, Meek’s questionable “Kobe” bar, T.I. & Tiny’s sexual abuse scandal, Gorilla Glue Girl, Justin Timberlake’s belated apology, and so much more.
This week’s TBT pick is one of my favorite songs of all time and a fine example of music that provides
a message without sacrificing melody.
“Everyday People” was released as the second single from Arrested Development’s debut album, 3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days in the Life Of…. The song narrates an encounter between a young man who has to defend his lady from a group of men who are harassing her. Weaved into this story are themes of black unity and upliftment, a stratification of black people (“African” vs. “nigga”). On its face, it is a simple enough story with an agreeable message, but looking back through 2021 lens, there’s a lot that can be dissected in the song’s lyrics, some of which would definitely be flagged for playing “respectability politics” by the intellegentsia of today.
However, whatever your stance may be on the lyrics, everyone can agree that “People Everyday” is a classic. Based on samples of Sly and the Family Stone’s “Everyday People,” the song is a musical casserole that mixes funk, hip-hop, reggae, and R&B. The album version, which your average fan has probably never heard, has a more prominent reggae sound and a slower tempo. The version released to radio, referred to as the “Methamorphosis version,” is more upbeat and includes a sample of Bob James’ “Tappan Zee.”
“People Everyday” would go on to become one of the group’s signature hit, peaking in the top 10 here and abroad. Check it out below.
February 13, 1996, was a special day for popular music. In addition to the Fugees dropping their iconic second album, 2Pac dropped his equally iconic fourth album, All Eyez on Me.
Before we talk about the music, we must discuss the circumstances under which the album came to us. All Eyez on Me was Pac’s first project under Suge Knight’s Death Row Records, following a three-album deal signed while the rapper was locked up. Pac was too broke to make bail after years of fighting legal cases, so the advance for that contract was the $1.4 million used to get him out of jail. It is fair to say that these are not ideal circumstances to enter into an agreement, but Pac was out of options and perhaps desperate. It is also fair to assume that Pac intended to fulfill his contractual agreements quickly, evidenced by the fact that All Eyez was made a double album, which counts as two albums under the three-album deal.
Originally named Euthanasia, the album was renamed during the recording process due to the increased media attention on 2Pac. At that point in Pac’s career, he had been in multiple hit movies (including one with Janet Jackson), had multiple legal cases (including a sexual assault conviction), and had made a few powerful enemies in the industry (most notably the Notorious B.I.G.). Not to mention, he had also had been in a relationship with Madonna.
Twenty-seven tracks is a lot of opportunity to explore a few themes, and All Eyez does just that. 2Pac raps about street life, women, legal troubles, and of course, his enemies. Production-wise, the album relied heavily on samples, with songs borrowing from Cameo, the O’Jays, Hank Crawford, Bootsy Collins and DeBarge, among others.
All Eyez would go on to sell almost six million copies in the US alone, and because its a double album, has been certified diamond. The album’s only singles, “California Love” (featuring Dr. Dre and Roger Troutman) and “How Do U Want It” (featuring K-Ci & Jojo), topped the Billboard Hot 100 as a double A-side.
Though it was never up for debate, listening to All Eyez in 2021 will surely remind you why 2Pac is one of the greats. Unfortunately, it would be the last album Pac releases before his untimely passing on September 13, 1996.
With a whopping 27 tracks, All Eyez has no glaring duds, but after much thought, my pick for favorite track is “How Do U Want It.” Join me in celebrating this classic album!