Mariah Carey turns 50 years old today – or, as she would say, marks the 38th anniversary of her 12th birthday today. Because she is eternally 12.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you probably know that Mariah is a favorite around these parts. She has given us three decades of hits (and shade), and is easily among the most successful musicians ever. She is a vocal beast and the musical genius that most of your faves are pretending to be.

Unfortunately, because she’s a woman – a pretty and glamorous one at that – Mariah has never gotten her just due. A lot of her work has been relegated to fluff status because she doesn’t fit any of the prototypes preferred by the music critic class. Also, a lot of people don’t even know that she writes and produces all of her songs — with covers being the exception.

Fortunately, what Mariah has lacked in critical acclaim is more than made up for in commercial success. She has sold over 200 million albums worldwide — making her the highest-selling female artist ever — and has registered 19 No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 — just one No. 1 hit shy of the all-time record. She had a US No. 1 hit every single year of the ’90s and is the only artist in history to have a No. 1 hit in four different decades. She has also written more No. 1 hits than other woman in history. And the list goes on and on and on.

Mariah’s legacy is further cemented by the long list of megastars who cite her as an influence, including Beyoncé, Britney Spears and Ariana Grande.

Mariah’s 30 years in show business have been nothing short of eventful, and when her biopic is eventually made, it is going to be a good one. From a bitter ex-husband sabotaging her career to a crazed ex-manager blackmailing her (and thereby forcing her to reveal her mental health struggles), she has had more than her fair share of drama. However, after each devastating low, she somehow bounces back to a history-making high.

Mariah Carey is a true model of resilience and longevity, and hopefully, she will get the recognition she deserves while she’s still with us.

In celebration of her 50 years of life, below are my five favorite* Mariah songs.

“Underneath the Stars”


“Melt Away”


“Dreamlover”


“Honey” (Bad Boy Remix) [featuring Mase & The LOX]


“Fantasy”



*This changes from day to day.

When it comes to live performances, there are few musical acts who have given us more iconic moments than Diana Ross. And with this Thursday being her birthday, it was imperative that we revisited one of her legendary performances.

In a 1981 TV special, Diana Ross performed many of her greatest hits, including “Upside Down,” her fifth No. 1 hit as a solo act and 17th overall — also, the lead single from Diana (1980), her tenth and most successful studio album.

In this performance, Miss Ross brought the glam we all know and love her for. She also brought Michael Jackson — her “baby” — onstage during the performance. The two had become close friends over the years and their chemistry made for a magical moment despite being an otherwise simple performance.

At the risk of sounding like an old clam, it has to be said: They don’t make ’em like this no more.

When you’re quarantined and the Don Julio makes you filthio.

Kehlani just released a music video for “Toxic,” showing that a global pandemic is no match for the creative and the determined.

Shot on what appears to be a webcam, Kehkani gave us a grainy, smoky visual that fits the song so well that you’d think it was done by professionals. Peep the clip below.

Another week, another deep album cut. For the culture. And for the quarantine too.

In 1997, Mary J. Blige released her third LP and best work by far: Share My World.

It is PEAK contemporary R&B that is so ’97 and yet so timeless. Mary was at the height of her powers, and so were the producers on the albums, including Babyface and a then-20-year-old Rodney “Dakrchild” Jenkins.

Darkchild would become a household name by the following year, when he produced much of Brandy’s sophomore album and an array of hits for many big stars. But in 1997, he was still relatively unknown even though he had a few minor hits under hit belt — including “The Things You Do.”

When many think of Share My World, “I Can Love You” (featuring Lil’ Kim) — another Darkchild production — is usually one of the first two tracks mentioned. And while I do love that song, I think the album’s title track is just as good, and picking “I Can Love You” would’ve been too easy. However, watch this space, because “I Can Love You” will get its day.

Like the album as a whole, “Share My World” is particularly representative of that time in R&B and yet possesses a certain timelessness that makes it just as enjoyable almost 23 years later — and not just in a nostalgic kinda way.

Co-written by Mary and Darkchild, “Share My World” is a reminder that MJB has a decent pen game to go with that amazing voice. And as we all stay in our respective cocoons during the COVID-19 pandemic, it feels like a comically appropriate pick — because sharing our worlds is literally not allowed right now. Click play.

One of the specialties of R&B acts of the late ’80s and early ’90s was an ability to make the most trifling songs sound romantic.

One of such songs is “Piece of My Love” by Guy, a mid-tempo that is sung so beautifully that you might be tempted to pick it as the song to be played during the first dance at your wedding. In actuality, it is sung from the perspective of a cheating man offering a piece of his love to a potential side chick.

Aaron Hall sings his ASS off, so the toxicity of the song’s message goes almost undetected. And if the vocals aren’t enough to distract, the beat will definitely do it.

Like many of the greatest R&B songs ever, “Piece of My Love” is an album cut. However, it is well-known among true R&B fans and was even the subject of an urban legend that accuses Aaron Hall of saying “dumb bitch” at the beginning of the song.

Spoiler Alert: He says nothing of the sort.

“Piece of My Love” was sampled in Mariah Carey’s “Crybaby,” which speaks to Mariah’s taste, but more importantly, to the impact of this song that was never intended to be a hit.

If this is your introduction to this song, thank me later.

Lil Yachty, Drake and DaBaby got together to make “Oprah’s Bank Account,” a hilarious song with an even funnier nine-minute video to go with it.

In the clip, Yachty plays “Boprah,” a daytime talk show host who also has her own magazine. “Boprah” interviews Drake and DaBaby, who both poke fun at themselves – Drake about his light-skinned-ed ways, DaBaby about using the same beat on every damn song.

“Oprah’s Bank Account” is the first single from his upcoming album, Lil Boat 3. Check it out below.

Today in 2000, Toni Braxton released “He Wasn’t Man Enough,” the lead single from her third album, The Heat.

Produced by Darkchild and recorded just weeks before its release, the song was a bit of a departure from what we were used to hearing from Ms. Braxton. But somehow, it worked.

Darkchild was the producer du jour and had the Midas touch, and Toni proved that her voice could ride any beat.

“He Wasn’t Man Enough” peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and would later win a Grammy for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance — one of the categories that no longer exist because the Recording Academy didn’t like that Beyoncé was winning so many awards. But I digress.

Even though she was yet to experience any career failures, “He Wasn’t Man Enough” marked a bit of a comeback for Toni Braxton. Just two years prior, fresh off the heels of her blockbuster sophomore album, Secrets, Toni filed for bankruptcy. This happened partly because she was blowing cash on Gucci flatware — I kid — but mainly because the ’90s were wild and major artists would somehow end up broke even after their greatest successes. Just ask TLC (who were signed to the same label and filed for bankruptcy just a few years prior and months after the release of their biggest album).

The video for “He Wasn’t Man Enough” features Robin Givens, who plays the wife of Toni’s ex-boyfriend (played by Toni’s real-life husband at the time, Keri Lewis). It starts with Robin flaunting her man and ends with her realizing that he isn’t man enough for her either. Click play.

Up-and-comer Stunna 4 Vegas just dropped a visual for “DO DAT,” which features both Babies. How he do dat?

The song has a beat that sounds like something of DaBaby’s album — in other words, it sounds like a Jetsonmade beat. However, the track was produced by Bankroll Got It, a production team made up of three brothers. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that these new age producers aren’t creative with their stage names.

The “DO DAT” video shows a detective spying on Stunna, DaBaby and Lil Baby, wondering how Stunna got so rich so quick. Comedy ensues.

Click play.

This week in 1995, TLC released what might be the quintessential baby-making song: “Red Light Special.”

Written and produced by da gawd Babyface, “Red Light Special” was the second single from the group’s blockbuster album, CrazySexyCool. The song is all sex. From beginning to end. And somehow, it succeeds in being immensely sexual without being too explicit.

The video for “Red Light Special” fully and completely matches the energy of the song. Super sexy and yet not too raunchy to be played on daytime television.

The video shows all three members of the group playing poker in a room full of mostly of half-naked men, including a young Boris Kodjoe. As it turns out, the video is set in a brothel and the men are prostitutes. And Left Eye is their pimp.

If I said I was able to glean all of that information on my own, I’d be lying. Shout-out to Wikipedia.

In addition to celebrating this song’s 25th anniversary, we’re also going up for Chilli, who turns 49 today. Click play.