After a good two months of teasing and promo, Chlöe just dropped her first single as a solo artist, “Have Mercy.”

The danger of a very long runway ahead of a release is that the potential for disappointment is high. Anything short of groundbreaking will be met with a “meh.”

“Have Mercy” is not groundbreaking, but it is a decent first outing for the newly solo singer. It has a hook that could grow on you if you listen to it enough times.

The best thing about “Have Mercy” is easily its music video, which has all the gloss, choreo and high fashion you’d expect from an artist mentored by Beyoncé. The clip shows Chlöe playing something of a modern-day Medusa, turning her love interest (played by Rome Flynn) into stone. Throughout the video, you hear news reports about a missing man, and we even see an investigator (played by Tina Knowles) surveilling Chlöe’s crib.

Watch the video below.

Earlier today, Nicki Minaj’s husband, Kenneth Petty, pled guilty to failure to register as a sex offender. He had been convicted of attempted rape in 1995 and served four-and-a-half years in prison. As part of the condition of that conviction, he is required to register as a sex offender everywhere he moves. When he moved to California in 2019 (the year he married Nicki), he failed to register as a sex offender.

Petty’s sentencing is scheduled for January 24. He could face a maximum 10-year sentence in federal prison, a lifetime of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.

Coming up as a nigga in the cash game living in the fast lane indeed.

This week 25 years ago, we lost one of the greatest rappers ever, Tupac Shakur. He was shot four times on the evening of September 7, 1996, in Las Vegas. Just six days later, he would succumb to his injuries.

2Pac’s death, much like his life, left an indelible mark on popular music. Many speculate what hip-hop would look like if he got to live longer, but unfortunately, we will never know. What we do know is that he had an incredibly impactful albeit tragically short career, and remains one of the most influential rappers of all time.

2Pac’s last single before his passing was “How Do U Want It” (featuring K-Ci & Jo-Jo). The song samples “Body Heat” by Quincy Jones — who happened to be the father of Kidada Jones, Pac’s girlfriend at the time of his death.

“How Do U Want It” was 2Pac’s second and final No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

In the world of popular music, there are one-hit wonders, and then there are musical acts who are erroneously remembered as such because one song in their catalog has such an outsized legacy that people forget they did anything else. One of such acts is British group Spandau Ballet, who had a string of hits in the early-to-mid ’80s. The group logged 10 top 10 hits in the UK, but in the US, they only managed three top 40 hits. Of those three was a song called “True.”

Released in April 1983 as the third single and title track of the group’s third album, “True” is what happens when a synthesizer is put to good use. Written by the group’s lead guitarist, Gary Kemp, the song is peak “new wave” (a dodgy term) and “blue-eyed soul” (an even dodgier term) — basically, it is an R&B song performed by white people in a very specific early ’80s kinda way. Kemp says he was inspired by Al Green and Marvin Gaye, the latter of which is mentioned in the song.

I don’t have any memories of “True” before watching The Wedding Singer, so I will assume that was my introduction to it. Starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, the movie was set in the early ’80s and features many hits from that era. The spoofy nature of the movie colored my perception of the songs featured in it, and for years, I would think of “True” only as the humorous soundtrack to the final scene of the movie — in fact, I hadn’t even listened to it from start to finish until very recently. When I finally did, I discovered new parts of the song I’d never heard and fell deeper in love with it — and this time, it was a serious kind of love.

“True” is an absolute masterpiece and Gary Kemp was most definitely in his bag when he wrote it. As you can imagine, the song was Spandau Ballet’s highest-charting song in both the US, where it peaked at No. 4, and the UK, where it topped the chart.

Entrepreneur and brand influencer Emmanuel Egolum stopped by to talk about Sha’Carri Richardson’s abysmal performance at the Prefontaine Classic, the “Essence” remix, the Verzuz between The LOX and Dipset, and Kanye West’s never-ending obsession with Drake.

(Note: This episode was recorded on August 22, 2021.)

Actor Michael K. Williams — best known for his role on ‘The Wire’ — was reportedly found dead in his Brooklyn apartment earlier today. The news was broken by the New York Post, which reports that drug paraphernalia was found in the Emmy nominee’s apartment.

No official cause of death has been declared, but authorities do not suspect any foul play.

Today in 1981, a star was born. Scratch that, an absolute LEGEND was born.

Back in ‘97, when we first met Beyoncé as the lead singer of Destiny’s Child, there were no real indicators of the level of talent we were witnessing — and in a way, that’s what makes her journey so special. Yes, she was always a great singer, but in the 24 years since “No, No, No” dropped, we have watched Bey grow from just another great singer to a vocal powerhouse.

And don’t get me started on the live performances.

For much of popular music history, we have always been made to choose between big vocals a la Aretha, Whitney and Mariah, and impressive showmanship à la Janet and Madonna. We have rarely seen artists who can give us both, and better yet, give us both at the same damn time. When it comes to live performances, Beyoncé is simply in a class of her own.

It feels like blasphemy to make the comparison, but as far as star power is concerned, Beyoncé is the closest thing to Michael Jackson we have seen. Through the years — even when the media tried to tell us Lady Gaga was coming to replace her (ha) — the demand for Beyoncé has remained high, and much of that can be credited to the brilliance with with she has managed her personal brand. She is always prepared, always in formation, and is rarely ever caught slipping — even when her baby sister is going upside her husband’s head. And on the rare occasion where she is quite literally caught slipping, she handles it like a pro.

Beyoncé is your superstar’s superstar and one of the greatest entertainers we will ever see.

In celebration of her 40 years of life, I have picked four iconic live performances from Queen Bey’s illustrious career.

“Crazy in Love”/“Baby Boy” (featuring Jay-Z) [Live at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards]

“Purple Rain”/“Baby I’m a Star”/“Let’s Go Crazy” (with Prince) [Live at the 2004 Grammy Awards]

2013 Super Bowl Performance

2016 Super Bowl Performance

Yesterday, August 25, 2021, marked 20 years since we lost one of the most beloved R&B stars of the ‘90s, Aaliyah. She died in a plane crash in the Bahamas, where she had just shot the last scenes for a music video for her next single, “Rock the Boat.”

Before a video for “Rock the Boat” was shot, Aaliyah’s record label had planned to released “More Than a Woman” as the second single from her self-titled third album, and she was already performing it live during promotional appearances. However, fans were responding to “Rock the Boat” so favorably that it had become a radio hit despite being an album cut. The label insisted on sticking with its original plans, but after pushback from Aaliyah, they decided to go with “Rock the Boat.”

For many, myself included, this video — which fits the sexy summertime energy of the song perfectly — evokes feelings of sadness because of the knowledge that some of these scenes show the final hours of Aaliyah’s life.

Even though she was only 22 when she passed away, Aaliyah already had a seven-year career and had accomplished more than most would in a lifetime. And as big of a star she already was, she hadn’t quite peaked yet, which makes her passing that much more painful.

Unfortunately, we’ll never know what the rest of Aaliyah’s career would’ve looked like, but may we all find solace in the timeless music left behind.

The Pfizer COVID vaccine becomes the first one to receive full approval from the FDA. Until now, all of the vaccines in use had only received emergency authorization.

The approval is only covers administration to people aged 16 and over. The vaccine is still under emergency use authorization for children aged 12-15.

The vaccine will be marketed under the brand name Comirnaty.

Snoop Dogg’s “Ain’t No Fun (If the Homies Can’t Have None)” is basically all the things Boomers whine about when they say hip-hop is too vulgar. Featuring Nate Dogg, Warren G and Kurupt, this one song basically checks all the boxes when it comes to indecency, and listening with 2021 ears, it is objectively problematic in more ways than one. That being said, it is such a fucking CHUNE.

“Ain’t No Fun” is special because — even though he is credited as a featured artist — it is a song where Nate Dogg takes center stage, providing the opening verse as well as the chorus, and taking up more record time than even the “lead” artist, Snoop Dogg. Nate had songs of his own, but the crooner earned the nickname “King of Hooks” because he was known for delivering iconic hooks as a supporting act to rap stars. “Ain’t No Fun,” despite officially being a Snoop song, feels very much like a Nate Dogg song.

Before we go any further, I’d just like to say that I have always had an issue with artists being credited as “featured” acts on songs where they sing the hooks because — more often than not — the hook accounts for the majority of the song. You know what I mean? Ashanti should have received lead billing on “Always on Time” and “What’s Luv?”; and Rihanna should have received lead billing on “Live Your Life” (where she not only sung the hook but provided a bridge). And don’t even get me started on “Mo Money Mo Problems,” where Kelly Price is uncredited altogether despite having more record time than the Notorious B.I.G., Diddy and Mase.

Any, back to Nate Dogg.

Most album cuts are forgotten, and even when an album cut is considered a highlight on an album, few are popular even among casual fans — “Ain’t No Fun” is among that exalted few. The lyrics of the song — in particular, the chorus — are so well-known and so often-quoted that you’d think it was a radio hit, and I can’t help but credit Nate Dogg’s delivery for making so many people love for this nasty-ass song.

On what would’ve been Nate Dogg’s 52nd birthday, I welcome you to press play and crank the volume all the way up.