In the Throwback Thursday post featuring Bobby Caldwell’s “Open Your Eyes,” I mention white artists that get too much praise for making passable imitations of black art. Ed Sheeran, though classified as pop on his Wikipedia page, is very much one of those white artists in question.

In fact, Ed Sheeran doesn’t just imitate style and cadence, he swagger-jacks with impunity. His 2014 hit, “Thinking Out Loud,” which peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and won a Grammy for Song of the Year,  is a flagrant rip-off of Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” (written by Gaye and Ed Townsend). But before we go any further, please listen for yourself:

Ed Sheeran – “Thinking Out Loud”


Marvin Gaye – “Let’s Get It On”

And not a single credit to Gaye or Townsend in sight. Where they do that at?

In 2016, Ed Sheeran — along with the co-writers and producer of the song — was sued by the family of Ed Townsend. In the time since that suit, the heirs of Townsend sold their stake in the publishing royalties (which is said to be a third) to Structured Asset Sales, a company that appears to specialize in royalties-based investments. After the sale, the company tried to be included as a plaintiff in the first suit, but was denied by the courts, so it is now filing a separate suit for $100 million. The Hollywood Reporter has all the messy details.

As it stands, Ed Sheeran still hasn’t been sued by the Gaye estate, which owns two-thirds of “Let’s Get It On” and was awarded over $5 million in a plagiarism suit against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams (for “Blurred Lines”). The estate will also receive 50% of that song’s future royalties.

Wanna know who else might have a solid case against Ed Sheeran? Tracy Chapman. For what song, you ask? Every song he has ever made because it all sounds like Tracy Chapman.

There are times when you’ll need someone, I will be by your side
I take my chances before they pass, pass me by
There is a light that shines special for you and me
You need to look at the other side, you’ll agree


When it comes to blue-eyed soul, Bobby Caldwell is that nigga. Over the years, I’ve become stingy with compliments for white people who make black music because — often times — they get too much praise for just making passable imitations of black art (see: Eminem, Adele and Amy Winehouse). That being said, I think it’s important to give credit to those who truly deserve, and Bobby Caldwell DESERVES.

“Open Your Eyes” is a beautifully written R&B song about a picky love interest who seems to be in search of a perfect love that doesn’t exist. Sung from the perspective of a suitor, the lyrics are hilariously pointed, asking the love interest, “How could you be so blind?” and telling her that she will “never find a love that’s right.”

Though an album cut from Caldwell’s sophomore set, Cat in the Hat (1980), its chorus is well-known due to being sampled in Common’s classic, “The Light.” John Legend also made a solid cover of the song on his 2013 album, Love in the Future.

If this is your first time hearing this track, the music gods are shining a light specially for you today. Darling, open your eyes.

When it comes to British stage names, I don’t think they come as obviously British as Steel Banglez. The DJ just dropped this number featuring MØ and Yxng Bane, which sounds like a cross between a Major Lazer production and something off Drake’s Views album. It’s not fantastic, but definitely worth a listen and very season-appropriate. Check it out.

The patriarch of the Jackson family has passed away at the age of 89, just a month shy of his 90th birthday. Joe Jackson had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was hospitalized in the final days of his life. He is reported to have been surrounded by family members at the time of his death.

Papa Joe is one of those public figures I’d describe as a revered villain. For years, Michael publicly spoke about how violent Joe was towards him and his siblings, painting an image of an unloving father who was only interested in grooming entertainers. This is all bad, but the selfish fan in me knows that we would not have the greatness that is Michael (nor Janet, for that matter) if Joe wasn’t demanding perfection from them since birth. I just wish he could’ve been less abusive or at least acknowledged the errs of his ways, which he never did.

Either way, Joe Jackson has given us more good than bad, and may his soul rest in peace.

Naughty by Nature is one of those rap groups that don’t seem to get the proper recognition they deserve, but I’m here to tell you that they made some of the greatest songs of all time. This includes “Feel Me Flow,” the lead single from their 1995 album, Poverty’s Paradise.

If you couldn’t already tell, I’m a sucker for a mid-tempo with a good melody and a danceable beat, so this song is exactly my idea of good music. Get into it.

The light is coming to get back everything the darkness stole. The chorus of the latest Minaj-Grande collabo is a word if I ever saw one, but unfortunately, I’m not sold on the actual music. It sounds like it could *possibly* grow on me, but after three listens, issa no for me, dawg. It sounds like a throwaway track from Nelly Furtado’s Loose album; percussion-heavy beat, talk-singing and things of that nature. The song was produced by Pharrell, but I’m sure Timbaland is somewhere wondering when he made this beat.

Also, the video is trash. Ariana should ask for a refund. Check it out below.

According to this song, Rita Ora enjoys making out with girls every now and then. I don’t want to describe the song as unimaginative, so I’ll just say that Katy Perry did it better. “Girls” features Cardi B, Bebe Rexha and Charli XCX, and the video looks like a Dove commercial. Check it out.


PS: Up until this year, I couldn’t tell Bebe Rexha and Charli XCX apart. They both have X in their names and make similar-sounding songs.

GoldLink seems to be on a roll. “I Can Feel It” is on the Uncle Drew soundtrack (that movie looks terrible btw) and features H.E.R.

The song samples Esther Rolle’s “I Can Feel Him Moving” and sounds like something Common would make. At just 2 minutes and 35 seconds, I wish the song was at least a minute longer, but I’ll take what I can get. Check it out below.

Rapper XXXTentacion — real name Jahseh Dwayne Onfroy — passed away a few hours ago. He was shot at a motorcycle dealership in South Florida in what appears to have been a drive-by shooting.

Only 20 years old, XXXTentacion was controversial on- and offstage, and was recently placed under house arrest awaiting trial for an alleged assault of a pregnant woman. He rapped about dark subject matter and often made reference to being depressed. He also made more than his fair share of enemies in his short career.

He was no angel, but no one deserves to die this way. My thoughts go out to his family.

While I do hold contempt for hipsters and hipster culture, I acknowledge good work when I see it or hear it…so, in a way, yes, hipsters are allowed when they create dope shit. “Ride or Die” by the Knocks (featuring Foster the People) is a dope-ass record that gives major summertime beach vibes (or rooftop vibes for people like me that hate the beach). The lyrics are exactly the kind of carefree and yet melodramatic words we like to hear in the summer:

I know we’re getting older, but that don’t mean it’s over
I know we’re getting sober, but that’s not on my mind

If you like a song that makes you two-step while you introspect, this is your jam.

The production gives you a retro feel, so fittingly, the video is all nostalgia everything, spoofing a number of classic movies from the ’80 and ’90s, including White Men Can’t Jump, Pulp Fiction, Rocky, Wayne’s World and Men in Black. Watch the clip below.



PS: Making EDM while maintaining a hipster aesthetic is oxymoronic as hell, but we will table that discussion for another day. Today, let’s focus on this gem of a song.