Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video is so highly regarded that people often forget that he has other videos that are just as good. “Remember the Time” serves as a perfect example.

Written by MJ, Teddy Riley and Bernard Belle, “Remember the Time” was the second single from the Dangerous album. Teddy brought the new jack swing vibes he was known for, while Michael brought magic he brings to every song, and the result is a timeless chune.

Even without a video, “Remember the Time” is a standout in Michael Jackson’s discography, but then the King decided to go awf with a short film featuring an all-star cast of Black Hollywood royalty. Directed by the late great John Singleton, the video is set in Ancient Egypt and features Michael Jackson as a dancing-ass wizard, Eddie Murphy as the pharaoh, and Iman as his queen.

Between the story line, the special effects and the choreography, the “Remember the Time” video is simply iconic. I watch it in awe today as I did when it was first released.

On his 61st birthday, let’s take a moment to remember the time when MJ used to mesmerize us with classic after classic. He was truly a master at his craft, and as the years pass, it becomes clearer that no one did it quite like him.

The 2019 MTV Video Music Awards was the least-watched one yet, with only 1.93 million viewers tuning in. Many will be quick to blame the quality of the performances, and while some were trash, it wouldn’t be a fair critique — last year was definitely worse. The fact of the matter is that these Generation Z kids and younger millennials don’t care about award shows the way previous generations did. Also, the fragmented nature of media in 2019 makes it harder to get large segments of the population to watch the same thing at the same time from start to finish.

But enough media analysis, let’s talk about the show.

Taylor Swift’s “You Need to Calm Down” took home the Video of the Year award while Ariana Grande won Artist of the Year. Quite frankly, none of this really matters because MTV is no longer the institution it once was. For a full list of winners, click here.

This year’s VMAs gave us a few amazing performances. Normani performed “Motivation” for the first time (and killed it), Missy performed a medley before receiving the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard award (more on that later), and then there was Lizzo.

Without a doubt, Lizzo owned the night. Her performance started with her current hit, “Truth Hurts,” and then transitioned into what is arguably her breakthrough hit: “Good As Hell.” The latter didn’t chart until very recently, but for over three years, we have heard it in movies and commercials. Lizzo’s performance was all about self-love, especially for those who get very little love from the world around them. If you weren’t feeling good ass hell by the end of her performance, check your pulse.


The VMAs took place in Newark, NJ, this year, and in honor of the city, we got a medley of some of Jersey’s greatest. Queen Latifah, Redman, Fetty Wap, Naughty By Nature and Wyclef Jean gave me the performance I didn’t know I needed, so it definitely deserves an honorary mention.


There were also performances by Lil Nas X, the Jonas Brothers, Shawn Mendes, Camila Cabello, Rosalia, Ozuna, J Balvin and Bad Bunny. Lil Nas X performed “Panini” and I have never been more disappointed. Instead of just rocking the mic the way such a song demands, he lip-synced the whole thing a la Britney, except he didn’t have the moves to justify that. Horrible performance.

Speaking of horrible performances, Taylor Swift plays too damn much.


Now, back to Missy. Her performance was great, but for an artist who has had so many iconic collabos over the years, we could have used a guest appearance or two. Yes, Alyson Stoner (a.k.a. the lil white girl from the “Work It” video) made an appearance and it was cute, but that is not nearly enough. We needed Timbo or Luda or Da Brat or SOMEBODY.


It was a decent performance, but we were def left wanting. The only consolation is her insistence on referring to the award as the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard even though MTV dropped the King’s name from its title. We stan a loyal, defiant queen.

Just days before she is slated to receive the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award at the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards, Missy Elliott dropped Iconology, a five-track EP that slaps from start to finish.

The first track, “Throw It Back,” is a repetitive-ass banger that will have you singing along in no time. It is followed by “Cool Off,” a two-minute banger that reminds you just how much of a rapping-ass rapper Missy is, and then “DripDemeanor,” a baby-making song featuring Sum1 on the hook.

The last two tracks are two versions of the same song: “Why I Still Love You.” Track 4 comes with production, while Track 5 is acapella — Missy teased the latter on Instagram months ago. I fell in love with it then, and the full song definitely lives up to the promise of the snippet. Both versions of the song are [fire emoji] and serve as a reminder of what an amazing vocalist Missy is and just how well she writes R&B music.

After almost a quarter-century in the business, Missy Elliott’s creative juices are flowing better than those of your favorite new artist, and Iconology is a testament to that. She is truly a genius and it brings me joy to see her receive her flowers while she can smell them. All hail Queen Missy.

Album rating: 8.5 out of 10 stars.

Super Duper KYLE just dropped “F You I Love You,” which features Teyana Taylor. The song, written by the duo, is a mid-tempo R&B cut that puts you at ease with its simplicity — a simplicity that almost feels cutting edge in an era where everybody is trying their best to be a weirdo.

As the title might indicate, it is a song about a love/hate relationship. The video shows the singers playing a couple in the most colorful apartment you’ve ever seen. The camera follows them from a million different angles as they bicker — we have Teyana (a.k.a. “Spike Lee”) to thank for the visuals.

“F You I Love You” is one of six new songs on the deluxe edition of KYLE’s Light of Mine, which dropped on Friday. Check the video out below.

Missy Elliott just dropped an EP called Iconology, and it came with a video for “Throw It Back,” one of the project’s five tracks.

The video sees us following a little girl who somehow ends up in a Missy wonderland — with the help of Teyana Taylor. In this wonderland, we get all the choreography and special effects you’d expect from a Missy Elliott video.

The song doesn’t jump at you right away, but before it is over, you will probably find yourself nodding along. It is classic Missy, but something about it feels very current. The bass line will remind you of Drake’s “Nonstop,” except it’s arguably better. Summer would’ve benefited from this song being released a few months earlier, but we’ll take what we can get.

One key observation is that the video shows Missy in the moonman outfit that had been used to promote her upcoming Video Vanguard bestowment at the MTV Video Music Awards. It’s not clear which came first, but it makes you wonder if Missy is receiving the award because MTV wanted to give it to her or if Missy’s team coordinated it. Either way, she deserves it and is long overdue. Watch the video below.

Before there was Britney and Christina, there was Brandy and Monica. They released their debut singles just months apart, they were close in age, and the Venn diagram of their fan bases is essentially a circle. Naturally, there were rumors of a rivalry, so when the two collaborated on a song where they play adversaries, the public ate it up.

In 1997, Brandy co-wrote, co-produced and recorded a song called “The Boy Is Mine.” Yes, this iconic duet was once a solo track. However, after hearing the initial recording, Brandy and one of the song’s co-writers and co-producers, Rodney “Darkchild” Jenkins, thought it would sound better as a duet — an idea that is said to have been partly inspired by Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney’s “The Girl Is Mine.”

Phone calls were made and Monica ended up on the track. The song would become the lead single from both singers’ sophomore albums — Never Say Never and The Boy Is Mine — and would go on to become one of the longest-running No. 1 hits in the history of the American charts, spending 13 weeks at the throne.

At the time, the two played nice, but behind the scenes, they were not getting along. There was so much tension that they couldn’t even promote the song together, and the one time they performed it — at the 1998 MTV Video Music Awards — Monica put the paws on Brandy during rehearsal. I still have vivid memories of this story being reported.

Of course, both singers denied the incident at the time, but years later, they would eventually come clean during a 2012 interview with Angie Martinez.

In honor of this storied rivalry and in anticipation of the 2019 VMAs, which take place on Monday, let’s revisit the one and only televised performance of this late ’90s classic.

The time has come. Normani has dropped the first single from her solo debut album, and it is an homage to all things early-to-mid 2000s.

First of all, the fact that it is called “Motivation” will have you thinking about Kelly Rowland, but that is not the only Child of Destiny that this will remind you of. The cropped tank top and blue jeans (as well as the hair flip) is so very “Crazy in Love,” and as a matter of fact, the song’s beat is very similar to “Check on It.” If the message isn’t clear, Normani grew up on Destiny’s Child.

The airbrushed outfits and neighborhood dance scenes will have you thinking you were watching 106 & Park in 2005, and fittingly, the video begins with a young Normani dreaming of her video being introduced on the show by Terrence J.

Overall, the song isn’t bad. Not amazing, but good enough to be replayed, and certainly better than a lot of the songs she has put out in the last year. Watch the video below.

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I often wonder what Mase could have achieved — and what hip-hop would look like — if he stuck it out a little longer. Sure, he staged a lil comeback in 2004, but hip-hop — and popular music as a whole — had moved on. He wasn’t able to recapture the glory of the late ’90s and his 1999 retirement is to blame.

It was abrupt and particularly ill-timed — just a month before the release of the lead single from his sophomore album, which was due in two months. That album, Double Up, was every bit as good as his first LP, Harlem World, and contains songs that I still jam to 20 years later.

One of such songs is track 15, “All I Ever Wanted.” It is so late ’90s in many ways, but it could totally be a hit in 2019. The beat, which is samples Lee Oskar’s “San Francisco Bay,” knocks super hard, and the chorus is one that you can’t help but sing along to.

The chorus is sung by female voices that I long assumed belonged to Total, so imagine my shock when I found out that those layered vocals actually belong to an uncredited Cheri Dennis, who won’t have a single of her own for another six years. The more you know.

“All I Ever Wanted” is the hit that never happened, and a small part of me will always wonder, “what if?”