Alexis Garner stops by to discuss the Fresh Prince reunion, Mo’Nique’s demand for a public apology from Tyler Perry, the Verzuz battle between Jeezy and Gucci Mane, and Megan Thee Stallion’s new album.
Today in 2010, Nicki Minaj released arguably the most anticipated debut album of all time: Pink Friday.
As far as pre-debut runways go, the one leading up to Pink Friday is among the longest we’ve ever seen. Nicki began making waves independent rapper three years prior, when she was featured on Lil Wayne’s Da Drought 3 mixtape. By 2009, she had released three mixtapes of her own and was even charting on the Billboard hip-hop charts. Also, she was now signed to Weezy’s Young Money Entertainment.
Following her show-stealing verse on the “5 Star” remix in late 2009, her profile rose significantly. Over the next year, there’d be dozens of guest verses on songs by established artist, including Ludacris and Mariah Carey.
In early 2010, she released “Massive Attack” (featuring Sean Garrett), which was supposed to be the first single from Pink Friday. However, the song was so poorly received (and rightly so) that it got abandoned and removed from the album. There’d be three more lead singles: “Your Love,”“Check It Out” (featuring will.i.am) and “Right Thru Me.” They generally underwhelmed, and had “hip-hop heads” questioning her bona fides — partially because the songs were melodious in a way that certain hip-hop fans hate, but also because she sings on all three singles.
At this point, more and more people are beginning to doubt Nicki, and then “Monster” drops.
On a track were Kanye West, Rick Ross and Jay-Z all have a verse, Nicki not only held her own, she upstaged all three of them. “Monster” wasn’t a single from Pink Friday, but it provided a perfect opportunity for her to showcase her skills one last time before her debut album dropped.
Pink Friday finally dropped — the same day as Kanye’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy — and debuts at No. 2. It eventually ascends to No. 1 and proved to have staying power on the charts. The album would release four more singles, including “Moment 4 Life” (featuring Drake) and “Super Bass,” the album’s biggest hit.
Pink Friday wasn’t particularly loved by people who got to know Nicki during her mixtape years, but the casual pop fans ate it up. Much like Loud by Rihanna (who appears on Pink Friday), it was an album that tries to please everyone. It gives you gully moments on “Did It on’em” as well as hip-pop confections like “Last Chance” (featuring Natasha Bedingfield).
In addition to the big-name assists mentioned, the album includes collabos Kanye and Eminem. The latter collabo, “Roman’s Revenge,” is a standout moment on the album. Nicki delivers some of her most cutting lines on the Lil’ Kim diss track, and the Busta Rhymes reference makes the song immediately memorable.
Elsewhere on the album, there’s quite a bit of singing, particularly on “Save Me,” which Nicki sings from start to finish. The song feels like an odd creative choice at first because Nicki is not a great singer. However, it grows on you, and many years later, stands out as a shining moment — in fact, the album’s best.
Pink Friday is not the debut album many expected from Nicki, but over the course of a decade, much of the album has aged well, which is the best vindication Nicki could ask for.
“Body” is the title and theme of Megan Thee Stallion’s new video, which shows her doing what she does best in her Pamela Anderson heels.
“Body” is the first single from Good News, Meg’s new album, which dropped today. In many ways, is is standard fare for Meg: Hard beat and in-your-face lyrics, but for whatever reason, just doesn’t curl all the way over.
That being said, the video is very well done and includes cameos from Taraji P. Henson, Blac Chyna, Jordyn Woods, Bernice Burgos and Maliibu Mitch.
Today is Lil’ Mo’s 42nd birthday, so it is only right that we take a look at her greatest contribution to popular music.
“Superwoman” is her biggest hit as a lead artist, and she has had even bigger hits as a featured act, but Lil Mo’s greatest gift to us is “4ever” (featuring Fabolous). Released in April 2003, it was the lead single from her sophomore set, Meet the Girl Next Door.
Though it cracked the top 40 (peaking at No. 37 on the Billboard Hot 100), “4ever” isn’t the kind of song that the average person would even know. However, it holds a special place in the hearts of R&B fans of a certain age.
Production-wise, “4ever” is very ’02/’03, but it offers a melody that is good for any year. And them lyrics? Evergreen.
And of course, Lil Mo sings every word of that song like she means it. Click play.
Ariana Grande just released a music video for “34+35,” the second single from Positions. After watching the clip, I suggest she renames the song “Missed Opportunity.” Because that’s what the fuck this is.
For a song that is so easy to like, a music video should’ve been a slam dunk. Instead, Ari went with a goofy plot line that’s entirely unrelated to the song’s lyrics. I can appreciate an unpredictable video, but this one didn’t quite make it.
The video is somewhat salvaged by the shots where Ari and her squad dance in front of the polka dot LED lights, but beyond that, this was an absolute fail.
This week marks 10 years since Rihanna released her fifth studio album, Loud.
The album’s title is an obvious nod to Rih’s ganja enthusiasm, but it is also an appropriate description for much of the album. Loud was released at a time when Rihanna was decidedly in the “pop” league — yes, there were R&B-ish and dancehall-ish songs here and there, but her albums had more in common with a Katy Perry album than they did with a Beyoncé album.
While Loud is certainly reflective of the landscape of popular music in 2010, it is also reflective of Rihanna’s — or her label’s — “strategy” at the time. It attempts to provide for every music fan — from rock-lite on “California King Bed” to reggae on “Man Down.” While that isn’t bad in and of itself, the album runs the risk of coming off somewhat unfocused — especially from an artist who was releasing an album a year at the time. And knowing that the album was recorded in two weeks across 10 concurrently booked studios — at $25,000 a day, no less — doesn’t help.
The good news is that Loud actually delivers. L.A. Reid assembled some of the strongest pens in the game, including Ester Dean and Tricky Stewart, and Rihanna’s voice did what it does. And even when the songs weren’t so great — like lead single “Only Girl (in the World)” — Rihanna’s radio-friendly vocals made up for where the composition falls short. Not to mention, Rih’s star was perhaps at its brightest, so everything she touched turned to gold, including “Only Girl,” which became her eighth No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and won a Grammy for Best Dance Recording.
Loud would earn two more No. 1s: “What’s My Name?” (featuring Drake) and “S&M” (featuring Britney Spears on the remix). With “S&M,” Rihanna became the youngest artist to log 10 toppers on the Billboard Hot 100, a record previously held by Mariah Carey.
Loud went on to sell eight million copies worldwide, making it Rihanna’s second-highest-selling album.
Lil Nas X is back with a new song that sounds a lot like one of his old songs.
If “Panini” had to a half-brother, it’d be “Holiday,” which is not only similar in beat and cadence, but also has a video that might as well be a continuation of the “Panini” clip. B
What’s interesting about “Holiday,” however, is how it reflects on LNX’s journey so far — he is without shame when he admits that “Old Town Road” was a gimmick-powered success. He also brags about his chart success and the respect he gets from rappers despite being a “pop star.”
“Holiday” was produced by Tay Keith and Take a Daytrip — the latter of which also produced “Panini” — and is the lead single from Lil Nas X’s full-length debut. Check it out below.
It’s not often that a 25-year-old song gets a music video, but this week, the stars aligned and underneath them stood Mariah Carey’s lambs.
Mimi released a clip for “Underneath the Stars,” the second track on Daydream and the album’s planned fourth single in the US. Somewhere along the line, plans to release the song were shelved despite having filmed a music video. No clear reason has ever been given.
Back in 2012, Mariah revealed the existence of a video, but added that it was lost. However, the music gods smiled on us and now we have the long-lost video, which is a mixture of behind-the-scenes shots from the Daydream World Tour and a young Mariah chilling, laying upon the grass, underneath the stars.
If you’re wondering why such a romantic and particularly descriptive song doesn’t have a 26-year-old Mariah cupcakin’ with a love interest, it’s because she was married to a 46-year-old man who was jealous and possessive.
Today is Tevin Campbell’s 44th birthday, so it’s only right that this week’s TBT selecton is something from his catalog.
The year was 1993 and Tevin Campbell was months shy of his 17th birthday and getting ready to release his sophomore album. That album, I’m Ready, was led with what would become Tevin’s signature hit: “Can We Talk.”
Written by Babyface and Daryl Simmons, “Can We Talk” has the kind of lyric and melody combo that makes you want to sing along. They’re “accessible” and perfect for a teenage performer, and Tevin’s youthful vocals executed them perfectly.
The song would go on to peak at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100, and 27 years later, it is still a favorite among R&B fans and a stable at karaoke bars.