All Articles Tagged "D’Angelo"
There’s not too many people in music who can put out the caliber of music Prince has since he debuted in the late ’70s. And maybe it’s for that reason so many artists, young and old, new and veterans, have tried to cover his joints and make them their own. Even Janelle Monáe and Tina Turner have done his work live and in concert. But it’s hard to outdo or really “cover” the Purple One. However, these people gave it a try and released their attempts as singles. Some to great success, others to some “what-the-hot-hell??” results. But hey, it never hurts to try, right? Check out these cover attempts and let us know which ones were good, and which one’s you thought missed the mark.
*The original Prince tracks (which were hard to find) have been hyperlinked in the descriptions if you’d like to take a walk down memory lane…
Any time you’re trying to describe an artist, there’s always a temptation to compare them to someone else. It’s easier to say “Keyshia Cole is like Mary J. Blige” than to say “Keyshia Cole makes raw, soul-infused R&B filled with themes of pain and personal transformation.” I get that. But sometimes the comparisons go too far, and we try to place up-and-comers in the same category as legends whose legacies have left an indelible mark on the musical landscape.
The late, great Michael Jackson is probably the most frequent victims of suspect comparisons. It seems that anyone who can dance and sing reasonably well is at some point dubbed the new or next version of The Gloved One. Usher is the new Michael Jackson. Chris Brown is the new Michael Jackson. Beyoncé is the new Michael Jackson. In the name of all that is holy, this must stop. I have seen all three of these “new Michael Jacksons” live, and I can attest that any one of their shows will change your night, if not your life. Usher is a consummate entertainer, Chris Brown is the best dancer I have ever seen anywhere, and Beyoncé
will leave you out of breath just watching her.
That said, to compare these entertainers to the King of Pop, a man who was arguably the most innovative, groundbreaking and important artist of all-time, hurts my feelings in ways I can’t begin to describe. I could possibly tolerate something more specific like “he can sing and dance well, kind of like a young Michael Jackson.” But to compare artists to someone who was incomparable won’t fly.
Another questionable comparison involves Trey Songz. I’ve heard him described as the next R. Kelly and/or D’Angelo. I’m sorry, what did you say? Just because you take your shirt off and sing sex-laced ballads does not make you heir to the throne of Kells or the inimitable D’Angelo. So I’m going to need people to cease and desist equating any crooner with a sexed up catalogue and a six-pack to either of these two very unique and musically-gifted individuals.
And then, there is perhaps the most egregious comparison I’ve heard yet: that Frank Ocean is this generation’s Luther Vandross or Marvin Gaye. For the love of Tyler Perry, we must stop this madness. I think we’ve all heard more than enough Luther and Marvin to know that Frank is neither, so I will kindly ask the people making these comparisons to have a seat for eternity.
Young Frank and his unique brand of R&B has certainly taken the world by storm. But to compare an individual with a mixtape and an album to legends who shaped entire eras, who left us with some of the most memorable music we have, whose musical styles don’t even resemble Ocean’s, is simply ludicrous. In the words of Claudette Wyms, one of my favorite characters on the former FX drama The Shield, “You’re stretching, son. Try yoga.”
These ridiculous comparisons also occur in the rap spectrum. I think we all laughed off the idea that Ja Rule was the new DMX, but among the more outlandish claims I’ve heard is that Kendrick Lamar is the new 2Pac. Girl, bye. I can’t even dignify that with a response.
Sure, there are similarities between artists, and comparisons are inevitable. Nicki Minaj is like Lil Kim or Foxy Brown, female rappers who blend sexuality with serious bars. Justin Bieber is like Justin Timberlake; they’re both white r&b/pop artists who got their start as teen idols. Lady Gaga is like Madonna; they’re fearless females who push the envelope and weave religious imagery and sex into their music.
But no one is the new or next anyone, much as each generation might want to lay claim to their own version of some superstar. Chris Brown is not the new Michael Jackson and Frank Ocean is not the new Luther Vandross. There is one Michael and one Luther and one Marvin and one 2Pac, and there will never be some newfangled knockoff. They’ll come through and create their own lane and legacies. But we lessen the legacies of certain icons by claiming there is some updated version, like they are a line of soft drink or an old computer program. What these people did is unmatched and will remain unmatched. Without taking anything away from these talented young artists — who deserve to be seen in their own light, and not in someone else’s shadow — let’s not pretend a legend who brought us something we’d never seen before and will never see again can somehow be duplicated.
What’s the craziest musical comparison you’ve ever heard? Sound off in the comments.
We already threw 10 names your way a few weeks back that we saw surprised some, was a refresher course for others, and got folks talking in general. Fortunately for you, there are a great deal of celebrities with interesting names that they tried to keep on the low-low. After doing some digging and reading, we’ve got 10 more names to share. Some that are very exotic, some that are just completely different from their stage names, and some that just don’t make any kind of sense. No matter what though, they’re interesting indeed. Let’s check them out shall we?
Frank Ocean – Christopher “Lonny” Breaux
I know you didn’t think Ocean was a real last name like that (apologies for anyone who truly was born with the surname, Ocean)…? Even singer Billy Ocean was actually born Leslie Charles. I know, I know, we’ve clearly been bamboozled for way too long, folks. Maybe it’s the fact that the name is just as calm, cool and collected as what it actually represents, but the New Orleans-born singer liked it enough to not only make it his stage name, but to also legally change his own name from Christopher “Lonny” Breaux to Christopher Francis Ocean. He once talked about his excitement over giving himself a new name in 2010, while talking with Complex:
“I went on LegalZoom and changed my f**king name…On the change Ocean adds: “It just felt cool. None of us are our names. If you don’t like your name then change your name. I’m only a few steps into the process, so I probably shouldn’t even be talking about this, but by the beginning of summer I’ll be straight. I’ll be boarding planes as Christopher Francis Ocean.”
The Burden of Being a Male Sex Symbol: Can An Artist Sell Sex And Still Have Their Music Taken Seriously?
Didn’t you dig the way I rubbed your back girl?
Wasn’t it cool when I first kissed your lips?
Was it enough to penetrate your dark world?
Or were you embarrassed about the way you freaked?
For those who don’t know, those are the opening lyrics to the alluring and jam-worthy song, “Till The Cops Come Knockin‘” by Maxwell. Not only is it one of my favorite songs by the sultry singer, but with him writhing on the floor in the video in front of his muse, it was definitely one of my favorite videos by the brotha too. In fact, pretty much anything Maxwell does, I’m a huge fan of. Though I got on the Maxwell train late in life (I was still in elementary school–not even junior high–when he dropped Urban Hang Suite), that hasn’t stopped me from having all of his CDs on my computer, and it didn’t stop me from running to the store the day BLACKsummers’night was released after his eight-year hiatus. You could say that in the eight years he had the chance to do his own thing, cut off his hair and live life like any every day 9-5 working individual running errands and trying to mind their business, I had eight years to get fully acquainted with his amazing work–and his fine self.
Being a big fan, and one who often does the Evening Eye Candy slideshows on Monday nights for the site, I decided to show Max some love. In the slideshow, I tried to do a progression of what he looked like early in his career, to what the brotha looks like now–still fine and aging like a fine wine. But to show pictures of the past, you have to be reminded of the loveliness that was his afro. Many men have worn an afro and looked…aight, some hot, but there was something about the way it added to Maxwell’s personality that was just so alluring. It helped him stand out in a time where male R&B singers and rappers damn near looked the same. I didn’t want to ask the same obvious question of, “Isn’t he fine, ya’ll?” when I posted the picture on Facebook and Twitter, so I posted an old pic of the man and asked our followers if they loved him with the fro, without the fro, or love the brotha no matter what? I meant no harm by the question, and I knew it would start a good conversation.
Flash forward to near the end of that week when my co-worker text me to let me know that Maxwell, the REAL thing, tweeted MN about the slideshow. I was standing in a dressing room at H&M jumping around in excitement. My text went something like this:
ME: “SAY WHAAAAAAAAAAAAT!? What did he say???”
FRIEND: “Cuz you asked the fro question…He said “we gotta move forward, nothing worse than using a visual crutch…makes the music cheaper, a stunt” Loool cuz our followers were blowing his timeline up!”
I definitely wasn’t expecting that response, and knowing that the question possibly upset one of my favorite singers, I felt pretty bad. But that was until my friend gave me the real deal: “We love him but needs to stop playing. How you gon’ sing songs about sex and then think women aren’t going to look at you? Boy please. Since when has music been just about the auditory?”
After she shared her opinions with me, I thought she had a profound point. In my mind, I see nothing wrong with singers and artists selling sex–even if just occasionally–to fans to get them entertained, excited, and on their side. But I have a problem when these same artists talk about how they feel the attraction towards their looks, body, booty or whatever, is a distraction from their talents and music. Nicki Minaj once said that she wasn’t trying to be sexay (spelled like that on purpose), yet homegirl can be seen rolling around in the world’s tiniest bikini in her video to “Starships,” or popping her booty RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA in videos like “Stupid H*e,” and “Dance A** (Remix).” You can’t be a sex symbol if you keep your clothes on and your booty still, folks. I’m just saying.
Let’s face it, gone are the days when R&B music would top the Billboard 100 without sounding like a mix of techno or house music. Sure, you have artists like Usher and Chris Brown throwing out a few dance-worthy tracks here and there, but that’s nothing compared to the overload of pop music on the radio everyday (some of it Brown and Usher contribute to). Don’t take this the wrong way, the whole dance-meets-pop music thing can be fun sometimes, but don’t you ever miss hearing that those classic R&B vocals and tracks from back in the day? The “Come and Talk to Me,” “Candy Rain,” “Groove Me” type of joints we used to act a fool to? And while these crooners did talk about sex from time to time, that’s not ALL they talked about every time you listened to them (C’mon Trey, it’s getting old). Sadly, it appears that none of today’s most popular artists are capable of providing the type of classic music we reminisce over, and would rather spend their time dancing in skinny jeans talking about how they’ll “beat it up.” *Sighs* Let’s have a look at some of our favorite male R&B artists that no one has been able to match in recent times. This is who we like to call the real men of R&B Music.
If you missed D’Angelo performing at the BET Awards (you can go to the site and check it out) Sunday before last and didn’t have the ducats to fly down to New Orleans, find a place to stay and pay for the shows at Essence Fest, you’re in luck. You can still experience D’Angelo live and in full effect, as well as the always amazing and talented Mary J. Blige because the two are going on tour with each other next month.
During what they call “The Liberation Tour,” a co-headlining opportunity, the two mega R&B stars will be hitting up venues in August showcasing their talents and new tracks. Blige told Rolling Stone that the tour will include around 20 stops and said she thought the powerhouses teaming up would be exciting for fans: “I felt like it would be refreshing and fun for people to see him and Mary J. Blige on the road together.” Yes, she spoke in third person if you were confused. Anywho, if you were doubting it before it definitely looks like your man is back. From showing up at the Bonnaroo festival last month, to showing up at the BET Awards, The House of Blues in LA, Essence Fest and an upcoming appearance at Jay-Z’s Made In America Festival in September, after more than a decade of being reclusive, D’Angelo’s back at it and shows no signs of slowing up.
I think we can all agree that that’s a ticket we wouldn’t mind doling out dollars for, as we all know Mary will bring it, and it would be nice to look back 10 years from now and say you saw D’Angelo hit the stage again, you know, just in case he decides to play hide and seek again in the future. Here are the already announced dates, and keep an eye out for the rest of the scheduled performances soon:
- Aug. 18 Virgina Beach, VA (Farm Bureau Live)
- Aug. 19 Wantagh, NY (Nikon Theatre at Jones Beach)
- Aug. 21 Boston, MA (Bank of America Pavilion)
- Aug. 23 Holmdel, NJ (PNC Bank Arts Center)
- Aug. 26 Washington, DC (Verizon Center)
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BET Awards 2012: Ye Freestyles, D’Angelo Shows Us How It Feels, and Cissy Houston Builds a Bridge Over Troubled Waters
If you didn’t catch the BET Awards show last night, you truly missed out. That’s normally not the sentiment one feels after spending four hours watching the network, but yesterday BET showed that all of the viewers’ graveling over the past few years was well worth it because the folks behind the annual production definitely stepped their game up.
There were a few moments everybody anticipated before last night’s show like D’Angelo hitting the stage and an expected Whitney Houston tribute, but both were better than anyone imagined (although the bar was already set pretty low). Mr. Brown Sugar took us back to his “Untitled” Days, performing “How Does it Feel” and Mariah Carey hit the stage to introduce the Whitney Houston tribute and talk about their friendship, followed by performances from Monica, who took us straight to church, Brandy, Chaka Khan, and Cissy Houston, who amazingly belted out “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” in memory of her daughter.
BET got the Maze and Frankie Beverly tribute right too, with Joe, Tyrese, and Faith Evans singing a few tunes before the band hit the stage themselves. Kanye also opened up the show with his G.O.O.D Music, “Lamborghini Mercy” crew, Yolanda Adams and Amber Bullock tore up the Gospel Sundays segment, and Chris Brown only lip synched through half of his performance. All in all, this year’s festivities were a major improvement over previous years.
Check out all of the performances from the night right here. Which was your fav?
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*Waits for the bandwagon fans to start running back*
If you ever doubted that D’Angelo would get back into tip-top shape, both musically and physically, kick yourself. In his first real magazine spread since he last did press for the Voodoo album, D’Angelo is looking as he should: a little older, but a lot of fine. Despite the shocking mugshots we were exposed to after his run-ins with the law over the last few years (my corneas still burn), these few images today of the man behind the neo-soul music we bumped so hard are definitely pleasing to the eye. Thanks GQ!
The singer gets all suit and tie fresh on us for the shoot, and even gives us a bit of that wonderful gaze (and those lips!) that we like to see. I could do without the cigarette in the first shot, but it’s not something I would kick him out of the bed for (as long as he didn’t bring the cigarette into the bed…). As you can tell, I’m glad he’s looking delicious, but I’m more glad to hear the new music he plans to drop soon. His few features on songs with folks like Common and Q-Tip, as well as his own song “I Found My Smile Again” during his reclusive period were nice, but I need an album, boo! Until we can get that in stores, don’t forget that D will be a headliner at this year’s Essence Fest, so you’ll have a chance to see this brown sugar in real time and jam like it’s 1995 again. Pick up the June issue of GQ to get your fix of this beautiful man, and find out what he has to say about the music industry, and how the “Untitled (How Does It Feel?)” video hurt him as a musician. Here’s a quick excerpt courtesy of the illustrious men’s magazine that is GQ:
“One time I got mad when a female threw money at me onstage, and that made me feel like f-cked-up, and I threw the money back at her. I was like, ‘I’m not a stripper.’”
On the last day of the eight-month tour, Questlove says D’Angelo told him, “Yo, man, I cannot wait until this f-cking tour is over. I’m going to go in the woods, drink some hooch, grow a beard, and get fat.” Questlove thought he was joking. “I was like, ‘You’re a funny guy.’ And then it started to happen.That’s how much he wanted to distance himself.”
What do you think of D’Angelo’s look? Still got it or no thanks?
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What goes up inevitably must come down. It’s the law of gravity by Isaac Newton, but he may as well have been talking about the peaks and valleys of celebrity life. Stars are made and seemingly replaced by brighter ones almost overnight and one can’t help but wish for the originals to reclaim their place in the spotlight. So many rise and fall, but here are seven stars who need to shine even brighter once more.
Her name and face have been all over the news for everything from her baby daddy drama, engagement to her questionable choice of lacefronts. Paula Patton seems to be Hollywood’s go to woman of color these days, but there’s still a place for Ms. Berry on the silver screen. Some may still debate whether or not she deserved her Oscar for Monster’s Ball, but she is still the first African-American actress to have been awarded the Best Actress statue, and that’s not by accident. It’s past time that she fully redeem herself from Catwoman with a role worthy of her talents.
If you were sleeping on the announced performers for this year’s Essence Music Festival, or were looking for an excuse to go, we just might have found your reason, ladies. One of our all-time favorite crooners, D’Angelo, was just announced as part of the lineup of performers for the legendary annual festival. D’Angelo’s performance on the stage in New Orleans will be his first big performance in the States in many years, though he has been performing for folks overseas as part of his comeback. He will perform on the festival’s opening night, Friday, July 6. That day is clearly going to be a big one for ’90s music fans, because SWV will also be hitting the stage!
And if D doesn’t get your blood warm, you can always check out Trey Songz, who was also just added to the lineup and is slated to perform on the same night. I don’t know about you, but I’m trying to hit up this festival big time now. Mary J Blige, D’Angelo, SWV, Kevin Hart, and Aretha Franklin throughout the whole weekend? Go ahead and start planning you guys! Check out the rest of the headliners for the festival over at Essence, and go ahead and start going through your old D’Angelo CDs, because I’m sure you’re as excited as we are.
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