Highlights: Various Artists, ‘The Hamilton Mixtape’


★★★★ Lin-Manual Miranda and a star-studded cast strikes gold with ‘The Hamilton Mixtape,’ a compilation of covers, reinterpretations, and newbies. Hamilton was kind of a big deal…just a little bit.  With the musical continuing to allure America, Lin-Manual Miranda and an all-star cast fittingly assemble a mixtape based upon it. The Hamilton Mixtape is by…

Rankings: Best R&B Albums of 2014


Ranking things is hard – understatement. So look, there were many sound R&B albums in 2014 – don’t let the abysmal sales dissuade you. That said, there were only a couple of truly great ones – led by one unopposed homerun – that sit atop the standings. Here are the 25 26 Best R&B albums of…

The Numbers Don’t Lie – The R&B Album Is Dead (Commercially) 


As they say, “the proof is in the pudding.” What pudding you ask – R&B album sales ladies and gentlemen. It’s one thing that album sales are down across all genres, but if you examine R&B albums themselves, you’ll see that R&B sales are nothing short of abysmal. Basically, the commercially successful R&B album seems…

Grammy Predictions: Who Wins in the Urban Categories?


The Grammy nominations have been announced. Now it’s time to dig in (early) and predict who wins within the urban categories – aka R&B and rap. Names to remember – Beyoncé, Kanye West, and Eminem. There are others, but wouldn’t many agree the three heavyweight vets have a great chance of being victorious?   Best…

57th Annual Grammys Scorecard (Take 2…)


The official cut-off date for eligibility for the 57th Annual Grammy Awards is September 30, 2014. The end of September is filled with albums that are certainly looking to compete for music’s most prestigious awards. That said, there are also notable albums released after last year’s cutoff date that can’t be written off. From my perspective,…

Mary J. Blige Shines on ‘Think Like A Man Too’


Review – Think Like A Man Too Cutting to the chase, there’s one reason why the Think Like A Man Too soundtrack is buzz worthy aside from the film itself – Mary J. Blige handles performance duties across all 14 tracks. In other words, rather than being a compilation like many soundtracks tend to be,…

Review: Various Artists, ‘Now 50: That’s What I Call Music’


Now 50 makes better musical choices compared to previous ‘Now’ compilations Various Artists • Now 50 • UMe • US Release Date: May 6, 2014 Another ‘glorious’ Now That’s What I Call Music compilation has graced the music industry – Yippee (*says in a sarcastic voice*)! The series to its credit does a great job…

Ranking 20 R&B Albums: January – April 2014


It’s near the end of April, and as a music journalist, I have been privy to listen to a number of albums in differing genres. Even so, I have a soft spot for R&B, but am also very hard on it. Despite my criticisms, R&B and I have a relationship like a Whitney Houston song…

Playlist: Favorite Songs From March Album Releases


March was a rich month for music releases.  After listening and reviewing multiple albums, it is always fun to pick out one big time standout.  Sometimes it is a difficult choice, while other times it’s the only choice (particularly on a sub-par album).  After looking back through my late-February and March reviews, I’ve compiled a…

March Madness: 16 Songs For The Sweet 16


The first four, second round, and third rounds of the NCAA Tournament are over my friends, and after numerous upsets and the birth of those Cinderella teams looking for another shot to slay the giant, the tournament marches on with the upcoming Sweet 16 and Elite 8.  What better way to celebrate and prepare for…