Selena Gomez, Revival © Interscope

11 Songs Where the Innuendo is Out of Control


uSelena Gomez told the world that she “couldn’t keep her hands to herself.” Isn’t keep your hands and your feet to yourself one of the basic rules taught in every elementary classroom? Regardless, Gomez’s lack of control perfectly captures the sentiment of the 11 songs selected on this playlist that lack control of their sexual appetites. The innuendo is front and center and inescapable, even if the particular song has more transcendent aspirations.  One Direction say it best: “No Control.”

1) Fifth Harmony featuring Ty Dolla $ign, “Work From Home” (7/27, 2016)

Fifth Harmony, 7/27 © Epic

There’s no covering it up in the least; Fifth Harmony’s “Work From Home” is drenched in innuendo from start to finish.  Liken “Work From Home” to mashed potatoes smothered in brown gravy, or gravy of preference. How absurd is this irresistible pop hit? Absurd as your choice of a four-letter word. These girls essentially tell their boyfriends they “don’t gotta go to work” – a source of bread mind you – because they can “work from home.” UGH, really?  It’s further illustrated in the official music video with construction workers and parodied in hilarious fashion in Bart Baker’s twisted interpretation.

Sure, what guy wouldn’t want to oblige Fifth Harmony’s suggestiveness in an ideal, utopian world? Still, no matter how much “work” Fifth Harmony are willing to do with their bodies, is it realistically going to pay the rent, the car payment, the electric bill?  “Bills, Bills, Bills!” Destiny’s Child emphasized that back in 1999 with their The Writings on the Wall  classic! “Can you pay my bills…If you did then maybe we could chill / I don’t think you do / So, you and me are through.”

Get real Fifth Harmony – “tighten up” those harmonies! Lacking in substance or authentic emotion, “Work From Home” is the exemplification of sex on the track, built upon slang and swagger, and ultimately constructed tastefully if ridiculously and unrealistically.  It’s good for flirty, and suggestive fun, but prominent innuendo inhibits it from being transcendent.

2) Rihanna, “Kiss It Better” (Anti, 2016)

Rihanna, Anti © Roc Nation (1)

Simply say the title “Kiss It Better” to yourself.  Then, ask yourself, doesn’t it totally sound like child’s play? Of course it does because as children, many of us can remember mommy saying that she’ll “kiss it better,” referring to a “boo boo!” BUT the all-powerful innuendo gods and/or the pop songwriting/producing gods definitely weren’t writing an innocent pop song. Are there many innocent pop songs anymore? That’s a big, fat, bloated NO. Innocence in modern day pop? NEVER!

“Boy, ya know that you always do it right” definitely isn’t referencing morality but rather the quality of “the act.”  Face it, the double entendre is amplified to the nth degree, causing every lyric to be “read into.” “Do” simply isn’t do anymore, it’s “doing it.” “What are you willing to do? / Oh, tell me what you’re willing to do / (Kiss it, kiss it better, baby).” Translation – that three-letter word, sex.  Yeah, Rihanna’s “Been waitin’ on that sunshine” alright!

3) One Direction, “No Control” (Four, 2014)

One Direction, Four © Columbia

After a while, don’t all boy banders get sick of all the sweet bubblegum mess? Still, every boyband has to save face, particularly if it’s at a transitional point of their career – the great in-between of the tween years and young adulthood.  That young adulthood means that they are just dying to sing about sex, likely something many have already been “doing” beyond closed doors.  To cut to the chase, if “No Control” is supposed to be masking One Direction’s horniness, it does a poor job.

It’s clear lyrically that One Direction mean business.  They aren’t singing about emotions but rather lust and the physical reactions, rather stimulation behind it.  There’s no way that One Direction gets an “innocence” pass on lyric, “Waking up, beside you I’m a loaded gun, I can’t contain this anymore / I’m all yours, I’ve got no control.”  “Loaded gun” hey? Doesn’t seem to be one that shoots bullets…

It gets even more sensual, unsurprisingly.  “Taste, on my tongue / I don’t want to wash away the night before.” What is that taste, pray tell?  Maybe there’s less sexually-oriented activities that can be interpreted from such a line, but does that even seem possible from twentysomethings? Nah! This is Generation Y after all.

Continue reading “11 Songs Where the Innuendo is Out of Control”

Adele, 25 © Columbia

25 Chart Takeaways: Adele Makes It Five Weeks At No. 1


Adele, 25 © Columbia

The best way to summarizes this week’s charts? Adele. Yep – nuff said!

1) Adele makes it five weeks at #1 with 25. 25’s fifth week gave the album its third million-plus selling week and second best week overall, behind its 3.38 million start.

2) Justin Bieber remains the second most consistent artist on the charts behind Adele. Purpose stays put at #2 and has remained a fixture in the top-two/three of the chart.

3) Chris Brown’s Royalty debuts at #3 with respectable numbers. Royalty’s numbers surprisingly trump those of Brown’s previous solo album, X.

4) Star Wars: The Force Awakens takes over at #5. That’s pretty darn good for a soundtrack.

5) Twenty One Pilots creep back towards the top 10 as Blurryface rises from #13 to #11.

6) Coldplay’s A Head Full of Dreams slips from #7 to #12 in its third week on the charts.

7) Pentatonix’s self-titled album rises from #15 to #13 in its 10th week on the charts.

8) Pusha T barely snags a top 20-debut with King Push – Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude at #20.

Cage the Elephant, Tell Me I'm Pretty © RCA

9) Cage The Elephant’s Tell Me I’m Pretty debuts modestly at #26.

10) Monica’s Code Red underperforms, debuting modestly as well at #27.

11) G-Eazy’s When It’s Dark Out drops for a second consecutive week, from #18 to #28 in its third week on the charts.

12) Week two wasn’t great for country newcomer CamUntamed slipped from #12 to #36.

13) R. Kelly’s The Buffet wasn’t that scrumptious, at least in regards to sales. The Buffet slipped from #16 to #38.

14) 5 Seconds of Summer sees their sophomore album Sounds Good Feels Good improve from #50 to #57.

15) Rick Ross continues to flop with Black Market, which slips 31 spots from #33 to #64.

16) Troye Sivan has one of the hottest albums of the year with Blue Neighbourhood, but it has sold poorly. Blue Neighbourhood slides from #44 to #67 in only its third week on the charts.

17) August Alsina can tesify about This Thing Called Life as well as “this thing called chart life.” Alsina’s sophomore album doesn’t look like it’s going to have much chart life as This Thing Called Life slips 57 spots from #14 to #71 in its second week on the charts. Ouch!

18) Alabama Shakes come up! Sound & Color rises 26 spots from #100 to #74, 30 weeks in.

19) George Strait’s Cold Beer Conversation rises 40 spots from #120 to #80.

20) Kirk Franklin’s Losing My Religion improves 10 spots from #95 to #85 in week six.

Logic, The Incredible True Story © Def Jam

21) Logic continues his tepid sales as The Incredible True Story slips from #72 to #102 in week six.

Babyface, Return of the Tender Lover © Def Jam (2)

22) Babyface’s Return of the Tender Lover slips 41 spots from #79 to #120 in week three.

James Taylor, Before This World © Concord

23) James Taylor’s Before This World ascends from #192 to #133.

24) Meek Mill’s Dreams Worth More Than Money reenters the charts at #154 marking week number 24.

25) Church In These Streets is by far Jeezy’s worst selling album, slipping another eight spots (#156 to #164) in only six weeks on the charts

Adele, 25 © Columbia

25 Chart Takeaways: Adele Makes It Four Straight At No. 1


Adele, 25 © Columbia

It was another great week for Adele. The same can’t be said for new releases – looking at you R. Kelly. 25 chart takeaways – let’s go!

1) Adele continues to dominate the Billboard 200 with 25 – there’s really no other way to say it. Fourth week at #1, bigger numbers than last week. Also, 21 reenters the top 10 (#14 to #10, 252nd week on the charts).

2) Justin Bieber may not be able to dethrone Adele (who can), but album Purpose is doing well for itself, improving from #3 to #2 this week. Nothing for Bieber to be “Sorry” about here!

3) This week it’s all about rebounds – sound fundamental basketball…err album sales/streams. One Direction’s Made In The A.M. rises from #8 to #4, The Weeknd improves from #10 to #5, while Chris Stapleton’s Traveller moves up three spots from #9 to #6. REBOUNDS!

4) They might have A Head Full of Dreams, but Coldplay’s dreams of remaining in the top 3 have ceased as the album slips from #2 to #7 in its sophomore week.

5) She’s back. Yes, that would be Taylor Swift. 1989. Top 10. Rebound from #12 to #9…Book it. It would take your “Wildest Dreams” to keep Swift from another week in the top 10.

6) Jordan Smith, the newly crowned winner of The Voice sees his collection of vocal performances (The Voice: The Complete Season 9 Collection) debut at #11. Smith’s digital songs are the highest debut on the Billboard 200 this week.

7) Country newcomer Cam sees her debut album Untamed land at #12. Again, it’s victim to poor first week sales and popular albums benefiting from elevated fourth quarter sales/streams.

August Alsina, This Thing Called Life © Def Jam

8) August Alsina’s This Thing Called Life debuts a far cry from the heights of 2014’s Testimony. Alsina settles for a so-so #14 start.

9) R. Kelly’s career seems to be waning… The Buffet becomes the first R. Kelly album to miss the top 10, debuting quietly at #16. If you hadn’t already heard, Kelly DIDN’T experience one of his prouder career moments this week during an interview with HuffPost Live.

10) After debuting fifth place last week, G-Eazy’s When It’s Dark Out slips to #18.

11) Bryson Tiller’s T R A P S O U L continues to hover around the 20s on the Billboard 200. This week, it sits at #25.

12) Josh Groban’s Stages makes a nice rebound from #40 to #26, 34 weeks in.

13) Horrid second week for Rick Ross. His Black Market plummets from #6 to #33. Supposedly, sales won’t improve, at least at Walmart stores. Black Market was pulled from shelves and online (allegedly). At this rate, Ross won’t have to worry about it “being so lonely at the top” as he won’t be there much longer…

14) Troye Sivan’s sophomore week was even worse than G-Eazy’s or Rick Ross’. Let’s just say that that Blue Neighbourhood grew even bluer as the album slides from #7 to #44. Pretty sure Sivan wasn’t referring to his chart position when he was singing “Talk Me Down.”

15) J. Cole has some longevity on the charts with 2014 Forest Hills Drive as it spends its 54th week there. This week, 2014 Forest Hills Drive sits at #52.

5 Seconds of Summer, Sounds Good Feels Good © Capitol

16) 5 Seconds of Summer get a much need boost as Sounds Good Feels Good improves 10 spots from #67 to #57 this week.

17) Logic continues to see The Incredible True Story slide. This week it slips 11 spots from #61 to #72, just five short weeks in.

18) Muse sees Drones improve tremendously from #101 to #74. It hasn’t been smooth sailing for the former #1 album, but this week is a victory for sure.

19) Week two finds the Tender Lover – rather The Return of the Tender Lover free falling 40 spots from #39 to #79. BTW for those not in the know, that would be Babyface.

20) Jeremih isn’t batting a 1000 with Late Nights: The Album. It plummets 50 spots from #42 to #92. At least those “Planez” fly high…

21) Grimes’ much-lauded Art Angels reenters the Billboard 200 at #96. Art Angels debuted at #36. This week marks only the album’s third week on the charts.

22) Alabama Shakes’ Grammy-nominated Sound & Color moves up 16 spots from #116 to #100. Now that’s what you call “keeping it 100!”

23) Big Sean may not be “Waaaayyyy up” on the charts anymore, but his Dark Sky Paradise has spent 43 weeks on the charts. This week, Dark Sky Paradise sits at #118.

24) Poor Barrett Baber. He had the lowest debuting collection of the four The Voice finalists (#137). That’s interesting considering he came in third, yet Jeffery Austin bested him (#106).

25) You know, they say folks don’t go to church like they used to. That must be the problem with Jeezy’s Church In These Streets – nobody wanted to hear the gospel. It slips from #89 to #156 after only five weeks on the chart. NOT GOOD…the devil must be lurking…

R. Kelly, The Buffet © RCA

R. Kelly Is Up To His Old Tricks on ‘The Buffet’


R. Kelly, The Buffet © RCA

R. Kelly • The Buffet • RCA • Release Date: 12.11.15

R. Kelly has never had a problem with being prolific – apparently, he wrote 462 songs for his latest album, The Buffet. After listening to The Buffet, one has to wonder what percentage of those 462 songs involved sex. Likely the percentage is high given the prevalence of sex throughout the course of The Buffet. But enough about Kelly’s obsession with ‘doing it,’ how does The Buffet stack up as its own entity and compared to Kelly’s previous output? It has its moments, never blows you away, and doesn’t come close to Kelly’s most distinguished work. 

“The Poem” sets the tone in salacious fashion – would we expect any less from R. Kelly? The most cringe-worthy part is when R. Kelly slurps like he’s slurping up a drink…geez! “Poetic Sex” naturally follows, chocked full of innuendo as only R. Kelly could execute it. Much like the “The Poem” preceding it, it’s a stretch and clumsy, particularly the cliché horn-dog lyrics, with the charge led by “My lyrics got a big d*ck and I just f*cked the sh*t outta y’all.” Hmm, real romantic there Kells…

“Anything Goes” featuring Ty Dolla $ign finds Kelly continue to ignore the fact he’s closer to 50 as opposed to being in his 20s. To each his own, but even as slick as “Anything Goes” is, isn’t hard to believe R. Kelly’s authenticity at this point? “Let’s Make Some Noise” keeps things sexy, amplified more thanks to Jhené Aiko’s guest appearance. The ‘sex’ ballad is respectable for what is, at least contextually within The Buffet. But still, this is explicit overkill! We get it already Kelly – you enjoy sex! Trey Songz didn’t invent it, you did because you’re a “sex genius.” Phew!

“Marching Band” proves that R. Kelly can compare any and everything to – you guessed it – SEX. Whether it makes you shake your head or laugh, give Kelly credit for “Marching Band”…or not. In addition to Kelly’s lyrics “She blow me like a tuba / I beat it up like a snare drum,” Juicy J delivers a bullet: “In the lobby Four Seasons with like ten or twelve broads / all head to my suite, it’s a million THOT march.” SMH!

If nothing more comes from the Lil Wayne and Jeremih assisted “Switch Up,” we learn that Kelly thinks “You done got way too comfy / girl you ain’t the only one that want me / hit you with the switch up.” “Wanna Be There” featuring Ariirayé is a moment of redemption following Kelly’s empty sexcapades – it marks are reunion with his formerly estranged daughter and his commitment to be better. 

Following “Wanna Be There,” there seems to be an upgrade of sorts, at least where subject matter is concerned. “All My Fault,” “Wake Up Everybody,” “Get Out of Here With Me,” and “Backyard Party” are more soulfully driven and less dependent on sex to fuel them. The best of the quartet are “Wake Up Everybody” and “Backyard Party.” “Wake Up Everybody” is sensual without being oversexed, while “Backyard Party” is tried-and-true R. Kelly – think Chocolate Factory or Love Letter neo-soul. 

“Sextime” may be shallow, but it’s lush and stands taller than say “Poetic Sex.” The standard edition of The Buffet concludes with “Let’s Be Real Now” featuring Tinashe. For those who like to splurge, the deluxe edition of The Buffet adds five tracks: “I Just Want To Thank You” featuring Wizkid, “Keep Searchin’,” “Sufferin’,” “I Tried” and “Barely Breathing.” The best of the bunch is “Sufferin’,” an enjoyable, well rounded throwback soul cut.

The verdict on The Buffet is as aforementioned; the album has its moments. At times, R. Kelly tries too hard, hence making the first portion album way oversexed. Once he settles in with some dashes of soul and backs off of all things profane, The Buffet is much more enjoyable. A classic – no, never, but definitely an improvement over Black Panties if nothing more!

Favorites: “Let’s Make Some Noise,” “Marching Band,” “Wake Up Everybody,” “Backyard Party” and “Sextime”

★★★

R. Kelly, Black Panties © RCA

12 Songs Where R. Kelly Took Innuendo Too Far  


R. Kelly, Black Panties © RCA

Kelly isn’t the king of R&B – he’s the king of freak. Is there another R&B artists that comes to mind that can match the freakiness of R. Kelly toe to toe? The answer is no. Kelly has got explicitness locked up, no questions. Sex should be his middle name. If you need the reasoning for such confirmed, well, just consult this list of 12 songs where R. Kelly absolutely, positively took innuendo too far. He went next level – to the nth degree! 

1) “Legs Shakin’” featuring Ludacris (Black Panties, 2013)

“I’m goin’ down, down, down / and do it ‘til your legs’ shakin’.” Boy oh boy did R. Kelly kick off the most explicit album of his career with a bang. “Legs Shakin’” blows its cover with when Kelly sings, “Until your body comes, until we see the sun / send you into shock girl once I touch you with my Taser tongue.” Ludacris confirms the specific act being executed using the tongue: “And my tongue just likes to scribble / morning, noon, and night I gotta have it / I’m a dog eat it up like bits and kibbles / make me dribble…” Can you say F-R-E-A-K-Y?

2) “Cookie” (Black Panties, 2013)

After hearing “Cookie,” Oreos will never ever be innocent, decadent cookies. No, they’ll always be sexual, representative of Kelly’s lustfulness. All innocence is stripped when Kelly has the nerve to reference Cookie Monster from Sesame Street: “Cookie, cookie, cookie, I’m a cookie monster.” Take your pick of naughtiness, but it all seems to come back to the genitals, SMH.

3) “Show Ya P***y” featuring Juicy J & Migos (Black Panties, 2013)

Three songs into this sinful list and the third song happens to be from Black Panties. Honestly, it’s as if R. Kelly felt he had to make up for two conservative, classy albums in Love Letter and Write Me Back by going cray-cray with the sex. “Show Ya P***y” has a legitimate argument to top this list, as it is tasteless, misogyny at its worst. “Climb up, slide down / bend it over, twerk now…split, split, split, split – now let me see…” Terrible!

4) “Ignition” and “Ignition Remix” (Chocolate Factory, 2003)

“Girl please / let me stick my key in your ignition babe / so I can get this thing started and get rollin’, babe…” In 2003 this was one of the hottest records. It was and still is freaky, but it is tamer than the first three joints that grace this list. Yes, Kelly is still adventurous in his sexcapades, but he left the “cookies” out of it.

5) “Marry the P***y” (Black Panties, 2013) 

Basically, this didn’t make #4 because that would’ve placed four songs from Black Panties among the ranks of carrying innuendo too far and some variety was necessary. Still, anytime you drop the p-word, it’s X-rated from the get-go. The chorus confirms that R. Kelly just might be the horniest R&B artist ever: “This is a sex proposal / I just wanna marry the p***y…Wanna get down on my knees and ask that p***y to marry me.” C’mon Kells! 

6) “In The Kitchen” (TP-3 Reloaded, 2005)

It never ends with this guy does it? Besides the freaky, irresistible hook, the best lyrics from “In The Kitchen” have to be “Girl I’m ready to toss your salad.” Of course this is a line Kelly makes sure the listener doesn’t miss, delivering it with great bombast that suits the salaciousness of this number.

7) “Crazy Sex” (Black Panties, 2013)

The crazy thing is that Black Panties had even more options to grace this list. However, five songs is plenty as Kelly continues to freak his way through the album. You know when R. Kelly asks his girl to “get ratchet,” that “Crazy Sex” has no hope. “Let’s go deeper, let’s go faster, let’s go harder / lets come at the same damn time and then start over.”

8) “Thoia Thoing” (The R. In R&B Collection, Vol. 1)

When made-up words come into play, they are literally “all about that play.” “Thoia Thoing” sounds representative of strip club music, and R. Kelly would have it no other way. The difference between “Thoia Thoing” and say “Show Ya Pussy” is that while Kelly is still thinking pornographically, he hasn’t quite went over the deep end yet.

9) “The Zoo” (Double Up, 2007)

“Girl I got you so wet / it’s like a rain forest / Like Jurassic Park / except I’m your sex-a-saurus baby.” O…M…G! Other animals reference within this animalistic cut include monkeys, kangaroos, birds, bees, cheetahs – you get the picture. Sex, sex, sex…

10) “Skin” (2008)

“Skin” was only released as a single, but never on an album. It and “Hair Braider” arrived in 2008 and both represented risqué R. Kelly. At one point, Kelly tells his girl, “Said I would be your toy / play with me like Lego / I’m your soldier boy / girl you’ll get no angel.” Well, the last part of those lyrics about the “no angel” is 100% accurate.

11) “The Greatest Sex” (TP-2.com, 2000)

It would seem that R. Kelly seems to remember every sex encounter that he has and then uses his memory of that to compose his next TMI song. “The Greatest Sex” looks tame now compared to Kelly’s more contemporary albums, but coitus is still the focus (“And all your secret fantasies thy will be done”).

12) “Banging the Headboard” (Untitled, 2009)

“I’m ‘bout to blow up in here like a hurricane.” Kelly, are you really that into it? Apparently he is, as R. Kelly is putting so much energy into that he’s “banging the headboard.” Wouldn’t that cause a knot on one’s head?

Rick Ross, Hood Billionaire © Def Jam

Rick Ross’ ‘Hood Billionaire’ Pales in Comparison To His Best 


Rick Ross, Hood Billionaire © Def Jam

Rick Ross • Hood Billionaire • Def Jam • US Release Date: November 24, 2014

“Quarter key got me livin’ like I’m Don King / heavyweight, I’m in the ring n*gga ding ding…” Rick Ross may not be throwing any right hooks, but the elephantine rapper does release his second album of 2014, Hood Billionaire. Shallowly titled, Hood Billionaire additionally proves to be shallow thematically.

Aimed as a conceptual effort of sorts with Ross playing the coke dealer reaping the benefits from his hustling ways, Ross’ approach is an attempted contrast to his past work without being starkly different. While Ross attempts to change-up things, he’s only lukewarm in execution. Don’t get it twisted, Ross and Hood Billionaire have their moments, but it also has many a pitfall as well.

Following a blasé intro, Hood Billionaire kicks off with its dramatically produced title track. Lacking a pure hook, “Hood Billionaire” serves as a showcase of Ross’ rhyming skills. Ultimately, it works, with Ross flexing a mean braggadocio: “Double M empire, I know these n*ggas fear me / I’m already rich, I’m tired of bein’ famous / I done f*cked all these b*tches, I can’t even name ‘em…”

Ross ensures hustling gets its just due (“still got them quarters”), something that’s the forefront of “Coke Like The 80s,” where Ross provides his ever-reliable references to “shooters.” Being the ‘billionaire’ that he is Ross ensures his material excesses are mentioned (Jesus piece, Rolexes, etc.). Lyrically, Ross throws a slick, twisted punch spitting, “Catch you jackin’ your dick, now you f*cked in the game” – charming to say the least.

More of the same comes by way of “Heavyweight” featuring Whole Slab, where Ross memorably (if clumsily) spits “Diamonds on my pinky, women on my dizzle / bulletproof the Lincoln, there go Ricky Rizzle.” Ross does redeem himself with his references to the heavyweights, but more redemption comes by way of the sound “Neighborhood Drug Dealer,” where Ross claims to “still pay my child support, in all trap money.” He follows up with “Phone Tap,” where he states, they “wanna give me time for my old raps /indict me for my own raps.”

Following the luxurious, soulful “Trap Luv” (featuring Yo Gotti), Ross delivers one of Hood Billionaire’s best, “Elvis Presley Blvd,” the buzz single for the set. That said why does it seem wrong the way that Ross references Priscilla (“I got Priscilla, I got Priscilla / I got vanilla, boy, I got vanilla”)? ‘Priscilla’ of course isn’t really referencing Presley, but rather cocaine – his M.O.

Similarly, “Movin’ Bass” sadly isn’t about a bass line, but also cocaine. Among the oddest tracks on the album, its hyper rhythm is inescapable. Jay-Z delivers the hook: “See them plaques on a n*gga wall / we still movin’ bass / got them records jumpin’ off the store / we still movin’ bass.” Keeping things 100, “If They Knew” brings along K. Michelle, who delivers one of the most confounding lyrics of the album on the hook: “Sweet but sad / I don’t know how love ruins a relationship.” Throughout, Ross discusses the effects of a hustling lifestyle on a relationship, or a so-called relationship.

Sadly on “Quintessential,” guest Snoop Dogg’s ideas of quintessential things are shallow: “Titty one, titty two / see these are essentials speaking quintessentials.” Arguably, “Keep Doin’ That (Rich B*tch)” isn’t any more refined, but the production, not to mention R. Kelly’s vocals are definitely on point. Still, the play on the word ‘b*tch’ is in poor taste. But it’s no different than the majority of rap music these days.

“Nickel Rock” (featuring Boosie Badazz) is all about Ross hustling to pay the bills, something he referenced previously on “Neighborhood Drug Dealer.” On “Burn,” he rivals a Teflon Don number, “I Am Not A Star.” He couldn’t leave “Burn” without a jab at George Zimmerman (“George Zimmerman, when I see you, you gotta burn”). The standard edition of Hood Billionaire closes with two soulful cuts – “Family Ties” and the even better, more soulful Big K.R.I.T. assisted “Brimstone.” 

Ultimately, Hood Billionaire pales in comparison to Ross’ best work. There are some great moments, but there’s also always the sentiment that Ross is running low on things to rap about. An entire album built upon hustling cocaine and reaping the benefits of sales is a bit over the top. While Ross’ ambitious is greatly appreciated, he ultimately falls short of the glory.

Favorites: “Hood Billionaire,” “Neighborhood Drug Dealer,” “Elvis Presley Blvd.,” “Keep Doin’ That (Rich B*tch)”

★★★

 Photo Credits: © Def Jam
Rihanna, Talk That Talk © Def Jam

The ‘Birthday’ Album: Celebration Playlist


Katy Perry, "Birthday" © Capitol

So… two years ago, I composed a post that was titled Three Songs With The Word “Birthday” In Them To Celebrate My Birthday. Now two years later, also on my birthday, I’m celebrating with an expansion of that brief playlist. Call this the ‘Birthday’ Album – a playlist comprised of 14 songs celebrating my birthday. Some are truly great birthday songs, while others are left field and left of center. The only stipulation – all song titles had to contain the word “birthday.” A couple of songs are reprisals from the original.

1) 2 Chainz featuring Kanye West, “Birthday Song” (Based on a T.R.U. Story, 2012)

“All I want for my birthday is a big booty hoe / all I want for my birthday is a big booty hoe.” While it’s a catchy line from a hella catchy song, I can’t exactly relate with 2 Chainz’s aspirations for his birthday. Love is one thing, but 2 Chainz is clearly thinking with his pants and temporarily.

 

2) Katy Perry, “Birthday” (Prism, 2013)

“Boy, when you’re with me, I’ll give you a taste / Make it like your birthday everyday.” Who would deny this from Katy Perry? Offer accepted!

 

3) Jeremih, “Birthday Sex” (Jeremih, 2009)

“Girl you know I-I-I…just need your body to make / birthday sex / birthday sex.” So basically, Jeremih is seeking the ultimate birthday gift of sorts – at least from a young man’s perspective.

Dethklok, The Dethalbum © Williams Street

4) Dethklok, “Birthday Dethday” (The Dethalbum, 2007)

Well… the title sounded cool, yet very dark and DISTURBING. Not sure that it’s an ideal to celebrate one’s birthday. Won’t be supplanting the classic “Happy Birthday” for me at least… Lines like “Now you’re old and full of hatred / take a pill to masturbatred” or “One more year of further suffering / there’s no point of f*cking bluffing” aren’t exactly endearing… just saying!

 

5) Twista, “Birthday” (Category F5, 2009)

This one would definitely pair up well with 2 Chainz’s “Birthday Song” and has to be related to Jeremih’s “Birthday Sex.” Birthdays have become freaky events, apparently… This is one for the strip clubs, not a family-friendly celebration of another year of WISDOM.

 

6) Rihanna, “Birthday Cake” (Talk That Talk, 2011)

Speaking of freaky… Da-yum! “Come and put your name on it,” “But he wanna lick the icing off,” and “I know you want to bite this” have nothing to do with the delicious dessert that is birthday cake. This song has more in common with say Trey Songz’s “Cake” from Trigga. Ri Ri, you so nassssttttyyyy girl!

 

7) Kings of Leon, “Birthday” (Come Around Sundown, 2010)

Finally, something a bit cleaner! “We’re going to come together / we’re going to celebrate / we’re going to gather round / like it’s your birthday.” That’s more the spirit, after the birthday celebration became a bit too lascivious.

Stevie Wonder, Hotter Than July © Motown

8) Stevie Wonder, “Happy Birthday” (Hotter Than July, 1980)

Even more appropriate to the occasion than King of Leon’s “Birthday” is Stevie Wonder’s feel-good cut from his album Hotter Than July. You can’t go wrong with Stevie, or this innocent celebratory jam that serves as a sensational alternative to the tried-and-true standard.

 

9) R. Kelly, “It’s Your Birthday” (Happy People / U Saved Me, 2004)

Normally, it would be assumed that R. Kelly would turn something like a birthday into something overtly sexual. Surprisingly, Kelly reins him self in, keeping things classy. Of course, Happy People / U Saved Me was among Kelly’s most conservative releases as a whole.

 

10) Conway Twitty, “Happy Birthday Darlin’” (The #1 Hits Collection, 2000)

Classic, classic, classic! “Happy birthday darlin’/ I’ve no presents, no fancy cake / but I hope I’ll make you happy / with everything I take…”

 

11) Pleasure P, “Birthday Suit” (The Introduction of Marcus Cooper, 2009)

So, the birthday just got freaky again… thanks Pleasure P. At least you can sing like champ, LOL.

 

12) Selena Gomez, “Birthday” (Stars Dance, 2013)

This list is beginning to go south… Anyone who read my lovely review of Stars Dance from last year knows how I feel about ole girl – let’s leave it at that! But even as annoying as this little joint is, it is catchy…

Beach Fossils, Clash The Truth © Captured Tracks

13) Beach Fossils, “Birthday” (Clash The Truth, 2013)

Beach Fossils’ “Birthday” is definitely an interesting song – little to do with cake or ice cream though. Oh well, you win some on a ‘birthday’ playlist and you lose some. I don’t recommend supplanting this one with more traditional fare – no shade Beach Fossils.

 

14) Swizz Beatz featuring Chris Brown & Ludacris, “Everyday Birthday” (2012)

“Everyday is your birthday now hit the floor!” Club birthday joint – let’s get it!

Photo Credits: © Def Jam, © Capitol,  © Williams Street, © Motown, © Captured Tracks
R. Kelly, Black Panties

30 Simply Filthy R&B Songs!


Janet Jackson, Damita Jo

Love hasn’t faded from R&B completely, believe it or not. That said sex is definitely in its trendiest position ever within the genre. Folks, parental advisory labels are popping up everywhere these days and for good reason. Basically, “Darling Nikki” would barely qualify the explicit label these days. Some R&B songs are just simply filthy. Here are 30 simply filthy R&B songs that indulge into the physical as opposed to emotional.

 

1) Usher, “Good Kisser” (2014)  

“Good Kisser” definitely is “not that innocent.” Think kissing a banana… or don’t.

 

2) Marsha Ambrosius, “69” (Friends & Lovers, 2014)

The 2 Live Crew sample confirms the song title is accurate: “Face down, a$$ up / that’s the way we like to…” Catch the drift?

 

3) R. Kelly, “Cookie” (Black Panties, 2013)

Oreos will never taste the same in the hands of R. Kelly. “How many licks does it…” – sorry that’s a Tootsie Roll.

 

4) Rihanna, “Cockiness (Love It)” (Talk That Talk, 2011) 

Can you say double entendre? The key words that stand out are suck, cockiness, lick, eat, swallow, and come. Rihanna – you so nasty girl!

 

5) Trey Songz “Love Faces” (Passion, Pain & Pleasure, 2010)

The only thing the song title leaves to the imagination are the facial expressions Trey and his girl make as they do it. Yep, that’s it in a nutshell.

 

6) Kelly Rowland, “Kisses Down Low” (Talk A Good Game, 2013)

Any time the word “arch” is used in an R&B song, it’s definitely not referring to the foot.

 

7) R. Kelly featuring Ludacris, “Legs Shakin’” (Black Panties, 2013)

There’s no restless leg syndrome going on here… Need clarification: “I’m goin’ down, down, down / and do it ‘til your legs shakin’.” There it is.

 

8) Tweet, “Oops Oh My” (Southern Hummingbird. 2002)

Self-love may be a common occurrence, but it’s doesn’t commonly occur via the pop song. Well, ‘cept for Tweet’s “Oops Oh My.”

 

9) Jeremih, “Birthday Sex” (Jeremih, 2009)

Few would deny this would be a fantastic birthday gift. The even better gift would be if everyday could be your birthday. Think about it.

 

10) Estelle, “Make Her Say (Beat It Up)” (2014)

Imagination is a thing of he past apparently. Estelle keeps it 100. In fact, she keeps its 150.

 

11) Janet Jackson, “Sexhibition” (Damita Jo , 2004)

So basically Janet and company combined the words “sex” and “exhibition.” It is what it is, though it seems kind of redundant – particularly at the end when Janet says, “relax, it’s just sex.”

 

12) Kelly Rowland, “Motivation” (Here I Am, 2011)

Well at least Kelly found a different way to sing about sex – her plan is to “be your motivation.” And to add, “And when we’re done, I don’t wanna feel my legs…” Whoa – “oh lover” is right!

 

13) Beyoncé, “Rocket” (Beyoncé, 2013)

The opening lines let the listener know they’re in for a ride: “Let me sit this a$$ on you…”

 

14) Jaheim, “P**** Appreciation Day” (Appreciation Day, 2013)

Talk about being dramatic: “So warm it’s so soft, it’s so tight, it’s the greatest / so I laid in it, played in it / stayed their ‘til daybreak…” Freaky, freaky, freaky!

 

15) T-Pain, “Put It Down” (Epiphany, 2007)

Wonder what Teddy Pain means when he says, “I’mma stick, stick, stick, stick, ooh?”

Continue reading “30 Simply Filthy R&B Songs!”

Joe, Bridges © Plaid Lover

Review: Joe Keeps Things Grown & Sexy on ‘Bridges’


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Joe, Bridges – a review

 Joe • Bridges • Plaid Lover / BMG • US Release Date: June 23, 2014

R&B singer Joe is incredibly prolific in his output, particularly as of late. Once an extremely successful multiplatinum major label artist, following 2007 album Ain’t Nothin’ Like Me, Joe has released new albums, independently distributed, nearly annually. After one of his best indie offerings bowed in 2013 (DoubleBack: Evolution of R&B) Joe returns in 2014 with another adult contemporary R&B effort in Bridges.

Honored to perform at the #100blackmen conference in Florida yesterday. Happy Father's Day! #Bridges (photo cred: @thechristallite)

A photo posted by JOE MNGT. Gerald "PLAID" Isaac (@therealjoethomas) on

“Future Teller” kicks off Bridges, hearkening back to classic R&B given its enthusiastic, sunny, and soulful quality. Actually, “Future Teller” doesn’t sound far removed from the neo-soul of say R. Kelly’s Chocolate Factory from 2003 (think “Step in the Name of Love”). It’s nothing ‘brand new,’ but a solid opening act. “Dilemma” proceeds enjoyably, embracing more modern R&B without compromising Joe’s old-school sensibilities. Vocally, Joe shines, particularly his falsetto and gritty ad-libs.

“Do A Little Dance” keeps things grown-n-sexy, intact with those sexy guitars and a lush, urban sound. “If You Lose Her” doesn’t miss a beat, with it playful strings and anchoring bass line. Joe keeps things smooth and sensual, leading in to his boldest statement of Bridges, the playful “Sex Ain’t A Weapon.Joe confidently addresses to his girl, “You can’t use sex as a weapon, ‘cause sex ain’t a weapon.”

Joe follows up DoubleBack’s “Love & Sex” with a sequel, “Love & Sex Pt. 2” featuring Kelly Rowland (Fantasia was featured on the original). Mid-tempo in the 80s adult contemporary R&B vein, even though “Love & Sex Pt. 2” is throwback and old-fashioned, it still has a freshness and appeal about it. Joe and Rowland sing the track well if nothing else.

On “Blame Her Broken Heart, Joe takes all the responsibility for his ex’s broken heart, detailing her sadness. “If I ran into her today, I wonder /what would I do and what would I say,” Joe introspects regretfully on the bridge. After breaking hearts, Joe flatters ‘her’ on “First Lady,a mid-tempo, danceable, feel-good joint. Like the majority of Bridges, the vibe remains ‘classic’ without the song itself being considered as a classic.

Behind the scenes of my @musicchoice shoot! #Bridges

A photo posted by JOE MNGT. Gerald "PLAID" Isaac (@therealjoethomas) on

“Take it to the House” keeps the groove danceable, and the tone ‘sexy,’ hence why Joe asks his love interest, “can we take it, take it, take it to the house?” Things slow down for the retro-soul standout “Till the Rope Gives Way,arguably the most meaningful and dedicated track from Bridges. Vocally, Joe gives his all, exemplifying his investment for the lyrics that he sings. The thoughtful “The Rest Will Follow” keeps energy and emotion on the ‘up and up,’ giving Joe consecutive standouts.

“Mary Jane (Remix)” receives an assist by 50 Cent, keeping things pleasant and soulful (the track contains a replay of Rick James’ classic). Title track “Bridges” arrives as the thirteenth track, in the form of a cool, six-eight adult contemporary R&B joint that lies as well as anything else. “Love Sex Hollywood” is another danceable joint for the grown-n-sexy crowd. Still, younger folks will dig it’s the third song with ‘sex’ in the title.

Grind Time! BET and CENTRIC we're amazing!

A photo posted by JOE MNGT. Gerald "PLAID" Isaac (@therealjoethomas) on

Penultimate track “For Love” continues Joe’s chivalrous nature – think the dedication of “Till the Rope Gives Way,” only with a quicker tempo and a key change. Closing joint “Love Undefeated” – track sixteen for those counting – opts for socially conscious soul. Definitely a tribute of sorts to say Marvin Gaye, it’s a thoughtful flip of the script.

Ultimately, Bridges gives R&B’s most prolific indie artist another enjoyable, well-conceived effort. The album lacks flash or innovation, but that doesn’t degrade the quality or Joe’s masterful vocal performances. At over an hour, Bridges goes a bit long in duration. Some cuts likely could have made it just as effective, if not even more so. Still, Bridges is what you call a solid, enjoyable, old school R&B album.

Favorites: “Dilemma,” “Sex Ain’t A Weapon,” “Love & Sex Pt. 2,” “Till The Rope Gives Way,” “The Rest Will Follow,” “Bridges”

 ★★★½

Photo credits: © Plaid Lover / BMG, instagram / joe
50 Cent, Animal Ambition - An Untamed Desire To Win © G Unit

Ranking 50 Cent’s Discography: 2003 – 2009


50 Cent "Noah" New York City Premiere - Arrivals Ziegfeld Theatre New York City, NY, USA 03/26/2014 © Debby Wong / PR Photos
50 Cent “Noah” New York City Premiere – Arrivals Ziegfeld Theatre New York City, NY, USA 03/26/2014 © Debby Wong / PR Photos

 

On July 3rd, Curtis Jackson – best known as East Coast rapper 50 Cent – will release his highly anticipated fifth studio album, Animal Ambition: An Untamed Desire To Win.   Animal Ambition arrives just shy of five years after 50 Cent dropped the oft-delayed Before I Self Destruct. Before I Self Destruct was no hit by 50 Cent standards, basically supporting the notion that 50’s career has been down for longer than the five-year hiatus between albums. Still, when you examine 50 Cent’s discography, there are plenty of shining moments worth the time to analyze and rediscover – or discover for the first time if you didn’t keep up with the rapper back in the 00s. Here’s how I would rank 50’s four studio albums prior to Animal Ambition, plus the soundtrack to Get Rich or Die Tryin.

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5

Get Rich or Die Tryin[Soundtrack]

2005

Notable tracks: “Window Shopper”; “Best Friend

Best Track: N/A…just saying!

I’ll be frank, I wasn’t a fan of the movie Get Rich or Die Tryin’ nor the soundtrack. Soundtracks are often compilations, and that’s exactly what this particular one is. It’s okay, but definitely more than a shade below the quality of 50 Cent’s four studio efforts. Only two highlights come to mind: “Window Shopper” and “Best Friend”. Even with those two joints being ‘the cream of the crop’, neither stands against the juggernauts within the New Yorker’s collection. You could say that I don’t really remember this album… just keeping it one hunna!

Verdict: ★★★ (This sounds fair, right?)

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4

Before I Self Destruct

2009

Notable tracks: “Death to My Enemies”; “Psycho” ft. Eminem; “Strong Enough”; “Baby By Me” ft. Ne-Yo; “Couldve Been You” ft. R. Kelly

Best Track: “Baby By Me” ft. Ne-Yo

50 Cent’s fourth best album, Before I Self Destruct, actually has some greater virtues than the third-best ranked effort on this list, Curtis. To Before I Self Destruct’s credit, the album actually has greater oomph in regards to being a hardcore rap album. Sure, the pop is there with the infectious “Baby By Me” featuring Ne-Yo or R. Kelly’s guest appearance on “Could’ve Been You”, but the effort serves as an edgier contrast to the oft pop-dominated Curtis. That said, Curtis had more hits, even if many failed to set the charts on fire.

Verdict: ★★★½

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3

Curtis

2007

Notable tracks: “I Get Money”;Amusement Park; “Ayo Technology” ft. Justin Timberlake; “Straight to the Bank”; “All of Me” ft. Mary J. Blige; “Follow My Lead” ft. Robin Thicke

Best Track: “I Get Money

Curtis is at best 50 Cent’s third best album. The effort would be the rapper’s first to miss the number one spot in which it was beat out in an epic hip-hop battle with Kanye West‘s Graduation(957,000 vs. 691,000). The singles for Curtis didn’t really take off, with 50 releasing four of them (“Amusement Park”, “Ayo Technology”, “I Get Money”, and “Straight to the Bank”). Only “Ayo Technology”, produced by Timbaland and featuring Justin Timberlake, would catch on, peaking at number five on the Billboard Hot 100. Perhaps it was just the fact that 50 Cent didn’t show much artistic progression this album. Take “Amusement Park” for example – it seemed like a ‘copycat’ to previous smash hit “Candy Shop” (both were bedroom-minded). Another rub, as mentioned in the rationale for Before I Self Destruct, is that Curtis was very pop-oriented – maybe too much for a G like 50.

Verdict: ★★★½

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2

The Massacre

2005

Notable tracks: In My Hood; “Im Supposed to Die Tonight”; “Piggy Bank”; “Candy Shop” ft. Olivia; “Outta Control (Remix)” ft. Mobb Deep; Disco Inferno; “Just A Lil Bit”; “Hate It Or Love It (Remix)” ft. Lloyd Banks, Young Buck, Game & Tony Yayo

Best Track: “Candy Shop

Following up a classic is difficult, but The Massacre didn’t do badly for itself in the least. The singles performed well, led by the naughty “Candy Shop” (featuring Olivia), one of the most popular singles of the year ultimately. “Disco Inferno” and “Just A Lil Bit” we’re no slouches either, while a rereleased version of the album – The Massacre Special Edition – delivered a brilliant remix of “Outta Control” featuring veteran rappers Mobb Deep. A remix of Game’s big-time hit “Hate it or Love it” was the cherry on top, featuring 50’s G-Unit buds. While I selected “Candy Shop”, the sets biggest single as the best track, it’s actually a difficult call given the firepower throughout the effort.

Verdict: ★★★★

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1

Get Rich or Die Tryin

2003

Notable tracks: “In Da Club”; “P.I.M.P”; “21 Questions” ft. Nate Dogg; “Wanksta”; “Like My Style” ft. Tony Yayo; “Patiently Waiting” ft. Eminem

Best Track: “In Da Club”

Folks, this one is a no brainer – period! Likely, 50 Cent will never top this album; he certainly hasn’t at this point of his career. This is 50 Cent’s classic in addition to being considered one of the modern hip-hop classics. “In da Club” will always be the MC’s most important single, period. I can remember throughout my senior year of high school that “In da Club” was the jam (just don’t tell principals or parents I suppose). Throw in exceptional production work, as well as some other slick joints, and Get Rich or Die Tryin’ is the near-perfect rap effort of the 00s. East coast was well represented back in 2003.

Verdict: ★★★★

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How will Animal Ambition turn out? Don’t be surprised if this ranking gets an upgrade sooner than later!