Sunday September 23rd 2001
Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles and R&B Album Chart Sept 29
Macy Gray - The Id
What does a neo-soul songstress
extraordinare do for an encore when what came
before (the multimillion-selling album On How Life Is) spawned a Grammy-winning
single ("I Try") and collaborations with Fatboy Slim and Black Eyed Peas? If that
artist is Ohio native Macy Gray, she takes a hard look in the mirror and begins writing
from the most purest of places: the subconscious. But this is no psycho-drama. The Id
is carefree and optimistic, steeped in free love and hippie-shake sensibilities (revel in
the disco-splashed "Sexual Revolution," the beauty that is Sweet Baby" featuring
Erykah Badu, and the positively giddy "Hey Young World II" featuring Slick Rick).
There are times, though, when buoyancy gives way to conflict, as on the Sly Stone-
etched "Harry" and the Billie Holiday-inflected "Don't Come Around." After all,
Ms. Gray is only human.
Other news this week:
Eric Benet On Sexual Tension With Mariah In 'Glitter'
Neo-soul singer (and actress Halle Berry's
husband) Eric Benet portrays Raphael Benet,
a character not too unlike his real-life persona, in the Mariah Carey film Glitter, which
opens in theatres today (September 21).
In the film, Raphael meets Billie Frank (Carey's character) at an award show after-party.
Benet says that Raphael and Billie decide to work together:" Raphael is a producer who
has managed to be very successful despite the fact that his approach to songwriting and
producing is not so typical. And he sorta takes notice of Mariah's character, and realizes
that there's a lot of talent there, and decides to help her to her assent to fame by writing a
song with her, and giving her some guidance."
However, Benet admits that Raphael is actually interested in giving Billie more than just
artistic guidance: "There's this sexual tension between us that never really comes to
fruition because she's going through quite a bit with her own relationship, current
relationship, and there's really no room for me. But it becomes clear that we have a strong
attraction for each other that isn't just professional."
Earlier this year, Benet made his theatrical debut in The Brothers with Morris Chestnut,
D.L. Hughley, Shemar Moore, and Gabrielle Union. Benet is scheduled to release his
third solo album, "Better And Better", in early 2002. His last release, "A Day In The
Life", peaked at Number Six on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.
Dawn Robinson Finally To Release Solo Debut
Dawn Robinson has been a member of two
high-profile groups, En Vogue and Lucy
Pearl, and now she is set for an October 16 release of her long-awaited solo debut,
simply titled "Dawn". Robinson recorded three albums with En Vogue--1990's "Born
To Sing", 1992's "Funky Divas", and 1997's "EV3" - before parting ways with the group
shortly before the release of "EV3", although her vocals were still included on the set.
In 1999, after being briefly signed to Dr. Dre's Aftermath Records, Robinson joined Ali
Shaheed Muhammad and Rafael Saadiq to form Lucy Pearl. The group's debut self-titled
album earned a Grammy nomination, but Robinson was abruptly replaced by Joi in the
group's lineup for undisclosed reasons.
Robinson has definitely landed on her feet, and her solo debut features the songwriting
and production of Pajam, Travon Potts, Ivan Barios, Carvin Haggins, and Kenni Ski. The
singer described her new work in a statement: "This album has many moods. It captures
the many facets of my personality. En Vogue was a little more about choosing the right
material. And Lucy Pearl was a little more about an impromptu style of recording. I was
really able to take a more thoughtful approach as to the kinds of songs I wanted to hear
on this one." "Dawn" will be released on Q Records, a division of retailer QVC, and it
will be distributed by Atlantic Records.
The tentative tracklisting for "Dawn" includes: "Set It Off," "Still," "Party Party," "Get
Up Again," "Envious," "Meaning Of A Woman," "I Don't Know Why," "Fed Up," "Our
Child," "How Long," "Read It In My Eyes," and "You Will Never."
Stars set for "We Are Family" benefit recording
Stars from all walks of the music and
entertainment industries will gather this weekend
in recording studios in New York and Los Angeles to work on an updated version of the
1979 Sister Sledge hit "We Are Family" that will benefit the victims of last week's terror
attack at the World Trade Center in New York City.
Rockers including Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, Elton John, Mick Jones of Foreigner,
Sheryl Crow, the members of Sugar Ray, and Matchbox Twenty frontman Rob Thomas;
hip-hoppers including Ice Cube, Run-D.M.C., Busta Rhymes, and Russell Simmons;
classic soul singers Sister Sledge, Dionne Warwick, Roberta Flack, and Diana Ross; and
pop stars like Monica, Britney Spears, and the members of *NSYNC are all expected to
share microphone time under the watchful eye of guitarist and producer Nile Rodgers,
who wrote, produced, and arranged the original version along with the late Bernard
Kathy Sledge said that she's glad the song has been chosen because of its sentiment, one
that she feels is desperately needed at this time, especially for the survivors and their
families: "It's so hard to comprehend that over 5,000 lives were lost, or at least missing,
and these are all people's family members--these are mothers, or uncles, or nieces, or
nephews--and to me it's significant to say that this whole world has to be their family,
too, that we have to come together that way. It's just unimaginable the loss--you know,
you see your loved ones just walk out for work last Tuesday, and they're just not coming
home. To me, I felt, like, 'Wow, this is a statement to make that we have to be each
other's family right now.'"
Also expected at the sessions are tennis greats Andre Agassi and John McEnroe, actors
Kevin Bacon, Susan Lucci, Macaulay Culkin, Taye Diggs, Vanessa Williams, and Joan
Rivers, and singers Cyndi Lauper, Joan Osborne, and Seal, among others.
Superstar Version Of 'What's Going On' Debuts On Radio
The newly recorded superstar version of
Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On," featuring
Destiny's Child, *NSYNC, Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst, Britney Spears, U2's Bono, Alicia
Keys, Staind's Aaron Lewis, Ja Rule, and others will make its debut on both the radio
and television airwaves Friday afternoon (September 21). The song will make its mark
on select radio stations throughout the day while a video montage will appear on MTV's
Total Request Live.
Proceeds from the version, originally planned as a benefit for AIDS relief in Africa, will
now also help the United Way in the wake of last Tuesday's (September 11) terrorist
Others featured on the reworking include Amir, Mary J. Blige, Jermaine Dupri, Eve,
Nelly Furtado, Nona Gaye, Savage Garden's Darren Hayes, Wyclef Jean, Lil' Kim,
Jennifer Lopez, P. Diddy, Nas, Nelly, No Doubt's Gwen Stefani, and R.E.M.'s Michael
A CD will arrive in stores October 23, featuring five versions of the song, including a
"main mix" by Dupri and a "rock mix" by Limp Bizkit's Durst.