Sunday July 7th, 2002
New CD's this week:
None to report this week
Short news stories this week:
Keith Sweat's 'Rebirth' Due Next Month
R&B superstar Keith Sweat returns Aug.
13 with his latest Elektra album, "Rebirth." The
set is led by first single "One on One," which debuts this week at No. 75 on Billboard's
Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart. Sweat executive produced the album and produced or
co-produced most of the tracks.
"Rebirth" features guest shots from Royalty & NASDAQ on "I Want You," as well as
Lola Troy & Lade Bac on "One on One," Doni on "Can It Be," and Ron-Ron & Royalty
on "I Want You." Other album tracks include "What Is It?," "Anything Goes," "100% All
Man," "The Right Stuff," "Diary of a Blackman," "Trust Me," "Wonderful Thang," and
"In & Out." The set is rounded out with an as-yet-undetermined live bonus track.
Sweat has yet to confirm his touring plans, but will appear Aug. 10 at a free concert
sponsored by Chicago radio station WPWX. The show, to be held in Washington Park in
conjunction with the annual Bud Billiken parade, will also feature Mario, Tank, and
Nivea, with other acts to be added. Last year's event drew more than 800,000 people and
featured Ronald Isley, Avant, Jagged Edge, and Fabolous, among others.
"Rebirth" is the follow-up to 2000's "Didn't See Me Coming," which debuted at No. 5 on
Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and No. 16 on The Billboard 200. It has
sold 624,000 copies in the U.S. to date, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Glenn Lewis Honored To Get Props From Prince
Toronto, Canada-bred R&B singer Glenn
Lewis received props from Prince when the
Purple One played Toronto's Massey Hall on June 15. As Lewis stood and watched the
show, Prince recognized him, and asked Lewis to join him on stage.
Lewis told LAUNCH that he was surprised to get recognized by Prince: "That blew me
away. I didn't even feel worthy necessarily of being able to be on stage with him, but it
was an honor. And it was a lot of fun. I didn't even realize Prince even knew who I was. I
was kinda shocked. He was calling me up on stage. I was pretty shocked."
Lewis was so caught off guard, that he just vibed with Prince's band, which he describes
as "phenomenal." "I just let loose," Lewis added. "I kinda blanked out, and sang from the
heart, the first thing that came to mind."
Lewis, whose previously planned tour with Tweet was cancelled due to poor ticket sales,
is currently discussing traveling the concert circuit with Donell Jones and Raphael
Lewis's Epic Records debut World Outside My Window features the singles "Don't You
Forget It" and "It's Not Fair."
Jerkins Says New TLC Record Full Of 'Innovative Bangers'
The album TLC are finishing without the
late Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes will include what
producer Rodney Jerkins described as "the most beautiful ballad that I've ever done in my
Jerkins took a break Tuesday from recording with Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins and Rozonda
"Chilli" Thomas to attend the BET Awards.
"It was very emotional when we first started, 'cause we started around the time when
[Lopes] passed," Jerkins said before the ceremony as he made his way up the red carpet.
"But we started, and it's clicking now, and I think everyone's working harder because of
the situation. Expect the best from this project, really, the best from all of us."
The album, which will include vocals Lopes recorded before she died in a car accident on
April 25, is mostly filled with what Jerkins called "innovative bangers." Dallas Austin
and Raphael Saadiq have also contributed production work.
Aside from tracks for the TLC album, Jerkins has recently produced a song called
"Wishful Thinking" with Chilli and Carlos Santana for the latter's upcoming album and a
remix of Cher's "A Different Kind of Love Song."
"It's incredible to be able to work with a true diva," Jerkins said. "Cher said she just
wanted me to do my thing, which was the most incredible thing in the world. And I had
fun doing it."
Jerkins is planning to work with Whitney Houston in the next few weeks and is also
focusing on developing a new rapper from Harlem named Fats. His debut, Follow Your
True Story, is due later this year and will include the single "Stand Up," featuring
"I really believe that he's gonna be that next rapper that everybody talks about," Jerkins
Blackstreet Members Reunite, Plan New Record In October
New Jack Swing pioneer Teddy Riley revealed
at Tuesday's BET Awards that he and
Chauncey Hannibal have put aside their bitter rivalry and re-formed the group with
singers Mark Middleton and Eric Williams.
Those four have also reunited with past Blackstreet members Levi Little, Dave Hollister,
Joseph Stonestreet and Terrell Phillips for a ballad fittingly titled "Bygones," according
to a spokesperson for their new label, DreamWorks.
Blackstreet are recording an album now and plan to release it October 22. "The name of
the album is Level Two, though we're not really sold on the name yet, but Level Two is
the idea," Riley said.
So far the group has recorded with Havoc from Mobb Deep and hip-hop legend Erick
Sermon, who produced a portion of the band's 1994 self-titled debut. "We have more
people coming," Riley said. "They want to get in on the project because they hear what
the first single is sounding like, so they love it."
The kickoff single, the party track "Wizzy Wow," features guest vocals from Mystikal.
Blackstreet are shooting a video for the track late next month in Toronto. "It's just an
unbelievable track," Riley said. "Everybody loves it. We tested it everywhere. We were
gonna drop it at the end of August, but they pushed it up to August 1st."
The group, which had gone through several lineup changes, split bitterly in 1999, with
Riley suing Hannibal for slander over comments he made on a solo album. Since then
Riley has maintained his status as a top producer, working with 'NSYNC, Michael
Jackson and Joe, including his #1 hit "Stutter."
Blackstreet won a Grammy for their 1996 single "No Diggity," which featured guest
vocals from Dr. Dre.
Jill Scott Moonlighting As A Journalist
Soon, neo-soul singer Jill Scott won't just
be known for her vocal chops. The
Philadelphia-based newlywed has been spending her spare time penning articles for
magazines and newspapers.
She has written a cover story on hip-hop artist Common for the One World's fall fashion
issue. She's interviewed fellow Philadelphia-bred artist Patti LaBelle for Philadelphia
Magazine. And she has written a poem on American porches for the August issue of
Oprah Winfrey's O magazine.
Scott recently discussed her pursuit of journalism: "Currently, I'm writing for magazines.
I have a cover of One World. I wrote an article with Common. And I've been working
with the New York Times, and let's see, I'm trying to remember all the magazines. O
magazine, and of course, all of the Philadelphia newspapers. Philadelphia Weekly, the
Tribune. I just write for a living. For sanity's sake, I write."
Scott has also been tapped as a co-host for this year's Lady Of Soul Awards.
Scott's platinum and critically acclaimed 2000 debut Who Is Jill Scott?: Words & Sounds,
Vol. 1 earned her a best new artist nomination.
Philip Bailey To Launch Solo Tour
Earth, Wind & Fire (EWF) singer Philip
Bailey recently released a new solo album, Soul
On Jazz, and he'll kick off a tour to promote it later this month. Soul On Jazz features
Bailey's take on numerous jazz classics like "Nature Boy," as well as Les McCann and
Eddie Harris's soul/jazz hit, "Compared To What," and Thelonious Monk's "Ruby, My
Dear." Bailey also gives EWF's hit "Keep Your Head To The Sky" a jazzy twist.
Philip Bailey tour dates (subject to
July 22 - Alexandria, VA - The Birchmere
July 23 - Uncasville, CT - Mohegan Sun Casino
July 24 - Boston, MA - Sculler's
July 27 - Philadelphia, PA - Verizon Hall at Kimmel Center
July 31-August 4 - New York, NY - Blue Note