Sunday March 24th, 2002
New CD's this week:
This week there is something for everybody.
There is the long awaited R. Kelly and
Jay-Z collaboration, an album by ex-Sounds of Blackness singer Ann Nesby, the
debut album by Stevie Wonder influenced Canadian Glenn Lewis, a solo album for Joi,
the lady who replaced Dawn Robinson in Lucy Pearl and from the UK comes an album
by recording and production team D'Influence called D-Vas with vocal performances
from no fewer than 11 female vocalists - ranging from well known names like Shola
Ama, Ultra Nate, Romina Johnson, Dee C Lee and long-time D-Influence vocalist Sarah
Anne Webb, to newcomers like Dyanna Fearon and Belle Montenegro.
Short news stories this week:
'Mad TV' To Parody R. Kelly Sex Scandal
Fox's Mad TV is poking fun at allegations
that singer R. Kelly videotaped himself having
sex with underage girls. Mad TV regular Arie Spears, who portrays R. Kelly in a sketch
airing this Saturday (March 23), discussed the show's spoof of the singer's troubles
backstage at the taping of the Soul Train Music Awards, where Spears was a presenter.
The comedian shared that the Mad TV skit is based on R. Kelly's video for the "The
World's Greatest" single, which appears on the Ali movie soundtrack. Spears told us: "It's
called 'I Am The Greatest Statutory Rapist.' The sketch is just basically a parody of him
in the 'The Greatest' video, where he's in the boxing ring, only I'm chasing 14-year-old
Despite the skit involving unproven statutory rape allegations against R. Kelly, Spears
said he had no reservations about spoofing the scandal: "He put himself out there--it's just
our job to make fun of it. I gotta pay the mortgage so, you know, I gotta do what I gotta
do. I ain't thinking about people's responses."
Ashanti Asserts Her Independence On Solo Debut
She's not kidding when she says she won't
always be there when you call. Not only is
Ashanti heading out on the road as one of the featured acts on Ja Rule's Pain Is Love tour
this spring, she's striking a new independent chord in her music.
"Unfoolish," a remix of her hit "Foolish," is sending the message, "Girls, we've got to get
our act together," she said last week. "It's like, 'We're not gonna take it anymore. I'm glad
to get you out of my system. I'm not gonna be foolish anymore.' It's an uplifting record."
The track, which will be on her self-titled debut, samples the Notorious B.I.G.'s "F--- You
Tonight" featuring R. Kelly and includes one of Biggie's verses from the song. "I'm
leaving you tonight," she sings on the chorus, playing off Kelly's lyrics of "I'm f---ing
Ashanti, who is in the midst of a promo tour for her April 2 release, said "Unfoolish"
won't be the only song where she's giving a guy the cold shoulder. "Leaving" finds her
squaring off with none other than Ja Rule.
"It's hot," she exclaimed. "Actually, when we shaped and molded it, it was supposed to be
like 'Always on Time Part 2.' In 'Leaving,' it's like, 'I'm leaving. I gotta let you know right
now I'm leaving.' And [Ja's] the one that's [saying the] 'baby don't go' type of thing. So it
worked out really good."
Ashanti admitted she softens up a little down the road on the LP and picks up the phone
for her gentleman caller. " 'Call' is hot," she boasted. "I really like 'Call.' It's like when
you call on someone, kind of similar to 'Always on Time.' 'When you call I come running
baby. ... I'll be right there for you, but only you can call on me like that, though, 'cause
I've got love for you.' "
"Happy," which she suggested will be dropping in the next few weeks, is also about
dropping your defenses. "It's just a great vibing record. It's a feel-good record, especially
for the summer, and that's where we kind of want to gear it toward. I'm talking about how
you found that person and you were searching for him and you're just happy."
Keys, Isleys Top Soul Train Awards
Newcomer Alicia Keys and veteran act the
Isley Brothers each took home a pair of
trophies wednesday night (March 20) from the 16th Annual Soul Train Music Awards.
Keys, who was nominated for four awards, won best R&B/soul or rap new artist for her
hit "Fallin'," while her J Records debut "Songs in A Minor" took the best R&B/soul
female album honor. The Isley Brothers featuring Ron Isley won best R&B/soul single
for the track "Contagious," and best album by a group, band or duo for the DreamWorks set "Eternal."
Keys, who scored five Grammy Awards last month, was also bestowed with the
previously announced Sammy Davis Jr. entertainer of the year award, female. Rap icon
Dr. Dre received the male entertainer of the year award. In addition, legendary
R&B/soulsters the O'Jays were honored with the 2002 Quincy Jones Award for
Outstanding Career Achievements.
Aaliyah, who died last August in a plane crash shortly after completing a video in the
Bahamas, posthumously won the best R&B/soul single, female award for "Rock the
Boat." The track, which comes from her 2001 self-titled Blackground/Virgin release,
peaked last November at No. 2 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart.
The Soul Train awards, which honor R&B, soul, hip-hop, rap and gospel performances,
will be broadcast in syndication March 30-April 7.
Performers included Alicia Keys, Tweet featuring Missy Elliott, Ja Rule featuring
Ashanti, Busta Rhymes featuring P. Diddy, Yolanda Adams, Usher, Faith Evans, Jagged
Edge featuring Nelly, and Jay Z featuring Beanie Sigel and Freeway.
R&B group LSG, which includes members Gerald Levert, Keith Sweat, and Johnny Gill,
with Sean Levert and Erick Sermon, performed a special tribute to the O'Jays, who
received the program's Quincy Jones Lifetime Achievement Award. Brothers Gerald and
Sean are the sons of O'Jays member Eddie Levert.
Here is the full list of Soul Train Music Awards winners:
R&B/soul single, female: "Rock the
R&B/soul single, male: "Love," Musiq Soulchild
R&B/soul single, group, band, or duo: "Contagious" by the Isley Brothers featuring Ron Isley
R&B/soul album, female: "Songs in A Minor," Alicia Keys
R&B/soul album, male: "8701," Usher
R&B/soul album group, band, or duo: "Eternal," Isley Brothers featuring Ron Isley
R&B/soul or rap album of the year: "The Blueprint," Jay-Z
R&B/soul or rap new artist: Alicia Keys, "Fallin'"
R&B/soul or rap music video: "Get Ur Freak On," Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliot
Gospel album: "Live in London," Donnie McClurkin
Sammy Davis Jr. entertainer of the year award, female: Alicia Keys
Sammy Davis Jr. entertainer of the year award, male: Dr. Dre
2002 Quincy Jones Award for Outstanding Career Achievements: The O'Jays
Keys Performs At Parliament
Five-time Grammy winner Alicia Keys has
performed at Parliament; the British
lawmaking body, not the George Clinton-led group. On Friday (3/15), the 21-year-
old Keys performed at Portcullis House, a building connected to Parliament, before an
invited audience of journalists and schoolchildren, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
She was asked to perform by 29-year-old lawmaker David Lammy, who wanted to
convince his younger north London inner-city constituents that Parliament is hip, not
dull. He told the Associated Press, "We see, on the news, stories of black boys
underachieving in schools; stories about gun violence. Alicia is obviously the opposite to
that. And so, I hope, am I." But, not all the legislators were pleased by the Keys
appearance. Liberal Democrat Paul Tyler felt that Parliament had been used to
commercially promote Keys' music and went on to say, "How can (Parliament) now
resist the Brit Awards, Miss World or the launch of a new deodorant?"
Isaac Hayes Asks For Humanity At Hall Of Fame Induction
Isaac Hayes was overcome with joy as he
accepted his induction into the Rock And Roll
Hall Of Fame on Monday night (March 18) in New York City. However, he didn't let the
good energy in the room obscure a personal message he had to for those who own
publishing rights to the music he has written.
Moments after accepting his induction from Alicia Keyes, Hayes said: ["To all the guys
that are sitting on my...writers, artists, producers, publishing, royalties, I'm just asking
you to practice some business ethics and a little humanity. Do the right thing by me and
my contemporaries--it's good practice. It's OK. I'm surviving, it's OK--good karma."
Aside from being known for such songs as "(Theme From) Shaft" and "Joy," Hayes was
also a featured writer on the Stax label. In 1975, Hayes left Stax because of a dispute
regarding royalty payments. While Hayes might still harbor bitter feelings for the label,
he did note in his acceptance speech that the Stax Museum Of American Soul Music will
open in Memphis in 2003.