Sunday January 12th, 2003


New CD's this past week:

- Earth, Wind & Fire - Live in Rio


Short news stories this week:

R. Kelly LP Has Two Hits, Bonus CD Of Love Land Tracks

Although "Ignition," the first single from R. Kelly's upcoming Chocolate
Factory, has been getting heavy rotation and having a respectable run on
the Billboard charts, no video for the tune has been planned. Perhaps a
better fate is in store for the remix of "Step in the Name of Love."
The song - in which Kelly testifies about the joys of finding a good
woman and briefly addresses the pirating problems that caused his Love
Land LP to be scrapped last year - is filtering out to radio stations
across the country and is already a hit in his hometown of Chicago.
The original version of "Step in the Name of Love," as well as several
other tracks from Love Land, will also soon be legitimately released to
the masses. The R. is putting out six Love Land tracks on a bonus disc
included with Chocolate Factory, due January 28.
Kelly's next live performance is scheduled for January 16 at the
Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey, as part of
New York radio station WWPR-FM's inaugural Powerhouse concert. The
crooner is due back in a Chicago court on February 7.

Chocolate Factory's track listing, according to Jive Records:
"Chocolate Factory"
"Dream Girl"
"Forever More"
"I'll Never Leave"
"You Knock Me Out"
"Step in the Name of Love" (remix)
"Heart of a Woman"
"Showdown" (f/ Ron Isley)
"Ignition" (remix)
"You Made Me Love You"
"Step in the Name of Love"
"Here I Am"

Bonus CD track listing:

"Love Land"
"What Do I Do"
"Heaven I Need a Hug"
"The World's Greatest"
"Far More"

Raphael Saadiq Basks In Grammy Glory, Talks New D'Angelo LP

The Grammys are still more than a month away, but Raphael Saadiq says he
already feels like he's won.
"Selling only 168,000 copies without a push from a record company, to be
nominated five times, that was winning to me," the singer said Tuesday.
Saadiq got nods for his solo album, Instant Vintage (Best R&B Album),
the single "Be Here" (Best R&B Song and Best Urban/Alternative
Performance), and his writing and production on Erykah Badu's "Love of
My Life (An Ode To Hip Hop)" (Best R&B Song and Best Song Written for a
Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media).
"Just the Erykah [song] shooting up the charts is like, 'Wow,' " he
said. "We did it in a couple of days and she did some production on it
too. It was just a cool collabo. Everything happened in the right
pattern. It's amazing how everything could fall into place. She had some
ideas she wanted to use. We came up with some chords, beats. I played
the little funky bassline on it.
"She was like, 'I want to hear one of your flutes,' " he continued. "She
took it to Dallas and put flutes on it. The lyrics, that was actually
her too. You can never tell what's on Erykah's mind. With somebody like
Erykah, you want to set a foundation for them, you don't want to paint a
picture for them. I think it's better to collaborate."
Raph, who just parted ways with Universal Records, has been so busy
writing and producing for other artists, he said he hasn't had time to
secure another record deal, let alone begin work on his next album. He's
planning to begin working on LPs by T-Boz and Erykah Badu in the next
few months and has already been held up in the studio with Nappy Roots,
Jaguar Wright and D'Angelo.
"We're like brothers," he said of D'Angelo, who also sings on "Be Here."
"It's every day getting up and hanging. For somebody else it might be
work, but me and him have been working together since [D'Angelo's 1995
LP,] Brown Sugar. It's like a day of playing ball for me."
He describes his fellow soul man's new album as "real meaty, real phat.
A real nice piece. Everything he sings just sounds good. We're like
kindred spirits. It sounds like D., classic D."
"I want to work with the Dres of the world - Dr. Dre and Outkast['s
Dre]," he continued. "Mary J. and Stevie Wonder, that's just somebody
you have to touch, even if it never comes out. I just got to hear it."
Although Saadiq said he'll always work with Joi, he ruled out reforming
Lucy Pearl or Tony, Toni, Toné, but he promised that the public will be
hearing him in another trio.
"I like groups," he explained. "It's fun to get people in a room and
just create. It would be a whole new thing. It will probably be me, Mos
Def and somebody else."

TLC Bust Their Creeping Men

If you're going to be untrue to the girls of TLC, please step your creep
game up, fellas.
No-no numero uno: Do not lie and say you're going to be playing cards
with the guys then hit the club. And if you do go out, please make sure
the hot spot is not Club Left Eye.
Director Matthew Rolston has T-Boz and Chilli not only busting a
boyfriend up to no good in the video for "Hands Up" - the second single
off the group's 3D LP - but the group gets to torment him as well.
Shooting Thursday (January 9) and Friday in Los Angeles, the clip starts
off with the two singers going to hang out in a club called Left Eye,
the late Lisa Lopes' nickname. The venue, which is flooded with music
and sexy people, breaks off into a ladies-only section and a gentlemen's
In the part of the club that entertains women, T-Boz and Chilli pass the
time playing a futuristic slot machine and watching half-naked men pose,
give massages and strip for other patrons, like Countess Vaughn of "The
Looking through a peephole, they see one of their boyfriends in the side
of the club that caters to men going ape over the scantily clad women
around him. To make matters worse, he had said that he would be at home
hanging with the homies at a weekly card game. A plot to get revenge
A spokesperson for the group said the clip for "Hands Up" should hit the
airwaves in the next few weeks. Meanwhile, "Girl Talk," the first single
from 3D, was just nominated for a Grammy in the category of Best R&B
Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal

Ashanti Ready To Revive 'Sparkle'

Ashanti is looking forward to her role in a remake of the 1976 film
Sparkle. The flick will be helmed by first-time movie director Irv Gotti
of Murder Inc., and will co-star rapper Ja Rule.
Ashanti takes the title role, which was originally played by a pre-Fame
Irene Cara.
Ja Rule, who told MTV's TRL in November that the film had been
"green-lighted," is cast as Stix, Sparkle's love interest. Stix was
originally portrayed by Philip Michael Thomas, who later went on to play
Detective Ricardo Tubbs on Miami Vice.
Other music stars under consideration for roles in Sparkle are Beyonce
Knowles and P. Diddy.
Ashanti is such a fan of the original film, she shared the movie's plot.
"Sparkle is like, okay, it's about a, it's three females that are trying
to put together a group, and they have boyfriends that are kind of
trying to manage them," Ashanti said. "It's a huge, music industry type
of movie, and like a sister gets killed, and it's really good. It's a
drama. You gotta watch it. Rent it at Blockbuster."
Ashanti is up for five American Music Awards, holding more nominations
than any other artist. The awards ceremony takes place Monday (January
13) at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. The singer is also up for
five Grammy Awards this year, including best new artist.

Erykah Badu & Common Talk About Their Love

Erykah Badu and Common aren't shy about sharing the details of their
love affair with the press. The artists steam up the cover of the
February issue of Essence, and the magazine features an interview with
the couple. Topics discussed include how they met, whether their
children get along, their fears, how they feel about marriage, and the
"important work" the couple is planning.
Common shared how and when he met Badu, explaining, "Back in 1996, when
I heard Erykah's first single, 'On And On,' I knew I wanted to work with
her. So a friend of mine gave me her number. I called, and our
conversation that day, how I can say it? It was long and warm. I felt as
though our spirits had known each other before."
Badu addressed the question of whether or not a marriage is in the works
by saying, "I don't know what the future has for us, really. Our
relationship is much bigger than being boyfriend and girlfriend, wife
and husband. I believe that we have some very important work to do
together as people."

Raphael Saadiq's 'Instant Vintage' Gets Its Due

Raphael Saadiq's debut solo album, Instant Vintage, got three Grammy
nods when the nominees for the 45th Annual Grammy Awards were announced
in New York City on Tuesday (January 7). The lead single, "Be Here"
featuring D'Angelo, was nominated for best R&B song and best
urban/alternative performance, and Instant Vintage earned a nod in the
best R&B album category.
Saadiq also earned two additional nominations for his songwriting on
Erykah Badu's "Love Of My Life (Ode To Hip Hop)" featuring Common. The
song was nominated for best song written for a motion picture,
television, or other visual media, and Saadiq will compete against
himself with the song in the best R&B song category.
While Instant Vintage has received critical acclaim, sales have so far
been very disappointing. Saadiq said of the sluggish sales: "You know,
basically they didn't really get me, and it's more corporate instead of
more artist-driven. You know, if it's not a big first week, they not
really behind it--they not gonna step behind it or turn on their
machine. So, thank God I made a great record, though, because, you know,
it's a word-of-mouth record now. People are, like, 'This record is dope.
The record is hot!' And right now, this stage of the game, I really
can't ask for more."]

Wonder, Khan, Green & More Land R&B Grammy Nominations

Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, Al Green, and Luther Vandross are among the
many R&B artists that received nominations for the 45th Annual Grammy
Awards. These and the nominees in all other categories were revealed
Tuesday morning (January 7) at New York's Madison Square Garden, where
the ceremony will take place on the night of February 23.
In the best R&B performance by a duo or group with vocal category,
Stevie Wonder & Take Six's "Love's In Need Of Love Today" faces
competition from Kenny G featuring Brian McKnight on "All The Way,"
Nivea featuring Brian & Brandon Casey of Jagged Edge on "Don't Mess With
My Man," Angie Stone & Joe on "More Than A Woman," and TLC's "Girl
Meanwhile, in the best traditional R&B vocal performance category, Chaka
Khan & the Funk Brothers's "What's Going On" is pitted against "Put It
On Paper" by Ann Nesby featuring Al Green, "Rocksteady" by Remy Shand,
"Lady" by the Temptations, and "Any Day Now" by Luther Vandross.
The 45th Annual Grammy Awards will air on CBS from 8-11 p.m. ET on
February 23 (live on the East Coast, tape delayed on the West Coast).

Luther Vandross Announces Radio City Engagement

Luther Vandross has announced two Radio City Music Hall concerts for
next month. The announcement came just hours before the crooner was
nominated for best traditional R&B vocal performance for the 45th Annual
Grammy Awards. Vandross will play the famous venue on February 11 and
12, with tickets being sold through Ticketmaster.
This is the second year in a row that Vandross will perform at the famed
Manhattan venue in February. He performed four sold-out shows, including
a Valentine's Day (February 14) performance, at Radio City Music Hall in
Unlike last year's shows, however, Vandross will not be out promoting a
new album release next month. Despite his current lack of new material,
the artist says he believes the best is yet to come: "I still feel like
the best part--even though there's been a lot that's happened that has
been wonderful, because there has been, something that I feel or
something that I make myself feel or whatever the circumstance is--I
still feel the best part of it all is yet to come. The best part is
still ahead of me--I haven't experienced my 'good old days' yet. There's
none of that, and I like that. I like the way that feels. Especially
after having had such a long career already, I really enjoy knowing that
there's more to come, you know?"

News 2003

News 2002

News 2001