Sunday March 2nd, 2003


New CD's this past week:

- KEM - Kemistry: Motown's rising star, KEM, delivers a debut album rich in emotion and vocally textured


Short news stories this week:

R. Kelly Boots 50 Cent From Top Of Albums Chart

The media hoopla surrounding R. Kelly and his string of child
pornography charges were seemingly ignored by his fans, who bought
enough copies of Chocolate Factory to knock 50 Cent's Get Rich or Die
Tryin' from the top of the Billboard albums chart.
Kelly's new album sold more than 532,000 copies in its first week, just
11,000 fewer than the amount he moved in his most successful opening
week, when dropped in November 2000.
Although it will vacate the top slot it held for two consecutive weeks,
50 Cent's studio debut is no slouch. Get Rich or Die Tryin' was shy of
Kelly's album by just 12,000 copies. Since its release, the album has
consistently sold more than 500,000 per week. The last time an album had
such a stretch was in late 2000, when both the Backstreet Boys' Black &
Blue and the Beatles' 1 each sold half a million copies for three weeks

McKnight Takes A 'U Turn' On New Album

R&B artist Brian McKnight will on March 25 release a new studio album,
"U-Turn," via Universal/Motown. The set finds the artist collaborating
with such guest vocalists as Nelly, Carl Thomas, Fabolous, Tyrese, and
Kirk Franklin.
The first single from the new set, "Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda," chimed in
at No. 23 this week on Billboard's Bubbling Under R&B/Hip-Hop Singles
chart. Other standout tracks on the album include McKnight's collaboration
with Nelly on "All Night Long," and his work with Fabolous on the title track.
In addition, McKnight is joined by Joe, Carl Thomas, Tyrese, and Tank on
"Good Enough," and he performs with Franklin on the musical prayer, "One
Of The Ones Who Did."
"U-Turn" is the follow-up to 2001's "Superhero," which debuted at No. 7
on The Billboard 200 and has sold 870,000 copies in the U.S., according
to Nielsen SoundScan. A greatest hits album, "1989-2002: From There to
Here," debuted last November at No. 62 on The Billboard 200.
McKnight scored a 2003 Grammy nomination for best R&B performance by a
duo or group with vocal, for his Kenny G collaboration "All the Way."
The 45th annual Grammy Awards will air Sunday night (Feb. 23) at 8 p.m.
ET on CBS.

IMX Frontman and B2K To Launch Tour In June

Kiddies, you've only got a few more months to rest your lungs before
you'll be expected to start shrieking fanatically again. This is because
IMX's frontman, Marques Houston, has announced he and swoon-inducing
quartet B2K are hitting the road beginning in June.
"It's called the Pandemonium/ Scream Tour 3," Houston, better known to
the fans as Batman, said on Wednesday. "['Scream 2'] was an excellent
tour. That was one of the best tours of the last couple of years. I was
just happy to be a part of it. Where do we go from there? We'll do it
So far, the only Scream veteran not scheduled to return is Bow Wow, who
headlined the last two Scream tours. Instead Houston indicated that R&B
youngster Mario might "possibly come on the tour as well."
While Houston's plans for his onstage venture with B2K are being
finalized, contracts are being inked for an onscreen collaboration
between the two factions for a film called "Dance." He likens it to a
new millennium version of the '80s classic, "Breakin.' "
"I don't know what [my character's] name is, but he's a serious guy,"
the 21-year-old explained. "He loves dancing, and he takes it really,
really seriously. My character is the opposite of Omarion - [he's] kind
of like Turbo and Ozone [from Breakin']. I'm the more serious, older
brother type, and he's more the guy worrying about the ladies and how he
Houston, who is Omarion's real-life older brother as well as J-Boog's
cousin, recently stepped outside of his other musical family, IMX, to
make his solo album MH. The first single from the April 15 release will
be "That Girl."
"I mean, it was kind of exciting to be onstage for the first time by
myself," Houston said of shooting the video, currently in heavy
television rotation. "[But] I was kinda nervous not having my boys right
on the side, [which is] something I'm not used to." However since
Houston sings lead in IMX, recording the LP wasn't too much of a leap.
"The boys were still there rooting me on and supporting me," the singer
explained. "Where it was different was when I had to work with other
producers. It was a lot of fun because I got to put a lot of my ideas
into it and write a lot of the album.
"My personal favorite on the album is 'Alone,' " Houston, who penned
seven of his album's songs, continued. "That's a situation that I went
through, breaking up with a girl. It was a rough relationship for me so
I wrote about it. I [also] love 'Walk Away.' I like my voice on that
song. I'm singing real strong, 'Has anybody ever told you that your eyes
shine like pearls?/ Has anybody ever told you that you're one special
girl?' "
Houston says that even though he's putting out a solo LP, he definitely
plans to record again soon with IMX. In addition to the group's singing
roles, they are also part of the production collective Platinum Status,
which helmed most of the beats for B2K's last two albums.

Does Ginuwine Have An R. Kelly Club Banger? 'Hell Yeah'

While recording his fourth album, The Senior, in Miami, Ginuwine was
given added inspiration to make hits - he had a class reunion with some
of his musical peers.
"I got down there [and ran into] Method Man, Puff, Missy, Timbaland,
Cash Money. Man, it was crazy down there," he said with a smile. "And
the [Hit Factory] studio was in a ghetto neighborhood, so everybody was
outside every day to see who was coming in. It was fun. A lot of us
wanted to do things with each other; that's how me and Meth hooked up.
Baby went down there, too, so we hooked up."
The Birdman rhymes on The Senior's first single, "Hell Yeah," which was
written and produced by R. Kelly.
"It was not your average collaboration," Ginuwine said of his work with
the R. "I wasn't there when he did it. I met him afterward and we kicked
it. He's a good dude. A genius. I was just happy to do something that he
created. Everything he seems to do is just ridiculous."
Ginuwine said he wanted to kick off his album with a club banger to
follow up the momentum he created with his collaborations in 2002. "It's
a club song," the singer said of "Hell Yeah." "I had Puff's 'I Need a
Girl,' then I did Fat Joe's ['Crush Tonight,'] and I was loving that
one, so I did one for myself. Everybody was expecting a slow joint
first. So I wanted to catch people off guard. Hopefully it will work."
The dancing won't stop with "Hell Yeah" - Ginuwine armed himself with a
few more party-flavored cuts. "The song with Meth is an up-tempo one
called 'Big Plans' and it's basically telling a woman 'If you're down
for me, if you'll wait for me, I have big plans for us, but you have to
stick by my side, stand by your man.' Of course, Meth is killing it.
'Sex' with Solé is basically like a 2003 'Pony.' It's like a stripper's
anthem. Trust me, I'm serious. I'm hoping it comes out [as a single],
but it might be too rough for radio right now. I would love to break
that barrier down and say, 'You can play this.' But I promise you
they're going to put it into strip clubs."
The gyrating singer's mirth comes with getting over the loss of both his
parents a couple of years ago. His misery affected the recording of his
last LP, 2001's The Life.
"I was depressed," he said. "A lot of people wouldn't understand what
it's like not to have certain [loved] ones around that you can confide
in and ask questions and get that consoling. This [album] is back to
basics. I'm more happy, I'm more focused."
For Ginuwine, focusing meant taking control of his project. He wrote
more, and he picked out new producers to work with, including Scott
Storch. Gone are the days when he waited around for Timbaland to give
him tracks. Though Timbo helmed some of Ginuwine's biggest hits, he's
nowhere to be found on The Senior.
"I want everyone to know that I have no beef with my man," Ginuwine
explained. "Tim has a lot going on, to a point to which I can't wait. I
guess it's not fair to ask him to drop what he's doing, but we did come
in this thing together and I thought that he would. But it was no big
thing. I just had to move on, do things myself. I'm getting into
producing now, I'm getting into my writing, and I don't want to depend
on nobody."
If the D.C. native wants to stick to his plan and put out two other
albums this year, he'll have to keep that independent way of thinking. A
remake album called Giving Back - featuring covers of Keith Sweat, Bobby
Brown, James Brown, Michael Jackson, Prince and Nat King Cole songs - is
in the works. To close out the year, he wants to go the route of
labelmates B2K and do a holiday album.
The Senior is due April 8, and the video for "Hell Yeah" has just hit
airwaves. A remix of the track featuring the Clipse will be released in
the next few weeks.

Mariah Carey To Receive Special 'Soul Train' Honor

Mariah Carey will be presented with the 2003 Quincy Jones Award for
outstanding career achievements in the field of entertainment at the
17th Annual Soul Train Music Awards on March 1 from the Pasadena Civic
Auditorium in Pasadena, California.
Carey is also slated to perform on the show, which will be broadcast
live in syndication and hosted by Arsenio Hall and Queen Latifah.

Usher Preparing Next Studio Album Following Grammy Win

Usher Raymond walked away from the 45th Annual Grammy Awards with the
best male R&B vocal performance honor, just as he did for "U Remind Me"
in 2002. This year the 24-year-old singer won for "U Don't Have To Call"
from his 2001 LaFace album, 8701.
Usher said he's preparing to step into the studio later this year to
record the follow-up to his third studio album: ["I want to do something
definitely better than the last one, with all intentions of having great
music. I plan on being very creative, just as I was with 8701. I plan on
making a more musical album, using more musical help, you know,
different types of music."]
Usher added that he will be writing songs for the new set, and working
with many of the same producers that helped him to his Grammy successes
in 2002 and 2003: "I will definitely be more involved in the writing
process with this album. I realize that certain formulas work for me, so
I'll keep it the same. Jermaine Dupri, I'll definitely be working with
him. The Neptunes, obviously, it's a success, so I'll keep working with
them, and a few other acts."



News 2003

News 2002

News 2001