Sunday February 27th, 2005


New CD's this past week:

- Carlton Blount- (From) a man’s point of view
- BeBe Winans – Dream

Music news headlines this week:

Mint Condition Maintains Core Sound On “Luxury Brown”

Following a five-year hiatus, Minnesota-based R&B/pop band Mint Condition
is making a comeback with a new album, Living The Luxury Brown, which hits
in April. The project is being previewed at radio with the tune "I'm
Ready," which is already among the most-added tracks at urban adult radio.
Lead singer and drummer Stokley Williams says that the sound of Mint
Condition has not changed much since the group first broke nationally with
the album Meant To Be Mint in 1991. The lineup distinguished itself as one
of the few real R&B bands to emerge in the '90s by merging jazz, rock,
soul and Minneapolis-style funk on real instruments into a unique brew,
and specializing in heart-tugging ballads like "What Kind Of Man Would I
Be," and "Stop Breaking My Heart (Pretty Brown Eyes)."
Stokley adds that the group does incorporate contemporary musical touches
like hip-hop on its new outing: "The difference is just the moment that
we're in right now. I think sometimes things around you change. And of
course we have our ear to the street, and you have to change. You know,
it's like right now, hip-hop is really big. Of course we're influenced by
that, so you have to cater to that as well. We're catering to it honestly,
and we're doing it in our own way. We'll do our version of what we feel is
to the street or whatever. "
Mint Condition is currently lining up summer tour dates.


Alicia Keys Thanks Fans For Birthday Donation

Alicia Keys says she is overwhelmed with gratitude to the group of fans
that raised money for one of her favorite charities in honor of her
birthday January 25th. Keys wrote on her website, "...NOTHING has
touch(ed) me as deeply as this amazingly selfless gift that you have given
me for my birthday! I can't believe how thoughtful you all have been. I am
thanking you for me and I am thanking you for all these kids and mothers
and families that you are helping to do a daily Miracle."
Fans from the U.S. and Canada and as far away as Germany, Belgium, the
Netherlands, Finland, and Korea all chipped in to make a donation of over
$3,000 to Keep a Child Alive, which helps children with AIDS in Africa.
The fans created a web site at with personal messages
and photos from each donor. One fan wrote, "Even our surpassed goal of
$1,000 may not be the biggest sum ever, but everybody gave something even
if it wasn't always much, and I'm sure that it's still enough to give the
children (in Africa) and to bring some light into their dark days."
Keep A Child Alive provides life-saving AIDS medicines directly to
children and families with HIV/AIDS in Africa and other impoverished
countries. For more info, visit
Keys will appear on the cover of Seventeen magazine's April issue, on
newsstands March 1st.
Keys' Diary Tour officially kicks off on Friday, February 25th in Miami,
Florida, and will include stops in several U.S. cities before winding up
in Newark, New Jersey, on April 24th.


Brian McKnigh, Anthony Hamilton, Fantasia And Ciara To Perform On 
Soul Train Awards

Brian McKnight, Anthony Hamilton, Fantasia, Ciara, Nick Cannon and Kierra
"Kiki" Sheard and Karen Clark Sheard are set to perform on the 19th annual
Soul Train Music Awards, to be taped on Monday, February 28th, at
Paramount Studios in Hollywood.
Special awards will also be handed out at the ceremonies. Superstar Usher
and "Princess of Crunk" Ciara --both leading nominees for the evening --
will each receive the 2005 Sammy Davis, Jr. Entertainer of the Year Award.
Rapper, producer, actor and director Ice Cube will receive the coveted
Soul Train Music Awards' Quincy Jones Award for Outstanding Career
The show, which honors the best in urban music for the previous year, will
also be hosted by McKnight, American Idol winner Fantasia, actor-singer
Cannon, and Simple Life star Nicole Richie.
Usher earned five nominations, including Best R&B Soul Single Male for
"Confessions, Part II," Best R&B/Soul Album for Male "Confessions," and
the Michael Jackson Award for best R&B/Soul or Rap video for "Yeah!"
featuring Lil' Jon and Ludacris. Ciara follows Usher with four, including
Best R&B/Soul single for "Goodies," and Best R&B/Soul or Rap New Artist.
Other multiple nominees included Alicia Keys, Prince, Destiny's Child, and
Jill Scott.
The Soul Train Awards have also lined up top celebrities as presenters.
They include Paula Abdul, Christina Milian, Tweet, Baby Phat creator
Kimora Lee Simmons, Aisha Tyler, Boyz II Men, New Edition, Bow Wow, B5,
the O'Jays, Vivica A. Fox, Elise Neal, Gary Dourdan, and Steve Harris.
The 19th Annual Soul Train Awards will be broadcast in syndication on
March 12th via Tribune Entertainment Company Distribution (check local
listings for channel and times).



BeBe Winans Has A “Dream”

Gospel and R&B star BeBe Winans released his latest album, Dream, on
Tuesday (February 22nd). The set was the first release from Winans since
2000's Love And Freedom. BeBe Winans explained that he had actually
been working on the new album for over seven years. He said:
"This album is at least seven years in the making. Actually, the last
studio album that I released, Love And Freedom, this album was done
already. I didn't feel it was the right time to release it, so I ended up
doing another album, which is Love And Freedom, and releasing that one."
Dream includes the song, "I Have A Dream," whose lyrics are taken entirely
from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1963 speech. Winans explained that
getting the necessary clearances to use the speech also took some time. He
said: "'I Have A Dream' was one of the cuts in the beginning, and
honestly, it took a year-and-a-half, almost two years just to get the
approval and the full one hundred percent support from the King
Foundation, and one of those reason is they didn't know how to license out
the whole speech."
Dream is the first release on Winans' The Movement Group label, which is
distributed by Hidden Beach Recordings and Epic Records. The current
singles from the set are "Safe From Harm" and "Love Me Anyway."


Carlton Blount Saying It “From A Man’s Point Of View”

Carlton Blount is the newest artist to be released on Magnatar Records. A
native of Richmond, Virginia, he has done everything with his silky smooth
vocals--from singing with legends such as Patti LaBelle, Roberta Flack and
Al Green to being lauded as the winner of the nationally syndicated
variety show "Showtime At The Apollo."
Soon after, he became lead vocalist of the Main Ingredient, filling in the
shoes of the legendary crooner Cuba Gooding. And if Carlton Blount can
stand in for Cuba, he has to have a mighty impressive voice.
His solo debut album (From) A Man's Point of View dropped this week. The
album features 12 tracks that range from funky R&B, rap riffs, soul and a
hint of gospel.
The lead single “Acting Like You’re Free” produced by Billy Dubose and
Peter Moshay tells the tale of a philandering woman who neglects her home
and family to pursue her wanderlust. The song demonstrates the flip side
of the coin with the man at home and the woman out roving. Carlton
co-wrote “Just Believe” an inspirational tune featuring his two children
on backup vocals. The talented performer moves into a funk rock explosion
with “Every time” and then takes us onto the dance floor with “Do That
Magatar’s Yusef H. Shabazz is happy with the process of breaking Carlton
Blount's latest endeavor. "Carlton has a dynamic voice, a nice personality
and he's very soulful. I think that he's going to be very successful. Make
room for Carlton Blount. This record is a launching pad for more great
things to come." Simply put, Carlton Blount can sing Jaheim under the
table. It's grown and sexy R&B music that is radio ready.

In related news, forthcoming plans are underway to reunite Cuba Gooding
with The Main Ingredient, and to release albums by chanteuse Natasha
Coward and the sexy, chocolate and chiseled crooner Jeffrey Spence.
"Magnatar Records is hitting the ground running with great music,"
concludes Mr. Shabazz.


Eric Benet says his new album contains apology to ex-wife Halle Berry

Benet said lyrics in his upcoming album include an apology but she's heard
it all before.
"I think somewhere along the way, she's heard everything," he told "Access
Hollywood" in an interview broadcast Tuesday. "Maybe she hasn't heard the
songs, but she's heard everything I have to say."
Berry filed for divorce from the R&B singer last April after about three
years of marriage.
Tabloids speculated about Benet's faithfulness.
"Some of it is truth", but the reports also were full of misconceptions,
Benet told "Access Hollywood".
"I think the biggest misconception is that there is something wrong with
me", he said. "It's like the whole picture that was painted was ...'sex
Benet also denied being a sex addict last year. In a July interview with
ABC's "Primetime Thursday", he denied he ever committed adultery but
acknowledged indiscretions that entailed "verbally inappropriate behavior
and physical contact that was extremely inappropriate and wrong in a


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