Sunday November 14th, 2004
New CD's this past week:
- Conya Doss – Just because
- Will Downing – Christmas, love and you
- Jahah – Mama’s only son
Music news stories this week:
Brian McKnight’s ‘What We Do Here” Is A Hit
Singer/songwriter Brian McKnight has another hit on his hands. His latest
single, "What We Do Here," has climbed to Number Two on the national urban
AC radio airplay charts. The song is the lead single from McKnight's new
album, Gemini, which will be released on February 8th.
He explained that during his creative process, the emphasis is on writing
a good song, and not necessarily on the vocals: "I don't really put that
much merit on singing. I really don't, because I look at it this way: When
I listen to the radio and I hear the people that are on the radio, I say
to myself, 'If that's what the general public thinks of singing than
obviously it must not be about singing. It must be about the song.' So, if
I can write a song that anybody can sing, then I've done a good thing."
Alicia Keys Planning More U.S. Concert Dates For 2005
Alicia Keys has plenty going on these days with the publication of her
first book, the re-release of her latest album, and an upcoming performance
with Usher on this weekend's American Music Awards. But she's also
planning her next round of touring, which will include U.S. dates in early
2005. Keys said that she'll hit a lot of places this time, unlike in the
past: "When I did tour America , it was very brief -- I only did about 16
cities -- so we have a lot more cities to touch. We're purposely gonna do
really small, intimate theaters, and really just make it an experience,
something that is just unforgettable, and, you know, just personal."
Fallout from cancelled R. Kelly/Jay-Z tour continues
Singer R. Kelly, whose short-lived co-headlining tour with rapper Jay-Z
recently ended in turmoil, announced on Thursday (11/11) that a member of
Jay-Z's entourage had been arrested for allegedly assaulting Kelly and
some of his security guards.
"A longtime associate of rap singer Jay-Z has been arrested in New York in
connection with the Oct. 29 pepper-spray assault on R&B star R. Kelly and
several of his security guards," reads a press release that Kelly issued.
MTV.com reported that the New York District Attorney's office said that
Jay-Z associate Tyran "Ty Ty" Smith was charged with third-degree assault.
The alleged incident occurred backstage at New York City's Madison Square
Garden after Kelly, who was co-headlining at the venue with Jay-Z as part
of the duo's Best of Both Worlds tour, left the stage
mid-performance--supposedly due to "security concerns," according to a
statement. About 30 minutes later, Kelly attempted to return to the stage,
but was allegedly stopped and pepper-sprayed by Smith.
Kelly and his security guards were treated at a local emergency room and
released, and Kelly "declared he was 'ready, willing and able' to continue
with the 'Best of Both Worlds' tour. Jay-Z, however, refused to perform,
as a result of which the promoter canceled the tour," according to Kelly's
Kelly has since filed a $75 million lawsuit against Jay-Z and his
Jay-Z, meanwhile, is forging ahead with the tour, which he has re-dubbed
as Jay-Z and Friends, and for which he has enlisted a rotating roster of
special guests. The rapper's record label, in a recent press release,
blamed the original tour's cancellation on Kelly's "lack of
professionalism and unpredictable behavior."
Ironically, Jay-Z and R. Kelly's second collaboration, "Best of Both
Worlds"--the release of which was timed to coincide with the
tour--recently entered the U.S. album chart at No. 1, with about 215,000
copies sold during its first week in stores.
In related news, Kelly issued a second press release on Thursday (11/11)
in which he announced that a supposed Associated Press news story that
"makes false claims from unnamed sources that Kelly made sexual advances
toward [R&B vocalist] Ashanti's younger sister at a recent awards show" is
a "false and misleading hoax."
According to the press release, "Ashanti personally telephoned New York
radio station HOT 97 [on Thursday morning] to set the record straight,"
and "AP reporter Nekesa Mumbi Moody has also confirmed that the article
was not written by her nor distributed by the Associated Press wire
Kelly continues to face multiple counts of child pornography in a case
pending against him in Illinois.
Ashanti's 'Rose' Blooms Next Month
R&B star Ashanti will release her third album, "Concrete Rose," Dec. 7 via
the Inc./Def Jam. The 7 Aurelius-produced first single "Only U" debuted
last week at No. 30 on Billboard's Rhythmic Top 40 chart and is No. 12 on
the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles tally. Although a track list was not
available at deadline, labelmates Ja Rule and Lloyd are confirmed to make
"Concrete Rose" is the follow-up to Ashanti's 2003 album "Chapter II,"
which debuted at No. 1 on both The Billboard 200 and the Top R&B/Hip-Hop
Albums tally. The set has sold 1.46 million copies in the United States,
according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Ashanti eased her way back into the spotlight recently with a guest spot
on Ja Rule's single "Wonderful," which is No. 13 on the Hot 100 this week.
She also appears with R. Kelly in the accompanying video.
The artist has lined up a host of promotional appearances surrounding
"Concrete Rose," including Nov. 14 on the American Music Awards and two
days later on "Good Morning America" (both on ABC). A "custom concert,"
during which fans will be able to choose the set list, will air Nov. 28 on
Beyond music, Ashanti will make her feature film debut alongside Samuel L.
Jackson in "Coach Carter," which opens Jan. 14 in U.S. theaters. She will
also play Dorothy in an ABC production of "The Muppets' Wizard of Oz,"
scheduled to run in May.