The-Dream – “Black” Apr30

The-Dream – “Black”...

There are no real coincidences in the world. So when The-Dream (Radio Killa!) drops his anthem “Black” on the same day that the NBA commissioner Adam Silver banished known racist slumlord Donald Sterling from the LA Clippers and the NBA, you have to admire the attempt at planned serendipity. But this well-constructed song would be powerful on any other day. For all the strides America has made to overcome racism and prejudice, being Black still harbors way too many emotions, good and bad, burdening its people everyday. Sometimes, you just have to be reminded of all the good Black leaders have done in the past to lay the framework and ease our struggle. Intolerance is still out there. The old racists are not dying fast enough before infecting the young. I can laugh about race, then again I can pass. Yet I have felt the sting more than once. Being Black has emboldened me at times and entrapped in other moments. I have long embraced my unique position, maybe not my lineages. I know how to navigate this world as a man not born with ivory skin and blue eyes. I don’t need it. I don’t want...

The Roots feat. Raheem DeVaughn – “Tomorrow” Apr28

The Roots feat. Raheem DeVaughn – “Tomorrow”...

I have seem some strange criticism in various C-sections about this track and the current trajectory of The Roots. “Tomorrow” likely fits cohesively into the storyline of The Roots’ concept album, …and then you shoot your cousin. On its own, the jawn is a poignant R&B track with the underrated (Radio) Raheem DeVaughn on vocals. But what the people want are Black Thought’s lyrical gymnastics over a rollicking boom bap orchestrated by Questlove. That sounds like shit you can find on their old albums. If you want that, you should heed Jay Z’s advice. Besides if you haven’t read Questlove’s essay on the failure of hip-hop’s promise to Black America, do yourself and read it now. One read will enlighten on you on The Roots’s new purpose in the musical landscape....

Blood Orange feat. Robert Owens – “Uncle ACE” (Kindness Remix) Apr25

Blood Orange feat. Robert Owens – “Uncle ACE” (Kindness Remix)...

Dev Hynes released his album, Cupid Deluxe, last November on the strength of three excellent singles (You’re Not Good Enough, Chamakay, Time Will Tell). For his latest single, he has had it reworked by producer and video director Adam Bainbridge aka Kindness and added house music singer, Robert Owens, add some vocals. The result is a track that starts as a throwback R&B funk track that gets polished down into a very modern chillwave movement....

BOOTS feat. Beyoncé – “Dreams” Apr25

BOOTS feat. Beyoncé – “Dreams”...

BOOTS is the mysterious (read: unknown) producer/songwriter who worked with Beyonce on her smash self-titled album released last Christmas. Rather than picking up more producing gigs, BOOTS is determined to make his own path as a complete artist. For the balance of 2014, he has been leaking excellent track after track of his projected WinterSpringSummerFall mixtape. This ethereal record in particular also has a special cause attached to it. By purchasing this track, you can support DayOneNY.org, an organization “working with youth to end dating abuse.” All around good...

Prince – “The Breakdown” Apr22

Prince – “The Breakdown”...

Last week Prince signed a new distribution deal with Warner Bros. ending his 18-year strife with the record label. Prince will regain ownership of all his music created during his prime and start releasing remastered versions of his classic albums starting with Purple Rain. Adding to all that Prince drops a new single and announces a new album upcoming. That’s just way too much Prince good news! So sit back, relax, and listen to the new single, “The Breakdown.” It sounds like instructions to other R&B singers on how to make an R&B song. “The Breakdown” is available on iTunes now! (Okayplayer) P.S. Do not stare directly at Prince’s face. You will turn ghey. Ask Tracy...

SZA feat. Isaiah Rashad – “Warm Winds” Apr15

SZA feat. Isaiah Rashad – “Warm Winds”...

If you are sleeping on SZA, wake the fuck up! I hate how my peers (late Gen X, old Millenials) can’t admit that new artists are making game-changing music. Leading the way is Kendrick Lamar’s music group, TDE, which signed both SZA and Isaiah Rashad in the wake of K-Dot’s success. This song is delicate yearning and fractured beauty …like the rest of her work. Cop SZA’s EP called Z on iTunes. (This is...

Alicia Keys feat. Kendrick Lamar – “It’s On Again” (video) (prod. by Pharrell Williams) Apr14

Alicia Keys feat. Kendrick Lamar – “It’s On Again” (video) (prod. by Pharrell Williams)...

Katy Perry tries with “Roar” and fails. Shakira tries with “Empire” and makes barely a ripple. Alicia Keys attempts with “It’s On Again” and ensures her indelible mark by enlisting the hottest Black rapper in the game and the hottest producer in the game today. Granted Alicia has made a career belting out torch songs straddling pop and R&B crossover sensibilities for over a decade. So when she made “Girl On Fire” a couple years ago, making a pop theme for a movie franchise seemed like a natural step. Here we are with Alicia’s 80s-influenced anthem featuring a needlessly aggressive 16 bars from Kendrick Lamar....

Future feat. Kanye West – “I Won” Apr08

Future feat. Kanye West – “I Won”...

A not-really love song dedicated to Future’s girl, Ciara, and Kanye’s fiance, Kim Kardashian. Not as gutter as his fantastic single, “Move That Dope” with Pusha T and Pharrell. Not as earnest as his first single “Honest.” Not as sincere as (my personal favorite) the mixtape track, “Substitute Everything.” “I Won” is available on iTunes. (MissInfo)...

Tinashe feat. ScHoolboy Q – “2 On” Mar28

Tinashe feat. ScHoolboy Q – “2 On”...

(photo credit: John Francis Peters) Tinashe has mentioned in interviews that she plays the dual roles of a babyface and a naughty girl. The nice Tinashe hawks pimple cream. The naughty Tinashe write songs about tragic relationships or in this case a very fulfilling fling....

DJ Cassidy feat. R. Kelly – “Make The World Go Round” Mar28

DJ Cassidy feat. R. Kelly – “Make The World Go Round”...

This certainly is a much better effort from musical project manager and vintage straw hat wearer, DJ Cassidy. Rather than going for the artificial flavor, he has enlisted R. Kelly to croon over his slightly-too-fast 2-step anthem. Maybe this record will give DJ Cassidy the necessary traction to promote his album, Paradise Royale, properly when it drops....

Chris Brown feat. Lil Wayne and Tyga – “Loyal” (video) Mar24

Chris Brown feat. Lil Wayne and Tyga – “Loyal” (video)...

What do you do when you have a very hot single with two versions for either coast and you need to film a video to keep the promotion train rolling? You install a different and weaker rapper for the visuals. Enter YMCMB’s resident Memphis Bleek, Tyga. And your social media team needs to keep chugging along, so send out a message via your Twitter handle. #LOYAL video dropping 3/24!!! let the countdown begin!!! — Chris Brown (@chrisbrown) March 22, 2014 I love how idiots are like “WTF! He’s in jail and he’s still tweeting!” or “How is LA County allowing Breezy to use social media in jail?” Think those quotes are stupid… here are some real tweets from idiots who don’t know how marketing works. Yes, Chris Brown is still in jail. Good luck, Mark Geragos. All that aside, it’s got all the trappings of a Chris Brown video. Colors, dancing, bad lip syncing, more dancing, 4th wall leering, even more dancing, shameless plugs, and did I mention he can dance? Plus his dancers. And that body (((pause))). And his dancers. And Usher!...

Chris Brown feat. Lil Wayne and French Montana/Too $hort – “Loyal” Mar12

Chris Brown feat. Lil Wayne and French Montana/Too $hort – “Loyal”...

“Loyal” is the 4th(!) single by Chris Brown from his oft-delayed sixth album, X. Two versions got sent around to all the North American Black pop…errrr rhythmic contemporary radio stations. Both tracks have Breezy (natch) and frequent collaborator Weezy, but the East Coast version is saddled with a double-recycled verse from French Montana while the West Coast version has an invigorated Too $hort spitting hot fyah. On first listen the pangs of listening to Wayne’s boilerplate wordplay and the robotic bounce turned me off. However, Chris can still sing better than most. And who doesn’t like a song about unfaithful bitches. Soon enough I’m humming the chorus. I do not recommend listening to the East Coast version when French Montana starts reciting Biggie’s verses I strongly recommend listening to the West Coast version because it gets better from Wayne to Chris to...