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A month after the release of the single “Strawberry”, Grammy award winning R&B group 112 returns with the follow up single “Dangerous Games.” The track serves as the first single from the group’s highly anticipated forthcoming album “Q, Mike, Slim, Daron”, due out on Entertainment One this fall. On “Dangerous Games”, the group returns to the soulful balladry that made them one of the most successful acts of the 1990s. The track finds the fellas scouring the highs and lows of love with allusions of games of chance.  Playing with fire is a dangerous game, but don’t tell that to the members of 112, as they have a sure fire hit on their hands with this number. 112 is known for the hits “Cupid”, “Only You”, “Come See Me”. “Love Me” featuring Mase, “Anywhere”, “It’s Over Now”, “Peaches & Cream” “Hot & Wet” and “U Already Know.” 112 is currently preparing for a world tour, which is slated to begin in the U.K. in September before coming back to the U.S. in October. Fans should watch for an announcement regarding tour dates. Envogue  continues to deliver exciting performances after 30 years in the music industry. During last week’s episode of “Boy Band”, Envogue, Cindy Herron, Terry Ellis and Rhona Bennett, took the stage to perform their hit “Free Your Mind.” The R&B veterans gave an energetic performance and showed the boy band hopefuls how to embody chemistry on stage.

Hip Hop Spotlight: Splashin-Rich The Kid

This song is the property of Interscope Records.

Dimitri Roger, known professionally as Rich The Kid, is an American rapper from Queens New York. He grew up listening to Nas, Jay Z, 2Pac, Notorious B.I.G. and 50 Cent. In 2013, he released his debut mixtape, “Been About The Benjamins”, and later that year he released  the collaborative mixtape series “Streets On Lock” Vol. 1 and 2 with rap ensemble Migos. Vol 3 was released in 2014 and Vol. 4 was released in 2015. As a solo artist, he’s released the mixtapes “Feels Good 2 Be Rich” and “Flexing On Purpose.” He has also released the full length albums “The World Is Yours” (2018) and “The World Is Yours 2” (2019).

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R&B Spotlight: Pour Me-Elle Varner Ft. Wale

This song is the property of Entertainment One.

Gabrielle Serene “Elle” Varner is an American singer/songwriter. At age 16, she picked up the guitar. She later dropped the guitar and joined Alexander Hamilton High School’s Academy of Music’s Vocal Jazz Group. While there, she learned about the  complexity of the voice, jazz music and jazz singers like Ella Fitzgerald. She was chosen to be a part of the Grammy in the Schools Mentoring Program. Through the program she was taken to the Fox Studio weekly, where she met with mentor Kelly Burgos, and President of Fox Music, Robert Kraft. On August 6, 2011, Varner released her debut single “Only Want To Give It To You”, which served as the first single from her debut album “Perfectly Imperfect.” On August 7, 2012, Varner released her debut album ‘Perfectly Imperfect.” A second album, “4 Letter Word”, was shelved, and Varner was released from RCA Records.

Celebrity Birthdays

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Happy birthday

Singer/songwriter/producer Angela Winbush 64

Singer/songwriter/bassist Janice Marie Johnson (A Taste Of Honey)

Singer/songwriter Estelle Fanta Swaray 39

Rapper/songwriter/producer David “DJ Quik” Blake 49

Remembering singer Davis Eli “David” Ruffin (January 18, 1941-June 1, 1991-The Temptations)

Inside The Industry

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Contemporary jazz guitarist Norman Brown has joined forces with R&B singer Deniece Williams for a remake of her 1976  hit “Free”, taken from her album ‘This Is Niecy.” The remake will appear on Brown’s forthcoming album, “The Highest Acts Of Love”, due out on February 22, 2019 via Shanachie Entertainment. The Grammy Award-winning guitarist has sold over two millions records and is a mainstay on the jazz charts. Pioneering jazz guitarist George Benson has called him one of the greatest guitarist around today. Brown has been churning out hits for two decades. He has also collaborated with Brian McKnight, Kirk Whalum, Miki Howard, Gerald Albright, Rick Braun, Dave Koz, Everette Harp and Chante  Moore, to name a few. Singer Elle Varner ended 2018 with the singles “Casanova” and “Loving You Blind.” Now, the Grammy Award-winning songstress returns with the new single “Pour Me”, a collaboration with rapper Wale. “Pour Me” is a song about drinking, and as she begins to intoxicate, she thinks of a lover. Wale opens the track with a poetic verse and returns to conclude his thoughts near the end of the track. The instrumental for “Pour Me” is swooping , and contains finely-calibrated piano keys that give the song a classic vibe. Fans can catch Elle Varner on the “Nyla Tour” with Marsha Ambrosius, which runs Jan. 27-Mar. 17. Ariana Grande returns to the airwaves with her new single, “7 Rings.” The empowering record, recorded following her breakup with Pete Davidson, was inspired by Grande’s trip to Tiffany & Co. with her girlfriends, including Victoria Monet and Tayla Parx. “7 Rings” follows the singles “Imagine” and “Thank You, Next”, all taken from Grande’s forthcoming album “Thank You, Next”, the followup to “Sweetner.” In support of the single, Grande also shared a music video in which she added her own twist to The Sound Of Music’s “My Favorite Things.” In the clip, Grande sports a variety of ensembles, including a bedazzled bodysuit and a fur coat over a bra top as she sings about her favorite things, such as diamonds and Champagne. In April, Grande will headline Coachella. The 25-year-old singer will be the youngest artist to headline the festival and the fourth woman following Beyonce, Lady Gaga and Bjork. Ella Mai continues her momentum in 2019. After breaking through in 2018 with the singles “Boo’d Up” and “Trip”, the British songstress returns with the music video for her latest single, “Shock Clock.” In the basketball themed clip, which was shot in Los Angeles and directed by Colin Tilley, Ella puts a time clock on suitors who vie for her time. In the mist of it all, she visits a convenience store, a basketball gymnasium floor, and soaks in a tub while reading a book. It can be argued that she’s telling men what she likes. “Shock Clock” appears on Ella Mai’s self-titled debut album, which was released in October 2018. Earlier this month, Ella launched the international leg of her “The Debut Tour”. The American leg will begin on February 12 in Vancouver, and visit Sacramento, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Chicago, Toronto, Boston, Brooklyn and Atlanta, before wrapping up on March 28th in San Antonio, TX. Tickets for “The Debut Tour” are on sale now. Rising R&B singer Nader celebrates heartbreak on his new single “Hold Up.” On the track, he calls out her flaws while insisting that he’s keeping it moving. The song is about a young woman who is chasing the fast life while claiming she wants a good man. “Hold Up” is worth a listen. Just as his album “The Wizrd” was hitting streaming services, rapper Future performed the single “Crushed Up” on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. The set was icy, as glittering snow fell across the screen on the cool-toned stage while the rapper sang. Sporting an all red ensemble with an olive green vest, Future was accompanied by his guitarist as the trippy visuals on the screen behind him gave the chilled-out “Crushed Up” a psychedelic vibe.

Alicia Keys To Host The Grammy Awards

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Singer/songwriter Alicia Keys will host the 61st annual Grammy Awards. Keys made the announcement via social media. This won’t be Keys’ first appearance on the show. She’s won 15 Grammys during her career.  The Grammy Awards will air live on CBS from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA on February 10, 2019.

Celebrity Birthdays

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Happy birthday

Singer Sheila Hutchinson (The Emotions) 66

Singer/songwriter William Hart (The Delfonics) 74

Singer/actor William “Ray J” Norwood Jr. 36

Singer Rexton Rawlston Fernando Gordon aka Shabba Ranks 53

Songwriter/producer Jonathan “Lil Jon” Smith 48

Remembering singer/actress Eartha Kitt (January 17, 1927-December 25, 2008)

 

Throwback Thursday Hip Hop: Planet Rock-Afrika Bambaataa

This song is the property of Tommy Boy Music, LLC.

Lance Taylor, known professionally as Afrika Bambaataa, is an American singer/DJ/songwriter/producer from the Bronx, New York. He is notable for releasing several genre-defining electro tracks in the 1980s that influenced the development of hip hop culture. Inspired by DJ Kool Herc and Kool DJ Dee, Bambaataa began hosting hip hop parties in 1977. He vowed to move angry kids out of gangs to form the Zulu Nation. In 1982, he and his followers, a group of dancers, artists and DJ, went outside the United States on the first hip hop tour. In 1982, Taylor, who was inspired by Kraftwerk’s futuristic electronic music, debut a test cassette of EBN-OZN’s groundbreaking, 12-inch white rap/spoken word “AEIOU Sometimes Y.” It was the first commercially released single ever made on a computer, a Fairlight CMI, ushering in the era of music computer sampling. Taylor has recorded the albums “Death Mix” (1983), “Sun City” (1985), “Planet Rock: The Album” (1986), “Beware (The Funk Is Everywhere)” (1986), “Death Mix Throwdown” (1987), “The Light” (1988), “The Decade Of Darkness 1990-2000” (1991), “Dont’ Stop….Planet Rock (The Remix EP)” (1992), “Jazzin (Khayan Album)” (1992), “Lost Generation” (1996), “Warlocks And Witches, Computer Chips, Microchips And You” (1996), “Zulu Groove” (1997), “Electro Funk Breakdown” (1999), “Return To Planet Rock” (1999), “Hydraulic Funk” (2000), “Theme Of The United Nations w/DJ Yutaka” (2000), “Electro Funk Breakdown (Compilation)” (2000), “Looking For The Perfect Beat: 1980-1985” (2003), “Darker Matter Moving At the Speed Of Light” (2004), “Metal” (2005), “Metal Remixes” (2005), “Death Mix 2” (2006).

Throwback Thursday R&B: Ready For Your Love-Chapter 8

This song is the property Arista/Legacy.

Chapter 8 is an American R&B band from Detroit, MI. The group began in the 1970s. Derek Dirckson became  band leader after James Mitchell asked him to play drums for the group, who was the backup band for the Detroit Emeralds. In 1979, Derek and Michael J. Powell produced the group’s first album and expanded the band’s line up to include Anita Baker, Gerald Lyles, David Washington, Van Cephus, Courtlen Hale, Scott Guthrie and Alan Nance. In 1985, Valerie Pinkston replaced Anita Baker as lead vocalist. Chapter 8 was the launching pad for both Anita Baker and Michael J. Powell. Powell produced Baker’s albums “Rapture”, “Giving You The Best That I Got” and “Compositions.” Chapter 8 released the albums “Chapter 8” (1979), “This Love’s For Real” (1985) and “Forever” (1988).

Hip Hop Spotlight: Habits-Lil Durk

This song is the property of Alamo Records.

Durk Banks, known professionally as Lil Durk, is an American rapper/singer/songwriter from Chicago, IL. Banks began his career in 2011. After plans to sign with Chief Keef and French Montana fell through, Banks considered rapping full time following the release of the singles “Sneak Dissin” and “I’ma Hitta”, both of which received positive feedback. He has released three mixtapes, including “Life Ain’t No Joke.” On June 2, 2015, Banks released his full length studio effort “Remember My Name.” He has also released the albums “Lil Durk 2X” (2016) and “Signed To The Streets 3” (2018)

R&B Spotlight: Don’t Pull-Chrisette Michelle

This song is the property of Four Kings/Rich Hipster.

Chrisette Michele Payne, known professionally as Chrisette Michele, is an American singer/songwriter. Payne was featured on several  hip hop albums, including The Game’s “LAX” and Jay Z’s “Kingdom Come.” On June 18, 2007, Payne released her debut album, “I Am.” It spawned the singles “If I Have My Way”, “Best Of Me”, “Be OK” and “Love Is You.” On May 5, 2009, Payne released her sophomore effort, “Epiphany.”  She has also released the albums “Let Freedom Reign” (2010), “Better” (2013), “Milestone” (2016) and “Out Of Control” (2018).