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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: Old Town Road-Lil Nas X

This song is the property of Lil Nas X.

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Inside The Industry

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Bassist Eric “EQ” Young  grew up admiring the late Louis “Thunder Thumbs” Johnson of the Brothers Johnson and spent several years wood shedding to refine his art. He began his career as a side man for Bay Area acts before coming to the attention of Michael Cooper of Con Funk Shun and becoming bassist for that band. Young went on to release the album “Just 4 U”, which featured the single “Never Stop Loving.” Now, Young returns with a remake of The Brothers Johnson classic “Stomp”, taken from their 1980 album “Light Up The Night.” “Stomp” was  a percolating dance number that shimmered from the production work of Quincy  Jones. It added jazz and classical elements, along with Afro-Latin percussion and sweeping strings to the funk George and Louis Johnson brought to the party. Young proves he’s up to the challenge  of doing the original justice as he puts his brand of stank on “Stomp.” Fans will enjoy this one. Rapper Lil Nas X has expanded his reach beyond music. The MC recently teamed with Wrangler to  unveil an assortment of graphic  t-shirts, jeans and denim shirts. Prices range from $39 for t-shirts to $129 for custom made pants for men and women. Wrangler has described the collection as fresh remixes of classic Wrangler styles for the kind of modern cowboy who can’t be put in  a box. Wrangler jeans owners can take a photo of the back pocket for access to a behind the scenes look at Lil Nas X’s video “Old Town Road.” Fans can shop for the collection at Wrangler’s website.

After 7 Member Melvin Edmonds Dead At 65

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Sad news out of the world of R&B. Melvin Edmonds, one third of the R&B trio After 7, has died after a long illness. Edmonds provided the expressive counterpoint to brother Kevon’s sweet first tenor leads on a string of hits in the late 80s  and early 1990s. After 7 became a fan favorite and survived much and remain relevant today. After 7 was formed at Indiana University by Melvin Edmonds, Kevon Edmonds and friend Keith Mitchell, and played local gigs in the Bloomington area. Meanwhile, the Edmonds’ older brother, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, became a member of the R&B/funk band The Deele, and ultimately joined bandmate Antonio “LA” Reid to become a songwriting/production  team which went on to write and produce tracks for Boys To Men, Toni Braxton, Whitney Houston, Bobby Brown and a slew of other acts, while Babyface enjoyed a successful solo career. In 1998, Reid and Edmonds enterd an artist development deal with Virgin Records and approached After 7 regarding signing with the label. With some trepidation, the  trio, then all in their 30s signed, and the result was a self-titled debut album that became a smash, and contained the  hits “The Heat Of The Moment” and “Ready Or Not.” After 7 went on to become a consistent act, charting with such hits as “Nights Like This”, (taken from the Five Heartbeats soundtrack),  a cover of The Originals hit “Baby I’m For Real”, and “Til You Do Me Right.”  While the group continued to score gold albums, by 1996 they were in their 40s and considered an adult act. Their relationship with Virgin Records soured, and they found themselves without a recording contract. Babyface brought brothers Melvin and Kevon together with K-Ci and JoJo to form the one time group Milestone, which had the hit “I Care ‘Bout You” (taken from the Soul Food soundtrack). Shortly thereafter, After 7 disbanded and Melvin took a job as a truck driver while Keith worked construction. Kevon Edmonds released the moderately successful solo album “24-7”, and during his tour he brought Melvin’s son Jason along to sing backup and help with After 7  covers. This lead to a reunion of sorts in 2009, Keith Mitchell joined Kevon and Jason Edmonds to tour as a new version of After 7. Sadly, Melvin suffered a stroke in 2011, which prevented him from rejoining the group. In 2015, After 7 returned to the studio, with all four  members on board. With the assistance of Babyface and Daryl Simmons, they recorded the single “I Want You”, which reached No. 6 on the Urban AC charts. The quartet released a second single, “Let Me Know”, in June 2016, with similar success, and followed up in October of that year with “Timeless”, an artistic triumph that found the group sounding better than ever. For  fans who enjoy quality music, which certainly includes After 7 performances, this is a huge blow. After 7 created timeless classics, and Melvin Edmonds’ contributions will live on. Rest peacefully Mr. Edmonds. You will never be forgotten.

Hip Hop Pick Of The Week: For Keeps-Rich The Kid Ft. NBA YoungBoy

This song is the property of Rich The Kid/Kobalt Music Publishing.

Dimitri Roger, known professionally as Rich The Kid, is an American rapper/songwriter from Queens, New York. In 2013, he released his debut solo mixtape “Been About The Benjamins”, and later that year released the collaborative mixtape series “Streets On Lock Vol. 1”, “Streets On Lock Vol. 2”, “Streets On Lock Vol. 3” and “Streets On Lock Vol. 4” with Migos. In August 2014, Roger released his second mixtape “Feels Good 2 Be Rich.” Roger has collaborated with Migos, Young Thug, Kirko Bangz, Rockie Fresh, Stalley, Soulja Boy, RIFF RaFF, Jeremih, K Camp, Young Dolph, Yo Gotti, French Montana and Chinx & Kodak Black. In December 2014, Roger released his third mixtape “Rich Than Famous.” He has released the albums “The World Is Yours” (2018) and “The World Is Yours 2” (2019).

R&B Pick Of The Week: When I’m Around You-Montell Jordan

This song is the property of Masterpeace Recordings.

Montell Du’Sean Barnett, known professionally as Montell Jordan, is an American singer/songwriter/producer/pastor from Los Angeles, CA. Jordan began singing and playing piano in church where his parents were deacons. Following his graduation from Pepperdine Univesity, Jordan began working for Williams Television Time, where he helped make television commercials. In an effort  to jump start his musical career, Jordan invited his co-workers to see him perform at a showcase. According to Jordan, Janet Jackson and Shanice Wilson attended the show. Shortly thereafter, Jordan made his first mixtape and flew  to New York with Def Jam Records CEO Russell Simmons. Jordan signed to Def Jam in 1995 and  became the second male R&B artist signed to the label. In 1995, Jordan released his debut album, “This Is How We Do It.”  The album’s first single, “This Is How We Do It”, became a #1 hit. Jordan followed that success with the hits “This Is For The Honeyz”, “Let’s Ride” and “I Like.” In addition to his solo work, Jordan has written and produced for Christina Milian, 98 Degrees, Shae Jones, Deborah Cox, Lil Mo and Sisqo. He has released the albums “This Is How We Do It” (1995), “More” (1996), “Let’s Ride” (1998), “Get It On Tonight” (1999), “Montell  Jordan” (2000), “Life After Def” (2003) and “Let It Rain” (2008)

R&B Spotlight: Last Breath-Daron Jones

This song is the property of DPS Productions.

Daron Jones is an American singer/songwriter/producer from Atlanta, GA. Jones released his debut album “Uncensored” in December 2010. He went on to release the mixtape series “The Unofficial Diary Of Daron Jones Vol. 1” and “The Unofficial Diary Of Daron Jones Vol. 2”, which contained remakes of R&B classics. Jones has produced songs for Pink, Usher, The Notorious B.I.G., The Isley Brothers, Kelly Price and others.