In 2002, R&B singer Tweet’s Timbaland produced single “Oops (Oh My)” became an instant hit. Charlene Keys’ gospel trained vocals coupled with her sensual sass catapulted her to the top of the R&B/Hip Hop Airplay chart as her debut album “Southern Hummingbird” reached No. 3 on the Billboard 200. The song spawned a friendship as well as mentorship with producers Timbaland and Missy Elliott, but when “It’s Me Again” failed to fare as well in 2005, the songstress decided to take a 10 year hiatus from the music industry. Now, Tweet is back with her third album titled simply “Charlene”. Released on Feb 26, the album is a complex diary, taking listeners back to her gospel roots while showcasing the self-assured artist and woman she has become. It’s wonderful to see her back on the music scene. Norwegian/Algerian born singer/songwriter Farida says she represents independent women on her latest single “”Solo Ride”. She told Billboard magazine that the song is about the first sense of empowerment you feel after you realize that someone doesn’t have your best interest at heart and also realizing that you’re ok with that and just wanting to hang out with yourself for a while. Her upcoming album “The 25th Hour” will be released in April. Kendrick Lamar will return to the Essence Festival main stage when the 22nd annual celebration revisits the New Orleans Superdome from June 30 to July 3. Lamar, who won five Grammy awards, became the first rapper to close out the festival during his first appearance there last year. Mariah Carey, Ciara, Maxwell and Charlie Wilson are also among the headlining artists who comprise the Essence Festival’s first round reveal of its 2016 lineup. Top Dawg Entertainment has big plans for 2016. CEO Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith revealed the label’s roll out plans in an Instagram post writing, “Shit about to get nasty real soon. I told ya’ll I got ya’ll in 2016#TDE.” First up is School Boy Q, whose upcoming project is currently in  “sample clearance” phase according to TDE’s whiteboard, while SZA’s next release is in “4th stage creative.” Isaiah Rashad and Ab-Soul are also in the line up while Jay Rock is recovering from a motorcycle accident that occurred earlier this month. Grammy winner Kendrick Lamar appears on the whiteboard with three question marks and a memo that reads “Get top on the phone”, while projects from signees John Doe 1 and John Doe 2 are coming. Continuing to look ahead, “BH” is scrawled, possibly referring to the long awaited Black Hippy collaborative album may or may not see the light of day in 2017. To indicate what Top wants, he simply writes next to it, “Praying.”