Remembering singer Bobby McClure 74
Rapper Michael Franti (Spearhead) 50
Remembering singer Bobby McClure 74
Rapper Michael Franti (Spearhead) 50
HBO is preparing for a huge weekend of premieres, and for maximum impact is letting viewers watch free. The cable television subscription network announced yesterday that it along with Cinemax will offer a free preview weekend running Friday-Monday, which will align with the premiere of Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” and season premieres of some of its favorite shows. In the revealed weekend schedule it appears that the “Lemonade” event will be an hour long, running from 9-10:00 p.m. EST, between the world premiere of “Jurassic World” and the Gennady Golovkin, vs. Dominic Wade middleweight championship boxing match. The length of “Lemonade” is significant as it suggests this could also be the premiere of Beyoncé’s highly anticipated sixth studio album, rather than as a single as some have thought. While it been four years since the release of his 2012 album “The One”, R&B singer Eric Benet has announced that he’s working on his eighth studio album, due for release this fall. The first single from the project, “Sunshine”, features Benet’s signature falsetto in front of a smooth summer groove. The single will be available for download on May 13 along with a video performance featuring his daughter India Benet. Fans are invited to join the discussion regarding Benet’s new single by tagging him and adding the phrase: Ready for #SUNSHINE or other #SUNSHINE inspired images, in post on their social media pages. Benet will “like”, retweet and repost his favorite fan posts. Rapper Ty Dolla $ign will join the list of performers at the BET Experience. He’ll perform on Saturday at the Staples Center along with Lil Wayne, 2 Chainz, Fetty Wap, A$AP Ferg and Tory Lanez. Usher and Bryson Tiller are also among the headliners who will appear at the event the weekend of June 23-26 in advance of the BET Awards. There will also be additional shows at the Novo, (formerly Club Nokia ) will be announced soon. In addition to celebrating Weed Day, rapper Rockie Fresh is also preparing new music. He has released the visual for the single “I Need”. There’s been no confirmation regarding when a new album will be released.
Remembering singer/songwriter Luther Vandross 65
Singer Stephen Marley (Ziggy Marley & The Melody Makers) 44
With the third and final installment of her three album trilogy due for release soon, singer Dawn Richard is doing some amazing things. She’s signed with You Tube to bring viewers the first demonstration of a 360 degree live video streaming performance. Tonight, at 8 p.m. EST/5 p.m. CST, fans can tune in to the showcase on Verge’s You Tube channel via You Tube’s iOS and Andriod apps on any smartphone or tablet, as well as Google’s Cardboard headset and the web. Only the first 100 fans in the Los Angeles area will be admitted, others can attend the event free via You Tube Space LA. That will be an epic event. Fans who have been wondering if a biopic of legendary singer Aretha Franklin will ever see the light of day should wonder no more. During her 74th birthday celebration, which was held at the Ritz Carlton, Franklin told the Associated Press that a deal to produce a biopic on her life has been inked. Ever since 2011, there have been rumors that Halle Berry would play the singer, then Jennifer Hudson later. While there’s been no official word on who will play the lead role, Franklin did reveal that an actress has been chosen and she’s happy for her. There’s no word on when filming will begin or when the film will hit theaters. The internet was set a blaze after rumors of a Missy Elliott and Bruno Mars collaboration surfaced. Elliott took to Twitter to share photos of her and Mars relaxing together in the studio. Last fall, Elliott released the Pharrell Williams produced track “WTF (Where They From)” and also revealed that her comeback album could be released this year. She also released the single “Pep Rally” in February, ahead of Super Bowl 50 and is also featured on A$AP Ferg’s forthcoming album “Always Strive And Prosper” during the motivational track “Strive”. Both Elliott and Mars are Super Bowl alumni. Mars performed with Beyoncé and Coldplay at this years game as well as Super Bowl XLVIII in 2014 as a headliner. No formal announcement regarding a collaboration has been made. Puff Daddy & The Family, presented by hip hop mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs, along with Common, have been added to the Essence Music Festival lineup of performers. The event’s lineup includes Kendrick Lamar, Mariah Carey and Maxwell, among others. The Essence Music Festival, presented by Coca Cola, will be held from June 30-July 3. Information regarding tickets and updates is available at essencefestival.com.
Hip Hop Mogul Suge Knight 51
Singer Boaz “Bo” Watson (Midnight Star) 59
Keyboardist Bernard “Bernie” Worrell 72
Great news! Singer Alicia Keys is busy preparing a comeback. On Saturday, via her Snapchat account “AKStreetGoddess”, the Grammy winner made the announcement that she’s working on new music. Keys stated in the video message that she has new music to share and will be performing in a few weeks. Although she made no mention of it in the clip, it’s been confirmed that Keys will be the musical guest on “Saturday Night Live” on May 7. She’s also set to co-host with “Room” star Brie Larson. With new management and a new position on the forthcoming 11th season of “The Voice”, Keys is certainly pulling out all the stops for her return to the spotlight. Newcomer Jackie Gage is an R&B/Jazz singer from California who wants to share her alluring, sophisticated voice with others. The 25-year-old singer relocated from California to New York City in an effort to enter the recording industry. Gage released her debut album “Siren Songs” in March, which showcases her melodic sound. In nine songs, Gage covers such topics as her life experiences, love, devotion, passion and keeping dreams alive, among others. “Siren Songs” was also a collaborative effort between Gage and many musicians, including pianist Timothy Wat, marimbist Dillon Vado, and drummer Jason Lewis, to name a few. Gage has an incredible musical resume. She has become a pivotal figure in her hometown after launching a tour from Sacramento to San Diego. She was a jazz finalist at Jazz Search West, and is highly recognized at several venues including Yoshi’s Oakland, the Freight and Savage, Sound Room, San Jose Summer Fest and the Fillmore Jazz Festival. In addition, Gage also launched Fatale, a music house that promotes female artist. Gage is certainly on her way to becoming a mainstay in the music industry. In 2001, rapper Eve recruited No Doubt lead singer Gwen Stefani for her hit single “Let Me Blow Ya Mind” and it became a quintessential classic. 15 years later, the duo will reunite once again, this time as part of a 27 city tour. As announced via Stefani’s social media pages, a tour has been put together in support of the singer’s latest album “This Is What The Truth Feels Like”, with Eve as a special guest. The tour will begin on July 12 in Massachusetts and end on October 15 in California. That will be epic indeed. Rapper Rich The Kid has been building his name for some time by collaborating with Migos, Fetty Wap, Freddie Gibbs and Wiz Khalifa, among others. Now, he returns to the spotlight with his new mixtape “Trap Talk”. The project is the latest in a long list of collaborative tapes with iLoveMakonnen and Quality Control labelmates Migos, as well as two additional solo full lengths, in the last six months. “Trap Talk” includes several previously released tracks. With another mixtape reportedly on the way, it looks like Rich isn’t going to slow down anytime soon.
Singer Samantha Fox 50
Five of the creative forces behind some of your favorite recording artists step into the spotlight to bring you the new group KlarKent and it’s debut single “Oh My God” featuring Derek Minor. The single is a smooth R&B track with gospel lyrics, and the visual shows the producers as they meet by some train tracks and on a roof to praise a higher power. KlarKent consists of Isaac “Ike Nice” Carree, LaShawn “Big Shiz” Daniels, Eric “E Dubb” Dawkins, “Thee” Gerald Haddon and Adonis “The Phenom” Shropshire. Their collective discography includes hits for Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Beyoncé, Brittany Spears, Christina Aguilera, Rhianna, R. Kelly, Lady Gaga, Alicia Keys, Jennifer Lopez, Brandy, Usher, Mary Mary, Tank and Ciara, among others. The track is definitely worth a listen. A few weeks ago, it was reported that singer Brandy filed a lawsuit against her label Chameleon Entertainment Group, claiming they won’t allow her to record or release new music in an attempt to get her to sign a new deal. In court documents, Brandy claims her contract gives Chameleon the option to release four more Brandy records. She hasn’t released any new music since 2012’s “Two Eleven”. Now, her fans have decided to take matters into their own hands. They’ve launched several social media accounts titled “Free Brandy” on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter against Breyon Prescott and Chameleon. The group’s mission statement reads: “Unapologetically advocating 4 the contractual freedom of Brandy; demanding #BreyonPrescott & Chameleon Entertainment release her. #BreyOffBoycottPrescott. They’ve even begun circulating a Change.org petition. They are definitely supporting their favorite artist. Stay tuned. While in Miami, rapper Drake referred to Rhianna as “the real queen” when he joined her onstage for a performance of their Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 “Work”. Clad in a “Views” hoodie, Drake appeared mid way their smash collaboration to do his verse and engage in some flirtatious twerking. A short time later, he was left alone to do a rendition of the new single “One Dance” and 2015’s “Jumpman”. He ended his performance by reminding fans that his upcoming album “Views From The Six” will be released on April 29. This was the second of Rhianna’s two shows at the Air Canada Centre, as part of the “Anti World Tour”, which began on March 12 in Florida and will conclude on August 21 in England. Rapper Jay Z wants to let it be known that he grabbed a piece of NBA history during Kobe Bryant’s final game with the Los Angeles Lakers last night. He got to take home a souvenir; Bryant’s last game ball. He went after the ball when the game ended, taking advantage of the opportunity to show off his crossover skills as Steve Stoute captured the moment for Instagram.
Rapper Da Brat 42
Singer Larry Ferguson (Hot Chocolate) 68
R&B group Envogue is back! Original members Terry Ellis and Cindy Herron-Braggs along with new member Rhona Bennett have returned with their first single in five years titled “Deja Vu”, from their forthcoming album “Electric Café”. The track pays homage to the sound of 1960s R&B with its visceral and precise harmonies and melody, which sometimes mimics the rhythmic, funky drum pattern and other times, the melody smoothly glides in harmony about feeling a connection with a love interest. In support of the new music and the release of “Electric Café”, the group is currently embarking on a world tour, with shows scheduled for North America (U.S. and Canada) and Europe (Holland, UK, Denmark). Fans can visit EnVogueMusic.com for more information regarding tour dates, behind the scenes exclusives and the latest EnVogue news. It’s great to see the ladies back on the scene. Although singer Tinashe postponed her “Joyride World Tour” to complete work on her sophomore album, she’s keeping her name in the press. She appears on the cover of the latest issue of Paper Magazine. The cover pays homage to the Brittany Spears Rolling Stone magazine cover from 1999 with the 23-year-old clad in pink lingerie while laying on pink satin sheets and holding a telephone receiver. During the interview, she discusses the pressures of the music industry; not so much her music and image, but whom she dates. She told the magazine that she doesn’t date around with other celebrities. She wants to be known more for her music, not who she dates. For those who think the Drake/Meek Mill feud is over, think again. It now appears that Meek Mill is crowding in on Drake’s April 29 release date for “Views From The 6”. Yesterday, Meek Mills’ mixtape “Dreamchase 4” appeared on Datpiff with a sticker counting down to an April 29 release date as well , according to Complex. The countdown has been taken down with only the words “coming soon” remaining. Meek released “Trap Vibes”, a remix of Drake’s “Sumer Sixteen” and Desiigner’s “Panda”. The two rappers have been going back and forth for some time, with seemingly no end in sight. We’ll just have to wait until April 29 to see what happens. Rapper French Montana puts life on pause and reflects on his surroundings in the visual for the single “”Wave Gods Intro”, taken from the mixtape “Wave Gods”. On the Harry Fraud & The MeKanics produced opener, which carries a message from the original “War God” and incarcerated rapper Max B. , the Coke Boy MC bares his chest on the passing of a close friend, rapper Chinx Drugz, and shouts out his hip hop inner circle while sharing other thoughts. “Moses” collaborator Chris Brown lends his vocals to the track as well. The video shows a heavily wrapped French cruising through dunes in Dubai. The video premiered on Fader yesterday.