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Celebrity Birthdays

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Happy birthday

Songwriter/arranger/musician Gary  Hines ( The Sounds Of Blackness)

Singer Naturi Naughton (3LW) 35

Rapper/actor Trevor “Busta Rhymes” Smith 47

Guitarist Micki Free (Shalimar) 64

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Inside The Industry

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R&B fans will be happy to know that there’s new music coming out of Atlanta, GA. Atlanta based artist Landstrip Chip steps into the spotlight with his new single, “Even Count.” With “Even Count”, Chip flosses on the competition while singing verses that measure up to your favorite and a fun track that deserves to be played in a vehicle with a top notch sound system and the top down. Chip not only released a new single, he also unveiled a music video featuring a private residence that doubles as a traphouse. Chip is an East Atltanta native who has earned a lot of respect by using the city as a platform for his unique artistry. After two years and two mixtapes, his hard work garnered attention from Zaytoven, Southside, Sonny Digital, Bankroll Fresh and Quavo. Landstrip Chip’s “Even Count” is currently available via all streaming platforms and is spreading like wildfire with intense heat. South Florida artist TxTHEWAY just released the single “Come From Nothing.” A reminder of humble beginnings, the songs takes a relationship that has evolved over the years; similar to a rags to riches story. “Come From Nothing” tells the story of two people who have risen from poverty and managed to hold on to each other in the process. It’s a testament to how some of the strongest couples in hip hop were together before the money and fame. The song’s lyrics speak of enjoying the progress you’ve made while remaining grounded and humble. While he’s considered a new artist, TxTHEWAY is a platinum certified singer who has collaborated with several artists. Last year, he released the single “Jump”, which earned hundreds of thousands of streams on Spotify. With “Come From Nothing” poised to become a huge summer hit, it’ll be interesting to see what he does before all is said and done. Rapper YFN Lucci returns with the single “All Night Long”, which will appear on his forthcoming project. He collaborated on the track with singer Trey Songz. “All Night Long” is a change of pace for YFN Lucci. Produced by Grammy winning production duo Ayo & Keyz along with Hitmaka, it’s a sultry track with a smooth beat that samples the Case hit “Missing You.” A rhythmic number, the song displays the opposite of YFN Lucci’s usual street style rapping. Trey Songz is the candle on top of the cake. The song also displays a vulnerability not seen in the previous hits “Keys To The Streets”, “Everyday We Lit” and “Heartless.” If “All Night Long” is any indication, fans can look forward to hearing more from him in the future. Rappers Ty Dolla $ign and J Cole join forces on the single “Purple Emoji”, which appeared on Zane Lowe’s World Record at Beats 1. The song is built around a soulful sample, as Ty Dolla $ign wails about the need for a certain someone to reenter his life. Cole picks up the pace over the MXXWLL production while expressing his lust for his significant other. Dolla $ign explained to Zane Lowe that the collaboration came about after the two wound up in the same recording studio in NYC. Fans will enjoy this one.

 

Celebrity Birthdays

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Happy birthday

Singer Maxi B. (The Mary Jane Girls)

Musician Homer Odell (Mint Condition)

Singer Darnell Van Rensalier (Shai)

Singer/guitarist George Johnson (The Brothers Johnson) 66

Singer/actress Cynda Williams 53

Singer/songwriter Kandrisaria “Kandi” Burruss (Xscape) 43

Remembering songwriter/producer/musician David Townsend (May 17, 1955-October 26, 2005-Surface)

Remembering singer Pervis Jackson (May 17, 1938-August 18, 2008-The Spinners)

Inside The Industry

Singer Montell Jordan returns to music with the new single “When I’m Around You.” It’s the veteran singer’s first release in over a decade. Featuring rapper Lecrae, the track boast Jordan’s smooth, warm vocals, inspired by the past. Fans will be happy to know that Jordan is preparing his eighth studio effort, his first since 2008’s “Let It Rain.” Independent Atlanta based R&B singer Vina Mills is pounding her chest with what she calls the next anthem for Black and Brown women. Her new single, “Serena Williams”, goes as hard as the Black sports bombshell herself. Produced by The Raz of the Dezerpawdos, the track gives a hip hop, tribal vibe, allowing Mills to take listeners on a journey through her voice. Mills isn’t just taking listeners on a trip, she’s making a statement. Mills says the song is intended to be a message for every Black girl no matter what shape or size they are. Mills, a Detroit native, has performed along side Fantasia, Mary J. Blige, Raheem DeVaughn, J.  Holiday and others. She’s now poised to become a mainstay in R&B with a sound she describes as electric soul; music which goes through the soul and moves the feet. Rising UK R&B crooner Ricardo Williams just released the new EP, “Intermission Vol. 1.” Featuring the single “Come Over”, a duet with Teedra Moses, the opus themes around love, relationships and loss. “Intermission” spells out all the in-betweens of love, however. It’s a moment, a tangent in a wider conversation. It’s the beginning of an ongoing journey with highs and lows narrated with truth and consistency. Along with some of R&B’s top songwriters and producers, the project also includes a special guest appearance by Yummy Bingham.

Dells Singer Chuck Barksdale Dead At 84

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Sad news out of the R&B world. Chuck Barksdale, bass singer with the legendary R&B group The Dells, died after a long illness. He was 84. Formed in Harvey, IL in the 1950s, The Dells original lineup consisted of Marvin Junior, Chuck Barksdale, Johnny Funches, Verne Allison and Michael McGill. The group, then known known as The El-Rays, recorded the single “Darling I Know” for Chess Records, but it went nowhere. However, after renaming themselves The Dells and signing with Vee Jay Records, the group rose to prominence with the doo-wop single “Oh What A Night”, which was released in 1956. Unfortunately, they were unable to duplicate the success of “Oh What A Night”, and for a decade moved from doo-wop to jazz to soul in search of a signature sound. In 1961, Funches left the group and was replaced by singer Johnny Carter, who became their last personal change and the missing piece of the puzzle for The Dells. In 1965, the group landed the hit they’d been hoping for with “Stay In My Corner”, a soulful ballad that showcased what would become their signature sound; Junior’s gritty baritone lead alternating with Carter’s expressive falsetto. The quintet gained a national following over the next several years with a slew of hits, including re-recordings of “Oh What A Night” and “Stay In My Corner.” In 1972, the group entered the studio with producer Charles Stepney. The result was the album “Freedom Means.” The album featured the singles “My Pretending Days Are Over”, “The Love We Had (Stays On My Mind)” and “Give Your Baby A Standing Ovation.” The group continued touring and recording throughout the 1970s and 80s, and just when it appeared as though they’d be forever regulated to the oldies circut, actor/writer/director Robert Townsend tapped them to consult on his film “The Five Heartbeats”, which was based loosely on their personal experiences. “Stay In My Corner” appeared on the film’s soundtrack along with “Love Is A House For Love”, which brought The Dells back to the top ten 30 years after their debut. While they continued performing over the next decade, they released two mildly successful albums, including “Reminiscing” in 2000 via Volt Records. They release two additional albums during the 21st century, the last of which was 2003’s “Hott.” The Dells were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004, a well deserved honor for one of the greatest R&B vocal groups of all time. The group performed sporadically as the decade wore on. Their historic on and off stage unity was shattered by death when Johnny Carter died in 2009 after a bout with cancer. He was followed in 2013 by Marvin Junior, one of the most distinctive soul singer’s of all time. Chuck Barkdale’s death is a reminder of the lasting legacy and staying power of The Dells. May he rest in peace.

Throwback Thursday Hip Hop: It’s A Demo-Kool G Rap & DJ Polo

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Nathaniel Thomas Wilson, known professionally as Kool G Rap, is an American rapper from Queens, New York. He began his career as half of the duo Kool G Rap & DJ Polo, and is widely regarded as one of the most influential rappers of all time. Wilson’s professional career began when producers Mr. Magic and Marly Marl allowed Polo and Kool G Rap to record a demo, which resulted in the song “It’s A Demo.” The song was written and  recorded in one night, and so impressed Marly Marl, that he invited them to join the Juice Crew. In 1986, the duo appeared on Mr. Magic’s radio show Mr. Magic’s Rap Attack on 107. 5. The duo eventually released “It’s A Demo” as a single along with “I’m Fly” and two other singles. They also appeared on the classic Juice  Crew posse cut “The Symphony.” They released the albums “Road To The Riches” (1989), “Wanted: Dead Or Alive” (1990), “Live And Let Die” (1992), “Click Or Respect” (2003), “Once Upon A Crime” (2013) and “Son Of G Rap” (2018).  The duo disbanded in 1995.

Throwback Thursday R&B: Free-Deniece Williams

This song is the property of Sony Music.

Deniece Williams, born June Deniece Chandler, is an American singer/songwriter/producer from Gary, IN. Williams began singing in church as a child. She began her professional singing career as a backup singer for Stevie Wonder. She appeared on the albums “Talking Book”, “Fulfillingness, First, Finale” and “Songs In The Key Of Life.” She also appeared on the Syreeta Wright album “Stevie Wonder Presents: Syreeta”, Minnie Riperton’s “Perfect Angel” and Roberta Flack’s “Feel Like Making Love.” In 1975, she left Stevie Wonder to sign a deal with Columbia Records and Kalimba Productions, the production company owned by Earth, Wind & Fire leader Maurice White and arranger/producer Charles Stepney. The duo produced Williams’ debut album “This Is Niecy.” The album’s first single, “Free”, reached nos 1, 2 and 25 on the UK Singles, Billboard Hot R&B Songs and Hot 100 charts respectively. A second single, “That’s What Friends Are For”, rose to No. 8 on the UK Singles chart. A few months after the release of “This Is Niecy”, Charles Stepney died. Maurice White went on to produce Williams’ sophomore effort, “Song Bird.” The album’s first single, “Baby Baby, My Love’s All For You”, rose to No. 13 on the Billboard Hot Soul Songs and No 32 on the UK Singles chart. She released the albums “This Is Niecy” (1976), “Song Bird” (1977), “That’s What Friends Are For” (with Johnny Mathis) (1978), “When Love Comes Calling” (1979), “My Melody” (1981), “Niecy” (1982), “I’m So Proud” (1983), “Let’s Here It For The Boy” (1984), “Water Under The Bridge” (1987), “As Good As It Gets” (1988), “Special Love” (1989), “Lullabies To Dreamland” (1991), “Love Solves It All” (1996), “This Is My Song” (1998) and “Love, Niecy Style” (2007). Today, Williams has become a gospel artist, having released several albums to date.