Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Chris Brown rescues career with F.A.M.E.

F.A.M.E. may have been the lifesaver that Chris Brown's music career desperately needed.

It's been more than two years since the career of the 21-year-old singer took a nosedive following the assault on his ex-girlfriend Rihanna. His last studio album, Graffiti, was a flop and failed to reach the platinum status of his two prior releases.

It seemed like Brown's music career was teetering and there wasn't much he could do to restore his shattered fan base.

But the young singer refused to throw in the towel. He gave his fans three mixtapes last year and delivered an emotional Michael Jackson tribute at the BET Awards.

Mixtape tracks, "Deuces" and ""No B******t," became huge hits for Brown. They even made their way on the F.A.M.E. album, and rightfully so. They are just two of many gems on what I consider to be a stellar comeback album.

"She Ain't You," which samples Michael Jackson's "Human Nature," and "Look At Me Now" (feat. Lil' Wayne and Busta Rhymes) are among other standouts on the 13-track album, released today.

Brown also makes a valiant effort to satisfy his pop-club-dance audiences with "Yeah 3X," "Oh My Love" and the electro house-inspired "Beautiful People." You can't possibly sit still while listening to any of those songs.

In an unlikely pairing, C-Breezy teams up with pop sensation Justin Bieber on "Next 2 You." While the song is worth listening to, the only problem with the Breezy and Bieber collabo is that they sound too much alike. Don't walk out the room and come back during this song. You might not know who is singing.

Although Brown has made a name for himself with his party-friendly songs, he still has what it takes to be a crooner. He slowed down the tempo on "Up 2 You" and "Should've Kissed You."

There's definitely something for everyone on F.A.M.E., and that's a good thing because it's probably just what he needed to save his spiraling career.

Welcome back, Breezy.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Wendy NOT doin' so good after DWTS debut

I'll tell you how Wendy Williams is doin': not good.

In fact, she was just awful and lacked any personality in her debut on tonight's kickoff of Dancing with the Stars.

The busty talk show host attempted to Cha Cha Cha with her partner Tony Dovolani in what was hands down an absolute train wreck.

They reportedly practiced five hours a day. (if you can believe that) I'm sure most of that time Williams was luxuriating while trying on skimpy and shimmering costumes.

I don't think even 10 hours of practice a day would have changed the results of the judges, who gave the couple a score of 14 out of 30.

"You need to unleash the beast next time," said judge Carrie Ann Inabe.

Judge Len Goodman couldn't keep his eyes off Williams' exploding upper body.

"You got your dumplings boiling over!" he said, before handing them a four out of 10.

"You have to bring your personality out onto this floor!" he scolded the over-the-top talk show host. "Show us you!"

Next week, Williams will take on the quick step.

We'll see if she can improve. I certainly hope so.

If nothing else, she makes the show interesting, especially when she cried and wiped her tears with her heavyweight weave.

In the meantime, she's not offering any excuses.

"I did the best that I could for this week," she said.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Baby from "Ready to Die" is all grown up

Fans have scratched their heads for more than 16 years trying to figure out the identity of the baby on the cover of the Notorious B.I.G.'s "Ready to Die" album.

They finally have an answer.

Keithroy Yearwood, now 18, says it's his baby photo that has become one of the most iconic images in hip-hop history.

Yearwood and his parents told the New York Daily News that he is that Afro-sporting baby all grown up, and he only got paid $150.

But they aren't worried about any money.

Yearwood, a high school senior, just wants the world to know - it's him!

Chris Brown signs YouTube sensation Joelle James

Chris Brown is the latest superstar artist to announce he's signed a YouTube sensation.

The singer tweeted a YouTube video of California singer Joelle James declaring her "the newest member of CBE!!!!"

James has grabbed the attention of hundreds of thousands of YouTube viewers with her soulful covers of popular songs like "Unthinkable" by Alicia Keys (which Brown tweeted), "All I Want Is You" by Miguel and "Rude Boy" by Rihanna.

It's not clear how Brown found out about James, but it's very possible he, like many others, admired her stellar vocal performances on YouTube. And on early Sunday morning, Brown unveiled James as a signee of CBE (Chris Brown Entertainment).

This isn't the first time YouTube helped a relative unknown attract the attention of a music megastar. It was Justin Bieber's YouTube videos that scored him a deal with Usher.

James' cover of "Unthinkable" has already been viewed over 150,000 times. Her most popular video, which covers "Rude Boy" and Usher's "O.M.G.," has snagged more than half a million views.

James, according to her Facebook page, has a few accomplishments under her belt. She's sang for Ray Charles when she was 10 and performed on Star Search. She's also made the rounds singing the National Anthem before various professional sporting events.

If that's not enough, she was also a Top 40 finalist on Season 6 of American Idol, however, she'd rather not talk about that.

Shortly after the Twitter announcement, James went to work promoting Brown's upcoming album.

"@chrisbrown tears of joy. thank you for all the sweet tweets guys. so honored to be in the CBE fam. NOW go BUY #FAME. 3/22 #lookatmenow," she tweeted to her 1,427 followers.

James is currently attending Berklee College of Music in Boston.

She'll certainly be the most popular girl in school on Monday.

Definitely a good call by C-Breezy on this one. For once, he's making news for the right reasons.

His new album F.A.M.E. hits stores on Tuesday. Coincidence? I think not.


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A masterful solo debut for Marsha Ambrosius

Marsha Ambrosius is on her own, and it seems this is where she belonged from the very beginning.

Her debut solo album, "Late Nights & Early Mornings," packs a heavy helping of sensuality and soul that continues with the seducing sounds of her former group, Floetry ("Say Yes and "Getting Late").

The album, which dropped today, is a masterful 13-track release that might even make you forget Ambrosius was ever in a group. She certainly proved she can stand tall without much help. There aren't even any guest features, and they weren't needed.

"Hope She Cheats on You (With a Basketball Player)" and "Far Away" were easily magical lead singles, however, the album is much more than those two hit songs.

"With You," "Your Hands" and the title track are examples of her pure and seemingly effortless ability to set the mood for a steamy night of sheet-gripping.

There's also the vulnerable "Sour Times," where she sings, "'Cause nobody loves me / It's true / Not like you do."

Ambrosius even revisited Michael Jackson's "Butterflies," giving it an uptempo remix. She co-wrote the original version.

The best part about "Late Nights & Early Mornings" is that it can play from start to finish without once skipping a track.

Thanks, Marsha. This album was worth the wait.

Suggested track: "Your Hands"