brandy’s back

17 08 2008

after a 4 year hiatus from recording, brandy is back.  her brand new single “right here (departed)” hit the net this week, will be available on itunes august 26 and officially impacts radio in september, although i’m sure you’ll be hearing it everywhere any time now.

it is notable that the new single marks brandy’s reunion with rodney “darkchild” jerkins, with whom brandy created the most creative, acclaimed and best-selling work of her career.  brandy’s pairing with darkchild proved to be explosive on their first effort together, 1998’s “never say never” album.  fueled largely by the international smash hit “the boy is mine” (with monica), “never say never” sold over 14 million units worldwide.  we haven’t seen brandy and jerkins making music together since 2002’s less successful but remarkably sonically progressive “full moon” album.

jerkins was notably absent from the mix on her 2004 album, “afrodisiac”, which was widely considered a failure, having yet to sell even 500,000 copies as of 2008… a number far removed from the glory days of the brandy-darkchild collabo.  for “afrodisiac” brandy chose to lean on the production laurels of the likes of timbaland and kanye west, incredibly successful producers in their own right, but who achieved moderate-at-best results in their attempts to deliver the “brandy sound”.

their success together made the names brandy and darkchild arguably synonymous, with many feeling that she aided in defining his sound as much as he did hers.  “right here (departed)” reclaims the classic brandy/darkchild sound with blazing results.  seconds before the pulsating groove kicks in, rodney declares “we back!”… and yes indeed, they are back.

brandy’s new album “human” releases on november 11.

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my olympic dream

15 08 2008

as i sit here and marvel at the tremendous feats of the olympic basketball, swim and gymnastics teams in beijing (particularly those of michael phelps) over the past few evenings, i can’t help but wonder if this is a level of accomplishment that i ever could have or ever will achieve.

growing up, it seems like i spent a lot of time trying to find my niche.  i played several seasons of soccer when i was 8 and 9 years old.  i scored some goals and had a lot of after-game capri suns and snickers bars… but soccer wasn’t really my thing. (david beckham, who?)

then i spent a couple of seasons competing as part of the local swim team…

… i have several ribbons and trophies to remind me of my efforts, but i ultimately decided to leave that glory to the michael phelps’ of the world.  (what in the world… am i singing in this pic????).

1986 brought along with it my big track & field debut…

it was in the 5th grade that i cruised past the competition to land first place in the 50 yard dash.  call me carl lewis because I was the man!

however, a year later my hopes were dashed when i only managed to snag second place in the same event.  it was pretty much all downhill from there.  it was a very dark time and blogging about it even now is an emotional experience. 😉


then in the 7th grade i was bit by the basketball bug.  i spent hours playing nintendo’s double dribble with my friends, and i was sure this was going to be it.  but alas… nope.

i think that’s pretty much when i decided that the wide world of sports wasn’t really for me…

…until now.

i recently learned that since 1992, badminton has actually been an olympic sport.  really?  badminton???  who knew?!?!

this was quite a revelation to me.  now that badminton is in the mix, the way i figure, it’s only a matter of time before other events of a more traditionally recreational nature are added.

i’m not saying we’ll ever see olympic horseshoes, or croquet… but the minute there is an olympic event for yard darts or tetherball, i am all over it!  olympic freeze tag.  and red rover?  please!  it would be a wrap!  just try and tell me the ratings wouldn’t go through the roof… “red rover, red rover, send nicolai right over!”  i could very possibly walk away with the gold even yet!  the dream is still alive!

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david archuleta has a crush… and a smash

13 08 2008

american idol runner-up david archuleta just released his official first single this week.  i know it may be early in the game, but i’ll go on record and say that “crush” is a smash hit.

sure, it sounds a lot like chris brown’s “with you”, beyonce’s “irreplaceable”, rihanna’s “take a bow” and jordin sparks’ “tattoo” (among others), but “crush” has all the ingredients that make ooey-gooey pop music so daggone addictive. archuleta’s vocals glide over the radio-ready groove with the greatest of ease and with all the right moves.

less than 19 hours after “crush” became digitally available for commercial consumption, it was the #1 most downloaded song on itunes.  like it or not, you’re soon going to be hearing this song everywhere… and for a long time.

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God does not belong to republicans

12 08 2008

rarely ever do i post anything of a political nature.  i’m not as well versed in the area of politics as i would like to be or as some of my friends are, so i typically don’t offer my thoughts when it comes to things of a political nature.  however, i couldn’t let this one get by.

yesterday, focus on the family action (a politically-focused group who claims to be “completely separate from the dr. james dobson-led focus on the family, legally”) removed a video from its website in which people were encouraged to “pray for rain of biblical proportions” during barak obama’s aug 28 speech at mile high stadium, when he will accept the democratic nomination for president.

stuart shepard, director of digital media at focus action, has said the video he wrote and starred in was meant to be “mildly humorous.”  in the video, shepard says he is “praying for unexpected, unanticipated, unforecasted rain that starts two minutes before the speech is set to begin”.  and why is shepard taking to the internet encouraging the masses “who feel like I do” to beseech the heavens for such a precipitous out pour?  because he’s “still pro life” and is “still in favor of marriage being only between one man and one woman.”  after several complaints from their own support base, the video was removed.

regardless of your party affiliation and who you plan on voting for, this was pure ignorance on display.  believe what you want to believe, but many of us would prefer that you keep these particular public displays of idiocy (not to mention erroneous biblical context) quarantined away behind closed doors.  perhaps shepard should have sought counsel, consulted the word of God and “trusted in His wisdom” before he made this video encouraging people to pray for misfortune to befall someone whom he deems to be the enemy.

this is just another unfortunate example of the foolish belief espoused by many that God loves republicans… exclusively.  no, that’s not what they said, but it’s what they meant.

guess what… God is not a man, God is not a white man, not even american, and God does not belong to republicans.

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this is the story of a champion

12 08 2008

brand new kanye west video for “champion” (one of my fave tracks from the graduation record), inspired by this year’s beijing olympics… so dope!

i remember meeting isaac hayes

10 08 2008

isaac hayes, the baldheaded, baritone-voiced soul crooner who laid the groundwork for disco and whose “theme from shaft” won both academy and grammy awards, died sunday afternoon after he collapsed near a treadmill, authorities said. he was 65.” from msnbc report (sunday, august 10).

being a self professed music-head, i have long been aware of isaac hayes’ influence across the musical landscape throughout the greater part of the last 5 decades.  but in 2003 I had the honor of actually meeting this man who almost singlehandedly ushered in a new era of modern soul music.

it was the spring of 2003 and i was working in nashville in the emi gospel divison of emicmg, where i was responsible for both radio and internet promotions. together with forefront records, also an emicmg label, we had co-signed a 13 year old new artist from atlanta named lil irocc williams.  i spent a lot of time on the road during this season, and somewhere around may of that year i traveled with lil irocc and his family to memphis for a women’s expo where irocc would be performing during the sunday gospel concert.

we were staying at the world famous peabody hotel on union avenue (and yes we saw the ducks) and earlier in the day we made our way across the street in search of food.  after passing up several other options, we decided to go to isaac hayes’ restaurant and upon our arrival found out they were having a sunday gospel brunch.  once our server discovered that irocc was a gospel rap artist, he informed the manager and they asked him to do a couple of songs.  i always carried the tracks with me everywhere we went, so we were able to make it happen on the spot.

somewhere toward the end of the second song, i became aware that mr. hayes had entered the building and was watching irocc perform.  after the performance, mr. hayes greeted irocc and his family.  i remember him being very kind and offering some very supportive and encouraging words to the young and budding artist.  i remember shaking his hand, thanking him, complementing him on his restaurant and taking a picture of him with irocc.  mr. hayes had such a larger than life persona than commanded attention and respect. sure wish i could find that pic now.

so while isaac hayes left an indelible mark on the music world at large, i will never forget how our paths crossed in memphis, tennessee over fried catfish and a 13 year-old gospel rapper.

rest in peace, mr. hayes.

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