From 2007: R&B Albums That Turn 10 This Year

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There’s no question that the ‘90s was the golden era for R&B music. However, the 2000’s wasn’t too bad for the genre either. In fact, R&B artists were still selling a lot of records and landing high positions on the Billboard chart.

Let’s go ten years back to 2007. It was the year Rihanna became the Rihanna we today — a dominating force in the digital music era. Her single “Umbrella” shattered records, becoming the highest digital debut in the U.S. since Nielsen Soundscan began tracking downloads. The JAY-Z-assisted tune opened first week sales with over 277,000 downloads.

From Trey Songz’s “Can’t Help But Wait” to Keyshia Cole’s “Heaven Sent,” 2007 was also the year where some of today’s A-list R&B stars made some of their signature songs. Meanwhile, artists like The-Dream, Chrisette Michele and American Idol winner Jordin Sparks were just getting started with the release of their respective debut albums.

Rated R&B has compiled a list of 26 R&B/soul albums that celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2017.

Random fun fact: 2007 also marked the debut of the first iPhone (OK, you can scroll now).

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Lloyd — Street Love

Release Date: March 13

Record Label: Universal Motown Records

Singles: “You,” “Get It Shawty” and “Player’s Prayer”

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Mary J. Blige Talks ‘Mudbound’ Film with Tracee Ellis Ross

Mary J. Blige visited Jimmy Kimmel Live on Tuesday night to promote her role in the Netflix film, Mudbound.

The 46-year-old singer shared tons of laughs with guest host Tracee Ellis Ross, as she answered random questions on whether she prefers a window seat or aisle seat on flights, if she ever Googles herself and her favorite superhero.

Following the icebreakers, Blige switched gears and discussed her role in Mudbound. “It’s really a powerful film and there is a happy ending,” she said. “It’s a very relative story to today as well because a lot of people don’t seem to get the memo that we are free. We’re all free. All nationalities. We’re free.”

Blige also talked about the 25th anniversary of her debut album What’s the 411? She recalled her early memories of coming to Hollywood that era. “Then I came back to shoot the “I’m Going Down” video for the My Life album,” said Blige.

Watch the hilarious interview below.

5 R&B Artists Who Should’ve Been Nominated for a 2018 Grammy

Nominations for the 60th Grammy Awards were announced on Tuesday morning, and as predicted Bruno Mars led the R&B pack with six nods including Best R&B Album for 24k Magic. Childish Gambino, Khalid and SZA followed with five nominations each.

As artists thanked the Recording Academy for their consideration, some fans and critics called out the Academy for snubbing certain artists. Many fans were in shock when artists like Mary J. Blige and Tamar Braxton did not receive any nominations.

Although nothing can be changed at this point, here are five artists who should’ve been nominated for a 2018 Grammy.

Best R&B Performance
(For new vocal or instrumental R&B recordings.)

“Before I Do” — Sevyn Streeter

It is safe to say the Recording Academy missed the mark by not nominating “Before I Do” by Sevyn Streeter. Lifted from her long-overdue debut album, Girl Disrupted, the guitar-led tune helped Sevyn claim her first No. 1 single on the Billboard Adult R&B Songs chart. The slow jam had the singer-songwriter proclaiming her readiness for love. Feeling considered that her man of interest is already taken, she asked valid questions before she made a decision with her heart. Along with daunting lyrics, Streeter’s silky voice meshed well behind the elements of “At Your Best (You Are Love)” by the Isley Brothers and covered by the late Aaliyah.

Best Traditional R&B Performance
(For new vocal or instrumental traditional R&B recordings.)

“Blind” by Tamar Braxton

It is obvious that Tamar Braxton’s team and other music industry leaders overlooked the Bluebird of Happiness ballad “Blind” for this ideal category. Containing an interpolation of “I’d Rather Go Blind” by Etta James, the emotionally charged song includes the needed qualities – instrumental traditional R&B recordings – to justify a worthy nomination.

Best R&B Song
(A Songwriter(s) Award. A song is eligible if it was first released or if it first achieved prominence during the Eligibility Year. (Artist names appear in parentheses.) Singles or Tracks only.)

“U + Me (Love Lesson)” — Brandon “B.A.M.” Hodge, Charles “Prince Charlez” Hinshaw and David D. Brown & Mary J. Blige, songwriters (Mary J. Blige)

Even though Mary J. Blige’s “Thick of It” remained atop the Billboard Adult R&B Songs chart for 16 weeks, it was her follow-up single “U + Me (Love Lesson)” that caused a frenzy. Co-written by Blige, Brandon “B.A.M.” Hodge, Charles “Prince Charlez” Hinshaw and David D. Brown, the honest tune is arguably one of the most underrated R&B songs of the year. The well-composed jam recounts Blige’s gut feelings after filing for divorce from her manager-husband of 12 years. Must’ve been crazy to think that you loved me / I saw all the signs but I just couldn’t say nothing,” she sings.

Best Urban Contemporary Album
(For albums containing at least 51% playing time of newly recorded contemporary vocal tracks derivative of R&B.)

Savage — Tank

Tank’s music deserves more love from the Grammys – especially his newly released album, Savage. With eight solo projects – dating back to 2001’s Force of Nature – under his belt, it is a shame that his 2007 Sex, Love & Pain release is his only full-length project nominated for Grammy. Tank’s latest single “When We” is currently commanding urban adult contemporary radio. It also cracked the Billboard Hot 100 chart at No. 92 this week, making him one of the first solo R&B artists to achieve this feat this year.

Best R&B Album
(For albums containing at least 51% playing time of new R&B recordings.)

Back 2 Life — LeToya Luckett

After a six-year hiatus from music, LeToya Luckett made a comeback with her third album, Back 2 Life.The singer-actress blessed fans with a 13-track LP filled with fresh quality material. From the album’s introductory track “I’m Ready” to its lead single “B2L,” which reached No. 6 on urban adult contemporary radio, the modern release warranted more RESPECK.

The 60th Grammy Awards will air live from New York City’s Madison Square Garden on January 28, 2018 on CBS.

Tell us your thoughts on the Grammy nominations below! 

Concert Review: Keyshia Cole Pulls a Lauryn Hill at The Fillmore Charlotte

As people waited in long lines to flood their favorite retailers for Black Friday sales, I traveled from Columbia, SC to Charlotte, NC to see Keyshia Cole at The Fillmore Charlotte.

I arrived to the AvidXchange Music Factory venue at 6:27 p.m. Unlike lines at retailers Friday, where the wait is unavoidable and uncomfortable, I was perfectly at ease being the 20th concert-goer in line.

Ten minutes later, more attendees followed behind to patiently wait for doors to open at 7 p.m.

Undressed and shivering in 37 degree weather, I struck up conversation about ticket cost with Keyshia Cole admirers. “We won our tickets off Streetz 103.3,” one couple said.

Another fan said, “I bought mine off Groupon for $39. I love you Keyshia but I wasn’t spending more than $50.” I agreed since I got my ticket at the same deal.

Doors opened three minutes after 7 p.m. After getting patted down and having my ticket scanned by The Fillmore door staff, I bypassed other fans and jetted to the front of the stage to wait for the show.

Some fans claimed their spot at the head of the stage barricade too. Other fans found empty floor space to stand comfortably before those at the bar filled in the gaps.

At 7:17 p.m., MMG’s DJ MC got settled with his laptop and other stereo equipment on the smoky stage. He came fully equipped to have the crowd lit with his mega mix and fly DJing skills.

As fog occupied the stage, nostalgia filled rest of the room. DJ MC had fans right where he wanted them – in a carefree zone. Music lovers used their outside voice to recite explicit lyrics and sing classic R&B and hip-hop songs including “I Get Money” by 50 Cent, UCB’s “Sexy Lady” and “Nice and Slow” by Usher.

The VIP clique didn’t let their lack of essential amenities (i.e. chairs or tables) get in the away of their party. The wall worked perfectly for grinding.

DJ MC had help getting the crowd excited from 92.7 The Block hosts Chewy Torres and Sunshine Anderson – yes, “Heard it All Before” Sunshine Anderson, too.

By 9:02 p.m., fans were chanting, “We want Keyshia.”

Ten minutes later, DJ MC was breaking down his equipment to make room for GO DJ HI C, Keyshia’s official DJ.

I don’t know if the crowd was aggravated and ready for Keyshia but the energy shifted downward when he got on stage.

It felt like we changed the radio dial to a new station but got the same syndicated countdown – just with a harder thumb. GO DJ HI C’s blaring speaker bass creeped into my torso as if I had just painfully swallowed it.

A few recycled songs in, GO DJ HI C announced at 9:24 p.m., “I just got a text. My boss is about to hit the stage.”

Eager to record Keyshia’s opening note, I pulled out my iPhone to capture every minute. With 69 percent battery life, I tapped on the Facebook icon to start a live stream.

With no background singers in sight or any Fillmore staff prepping the stage for Keyshia’s arrival, it was evident GO DJ HI C’s receipt had no validity.

“This is ridiculous,” mumbled a female patron behind me. “I hope she shows up because she bailed before.”

As the DJ played more music and strolled through his cellphone, another female fan offered commentary. “If I wanted to listen to music for two hours I would have went to a club.”

It was 9:40 p.m. and the crowd began to get restless. Four-letter words started to be heard in the now tight quarters — most were directed to GO DJ HI C.

He attempted to ease the last nerve of fans. “Ya’ll chill,” he roared in the mic. “I wouldn’t be here if she wasn’t coming out. She’s not coming out until she can hear you guys in her dressing room.”

GO DJ HI C also tried to hype the crowd for Keyshia’s entrance. “I need the left side to say ‘Keyshia’ and the right to say ‘Cole,’” as he pointed to each side of the room.

Some were interested in crowd participation but others weren’t. I was apart of the latter group.

The DJ returned to the mic at 9:43 p.m., and began an introduction for a Grammy nominated artist.

Cell phones brighten the dark venue momentarily but quickly dimmed when attendees realized it wasn’t the headliner gracing the stage — it was Sunshine Anderson.

Used to distract fans from Keyshia’s CP time, the singer-turned radio personality tipped on stage in open-toe heels, donning a simple black top with un-curve friendly black tights.

With support of a backtrack, the North Carolina native noticeably lipped the lyrics to “Lunch or Dinner” from her 2001 debut, Your Woman.

Sunshine bought Keyshia more time to hit the stage as she started to actually sing her signature song “Heard It All Before.” It was obvious she didn’t warm up her voice. Her vocal execution reflected especially towards the collapsed bridge.

Despite Sunshine not possessing vocal conviction, she had the heart to fight through it.

The unimpressed concert-goers softly clapped to see Sunshine off the stage.

Two minutes before 10 p.m. a gentleman rocking a pink backpack sashayed on stage. Before exiting, he left two styrofoam cups on a stage podium.

“When you see him, that means Keyshia’s on her way,” shouted GO DJ HI C across the room.

Exactly seven minutes after 10 p.m., GO DJ HI C took the mic again and finally grabbed the audience’s attention. “Ladies and gentlemen, Keyshia Cole.”

With help from her security, the woman of the last two hours, walked up the side steps of the stage.

Dressed in a suede trench coat with matching heeled boots and ripped jeans, the Just Like You songstress kicked off the delayed show singing “I Should Have Cheated” off her first album, The Way It Is.

Keyshia quickly asked the audio engineer to adjust her inner ear before capping the song with an extended high note.

Joined by her three male dancers, the Oakland-bred singer moved swiftly through her medley of hits including “Enough of No Love,” “Shoulda Let You Go,” “I Changed My Mind” and “You.”

After wrapping up her remix to Chris Brown’s “Loyal,” Keyshia took off her winter coat to show off her shimmering silk shirt. Without officially apologizing for her tardiness, she mentioned being thankful for her fans as a means for damage control.

It didn’t seem to work, and she knew it. “Okay. Let’s go into the next song then,” she told GO DJ HI C.

She belted her biggest hits “I Remember,” and “Love” before she engaged in personal conversation with the crowd.

From requesting the crowds opinion on if she should back to Love and Hip-Hop: Hollywood to explaining why she opted to skip Thanksgiving dinner with her newly found dad, Virgil Hunter, Keyshia sincerely asked for fans to send her a prayer up the main line.

Thirty minutes into her set, Keyshia wanted fans to tell her what to perform next. Most songs fans mentioned like “Vault” and “Emotional” from her 11: 11 Reset album were off limits.

“This isn’t the tour guys,” she replied with a smile. “The tour doesn’t start until next year. But I cannot wait to perform those songs though.”

While she didn’t perform demanded cuts from her new album, she gave us “Incapable” along with a similar dance routine from the single’s accompanying visual.

Following three more songs, Keyshia ended the 45-minute set with her Grammy nominated record, “Let It Go.”

Before leaving the stage, she directed fans to meet her at Stats Restaurant and Bar for the official after-party.

Honestly, I feel like I wasted a trip to Charlotte. I didn’t leave with a wow experience. I expected her to sing more material from her silently released album. Yet, my wish didn’t come to fruition.

Keyshia treated her Fillmore performance like an afterthought. It appeared to me that she got a calendar reminder while she caught Black Friday sales on Fashion Nova’s website. After realizing her spot date, she called her style team and caught a red-eye flight to Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

Keyshia’s lateness was inexcusable and warranted a more sincere apology. Instead she rushed through her sloppy set list to get to the after-party.

Her running behind schedule wouldn’t have been terribly bad if she had a legit special guest. And I’m sorry, Sunshine Anderson doesn’t count.

Collectively, the two hours of DJing, the talent show performance from Sunshine Anderson and Keyshia Cole’s tardiness calls for a total refund. But I’m sure Live Nation is incapable of issuing it to us.

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