Tag Archives: rob

44-D’s Best Music of 2009

Blogpost by: Ogenec

Never, ever on schedule, but always on time.” – Nas

blank

Hey y’all, Happy New Year!  I’ve been promising the list for some time, and I’ve been slacking.  Especially in the wake of AG’s most excellent best books list.  But like Kanye, “you should be honored by my lateness.”  🙂  What follows is a highly personal take on the best music of 2009.    The profusion in the quality and quantity of recorded music is mind-blowing.  And I especially love to be turned on to new stuff.  So I’m hoping you guys will chip in with your own suggestions.   Here we go.

Noisettes, Wild Young Hearts:  I’d never even heard of the Noisettes before Summer 09. But I heard their song “Atticus” at a store somewhere and went in furious search of the group.  Even though rock is not my genre, this is probably my favorite disc of the year.  Of course, calling this is a rock album is a serious disservice.  Most commentators call it a hybrid mesh of rock, blues, disco, and old school r&b.  They’re probably right, but it just sounds like the future to me.  The lead singer is DOPE, and I can’t wait to catch their live show.  Favorite cut: Atticus.

Mos Def, The Ecstatic:  He’s baaaack!!  Mos has floundered a little bit since his magnificent opus, Black on Both Sides.   I get it — he’s been distracted by his acting career (and weird appearances on Bill Maher).  And I liked The New Danger more than most folks.  But this is that classic Mos that we know and love.  Favorite cut: Auditorium.  Also love the remake of Roses with Georgia Anne Muldrow.

blank

Q-Tip, Kamaal The Abstract: The genuises at Q-Tip’s record label have to explain why they shelved this album for more than eight years.  I think it’s even better than last year’s The Renaissance.  Another hybrid album, this time with elements of r&b, soul, rock, and jazz.  Sounds like future Prince or Stevie Wonder.  Favorite cut: Do You Dig U?

blank
Drake, So Far Gone: Okay, this is a bit of a cheat.  The mixtape, which I’m still geeking over, came out in 2008.  But he re-released certain of the mixtape cuts on CD and itunes in 2009, so it qualifies.  As a bonus, the re-release contains an unreleased track “Fear,” which is bananas.  Hottest kid in the rap game right now, and with good reason.  Favorite cut: Fear.  Shout-out to DJ Khalil.

Lee Fields, My World: I gotta thank the good people of HBO’s Entourage for this one.  When I heard “Ladies” during the credits of one of the episodes, I lost my sh*t.  I had to cop the album.  Gutbucket soul, set to the sweetest harmonies you’ve ever heard.  And hey — I detect a little of the hip-hop influence as well.  Looks like the old school is learning from the new school, not just vice-versa.  I am a big fan of the ’60s renaissance in music.  If you love Amy Whitehouse, Joss Stone etc., check this OG out.  While you’re at it, check out Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings too.  Favorite cut: Ladies.

Rafael Saadiq, The Way I See It: I’m sticking with the retro soul angle here.  I’ve been down with Ray-Ray since Tony Toni Tone.  This is his masterpiece.  Again, if you like the Motown doo-wop sound, you’ve gotta check this out.  And while you’re at it, get the Live from the Artist’s Den DVD.  It’s fantastic.  Favorite cut: 100 Yard Dash.

blank
Fela, The Best of the Black President: “Eh-heh, let us get down.  Into another underground spiritual game….”  I have to show some love to the greatest Nigerian musician of all time.  If you want to know the meaning of “underground spiritual game,” you need to check out Fela!, the best show on Broadway.  This album will hold you over until you can.  It’s a compilation of Fela’s most popular cuts.  Note, however, that these are mostly edits: many of Fela’s songs run 20-30 minutes long, and you owe it to yourself to listen to the unedited versions.  Still, an excellent way to get familiar with the genius that is Fela.  Favorite cut: Water No Get Enemy.

Robert Glasper, Double Booked: And now we segue from Afrobeat to jazz (actually, less of a transition than you might think).  Robert Glasper is my favorite jazz pianist right now.  He’s just so melodic.  He’s also incredible live — the missus and I saw him last year at the Kennedy Center.  He can play everything from straight-ahead to fusion to soul jazz to hip-hop.  And here, he does.  The first half is an acoustic trio setting; the second, “The Experiment,” a fusion exercise with Bilal and Mos Def making vocal appearances.  Wonderful stuff.  Favorite cut: No Worries.

Roy Hargrove, Emergence: A little more jazz.  I’ve loved this guy ever since I saw him play in St. Louis many moons ago.  Like Glasper, Hargrove does all variety of jazz, soul and hip-hop-inflected music.  Indeed, my favorite album of his is Crisol, a Latin jazz homage.  Here, Hargrove goes big band.  I’m not generally a fan of the big band genre, but I love this.  Especially the treatment of Mambo for Roy from the Crisol album.  Favorite cut: Mambo for Roy.

Maxwell, Blacksummersnight: Maxwell returns.  He’s lost the neo-soul affectations of his first few albums, and is in full-on grown man mode.  I love it, and you will too.  The harmonies, the live instrumentation, the trumpets, it’s all so gorgeous.  And if you missed his North American tour, you missed the best concert of the year.  Period.  Favorite cut: Bad Habits.

Me’Shell Ndegeocello, Devil’s Halo: I think of this album as sort of a bookend to Bitter.  I liked Bitter, but found it to be a little dark for me.  This is dark too, but it’s not so depressing.  Just deep, slow, and sensual.  You know, kinda like Me’Shell herself.  Favorite cut: Love You Down (wonderful remake of the Ready for the World song).

blank

The Dream, Love vs Money: I don’t listen to a lot of commercial radio.  Obviously.  🙂  It’s virtually all dreck to me.  But I love me some The-Dream.  I don’t think there’s anyone else in R&B working at his level.  He’s behind most of the hits you’ve danced to, from Rihanna’s Umbrella to Beyonce’s Single Ladies.  But he saved the best for himself on this album.  The-Dream is the future of R&B.  Favorite cut: Fancy.

Major Lazer, Guns Don’t Kill People, Lazers Do: I don’t even know how to classify this one.  Reggae meets rock meets electronica?  Dancehall meets punk?  I heard someone call it “electro reggae.”  Let’s go with that.  This album, from MIA’s producers Diplo and Switch, rocks HARD.  Just get it already.  Favorite cut: What U Like(WARNING: This is a VERY explicit and raunchy song.   Not for delicate ears!!!)

Raekwon, Only Built for Cuban Linx 2: The second installment of the Wu-Gambino crime-soaked masterpiece.  This is for all you who claim not to like gangsta rap.  Indulge your id and have a little fun with this one.  It’s not real, any more than playing Grand Theft Auto or watching Scarface is.  But it’s an escapist treat. Amazon says “Blazing tracks…delivered with Raekwon’s melodic flows and street oriented delivery.”  Werd.  Favorite track: We Will Rob You.

29 Comments

Filed under Culture, Entertainment, Hip-Hop, Jazz, Latin, Music, Pop, Pop Culture, R & B, Rock & Roll, Uncategorized

TNT’s 11th Annual Christmas in Washington Airs on Sunday, Dec. 20 at 8/7c

Just click here for updated videos and photos from Christmas in Washington

TNT is going to ring in the holidays in musical style with its annual presentation of the 11th annual presentation of Christmas in Washington, premiering Sunday, Dec. 20, at 8 p.m. (ET/PT). Mary J. Blige, Neil Diamond, Sugarland, Rob Thomas and Usher are scheduled to join host George Lopez in TNT’s spectacular holiday celebration.

We take pride in presenting Christmas in Washington each year as we bring together musical artists from a variety of genres for a fantastic holiday concert,” said Michael Wright, executive vice president/head of programming for TNT, TBS and TCM. “This year, we’re especially thrilled to welcome a lineup of top-name performers and an equally amazing host, George Lopez. Together, they will make this a holiday celebration to remember.”

Annually attended by the President and First Lady and other Washington VIPs, Christmas in Washington is a holiday musical celebration benefiting the National Children’s Medical Center. The show was taped at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. Sunday, Dec. 13. This will be the 11th presentation of Christmas in Washington by TNT, which is in its 28th year overall.


Before the show started, four little girls dressed as elves helped the first couple place a gift for the Children’s National Medical Center under a Christmas tree. President Obama deemed the quartet – Avery, age 4, Anna, age 6, Abigail, age 4, and Reagan, age 7 – “Santa’s little helpers,” and introduced each, replacing their last name with “Elf.”

Though Anna Elf (on the left), seemed unimpressed, telling the President: “I’ve never seen you before!” He responded, laughing, “I’ve never seen you before.”

Vodpod videos no longer available.



Sugarland's  Kristian Bush, left, Mary J Blige, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle and George Lopez sing Christmas carols

Sugarland's Kristian Bush, left, Mary J Blige, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle and George Lopez sing Christmas carols

The nation’s capital got in the holiday spirit Sunday night when music legends Neil Diamond and Mary J. Blige performed for President Barack Obama at the annual “Christmas in Washington” concert. The festivities, hosted by comedian George Lopez, took place at the National Building Museum and benefited the Children’s National Medical Center.

President Obama spoke of helping those in need during the holidays, as well as honoring those in the military:

With our men and women in uniform serving far from home, in harm’s way, our fervent wish remains this season, and all seasons: Let there be peace on earth,” he said.

Diamond kicked off the concert by performing “Joy to the World” and “Winter Wonderland.” Blige wowed the crowd with “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire).”

Two of the holiday songs were original numbers. Country group Sugarland performed “Gold and Green” and Rob Thomas sang “A New York Christmas.”

R&B singer Usher sang “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and Internet sensation Justin Bieber performed “Someday at Christmas.”

Near the end of the show, Lopez introduced President Obama and First Lady Michelle. The President thanked the performers and offered some holiday thoughts:

This season we celebrate that sacred moment. The birth of a child, the message of the love we preach to the world. We are our brother’s keeper. We are our sister’s keeper. And pure in heart, we do unto others as we have them do unto us. We devote ourselves to good works. We are summoned to be peacemakers. More the 2,000 years later,that spirit still inspires us. That’s why this celebration tonight benefits Children’s National Medical Center and all the children whose lives they touch and they save.

That’s why so many of our fellow citizens struggle during tough times. We are called upon to help neighbors in need. That’s why, with our men and women in uniform serving far from home, in harm’s way, our fervent wish remains this season, and all seasons to let there be peace on Earth. To all Americans, from our family to yours, Merry Christmas and God bless.”

After addressing the crowd, the Obamas stayed on stage with all the performers to sing carols, starting with “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing.” The president wiped a tear from his eye during the sing-along.

Meet the Performers

Comedian/Actor George Lopez hosted the annual event

Comedian/Actor George Lopez hosted the annual event


George Lopez
(Host)

George Lopez is host of TBS’s new late-night series Lopez Tonight and one of the top five highest grossing comedians in the world. His groundbreaking sitcom, George Lopez, remains a hit in syndication and helped catapult Nick at Nite to one of the top 10 cable networks. His 2009 comedy special, George Lopez: Tall, Dark and Chicano, was the highest rated stand-up special on HBO in five years. This year, Lopez received the Teen Choice Award for Favorite Comedian. Lopez’s feature film career continues to thrive as well. Next year, Lopez has three films set for release: The Spy Next Door, Valentine’s Day and Marmaduke.

The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul donned a shimmery sheath while belting out her rendition of The Christmas Song.

The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul donned a shimmery sheath while belting out her rendition of The Christmas Song.

Mary J Blige
(Performer)

Mary J Blige is a nine-time Grammy-winning singer and songwriter with eight multi-platinum records and more than 40 million units sold since her 1992 debut of the modern classic What’s the 411. She has helped to redefine R&B and more importantly has been an artist that uses her gift of song to lift spirits and touch lives while bringing her heart, soul and truth to those who are willing to listen. She is loved for her passionate, chart-topping hits like “Be Without You,” “No More Drama” and “Family Affair,” all of which have made her a force in music. Blige’s new album, Stronger, is due for release on Dec. 22. As a multi-faceted mogul, Blige owns Matriarch Records, which produced the soundtrack for the heavily buzzed about film Precious – Based on the Novel Push By Sapphire, and co-owns Carol’s Daughter along with Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith and Jay-Z. Blige has worked her celebrity in the world of philanthropy.

Neil Diamond performing Joy to the World

Neil Diamond performing Joy to the World

Neil Diamond
(Performer)

Neil Diamond, whose most recent releases include A Cherry Cherry Christmas, Hot August Night NYC and the critically acclaimed #1 album Home Before Dark, has been a fixture in the music world for over four decades. This summer, CBS aired a primetime special featuring performances from his hugely popular Hot August Night NYC Live from Madison Square Garden DVD, which won the night in ratings. He has sold more than 125 million albums worldwide, with a remarkable track record of 16 Top 10 albums and 37 Top 10 singles. A Grammy-winning artist, Diamond has been inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame and is a recipient of the Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award. Among his many other honors, he has received a Golden Globe® and 12 Grammy nominations, and he was named the 2009 MusiCares Person of the Year. His many chart-topping songs include “Sweet Caroline,” “I Am…I Said,” “Song Sung Blue,” “Love on the Rocks” and “America.”

Sugarlands Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush performed Gold and Green, the title track off of their new holiday album.

Sugarlands Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush performed Gold and Green, the title track off of their new holiday album.

Sugarland
(Performer)

Sugarland, the country duo comprised of Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush, has sold more than 8 million records since exploding onto the music scene in 2004 with Twice the Speed of Life (“Baby Girl”/“Something More”). Enjoy the Ride (“Want To”/“Settlin’”/“Stay”) quickly followed in 2006, and their third studio album, Love On The Inside (“It Happens”/“Love”/“All I Want To Do”/“Already Gone”) in July 2008, which skyrocketed them to superstardom and drew fans from all genres and critics abroad. Sugarland is credited with co-writing all tracks from all three albums and co-producing the last two. In August 2009, the duo offered thanks to their loyal fans with Live On The Inside, a CD/DVD set of live tracks, covers and footage from their tour.

Matchbox Twenty's Rob Thomas sang his heart out on A New York Christmas, an original tune he penned after 9/11.

Matchbox Twenty's Rob Thomas sang his heart out on A New York Christmas, an original tune he penned after 9/11.

Rob Thomas
(Performer)

Rob Thomas is a Grammy-winning superstar who has sold more than 80 million albums and penned a remarkable string of #1 smashes, including “Her Diamonds” off his acclaimed new solo album, Cradlesong, as well as “Lonely No More,” “This Is How a Heart Breaks,” “Ever the Same,” “Streetcorner Symphony” and the Matchbox Twenty hits “Push,” “3AM,” “If You’re Gone,” “Bent,” “Disease” and “Unwell,” to name a few. In 1999, Thomas’ smash collaboration with Santana, the Thomas-penned “Smooth,” earned him three Grammys and today ranks #1 on Billboard’s Top Hot 100 Rock Songs chart and #2 on the magazine’s Hot 100 All-Time Top Songs. He has also worked with the likes of Willie Nelson, Mick Jagger, Marc Anthony and Bernie Taupin. In 2004, the Songwriters Hall of Fame presented Thomas with its first ever Starlight Award.

Usher poses with his protege, Justin Bieber, at the Christmas in Washington holiday concert. The 15-year-old YouTube sensation was proud to sing Stevie Wonders Someday at Christmas for President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.

Usher poses with his protege, Justin Bieber, at the Christmas in Washington holiday concert. The 15-year-old YouTube sensation was proud to sing Stevie Wonders Someday at Christmas for President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.

Usher
(Performer)

Usher, whose latest CD, Raymond v. Raymond, is due in stores Dec. 21, has achieved global superstardom as a singer, composer, producer, film and television actor, businessman and philanthropist. Since hitting the music scene in 1994, he has sold more than 40 millions albums worldwide and won countless awards and accolades, including five Grammys. His fifth album, Confessions in 2004, sold more than a million copies during its first week of release, the highest debut-week numbers ever for a male R&B artist. It went on to become the biggest selling album of the year and earned Usher three Grammys and numerous other accolades. “Yeah!,” “Burn” and “Confessions Part II” all topped the charts as Usher became the first solo artist in history to have three singles within Billboard’s Top 10 simultaneously.

Justin Bieber performs onstage during TNT's Christmas in Washington

Justin Bieber performs onstage during TNTs Christmas in Washington

Justin Bieber
(Performer)

An old soul is the last thing you would expect to find inside Justin Bieber. But all it takes is one listen to the 15 year-old soul-singing phenomenon to realize that he is light years ahead of his manufactured pop peers. After posting dozens of homemade videos on YouTube in 2007, where the multi-talented Bieber put his impeccable spin on songs from artists like Usher, Ne-Yo and Stevie Wonder, Justin racked up over 10,000,000 views purely from word of mouth.

I started singing about three years ago,” says the Canadian native who grew up an only child in Stratford, Ontario. “I entered a local singing competition called Stratford Idol. The other people in the competition had been taking singing lessons and had vocal coaches. I wasn’t taking it too seriously at the time, I would just sing around the house. I was only 12 and I got second place.”

If you are interested in this story, please check out our Happy Holidays Special. It includes newly released videos and tons of photos from this event. 🙂

Just click here!

7 Comments

Filed under Art, Barack Obama, Change, Children, Christianity, Christmas, Christmas at the White House, Culture, Dancing, Entertainment, First Lady Michelle Obama, George Lopez, History, Holidays, Hollywood, Humor, Lopez Tonight, Media and Entertainment, Military, Music, News, Nobel Peace Prize, Politics, Pop Culture, Pres. Barack Obama, Presidents, Religion, Television, TNT, TV Shows, Uncategorized, United States, Video/YouTube, Washington, DC