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Michael Jackson Gets Down In the Studio

by Ife Oshun ·

Ok, all you Michael Jackson freaks, fans, and believers. You may be disappointed he’s not going to appear on American Idol, but you’ll love to see him actually making music.

Check out this video of the King of Pop in the studio with Will.I.Am. Access Hollywood brings us this gem which shows us Jackson rolling up his sleeves and getting grimey on the sound boards.

It’s actually pretty exciting and some of the beats sound hot. Who knows, maybe MJ will go back to his roots after all and surprise the world. We’ll see…

VIDEO: Michael Jackson In the Studio


Stray White Rapper News: Eminem’s Ex Tries Suicide, Vanilla Ice Throws Tax Rap Contest

by Ife Oshun ·

Eminem’s ex-wife Kim Mathers tried to kill herself recently when her twice-divorced ex-husband made fun of her (again) at a concert.

Kim was in the audience when Em took the stage with a hostile song dedicated to her. As he performed, he beat up a blow-up doll that looked like her before flinging it into the crowd. What took her over the edge was the crowd who, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, tore it limb from limb.

“Just seeing the crowd’s response and everybody cheering, singing the words and laughing and it just felt like everyone was staring at me,” she later said in an interview on an upcoming episode of the Dr. Keith Ablow Show. “I knew that it was about me and that night I went home and I tried to commit suicide.”
Long-time rap joke Vanilla Ice has teamed up with TurboTax for a tax season rap contest. No, really. According to, aspiring rappers can submit videos of themselves rapping about paying tax. No, really. The lucky winner is promised $25,000 and all entrants get a free copy of the TurboTax software. No, really.
Finally, blogger Carmen VanKerckhove explores the media’s alleged fascination with white rappers in her article “Are We Having A White Rapper Moment?”


Pharoah Monch Protests American Gun Violence With “Gun Draws”

by Ife Oshun ·

The ever-conscious Pharoahe Monch recently debuted a powerful video for his new single “Gun Draws.”

Accompanied by its own website,, the song sees the Brooklyn emcee address the ongoing problem of gun violence in America by expressing his lyrics from the viewpoint of a bullet.

The song talks about the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Tupac, Biggie and others, while the video addresses murders-by-police, and shows a little boy mistakenly shoot his sister in their parents’ bedroom.

“This is my effort to help awaken the unconscious and nourish the youth,” Monch says at the end of the clip.

Despite the fact this video is less violent than the majority of video games out there, it’s been deemed “too graphic” for television video outlets such as BET and MTV (who, ironically, don’t see anything wrong with airing a ton of videos marketing violent and/or sexually explicit images and themes). The video is currently running exclusively on YouTube.

The track’s website offers lyrics to the song as well as disturbing gun facts such as: “US Children are 12 times more likely to die by gun fire than in 25 other industrialized combined,” as stated by the John Hopkins University Center for Gun Policy.

“Gun Draws” is the lead single from Monch’s eagerly anticipated Desire, set to drop in May.

Pharoah Monch – “Gun Draws”


Michael Jackson: Vegas, Brown And The Death Of The Ego

by Ife Oshun ·

After a year of self-imposed exile from the U.S., Michael Jackson has returned to settle in Las Vegas where reports claim he’s working on putting together some sort of show.

While some people think a run (alá Celine Dion) could never be pulled off by Jackson, there was no doubting the love the faltering King of Pop received, and gave, when he made a rare public eulogy at the funeral of the legend of legends, Mr. James Brown. After a long gaze (alá Billie Jean video) at the body of the music master, Jackson kissed it (watch) and, later, tearfully said:

“When I saw him move I was mesmerized. I’ve never seen a performer perform like James Brown and right then and there I knew that that was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. James Brown, I shall miss you and I love you so much. Thank you for everything.” (watch)

Despite all the melodrama (and lack of music) in Jackson’s life, his appearance at the event almost overshadowed the very man over 8,000 people (including a happy-footed MC Hammer) had come to honor. What’s even more amazing is the idea that Brown’s last conversation with Sharpton included the idea of Jackson helping to save Black American music.

As reported previously, Akon has been in talks to collaborate with Jackson and now Chris Brown has come on board as a guest on the upcoming album.

“We got a chance to meet at the World Music Awards and we’re talking to his management about when we can set up a date to be working on his album,” the young Brown told Billboard. “It would be an honor and a blessing for me to work with my idol. He’s one of the reasons I do my music.”

If not the adulation of an upcoming sensation like Chris Brown, perhaps the death of James Brown will give Jackson that needed kick in the ass to lose the ego and drop some dope music.


James Brown’s Last Apollo Appearance Draws Thousands

by Ife Oshun ·

James BrownA long time friend and colleague of James Brown said the icon loved the lines at the Apollo.

“His greatest thrill was always the lines around the Apollo Theater,” said Al Sharpton. “I felt that James Brown in all the years we talked would have wanted one last opportunity to let the people say goodbye to him and he to the people.”

Yesterday that one last line snaked over three city blocks through Harlem as thousands waited to catch one last glimpse of the man who forever changed popular music. Many started lining up at midnight for a viewing scheduled to begin 1:00 p.m. A number of folks eventually did not get in.

Dressed in a “midnight-blue suit, complete with white gloves and silver shoes,” the Godfather Of Soul was a showman even in death.
Besides changing the direction of rock and soul, Brown was the architect of rap, hip-hop, funk, disco and modern R&B. Sharpton, who’d known Mr. Brown since the 70s, said the music god had spoken to him on the phone recently about today’s music.

“Reverend, I want ya’ll to talk about love,” Brown said. “A lot of these kids who have come behind me and have used my music are teaching destruction and saying things that I would never say.”

Brown has left a gargantuan legacy that will inspire and influence generations to come. What will we leave with our lyrics, music, images and words?

James Brown Harlem Wake Video

James Brown on YouTube 

Photo: The 


Top 10 R&B/Soul And Rap/Hip-hop Deaths In 2006

by Ife Oshun ·

James BrownThis has been a doozy of a year for R&B, soul and rap/hip-hop celebrity deaths. The sheer caliber of talent on this list, compiled December 1, was already awesome as it features seminal names such as Billy Preston, Ruth Brown and Lou Rawls.

Added to the list late in the game was unarguably the most influential groundbreaking music icon of our time, Mr. James Brown. It has been updated to reflect the most recent information.
1. James Brown
2. Billy Preston
3. Ruth Brown
4. Wilson Pickett
5. Lou Rawls
6. Gerald Levert
7. J Dilla 
8. Proof
9. June Pointer

More R&B/Soul And Rap/Hip-hop Deaths


Brian McKnight Shares The Scandalous Truth Behind New Single

by Ife Oshun ·

Brian McKnightBrian McKnight’s latest single, “Used To Be My Girl” tells the story of a guy playing “big dawg” towards a dude seeing his ex-lady friend.

In the song, McKnight tells dude: “Go ‘head, playboy do your thing. Don’t be mad if she calls my name.”

In a recent conversation with me, the sexy, babymaking music maker exposed the real story behind the tune.

“This girl wasn’t necessarily my girlfriend.. had told this guy that she used to be with me… but she never thought we’d all be in the same place at the same time…” Listen

The veteran artist also told us who’s at the top of his list for up-and-coming R&B talent.

“I really don’t listen to a lot of music to be honest with you,” he confessed. “I watch a lot of television and it’s mostly sports. But definitely Ne-Yo and Chris Brown would be at the top of that list.”

Check out the complete audio interview, where McKnight chats candidly about his new album, lovelife, future collaboration plans, and more.

Audio interview with Brian McKnight


Godfather of Soul James Brown Is Dead

by Ife Oshun ·

James BrownLegend among legends and Godfather of Soul, James Brown passed away early Monday, December 25 (Christmas morning). He was 73 years old.

Despite his edgy lifestyle and seemingly neverending decades of performing, Mr. James Brown was truly one of those people whom you expect to live forever, as evidenced by the shock waves traveling around the planet on what to many is the biggest holiday of the year.

At a time when most are usually sleeping “with visions of sugar plums” dancing in their heads, a small army of folks are typing away furiously in an attempt to begin to pay homage to this great man. More is to come. RIP JAMES BROWN.


Moving Memorial Program Documents Gerald Levert’s Legacy

by Ife Oshun ·

Gerald LevertFor the millions of fans who will not be at the public tribute to Gerald Levert tomorrow in Cleveland, we’re sharing the program for the memorial service.

It opens with beautiful photos of Levert as a baby and later as the successful, big-hearted powerhouse we will always remember him as.

The beautiful full-color program also includes photos of Levert with family and at work in the studio and on stage, a list of his career accomplishments, a touching poem penned by his family, and tear-jerking words from his children, including his son Lemicah Edward Levert who said:

“I am no longer afraid of death because I now have someone waiting for me on the other side… my pops, my pal and my best friend.”

Download Program

Thanks to Kathy Shirley for the file


Gerald Levert Dead At The Age Of 40, Jack Palance Dies At 87

by Ife Oshun ·

RIP Gerald LevertThey say death comes in threes, and we’re seeing it now.

Yesterday we reported the passing of news legend Ed Bradley, now today, R&B powerhouse Gerald Levert has tragically passed away today due to fatal heart attack. He had turned 40 this summer.


Gerald and his father Eddie (lead singer from the legendary O’Jays) had just returned from touring South Africa and were reportedly beginning work on a follow up to their critically acclaimed duet set Father And Son.

And as far as the third death, it’s been confirmed that Oscar-winning acting legend Jack Palance passed away today as well. The LA Times has a great obit on this remarkable man, one of the last of the true Method actors and a hero of mine.

RIP Levert and Palance.

edited to include Jack Palance info