CAN’T GET QUITE GET “…ENOUGH” OF RISING STAR KHALIL’S NEW SINGLE

A4OLewoCAAAZI7j Former Def Jam artist Khalil released a new track from his EP, A Long Story Short. “Had Enough” is one of those interludes that you wish was a full track. Its production and bluesy vocals provide the contemporary R&B sound that has seemingly regressed in commercialization.

Notice I didn’t say in popularity. There are many who miss this genre, although said genre has become marginalized. But that’s another article. You probably recognize Khalil as one of Justin Bieber’s close friends, and/or perhaps from his singles “Girlfriend Ringtone” (2010) and the popular “Hey Lil Mama” (2011). He also appeared on BET‘s 106 & Park many times.

The singer and rapper is signed with World Wide Entertainment, a record label founded by Kevin Wales, with a roster of veteran R&B stars like 112, Jagged Edge, Monica and Faith Evans to name a few. Khalil has the talent, good material, as well as commercial material. However, as we all know, these factors aren’t always enough to advance big-time. But Khalil is clearly persistent. He has no trouble gaining musical exposure on social media, and if he continues to release quality tracks like “Had Enough,” he can’t really lose. When one tirelessly puts out quality material, the future is bound to be promising. Check out “Had Enough” below!

RESPONSE TO THAT GRAPE JUICE: WOULD YOU PAY TO SEE MARIAH CAREY ON TOUR?

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In a recent statement, Mariah Carey thanks her fans for their support and says she is excited to soon hit the road. Over a week ago, there was mention of a new single to be released from Me. I am Mariah…The Elusive Chanteuse, in which Carey protested the controversial cover art for “You Don’t Know What To Do.” And then that quickly dashed under the radar, but given this statement issued on the songstress’s website, the Elusive Chanteuse era is not to be forgotten.

Although the album might have tanked, and despite the irony, Carey has a huge fanbase. Anytime she makes a public appearance of any kind, she has no trouble garnering attention. Her name still holds recognition, and lambs will attend her concert in a heartbeat. What’s special about tours is that the set list is not limited to one album of an established artist.

During an Elusive Chanteuse concert series, Carey would sing past hits as well—and that alone is enough to sell many tickets. I do think, however, that this tour should have strategic marketing, to create hype. That way it could attract other audiences, and even reiterate the momentum for the lambs. What could Carey do to implement buzz for a forthcoming tour? Intimate venues for an artist of the blond diva’s caliber would be far from typical. It would be an excellent way for Carey to exhibit her already personable connection with her audience. As more ideas come to me, I will definitely be blogging about it. Check out a YousicWorld selection below of a song we’d love to see MC sing live!

RESPONSE TO “CHRISTINA AGUILERA IS A BETTER PERFORMER THAN BEYONCE”

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I was introduced to a new article that compares Beyoncé and Christina Aguilera as performers, and I have plenty to say, but not for the reasons some may assume. The feature, Christina Aguilera Is a Better Performer Than Beyoncé by Kat George offers an unpopular perspective of Beyoncé, one that is certainly not mainstream. George contends that while Beyoncé is an exciting entertainer, it is Aguilera who connects with the audience, and is therefore the stronger performer.

The connection between the entertainer and crowd is highly imperative, especially at a concert. How many times have you heard an artist acknowledge a “great” or “live” crowd? The two feed off of each other, which is why the audience are performers in their own right. They react to what’s happening on stage. It’s similar to the concept of a teacher and his/her class (albeit, maybe not as thrilling), but think about it.

Based on her article, George sees Beyoncé solely as a production. This expressed belief is not foreign to me, as the “Crazy in Love” singer is often deemed flawless. She’s viewed as the “perfect” pop star, and in today’s pop culture, where the reality TV syndrome is, well, real, this is an issue for some–mainly for those who don’t get the Beyoncé hype. She’s too rehearsed, She’s too predictable, is what they say. Why is an artist being criticized for having a polished image?

No you probably won’t find Beyoncé smoking a cigarette in public, and as we all saw in the infamous ‘elevator’ video, she won’t involve herself in her husband getting attacked by her sister–not where the cameras are anyway. The key word is cameras. You’re just not going to catch Beyoncé slipping. Even when her father managed her for years, he would be the one to address rumors and/or any controversies. She and her team are very image conscious of her brand and Beyoncé is a very private celebrity, who chooses to express herself through her music. The expression part is exactly why I am confused about this notion that Beyoncé fails to connect when she performs.

Regardless of how many times her onstage routines are accused of repetition, her shows sell out and she’s even one of the top selling touring artists, which means she is connecting to more than a few! I haven’t gotten the chance to yet attend the On the Run tour like George, but I have attended Beyoncé concerts in the past, and was thoroughly satisfied each time. That said, I haven’t yet, but hope to see Aguilera live one day–I wished I could have attended the Stripped And Justified tour, like George in this instance. There’s no denying Aguilera’s talent. I’m sure she’s an even better performer in person than on screen. But to compare her to Beyoncé in the performer’s category is tricky because there is more that the latter can do. Beyoncé is as strong as a singer as she is a dancer while Aguilera is only praised for her singing.

George references the concluding performance of the Stripped portion of the tour, when Aguilera removed her make-up, wore jeans and a plain t-shirt while singing “Beautiful,” as a bond between her and the crowd. When Beyoncé performed the similarly themed track, “Pretty Hurts,” George was unaffected and did not feel the same experience. These songs both touch on society’s perception and fascination with looks and aesthetics, but they are different songs and therefore have different directions in terms of performance.

It makes sense for Aguilera to perform “Beautiful” while stripped of glamour. This is a song that focuses on self-acceptance, whereas “Pretty Hurts” shares the same motive, but mainly addresses the downside of being considered beautiful and/or glamorous. So it probably would not have made great sense for Beyoncé to water down her stage appearance while singing “Pretty Hurts.” Now when she has performed the fan-favorite “Flaws and All,” she’d jiggle the fat in her arm, and as funny as that sentence may be, it disputes the vain claims.

The fact that Beyoncé has so many anthems means she connects with the audience. The anthems are highly anticipated performances as they are moments that unite the crowd and the entertainer. Songs like “Irreplaceable,” “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It),” and “Run the World” that excite fans, especially at the concert, create interaction because both parties are feeding off each other.

Both Beyoncé and Aguilera are among the few mainstream pop stars in today’s generation who actually have talent, and they both connect with their audiences–maybe differently at times, but the connection is definitely there on each end. George seemingly thinks Beyoncé is presenting the “perfect” pop star, but if you ask me, that is a more of problem with the viewer than the entertainer. When people go to see Beyoncé in concert, they are indeed expecting a fabulous show, all the while knowing she is human like the rest of us. But once she hits the stage, no one is looking for an average performance.

JHENE AIKO’S NEW SINGLE “THE PRESSURE” IS ANOTHER MELLOW ADVENTURE

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Jhene Aiko released her new single, “The Pressure,” and while the song is good, I am further impressed that she knows who she is as an artist. The mellow track doesn’t sound like a carbon copy of any of her previous material but there is an evident pattern, there is a theme. Those who are familiar with her and her music are able to identify her sound, and her debut LP hasn’t even been released yet.

Aiko’s sound has been described by some as PBR&B (Pabst Blue Ribbon, a beer linked to the hipsters culture). The term was first used by writer Eric Harvey on Twitter (click here to read the tweet). He explained the spontaneous wording was based on R&B music made by and possibly for hipsters. Other artists who’ve been categorized in PBR&B include the Weeknd, Frank Ocean, Janelle Monae and Miguel. It is meant to be an indie version of R&B if you will. Of course there has been opposition to the coinage, with claims that it marginalizes the artist.

“The Pressure,” produced by The Fisticuffs, is seemingly discussing the stress of diligently working on an album while trying to balance an important relationship(s). YousicWorld would like to hear your own interpretation. Aiko’s full studio album Souled Out is available for purchase on August 25th. Be sure to check out “The Pressure” below!

2014 MTV VIDEO MUSIC AWARDS: THE NODS, THE R&B, & THE RATINGS

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Today MTV announced the nominations for next month’s Video Music Awards. Beyoncé leads with 8 nominations, with Eminem, Iggy Azalea and Pharrell not far behind. It’s nice to see acts like Jason Derulo, Childish Gambino, and Fifth Harmony get recognized. Even Kelly Rowland scored a nod with “Dirty Laundry” for Best Video With a Social Message. Since 2008, MTV has noticeably rid their music award show of the R&B category, which understandably offended many artists of the genre as well as fans.

Although Usher is nominated for “Good Kisser” (Best Choreography), it his mainly his name recognition that benefits him. An artist like Trey Songz for example, whose new album Trigga topped Billboard, is excluded from any exposure on the award show. He might just perform this year, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. Some may consider MTV’s history and not find anything unusual about their lack of R&B presence. For those of us who remember when MTV actually lived up to its initials, there was much diversity (as formerly seen on TRL). However, the network wasn’t always integrated and Michael Jackson is credited for breaking the racial barriers with “Thriller.”

As a music award show, it only seems fair that all genres in popular culture are recognized. It’s not quite astute for business because they are losing a market that would definitely and have in the past contributed to ratings. In recent years, the VMA‘s has declined in viewership. Their 2012 show took a hit, when it only averaged 6.1 million total viewers, when the previous show broke a record with more than double at 12.4 million.

Last year’s infamous show had improved ratings of 10.1 million and given the controversial Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke episode, it will probably attract many just to see if it’ll be topped. MTV is known for showcasing shock antics, especially at the VMA’s. With Ariana Grande on this year’s performer’s lineup, I wonder if we can expect any surprises that will have everyone talking. I doubt it, but that is for another article.

The action will all take place on August 24th for the first time ever at the Forum in Inglewood, California. Head to MTV.com to vote. Do you agree with the nominations this year? Post your thoughts and check out the full list of nominees and two of YousicWorld‘s favorite VMA performances below!

Video of the Year
» Beyoncé ft Jay Z, “Drunk In Love”
» Iggy Azalea ft. Charli XCX, “Fancy”
» Miley Cyrus, “Wrecking Ball”
» Pharrell Williams, “Happy”
» Sia, “Chandelier”

Best Hip-Hop Video
» Childish Gambino, “3005″
» Drake ft. Majid Jordan, “Hold On (We’re Going Home)”
» Eminem, “Berzerk”
» Kanye West, “Black Skinhead”
» Wiz Khalifa, “We Dem Boyz”

Best Male Video
» Ed Sheeran ft. Pharrell Williams, “Sing”
» Eminem ft. Rihanna, “The Monster”
» John Legend, “All of Me”
» Pharrell Williams, “Happy”
» Sam Smith, “Stay With Me”

Best Female Video
» Ariana Grande ft. Iggy Azalea, “Problem”
» Beyoncé, “Partition”
» Iggy Azalea ft. Charli XCX, “Fancy”
» Katy Perry ft. Juicy J, “Dark Horse”
» Lorde, “Royals”

Best Pop Video
» Ariana Grande ft. Iggy Azalea, “Problem”
» Avicii ft. Aloe Blacc, “Wake Me Up”
» Iggy Azalea ft. Charli XCX, “Fancy”
» Jason Derulo ft. 2 Chainz, “Talk Dirty”
» Pharrell Williams, “Happy”

Best Rock Video
» Arctic Monkeys, “Do I Wanna Know?”
» Black Keys, “Fever”
» Imagine Dragons, “Demons”
» Linkin Park, “Until It’s Gone”
» Lorde, “Royals”

Artist to Watch, Presented by Taco Bell
» 5 Seconds of Summer, “She Looks So Perfect”
» Charli XCX, “Boom Clap”
» Fifth Harmony, “Miss Movin’ On”
» Sam Smith, “Stay With Me”
» Schoolboy Q, “Man of the Year”

Best Collaboration
» Ariana Grande ft. Iggy Azalea, “Problem”
» Beyoncé ft. Jay Z, “Drunk In Love”
» Chris Brown ft. Lil Wayne and Tyga, “Loyal”
» Eminem ft. Rihanna, “The Monster”
» Katy Perry ft. Juicy J, “Dark Horse”
» Pitbull ft. Kesha, “Timber”

MTV Clubland Award
» Calvin Harris, “Summer”
» Disclosure, “Grab Her!”
» DJ Snake & Lil Jon, “Turn Down For What”
» Martin Garrix, “Animals”
» Zedd ft. Hayley Williams, “Stay the Night”

Best Video With A Social Message
» Angel Haze ft. Sia, “Battle Cry”
» Avicii ft. Dan Tyminski, “Hey Brother”
» Beyoncé, “Pretty Hurts”
» David Guetta, “One Voice”
» J. Cole, “Crooked Smile”
» Kelly Rowland, “Dirty Laundry”

Best Cinematography
» 30 Seconds to Mars, “City of Angels”
» Arcade Fire, “Afterlife”
» Beyoncé, “Pretty Hurts”
» Gesaffelstein, “Hate Or Glory”
» Lana Del Rey, “West Coast”

Best Editing
» Beyoncé, “Pretty Hurts”
» Eminem, “Rap God”
» Fitz and the Tantrums, “The Walker”
» MGMT, “Your Life is a Lie”
» Zedd ft. Hayley Williams, “Stay the Night”

Best Choreography
» Beyoncé, “Partition”
» Jason Derulo ft. 2 Chainz, “Talk Dirty”
» Kiesza, “Hideaway”
» Michael Jackson ft. Justin Timberlake, “Love Never Felt So Good”
» Sia, “Chandelier”
» Usher, “Good Kisser”

Best Direction
» Beyoncé, “Pretty Hurts”
» DJ Snake & Lil Jon, “Turn Down For What”
» Eminem ft. Rihanna, “The Monster”
» Miley Cyrus, “Wrecking Ball”
» OK Go, “The Writing’s On The Wall”

Best Art Direction
» Arcade Fire, “Reflektor”
» DJ Snake & Lil Jon, “Turn Down For What”
» Eminem, “Rap God”
» Iggy Azalea ft. Charli XCX, “Fancy”
» Tyler, the Creator, “Tamale”

Best Visual Effects
» Disclosure, “Grab Her!”
» DJ Snake & Lil Jon, “Turn Down For What”
» Eminem, “Rap God”
» Jack White, “Lazaretto”
» OK Go, “The Writing’s On The Wall”

DRAKE UNLEASHES NEW ALBUM TITLE: VIEWS FROM THE 6

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The music sphere is buzzing because Drake announced the title for his next album, Views from the 6. There’s been popular speculation that the title references the rapper’s hometown of Toronto, Canada. From the 6 is Drake’s forth full-length album, and if you pay attention, it’s well known that his albums are hits. His last album Nothing Was the Same sold 658,000 copies in its first week. Not bad for an era where music sales are at an all time low.

Whether people like or dislike Drake, they listen to his music. The “Up All Night” performer is one of the few popular artists of today who uses his music as a journal, and that is undoubtedly one of the reasons why people tune in. What kind of direction do you think Drake will take with Views From the 6?

THE VERDICT ON ROBIN THICKE & HIS PAULA CAMPAIGN

1403272972_robin-thicke-lgRobin Thicke has struck once more with his quest to win his ex-wife Paula Patton back. The R&B crooner has partnered with 1800-Flowers, where consumers have the option of purchasing the “Forever Love” or “Get Her Back” bouquet. The former offers two choices, one set with 18 stems priced at $89.99 and the other, 12 stems for $64.99. The latter, “Get Her Back,” contains 100 stems for $349.00. A promo code called THICKE will enable consumers to receive a free digital copy of the singer’s new album, Paula. Speaking of which, the album has become a hot topic for all the wrong reasons.

Paula debuted on the Billboard 200 with 24,000 copies in its first week. It sold 550 copies in Canada, 530 in the UK, and less than 54 in Australia. These numbers are a stark difference compared to Thicke’s previous effort, Blurred Lines, which opened with sales of 177,000. Blurred Lines was a major era for the “Lost Without You” singer. Its self-titled track was the highest selling song of 2013 and its video was a blockbuster, despite their controversy. And speaking of controversy, we have to include Thicke’s performance at last year’s MTV Video Music Awards. The stint might have raised strong publicity, especially for MTV, but it sullied each of the stars’s image.

While Miley Cyrus‘ backlash was greater, Thicke also was criticized by many of his fans. Many of his supporters had disliked the arrangement of “Blurred Lines” and were perturbed about his and Cyrus’ on stage grinding. The lawsuit between Thicke and Marvin Gaye‘s family over “Blurred Lines” did not help, in which he ended up settling. For those of you who are confused about this bit, the case was an issue of copyright regarding the late Gaye’s famous hit “Got to Give it Up.” Regardless, Thicke’s career continued to thrive. He had graduated from an underground R&B artist to a top Billboarder. His first album,A Beautiful World was released in 2003 and a decade later, with 6 albums under his belt, he found mainstream success with Blurred Lines (the latter precedes Paula).

His popularity was something to enjoy and celebrate, and based on a leaked photo on the Internet, the singer wasn’t always respectful in his rejoicing. None of us know what truly happened between Thicke and Patton, but the “Lost Without You” singer is milking his public divorce. And judging by the abysmal sales of his album and its reception, his public image has worsened. There’s even speculation about the whole thing possibly being a publicity stunt. Maybe YousicWorld is in the minority, but I don’t see anything wrong with Thicke utilizing his platform to get his wife back. Do artists not have the right to express themselves?

Too often people complain about the lack of substance in music, but here is Thicke singing about his heart, and he gets scrutinized? Oh, and have we forgotten that Justin Bieber‘s Journals was dedicated to Selena Gomez? This isn’t the last you will see of artists singing in hopes of returning “the one who got away.” I have respect for artists who open up in their music. It commands a deeper connection between the artists and their work.

I will say Thicke’s timing with Paula was bad. It was too soon, but it’s obvious that his camp wanted to capitalize off the publicity. His career may be in trouble now, but to say its ruined would be extreme. The crooner should probably keep a low profile after the Paula era. With the gimmicks aside, it leaves to wonder how many have taken the time to listen to the music?

NICKI MINAJ LEAVES HER PINK PRINT ON HSN

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In what was popularly viewed as a staggering move, Nicki Minaj visited the Home Shopping Network (HSN) to promote her new limited edition perfume Minaj Majesty Exotic, and made history. In the first two hours alone of the 6 hour stint, Minaj gained the network over 2,000 first time customers.

Music was apart of the dynamic, as “Pills N’ Potions” received a lot of coverage during the special. Minaj praised the numerous collaborations she’s been apart of in her career and answered Beyonce and Adele for the two artists she’d love to add to the list. As for her individual music, she revealed that the Pink Print will have a surprise release. Usher called in live on air (yes you read that right), in which the two plugged their new song “She Came To Give it To You.” And as awesome as that was, the highlight was the consistency of Minaj’s interaction with the HSN hosts and fans alike. She displayed great chemistry with all three of the designated HSN show hostesses: Colleen Lopez, Callie Northagen, and Shannon Smith. There were callers from Nigeria and the UK, among many, whom got to candidly engage with Minaj.

If you’ve followed the “Right Thru Me” performer, you’d know it’s no secret that she maintains a personable relationship with her supporters on social media– including the Myspace era. But Minaj’s live-tweeting and on air conversing definitely amplified the fandom experience. As you can see, this business venture benefited both parties. HSN was introduced to a brand new market and Minaj was quickly and successfully able to sell her product. She managed to sell over 24,000 bottles of Minajesty Exotic and you can bet it boosted sales of “Pills N’ Potions” on iTunes.

I commend Minaj for challenging herself, because sometimes we have to abandon our comfort zones. She admitted herself that she was originally nervous about the stint because it was a very new experience, yet she didn’t let her apprehension defeat her. Instead, she and her Barbs ended up breaking records. Minaj’s appearance on HSN also showed that interviews with celebrities don’t have to be dull, redundant, and stiff. You get what you give, but that is for another article. Check out one of YousicWorld‘s favorite Nicki Minaj songs in honor of the occasion below!

JAY-Z PLUS MORE TO ROCK THE GLOBAL CITIZEN FESTIVAL IN NEW YORK CITY

globalfest A free concert starring Jay-Z and more will impact New York City’s Central Park in late September. This is the third annual event for the Global Citizen initiative, which strives to end poverty by 2030. This organization, founded by Scott Harrison a New Yorker himself, already has his very own Charity: Water. The Global Citizen Festival is partners with the United Nations and the event is usually in conjunction with the New York assembly meetings. Some of the past performers for the show on the Great Lawn in Central Park have included Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, Elvis Costello, the Foo Fighters, Kings of Leon and Janelle Monae. In addition to Jay-Z, the 2014 edition features No Doubt, Tiesto, The Roots, fun., and Carrie Underwood on the lineup. Sponsors for the show contain the likes of Clear Channel, NYC Parks, and the World Childhood foundation. 48,000 tickets will be distributed to those who actively participate in the challenges on Global Citizen’s website. You must score 8 points to receive the free tickets for the show. For more information, visit http://www.globalcitizen.org. The action starts on Saturday, September 27th from noon to 8 pm. What acts are you most looking forward to seeing perform and do you agree with the lineup for this event?

FIFTH HARMONY COMMANDS SOCIAL MEDIA WITH “BOSS” VIDEO

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Fifth Harmony‘s music video for their lead single “Bo$$” has everyone talking (and typing) away. The visual, directed by the legendary Fatima Robinson, opens with quick shots that alternate between quotes such as: “Think like a boss” and “Dreams don’t work unless you do.” Each statement coincides perfectly with the song’s message; it is the Destiny’s Child’sIndependent Woman” of today.

Throughout the video, the girls flaunt their provocative choreography and strut down the runway. Another scene, towards the end, shows them and a group of guys facing off in an arm wrestling match, in which Fifth Harmony of course wins. It would have been nice, however, if the video showed the girls winning or bossing it up in other ways. But since forever, society has encouraged eye candy, and made it almost mandatory in pop culture.

The “Boss” visual distances itself from Fifth Harmony’s wholesome image despite the content being commercial. Artists transitioning to a mature image happens quickly as seen in recent showings. By the time Chris Brown released his sophomore LP, Exclusive, he was performing sexual songs like “Take You Down.” Brown was 18 at that time, but he’s also a male, therefore people weren’t super critical. With the exception of the 21 year old Ally Brooks, the rest of Fifth Harmony have either recently turned 18 (Normani Kordei and Lauren Jauregui) or 17 (Camila Cabello and Dinah Jane).

One thing is for sure, the video has succeeded in gaining attention (it’s already surpassed more than 900,000 hits in 24 hours). The girls might have become very mature, but unless this era continues solely as such, it is too soon to worry about the state of their careers. Can we also acknowledge the fact that they didn’t delay the video? Check it out below!