It was a long hot summer. Many were anticipating fall for all the new recordings by their favorites. Folks like Lady GaGa, Katy Perry and Cher were waiting to kick off their promotional tricks to get noticed. No one could have predicted that Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" would break the record for being on top of Billboard's R&B/Hip Hop Charts. It officially holds the record for being on top of the charts the longest.
But I guess we need to talk about the elephant in the room. Of course, I am talking about Miley Cyrus.
I bet when Lady GaGa agreed to open the MTV Music Video Awards she thought she was going to give the world a performance that they would never forget. And Katy Perry must have thought she was going to have the last "Roar" by closing the show. Neither thought that Hanna Montana would shed her image and rival Madonna's "Like A Virgin" performance in 1984.
Whether you were disgusted by Miley's no-twerking-flat-ass or you thought it was a brilliant marketing ploy, nobody talked about anything else. And like "Vogue-ing" became synonymous with Madonna, "Twerking" became a mainstream word because of Miss Cyrus. Never mind the fact that black girls like Beyonce ("Crazy In Love"), Christina Milian ("Dip It Low"), Nicki Minaj (almost all of her videos) along with most strippers in the strip clubs have been "twerking" for years. Miley has brought it to the masses. It's ironic that Miley's performance would also include Robin Thicke. That performance secured them both in chart history.
Perhaps to the demise of her relationship (like Madonna and Sean Penn), Miley's engagement to Liam Hemsworth is over amidst rumors of his infidelity and being unhappy about her performance at the VMA's. Her latest single, "Wrecking Ball" seemed like a soundtrack to her break up. And now with Hip Hop artists like Wiz Khalifa, Juicy J, Jay Z and the Ying Yang Twins clamoring to work with her or write songs about her, Miley has definitely killed her Disney image forever! Her leaked single "23" is already a club banga!
Now this trend of Hip Hop tracks between 70 and 80 BPM's is just really annoying. Unless you can "twerk" there is nothing else that can be done to music at that speed. And like Miley Cyrus, there are plenty of people out there who THINK they can, but simply can't.
The funny thing is that there are "twerk" versions that are between 90 and 105 BPM's. These I don't mind. That's an acceptable Hip Hop speed. And speaking of Hip Hop, there's a remixer named Disco Dave who is my new hero! He has been reinventing a lot of classic Hip Hop tracks into mid-tempo House remixes. His work on Notorious BIG's "Hypnotize", the Fugees' "Ready Or Not" and Ol' Dirty Bastard's "Got Your Money" are simply genius!
This trend of the mid-tempo House mixes are really making me happy these days. Drake's "Hold On We're Going Home" is really helping bring R&B and Hip Hop to a new club high. It reminds me of when folks like Queen Latifah, Arrested Development and De La Soul weren't scared to drop a nice House vibe with their flow.
In other music news, right now on Broadway, there is a show in previews called "Lady Day". Finally a musical based on the life of Jazz Singer, Billie Holiday. Anyone who knows me knows that she is my all time favorite vocalist in the world. And the wonderful, Dee Dee Bridgewater is the star. If you get the opportunity to see this show, do it! If you want to learn where vocalists like Sade, Erykah Badu, Macy Gray and the late Amy Winehouse drew inspiration from, this is the show for you. The emotion in that woman's voice could melt your heart and swing like no other.
And I know it's not even Halloween yet, but believe it or not another heartfelt vocalist of our time is releasing her Christmas album this month. Mary J. Blige is taking another swing at crossover Pop-dom with guest duets with Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, The Clark Sisters and Barbra Streisand. Honestly in my opinion, Mary missed her Pop moment after "No More Drama". There's a pivotal point in an R&B artist's career when they are given a chance to completely crossover. After 9-11, "No More Drama" was a collective cry. She could have done that cover of U2's "One" for her next album and she would have been huge. But instead she stayed in the Hip Hop lane and missed that exit. She is undeniably a world wide star, but the planning and marketing could have made her bigger.
Don't get me wrong. I loves me some Mary J. Blige. But in this business, marketing decisions can make or break a career. Lady GaGa was on top of the world with her "Little Monsters", but I think that marketing tool has done her in. Training her fans to hate and despise anyone who does not like her and believes she is the ultimate artist has backfired. And that would be why Katy Perry's "Roar" kicked her ass on the charts.
Every couple of years there comes along one of those novelty songs that becomes a huge hit and then we never hear from the artist or group again (and really…we never want to either). "The Macarena", "Gangnam Style" and "The Harlem Shake" are great examples. Well, this year's annoying track is "The Fox" by Ylvis. What I thought was a joke that Ellen was playing on her audience turned out to be a real song from Norway. This little gem (smell the sarcasm?) adds new meaning to ridiculous. Watch it below.
And last but not least, Britney Spears has taken a cue from her gay fans. "Work Bitch", once it has been remixed to death, will be a number one hit after the video debuts. All the not black and latino gays will appropriate the ballroom culture again like they did with the Scissor Sisters' "Let's Have A Kiki".
At the beginning of summer, a friend who I have known for almost 20 years sent me an article about "Why Black DJ's Miss Their Opportunity To Be At The Forefront Of The Rise Of House Music". He couldn't have sent that article at a "wronger" time! After the Trayvon Martin Trial starting, Paula Deen scandal and several racial incidents in the news this article was just too much for me! I read him the riot act in an email and told him about the appropriation of Black Culture with figures like Elvis, Madonna, and so many others. I have said it before and I'll say it again. Britney Spears originally was the white T-Boz from TLC. She moaned all her lyrics and looked like a sex doll. She was destined to be a star. So, I won't be surprise if this track goes on to be one of her biggest hits.