NEW Interview: Rodney ‘Darkchild’ Jerkins –“R&B is on its Way Back!”

Read 'Rodney Jerkins: R&B is Back!'

The true definition of a super producer, Rodney ‘Darkchild’ Jerkins is the man behind some of the biggest R&B songs of the last decade. Having produced hit singles for the likes of Michael and Janet Jackson, Destiny’s Child, Jennifer Lopez, Mary J. Blige, Brandy and The Pussycat Dolls to name just a few, the industry veteran can boast more production credits and a far more impressive resume than his mere 32 years would suggest. With his latest effort, pop sensation Lady Gaga’s new Beyoncé-assisted single ‘Telephone,’ already climbing up the charts ahead of its official release, he seems to be starting this decade with just as much promise as he did the last.

Having spoken with Darkchild as he was putting the finishing touches on ‘Telephone’ for Gaga, who he praises for her “character” and writing abilities, his incredible knowledge of the music industry and love of creative experimentalism became immediately clear. It really is no wonder why this year seems destined to mark yet another chapter in his already impressive success story. “R&B is on its way back,” proclaims Jerkins passionately, his excitement clearly fueled by the plethora of the pioneering projects that he is currently working on. The genre is certainly taking a new direction and Darkchild’s musically diverse productions will undoubtedly play a major role in its development….

To read the full interview, go to:

Rihanna Full 20/20 Interview: The Lesser Evil?

Despite facing a lot of criticism for the timing of this interview, surely if it means one woman can gather the courage to leave an abusive relationship then Rihanna has actually done a world of good. For once I’m going to let someone else do the talking…so without further ado, here is the full Rihanna interview with Diane Sawyer.

Video Source: 20/20

Regardless of what you feel was her motive for doing this interview, surely the fact she did could make the world of difference to someone in a very painful situation. Personally I respect her for speaking out and even if it took a marketing campaign for her album for that to happen, I’d consider it the lesser evil.

VIBE Magazine December 2009 Edition: The Great Print Comeback?


VIBE Dec 2009 Preview

Following the VIBE shutdown and subsequent resurrection this summer, many questions arose regarding the ability of the magazine to make any real impact or even stay afloat during a time when even the most established publications are struggling to survive.

When InterMedia purchased the assets of VIBE, they announced that the publication would only be appearing quarterly in a slightly oversized print format and would have a reduced cirulation of only 300,000, which is half of the print circulation at shutdown. The return edition is due to hit shelves on December 8th 2009 and is expected to contain over 40 pages of advertising.

Jermaine Hall, the new editor in chief of VIBE, stated that the focus would be, although he was looking to also make drastic changes to the print version of the publication. ‘It’s always been a very broad book that’s covered the culture of hip-hop, not just hip-hop music,’ Mr. Hall explained. ‘It needs to get back to that.’

Yesterday it was announced that the so-called ‘re-launch’ issue would have two cover choices, featuring either rap’s golden boy Drake and or the more controversial choice Chris Brown. It must be said that whilst the Brown cover is likely to provide more of a talking point, both artists could be considered ‘hot topics’ and are therefore wise choices.

Known for their controversial and indepth cover interviews, VIBE’s print interview with Brown would perhaps have a far greater impact than a feature on alone. Print media is generally more likely to endure and remain relevant; VIBE’s classic 1994 TLC cover interview is a classic example.


VIBE's Classic 'TLC Fires It Up' Cover

A shining example of high-quality music journalism, the memorable piece perfectly captured the personality of Left-Eye and couldn’t help but evoke sympathy for her plight during a time when many were quick to condemn her following the arson incident.

Hopefully by providing the broader focus and a more comprehensive end product, VIBE can revisit its glory days and restore its status as a pionnering and quality urban music magazine. Being oversaturated with ads and with a much reduced circulation, however, sadly it seems unlikely that it will ever achieve the impact it once had.

Rihanna V Chris Brown: Album Cover Face-Off

Since the now infamous ‘incident’ between Rihanna and Chris Brown in February, the urban music world has eagerly awaited new musical projects from both parties. Both singers seem to have something to prove following the negative press in the aftermath of the domestic abuse case, as is evident by their chosen album covers. Brown is looking to retain his reputation, whilst Rihanna argueably has the toughest battle ahead.

Looking to navigate the fine balance between the stereotypical ‘victim’ or the stronger, enlightened woman, Rihanna has the difficult task of publically acknowledging her experience but in a dignified and respectful manner. She would be condemned for ‘revealing all’ to the media but she would be just as likely to face condemnation for not speaking on the subject, which still widely remains a taboo. People would naturally expect Rihanna, as a role model for many young women, to use her own experience to educate others.

Despite relatively widespread criticism for her darker approach with Rated R, surely Rihanna’s edgier image actually conveys a much stronger message than the bubbly pop princess or ‘victim’ look. Her controversial style actually screams strength and experience, reflecting her journey. By highlighting the darker side of domestic abuse in both her image and her music, Rihanna is not only raising awareness of her plight but also introducing the world to a tougher version of herself.


Chris Brown on the other hand has unsurprisingly gone for a more family-friendly approach with his Graffiti cover, which features him dressed all in black, wielding a guitar and a spray can. It seems somewhat unfair that despite the domestic abuse incident, Brown actually has very little to worry about when it comes to his own image.

Still, it is important to remember that there is a big difference between Chris Brown as a man and as a musician. His music and his actions are two very different things and should be judged accordingly. Regardless of your attitude towards Brown and the domestic abuse incident himself, it would be unfair to not approach his next musical project with an open mind.


They say you should ‘never judge a book by its cover’ but an album cover can say an awful lot about a record, setting the tone for the entire project. Rihanna’s Rated R appears risqué, experimental and intriguing, whilst Brown’s Graffiti cover implies a light-hearted yet rather clean and repetitive tone.

Frankly the decision between a strong and edgy woman, unafraid to take a gamble and a rather camp-looking Men In Black reject seems like a no-brainer to me. In short, based on not only the cover but also the music that has surfaced so far from both projects, Rihanna’s appears to be a more interesting and progressive album.

That being said, it will be interesting to see what both artists have to offer with their forthcoming albums. Hopefully both artists have learnt from their experiences this past year and this will be reflected in their respective projects. Let the musical showdown begin…

Rated R is schedule for release on November 23rd and Graffiti will hit stores on December 8th.

Rihanna Rated R Tracklist


Rated R Album Cover

It would appear as if the full-scale Rihanna media assault has officially begun. The first few tracks from her highly-anticipated album Rated R have surfaced on radio and online to a mixed response and the intriguing tracklist for the project has also now appeared.

The tracklist is as follows:

1. Mad House
2. Wait Your Turn
3. Hard (ft. Young Jeezy)
4. Stupid in Love
5. ROCKSTAR 101 (ft. Slash)
6. Russian Roulette
7. Fire Bomb
8. Rude Boy
9. Photographs (ft.
10. G4L
11. Te Amo
12. Cold Case Love
13. The Last Song

In typical Rihanna fashion, the album is releatively light on features, boasting only three guest apprearances from Will.I.Am, Young Jeezy and Slash. Many are expecting the young singer to explore her turbulent relationship with former boyfriend Chris Brown in depth on the project, which she had largely neglected to talk to the media about until a recent interview with Diane Sawyer for Good Morning America. The interview will be aired on Thursday morning and then again on Friday on 20/20.

Rated R is scheduled to hit stores on November 23rd and the video for the lead single Russian Roulette, which was penned by fellow R&B star Ne-Yo, is set to debut on Friday November 13th

Alicia Keys Says ‘Keep A Child Alive’

Whether or not you are a fan of Alicia Keys or her music, it must be said that her Keep A Child Alive deserves a huge amount of credit. By raising awareness of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, which is particularly devasting in Africa, the Grammy-winning singer is proving that it is possible to directly make a difference to people’s lives.

Hopefully other urban artists will follow her example and help raise awareness about the disease not only abroad but also closer to home. As long as it is caught in enough time and treated properly, HIV does not have to be a death sentence. THINK….Don’t become another AIDS statistic.

Video Courtesy of CNN:

Death Row Star Dannyboy’s Time To Shine

Danny Boy


For any Death Row fan, the question of what happened to Dannyboy usually springs to mind when listening back to his classic collaborations recorded on the iconic label. Well the talented singer is currently working closely with new WIDEawake Death Row boss to finally get some of his music released.

BET Hip Hop Awards 2009 Red Carpet

BET Hip Hop Awards 2009 Red Carpet

It is great to see Ms Lavi, who has focused her efforts on building up solid relationships with many of the former Death Row artists, show such committment to Dannyboy’s career and finally give him a chance to walk in the spotlight by inviting him to the BET Hip Hop Awards 2009.

WIDEawake Death Row CEO Lara Lavi & Danny Boy

WIDEawake Death Row CEO Lara Lavi & Dannyboy

Some of Dannyboy’s as of yet unreleased material will be included in the Death Row boxset, which is scheduled for release in November.

Look out for Info’s interview with Dannyboy COMING SOON!

More Than A Women: Aaliyah Tribute

It has been 8 years since the tragic passing of the then 22 year old r&b superstar Aaliyah and the urban music world is yet to find an artist capable of having the same impact and popularity as the young star. Unlike many artists, who are perhaps often given to much credit posthumously, Aaliyah deserved every bit of praise she received. Making her mark on the industry at such a young age, the talented singer was often praised not only for her beautiful voice but also her strong morals and clean image.

Aaliyah left such a legacy in the music world that she cannot be forgotten; the brightest young star and a great role model for young women of our generation, she was a huge loss to the urban music community.

Rest in peace Aaliyah Dana Haughton, certainly more than a woman.

Aaliyah (1979 – 2001)