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.

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.

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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.

chris-brown-graffiti

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

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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. Will.i.am)
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

BET Hip Hop Awards 2009: Congratulations Allhiphop!

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Congratulations to Allhiphop.com on winning the Best Hip Hop website at the 2009 BET Hip Hop Awards! I am so proud to be a part of the AHH team. So without further ado, here is a full list of the BET Hip Hop Award Winners:

People’s Award – Fabolous ft. The Dream (Throw It In The Bag)

Best Collabo – TI ft. Rihanna (Live Your Life)

Best Live Performer – Jay-Z

Lyricist of the Year – Jay-Z

Video Director – Hype Williams

Best Producer – Kanye West

Best Track – Young Money (Every Girl)

CD of the Year – TI (Paper Trail)

Rookie of the Year – Drake

Best Video – TI ft. Rihanna (Live Your Life)

MVP – Jay-Z

DJ of the Year – DJ AM

Hustler of the Year – Jay-Z

Made-You-Look Award – Kanye West

Best Site – Allhiphop.com

Allhiphop.com

New Rihanna Album in November?

Two and a half years have passed since Bajan superstar Rihanna has released an album. Following the huge success of her last album ‘Good Girl Gone Bad’ and the controversial domestic abuse incident involving former partner Chris Brown, the world has eagerly awaited the singer’s next release.

Having appeared recently in Jay-Z’s street anthem ‘Run This Town,’ it is no real surprise that a new album may well be on the horizon. Def Jam is yet to confirm a release, although new graphics appeared on the singer’s official website along with the words ‘The Wait Is Ova’ and the date November 23 ’09.

It would appear that Rihanna fans will be able to expect a project from the singer on the aforementioned date, although as of yet there is no concrete information as to the nature of the release.

Does Jay-Z’s Video Run This Town?

Jay-Z’s latest video for the second single from ‘Blueprint 3’ has premiered on MTV today. ‘Run This Town,’ which features Kanye West and Rihanna, is certainly a statement from President Carter, who is asking fans to ‘pledge allegiance to Roc Nation.’

Whilst the video is hardly groundbreaking, the use of pyrotechnics and edgy attire ensures that much like the song it is a statement to thehip hop world; 3 of the biggest figures in urban music saying ‘we’re here and we run this!’  The video certainly captures the essence of the track and frankly its nice to see a hip hop video that doesn’t rely soley on scantily-clad women and supercars, although the amount of symbolism may end up reigniting the Illuminati in Hip Hop conspiracy talk!

SO does Jay-Z Run This Town? Well, that is surely a question that is best left until ‘Blueprint 3’ drops next month.

run this town

Chris Brown & Rihanna Back Together (AGAIN)?

I’ve just (unofficially) received word that even a court order can’t keep the volatile pair apart! The former couple split earlier this year after Brown violently beat Rihanna during an arguement that escalated. According to paps at the New York Post, Chris Brown and Rihanna spent this weekend in NYC’s Trump International Hotel.  They were quick to give up this information and yet interestingly have no photos of the ‘couple.’

Whether or not they are back together, as unadvisable as that may be, both Brown and Rihanna are adults and should surely be left to their own devices. Let’s just hope for their sake, if it is true, that some serious lessons have been learned before it is too late.

Please note that this ‘newsflash’ is yet to be confirmed…and yes, you do detect a hint of skeptism.

 

Video:ITN

Jay-Z’s Third Blueprint for Brilliance?

There has been much anticipation surrounding the forthcoming Jay-Z album ‘Blueprint 3.’ For many fans that felt ‘Kingdom Come’ was a disappointment, this project marks the return of the passion and hunger that was once characteristic of the hip hop star.

Following the buzz surrounding ‘D.O.A,’ and The Game’s attempts to draw Jigga into a war of words, the already high-profile rapper has become a hot topic in the media. The latest glimpse at his latest project, ‘Run This Town’ featuring Kanye West and Rihanna, has only increased the anticipation for the project further. Not only does the single prepare for the return for Jay-Z but also serves as a return to rapping for West and a return to the limelight for R&B songstress Rihanna.

Although it could be argued that Jay was outperformed by Kanye on this record, ‘Run This Town’ looks set to intensify the ever-increasing desire for the album, which is due to drop on September 11th 2009.

 

Video: Rap Radar

Seeing Ghosts?

The Rise of the Ghostwriter

‘Don’t worry if I write rhymes, I write cheques;’ hip hop giant Diddy once famously described the benefit if using ghostwriters, such as Jadakiss, in his classic track ‘Bad Boy for Life.’  The music mogul is not alone in this practice, which was once frowned upon in the hip hop community; Brooklyn MC Dustorm began his career writing tracks for the late ODB, The D.O.C famously wrote for Dr Dre, whilst in more recent years Snoop Dogg admitted to using ghostwriters on his last album ‘Ego Tripping.’  The legendary Long Beach MC explained that ghostwriting was merely another way to introduce creative variety into a project.

The use of ghostwriters is fast-becoming accepted, even encouraged, in the urban music industry, as is evident by the success of R&B superstar Ne-Yo.  When the artist released his first solo effort ‘In My Own Words’ in 2006, it soon reached platinum status, selling over 4 million copies worldwide; Ne-Yo’s style was a source of déjà-vu for many, perhaps as the singer-songwriter had already penned a number of R&B hits, including Mario’s ballad ‘Let Me Love You’ and Beyoncé’s  smash ‘Irreplaceable.’  The lyricist is currently working on songs for a number of high-profile artists, such as Usher, Ciara, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, Leona Lewis and Chris Brown.

Another ghost, who has been resurrected in the public eye, is R&B signer/songwriter The Dream, who wrote Rihanna’s hit single ‘Umbrella.’ After the success of the track, which was actually initially offered to Britney Spears amongst others, The Dream was signed to Def Jam and has enjoyed reasonable success due to a number of high-profile collaborations. Also behind a number of significant R&B hits, including J Holiday’s ‘Bed,’ Mary J Blige’s ‘Just Fine’ and Usher’s ‘Moving Mountains,’ The Dream has recently written for the likes of Diddy, Brandy, Ciara and Mariah Carey.

Many young urban artists could benefit from both ghostwriting or ‘vocal arrangement,’ which provides an opportunity to gain experience and perfect their style of writing, and ghostwriters, who can add diversity and new directions to a project.  With the practice and its benefits becoming more-widely acknowledged in the industry, hopefully we will be seeing more ghosts stepping out from the shadows in the future of urban music.

© Hannah O’Connor (3threat Media)

Video: Ne-Yo sings ‘Irreplacable,’ which he wrote for Beyonce.

 

Video: The Dream’s Demo Version of ‘Umbrella’

Chris Brown Apology

Chris Brown has officially apologised to Rihanna for beating her. Is it too little too late or a brave and justified move by Brown?