Friday, November 20, 2009

Oprah to Leave Syndication in 2011


Oprah to Leave Syndication in 2011: "Oprah Winfrey will end her long-running talk show after her 25th season draws..."

Monday, November 9, 2009

Katt Williams Jailed Over Burglary

Katt Williams jailed in the ATL over burglary


ATLANTA — Comedian and rapper Katt Williams (pictured above) remained jailed in suburban Atlanta on Monday after police said they arrested the entertainer for breaking into a home.

Williams, who police say is 38, is charged with burglary and criminal trespassing, according to Coweta County Sheriff's Office Major James Yarbrough.

A deputy at the Coweta County Jail confirmed Williams was being held there and that a magistrate was expected to set bond at an arraignment Monday afternoon.

Yarbrough said the Sunday night incident happened at a home in Newnan, about 38 miles southwest of Atlanta. Yarbrough said the unidentified homeowner called police around 9 p.m. to report the comedian "gained entry by breaking into the home, and items were taken from the residence."

Yarbrough said jewelry was taken, but did not have further details.

Williams, whose real name is Micah S. Katt Williams, is known for his roles in the movies "Friday After Next" and "Norbit." His comedy DVD, "Katt Williams: Pimpadelic," was no. 8 in the nation for sales during the week of Oct. 30, according to Nielsen/VideoScan.

But lately the entertainer has gained as much attention for criminal troubles as for his quips.

He was briefly jailed last November after New York police who pull him over for driving without a license plate discovered three guns. Manhattan prosecutors dropped weapons charges in July after running into problems proving their case.

According to MTV News the comedian has exhibited unusually erratic behavior in the past year, beginning with a string of puzzling public appearances, before Williams was admitted to a psych ward in South Carolina also last November.

A judge sentenced Williams to three years' probation in 2006 after he pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor count of carrying a concealed firearm. Authorities had arrested Williams on Nov. 6 at Los Angeles International Airport after finding a gun in his briefcase.

Williams lives in Woodland Hills, Calif.

Yarbrough said police believe the entertainer was in Georgia working on a film.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Rihanna talks about Chris Brown on ABC

ABC to air Rihanna interviews on assault
(Associated Press)

LOS ANGELES — The first interview with Rihanna (Pictured left) about Chris Brown's assault on her is airing this week on ABC.


The network says the pop star's one-on-one with Diane Sawyer will air Thursday and Friday on "Good Morning America" and Friday evening on the news magazine "20/20."


Brown's attack on then-girlfriend Rihanna occurred in February. He was sentenced in August to five years' probation, six months of community labor and a year of domestic violence counseling after he pleaded guilty to felony assault.


Rihanna's ABC interview coincides with the debut of her new single, "Russian Roulette," (of course-Cool Black) from her upcoming album, "Rated R." It's her first CD since 2007's multiplatinum "Good Girl Gone Bad."

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

New HBO Obama Documentary

BY THE PEOPLE THIS TUESDAY ON HBO
Nearly a year before Barack Obama announced his candidacy for the presidency on Feb. 10, 2007, filmmakers Amy Rice and Alicia Sams began to roll cameras on the young senator. Over the next 19 months, they found themselves travelling all across the country, chronicling the daily ups and downs of the campaign trail as experienced by Obama, his family, his staff and volunteers. While Obama's meteoric rise to the White House has been well documented in the press, few have witnessed the behind-the- scenes story of the passionate campaigners who helped a young African-American freshman senator attain the nation's highest office.

Rice conceived the idea of making a documentary about Obama long before the Illinois Senator announced his decision to run for president. Inspired by his oratorical skills and star appeal at the 2004 Democratic Convention, she set out to film his political career in 2006. Rice approached documentary producer Sams, who joined to co-direct and actor Edward Norton's production company, Class 5, agreed to produce the project. After Norton approached Obama's team with the idea, the senator agreed to grant the filmmakers what turned out to be unprecedented and exclusive access.

BY THE PEOPLE: THE ELECTION OF BARACK OBAMA is a moving record of the Obama campaign's history-making odyssey to the White House. Interwoven with the drama of the campaign is never-before-seen footage of Obama behind the scenes, as well as interviews and candid moments with wife Michelle Obama, the couple's young daughters, Malia and Sasha, and senior campaign staff, volunteers, reporters, supporters and opponents. Premiering Tuesday November 3 at 9PM on HBO.

http://www.hbo.com/docs/programs/bythepeople/

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Michael Jackson's This is It-Review

Michael Jackson's This is It

Directed by Kenny Ortega
Michael Jackson (stage actions)

Produced by Paul Gongaware,
Randy Phillips

Cinematography by Kevin Mazur


Released: Ocotber 28, 2009 (USA)

REVIEW by Cool Black



This Is It...Ain't It. Before you say that's cold. Let me explain. I’m gonna say it from the start, this movie is ok. Don’t get it twisted, I didn’t hate it and it’s not a bad movie, but you have to keep in mind several factors.

This footage was never meant to be released as a film. It's NOT a documentary and doesn't have a story. This is a bunch of filmed rehearsals. It was meant to be compiled into one of those promotional films that plays while Michael changes costumes and the crew changes the sets and stuff. All of this footage probably was supposed to be in a 10-15 minute film not a 2 hour one.


Having said that, you do get glimpses (only glimpses) into what a creative person and perfectionist he was. You also get glimpses into what a FANTASTIC tour this would have been. You get to see some of the set designs and set-ups for his most popular songs. Also let me say that 95% of this film is Michael. I was expecting a lot of filler interviews and such, but there wasn’t. It’s all Michael and kudos to the filmmakers for that.

Latoya Jackson stated that she felt that Michael wouldn't have wanted the film to have been released because he wasn't giving his all into his performances.

"Michael [Jackson] always wants to give his best. This is a rehearsal. He wasn’t giving his all [...] He loves to give his all always. That’s just the way he is. He wants people to see him at the top of the ladder and not half-stepping because he doesn’t want to do a full-out rehearsal."*


That seems true in this film, these are rehearsals and Michael didn’t want to go “full blast” with his singing and dancing, but the film happens to catch moments when he just couldn’t help it and sang and danced his heart out. His voice was just as perfect as ever and his dancing was equally on point.



The end result of this film is that you see that Michael wasn’t in this just to make a buck, he wasn’t going to “phone it in”. Michael was committed to bringing an ultimate concert experience and nothing less. A true testament to his vision, his talent, his genius.

*Latoya Jackson quote source: Access Hollywood


Cool Black's Mad Commentary: After his death there were reports that Michael was not physically fit enough to do this tour. While he was quite thin, he was moving, grooving and singing just as well as he ever has. As a filmmaker I know that any footage that cast Michael in a negative light (as far as his health) would never make it into this film, but from what I saw he was ready as ever.


Related post: Michael Jackson Memories


BOX OFFICE UPDATE


Big Sunday shows 'This Is It' isn't performing like a concert film
Los Angeles Times
November 2, 2009 1:13 pm


"This Is It" continues to throw all the old rules about concert movies out the window.


Domestic ticket sales for the Michael Jackson (pictured left) movie totaled $8.3 million on Sunday, nearly $2 million more than the $6.3 million Sony Pictures projected Sunday morning and 17% more than the movie grossed on Saturday. The movie's total domestic gross is now $34.4 million, making the worldwide number $103 million.


Concert movies traditionally see ticket sales decline rapidly after they premiere, as avid fans who turn out on opening day make up most of the audience. But "This Is It" grossed more on Sunday than any day since it debuted, a sign that word-of-mouth is strong and moviegoers who initially may have been hesitant are turning out. There also may be repeat viewing, which is often the case for concert films.


If the trend continues, "This Is It" should enjoy a relatively modest decline next weekend, and what initially looked like a middling domestic performance may actually turn into a pretty good one, albeit not nearly as big as overseas. That's where Jackson is really cleaning up.


-- Ben Fritz

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Brooklyn Week: Da Rap Up


Da "rap" up get it? since Brooklyn Week was devoted to rappers...Cool Black knows how to spell if not make a good pun.


Irregardless, here is a recap with links to our "Brooklyn Week"

Friday, October 16, 2009

Brooklyn Week: Notorious B.I.G.



Christopher George Latore Wallace (May 21, 1972 – March 9, 1997), popularly known as Biggie Smalls (after a fictional gangster in the 1975 film Let's Do It Again), Frank White (from the 1990 film King of New York), and his primary stage name The Notorious B.I.G., (pictured above) was an American rapper.

Brooklyn Pedigree:
Born in St. Mary's Hospital, although claiming to be raised in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, the apartment Wallace grew up in is located in neighboring Clinton Hill.

Read more about Biggie at Wikipedia

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Brooklyn Week: Jay-Z


Shawn Corey Carter (born December 4, 1969), better known by his stage name, Jay-Z (pronounced [jæːze], JAY-zee), (pictured left) is an American hip hop artist and businessman. He is one of the most financially successful hip hop artists and entrepreneurs in America, having a net worth of over $150 million, shipping over 30 million copies of his albums in the United States alone and receiving several Grammy Awards for his musical work.


Brooklyn Pedigree: Originally from Marcy Houses housing project in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn in New York City.

Read more about Jay-Z at Wikipedia

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Brooklyn Week: Lil Kim



Kimberly Denise Jones (born July 11, 1975), better known by her stage name Lil' Kim, (Pictured left) is an American rapper and singer who was part of the group Junior M.A.F.I.A.


Brooklyn Pedigree:
Jones was born and raised in Brooklyn.


Read more about Kim at Wikipedia

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Brooklyn Week: Fabolous



John David Jackson (born November 18, 1977), better known by his stage name Fabolous [sic](pictured left), is an American recording artist.

Brooklyn Pedigree: Grew up in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York.

Read more about Fabolous at Wikipedia

Monday, October 12, 2009

Brooklyn Week: Busta Rhymes



Trevor Tahiem Smith, Jr., better known as Busta Rhymes (born May 20, 1972)(pictured left), is a Grammy-nominated Jamaican-American rapper, songwriter, and actor. Chuck D of Public Enemy gave him the name Busta Rhymes (from former NFL wide receiver George "Buster" Rhymes).

Brooklyn Pedigree: Was born in East Flatbush, Brooklyn.

Read more about Busta at Wikipedia

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Brooklyn Week-Inauguration

Welcome to BROOKLYN WEEK a fun little excercise I thought about and decided to do.


Brooklyn Week is a week at Cool Black Media devoted to artists from Brooklyn, New York. The first Brooklyn Week is devoted to hip-hop, but you never know it may be expanded in the future.

Brooklyn week is actually Monday-Friday, but Imma start it off with someone who wasn't born in Brooklyn (pretty much a prerequisite), but who reps Brooklyn to the FULLEST. And to answer your question Cool Black was BORN IN BROOKLYN!

Shelton Jackson "Spike" Lee (born March 20, 1957) (pictured left) is an American film director, producer, writer, and actor. He also teaches film at New York University and Columbia University. His production company, 40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks, has produced over 35 films since 1983.

Lee's movies have examined race relations, the role of media in contemporary life, urban crime and poverty, and other political issues. Lee has won an Emmy Award and was nominated for an Academy Award.

Cool Black's Favorite Five Spike Lee Joints
1. Do The Right Thing
2. Malcolm X
3. Bamboozled
4. Jungle Fever
5. School Daze

Read more about Spike at Wikipedia


__________________________________________________

JUNE 1, 2011
I recently added reviews of two books Mr. Lee wrote to GoodReads. Those reviews are below.

By Any Means Necessary: The Trials and Tribulations of the Making of Malcolm XBy Any Means Necessary: The Trials and Tribulations of the Making of Malcolm X by Malcolm X

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don’t even know why I bought this book about the film ‘Malcolm X’ (1992) but if you ever want to know how hard it is to get a film made in Hollywood ESPECIALLY a period piece epic, this is the book you should read. Even if you’re not that interested in how a movie is made, it is STILL an interesting read as a tale of “Trials and Tribulations”.

By Any Means Necessary is not just a means to piggyback on brother Malcolm’s famous phrase, but it crystallizes exactly the mentality Mr. Lee had in mind when making this film. To me the narratives in this book were just as engrossing as the film itself.

PS: For the record the famous quote is-

"We declare our right on this earth to be a man, to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary. ” — Malcolm X, 1965

_________________________________________________________

 

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

‘Do the Right Thing’ is my FAVORITE “Spike Lee Joint”. Don’t know why it took me so long to get this book, but it did. Probably because I owned, and poured over all of the extras on the 2 Disc DVD. What more could I learn right? Turns out a lot more. Yes the DVD was very detailed, but much insight is to be gained in this book mostly curated from his journals while making this DTRT.

For most of all of his early films, Spike Lee published an accompanying book. This was also mostly before DVDs with all of their commentaries and extras. Even back then it seems that Mr. Lee knew that other filmmakers like me were interested not only in his films, but the stories behind them as well.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Lisa Nicole Carson: Whatever Happened to her?




Baltimore Acting Legend Verna Day funeral details

Dear Friends and Colleagues in the Theatre, Film and Television Community:

As you may or may not know Verna Day-Jones (pictured left) passed on Friday morning, October 2, 2009. The very versatile Verna was not only one of the oldest SAG / AFTRA members in Maryland, acting in hundreds of movies, plays, television programs and commercials over more than
six decades, she was also a pioneering African American actress both on stage and
screen. A founding member of Baltimore's Arena Players, the 85 year old actress hob-nobbed with Lena Horne and other blackactors of note during her early years. She was a member of the first integrated acting troup in Maryland. Verna also appeared on television in the 1960's in special Black History month broadcasts depicting the black struggle at a time when that was almost never done. Her body of work and accomplishments as an actress are too numerous to list.


Few in her acting circles, however, knew the extent of her role as an early member of the National Council of Negro Women, an organization with a strong civil rights focus founded by Mary McCloudBethune and Dr. Dorothy I. Height, a contemporary of Dr. Martin Luther King.


Verna Day-Jones stayed active right up to the very end of her lengthy life. She could be seen in television commercials running in the DC area as recent as the week of her death. Having performed hundreds of parts, it was her one woman show portrayals of Harriet Tubman and Mary McCloud Bethune that were her favorite, and they were second to none.


A standing ovation to you Ms. Verna Day-Jones. You were a pioneer, a mentor to hundreds of African American actors, a community and civil rights activist, a wife and mother, a diva, and a realtrooper to the very end.


Below are the arrangements.


Viewings:
Vaughn C. Greene Funeral Services
8728 Liberty Road Randallstown,
MD 21133 (410) 655-0015

Saturday, October 10, 2009 12 noon - 5:00 PM and
Sunday, October 11, 2009 12 noon - 8:00 PM


Funeral:
Douglas Memorial Community Church
1325 Madison Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21217 (410) 523-1700

Monday, October 12, 2009
Wake: 10:00 am
Funeral: 11:00 am


Condolences can be sent to:


Ms Stephanie Carter (Daughter)
2508 Oakley Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21215


Sincerely,

Romaine Dorsey (SAG Member)


-Info from DavidAlexanderGroup

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Marlon Wayans in talks to play Richard Pryor

Pryor role in new biopic after Eddie Murphy dropped out
BY Robert Dominguez

Thursday, October 8th 2009


Comic actor Marlon Wayans' (above left) next screen role could turn out to be portraying a real-life comedy icon.

EW.com reports that Wayans is in talks to play Richard Pryor,(above right) the groundbreaking comedian whose troubled life will be depicted in an upcoming biopic, "Richard Pryor: Is it Something I Said."

Wayans is reportedly being considered for the part after fellow funnyman Eddie Murphy dropped out of negotiations early on. The film was written and will be directed by Bill Condon of "Dreamgirls," who originally shopped it as a vehicle for Murphy.

Sources told EW.com that Wayans, best known for such over-the-top comedy films as the "Scary Movie" franchise and "White Chicks," impressed producers in a 13-minute screen test in which he "transforms into Pryor."

The Pryor project, scheduled to begin shooting in the spring, is being made by Sony Pictures and Adam Sandler's production company. Variety.com reports that Sandler is considering playing a small role as Pryor's first agent.

Budgeted at about $20 million, the movie will cover Pryor's controversial life and career as a raunchy standup, beloved movie star and troubled drug addict who famously set himself on fire while freebasing cocaine.

Pryor died in 2005 at age 65 after a series of health problems, including multiple sclerosis.

Cool Black's Mad Commentary: I think Marlon is one of the most (if not THE most) talented of the vast Wayans clan. I've seen him do drama (Requiem for a Dream) and he was pretty good. I would like to see what he does with the role.



Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Jay-Z Albums & Commercial [VIDEO]

I saw this fantastic commercial and because this is 2009 I could easily pull it up on the Internet (YouTube). The commercial is below, but first you need to see the album covers it is based on and you can see what a fantastic job they did. Below the commerical are the people responsible and the link to my review of Jay-Z's latest album The Blueprint III ;-)


Reasonable Doubt (1996)



In My Lifetime, Vol. 1 (1997)

Vol. 2... Hard Knock Life (1998)

Vol. 3... Life and Times of S. Carter (1999)


The Dynasty: Roc La Familia (2000)



The Blueprint (2001)


The Blueprint²: The Gift & the Curse (2002)


The Black Album (2003)



Kingdom Come (2006)



American Gangster (2007)


THE COMMERCIAL




Credits (and my further explanation in [   ] -Cool Black)

The Rhapsody campaign was developed at Droga5, [advertising agency] New York, by creative chairman David Droga, executive creative director Duncan Marshall, creative director/copywriter Kevin Brady, art director Jesse Juriga and head of integrated production Sally-Ann Dale. [They developed the start of the idea to arranging everything for the shoot]

Filming was shot by director Anthony Mandler via Les Enfants Terrible (LET, [Production Company]) with director of photography Jonathan Sela and executive producer Ciarra Pardo.
[They produced the actual shooting of the commercial.]

Post Production was done at Ghost Town Media [post production studio] by editor Ryan Treese
Bartley, VFX artist Brandon Parvini and post producer Matthew Primm.
[They did the editing and the VFX=Visual Effects.]


Audio post was produced at Nylon Studios, New York.
[The final mix of the song over the commercial "Run This Town" from The Blueprint III]


-Related posts
Jay-Z: The Blueprint III REVIEW

Cool Black's Entertainment Review 2010

 CLICK the button to see all of
our blog posts about Jay-Z






Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A-Team Remake News

Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson Set to Play B.A. Baracus in "The A-Team"


Sept. 9, 2009-Black Talent News

Former UFC world lightweight champion Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson (pictured left) is set to star in the TV-to-film adaptation "The A-Team." Jackson will step into the role made famous by the iconic Mr. T.

Jackson joins Liam Neeson and Bradley Cooper who have been cast as Colonel John "Hannibal" Smith and Lt. Tepleton "Faceman" Peck, respectively.

Joe Carnahan will direct and polish the Skip Wood's script along with writer Brian Bloom. Ridley and Tony Scott are producing the big-screen adaptation..

Shooting begins in the fall in Vancouver.

The film is expected to open in theatres on June 11, 2010.

Cool Black's Mad Commentary: While the remakes of all of my favorite shows as a kid (Duke's of Hazzard, Knight Rider) SUCKED, these filmmakers (director and producers) got skills and the newest castmember...Uhmm he got the look.


The First Official Photo From 'The A-Team'
October 23, 2009


Monday, September 14, 2009

Kayne Apologizes, VMA video clips & More Related




Kanye West didn’t even wait until the next morning to apologize for his bizarre behavior during Taylor Swift’s Best Female Video win at last night’s MTV Video Music Awards. And judging by the photos below, it seems Kanye had a bit of liquid encouragement prior to his controversial crash.


West’s apology post read as follows in full: “I’M SOOOOO SORRY TO TAYLOR SWIFT AND HER FANS AND HER MOM. I SPOKE TO HER MOTHER RIGHT AFTER AND SHE SAID THE SAME THING MY MOTHER WOULD’VE SAID. SHE IS VERY TALENTED! I LIKE THE LYRICS ABOUT BEING A CHEERLEADER AND SHE’S IN THE BLEACHERS! …………………… I’M IN THE WRONG FOR GOING ON STAGE AND TAKING AWAY FROM HER MOMENT!…………….. BEYONCE’S VIDEO WAS THE BEST OF THIS DECADE!!!! I’M SORRY TO MY FANS IF I LET YOU GUYS DOWN!!!! I’M SORRY TO MY FRIENDS AT MTV. I WILL APOLOGIZE TO TAYLOR 2MRW. WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD!!!! EVERYBODY WANNA BOOOOO ME BUT I’M A FAN OF REAL POP CULTURE!!! NO DISRESPECT BUT WE WATCHIN’ THE SHOW AT THE CRIB RIGHT NOW CAUSE … WELL YOU KNOW!!!! I’M STILL HAPPY FOR TAYLOR!!!! BOOOYAAAWWWW!!!! YOU ARE VERY VERY TALENTED!!! I GAVE MY AWARDS TO OUTKAST WHEN THEY DESERVED IT OVER ME… THAT’S WHAT IT IS!!!!!!! I’M NOT CRAZY YALL, I’M JUST REAL. SORRY FOR THAT!!! I REALLY FEEL BAD FOR TAYLOR AND I’M SINCERELY SORRY!!! MUCH RESPECT!!!!!”

Cool Black's Mad Commentary: Kanye should be censored by congress.


NEW
Kanye apologizes on the Jay Leno Show the day after the VMAs (9-14-09)




There was some music last night as well. Below is the Michael Jackson open, the Taylor Swift performance about 5 minutes after the Kanye bumrush, the Jay-Z finale and the trailer for the Michael Jackson film.


Not really a fan of Taylor Swift, but I REALLY enjoyed her performance.








You can watch more videos of the VMAs at http://www.mtv.com/ontv/vma/2009/
And also-
Kanye West's Televised Meltdowns: A Video Compilation


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Tyler Perry leads box office for 2nd time in 2009

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Prolific filmmaker Tyler Perry (pictured left) scored his second No. 1 movie of the year at the North American box office on Sunday, leading a weak field of newcomers in what is traditionally one of the industry's slowest weekends.

Perry's latest family comedy, "I Can Do Bad All By Myself," sold $24 million worth of tickets during the three days beginning Friday, distributor Lionsgate said.

The writer-producer-director-actor, whose low-budget films are popular among black women, did better in February with "Madea Goes to Jail," which opened to a personal best of $41 million. But exactly a year ago, Perry's "The Family That Preys" opened to $17 million. The two most recent films starred Perry's alter ego Madea, a pistol-packing granny.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Jay-Z: The Blueprint III REVIEW





I bought Press Play by Diddy because of the hot single (Come to Me with Nicole Scherzinger) and he knows what a hot beat sounds like. I liked and appreciated the album because of the hot beats and the varying different styles.

You don’t buy a Puffy, (you can call him Diddy) album for the lyrical skill. You thought this was a review for The Blueprint III? It is bear with me. The first time I listened to this album that’s who I thought of, Puffy. While the lyrical skill is quite evident I thought the production was all over the place. In other words varied. Variety is cool on a Puffy album because that’s what you are listening for. Something to entertain. While it is hip-hop it’s more “hip-pop” and that’s fine, again I liked the album.

When you buy a Jay-Z album you look for HIP HOP. While Jay has been “mainstream” for years I was expecting a harder edge. I guess the Jay-Z of Reasonable Doubt, Hard Knock Life, Blueprint [1] and The Black Album is gone (gotten old? I didn’t say that).

Now I got that off of my chest, this is still a good album and while only one third of the tracks are HOT (5 out of the 15 tracks) all of it is “listenable”. D.O.A. (Death Of Auto-Tune), released as the first single of the album in June, seems more like a statement than a hot song. The last two songs on the album don’t really work either. Jay-Z has an amusing track Hate (Featuring Kanye West) that at 2:31 can be considered an interlude though not listed as such.

Jay had superstar producers like No ID (D.O.A.), Swizz Beats (On To the Next One), Kanye West (Run This Town), The Neptunes (So Ambitious) but one of my favorite tracks was produced by someone I never heard of (Empire State of Mind) by a producer named Shux. The most prolifically HOT producer on this album wasn’t Kanye, but Timbaland. Timbaland produced the bangers Off That (Featuring Drake) and Venus VS. Mars. But enough of me talking about the production here is track list and what’s HOT.

Because the lyrical skill is still above reproach, for the first time in my reviews, I’m going to provide links to all of the tracks. (*All links go to an external site and I can’t guarantee the accuracy of the lyrics)

  1. What We Talkin’ About (feat. Luke Steele (Of Empire Of The Sun))
  2. Thank You
  3. D.O.A. (Death Of Auto-Tune)
  4. Run This Town (feat. Rihanna & Kanye West) HOT
  5. Empire State Of Mind (feat. Alicia Keys) HOT
  6. Real As It Gets (feat. Young Jeezy)
  7. On To The Next One (feat. Swizz Beatz) HOT
  8. Off That (feat. Drake) HOT
  9. A Star Is Born (feat. J. Cole)
  10. Venus Vs. Mars HOT
  11. Already Home (feat. Kid Cudi)
  12. Hate (feat. Kanye West)
  13. Reminder
  14. So Ambitious (feat. Pharrell)
  15. Young Forever (feat. Mr Hudson)


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Jay-Z-Kingdom Come REVIEW

Below is a review I initially published Dec. 22, 2006 4:41 PM

As the Jigga man so aptly put it in the title track from his album "I don't know what life may be in H-I-P-H-O-P without your boy H-O-V."

Yes Hov is back. (For the unititated "Hov" is short for "J-Hova" like Jehovah for he is a "god of rap".) Is this a HOT album? Yes. Are ALL the tracks HOT? No. So what's hot?

Come on
it wouldn't be a Cool Black Review
without me doin what I do
Lettin you know the hot tracks
what is whack
what is hot-not
if the album you should cop
now back to this current review
can a brother get through?


(That sounds better with a slammin' beat in the background. (o_O)

Jay-Z still has the best flow in rap. His flow is flawless. It took me a while to get used to some of the beats though. I would like for them to release this album in acapella like they did The Black Album so I can hear his "flawless flow" without all the instrumentation. The best beats on the album are from super producer Just Blaze. The tracks "Oh My God", "Kingdom Come" and the first single "Show Me What You Got" were produced by "Mr. Blaze" and they do just that…just blaze.

You can usually count on The Neptunes to hook Hov up with a hot beat…not this time the song they produce "Anything" (featuring Usher & Pharrell) just doesn't work. Dr. Dre comes through on "Lost One", but doesn't on "Minority Report". "Minority Report" is Jay-Z's attempt at a "conscious rap" that falls short. 'Report' is produced by Dr. Dre and has the new ubiquitous king of rap hooks Ne-Yo, but it still isn't all that good. The Kanye West produced track "Do U Wanna Ride" (featuring John Legend) is only ok. It's not bad, but it isn't HOT. "Hollywood" is a good radio friendly companion to the radio friendly "Show Me What You Got" is with girlfriend Beyonce. The album closer "Beach Chair" is a subdued laid back track and nice album closer.

1. The Prelude
2. Oh My God-HOT
3. Kingdom Come-HOT
4. Show Me What You Got-HOT
5. Lost One featuring Chrisette Michele-HOT
6. Do U Wanna Ride featuring John Legend -warm
7. 30 Something
8. I Made It-warm
9. Anything featuring Usher & Pharrell
10. Hollywood featuring Beyonce-HOT
11. Trouble
12. Dig A Hole featuring Sterling Simms
13. Minority Report featuring Ne-Yo
14. Beach Chair featuring Chris Martin


Five out of 14 tracks were HOT. Less than half the tracks being HOT sounds bad, but with 2 warm tracks and the above-mentioned "flawless flow" it's still a HOT album.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2009 Retrospect: Okay it wasn't a HOT album, but I still stand behind the tracks I thought were HOT back then.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Ne-Yo-Because of You REVIEW

Below is a repost of a review I previously published on Jun 29, 2007, 4:56 PM



Ne-Yo-Because of You


For a while there it seemed like Ne-Yo was poised to become the next Nate Dogg singing hooks for rap artists like Ghost Face Killah (Back Like That) and Remy Ma (Feels So Good). He could have been construed as the next Babyface writing hit songs for the likes of Mario (Let Me Love You), Rihanna (Unfaithful) and Beyonce (Irreplaceable), but he was also co-starring in movies (Stomp The Yard (Good movie)). I guess doing all that he was also working on this new album Was it worth it? Not really.

The duet Leaving Tonight with Jennifer Hudson is ok, but never really gets off the ground because of the mediocre melody and uneven vocal styles. Jennifer simply outsings Ne-Yo on her vocals. Jennifer is such a powerful singer that it may take someone like the late great Gerald LeVert to match her vocally not an "airy" vocalist like Ne-Yo. Sex With My Ex has all the drum machine and electric synths of a Prince song. This "homage" to Prince does not succeed like other homages to Prince a la Diddy's Last Night (featuring Keyshia Cole) and just falls flat.

The "warm" Say It has an ethereal almost operatic hook and like many of the songs I designated as "warm" could probably be HOT given enough radio play, but right now...no.

The best song on the album is Do You and is already getting air play. It's pretty much alone among a lot of mediocre songs. I think next time he should keep the good stuff at home and stop spreading it around town. As usual here are all the tracks that I think are HOT, warm, or not.


1. Because Of You-HOT
2. Crazy (feat. JAY-Z) warm
3. Can We Chill
4. Do You -HOT
5. Addicted
6. Leaving Tonight (feat. Jennifer Hudson)
7. Ain't Thinking About You
8. Sex With My Ex
9. Angel
10. Make It Work- warm
11. Say It-warm
12. Go On Girl-warm


I reviewed Ne-Yo's better first album, but never posted it. Below are the tracks that are HOT.


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Ne-Yo-In My Own Words


1. Stay-HOT
2. Let Me Get This Right-HOT
3. So Sick-HOT
4. When You're Mad-HOT
5. It Just Ain't Right
6. Mirror
7. Sign Me Up
8. I Ain't Gotta Tell You
9. Get Down Like That-HOT
10. Sexy Love-HOT
11. Let Go-HOT
12. Time
13. Get Down Like That Remix (Featuring Ghost Face Killah)


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Chris Brown: Changed Man

Chris Brown song 'Changed Man': Is it an apology to Rihanna - and an attempt to get her back?
By Jim Farber

August 27th 2009

Is Chris Brown (pictured left) a changed man?

The R&B singer tries to make that argument in a new single, called, funnily enough, "Changed Man."

"Ima make it up to you / and show the world / I'm a changed man," Brown sings. "And everybody hates Chris / They can never understand / so can we love? / can we love again?"

One stanza would seem to have Brown imagining a possible future with ex-girlfriend Rihanna. "This ain't over / it ain't over," he sings. "I remember your touch / God I miss u so much / please believe me / Baby I'm sorry."

Then again, the 20-year-old star allows that simply apologizing won't make up for his past behavior. "Saying I'm sorry / doesn't make it all right," Brown sings. "I know / I know / But I believe that we can make it."

Brown's record company has not formally released "Changed Man" as a single. But the self-issued song has gone viral on line, and has also gotten some play on both satellite and terrestrial radio.

Silvio Pietroluongo, director of charts for Billboard, told AccessHollywood.com that a handful of radio stations across the country have been spinning the single. The most plays come out of Philadelphia's WPHI-FM 100.3 The Beat, which has spun the song 53 times in the last seven days, according to Pietroluongo.

Still, he believes that exposure in certain sectors wouldn't be enough to make a hit. "While 'Changed Man' does move from No. 99 to No. 64 on the latest Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, the chance of it becoming a high-charting hit is slim," he commented. "The amount of stations playing the song is minimal at the moment, and since the track was released without the involvement of Brown's record label and is not considered an 'official single,' sustained airplay growth is unlikely."

Opinions among fans of the song's sentiment have been mixed. One YouTube user wrote, "Beautiful apology … let the world know Chris … still got love for you." But another said, "Rihanna shouldn't go back to him."

The new single isn't Brown's only attempt to clean up his image. The R&B star has granted Larry King his first interview since his infamous February 8th arrest, and E.T. revealed some details about the sit-down, which will air Wednesday Sept. 2nd at 6 p.m. on CNN.

The R&B star spoke to King at CNN's studios in Los Angeles, joined by his mother Joyce Hawkins and his attorney Mark Geragos.

E.T. reports that Brown's mother got very emotional and started to cry during the interview.

Brown was officially sentenced for his assault on Rihanna on Tuesday afternoon.

You can listen to the song below






**Previous related blog entries:
Chris Brown Apologizes For Rihanna Assault In New Video






Thursday, August 20, 2009

Whitney Houston on Oprah Season Premiere

Whitney Houston grants TV interview to Winfrey
(AP)

NEW YORK — After a long absence from music, Whitney Houston (Pictured left) is staging a much-hyped career comeback with an appearance on "The Oprah Winfrey Show."


Houston will be Winfrey's first guest as the talk-show queen launches her 24th season on Sept. 14. According to her Web site, Oprah.com, Winfrey calls Houston's appearance "the most anticipated music interview of the decade."

The 46-year-old superstar hasn't done a major TV interview since 2002, when she addressed questions about her drug use from ABC's Diane Sawyer. (Where she infamously stated "Crack is whack"-Cool Black)

Houston is releasing her new album, "I Look to You," on Aug. 31.

She is one of the best-selling artists of all time, but her career stalled as she battled drugs and endured a troubled marriage to Bobby Brown.