Artist of the Month: Maya Azucena

Maya Azucena is a global singer-activist known for making music that uplifts the soul. Born & raised in Brooklyn, she travels the world inspiring through her songs. Featured as a coach on MTV’s Made, she also has a Grammy-certificate for her collaboration with Stephen Marley; performed at the 2013 Essence Fest with artists like Beyonce, Jill Scott and Maxwell; has been mentioned in O Magazine, Washington Post, Billboard, and countless other publications; heard on HBO’s The Wire, seen on NBC’s 30 Rock; and sang at prestigious events with incredible world-movers such as TEDxWomenSecretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s Every Woman, Every Child event at the UN; One Billion Rising international campaign to end violence against women; and Omega Institute’s Where We Go From Here conference alongside President Bill Clinton. Maya is the proud artist ambassador for BeadForLife, an NGO based in Uganda that enables women to overcome extreme poverty by becoming business-women with sustainable skills, through jewelry making. And, is on the executive board for CONNECT NYC,an organization that provides counseling and training to families and communities overcoming domestic violence.
click on the link to watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUqyHOF19A8
Twitter: @mayaazucena

NEW MUSIC: DRAKE – DAYS IN THE EAST

Drake 702_8

Drake is back home off his European tour and dropping music again. Following a rap track titled “Draft Day,” which he dropped on Tuesday, the superstar gifts fans with another brand new song titled “Days In The East.” He previously debuted the song while performing in Birmingham, England last month.

Drizzy returns to his slowed down rap/sung flow on the PARTYNEXTDOOR and Noah ’40′ Shebib produced cut.

He recalls a visit to Erykah Badu’s house during the nearly 6 mintue song. “She made tea for me / We talked about love and what life could really be for me.” And even alludes to his relationship with Rihanna, who was spotted with him numerous times in Europe. “Studying ya body that’s exams for the boy / Take a flight here, pop a Zan for ya boy / Wakin’ up in Amsterdam with the boy.”

Take a listen to Drake’s latest melodic cut below:

 

NEW MUSIC: MARSHA AMBROSIUS – RUN

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Not too long after the release of her latest EP, FVCK & LOVEMarsha Ambrosius has returned to supply her dedicated fans with a new single.

Titled, “Run,” the very intimate single will be found on her forthcoming sophomore album Friends & Lovers, which we will hopefully be receiving this year. Singing, “Tried to catch my breath if only for a second, just a small confession straight from my heart,” the UK bred songstress keeps us warm with her lovable and strong vocals.

Take a listen to the new single below:

 

Alicia Keys, Kendrick Lamar on ‘Amazing Spider-Man 2’ Track ‘It’s On Again’ (Listen)

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Zap! Bam! Pow! It’s finally here.

The Alicia Keys and Kendrick Lamar track “It’s On Again,” from “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” surfaced on the web this afternoon in advance of the film’s May 2 arrival in theaters.

Written by the film’s composers, Hans Zimmer and Pharrell Williams, as well as Keys and Lamar (and produced by Williams), the song has Lamar opening with a rap over Keys’ piano. He compares Spider-Man’s battles to David and Goliath and makes other Biblical references.

Keys then takes over the rest of the tune, focusing on Spider-Man’s return and his dedication to saving all, despite the personal cost: “I am a lonely hero trying to fight my battles/life likes to blow the cold wind/sometimes it freezes my shadow.” A spoken-word refrain breaks up the last third.

“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” opens in the U.S. on May 2 and stars Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone and Jamie Foxx.

NEW MUSIC: KEYSHIA COLE FEAT. JUICY J – RICK JAMES

Keyshia Cole Rick James 500x500

Keyshia Cole is playing no games with her comeback, and she’s making a statement with her brand new single. The R&B songstress teams up with rapper Juicy J for “Rick James,” a direct reference to the iconic singer/musician, but with personal lyrics that seem to be directed to her husband Daniel Gibson.

The two have been going through a split due to infidelity on Gibson’s part, and Keyshia is ready to pour her heart out.

‘I can see the picture shattered, and we can’t pick the pieces off the ground/ Till the point that nothing matters, and it’s way too late to talk it out,” she sings over the dark synth production.

Keyshia is currently working on her sixth studio album, which is due out later this year. Take a listen to her brand new single below…

 

Nicki Minaj’s Mother Carol Maraj Launching a Gospel Career

Carol Maraj

Rapper Nicki Minaj’s mother wants to follow her daughter’s footsteps into the music business…gut not the secular side.

Carol Maraj is looking to launch a gospel career, and has posted a 30-second preview of her upcoming synth-pop single “God’s Been Good” on SoundCloud Monday to start her quest.

Minaj, born Onika Maraj, has yet to comment on the news, but reports suggest her mom is preparing to release her debut album this year.

Listen to a preview of “God’s Been Good” below.

VIDEO: BEYONCÉ – PARTITION (WEB VERSION)

beyonce-partition

Beyoncé is clearly on fire, but the superstar is already readying her next single. Following “Drunk In Love” and “XO,” Queen Bey has decided to officially release the sizzling video for “Partition” on VEVO. The song was produced in part by Timbaland, Justin Timberlake, and Key Wane.

The video was inspired by her visit to Crazy Horse Parisian cabaret on the day she got engaged to Jay Z. “I just thought it was the ultimate sexy show I’ve ever seen, and I was like, ‘I wish I was up there. I wish I could perform that for my man.’ So that’s what I did for the video,” said Bey.

“It takes me back to when me and my husband first meet and he’s trying to scoop me and he thinks I’m the hottest thing in the world,” she explained. “I kinda had this whole fantasy of being in the car and this whole movie played in my head.”

If you haven’t seen the seductive video yet, or just want to enjoy it again, check out the official web release below:

 

You Tube Users Drive Beyonce Track ‘Partition’ Up the Charts

beyonce grammys

Beyonce has managed to baffle industry insiders again with her marketing decisions.

Following her unprecedented move of dropping an album unannounced, the set’s
track “Partition” reached No. 49 on the Streaming Songs chart two weeks ago with over 1.4 million streams in the U.S, despite the fact that the video (available for purchase with the album) isn’t on YouTube or VEVO, and the audio isn’t available on Spotify, Pandora and other similar services.

How is this possible?, asks the Hollywood Reporter.

The answer: User-generated YouTube videos, driven by a vibrant community of choreographed dance crews shaking it to the song on camera.

The “Partition” phenomenon is in some ways similar to “Harlem Shake,” the viral, dorm-room dance meme which took Brooklyn DJ-producer Baauer straight to the top of the Hot 100 the week of Feb. 23, thanks to millions of YouTube clicks. However, unlike with “Harlem Shake,” many of the most popular dance videos featuring “Partition” are created by professional choreographers like Kyle Hanagami, who was inspired by the dance-heavy videos Beyonce included with her album.

“What I really look for in a song is for it to be dynamic, so it doesn’t get boring when you dance to it,” says the Los Angeles-based 27-year old, who uploaded a video of a dance crew he choreographed to the song to his YouTube channel on Jan. 23, receiving nearly 400,000 views to date.

“‘Partition’ is like a choreographer’s dream in that regard.” (The video has since been made private.)

Hanagami has been a choreographer since 2006, and began posting videos to his channel right around when the YouTube dance phenomenon began. His clips soon began to receive global attention, resulting in teaching gigs and a chance to work with Travis PayneMichael Jackson’s choreographer.

“It’s great marketing,” Hanagami says. “I travel internationally to teach students, and the way they know to fly me around the world is YouTube.”

“Partition” moved up 73-70 on the Hot 100 last week, Beyonce’s third song on the Hot 100, joining official singles “Drunk in Love” (No. 8) and “XO” (No. 65). “Partition” sold 19,000 copies the week ending Feb. 2, according to Nielsen Soundscan, a jump of 13%; radio airplay is also up, with a 25% boost to 4.8 million audience impressions, according to Nielsen BDS. Streams grew 2% as well, although the track falls off the Streaming Songs tally this week.

“Partition’s” streaming numbers are boosted by the fact that it’s a two-part track; Beyoncé comes with separate videos (one titled “Yoncé,” the other “Partition”) for each, and fans have followed her lead, uploading different videos to both sections, all of which count toward “Partition’s” overall streaming numbers.

Hanagami’s video uses “Yoncé,” the slower first part of the song, while others, like one posted by French dancer/choreographer Yanis Marshall, use the bouncier “Partition” section.

Marshall’s “Partition” YouTube video, featuring him and a group of dancers he choreographed, was shared by Beyonce herself on Facebook, and has received more than 860,000 views to date. “She posted it around 4 a.m. Paris time,” he recalls. “It felt like Christmas, New Year’s and my birthday all at the same time!”

Under Pressure: Nicki Minaj Responds to Intense Criticism of Using Malcolm X Photo for ‘Lookin A** N**ga’

UPDATE … Thursday evening, Minaj called in to Angie Martinez’s show on Hot 97 to speak on the controversy – Scroll down to listen

Nicki Minaj (Lookin Ass Nigga - Malcolm X)To say Nicki Minaj is feeling the collective foot of the community up her poop chute is an understatement.

The negative reaction is to her usage of a photo of revered black hero Malcolm X for her new single, “Lookin A** N**ga.” (Scroll down to watch.)

RELATED: Disrespectful? Nicki Minaj Uses Malcolm X Pic for Single ‘Lookin A** N**ga’

Nicki removed the image from her Instagram account, but not before swift and unapproving response from the public. In fact, she has now spoken out in defense of her faux pas.

Here’s what said via Instagram:

“What seems to be the issue now? Do you have a problem with me referring to the people Malcolm X was ready to pull his gun out on as Lookin Ass Niggaz? Well, I apologize. That was never the official artwork nor is this an official single. This is a conversation. Not a single. I am in the video shooting at Lookin Ass Niggaz and there happened to be an iconic photo of Malcolm X ready to do the same thing for what he believed in!!!! It is in no way to undermine his efforts and legacy. I apologize to the Malcolm X estate if the meaning of the photo was misconstrued. The word “nigga” causes so much debate in our community while the “nigga” behavior gets praised and worship. Let’s not. Apologies again to his family. I have nothing but respect an adoration for u. The photo was removed hours ago. Thank you.”

Sorry Nicki, but it looks like your actions/thoughts might be a little too late. As we said, folks are all over her.

nicki minaj (lookin' ass nigga still from video)According to allhiphop.com, Kevin Powell’s BK Nation and former U.S. vice presidential candidate Rosa Clemente have jump started separate boycotts that takes the Young Money rapper to task.

“Let’s stop Nicki Minaj, Young Money and their record labels from dishonoring the life and contributions of one of the greatest leaders of the 20th century,” Clemente said in a statement. “I am asking anyone who is a lover of HIP HOP culture and who respects Black history to please sign this petition and force Nicki, Young Money and their record levels to take this down immediately. We cannot allow this to happen. As well please pledge not to buy ANY of their products and or work with them.”

Clemente’s letter letter was posted at Change.org along with with a petition to sign.

Meanwhile, Kevin Powell had similar concerns, but also addressed the content of the song.

“The song is bad enough: a berating assault—laced with the n-word, in hideous quantities—on men who don’t spend money on her; complaints about men staring at her assets even as her whole video is a pathetic display of such assets; a reduction of all male-female relationships to dollar signs.”

Also in his statement,Powell dropped some basic knowledge as to the real reason Malcolm X was looking out of the window in the iconic image.

“Malcolm X carried a gun as he feared for the safety of his family and himself, and was aware he would someday be killed by political opponents. The image of Malcolm X looking out the window highlighted that fear. Nicki Minaj’s use of guns in her new music video speaks to the gun culture in our society today where gun violence is an acceptable norm.”

As we noted above, Malcolm’s picture was deleted from Minaj’s Instagram account, but was still on her website Thursday. “Lookin” will appear on her next album and a compilation album featuring Lil Wayne, Drake and others.

UPDATE … Thursday evening, Minaj called in to Angie Martinez’s show on Hot 97 to speak on the controversy:

VIDEO: K. MICHELLE – ‘CAN’T RAISE A MAN’

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K. Michelle‘s longtime fan favorite “Can’t Raise A Man” has finally been given the single treatment, and as expected it’s on it’s way to the top of the R&B charts.  Now, the Memphis songstress premieres the much-anticipated music video for the poignant female empowerment anthem.

Rocking a form fitting burgundy dress, and flowing blond hair, the R&B firecracker belts out the strong song while standing in front of a waterfall. Black and white scenes of troubled relationships switch back and forth throughout the Benny Boom directed visual.

“It’s amazing how one topic can touch women of all ethnicities and backgrounds,” says K. Michelle. “I feel like men nowadays are not holding their own, and the roles are reversed. Ladies you can never raise a man. Maturity, morals and values are instilled in the beginning of their life … you can’t teach somebody morals at 30 or even 23, you can’t do it.”

K’s debut album Rebellious Soul is in stores now. She is working on a musical version of the album for a Broadway/Trapped In The Closet style performance which will air on Vh1 later this year. On Valentine’s Day K. Michelle will release her anticipated ‘Still No F**ks Given‘ mixtape.

Watch the video for “Can’t Raise a Man” below!

 

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