I write about culture from a pro-Black perspective

Soul Man: Revisiting Usher’s “Here I Stand”

After the jump is a slight edit of a review of Usher’s Here I Stand – an album I have tremendous respect for, so much so that I thought was the best black pop album of 2008 –  that I initially wrote for Popmatters.com a few years ago that was never published.

I liked the review so I wanted to share it.

Read All »

Posted on July 7th, 2011 - Filed under Music
Tags :: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tigger’s 25 Best Albums of the Aughts (00s), Part 2

On Whitney – Just So We’re Clear


My girl Erica sent me an email today expressing her hopes that the new Whitney Houston album will give her what she needs from Whitney.

My response (which I think succinctly gets at how I feel bout Whitney):

To be fair, I ain’t never liked her. Or rather, I ain’t never liked what Clive made her. I don’t want I Wanna Dance With Somebody. I don’t even want My Love Is Your Love.

I want Exhale. I want Why Does It Hurt So Bad. I want Heartbreak Hotel. I want My Name is Not Susan.

But here’s the thing. She is working with all the one-trick pony new jacks running around (i.e. the Akon collabo is on the final tracklisting). So what we’re gonna get is what everyone else is doing, but potentially better sung.

Let me be clear: Do. Not. Want.

Frankly – she shoulda took her ass across the border to Philly and had the Soulquarians lace her with some real black shit. Period. The shit that Dre and Vidal did on Usher’s Here I Stand is TRANSCENDANT. I’m sure they could work the same magic. Or Raphael Saadiq. Imagine Whitney, stripped of Clive’s white girl oversinging bullshit, tackling a concoction like I Found My Everything.

Short of that, I ain’t interested. Period. End of discussion.

Extreme? Yea, lil bit. But my feelings about Whitney Houston are like that. Her instrument is damn near peerless, but the best I can say for her body of work is that its inconsistent.  Except Exhale, which I contend is the best thing she’s ever recorded and the best showcase for her interpretive vocal gifts, even the songs I cite above are merely decent.

Like aging divas before her (Mariah and Janet), she’ll chase trendy instead of transcendant.  And people will eat it up because, given what she’s been through, we want her to succeed.

I too would like to see her succeed; my definition of success for her is just different.

Posted on July 22nd, 2009 - Filed under Music
Tags :: , , , , , , , , , ,

New Usher – Certified

Predictably, Usher’s new joint is dope.  And that’s knowing that Pharrell has been pimping this bootleg MJ sound to any young male who can pay the producer fee.  Usher is really the only vocalist who can make this stuff his own (in as much as one can).

At this point, Usher is probably the most consistently excellent black pop performer currently recording.  Dude just seems to get it.

Unlike most people, I thought Here I Stand, minus a track or two, was pretty brilliant (it was in my top 10 releases from last year).  But I didn’t hate his wife, so it was easy for me to look at the work for what it truly was.

Posted on July 21st, 2009 - Filed under Music
Tags :: , , , , ,

Hot Videos VII

Janelle Monae, Many Moons

I just finished listening to Janelle Monae’s EP a bunch of times. I kinda love it. This video works for me though. I think though that there is nothing electronic about her music (as it has been described to me), this feels very psychadelic P-Funk to me. Very Sleepy Brown. Very Cee-Lo Green. It’s nice to have a sister in the mix. Oh wait – we have had Joi Gilliam for over 14 years.  Silly Americans, how easily soon we forget.

Q-Tip, Gettin Up

Tip is back y’all! I tend to prefer minimalist videos a lot. They allow an artist’s natural charisma and the song to grab you. That is what is at work here. So glad to have the Abstract back in the game.

Usher, Trading Places

I’m endlessly fascinated that Usher’s career hangs in the balance because his legion of black female fans so vehemently hate his wife. What does that even mean? It’s so crazy to me! Here I Stand is the best black pop album of the year, hands down.

That said, this video is just classic, classy ass Usher at his best. It’s tasteful and sexy. And it showcases just how beautifully this man sings. That vamp at the end is breathtaking. Don’t sleep because you don’t like Tameka.

Posted on October 2nd, 2008 - Filed under Hot Videos,Music
Tags :: , , , , , , , , , , , ,