R&B + CHRIS BROWN: TOP TEN SONGS YOU’VE (PROBABLY) NEVER HEARD

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After dropping a critically acclaimed self-titled debut album in 2005 that was deeply rooted in R&B, CHRIS BROWN was quickly given the daunting task of spearheading a new generation of a genre that houses such greats as Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson. In 2008, though, Brown released “Forever” – his first real venture into crossing over into the mainstream and the pop/dance/electro hit shot him into superstardom. Many felt this success signified the end of his career as an R&B artist and haven’t given him much acknowledgment in the genre since. I feel like this debate will always be relevant because Michael Jackson is considered one of the greatest of all time and he’s deemed The King of Pop yet his name is thrown in plenty of R&B conversations; Brown has traveled a similar path but is slandered constantly whenever he’s nominated at award ceremonies in the R&B categories.

God forbid he actually win an award, but he did in 2012 when he snagged the Grammy for Best R&B Album for 2011’s F.A.M.E. and beat out El Debarge, Ledisi, Kelly Price and R. Kelly. People said Chris hasn’t been R&B since he first came out and that he shouldn’t claim the genre at all; I think that’s extremely unfair especially considering his catalogue is full of R&B gems that are hidden for some reason – until now. With his sixth album, X, slated for a summer release Chris has said that this album will revisit the vibe his debut effort held and many are skeptical that he’s able to pull this off.

So much music has been recorded but the masses have never gotten to hear them for whatever reason. Industry politics are a bitch but I’m here to bring the best of the best from CB’s resume so you’re not so lost out there – here we go!

10.) “Submarine” (2010) – A song that has him recounting where he went wrong to make his woman walk away, Chris spoke his heart and he spoke it to a jazzy, shoulder bopping beat that, if performed live, would have his feet moving in some way. No rapping, no cursing – just a voice and a beat. That’s what R&B is and “Submarine” displayed just that.

9.) “Calypso” (2012) – This Polow Da Don-produced promotional single was released ahead of Brown’s fifth LP Fortune in the summer of 2012 and was the lowkey cookout song for the scorching months. With backing vocals that were strongly reminiscent of a Mike Jackson in his prime, Brown had no problem enticing young ladies to just give into him and his harmless advances. He just wants to find out what you like, girl.

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THEN AND NOW: MY 2012 IN A NUTSHELL

I like to look back and reflect on the highs and lows of my year when New Year’s comes around; my yearly progress report is a bit more interesting than usual – let’s review:

  • I started off the year at Urban Outfitters drowning in hipster attire and hostile management but decided that I’d had enough and left just two months into the year,
  • I was able to focus on blogging more and attended events, adding more write-ups to my portfolio. I even interviewed one of my favorite artists (Brandon Hines) and write a great piece for KillerHipHop.com,
  • Sista needed funds so she hit the pavement and eventually came upon a random start-up in the city and made the move from the suburbs to the concrete jungle,
  • Trips were taken, fun was had throughout the summer but my attention span was fleeting so I needed something to entertain me besides working and blogging,
  • In comes school and I restarted my love/hate relationship with education (fun),
  • My frustration with my job’s randomness bubbled over and I began my job hunt, eventually planning to quit by January since I’d come upon no leads,
  • Love was rejuvenated within me and a brand new start was born from a second chance (awww),
  • A leap of faith turned into the opportunity of a lifetime and just like that my life was changed – two weeks before a new year was to begin.

So, as you can see 2012 held its ups and downs: I doubted plenty and triumphed even more. This is the most grown-up I’ve ever felt in my life and 2013 is about to take me to new heights. The lows are inevitable and I’m preparing myself just in case but I’m looking forward to more growth.

I’m getting my health in check – I really mean that – and working on what I feel needs improvement within myself. I’m excited for what’s to come because what’s already happened has been pretty dope.

Happy New Year, guys – here’s to becoming who you want to be and pursuing your dreams in 2013. You have all you need to do it, so go do it!

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A QUiRK’S JOURNAL: RESOLUTIONS, GOALS, WHATEVER – JUST GO BE GREAT!

IMG_0569Ah, New Year’s Eve – the time when half of the population is scrambling to find a party to attend and the other half is determined to make their list of promises for the impending year. Don’t lie – have you made your resolutions known yet?

Don’t be ashamed if you did; people try to mask their resolutions by calling them goals or aspirations since the word “resolution” has such a negative stigma this time of year. News flash, guys: it all means the same thing.

You need a to-do list for your life, whether you think so or not. Mapping out what you’re striving towards is never a bad thing and can be done in so many creative ways from lists to vision boards. Have fun with speaking your future into existence and don’t get hung up on what others choose to call it. At the end of the day, you’re trying to get your life together – and that’s commendable.

Be healthy, be happy, be prosperous in this new year. Most of all – be a better YOU. Enjoy guys, and I’ll see you on the other side!

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A QUiRK’S JOURNAL: SCARED MONEY DON’T MAKE MONEY

IMG_0564This week has been the week for my family and friends to utter the same phrase simultaneously:

“I need to get on my game and get like [Steph].”

If this isn’t pressure, I don’t know what is but I’m glad I can motivate people to get their lives in check…I guess. I never really realized how much people looked up to me until this week. I don’t see myself as a role model or anything like that – I just want what I want and happened to position myself to where it’s actually possible.

I made a huge jump into the right direction this past week and the moniker that comes to mind when I think about what I’ve done in these last three days is:

“Scared money don’t make money.”

At this point in my life, money isn’t the motive; working in a field where I care about every single facet of what’s happening is the motive and I’m on my way.

I don’t want to be arrogant and say “get like me” but if you’re looking to make your dreams come true, then always remember that scared money don’t make money.

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A QUiRK’S JOURNAL: WHAT DO YOU SAY TO TAKING CHANCES?

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I told you a while back I had to quit my job as a means of stepping into my destiny. Well, I didn’t; as a matter of fact, I accepted a raise which is the exact opposite of quitting.

I sat back and told myself, “since nothing’s coming your way in the field you want anyway, you can use the next six months to save up for your apartment then resume your quest to be all that you can be for those you want to be that for.”

Folks, don’t do this – it’s a trap.

I psyched myself out, willingly gave up on the path lain for me before I continued to take my second step toward it. The whole reason for me leaving Houston to come to NYC was to achieve great things, not make great money. To be quite honest, the money’s not even that great because I have to pay all these taxes back come January, but that’s another story for another time.

I’m guessing that God allowed me to accept this raise in exchange for my will to chase a dream and said, “um boo, just what ARE you doing? This ain’t it and you know it.” I’d stopped applying for jobs and everything, but one tweet (I love Twitter) had me scrambling to send my resume off just this once. I was curious to see if something would come of it.

A response wasn’t likely; my experience on paper is great for the position I have now but if I let that stop me I wouldn’t have had any many interviews as I’ve had since being up here. I’m a “cross your fingers and see what happens” kind of applicant – the worst they can do to you is not reply. That’s what I was expecting with this particular title.

I have an interview tomorrow afternoon instead.

This is the biggest interview I’ll have had since I started working at sixteen because it’s in the direct line of my talents and vision for myself. I’m nervous because I don’t want to screw up and I want them to say yes to me, but I only have control over what I do that will make this a success for me.

I have to be myself and sell my capabilities vocally, which is hard for me but I want this so I will prepare as much as I can so I won’t have to report back to this current job anymore.

Everything is riding on this, but even if I don’t get it (I’m a realist just as much as I am an optimist) I can be proud that I went after it and I won’t give up because I know it is possible. I’m trying not to jump ahead of myself and take this one step at a time.

Sixteen hours until the coin lands – I’m hoping for heads.

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A QUiRK’S JOURNAL: OPEN UP

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I classify myself as a selective mute: I don’t speak unless I feel compelled to by events happening around me or if I feel comfortable with whoever is near me. If we’re cool, you’ve gotten my goofy ratchet side – be thankful because I don’t bestow that unto everyone I come across.

Not everyone deserves it.

Still, as I get older I’m learning that opening up is vital to my growth as a person in every aspect: professionally, personally, emotionally and spiritually. I have to know that somebody out there feels me and I’m not going to get the chances I feel I deserve if I don’t give a little of my true self in everything I put into the universe.

I want to be a part of great things, things that my kids will look at and say, “Mama, you so damn dope though”, which in turn I’ll say, “thanks but you’re not cool enough to curse in front of me yet so pump your brakes.”

It’s going to come – with focus, determination and tunnel vision my dreams will come into fruition.

Step one: OPEN UP

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QUiRK TUNES: “LOOKING FOR LOVE” – SIERGIO

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This song … I can’t even put into words how good it makes me feel and it’s no mistake that it belongs to SIERGIO, the guy with the smoldering tone and outstanding range. I LOVE this guy! You can’t tell me shit about Siergio: besides being a talented singer, he’s a great person as a whole and that makes me want him to succeed more than anyone else I’ve come across while doing this blogging thing. No shade though – I still love all y’all.

“Looking For Love” speaks to every woman who’s dated dud after dud until she’s found Mr. Siergio. If you’ve been looking for love then you’ve been looking for me is a BOLD statement but Siergio sells it and forces you to want to take him up on his offer. Now all you have to do is track him down … go get him, girl!

Siergio – “Looking For Love” [DOWNLOAD]

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VIDEO: JADE NOVAH IS SET TO “DIE YOUNG” IN NEW COVER

You all (should) know by now that JADE NOVAH is a personal favorite of mine and I love everything she does; case in point, this girl just got me to actually tolerate a Kesha (I REFUSE to put the $ in that child’s name – fight me) song! In her new video for the latest cover collaboration with her extremely talented producer, DEVIN JOHNSON, Jade gives “Die Young” a bubbly and fun visual that makes you want to jump in your computer screen to join her and her friends in their ratchet expedition throughout Atlanta.

You get accents, cute clothes and a vocal arrangement that slays those other singers with no effort – just watch the video, you’ll get it.

Shout out to THESHAY WEST as usual for the impeccable directing and amazing HD quality – these colors POP! in this video.

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QUiRK TUNES: “PRECIPITATION” – CASH’MIR

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Dallas is a smoldering melting pot of creativity in all avenues that’s about to bubble over into the world – take this post as me preparing you for what you need to be ready for.

CASH’MIR is a dope young MC out of the Southern city who’s style is versatile in a “sometimes I rhyme slow, sometimes I rhyme quick” type of way. Whether rapping fast and pacing himself bar for bar, Cash’mir has it and has even grown from his 2011 project (that I fuck with completely), Burning Bridges.
“Precipitation” is a smooth iPond-produced track that takes you to Dallas for about six minutes; take a listen below and I hope you enjoy your stay.

Cash’mir – “Precipitation” [DOWNLOAD]

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RANDOM VIEWING: “NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN” – GHOSTFACE KILLAH FEAT. CARL THOMAS AND RAEKWON

Man, I tweeted “never be the same again” a minute ago and started singing this hook so I must post this for us all to enjoy. Take a stroll down memory lane with me in the name of dope hip hop!

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