...bringing SEXY blogs back.

...bringing SEXY blogs back.




12/26/2011

SEXYBLACK FIRST LISTEN: Frank Ocean, Vaughn Anthony, The World Famous Tony Williams, Luke James, Rochelle Jordan, Elle Varner, Karyn White

Frank Ocean -- 4 Tears (HOTTT!!!)

Vaughn Anthony -- Curiosity

The World Famous Tony Williams -- This Place (HOTTTT!!!)

Luke James -- Made To Love (HOTTTTT!!!!) [SEXYBLACK PICK!!!]

Rochelle Jordan -- Here I Go

Elle Varner -- Sound Proof Room

Karyn White -- Sista, Sista (HOTTTT!!!!)

Fat Joe & Chris Brown -- Another Round Music Video

I like this joint.

SEXYBLACK FIRST LOOK: Ridley Scott's "Prometheus" Trailer

Ridley Scott, who brought you the Alien Trilogy, returns to space for the first time since to bring you Prometheus:

 

 

 

 

 

Prometheus stars Michael Fassbender (X-Men), Charlize Theron, and Noomi Rapace (Girl With The Dragon Tattoo), and was penned by Damon Lindeloff who co-wrote a little show called "Lost" that I kinda think was genius.  Who's going?

12/24/2011

SEXYBLACK'S SUGAR BEATS TOP 9 OF 2011!!!!

Most year-end lists are top 10 lists, however, this one is a top 9.  This was the year of "something was just missing."  That doesn't mean that we weren't blessed with some AMAZING releases this year, it simply means that the year ends a little incomplete for me.  Could it be that Drake's album could've been a little faster, a little less art, a little more "College Dropout"?  Could it be that "Watch The Throne" left me more confused than satisfied especially after all the hype?  Could it be that Jojo's HIGHLY-ANTICIPATED album got pushed back to next year?  Could be.  None-the-less, here is my annual top release review:



9.  Boyz II Men -- Twenty
































Shawn wants to have a word with you about dress code...



I hesitated to put this CD on this list.  But when I thought about it, it really is a treasure of an album.  "Twenty" is a Double CD.  The first disc has all new original Boyz II Men material.  The second disc is a collection of some of their Greatest Hits.  At first glance, you may think what you're really getting is simply the first disc of original songs, because if you're like me, you have all of their greatest hits already.  But the fellas knew you had it, so they one-upped you.  The second disc is actually Boyz II Men redoing some of their best material like "Four Seasons Of Loneliness", "Water Runs Dry", and "End Of The Road" with new arrangements. It's really a love letter to their fans.  

Not to discount the first disc, there are some gems on there, like "More Than You'll Ever Know", "One More Dance", and "Put Some Music On".  A couple of those are new Boyz II Men Classics.  Ultimately, this release makes the list because it is probably the biggest example of when artists listen to their fans and give them EXACTLY what they want.



8.  Phonte -- Charity Starts At Home










"Psssst.  Dude... why are all these people looking at me?  I sweat when I'm nervous."


This was definitely a BIG year for Hip-Hop, not as big as last year as Eminem and Nicki Minaj dominated with their albums, but "SuperBass" (a BONUS track off of Pink Friday) ruled the airwaves in 2011, and there were several releases that suggested that real lyricism is alive and well (thanks Drake).  Unfortunately, Drake's album didn't make this year's list, but one of Drake's influences and mentors finally did.  Phonte, is one-half of the now-defunct Little Brother, AND one-half of the very popular Neo-Soul duo, Foreign Exchange.  Since there was no magnificent Foreign Exchange release this year, and Little Brother released their last album last year, on Phonte's debut solo release, he had to come correct.  And that's exactly what he did.  "Charity Starts At Home" is a solid record all the way through by one of the strongest lyricists of this generation.  Production by his old friend, 9th Wonder, on half of the tracks on the album doesn't hurt.  And much to Common's chagrin ("The Dreamer, The Believer" was a mediocre release, at best), Phonte juxtaposes his take-no-prisoner lyrics with his silky smooth singing that has carved a distinctive, addictive vibe that is Foreign Exchange.  It doesn't take away from this Hip-Hop record, instead, it completes it.  You come away from "Charity Starts at Home" respecting the artist that Phonte has become.  

If Phonte in Little Brother was Will Smith in the first season of The Fresh Prince Of Belair, then "Charity Starts at Home" is Phonte's Independence Day:  awesome, and makes you realize what a force he is, as well as makes you have high hopes for the future.  If you haven't heard any real hip hop this year, cop this record.  Standouts:  "Who Loves You More", "Dance In The Reign", and "Ball and Chain".



7. Mac Miller -- Blue Slide Park



Mac realized that he was only 19.  He had no business killing other MC's on the mic.  He's decided to give it all up and wait until he's at an age that makes sense.  Good luck, Mac.

Who?  I guarantee your little sister or brother knows, and soon you will know too.  This guy came out of nowhere.  A couple facts about this release:  1.  He's white.  2.  He's only 19, but has the flow and swagger of Drake and some of the best in the business.  3.  His first release, Blue Slide Park, is an independent release!!! (and it moved PLENTY of units).  He has achieved, with solid skill, a very loyal fan base.  He is the anti-Bieber, and he's good at it.  He probably smokes too much weed, but other than that, his production team is seriously going for it.  There are no features on his album, and this album still manages to be the best Hip Hop release this year, in my opinion.  Yes, I know "Take Care" and "Watch The Throne" came out this year.  This one beats those out because it actually has something for everyone.  It's not a one-trick pony, it has hooks, melodies, different flows, great lyrics, etc.  A variety of shining points, where as "Care" and "Throne" only manage a few of those.  ("They know, they know, they know" and "That shit cray!  That shit cray!  That shit cray!" are not hooks, or melodies or very musical at all, really).  

Lyrically, Mac Miller is Drake-like, and the production is varied and consistently good throughout the entire album.  There are tracks where he's just having fun, but there are some tracks that let listeners know that they've stumbled onto something out of the ordinary.  Standout tracks:  "Frick Park Market", and "English Lane".


6. Marsha Ambrosius -- Late Nights & Early Mornings


I got nothing funny here, I just love this shot.

So this album was good, when it was supposed to be great.  To be honest, I was a little disappointed in this release, although it does have some shining moments.  The worst of this album really isn't that bad at all.  The thing is I'm a Marsha Ambrosius Fan, big time.  Because of her various writing and production projects and  her undeniable vocal ability, for her first solo album, I had some incredibly high expectations.  Kinda like what I have for Jojo's upcoming album.  Although many artists fall short of expectations, regularly, there are some artists, like Marsha and Jojo, that you just expect to meet them.  It's almost a given.  So when this record wasn't phenomenal, I was disappointed.  But if I look at it in comparison to other R&B releases of this year, it does stand tall.  "Far Away" has been nominated for two Grammy's and she may actually get one.  Standouts:  "Far Away", "Late Nights & Early Mornings", and "Hope She Cheats On You (With a Basketball Player)".


5.  Robin Thicke -- Love After War



This is what Paula Patton wakes up to.  Seriously, I don't get it.  I'm way hotter.  What's that?  I'm wha-- oh.

Ok, this is where the list gets SERIOUS!  Consider the first four entries, the previews.  Now the feature starts.  
Ladies and gentlemen, Robin Thicke must've known.  He must've known that while all his previous releases were okay, he hasn't picked a lane (read: declared himself) since his first release, "Thicke".  That album was all over the place, yes.  But that was because HE was, decidedly, all over the place.  Because of that, it was good.  Since then, he has been great with singles.  Can't deny that.  But as for a full album, the material just wasn't there, not even on the heavily-touted "Evolution of Robin Thicke".  Robin must've known what he'd done when he finished "Love After War" because he included on a bonus CD a re-take on his most sensitive, vulnerable track that he's ever recorded, "Stupid Things" which was hidden away on his original first album, "Thicke".  He must've known, because he has dropped the abstract lyrics and concepts of his previous albums, and wrote from his heart to yours.  He cut out the middle man.  

He pays no attention to what's "Hot" or how cool it is to act like you aren't totally in love with the woman in front of you because you got too many issues.  On "Love After War", Robin, a few times over, brings back the love song.  If you liked the tenderness of "Stupid Things" or "Lost Without You", this album has five or six other tracks on that will move you.  The creativity lies in the new way he way he approaches an old idea.  The original idea.  Love.  That originality can be heard on tracks like "Pretty Lil Heart (feat. Lil Wayne)", and the acoustically beautiful warning that is "Dangerous".  His vocals have improved, and the production is solid throughout.  It's got like 20 tracks altogether, so it is a full listen that takes you on a ride with each song.  This would've made the top three, except for the unfair, undeniable amazingness of the top three.  In most other years, this would be the top release of the year.  

Although the version of "Stupid Things"  featured on "Love After War" is not as tender as the original, the song itself, lyrically still amazes of course.  If you've never heard the original, download it NOW, and if you love it, go buy "Love After War" and witness the renaissance that will carry well into next year.  Astonishing release.  Instant classic. 


4.  Kirk Franklin -- Hello Fear



Kirk wants to speak to you, no, not you... YOU!

This is probably the first time a gospel album has made this list.  The thing is, you don't have  to be all churchy or religious to appreciate Kirk Franklin.  You just need two things:  an appreciate of great music, and some sort of spiritual consciousness (the acceptance of a notion that there is some higher power -- in whatever form you believe).  That's not a huge leap for most people.  

Kirk, himself, has successfully pulled off one of the biggest scams in music history.  He has remained the front of some of the best music in gospel history without really being able to sing.  Some people take issue with that, but get over it, he's been doing this for years.

"Hello Fear" is a triumph of an album.  Kirk Franklin succeeds where some gospel albums fail.  He takes the preachiness out and instead focuses on what a lot of us need:  Hope.  Hope helps us get  over what happened in our pasts, makes us take today with a grain of salt, and makes us feel better about what's coming.  If you have any doubt about the goal of this CD, watch his music video for "Smile" (such a simple concept) and I guarantee you will feel 10 times better than before you watched it.  Sometimes, if I'm having a bad day, I just go watch that video and listen to the words.  On "Hello Fear", Kirk challenges all listeners to acknowledge their fears and concerns and face them.  The wise message of this album is to take it one day at a time, and to realize that you are not alone, and that we can get through this, but only together.  This strong theme is reinforced throughout the album.  It is the only true concept album of the year because Hope can be heard in every verse, chorus, and interlude.

The album has serious beats, and melodies that will move more than your spirit.  As well as b-sections and ballads that will touch your soul.  If you ever wanted to buy a gospel album, but didn't know what the best one was or if you haven't bought one this year -- "Hello Fear" is the one.  Standout tracks:  "Before I Die", "Everyone Hurts", and "Hello Fear".


3.  Adele -- 21



Adele did, indeed, find someone like me.  Wait until I tell her it's my EVIL twin, Chris!

Well, aren't I the non-conformist!  Everyone has this album as this year's best.  When it came out, that was true.  Everyone loved "Rolling In The Deep", but when they heard "Someone Like You", they lost their minds!  Rightfully so.  The song is practically perfection.  Her voice is practically perfection.  Her writing is astonishing.  Adele can seemingly do know wrong.  As a matter fact, she did no wrong.  Any one of the top three albums will interchangably be number one on various people's lists this year.  

Why number 3 on this list, then?  Right, let's go down to it.  Although some songs are life-changing, some, for me missed the mark, or where a little too stylistic ("Rumour Has It", and the one trick-pony that is "Rolling In The Deep".)  Everything else was perfection.  Because of the stiff competition at the top this year, I had to look closer to find something I didn't like.  So there it is.  And that puts "21" at number 3 for me. I'm not gonna say much more about this album because based on sales, everyone in the world has at least two copies.  You know you have made an impact on society as a whole when an entire Saturday Night Live sketch is about your song ("Someone Like You").  If you haven't seen it, google that ish.  Hilarious, because it's true.  Standouts for me on this album:  her fixing of The Cure's "Lovesong", and "Set Fire To The Rain".


2.  Frank Ocean -- The Lonny Breaux Collection



Soul Samurai cut right through the Music Industry Demon.  "Free Quality Music for All!", he yelled as he slashed through the numbers making himself a force to be reckoned with.

At one point or another this year, all of us asked one question:  "Who is Frank Ocean?".  When we did our research and discovered the highly praised mixtape, "Nostalgia, Ultra", we were SO glad we asked.  Frank's originality and timbre is exactly what the industry's been missing.  He has blessed us with so much music in the last 12 months that, by sheer volume, he fought his way to the number 2 spot.  And none of us paid a single cent for it.  Technically, according to record execs, this is a recipe for failure.  But quality dictates the outcome, ultimately.  This plan of action has led to global praise (he sells out every show he performs), critical acclaim (for those of you who are mad about this album beating Adele this year, please note, during Adele's incredbily successful and busy year, the ONLY live show she cleared her schedule to see was Frank Ocean's one and only apperance in London), and earned him the coveted title of GQ's Rookie of The Year.

"Nostalgia, Ultra" was highly blogged about and promoted.  However a few months later, another Frank Ocean mixtape called "The Lonny Breaux Collection" was released.  This mixtape was like a purge for Frank.  Christopher "Lonny" Breaux is his birth name, it's actually the name he's been writing under for the last 4 years with production team Midi Mafia.  The songs in this collection are all the songs he wrote for himself and other artists over the years that didn't get picked up for album release with the exception of one (his version of John Legend's "Quickly" is featured on the mixtape).  Frank Ocean wanted you to know that he's not a flash in the pan, he's been this awesome for years.  He's written hits for Brandy, John Legend, Justin Bieber, and most recently Beyonce among others.  Another example of the labels just not getting it.  Now, of course, just like with Drake, there's a huge bidding war.

There are 64 songs on "The Lonny Breaux Collection".  MOST are complete.  Some are not.  A couple aren't even him singing on them, (I assume they're in the collection because he worked on them).  Trust me, you won't care.  You won't be able to stop listening.  Although Frank Ocean has a style, it's got different facets, so you don't really get bored.  Unfortunately, Frank doesn't want to be classified as R&B or Urban, but that's just what this is.  The BEST of it actually.  The lyrics are refreshingly creative, unexpected, and literal in a way that is very relatable.  He sings things the way we think them.  Without filter.  That's the appeal.  I have yet to come across one person who doesn't like what they've heard.  It's almost concerning.

How do you top this?  How do you put out something after you dropped 64 tracks that are all good and over half of them being excellent?  Let's just say, I don't want to be Frank Ocean mid-2012.  So MANY tracks to choose from, and since it's free, just listen to/download it here:  http://www.hotnewhiphop.com/frank-ocean-the-lonny-breaux-collection-mixtape.11921.html.  Thanks to Chris Morgan for putting me on to this particular mixtape after I put him onto "Nostalgia, Ultra"

Some standouts:  "Follow", "Non-Stop" and "Overload".


1.  Beyonce -- 4



The best thing you never had put her love on record, and ends up on top.

Apparently, the 4th time's a charm!  Because of Frank Ocean and Adele, this was a hard decision, but the clear winner this year is Beyonce's "4".  This is a solid album, with the exception of one of the two ballads on the album "I Was Here".  That's right, only two traditional ballads, a plethora of sexy mid-tempos and a few potent bangers.  Solid.  

I thought this album was gonna be a lot like the others especially after I heard "Run The World (Girls)".  When I first heard it, I kinda hated it.  I was surprised she would come with this for a lead single.  The whole world mirrored this feeling.  The backlash was so huge that I thought she would pull it and start again.  But then the video dropped, and one by one minds were changed.  The last time this happened (think back) -- Beyonce's "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)".  Nobody liked that song until they saw the video.  And look at the result.  I should've known.  Some people still say they don't like "Run The World (Girls)", but I'll be damned if they aren't subtly nodding their head or moving their feet.  Turns out, "Run The World (Girls)" is the 2nd worst song on the album.  All of the other tracks are amazing, and HUGE.

She chooses to open the album with one of the most tender ballads I've heard in decades, "1+1".  She sings the CRAP out of that song.  Smartly she grabs newcomer, Frank Ocean for fan-favourite "I Miss You".  Then resurrects Babyface with the relatable sweetest-vengeance anthem, "Best Thing I Never Had".  She takes us to the "Party" with Kanye and convinces us to "Start Over".  My favorite is "Love On Top".  I loved it before I saw the video.  After I saw the New Edition tribute video that she shot for it, the song became immortal.  The truth is, everytime I listen to "4", I have a new favorite song.  Beyonce earns her money on tours and concert DVD's, and she turns right around and spends it on the best songs that money can buy.  This time, she got it practically perfect.  "End Of Time" is epic, and "Countdown" is as much a female favorite as "Run The World (Girls)" and is almost as popular as "Crazy In Love".

If you haven't got this album yet, pick up the Deluxe version.  The extra disc has 3 bonus tracks.  All are just as excellent as any other on the album.  That disc also includes 3 additional remixes of "Run The World (Girls)", two of them aren't bad at all.

Look, I am a big Beyonce fan, but I'll be the first to tell you that none of her previous albums have been solid all the way through.  Her work with Destiny's Child has always provided better albums than her solo projects... until now.  "4" should be considered Beyonce's crowning achievement for a miriad of reasons, only some of which have been listed above.  If you don't have it, get it.  It is the best album of 2011.


For everyone who checked in and enjoyed the list this year, thanks for being a part of it.  I love doing it and sharing it with you, and I hope that you liked reading it and that you go out and enhance your collection for the year 2011 with the plethora of gift cards you will receive for Christmas.  I welcome any comments or discussions about the picks.  Any feedback at all is appreciated.  For year round music, movies, video games news, releases, etc. (pretty much anything cool) don't forget to subscribe to or visit my blog:  Sexyblack Sugar Beats (www.sexyblackssbs.blogspot.com).

Thanks again,


Curtis (SEXYBLACK)


  

12/20/2011

SEXYBLACK FIRST LOOK EXCLUSIVE: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Trailer!


 

 

 

 

 


Will you return to the shire?  This is the first movie of at least two, with the sequel coming a year after this one.

12/19/2011

SEXYBLACK INTRO: KidKold continues his flawless Rookie Season with "Never Get Over You"

Proud of my cousin, KidKold.  Check out his new video.
Styled by Elevations.  It's a family affair.

SEXYBLACK FIRST LOOK EXCLUSIVE: Wrath of The Titans Trailer

Let's hope it's better than the first one.

SEXYBLACK FIRST LISTEN: Robert Glasper Experiment, Musiq Soulchild, Chrisette Michele, SWV, Ruben Studdard, K. Michelle, Anthony Hamilton, Keri Hilson

Robert Glasper Experiment -- Ah Yeah (w/ Musiq Soulchild & Chrisette Michele) [SEXYBLACK PICK]

SWV -- Co-Sign (NEW HOT ISH!!!!!)

Ruben Studdard -- Rock Witcha (HOT Cover!) [w/ K. Michelle] 

Anthony Hamilton -- Never Let You Go (w/ Keri Hilson) [HOTTTT!!!]

Timothy Bloom returns with "Possibilities"

This guy is AMAZING.  His lyrics are tender and moving.  He is definitely going to be one to watch in 2012.

Mariah Carey & John Legend "When Christmas Comes" Music Video

12/15/2011

BOYZ II MEN perform "Water Runs Dry" and "Save One More Dance" LIVE!!!

Last year around this time, Adele, showed up at Perez's and performed a little new song called "Rolling In The Deep".  She had an alright year after that.  Let's hope the same happens for the legends that are Boyz II Men.

12/09/2011

SEXYBLACK FIRST LISTEN: K. Michelle, Amy Winehouse, Jon B., Kevin Michael

K. Michelle -- For My Cinderellas

Amy Winehouse -- Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow (SEXYBLACK PICK)

Jon B. -- Quality Time

Kevin Michael -- Use Your Heart (Cover)

Who Knew Lenny Kravitz was so Angry?


SEXYBLACK FIRST LOOK: What To Expect When You're Expecting

This movie, also based on a best-seller, also stars EVERYBODY.  Chace Crawford, Anna Kendrick, Elisabeth Banks, Chris Rock, Jennifer Lopez, Matthew Morrison, Cameron Diaz, Brooklyn Decker, Dennis Quaid, and more.  Check it out:

SEXYBLACK FIRST LOOK: Think Like A Man Trailer

This movie is actually based on Steve Harvey's Best Seller "Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man".  The studio called in all the stops on this one:  Gabrielle Union, Meagan Good, Michael Ealy, Kevin Hart, Chris Brown, Keri Hilson, Taraji P. Henson, Ron Artest, and so many more.  Check it out:

12/05/2011

A Night With Beyonce in it's Entirety

Beyonce taped a TV special across the pond a few months ago.  Wanna see it?

SEXYBLACK LIVE: Prince in Toronto performing "Take Me With U"


I was lucky enough to see The Purple One live last week.  Some of my friends and family who wanted to see him on this Cross-Canada tour were not able to.  So with the help of a hot videographer, I captured some video from the show of him performing one of my favorites, "Take Me With U".  Enjoy.

12/03/2011

Special Throwback of the Month: Prince -- Purple Rain (Live)

So, I was lucky enough to see Prince last week.  And although "Purple Rain" is like 28 years old, it still gives me goosebumps, it still moves me and is still one of my favorite songs of all time.  Hands down, I think it also has the best guitar solo in the history of guitar solos.  I was going to post an old Prince video, but instead, for all of those who didn't get to see him on his most recent tour, I have chosen to post a very decently shot video of Prince doing "Purple Rain" earlier this year in LA.  Please prepare to have your minds blown:

Frank Ocean performs "Super Rich Kids" Live


The onslaught continues...

SEXYBLACK'S FIRST LOOK: Disney's "John Carter"

 

 

 

 

 

12/01/2011

Nick Kroll Exploded on Conan O'Brien Last Night

This is SO FUNNY, but be warned:  There is Dookie all over the first half and M.J. all over the second half.  But it is SOOO worth it.  I'm crying a little bit.