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On this day in music history: September 19, 1989 - “Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814”, the fourth album by Janet Jackson is released. Produced by Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, Janet Jackson, Jellybean Johnson, and John McClain, it is recorded at Flyte Tyme Studios in Minneapolis, MN from September 1988 - May 1989. Issued as the follow up to the hugely successful “Control” album, it is a concept album with many of the songs touching on the subject of social injustice. Half of the albums twelve songs will be either co-written or written by Janet herself. The ambitious project will be supported with both an accompanying long form music video (which will win a Grammy Award for Best Longform Video in 1990), and her first major tour. The album is extremely well received by fans and critics, and will become the only album in history to spin off seven top five singles, including four number one pop, and three number one R&B singles. “Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814” will spend four weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200, three weeks (non-consecutive) on the R&B album chart, and is certified 6x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: September 19, 1983 - “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)” by Michael Jackson is released. Written by Quincy Jones and James Ingram, it is the sixth single released from the “Thriller” album. The song initially begins as a demo by Jackson and keyboardist Greg Phillinganes after producer Quincy Jones suggests the title to Michael. The song takes its title from a brand of lingerie worn by Jones’ then wife Peggy Lipton Jones. When the initial demo is not considered suitable to fashion into a finished studio track, it will be completely re-written by Quincy Jones and James Ingram except for the title. Though a sizeable hit at the time of its release, the record will be in direct competition with “Say, Say, Say” (released on October 3, 1983), Jackson’s second duet with Paul McCartney, resulting in a lower chart placement than any of the previous singles from “Thriller”, and will be on and off the radio in a relatively short time span. During the 2000’s, it will become a huge recurrent airplay favorite on R&B oldies radio, receiving more spins than it did as a new release. “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)” will peak at #10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #46 on the R&B singles chart. The original demo version of “P.Y.T.” will surface on Jackson’s box set collection “The Ultimate Collection” in 2004.

Milosh, one half of that transcendental act so many of us love known as Rhye, has returned! His new track, Right Never Comes, is as satiny smooth and spine tingling good as one would expect from the man and his silken voice. Right Never Comes glides along with plenty of soulful R&B passion despite its minimalist style. Exquisite and elegant, it’s one of the most beautiful songs to come out this week.

Why is it harder for Black music to crossover in 2014 than in 2004?

I’m trying to figure out what happened to ‘Black’ music’s commercial appeal in those 10 years. The 12 songs that were the #1 song were Hip Hop/R&B songs. Usher became the first (and still only)  Black artist  to go Diamond in the digital age. What happened?

Ciara had a legit comeback with her last album but for some reason it didn’t really crossover into mainstream (white, college aged) audiences so many people dismissed her as a dud (Charlamange Tha God, Kid Fury), when the truth is her songs would have been way bigger hits if they got some spins on top 40 radio and maybe some Award show performances. Miguel and Frank Ocean are probably the most recent cases of New-ish Black artist crossing over but they had controversies that helped boost the careers (Frank coming out and Miguel’s leg drop). 

At the end of the day the Grammy Awards really don’t matter but the influence, money, and dominance is whats really important to me. I’m just wondering how we can monetize our music better, push it more, and get back on top like the days of 50 Cent and Nelly. Beyonce, Rihanna, Usher, and Chris Brown need some real competition to make themselves better instead of them just ruling Black Pop Music.

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On this day in music history: September 19, 1976 - “Car Wash - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack” is released. Produced by Norman Whitfield, it is recorded at Sound Factory West and Amigo Recording Studio in Los Angeles, CA from Early - Mid 1976. The nineteen track double LP features all original material written and produced by Norman Whitfield and is performed by the R&B/Funk band Rose Royce. The album will actually start off as the debut album for the band originally known as Total Concept Unlimited. Whitfield will be contacted by “Cooley High” film director Michael Schultz who is looking for someone to score his new film. The producer will use the opportunity to launch his new band, also tailoring new songs he’s written to be used in the film. The soundtrack to the low budget comedy (starring Franklin Ajaye, Richard Pryor, and George Carlin) is a runaway smash, spinning off three hit singles including “I Wanna Get Next To You” (#3 R&B, #10 Pop), “I’m Going Down” (#10 R&B, #70 Pop), and the title track which will hit #1 on the Billboard Pop and R&B charts. “Car Wash” will peak at number two on the Billboard R&B album chart, number fourteen on the Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

Get cosy with Sylas’ woozy electronics goodness in debut single ‘Hollow’. The duo, signed to Aesop (SOHN), mingle dark, twisted vocals with a glitch soundscape which sees the boy-boy duo serenade with some divine falsettos hidden behind the undercurrent of sounds. Despite it’s title, the track seems to have you by your throat, you’re left gasping for breath as that wall of beats closes in on you. 

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Born on this day: September 19, 1952 - Songwriter, producer, and rhythm guitarist extraordinaire Nile Rodgers of Chic (born Nile Gregory Rodgers in New York City, NY). Happy 62nd Birthday, Nile!!!

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