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Happy 50th Birthday! R. Kelly.

The sound of R&B has evolved over the years with many artists contributing new styles and approaches to making their music. A number of talented acts have been successful but only a few have dominated the R&B game like R. Kelly.

Born on January 8, 1967 in Chicago, R. Kelly was the product of a single-parent household and grew up in in the Ida B. Wells Homes, a notorious housing projects on the city’s south side. With his mother being an avid singer herself, Kellz took to music at a young age, but would officially take it seriously after a music teacher goaded him into entering a high school talent show.

After his first performance drew rave reviews, Kelly would continue to cultivate his craft by performing around the city before forming a group named MGM with other male vocalists from the area. MGM would release a single,”Why You Wanna Play Me,” but would disband soon after, leaving Kelly a soloist once again. But the young singer’s fortunes would change when he secured a deal with Jive Records in 1991. Linking up with a local group named Public Announcement, they would release their one and only album, Born into the ’90s, in 1992.

R. Kelly would eventually split from Public Announcement to becoming a solo artist and grew to become a R&B icon. Nearly twenty years deep in the game, R. Kelly has built up a catalog with classic albums and songs that have defined the genre.

LL Cool J Is Asking President Obama To Grant Pardons For Big Meech And Terry Flenory

LL Cool J wants two more names added to the list of non-violent drug offenders that have received pardons from President Obama. The rap legend is asking the POTUS to grant pardons for Black Mafia Family founder Demetrius “Big Meech” Flenory and his brother, Terry Flenory.

“I think these two guys who are both products of my generation could do a lot of good in the community if they were pardoned,” LL wrote on Instagram Saturday (Jan. 7). “They were incarcerated for non violent drug offenses, if they were pardoned I’m sure they would do the right thing. It’s a matter of character.

“From the outside looking in I think they both have it,” he continued. “Although they set what some would call a negative example I think the second chapter of their lives could potentially bring a lot of healing and inspiration to a down trodden community and show all our citizens that the USA is a country where second chances are possible. I don’t condone what they did but I understand why they did it. The inner city is is a rough place to be born and raised. Temptation is everywhere tempting us to find a fast way to escape poverty.”

In closing, the Queen’s native asked that the two receive a “full pardon” or a “sentence reduction.”

Meech and Terry were sentenced to 30 years for running a national drug trafficking operation. The siblings, who are serving time in two different federal correctional facilities, are scheduled for release in December of 2031.

Mariah Carey Stumbles Through New Year’s Eve Performance: “Sh*t Happens”

There’s a reason why Mariah Carey had the most talked about New Year’s Eve performance on social media. Almost immediately after taking the stage for Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve Saturday (Dec. 31), Carey’s set began to crumble in front of everyone’s eyes.

After a slightly awkward moment between Mimi and her dancers, technical difficulties officially lampooned the show. Carey apparently couldn’t hear the music as she went into “Emotions,” and her attempt at discrete lip-synching backfired during, “We Belong Together.” The 46-year-old singer ended the performance by walking off stage.

It’s Like That: Run-D.M.C. Sues Walmart, Amazon For $50 Million

Run-D.M.C. is suing Walmart and Amazon for a massive $50 million over selling fake merchandise, NBC News reports. Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, founding member and owner of Run-DMC Brand LLC, is listed as the plaintiff in the suit, which he filed on Thursday (Dec. 29) in a district court in New York.

The suit claims that the two companies are “advertising, selling, manufacturing, promoting and distributing multiple products” in the group’s name, like shirts, hats, wallets, patches and more.

“The lawsuit alleges defendants are confusing consumers into believing that Run-DMC endorsed their products and are trading on the goodwill associated with the name, in violation of federal trademark and New York unfair competition laws,” writes the site. Run-D.M.C. has generated over $100 million since forming in 1981. The original members include McDaniels, Joseph “Run” Simmons and the late Jason “Jam Master Jay” Mizell.

Throwback: Usher Begs The Late George Michael to Cover ‘Careless Whisper’

We lost one of the most talented musicians of our time on Christmas Day.

Music legend George Michael, 53, was found dead on Sunday at his home in Goring in Oxfordshire, England.

A police statement said: “Thames Valley Police were called to a property in Goring-on-Thames shortly before 2 p.m. Christmas Day. Sadly, a 53-year-old man was confirmed deceased at the scene. At this stage the death is being treated as unexplained but not suspicious.”

He reportedly died of heart failure while “in bed, lying peacefully.”

Michael sold tens of millions of albums as a member of the duo Wham! and as a solo artist. One of his biggest records is the 1984 released ‘Careless Whisper,’ his first solo single. It reached number one in nearly 25 countries, selling about six million copies worldwide, and has been covered by several artists since its first release.

R&B veteran Usher aspired to release his own cover of the hit single, but he wanted Michael’s blessings first.

Kelly Rowland to Release First Book ‘Whoa, Baby!

Kelly Rowland is a renaissance woman. The 35-year-old has expanded her brand over the years to tap into other markets outside of music such as fashion, beauty and television. Now the new mom is set to add “author” to her resume with her upcoming book titled Whoa, Baby: A Guide for New Moms Who Feel Overwhelmed and Freaked Out (and Wonder What the #*$& Just Happened)! 

In the book, Rowland and her ob-gyn Dr. Tristan Emily Bickman shares information that every first-time mom needs to know. From falling asleep with the pump on to swollen legs and lack of sleep, Rowland and Dr. Bickman cover every surprising challenge that new moms face.

“Dr. Bickman and I wanted to create an answer to what to expect after childbirth,” Rowland said in a press release. “No one told me what to expect physically, emotionally, or mentally. The purpose of Whoa, Baby! is to comfort the mother and give her knowledge of what’s going on with her. We cover everything!”

Rowland gave birth to her first son Titan Jewell Witherspoon on Nov. 4, 2014.  In an interview with Parents Magazine, Rowland got candid about motherhood.

“I was nervous that I didn’t have the patience to be a good mom, because before Titan I had zero. But now I am very patient,” she said. “I don’t make the little things into big issues like I once did. My OCD had to go out the window. My living room looks like a freaking day care!”

Whoa, Baby! is scheduled to release everywhere on March 28, 2017

2017 Grammy Nominations Revealed, Beyoncé Dominates

The 59th Annual Grammy Award nominations have been revealed. Beyoncé leads the pack with nine nods including Album of the Year, Best Urban Contemporary Album and Best Music Film for her multi-genre visual album LemonadeRihanna follows Queen Bey with eight nominations.

Anderson.Paak has two nods in the Best Urban Contemporary Album and Best New Artist categories. He isn’t the only R&B newcomer nominated, though. Both Ro James and BJ The Chicago Kid receive nominations for Best R&B Performance. BJ is also nominated for Traditional R&B Performance and Best R&B Album (In My Mind).

The Best R&B Song category is going to make us stop breathing with Rihanna (“Kiss It Better”), Maxwell (“Lake By The Ocean”), Tory Lanez (“Luv”), Bryson Tiller (“Exchange”) and PARTYNEXTDOOR (“Come See Me” feat. Drake) each receiving a nomination.

This year may be coming to an end but these great albums won’t be left behind. The 59th Annual Grammy Awards will air live at The Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 12 at 8 P.M. on CBS.

RECORD OF THE YEAR

“Hello” – Adele

“Formation” – Beyoncé

“7 Years” – Lukas Graham

“Work” – Rihanna Featuring Drake

“Stressed Out” – Twenty One Pilots

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

25 – Adele

Lemonade – Beyoncé

Purpose – Justin Bieber

Views – Drake

A Sailor’s Guide To Earth – Sturgill Simpson

SONG OF THE YEAR

“Formation” – Khalif Brown, Asheton Hogan, Beyoncé Knowles & Michael L. Williams II, songwriters (Beyoncé)

“Hello” – Adele Adkins & Greg Kurstin, songwriters (Adele)

“I Took A Pill In Ibiza” – Mike Posner, songwriter (Mike Posner)

“Love Yourself” – Justin Bieber, Benjamin Levin & Ed Sheeran, songwriters (Justin Bieber)

“7 Years” – Lukas Forchhammer, Stefan Forrest, Morten Pilegaard & Morten Ristorp, songwriters (Lukas Graham)

 

BEST NEW ARTIST

Kelsea Ballerini

The Chainsmokers

Chance The Rapper

Maren Morris

Anderson .Paak

 

BEST POP SOLO PERFORMANCE

“Hello” – Adele

“Hold Up” – Beyoncé

“Love Yourself” – Justin Bieber

“Piece by Piece (Idol Version)” – Kelly Clarkson

“Dangerous Woman” – Ariana Grande

 

BEST POP DUO/GROUP PERFORMANCE

“Closer” – The Chainsmokers Featuring Halsey

“7 Years” – Lukas Graham

“Work” – Rihanna Featuring Drake

“Cheap Thrills” – Sia Featuring Sean Paul

“Stressed Out” – Twenty One Pilots

 

BEST POP VOCAL ALBUM

25 – Adele

Purpose – Justin Bieber

Dangerous Woman – Ariana Grande

Confident – Demi Lovato

This Is Acting – Sia

 

BEST R&B PERFORMANCE

“Turnin’ Me Up” – BJ The Chicago Kid

“Permission” – Ro James

“I Do” – Musiq Soulchild

“Needed Me” – Rihanna

“Cranes In The Sky” – Solange

 

BEST TRADITIONAL R&B PERFORMANCE

“The Three Of Me” – William Bell

“Woman’s World” – BJ The Chicago Kid

“Sleeping With The One I Love” – Fantasia

“Angel” – Lalah Hathaway

“Can’t Wait” – Jill Scott

 

BEST R&B SONG

“Come See Me” – PartyNextDoor Featuring Drake

“Exchange” – Bryson Tiller

“Kiss It Better” – Rihanna

“Lake By The Ocean” – Maxwell

“Luv” – Tory Lanez

 

BEST URBAN CONTEMPORARY ALBUM

Lemonade – Beyoncé

Ology – Gallant

We Are King – KING

Malibu – Anderson .Paak

Anti – Rihanna

 

BEST R&B ALBUM

In My Mind – BJ The Chicago Kid

Lalah Hathaway Live – Lalah Hathaway

Velvet Portraits – Terrace Martin

Healing Season – Mint Condition

Smoove Jones – Mya

 

BEST RAP PERFORMANCE

“No Problem” – Chance The Rapper Featuring Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz

“Panda” -Desiigner

“Pop Style” – Drake Featuring The Throne

“All The Way Up” – Fat Joe & Remy Ma Featuring French Montana & Infared

“That Part” – ScHoolboy Q Featuring Kanye West

 

BEST RAP/SUNG COLLABORATION

“Freedom” – Beyoncé Featuring Kendrick Lamar

“Hotline Bling” – Drake

“Broccoli” – D.R.A.M. Featuring Lil Yachty

“Ultralight Beam” – Kanye West Featuring Chance The Rapper, Kelly Price, Kirk Franklin & The-Dream

“Famous” – Kanye West Featuring Rihanna

 

BEST RAP SONG

“All The Way Up” – Fat Joe & Remy Ma Featuring French Montana & Infared

“Famous” – Kanye West Featuring Rihanna

“Hotline Bling” – Drake

“No Problem” – Chance The Rapper Featuring Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz

“Ultralight Beam” – Kanye West Featuring Chance The Rapper, Kelly Price, Kirk Franklin & The-Dream

 

BEST RAP ALBUM

Coloring Book – Chance The Rapper

And The Anonymous Nobody – De La Soul

Major Key – DJ Khaled

Views – Drake

Blank Face LP – ScHoolboy Q

The Life Of Pablo – Kanye West

 

PRODUCER OF THE YEAR, NON-CLASSICAL

Benny Blanco

Greg Kurstin

Max Martin

Nineteen85

Ricky Reed

 

BEST MUSIC VIDEO

“Formation” – Beyoncé

“River” – Leon Bridges

“Up & Up” – Coldplay

“Gosh” – Jamie XX

“Upside Down & Inside Out” – OK Go

RIP: House and R&B vocalist Colonel Abrams has reportedly died at the age of 67

Sad news to pass along, as word that pioneering house music and R&B vocalist Colonel Abrams has died. He was 67.

The Detroit-born, New York-based singer is perhaps best known for 1985 hit “Trapped,” but Colonel Abrams also sang on several tracks that are considered to have laid the groundwork for what is now considered global dance music.

No cause of death has been reported, and official confirmation has not been relayed. Earlier today, Tony Tune Herbert posted the following message to Facebook: “Just got word that Colonel Abrams has [passed] away on Thanksgiving, one year to the date that I along with Don Welch, Barbara Tucker, Derek Jenkins, Ralph McDaniels, Marshall Jefferson, Larkie Rucker and a host of his biggest fans fought to get him to let us help him….Now he is at peace and our condolences go out to his family, and fans world wide, he is no longer suffering or Trapped!!!”

Last year, Colonel Abrams was reportedly homeless and suffering from diabetes, and a crowd-funding effort by fans and friends was launched to get him back on his feet.