Tinie Tempah feat. Tinashe – Text From Your Ex

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English MC Tinie Tempah (Patrick Chukwuem Okogwu, Jr.) hails from South London. He was in his teens when he issued his first single, “Wifey,” which packed sweetened swagger and became a hit in the underground. Tinie subsequently established the Disturbing London (aka DL) label and released 2007’s Hood Economics: Room 147: The 80 Minute Course, a mixtape featuring drop-ins from Chipmunk and DVA.

The Parlophone label took note and signed the rapper, whose 2010 singles “Pass Out” and “Frisky” topped various singles charts in the U.K. The tracks led to The Disc-Overy, Tinie’s proper debut album, issued later in the year. In 2011, he embarked on a U.K. arena tour, and later that year released two new singles “Like It or Love It” featuring Wretch32 & J. Cole, and “Lucky Cunt,” which featured Big Sean. He also collaborated with Calvin Harris on the smash hit single “Drinking from the Bottle” in 2013 and was included on Harris’ album 18 Months. In mid-2013, he announced details of his long-awaited sophomore album, Demonstration. Two singles (“Trampoline” featuring 2 Chainz and “Children of the Sun” featuring John Martin) were released and gave audiences a glimpse of his future material.

 

Keyshia Cole feat. Remy Ma & French Montana – You

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One of the more genuine R&B singer/songwriters to emerge in the 2000s, Keyshia Cole worked her way up the industry ladder diligently yet quickly, making her major-label debut in 2004 at age 21. Born on the other side of the California Bay — the often tough and troubled streets of Oakland — Cole aspired from an early age to make music her life, so much so that she started working the angles while still a preteen. For instance, she did some recording with fellow Bay Area resident MC Hammer way back in the day, when she was only 12 or so. Her singing aspirations really began to take flight during the early 2000s, however. In particular, she sang on Messy Marv’s “Nubian Queen” remix in 2001, and Tony! Toni! Toné! member Dwayne Wiggins featured her on his soundtrack to the film Me & Mrs. Jones, also in 2001.  Continue reading

Missy Elliott feat. Lamb – I’m Better

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No female rap artist paralleled the success of Missy Elliott, neither during her reign nor before, and none was more deserving. Unlike most of urban music’s female superstars, Missy writes her own songs as well as performs them, and her creative wit in on a par with her stylish demeanor. In addition to her talent and showmanship, she established herself as a genuine hitmaker alongside her longtime producer, Timbaland. She initially scored hits for others, namely Aaliyah (“One in a Million,” “If Your Girl Only Knew”) and to a lesser extent 702 (“Steelo”), before moving on to score a dazzling run for herself. Her debut album, Supa Dupa Fly (1997), spawned a number of hits such as “The Rain” that were more trend-setting than they were chart-topping. The chart-toppers, of course, came soon after: “She’s a Bitch” and “Hot Boyz” (1999); “Get Ur Freak On” and “One Minute Man” (2001); and “Work It” and “Gossip Folks” (2002). In each of these, Missy proved that, with both dignity and joviality, women could be sexual as well as forceful. As a result, she defied every stereotype imaginable without forsaking her broad fan base.

Born in Portsmouth, VA, in 1971 as Melissa Elliott, Missy’s professional music career began when Jodeci member/producer Devante Swing signed her and her group, Sista, to his Swing Mob record label. Unfortunately, Swing Mob Records fell through and along with it the plans for Sista’s debut album. Determined to move forward, Missy turned to longtime acquaintance Timbaland, who happened to be producing some tracks for Aaliyah’s One in a Million (1996) album. It proved to be a key move for Missy, as the album racked up enormous sales. Soon record execs were knocking on her door. Missy began working with a number of artists as either a songwriter or a vocalist/rapper before finally signing herself a deal with Elektra in 1996. A year later, Supa Dupa Fly hit the streets and soon after went platinum thanks to “The Rain.” Besides the sales numbers, the album also proved critically successful, impressing nearly everyone who heard it. It had not only radio-ready singles (“Sock It 2 Me,” “Beep Me 911,” “Hit ‘Em Wit da Hee”) but also an astounding array of album tracks that showcases just how multi-talented Missy indeed was, singing on some, rapping on others.

In 1999, she returned with her much-awaited follow-up album, Da Real World, an even more ambitious album that featured two mammoth hits — “She’s a Bitch” and “Hot Boyz” — along with an array of often daring collaborations with such unlikely candidates as Eminem. Around this same time, she began appearing in TV ads for the Gap and Sprite, proving that not only was she a musical talent but also an important icon for the era. The cycle repeated itself in 2001 when she released Miss E…So Addictive, again powered by two huge hits: “Get Ur Freak On” and “One Minute Man.” Her remarkable popularity continued a year later with her next album, Under Construction, and its hit singles, “Work It” and “Gossip Folks.” Missy’s music machine continued pummeling the charts, with Timbaland & Magoo’s follow-up Under Construction, Pt. II appearing in mid-November and the new Elliott LP This Is Not a Test! released a week later. Ciara, Slick Rick, Mary J. Blige, and American Idol winner Fantasia were some of the guests on Missy’s 2005 album The Cookbook.

Zara Larsson feat. Ty Dolla $ign – So Good

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A talented Swedish vocalist and songwriter with a penchant for crafting soulful electro-pop that falls somewhere between Rihanna, Lorde, and Robyn, Zara Maria Larsson first caught the public’s eyes and ears in 2008 as the winner of the popular Swedish talent show Talang Sverige (the regional version of Got Talent). Born on December 16, 1997 in Stockholm, Larsson inked a deal with Ten Music Group after winning Talang, and issued her debut EP, Introducing, which featured the hit single “Uncover,” in 2013.

The song was certified triple-platinum in her home country, and after another EP, Allow Me to Reintroduce Myself, Larsson began work on her official debut long-player. The resulting 1 arrived in 2014 via Record Company Ten and Universal Music. Three additional singles reached the Swedish Top Ten: “She’s Not Me,” “Carry You Home,” and “Rooftop.” A pair of new singles for 2015 proved to be her international breakthrough. First, “Lush Life” reached the Top Ten across Europe, then “Never Forget You” (featuring MNEK) hit the Top Ten in Great Britain and went gold in the United States.

Rizzi Myers – B*tch I’m Famous

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A Kansas City native, Rizzi recently signed to Nashville-based Average Joes Entertainment/Phivestarr Productions. Over the past few weeks, the 26-year old’s YouTube channel virtually exploded when her viral video, “1 Woman, 15 Voices,” rocketed from 1,300 views to 3.5 million in four weeks (now over 6 million views).

The video highlights Rizzi’s extraordinary gift to impersonate 15 different female vocalists ranging from Adele to Marilyn Monroe to Amy Winehouse. Myers’ YouTube channel is racking up over 1,000 subscribers a day (currently at 95,000). Rizzi is currently in the studio recording her debut project for Average Joes and is featured on DJ KO’s debut EP, “High Gravity,” out now.

Introducing The Chainsmokers

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A production duo featuring Andrew Taggart and Alex Pall, the Chainsmokers mix indie, dance, and pop into a chart-topping sound that spawned hits like “Roses” and “Don’t Let Me Down.” Pall and Taggart first made a name for themselves by creating remixes of their favorite indie bands that garnered tens of millions of streams. The duo released its official debut single “#Selfie,” which celebrated and skewered 2010s narcissism, in January 2014. The track’s bouncy beats and self-obsessed words hit number one on the Billboard dance chart and sold over ten million copies. Meanwhile, “#Selfie”‘s video featured cameos by Snoop Dogg and David Hasselhoff, fueling the song’s viral popularity to hundreds of millions of views. More singles, including “Kanye” and “Let You Go,” followed.

In 2015, they issued the Bouquet EP on Disruptor Records, a softer and more indie-flavored effort that featured the single “Roses,” which was certified double-platinum and hit number one on the Top Dance Songs chart. The song also earned the Chainsmokers nominations for the Billboard Music Awards in the Top Dance/Electronic Artist and Top Dance/Electronic Song categories. After playing over 300 shows in 2015, including dates at festivals like Lollapalooza, Firefly, Tomorrowland, and Ultra, the duo returned in 2016 with the platinum-certified “Don’t Let Me Down,” a collaboration with Pittsburgh pop singer Daya that topped the Billboard dance chart. That year, the Chainsmokers also performed as part of the Tilt Tour, the first ever fan-sourced tour. In addition, Pall and Taggart host two SiriusXM shows: Nice Hair, a monthly mix; and the weekly YouTube EDM 15.

The follow-up single to “Don’t Let Me Down” would carry the duo to new heights. Featuring Halsey on vocals, “Closer” began its slow climb to the top of the singles chart in the summer of 2016. Once it hit number one, it remained in the top spot for over ten weeks, breaking the record previously held by Drake’s “One Dance.” As their chart dominance continued, they released the Collage EP, which joined their two Top Three singles with new collaborations featuring Phoebe Ryan, XYLØ, and Charlee.

Kehlani – Do U Dirty

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Contemporary R&B singer and songwriter Kehlani Parrish studied ballet and modern dance at the Oakland School for the Arts. An injury prompted a move to OSA’s music department, where she blossomed as a vocalist. During eighth grade, she joined Poplyfe, a band that competed on America’s Got Talent during the program’s sixth season. Following an affable performance of Travie McCoy’s “Billionaire,” judge Piers Morgan noted that he thought Kehlani, the frontperson, could be successful without the band.

While Kehlani brushed the notion aside, she eventually went solo and presented herself as a slightly younger, more down-to-earth alternative to contemporary R&B artists like Jhené Aiko. Her first release, the eight-track Cloud19, was released in 2014, and a pair of its songs registered on Billboard’s Twitter Emerging Artists chart. A lengthier set, You Should Be Here, followed in 2015 with guest appearances from BJ the Chicago Kid and Chance the Rapper. Shortly after its release, major label Atlantic announced that it had signed Kehlani to a recording contract. You Should Be Here was later nominated for a Grammy in the category of Best Urban Contemporary Album. Atlantic released several Kehlani tracks during 2015 and 2016, including “Gangsta,” her first crossover hit, taken from Suicide Squad: The Album.