Rihanna's Producer Says Chris Brown Collaboration was Her Idea

Rihanna’s producer The-Dream has spoken out in defense of the pop star’s decision to collaborate with Chris Brown on her two new records “Turn It Up (Remix)” and “Birthday Cake (Remix).” The producer says that he too was shocked by Rihanna’s decision, but in the end, supports her all the way.

“Not only do we work together, but [Rihanna] is a friend of mine,” says The-Dream. “And it’s like, ˜You wanna do something? Then cool, let’s do it.'” He goes on to say that fans should accept the fact that Rihanna has forgiven Chris Brown, and move on. ” The true thing really is to forgive, and you want to believe in people.”

Do you think there is a difference between “forgiveness” and selling out? Or is The-Dream right…and we should all just move on?

Greg Banks Vs. R. Kelly

The last year saw a new resurgence of young talent in the R&B world. Artists like The Weeknd, Frank Ocean, The-Dream and even Drake pushed the boundaries of R&B and revitalized the genre with new ideas for a new generation. However, none of these artists would exist without the influence of R. Kelly. With a career spanning nearly two decades, Kelly has been cited by Billboard as the most successful R&B/hip hop artist of the last twenty-five years, with thirty-five Top 10 singles and eleven No. 1 singles. Not only does Kelly have commercial success, but he has also composed, arranged and produced almost all of his music”a feat many singers can’t achieve. While OurStage is not short on great R&B artists, Greg Banks recently made a big splash on our charts.

OurStage's Greg Banks

R. Kelly











Like R. Kelly, Greg Banks is an R&B singer who also writes his own songs. If you listen to Banks’ song “Goodbye Sex” you can hear the similarities between his style and R. Kelly’s. In fact, the song shares much in common with Kelly’s smash hit “Ignition (Remix).” Both songs are at about the same tempo, and they both use similar sounding chord progressions. Banks and Kelly use similar techniques in their singing like switching between longer held out notes and singing in double time. These two songs also deal with overtly sexual lyrical themes, a trademark of R. Kelly’s music. “Selfish” is another one of Banks’ songs that is stylistically similar to R. Kelly, specifically his song “I Wish (Remix).” Both of these songs rely on an acoustic guitar melody to provide the backbone of the song. The tracks also have similar lyrical themes, albeit in slightly different contexts”while Banks sings about his worries of the love of his life leaving him, Kelly laments the deaths of his friends and family.


Friday, September 2, 2011

Ciara: Basic Instinct

Ciara‘s Basic Instinct is designed to take her sound back to the catchy Crunk n B of her ’04 debut Goodies. Fantasy Ride had dance experiments and hip-pop mixes but Instinct dares to travel more bass-heavy territory by definition. Ciara has likened the CD to the movie Basic Instinct and the manipulative lead character played by Sharon Stone. The video for the first single Ride with Ludacris caused a media ruckus with BET because of Ciara’s graphic sensuality. But the production team of Tricky Stewart and The Dream really did concoct a beat as baneful as Stone’s Catherine Tramell. And they do make the bass a governing force, but the addition of lasers inside Gimme Dat and the bright synthesizers surrounding Wants For Dinner moves the production away from the musical strengths of Goodies. Unsurprisingly, it is the ethos of Ride that divulges the true mission of the CD as A-list pop and R&B for the ladies who work as exotic dancers. It is impossible not to imagine silky gyrations and g-strings when Ciara coos over the slinky rhythmic arrangements.

Usher is the only other featured artist and he joins her on the cheery Turn It Up that lightens the mood with its party-starting ambition certain to make it a pop anthem. Sassy and sexy, the title track is a confident but vulnerable declaration about a renewed focus on her career after the emotions of a love affair distracted her from giving a full commitment to her work. As if to enforce the point about women dancing for a living Girls Get Your Money reminds female listeners not to date men without financial sustenance. Before detractors can accuse her of being shallow she completely surrenders to love in Speechless and offers gratitude worthy of an extra holiday to her mate. Instinct does not have the sparkle of Goodies but it does offer the sexiness and danceability that Ciara’s fans want and expect.

Track List:

  1. Basic Instinct (U Got Me)
  2. Ride (feat. Ludacris)
  3. Gimmie Dat
  4. Heavy Rotation
  5. Girls Get Your Money
  6. Yeah I Know
  7. Speechless
  8. You Can Get It
  9. Turn It Up (feat. Usher)
  10. Wants for Dinner
  11. I Run It
  12. Listen to My Song (Pre-Order Bonus)

By Tamara Harris

Tamara Harris is a music blogger who has published past work in Blues and Soul, Floss, Grip, AOL City and The Metro Times.

Discourse & Dischord

The Good

OK Go get dogged in new video

If you’ve ever watched an OK Go video, you know choreography is key. Exhibits A, B, and C right here. This latest installment is no different, but adds man’s best friend to the mix with heart-warming results. If one of these furry little rapscallions doesn’t get a gig on Dancing With The Stars then there is no justice in this world. Oh, and 10 points if you can spot the goat.

And then, these guys jumped on the bandwagon …

Ever heard of a band called OK Go? Quirky, ambitious videos? Winsome electro-pop? Subject of blurb Number 1 in this column? Here’s video that lampoons their whimsical, electro-pop methodology … using a giant pie!

The Bad

Aretha Franklin’s son beaten at Detroit gas station

Eddie Franklin, 52, son of soul singer Aretha Franklin, ended up in the hospital on Monday night after three men jumped him and beat him severely in a Detroit gas station parking lot. Franklin underwent emergency oral surgery and was released on Wednesday. Charges have not yet been filed.

The-Dream and L.A. Reid fired from Def Jam

L.A. Reid and The-Dream

Word on the street is that producer L.A. Reid (responsible for cultivating the careers of Mariah Carey, Pink, Usher, Ciara and countless other stars) and R&B singer/producer The-Dream were just fired from Def Jam Records due to disappointing sales figures and exuberant spending. If true, this would be The-Dream’s second break-up of 2010. If he gets strapped for cash, maybe he can sell the pointless hyphen in his name.

The Ugly

50 Cent threatens his dog with a knife

50 Cent and Oprah

In an attempt to be funny, 50 cent posted pics to his Twitter page of him threatening his yorkie, Oprah Winfrey, with a knife. Totally lame, and kind of disturbing. Seriously, someone call animal rescue on this tool. In happier news, here’s a video of kittens massaging each other.


Discourse & Dischord

The Good

Jewel performs undercover karaoke

So, just for kicks and because Funny Or Die told her to, Jewel dressed up as a sheepish business woman with glasses and a fake nose and hit up the Gas Light karaoke bar for some good old fashioned pranking. After being coaxed to the stage by her fake co-workers, Jewel belted out a bunch of her own material. Spoiler alert: She sounds just like herself. Check out the video below.

Carlos Santana proposes to girlfriend onstage

It’s not often that a rock legend pops the question to his drummer in the middle of a concert. This Monday at a concert in Chicago, Carlos Santana boldly went where few have gone before, and proposed to his girlfriend and band member, Cindy Blackman, after her drum solo on Corazon Espinado. Must have been some solo.

The Bad

Lady Gaga sullies John Lennon’s piano

Lady and the Piano

Oh no she di’int! Sean Lennon posted pics of Lady Gaga in her usual studs and fishnets uniform playing his father’s iconic Steinway piano. With gaga at mom’s house, she’s belting on the white piano, Lennon tweeted. Well, Beatles fans weren’t having that, and unleashed a torrent of protestations, e.g. WHY WOULD YOU LET LADY GAGA PLAY ON JOHN’S PIANO? Lennon responded with, What should we do, lock it away in a dusty room? So judgmental¦Come on, lighten up. Yeah guys, lighten up. Remember, purple tear drops she cries ¦ you don’t want that getting on a white piano.

The Ugly

Edward Cullen gives Courtney Love the what-for

Robert Pattinson

After rumors circulated that Twilight star Robert Pattinson might be cast as Kurt Cobain in a biopic, Courtney Love, of course, had to vent her spleen in a public way. And when you start talking smack about a vampire, the fangs come out. R-Patz lashed back in an interview with the Daily Mirror, calling Love a dick, which makes him sound less like Cobain and more like his Love-hating Nirvana bandmates David Grohl and Chris Novoselic. Isn’t Pattinson amazing?