I Funkin’ LOVE Tamar Braxton’s new CD!  If you haven’t heard it, GET IT, it’s unquestionably one of the best in R&B this year.  Titled “Love And War,” it’s actually set a record in Billboard history.  The album features the hit “The One,” which samples the classic Mtume jam, “Juicy.”

Tamar 1Tamar 2According to Billboard magazine: “Four R&B sets debut in the top 10 of Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums lead by Tamar Braxton’s “Love and War” at No. 1 with 114,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.  The youngest sibling of R&B icon Toni Braxton first appeared on the list with “Tamar” (No. 42 debut and peak) on April 8, 2000.  13 years and five months later, Braxton sets the female record for longest time between an initial chart listing and a first No. 1 in this chart’s SoundScan era (December 1992 to present).  The record was previously held by Angie Stone, who waited eight years and two weeks (1999-2007).  On the Adult R&B airplay chart, Braxton’s title track to “Love and War” spent nine weeks at No. 1 while follow-up “The One” ranks at No. 3 after spending the prior two weeks at No. 2.”  Radio airplay for the song “The One” is no doubt one of the reasons for the albums incredible sales, but the CD is chock full of gems.  Among my favorites are “Stay and Fight”, “Hot Sugar”, “Where It Hurts” and “White Candle.”  I have to be honest and confess that I was surprised I liked the album so much.  Why?  Because the music I heard was miles away from the trifling antics of the “character” wit’ tude that is Tamar Braxton on her We TV “reality shows.”  What is clear about Tamar on the shows, is that she’s got a lotta heart.  “Love And War” is not just a good record, it’s a Great Record.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t say something about how Tamar’s CD suppresses a load of testosterone.  John Legend enters at No. 2 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums with his new CD “Love in the Future.”  After Legend is Jaheim’s “Appreciation Day” followed by Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” that moved from number 3 to number 4 on the albums chart, as Justin Timberlake’s “The 20/20 Experience” goes from number 4 to number 5.  The fourth new R&B set to enter the list’s top 10 this week on Billboard is Raheem DeVaughn’s “A Place Called Love Land” at number 9.

Back to Braxton — Lindsay Gilbert, Sergio Van Gonter and Christopher Stewart’s “Stay and Fight” is just one of those killer R&B ballads that pulls the heartstrings of anyone that’s really ever known love and been shunned by it.  “Hot Sugar” is one of those FUNKY joints that oozes sex by saying it in a very sweet way — Hats off to Kyle Stewart II aka K2 for pulling that off.  Tamar and fans of the album believe this should be the next single from the album.Tamar blog shot  UPDATE 9/20: TAMAR tweets she just finished her video for “Hot Sugar” 2 days ago.  “Where It Hurts” is Babyface’s contribution to the CD.  Face was extremely instrumental in Tamar’s sister Toni’s success.  And “White Candle” displays Tamar’s range, featuring an acoustic vibe, brought to the table by Tiyon Mack who’s worked with Justin Bieber — Ursula Yancy and Eric Mobley also worked on that track.  Folks, you should be aware of the names of those behind the music as well as those in the forefront.  The aforementioned names that you may not be familiar with are of those who make an entire album worth listening to.  Tamar’s “Love And War” is one of the few CDs in R&B I’ve heard in a long time, that I can say that I’ll be listening to for a long time to come.  These kind of records are just not being produced a lot any more. The Braxtons, DeVaughn and Anthony Hamilton’s are few in number.  Here’s a link to Tamar in an interview with “The Breakfast Club” from New York’s WWPR/ 105.1:


Fantasia’s new joint “Without Me” featuring Kelly Rowland and Missy Elliott is HOT!  LOVE the video with all the blue and pink neon, check it out…

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The single (another from producer K2) is taken from Fantasia’s latest release “Side Effects of You,” which has been out for a minute.  The “American Idol” recently began rehearsing for her second foray on the “Great White Way.”  Fantasia is set to star in the Broadway production “After Midnight,” a musical celebrating Duke Ellington’s years at the famous Cotton Club nightclub.  Fantasia will take the lead on stage, while Wynton Marsalis takes on duties as the show’s musical director.  See an article from the Washington Post here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/music/fantasia-prepares-for-her-return-to-broadway-under-the-watchful-eye-of-wynton-marsalis/2013/09/04/4028480c-1567-11e3-961c-f22d3aaf19ab_story.html

Fantasia's CDKelly's CDK. Michelle's CDCiara CD

Ciara, K. Michelle and the aforementioned Kelly Rowland round out the 5 FUNKY Women in R&B at the moment.  Ciara’s latest self-titled CD is one of her best projects to date, featuring tracks produced by her apparent flame Future.  In a recent interview with New York’s HOT97, Future revealed that marriage is definitely somewhere down the road for the couple.  Ciara & FutureK. Michelle’s “Rebellious Soul” and Rowland’s “Talk A Good Game”, are all among the Top-20 on Billboard’s R&B Albums chart.  Michelle is prepping for a tour and a solo VH1 reality show.  Formerly among the cast of “Love & Hip-Hop: Atlanta,” manager Jeff Robinson says “She’s doing her own show on VH1 which is not going to be anything like ‘Love & Hip-Hop.’ It’s going to be about K. and her musical friends and their adventures.”  Of ‘Love & Hip-Hop’, K. says: “I don’t think that particular show was for me.  That’s why I got off,” she says.  “Being that I’m going to stick to reality, the terms have to be right for me. I can’t let anything get in the way of building this music legacy.”  You’ll have to tune in to see for yourself how the program unfolds.

Kelly Rowland Essence CoverKelly Rowland has just been doing her thing in general lately.  Kelly X-FactorIn addition to her latest release, the singer landed the cover of Essence magazine recently and is one of the new judges on the talent show “The X Factor.”  Tamar will be just one of the talents featured at the iHeart Radio Music Festival in Las Vegas next weekend and hits the road with John Legend in February for a national tour.

Before I close, I NEED to mention some new music from two FUNKY females who are both black, but I wouldn’t call their music R&B.  First is Janelle Monae, whose new CD “The Electric Lady” features guest spots from Prince, Erykah Badu, Solange and Miguel.  Janelle Monae CDThe singer’s second album, it follows her debut “The ArchAndroid” that was released in 2010, and was a favorite for me that year.

Laura Mvula CDThe second Funky woman of color with new music is Laura Mvula.  Her CD “Sing To The Moon” is a phenomenal presentation that’s sure to be one of this years best new offerings in music by ANY artist of any genre.

in recognition of FUNKY women in music, that ain’t all R&B


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