It's Black Music Month. Enjoy the 2014 series. Support the artists. Buy their licensed music. And turn up as you dance along.
Brief history: In 2010, I wrote a music series honoring Black Music Month on Associated Content's site (republished on Examiner). The focus was to honor new R&B singers, veteran R&B singers, solo rappers, and evenly split the musical salute between female and male rappers. The only artists I was not willing to split up were Salt n' Pepa because they worked as a unit. In 2014, it's about time to salute more artists, but in the spirit of Salt n' Pepa's legacy, R&B groups and rap groups will be included. The pattern in 2014 will be newer R&B singers (from 2000 to present), R&B and/or hip-hop groups, veteran R&B singers, and then solo rappers, still evenly split between women and men.
Black Music Month Turn Up Factor "Turn down for what?": Hip-hop heads often speculate about how rappers like Biggie got so many women. But it's not like Biggie was the first heavy guy to have women falling all over him. Barry White was doing it big time before Biggie was even heard of. And Barry was smooth. The voice. The slicked ponytail. The suits. The goatee. Forget his weight. This was a man who walked into the room and epitomized sexy. And when he opened his mouth, women swooned. It wasn't just the deep voice. It was his charisma, confidence and the soul in his voice.
My Connection/First Memory to Artist: My parents played his music growing up so I knew of him, but (and considering he was featured in an episode of the show I don't think he'll mind) I really got into more of his songs when John used them as theme music on "Ally McBeal." How can someone not feel a little cooler listening to a Barry White song? The first four seasons of the show were great, but that fifth season was nowhere near the same level of comedy and writing. To this day, I don't know what happened, but I do know that John loved Barry White. And when the real one showed up on the final episode of season five, my own eyes teared up. "Practice What You Preach" is still my favorite song by him, but this show made "My First, My Last, My Everything" special to me.
Numbers Don't Lie: Radio loved him and so did the Billboard charts. Top 10 hits from the Top 100 charts include "I'm Gonna Love You Just A Little More Baby" (18 weeks, peaked at number three), "Never, Never Gonna Give Ya Up" (18 weeks, peaked at number seven), "Can't Get Enough Of Your Love, Babe" (12 weeks, peaked at number one), "You're The First, The Last, My Everything" (15 weeks, peaked at number two), "What Am I Gonna Do With You" (11 weeks, peaked at number eight) and "It's Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next To Me" (22 weeks, peaked at number four).
For the first series of Black Music Month artists republished on Examiner (originally on Associated Content), click here to see all 30.
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