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?": There are very few female rappers who stay popular enough to advance their careers into other opportunities outside of music. Queen Latifah did it with a talk show, an acting career and a cosmetics line. MC Lyte is a voiceover for everything. And Ms. Ruff Ryder herself went from rapping to her own self-titled television show for three seasons and several movies, including "Barbershop" and "Barbershop 2." In 2014, she has plenty to celebrate after a joy ride on 2010's Gumball 3000 lead to marrying one of the other drivers three years later--co-founder Maximillion Cooper. And the chip on her shoulder (super obvious in her episode of "Punk'd") seems to be completely removed with a big, bright smile for her husband. Some may not care for Happy Eve (similar to the way people viewed Happy Mary J. Blige), but I'm down for the lady who looks absolutely in love and on top of the world.
My Connection/First Memory to Artist: I liked "What Y'All Want," but one of my older brother's friends was obsessed with the song. He walked around humming and singing that song during a family get-together to the point where he made me like the song way more than I initially did, similar to the way my godsister made me a fan of Musiq Soulchild. I purchased "Ryde or Die, Vol. 1" and "Ruff Ryders First Lady" 1999 albums, and a college friend and I blasted this CD so long that we didn't even need Eve to rap. We could tell her her own lyrics, specifically "Philly Philly," although both of us were in Marquette, Mich., and from the city and suburbs of Illinois. There are a few female artists who come and go, and it seems more like they slept their way to an album. But Eve's delivery, confidence and wrath made it very easy to believe she earned her way to hip-hop royalty. It doesn't hurt that she's a bit of a bookworm, too.
Numbers Don't Lie: Eve barked her way straight to number one on the Top 100 Billboard charts: "Let Me Blow Ya Mind" (33 weeks) and "Gangsta Lovin'" (22 weeks). Other hit songs include "What Y'All Want" (20 weeks, peaked at number 29), "Gotta Man" (16 weeks, peaked at number 26), "Love Is Blind" (16 weeks, peaked at number 34), "Satisfaction" (16 weeks, peaked at number 27) and "Tambourine" (27 weeks, peaked at number 37).
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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