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?": Sometimes Rihanna goes out of her way to act like Grace Jones' character Strange from the 1992 film "Boomerang." Her outfit at the 2014 CFDA fashion awards was a primary example of that. Fishnet stockings. Nude magazine covers. Bright red hair. Counterproductive relationships (minus one). Picking arguments with other female R&B singers. She's not the most peaceful artist, but her IDGAF attitude works well for her edgy persona. And no matter what her personal life is like, she's never been short on making hit music. And right when people think she may just be good for a pop/rock song, she belts out songs like "Stay" at the 2013 Grammy Awards to prove she has pipes worth applauding for.
My Connection/First Memory to Artist: I did not understand her appeal when she first came out. I thought the chorus of "Umbrella" was painful and annoying. The song and video were always on, and I went out of my way to ignore everything related to Rihanna. But then "S&M" came out while I was at Bally's (before LA Fitness bought them), and I couldn't get enough of that song. The more I heard it, the more curious I was about the rest of her music so I finally gave in and purchased "Loud," which lead to me purchasing "Talk That Talk" and "Unapologetic." All of them were equally good albums and not worth skipping past one song. "Cheers (Drink to That)" became my favorite song to hear on Fridays almost as much as Wyclef's "Low Income."
Numbers Don't Lie: Rihanna's name is well-known on the charts. Top 10 songs that made it to the Top 100 include "Pon de Replay" (27 weeks, peaked at number two), "SOS" (28 weeks, peaked at number one), "Unfaithful" (20 weeks, peaked at number six), "Umbrella" (33 weeks, peaked at number one), "Hate That I Love You" (26 weeks, peaked at number seven), "Don't Stop the Music" (30 weeks, peaked at number three), "Take a Bow" (27 weeks, peaked at number one), "Disturbia" (37 weeks, peaked at number one), "Russian Roulette" (14 weeks, peaked at number nine), "Hard" (20 weeks, peaked at number eight), "Rude Boy" (22 weeks, peaked at number one), "Only Girl (In the World)" (27 weeks, peaked at number one), "What's My Name?" (22 weeks, peaked at number one), "S&M" (26 weeks, peaked at number one), "Cheers (Drink to That)" (18 weeks, peaked at number seven) and more.
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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