President George W. Bush had a lot of screw-ups during his eight-year term, but he did do a couple things right. One of them was proclaiming June as Black Music Month on May 31, 2002. June is here,* and to celebrate Black Music Month, I'll be featuring one of my favorite artists each day, sharing my first or most personal memory of them, and explain what their accomplishments are and why I felt they should make the Black Music Month Top 30 list. There will be some oldies, some newbies and some artists you may not know of yet.
Black Music Month Heat Factor "Why's this artist hot?": With Musiq Soulchild's first single "Just Friends (Sunny)," fans got something new in the neo-soul market. Musiq blended beatboxing, hip-hop beats. R&B themes and neo-soul grooves into one package and made it a hit. The PhiIly native was in his early 20s when he released his first album, and both R&B and hip-hop audiences could connect with him. He was neither hip-hop flashy or old school soul in his dress attire, but from his build, neat hair (even when it was all over the place like on "Aijuswanaseing" cover) and the shades, he had swagger and a cool element to his music. He was different, relevant and his music is timeless. Women love his honest, raw songs about love and men appreciate his honesty about how he's still trying to learn exactly how love works. Musiq also has some bed-rocking hits and a reputation for uniquely spelled albums like "Juslisen,""Soulstar,""Luvanmusiq" and "Onmyradio."
First Memory, Most Personal Memory of the Artist: You hear it all the time, but word of mouth is one of the most powerful ways to make a song or an artist popular. I'd heard Musiq's first single "Just Friends (Sunny)" several times on the radio and saw the video. However, when I went shopping with two of my godsisters, their mother, their friend and my mother to an outlet mall, one of my godsisters started beatboxing to the opening beat of his single. The more she mimicked the song while she shopped, the longer it stayed in my head. I searched endlessly to find the song that hadn't initially made an impression. In 2000 when the song came out, this was before YouTube and Project Playlist and all the rest of those music sites were popular so I had to sit in front of a television and listen to the radio waiting for the music video or song to come on again. I got so impatient that I went ahead and bought the CD because I liked the song that much. Five CDs later and I'm still a fan.
Accomplishments from the Artist: Musiq Soulchild has had some bangers on the Billboard charts, including "lfyouleave" and "Sobeautiful' (11 weeks). "Buddy" and "Whoknows" (13 weeks), "Girl Next Door' (16 weeks), "Forthenight" (17 weeks), "Just Friends (Sunny)" (19 weeks), "Teachme" (20 weeks), "Love" (22 weeks), "Luvatimusiq" (24 weeks), "Halfcrazy (25 weeks), "Dontchange" (26 weeks) and "Juslisten" (35 weeks). (Note: Billboard.com's numbers for chart history do not match in both "Chart History" and "The Basics." "The Basics" category says "Teachme" was on the charts for 58 weeks instead of 20 weeks. Either way, it was a number of weeks that showed people in the R&B and Billboard Top 200 were paying attention.)
2002's "Juslisen" album stayed on the Billboard 200 Albums for 35 weeks and "Luvanmusiq" lasted on the same list for 24 weeks. He also received numerous award nominations, including a 2004 Grammy nomination for "The Best Urban Alternative Performance" and has contributed music to Tyler Perry's movie soundtracks. The most recent was on 2008's "Meet the Browns" soundtrack. In 2007, he created the annual "GivemoreLove Day" in which he buys food, clothes and toiletries for Philadelphia and Atlanta women's shelters and children's hospitals. He holds free concerts for these groups on his birthday, too.
Since June 20 is Father's Day, here's a little trivia about the artist. He was one of nine children and his musician father was the person who turned him on to so much '70s music.
According to AskMen.com, Musiq had this to say about his father. "My father is my best friend, just growing up with him inspired me to appreciate music that much more because he appreciates music."
* This entry was originally published on Associated Content in June of 2010. It has been republished with permission from Shamontiel. To find out who the other 29 artists were who were selected in 2010, visit this Pinterest board.
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