Why are People Ignoring Mary J. Blige?

I wrote a piece for Salon about the new Mary J. Blige album and the strange treatment of R&B in the music press. Read it here. Check out Blige’s explosive “Power Back” below, a song that shows her perfectly at home in a pop climate dominated by DJ Mustard.

Babyface

I wrote about Babyface–a songwriter, producer, and singer who has a Motown-like ability to get smooth black pop accepted by white audiences–for Splice Today. Babyface recently put out an album with the singer Toni Braxton, a frequent collaborator. Read the piece here and check out a Babyface-Toni Braxton #1 hit from the ’90s below.

The 98%

I wrote about the contradictions in the new Robert Glasper Experiment album, Black Radio 2, for Splice Today. Glasper, known for his work in jazz, R&B, and hip-hop, brings together a group of singers, mainly from the late ’90s neo-soul scene, to sing on his songs. He also makes a lot of uninteresting arguments about the music listeners of today and how 98% of music is “whack.” Read the piece here.

Below, the most effective track on Black Radio 2, featuring the English singer Emeli Sande.

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