For the Love of God, People Put Your Affairs In Order!

The death of Prince has brought to bear many reflections regarding his music, his genius, his influence, and his tremendous charity work.  In the midst of the mourning and speculation about the cause of his earthly demise, I can’t help to be be frustrated and disappointed in seeing another person of color, someone whom I looked up to arguably more than any other artist in the history of my lifetime, leave a scattered mess of financial confusion – leaving his fortune and musical legacy to be fought over among relatives – subject to money grubbing lawyers and adjudicated in the courts.  WHY?

I’ve seen this many times among family and friends.  I’m not talking about millions.  I’m talking about hundreds or thousands of dollars worth of insurance money, cars, furniture and keepsakes. One would like to think that family can come together and handle adversity in a decent and orderly fashion when it comes to the death of a beloved family member.  But sadly, far too many times that is not the case.  When it comes to just a little bit of money, I have seen brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents lose their minds, their religion, and any amount of human decency over material things and a few quarters.  It’s as if the deceased loved one’s body can’t be buried good before greed sets in turning people into vultures circling the carcass.  It’s disgusting!  There are people I have nothing to do with today because of the way I saw them behave in situations of death.

prince

They say that there is nothing certain in this world but death and taxes.  If you have a good enough accountant or the right connections, perhaps you can avoid the taxes.  But best believe, death is not one to be cheated.  It doesn’t matter how much money or power you have, or how less of it you have.  We’ve seen it happen with other celebrities before.  But Prince?  The man who worked for years to get his own name back?  The man who recently won the rights to his masters from Warner Brothers?  The man who had the world by the tail.  He was creative, an artist, but one who learned the business of music as well as any record company CEO.  We’re talking about a man who was the OG, the Godfather, an Untouchable who controlled everything about his name, his image, and the product that he released.  Prince was pure in that he never handled his musical friends in an altruistic sense.  When he recorded with you, there were no contracts.  Whatever was agreed upon that you would be paid was guaranteed to be yours.  If he performed a Led Zeppelin hit during one of his concerts, he paid them stricktly out of principle.  He was true to the game. That’s all well and good as long as you are alive and well.

From the initial reports, it seems that Prince has been struggling with his health for a while.  Upon hearing of his passing, I immediately surmised that his ‘piano tour’ was a way in which he could perform without jumping all over the stage as his custom over the last 40 years.  Similar to Michael Jackson, Prince had given it all.  His body was broken down from thousands of performances circling the globe many times.  He also started writing his memoir.  It seems that he had a sense of his mortality.  This is why it is beyond explanation that there were no preparations made in how to distribute the wealth he had been so generous in sharing.  Much more larger and significant than that however is the music.  This man has spent his entire life creating so much unreleased music that a vault had to be enacted to store it all.  Since the estate is going to probate, a bank had to drill holes into the safe that only he had the combination for.  These banks executives aren’t artist. Their interest is not in preserving something as significant as any collection of Rembrandt’s, Picasso’s.  Prince was so inquisitive in his explorations, so protective of the product, and yet his own blood relatives are left to having the government decide what to do.  Behind the scenes schemes are being plotted and plans are being made by the same people Prince fought seeking to bastardize this man’s creative lifeblood.  One brother admitted that he hadn’t spoke to Prince for 15 years and yet claims that his ‘brother meant everything to him.”  I just bet he did!

My own mother lives 2500 miles away.  My sister and I are the only siblings.  Our mother has excellent taste and as a result has nice things.  Because she is single, long ago I spoke with her about how she wanted things handled should she leave this earth before we do.  I had her write it down, sign legal papers and so forth.  My sister and I have already decided what is going to be what.  Not because we want any of her possessions.  As a matter of fact, truth be told I’m the one who is really sentimental.  My sister joked that while she may sell a couch for instance, I would be standing there saying, “You can’t sell that couch!  That’s my momma’s couch!”  Yes I would be the hoarder.  I love my mother so much, that anything she touched I would want as a keepsake; or at the very least have the wherewith to decide.  I’m married so my wife has the first rights.  Still we are creating a will, and even little things like who gets my sports jerseys, and who takes a hold of my music collection, hard drives with decades of family photos, are all on the table being discussed.

Prince FAmily

It’s not fun to talk about.  But its’s responsible to deal with.  It’s mature.  No man knows the day nor the hour.  But do yourself and your family a favor:

  1. Have some life insurance so that your loved ones aren’t trying to figure out how to pay for a service.
  2. Have a will or a trust indicating what you intend to happen with your remains.  I.e, burial, cremation, organ donation etc.  Share openly what type of service you prefer.
  3. Have a legal document on how to distribute what you leave behind, regardless of the monetary or sentimental value.

Perhaps you would like to believe your family wouldn’t act a certain way.  Perhaps you believe your shared faith will enable them to handle things properly.  But let me tell you something, Christ ain’t coming down to adjudicate your shit.  Handle your business and take that extra stress off of your people.  Allow them to grieve you, instead of turning on one another.

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Catching Hell, Grieving the Loss of Natalie Cole

natalie-cole-3

Joey, where are you going
Where will you sleep tonight
Will you be alright?

Some people can tell you exactly where they were when certain artist have died;  Lennon, Elvis, Tupac, Michael, Teena.

I will always remember that I was in a department store when I saw the Facebook post from my friend Jerome Noble that Natalie Cole died.  When I saw the post, I took it like I have taken many tragedies initially in my life; I went into a robotic mode mentally, and shut down mode internally as a coping mechanism. I pushed away that thought that such an important figure in my life was suddenly gone and went on about my day.  I understood that as time went on I would have to grapple with it.  This is a way of attempting to start the process of doing that.

My entire life story can be described with the music I have grown up with. There are certain artist that helped shape particular aspects of my way of looking at things.  Natalie Cole was pivotal in shaping my views and perspectives on love, communication, intimacy and vulnerability.  This was before I had a single girlfriend.  Her  words and expression were what I imagined love should be.  And thus what I wanted.  Her voice alone is right up there with Aretha’s.  But if I could compartmentalize, Aretha was like that chick you heard about.  She was/is a legend that everyone knows and yet you were lucky to see live if given the chance.  Aretha is a legend.  For me, Natalie Cole, no less legendary in stature was still that chick you knew from around the way.  She lived in my neighborhood.  My family went to her house for back yard cookouts.  Through her music I felt as if I knew her personally.  Even as a child her deep and thoughtful lyrics were totally relatable.  That is amazing to me when you consider that this is a woman who grew up in a home where on any given day Sinatra, Davis Jr. Ellington, Fitzgerald, and Basie would be just hanging out with her parents.

Getting to the music, I would be remiss to not mention the brains behind the lyrics and music that Natalie gave life to.  Chuck Jackson and (former husband) Marvin Yancy were a dynamic team that brought out Natalie’s own signature style. The game changers for me were two LPs released both released in 1977, “Unpredictable,” and “Thankful.”  I listened to the former time and time again via 8 Track living in South Bend, Indiana.  My mother played it every weekend when we were doing the detailed cleaning in the house.  While the radio played hits like, “I’ve Got Love On My Mind,” I was blessed to hear the rest of the songs like, “Still In Love,” featuring a soft melodic guitar not at all common in R&B music.  Then there was “Peaceful Living,” which compared the inner workings of a loving relationship to living in a land of paradise.  “Your Eyes,” is a beautiful compliment to a man who eyes she finds so captivating, not recognizing that the man was also blind.

And here we are in utopia where the sun never seems to go away
And the moon is our friend, hmm
Looking out on a starry night and the sky is like a slate for writing on
But you don’t need a pin, you don’t need a pin
Precious one, you’re a joy to me
And I know that there’s no place else I’d rather be
Peaceful living is here

The most impactful hit on, “Unpredictable,” was “I’m Catching Hell.”  This was an anthem in which the likes of Mary J. Blige would go on to follow in the footsteps in.  Here she opens with a monologue talking to women, encouraging them not to make mountains out of mole hills when it comes to small conflicts in their relationships.  The message is simply, “If you got a good man, you’d better keep him!”  She addresses the potential resistance to her message by acknowledging that she isn’t privy to each and every situation.  But if its not a deal breaker, stick to it.  From there she sings her ass off to her man acknowledging that devastating results of her rash emotionalism leading her to put a period where a comma should have been.

If I could replay, if I could replay ,that whole scene again, oh well
You know that I would never, never say it again, that our love, our love is at its end
And oh, you know that I would kind of ease on back, yes I would
And let confusion pass on by, I took a fools’way out, oh yeah
Without one good reason why

natalie

“Thankful,” was introduced to me in the outer suburbs of Pittsburgh, PA from my grandfather whom I visited most summers as a youth.  He had the cassette tape and played it when we rode in his 1978 creme colored fully loaded Lincoln Continental Town Car.   That car was an immaculate beast!  Whether it was around town or on road trips to Meridian, Mississippi where he was born, like “Unpredictable,” I listened intently and learned every word to every song.  “Thankful,” is nothing like “Unpredictable.”  To this day I am still amazed that she released two totally different iconic albums in one year.  Who ever does that?

You’re my morning star shining brightly beside me
And if we keep this love
We will last through all eternity

Again doing what normal R&B divas didn’t, she jazzed it up from the start with the up tempo swinging, “Lovers.”  Without pause she soon gives us a calypso ladened and poetic La Costa.  “Nothing Is Stronger Than Love,” is sang like a cross between a church service and the signature song in a Broadway play.  “Annie Mae,” is a powerful tribute to the young girls struggling with life on the streets.  Both of these albums played like an opera for me, each song a scene in the lives of my mother and other adults I looked up to; waiting to play my own part in my own life as an adult.

When I became an adult and no longer had access to my favorite Natalie Cole works, and with the release of CDs I looked for years with great displeasure learning that every piece of work she had up to that point were not released.  For some reason Capitol Records was holding out.  Eventually I found the single LaCosta on a Capitol compilation.  Then eventually I purchased both Thankful and Unpredictable three years apart from Japan.  (Thank you Ebay) Thankfully with the internet and some streaming services these songs are easily accessible.

natyancy

I find it ironic that I was recently watching an old episode of Grey’s Anatomy and noticed Natalie was playing a heart patient with little chance of living long into the future.  I am so disappointed that I never saw her perform live.

Natalie reinvented herself plenty of times.  From R&B to pop, then following in her father’s footsteps in recreating his works in Unforgettable.  Unforgettable is so amazing because she not only does the standards her father mastered, she managed to still make them totally her own.  She went on to do several classical jazz standards and her voice was always astute for the occasion.  I love those works, but it was those two 1977 releases that changed my life.  Listening to those jams last night my mood started to lighten a bit.  Instead of falling into despair, I will simply say, “Thank You for blessing me with your gifts, that voice, that heart.  You may be gone but your music will last forever in the playlist of my heart.  It would be selfish for me to ask you to stay forever.  You are allowed to take your rest for a job well done.”

When the snow falls on the Sahara, ‘And the sun freezes over,
When the Mojave red turns into blue.
When the music’s no longer playing and the faithless start praying,
I’ll stop loving you.

Your #1 Fan

 

unpredictThankful

 

 

Why I Refuse To Join A Church (Part 1)

 First and foremost I must say that this series is not so much a rant, as it is a possible plea for help.  Help in understanding what a church environment is going to give me with all of its many contradictions and hypocrisies.  I say ‘possible’ because perhaps it’s best after all if I don’t join a specific church organization.  Perhaps my faith is best developed at home and practiced as an example in the marketplace where it actually matters.   The problem is that I am just not sure.  Most everyone I know and respect tells me I need to be somewhere where there is corporate worship and spiritual advisement.  And while I’m not optimistic I haven’t totally given up.  I am hoping that some of the issues that I am addressing will attract some feedback that may help me to either change my mind or at least give me something to reconsider.

While I won’t bore you with all of the bloody details, keep in mind that I was raised in the church and experienced several different denominations as a child, teen and adult.  At one point I was that guy who carried his bible everywhere he went and openly ministered to co-workers and friends.  I even preached in services and did some college campus ministry as well.  I wasn’t obnoxious or spoke where I wasn’t welcome, but I was very earnest in sharing the faith that I bought into so much.  Several factors led to my straying most of them having to do with what I felt was the lack of true leadership and the belief that they didn’t really believe what they were teaching.  Instead it seemed that the real intention all along of leadership was to have followers and control over their congregants.

With that I will begin with my first example of why I refuse to join a church.

Yesterday I watched an episode of Unsung.  For those of you unfamiliar it’s a show on TVONE that chronicles the lives and careers of musical recording artist.  This episode focused on the female group The Clark Sisters, one of the most dynamic and significant gospel groups of all time.  Though they never sang pop music, their gospel success reached a milestone where they were able to perform at the Grammy awards.  Raised and groomed by Mattie Moss Clark, a hardcore purist pioneering singer, writer, arranger and director of the music for the Church of God in Christ (COGIC), the sisters wanted their mother to share in this national stage.

At their Grammy performance these sisters represented their faith and their denomination quite well.  They strolled down the isle dancing and swaying giving praise to God towards the audience that were full of the biggest and most successful performers of our time.  They dressed to the nines in classic COGIC dress attire, (long dresses that covered their legs with the classiest of designs befitting black church traditions) and sang with a joy unspeakable as if it were Sunday morning without shame proclaiming the name of Jesus.

Their performance received resounding applause.  And it helped add another nail in putting gospel music on the mainstream map.  Their hit “You Brought The Sunshine” was even played at New York’s famous Studio 54. In other words, people were dancing to a gospel song in one of the most infamous clubs in the nation.  The group was invited to sing on stage at Stuido 54.  That was a bit too much for Mattie at the time.  She wasn’t having that.  But it said something about the gospel message doing something revolutionary; reaching a mainstream audience without compromising it’s message.

The COGICs are a very strict and conservative denomination however.  The women are not allowed to wear pants to this day.  Still one would think the success of the record and the free worldwide exposure of some of the best the COGICs had to offer would be a good thing.  But it was not.  Upon returning to their local congregation after the Grammy performance, Mattie Moss Clark was called in to the elders meeting and chided for their on stage performance.  The Elders felt that the women performing at a secular event was sacrilege.  And since Clark held a high position within the COGIC hierarchy she had to vow never perform publicly with her daughters again.

(pictured l-r, Dorinda Clark-Cole, Elbertina ‘Twinkie’ Clark-Terrell, Jacky Clark Chisholm and Karen Clark Sheard )

Now I ask you what kinda shit is that?

First of all I thought the purpose of the gospel was to preach it all over the world.  If one is getting his drink and freak on at the club and a song speaking about the love of Jesus is played, isn’t that where you want the message to be exclaimed more than anything.  I believe it was Jesus who said that those who are well do not need a physician but those who are sick.  I know very well the COGICs feel that the clubber needs Jesus!

Second, the Clark Sisters have always been a very devout group and have represented the COGIC denomination well.   I saw Dorinda Clark-Cole preach myself in a small church in Illinois.  She came in looking like Miss America and by the time her sermon and singing was over with you would have through she ran a few country miles as she sweated her suit and hair doo out ceasing to care about her appearance while preaching the gospel and expressing her love for God.

I believe the issue was not the gospel at all for these Elders.  It was that the COGIC denomination like many others is a very conservative male dominated group.  They didn’t appreciate the shine these women were receiving and wanted to control it.  According to their own faith, it’s God who promotes and God who has the wherewith to get His Word across as He see fits.  God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son… or so they quote.  But in reality they don’t believe that as it relates to the Clark Sisters.  The church is a business, and far too many preachers are business men first.  One cannot rise in the Eldership of such denominations if he/she doesn’t buy into these same old school ways of thinking.  But here you have a group of pioneering and devout women arguably being used by God to present His message persecuted not by the world, but by their own church leaders for making a national impact that the preachers themselves could not make.

I’ve been around and heavily involved the COGIC denomination for many years and know the ins and outs very well.  I know some great people too involved within that particular faith that do outstanding work.  I could not on the other hand subject myself to the politics and limitations of faith this way.  If the organization itself is more important than the faith that it defends, then it’s going to be repressive more than progressive in my view.  This concept for me is a deal breaker.

This isn’t an indictment on COGICs either.  It’s merely an example of what I am talking about overall; the embracing of sexism and control over the very gospel that the organization was founded upon in the first place.

Lyrics In My Ear – Annie Mae

For a while I’ve wanted to add an addition to the blog that involves music and in particular lyrics.  Music is such a big part of my life and sometimes I may listen to a song and for whatever reason the lyrics just stand out a little more.   Sometimes it’s personal, and at other times I just hear them in a new way.  Well I appreciate art and one thing about the art of music, is that there is a song for every feeling, thought and emotion.  So here is what was ‘in my ear’ the other day.  Natalie Cole’s Annie Mae from 1977’s album “Thankful.”

Thankful

Growing up wasn’t easy for Annie Mae
A little girl in a great big world
Annie Mae
No one knew about her past
Some people swore she’d never last
She was (growing up much too fast)
Growing
Just a little too fast
Never had her a Mama, no, no
Annie Mae
Rarely heard a kind spoken word
Annie Mae

Looking at life through an empty shell
And all the time she’s catching hell
She was growing up much too fast
Does anybody know where is Annie Mae today
Where oh where is Annie Mae
All you got to do is look into the faces of
All the young girls
On the avenue

In the night hear her cry, Annie Mae
Hurt and pain keeps coming again
And again, and again, Annie Mae
Trippin’ and runnin’ is blowin’ her mind
Tryin’ to decide if she’ll make it this time
She was (growing up) oh, yeah (much too fast)
She was (growing up much too fast)
Somebody got to stop her, oh Annie, Annie
(where is Annie Mae)
Annie, Annie
Somebody got to stop her, oh, Annie, Annie,
Annie, Annie
She’s runnin’, she’s runnin’
Growin’ up too fast, oh, oh
(She’s running’) oh, oh
Growin’ up too fast, oh, oh
(She’s runnin’) oh, oh
Growin’ up too fast, oh, hey Annie,

Annie Mae, yeah
(She’s running) Where you goin’ Annie
(She’s runnin’) Don’t you think somebody ought to stop you
(She’s runnin’) Somebody aught to stop you
(She’s runnin’) Don’t you think I’m gonna try to stop you

New Music Releases ~ The Real Dope

….from cmac, your quasi music critic.

So ya’ll know how much I love music.  I consider it my drug of choice.  I saw the dope man the other day and got some new stuff.  I wanted to spread the word and allow others to share in the joy.  If you want to get high with me, then stop at your local drug house record store of choice for these selections. 

Exist

This is classic Tony Rich… smooth and mellow.  The first track, “Part The Waves,” gets it all started and it continues with, “Jordan,” “Sugar Hill” and “Sweet Addiction.”  The tempo is consistent and it flows wonderfully.  As a friend of mine said, “I think somebody told Rich that, ‘Hey, you know you sound best when you sound like Babyface… and he ain’t singing no more.  So why not? ‘ You can jam this in the car on an evening ride or just chill on it with a glass of your favorite wine.

The Way I See It

This is something totally different than what you used from one of the creators of the group Tony Toni Tone.  This guy goes totally retro Motown on us with songs that sound like they could be in the movie Cooley High.  He even kept the songs to around three minutes to fit the era that inspired them.  Still he has enough insight to bring along Joss Stone, Stevie Wonder and Jay-Z.   With this CD you get nostalgia and four part harmony that you can’t help but to enjoy.

Fearless

OMG – this is FEARLESS.  This 21 year old is from Philly, and is a prodigy of Missy Elliott.  This has to go to my list of coldest and most innovative debuts.  Ok, first of all she has this raspy voice that reminds you of Lauryn Hill at times… especially on, “Need You Bad.”  When I first heard that jam on the radio I almost got pissed cause I felt she was biting too hard.  But when you travel through the CD she shows her own flavor in full form and it shines through.  I have never heard anything like this before.  Look, her first cut is called, “Bust Your Windows.”  As a guy I’m like, “What the…?”  But the song is so tight and you understand why she had to do it.  After that she gets on down and explores a plethora of subject matters with, “Lions, Tigers and Bears,” a very thoughtful piece on love and fear.  “Call Me Guilty,” deals with a woman’s last ditch solution to solve the problem of an abusive man that would make Mary J. Blige bow down!  “One Night Stand,” – funny about how a woman who prefers the fast life but runs across the wrong right brother and gets caught up, “making pancakes in the morning.”  This CD is sooooo refreshing!  Full of originality and style.  It’s a must have for your collection!

A Long Time Coming

From the surprise category – yes the same Wayne Brady your thinking of.  The, “Do I have to smack a bitch?” Wayne Brady from the Dave Chappelle Show.  You see like Jamie Foxx this comedian has the jones for music too.  And if you are familiar with Brady’s ability to imitate other voices, it shouldn’t be a surprise that he did this project.  Wayne Brady did Vegas for a while.  Apparently the record executives heard him incorporate his singing into the show.  They asked him to do it the way he had on stage without changing anything.  This is the result – an old skool soulful throw back sound that is mature and ready for immediate play on your CD player.  Brady has chops!  To go along with it he has great production value and my favorite word again… originality.  He definitely rocks his own style and took this work seriously.  It clearly shows.  This shit music is pimp!

And then there is this….

WHACK ASS ALBUM OF THE SEASON…..

Joe Thomas, New Man

I was listening to Joe’s, “New Man.”  I had to look at the CD again and make sure it wasn’t Neo or Chris Brown instead.  I don’t know what happened other than perhaps they are trying to draw a new and younger audience.  The funny thing is that the best parts of the CD of the last 5 snippets of music that is supposed to be released in Feburary 2009.  All five of those sounds hot!  I don’t know about the new man, but please Joe, bring back the old man!  On the upside at least the brother got resistered to vote yesterday thanks to Tom Joyner. 

Something Else (Includes Six Bonus Tracks) [Amazon.com Exclusive]

Looking forward to that Robin Thicke scheduled to be released on September 30th….

Droppin’ It Like Its Hot… Today

Its funny – I had never been a huge Eric Benet fan.  Thats almost by default though.  You see I have a lot of his music, and I really do enjoy his old school R&B flavor.  But for some reason I just never really took his music too seriously.  Perhaps it was his pretty boy image I shunned.  Kind of like watching Shamar Moore in movies.  I would say to myself, “If that n*gga wasn’t all pretty nobody would cast him.”  Perhaps it was the fairy tale failed marriage to Halle Berry.  “How can you mess that up brotha?  Damn! You IDIOT!!”  I don’t know. 

I gave Benet another chance over a year ago when I listened to his CD titled, “Hurricane.”  And though I didn’t care for the hit single, “I Wanna Be Loved, ” (perhaps cause radio tends to repeat songs so much they make me outright HATE them) I did enjoy most of the rest.  Then I got into his older stuff and enjoyed that too.

Now I am a big fan of his music and I really dig the new single, “Your The Only One.”  Talk about HOT.  That is the JAM!  His new CD is drops today and I will be picking it up with the quickness – at least this week when my personal music source hooks me up!  Benet’s music may be growing on me, but I also think he’s growing period.  The songs are mature – definitely not catering to the kids.  This is grown folks music – and I look forward to flowing with the vibes from a cat that puts me in the mind of classic R&B romantic songs.

 

BB&G Presents: Music Week

Music is a huge part of my life.  I always said if I had to choose to be blind or deaf I would have to forfeit sight because my eyes only allow me to see the physical.  Through my ears I can hear words that have power and melodies that spark imagination which can create images as real as eternity itself.  Truly there is a song for every thought, feeling and emotion.  Music tells of the tragic, the triumphs, the dreams and the hopeful.  It takes the temperature of the times, tells of the past and projects towards the future.  Bob Dylan once said, “I don’t care who makes the laws, as long as I write the songs.”  This alone should tell you the power of music.  It can make you laugh, throw your hands up, dance, cry, reflect, and even go to sleep.  From R&B to Jazz, from bee bop to hip hop, country to pop, bossa nova, folk, classical and reggae – music to me reveals the soul of the world. 

This week I would like to share some of my perspectives of the music that helped shape my life.  As well as discuss with you some ideas of yours and mine regarding differing music subject matters.  I will start things off but invite you to join in and make this discussion as diversified as the music itself.  I figure we can start off with a week’s worth of subjects and see where it goes from there.  Lets kick it off with our first topic.

Big Time Freshman Debuts

You ever come across an album that you hear from a new artist, and the album is so good they darn near have to play every song on it before its past its prime?  Boy oh boy I can think of some, especially during the 80s and 90s that just jumped off the charts either mainstream or just in my own personal mix.  These are a list of 10 of some of my most significant debuts that rocked my earphones and are still classics today.  Agree or disagree with mine?  Tell me some of yours!  Remember it has the be the artist’s first album!  I started to put down Michal Jackson’s “Off The Wall.”  But not only did Michael have a full career with his brothers previously, he also had solo projects during those early years.  So that album didn’t qualify.  Lets get to it!

Mary J Blige, “Whats the 411”  July 28, 1992

Keith Sweat, “Make It Last Forever”  November 24, 1987 – Sweat has since had many very good projects and has successfully produced.  But none top this first stunna!

Whitney Houston, “Whitney Houston” 1985 – Produced by Kashif! Remember that dude? We will have a discussion about Whitney later in the week.  A pure R&B soul classic piece of work.  She has since made a lot of money, but hasn’t done anything to touch this one yet. 

Toni Braxton, “Toni Braxton” – I mean can you have a better debut than this? Everything on the album played on the radio extensively.  For a long time she lived off the reputation of this CD!

Teena Marie, “Wild And Peaceful” – A little old school for some of you.  But Teena broke out a flavor that was all her own, totally original a mixture of R&B grooves with classically technical vocals and a bossa nova jazz tempo. 

R Kelly, by Public Announcement “Born Into The 90s” – This Chicago native borrowed from the best of them.  But his sound is still a brand that is well respected.  R Kelly makes hits cause he simply knows what people want and he gives it to them.

Sade, “Diamond Life” 1984 – I don’t even need to elaborate on this.  You already know!

Amy Grant, 1977 – Ahh surprised huh?  You can’t sleep on Grant.  I used to call her Amy ‘Grammy’, as she has six of them.  Remember too that in her early career her music only sold in Christian bookstores.  She is a pioneer. 

TLC, “Ooh On The TLC Tip”  1992

LL Cool J, “Radio” 1985 – Probably the longest running career for a hip hop artist.  Ice Cube has to be the next in terms of relevant and currently influential performing hip hop artist for a quarter of a century.  Though the music is pre-historic by today’s standards, Def Jam was on a wing and a prayer back then, Radio still rocks today.

Ok – So I know there is a lot more out there and it’s impossible to cover close to all of the best debuts ever.  Tell us some more and bring some more to my rememberance!