“MISS YOU” AALIYAH
During my first full year teaching high school, one of my students was crying at the start of class. I asked her what was wrong? She told me that her favorite singer, Aaliyah, had just died in a plane crash. Twelve years ago, in the Bahamas after filming her “Rock The Boat” video, we witnessed another tragic case of a loss of an iconic artist on the rise. Like Selena, so much unfulfilled potential, both saw major success in their short career and were on the verge of reaching their full potential. Aaliyah was nicknamed the “princess of R&B” starting with her R Kelly produced debut CD, Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number, at the age of 14! It was one of the best R&B albums of the 90’s. She only lived 22 years but sold close to 30 million records worldwide. Here’s a beautiful tribute video including so many of her peers, friends, and family.
“IN MY HOUSE” MARY JANE GIRLS
Coming off the hits, Super Freak and Give It To Me Baby, Rick James was such a big star on Motown in the early 80’s that he had almost free reign to do whatever he wanted. Produce a song sung by Eddie Murphy? Sure thing, Mr James! Rick wanted to produce a solo album for one of his female backup singers. As luck would have it, the solo record became a group project for Rick’s proteges, the Mary Jane Girls. They scored big with “All Night Long” and “Candy Man” on their first record, then came their second release and the sexy Top 10 smash, “In My House“. The PMRC (the group that wanted warning labels on records) added this song to their “Filthy Fifteen” as records to ban from radio. Despite their efforts, the song became a worldwide best-seller.
“SURVIVOR” JOE BUDDEN
Rap music’s “beef” battles are notorious for two artists going head-to-head lyrically dissing each other. Sometimes the stakes get high such as Tupac’s “Hit Em Up”, which some say played a role in his murder. Joe Budden is a Jersey rapper who’s been in countless beef battles with major rap stars including Jay-Z, The Game, Busta Rhymes, G-Unit, and the Wu Tang Clan. “Beef” battles are fairly unique to rap, you never heard about Donnie from New Kids on The Block gunning down one of the Backstreet Boys. “Survivor” is actually a song of hope and determination with radio friendly lyrics, wish Joe would have released more like this.