I’ve got the greatest Fergie story! So I’m in the 2nd row for Christina Aguilera & Justin Timberlake’s big tour in 2003. I’m sitting in the center, right by the stage, and the 4 prime seats to the left of me are empty while the opening act and Christina performed. The opening act was the Black Eyed Peas. They hadn’t hit it big yet. Their first big hit, “Where Is The Love” with Justin Timberlake was rising on the charts at the moment. Near the end of Christina’s set, 3 guys and a short girl with big MC Hammer hip hop pants sit next to us in the 2nd row. They looked so familiar 🙂 I’m sure you can guess, who I got to meet that night!
“YOU MUST LOVE ME” JAY-Z
From Jay-Z’s second CD, In My Lifetime Vol. 1, a hardcore autobiographical track from one of the most intelligent MC’s of all-time. Jay doesn’t pull any punches here, documenting his childhood mistakes, check out the opening line to his mom: “Since my date of birth brought you nothing but hurt.” Kelly Price is a guest vocalist and takes the song to church with her appeals for forgiveness. This isn’t the GQ, High Roller, Beyonce-marrying Jay-Z, this is the raw MC with intense Brooklyn street rhymes written right after his friend, Biggy, died. Even if you’re not into rap, you’ve got to appreciate the open, bold intensity of this track.
“BURN IT UP” (Ft. Wysin and Yandell) R.KELLY
Robert (R.) Kelly is one of the most underrated superstars in R&B. Yes, he’s famous for many chart topping hits but he’s mainly known for his mega-hit “I Believe I Can Fly”, his soap opera epic “Trapped In The Closet” and his bizarre criminal accusations. But at the heart of the matter, R. Kelly is a brilliant, creative producer and performer extraordinaire. Robert is a classic throwback R&B artist, at the same time he’s written some of the most beautiful gospel-tinged epics, and he’s not afraid to be creative and mix it up with new genres. Here he does an amazing song combining hip hop with hardcore reggaeton!
“BROOKLYN” MELKY SEDECK
From the HBO Film, Disappearing Act, starring Wesley Snipes and Sanaa Latham, comes this dramatic piano ballad. Even though the lyrics are heartbreaking, Melky’s performance is hopeful and inspiring. Melky is Wyclef Jean’s sister so I’m surprised she didn’t become a big star.