There You Go, Jennifer Hudson

If I didn’t know any better, I’d say Jennifer Hudson’s finally found a musical style that will work for her. “Walk It Out” is super cute. It’s kind of like, “Yeah, I’m grown-grown, but I can still give you a stripper kick and turn that cherry out.” As someone who just turned 30, I appreciate such a sentiment. Or better yet, the song is like the musical equivalent of getting your stuffy homegirl loose at the club after a few drinks.

And I really, really like that this is the second song in a row that I’ve heard from J. Hud that didn’t make me want to shout, “This is why Deena Jones got all of the leads!”

All praises to Pharrell and Evelyn Champagne King for “I Can’t Describe (The Way I Feel).” And now, applause-applause for  Timbaland, who has upped the ante. By the way, I hear you in the background, Justin Timberlake. You sound good, sir. How about you sing background on a Janet Jackson comeback single? Nah, I ain’t forgot.

Anyway, I love this Jennifer Hudson single and that is not something my fingers are not used to typing.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I don’t think Jennifer Hudson can sing and she hasn’t had her moments before. See, “No One Gonna Love You.” However, mama can be so loud. Like, I’m so glad J. Hud’s producers have got her to stop screaming as if she was Jesus’ alarm clock.

Not to mention, a lot of her music sounded unnecessarily old. I know she was being positioned as a Whitney Houston and Aretha Franklin like vocalist. Okay, but even Whitney Houston’s earlier work included some fun, youthful uptempos. Hell, so did the stuff towards the end. I know y’all remember the hood auntie classic (this is a compliment),  “Whatchulookinat.” Also, even Mean Re-Re had “Rock Steady,” baby, plus “A Rose Is Still A Rose.”

It’s about time Jennifer Hudson stepped out of the Dionne Warwick’s Bid Whist party long enough to shimmy with folks who still have their original teeth. I mean,  this was the then-20 something woman who had a song about smacking someone with their pocketbook. Sure, she tried before, but that song she had with Rick Ross was some Banshee ‘n B shit. Nope.

Now, I did notice a hint of Beyoncé in the vocal arrangement and delivery of “Walk It Out.” The inflections seem very KING BEY and I get the feeling this song might’ve been presented to her during recording sessions. This is not a jab to J.Hud. Singing tracks intended for Beyoncé is probably the best creative decision she’s made in a long time. A few other women should probably consider doing the same thing.

My favorite lines (clearly) are:

“I be on, I be on, I be-I be on that good shit. I be on, I be on – yup! – on that hood shit. You gotta take me out. Let me show how to approach me now. If we do it right, you can turn me out.”

Yes, Jennifer. Sing my life story. This song is so fun and playful. Glad you loosened up. It wasn’t but a month or so ago that Jennifer was talking about how singing about sex is “overrated.” That was some bullshit then and it was bullshit now.

There may be an imbalance in music with respect to subject matter, and yes, some people sing about sex in the corniest of ways (Pharrell’s new album is a nice example. Dude still sings about sex like a desperate virgin in the band.) However, sex is fantastic and sex songs are good. Ain’t nothing wrong with crooning about getting some.

Happy you could join the celebrating, Ms. Hudson. Keep it up.

EBONY: [THE WEEKLY READ] A Group Session

If you have a sibling and can recall a time in which your mammy or pappy called you, your brother and sister, and maybe a cousin for a circular butt whooping, you know how this edition of The Weekly Read is going to go. I’m not going to cut a real switch, but there are numerous people who have tried it this week and need to stop it post haste.

So, in my best Mystikal voice, here I go, here I go…

Toni Braxton

Toni, I love you the way you love a high slit, but what in the hell were you talking about when you told Bethenny Frankel about your divorce, “Yes, I am in LA and my ex-husband is there but we get along great. We are very Caucasian, very white about it?”

In your mind, a Black divorce is, “I hate you Jody, I hate you Jody. That’s what it means to Black people.” To make it worse, you added, “Black people will kind of look and say why is that? Why don’t they hate each other?”

First of all, the Baby Boy couple wasn’t even married, so that reference doesn’t make sense. Now I don’t know what planet you’re on, Shug Avery of R&B (all hail Fresh for that reference), but in the rest of our worlds white people have just as tumultuous divorces as everyone else. See Mia Farrow and Woody Allen or any of Charlie Sheen’s ex-wives.  And hell, take a stroll through one of these gentrified streets of Brooklyn or Harlem.

It is Black History Month, madam, so you needn’t be embarrassing us like that in front of company. I love your new album, though. I even bought it. Don’t make me regret it.

The Other Braxtons

I’ve been such a big fan of Braxton Family Values because its scope has largely been, “What if Cinderella got along with her wicked stepsisters?” However, after a couple of seasons and far too much hostility in a short amount of time, I increasingly feel weird about watching this. Like, it’s giving me flashbacks to the period of my life in which I wouldn’t invite friends over due to fears that an impromptu curse out might break out at any second. Though I’m used to seeing our people fight like high school girls on TV, it’s not as entertaining (forgive me for enjoying conflict conflated with alcohol and forced situations) when you realize the people fighting are kinfolk.

In recent interviews, the sourest apple of the bunch, Towanda Braxton, has gone out of her way to claim that media and people surfboarding through social media are making a big deal out of nothing. “Nothing” being the obvious jealousy she harbors towards her sister, Tamar Braxton. I’m used to celebrities blaming the media for the problems they created for themselves, but that’s something especially annoying about Towanda blaming audiences for daring to use their senses to detect her unnecessary shade.

Sorry, Towanda, you Yolanda Adams clone, you. But it’s not the media comparing your baby sister achieving a lifelong dream to passing gas or discounting her first award by declaring, “It’s not like it’s an Oscar.” It may not be an Oscar, but it’s more than what you ever won. As for you airing on Tamar’s husband’s tax debt on Twitter: If not for that man, Tamar and Toni’s involvement in the reality show, the only headlines you’d have on the Google would be for writing bad checks. Yes, I remember that. As should you.

If this family is going to treat each other the way Jermaine Jackson treated Michael on that infamous dis track “Word To The Badd,” y’all gotta get off reality TV and report directly to family therapy.

Katy Perry

Read the rest at EBONY.com.

Let Mýa Make It

Although she doesn’t want or need my pity, I am often sorry for Mýa. A few of my friends will say “fret not for Mýa, for she is the Beyoncé of Japan or the Rihanna of Taiwan,” but we all know that’s not true. Beyoncé and Rihanna are the Beyoncé and Rihanna of everywhere in this solar system. Okay, Japan does seem to provide safe haven for Black artists of the 1990s, but Mýa should still be a thing stateside.

She’s pretty with a great body, can actually sing, is a trained dancer, writes, has made her own beats, and had legitimate hits. See “It’s All About Me,” “Best Of Me,” “Case of The Ex,” “My Love Is Like…Wo,” plus the “Lady Marmalade” remake and whatever that lil’ Rugrats soundtrack song was called. Wait, it was called “Take Me There.” Yeah, I never really liked that song, but I know it was hit. Whatever, you get it. The girl wasn’t like…Christina Milian, who only had a single hit and a half to her name (and Ja Rule’s).

And yet, we don’t even give Mýa Paula Abdul-levels of adoration. Hell, does she even get Pebbles or Jody Watley-like celebration? The Moodring was too good an album for Mýa to be ignored this way. Then again, it did come out the same summer as Dangerously In Love, Chapter II, and After The Storm. I’d include Mary J. Blige’s Love & Life album, but y’all hated that. So while Moodring went gold, it was overshadowed.

Story of Mýa’s life. Poor girl. See, there I go again. I can’t help it.

I’ve always wondered what exactly happened with Mýa. She didn’t have the sort of big personality that propelled many of her peers. And she clearly didn’t hire a publicist who could find a way around it. The only thing I ever heard about Mýa on a personal level came from Wendy Williams — and I’m not repeating any of that here.

Or maybe her application for the Illuminati was thrown in the shredder by a hater. I don’t know, but she had a nice little run (that still seemed overlooked at the time) and then she went to Tokyo and America went, “Sayounara, sis.”

That said, Mýa hasn’t exactly done herself favors over the years. When she wasn’t creating R&B for Japanese Disney Radio, she was recording birthday dance tracks that sounded like it was made primarily for Club Seventh Circle, hosted by your least favorite party promoter and the Towanda Braxton to the Jesus’ Tamar, Satan. Finally, her music has returned to something reminiscent of what made me like her ass to begin with.

With Love reminds me of Moodring, only it’s a slightly older and more mature cousin. I enjoyed it so much that I gave Mýa my $3.96 on iTunes for the EP. From my understanding, she wants to remain on the independent route. Mýa wants the control and lion’s share of whatever amount of albums she makes. Such is her right. That’ll make it harder for her to gain back even a fraction of the success she used to have, but what does it matter if the coin isn’t correct?

One thing is for sure, though: If she creates music more like this, she’ll continue to get my (monetary) support. I would also like to hear more songs like the unreleased track “Backseat,” produced by Pharrell. I wish Pharrell would go find her and help her out. The girl’s still got it. Do you all remember Janet’s ICON special? Mýa deserves another chance.

Hell, she deserves one of the many chances we kept giving to Ciara (in vain). Give the EP listen. Give Mýa’s new EP a chance, y’all. Good luck, girl.

Oh, Mariah

At one point do you look in the mirror and say, “I’m too old damn for this bullshit?” I will always and forever cherish Mariah Carey. I love this woman the way she loves all things prepubescent; the way Hoda and Kathie Lee love wine o’clock; the way Rick Ross loves a good tall tale (insert aggressive grunt here). As a matter of fact, I am singing “Honey” aka a legendary ditty about going down while writing this. My dedication to Mimi is unwavering, but I did look at this pictures and feel a little sad.

I know, I know. Mariah is who she is. I get it. Still, girl, what? Leave it to Mariah Carey to challenge the limits of my progressivism.

Why does she look like the old whore of Candyland?

I’m all for a woman of a certain age owning her sexuality. Mariah is getting older, but that doesn’t mean “that pussy old, that pussy creaky.” Yet, here I sit stumped. Mimi, a bra made out of Valentine’s Day candy? I mean, that’s probably fun for a horny diabetic ready for a night of sex themed around “titties and treats,” though I’m not sure this should’ve made its way to the ‘gram.

Like, when is someone going to say, “Mariah, you’re not Blanche Devereaux yet, but you’re about two or three birthdays away from Samantha Jones territory. Maybe it’s time to stop dressing like a tween gon’ wild?”

I guess not anytime soon. What is the theme of this video? Tinkerbell’s sex dreams? Oh, Mariah. That said, I do like her new single “We Still Belong Together On The Top Of The Charts” “You’re Mine (Eternally).”

I also absolutely adore her in this interview with “The Breakfast Club.” She is so ridiculous and it’s always pleasant in radio interviews.

Not so much select visuals. I suppose you have to take the good with the bad. Why do I get the feeling she’ll be swimming in a pool full of Sweet Tarts in her 50s? Wait, why am I even acting surprised by any of this? Mariah Carey is a part crooner, part cashew. I would love it if someone would reel it in, but that’s like mission improbable.

Lamb forever, but…oh, fuck it.

VIBE: ‘Love & Hip-Hop New York’ Reunion Pt. 2 Recap: Tears Of A Clown

If I could describe part two of Love & Hip Hop: New York’s reunion in song, I’d go with the following tracks: Mary J. Blige’s “Everyday It Rains,” Eve’s “Love Is Blind,” K. Michelle’s “Can’t Raise A Man,” Banggaz’s “Run Up Get Done Up,” and any especially misogynistic rap track released within the past 20 years – or maybe all of them.

Yes, last night’s #LHHNY closer was another exercise in exhaustion and despondency. And while I’ve enjoyed the fourth season of Mona’s Madhouse, I’m so glad we’ve reached the end. I feel like I need therapy with the rest of the whole cast. Whew. Sh’mon with the Atlanta version of this franchise, Vh1. I need some laughter after all of this sadness. —Michael Arceneaux (@youngsinick)

1. Tears Of A Clown

Much like Tara, it took Amina Buddafly three teaspoons of total humiliation for her to finally understand that she cannot change the womanizing ways of Peter Gunz. Like any person in love, Amina wanted her feelings and her relationship with Peter validated. As in, “I’m not just like any of the women you cheated on Tara with.” To Amina’s credit, Peter did marry her so there must’ve been something about their relationship that made her “special.” Clearly, not special enough because Peter made it apparent that no woman in his life compares to Tara and had he known that Tara still had feelings for him, he would’ve never married Amina.

I almost felt bad for Amina when she pulled out that pissy pregnancy test out of her bra and threw it in Peter’s face to confirm that she’s carrying his child, thinking maybe that would be his aha moment and he’d really own where he is in life and the woman living it with him. Nope. Peter doesn’t hug her when Amina says she’s pregnant. Instead, he pouts and ultimately walks away. Amina just sits there, looking like a gumbo comprised of pity, sour grapes and damn, I fucked my life up.
Now one on one, Mo’Nique asks Tara if she has anything to say to Amina. Tara says, “I feel bad for you. I feel bad for you that at 30, the man you’ve married can’t hold your hand and hug you when you tell him that you’re pregnant.” Damn. That hurt my feelings. Worse, after talking to Tahiry backstage, Peter asks Mo’Nique to speak to Tara alone. Not surprisingly, Amina throws a tear-filled fit, demanding to hear exactly what Peter says to Tara.

Peter gives a tearful apology (through his black sunglasses), saying he thought doing the show would be beneficial to him, Tara and Amina, and he never intended to hurt Tara because she deserves better. He apologizes for the humiliation he put her through, noting that he would never do it again because he’s removing himself from her life. Afterwards, Tara tells Mo’Nique: “I feel bad for him. I feel bad that life has not taught him to be a better person.” More, “And now he left our household searching for an outlet and how this outlet has turned to another household that he now needs to run from.”

You know, Tara is really adept at slanging these retweetable, enlightened ass quotes.

I think their segment, and for that matter this entire three-ways-of-trife storyline can be best summed by what Peter told Tara backstage: “What kind of father am I? If you’re not good to their mother, then you’re not a good dad. Shit is just fucked up. I’m just…disgusted with myself.”

As you should be, sir. As you should be. Oh yeah, he also said earlier in the episode, “I’m too old to be acting like this.” Now if you know all of this, Peter Gunz, will you finally do something about it?

Read the rest of the recap at VIBE.com.

VIBE: ‘Love & Hip-Hop New York’ Reunion Recap: Breakups To Makeups

Last night, those poor unfortunate souls known as the cast of Love & Hip Hop: New Yorkgathered for their reunion special. Well, all of them minus K. Michelle, who was probably on somebody’s stage singing about cognac and screwing someone like she’s trying to pay bills. Fair enough. After all, it wasn’t like she was really part of this season’s narrative anyway.

Now if you were looking for growth, humility and reconciliation, you should’ve been watching the OWN Sunday morning programming you have sitting on your DVR. This was the Love & Hip Hop: New York reunion, and if you’re familiar with this group of reality personalities, you know how hardheaded they’ve shown themselves to be all season long. Maybe self-realization will come in part two. Until then, here are some thoughts on part one of Love & Hip-Hop New York: The Reunion. —Michael Arceneaux (@youngsinick)

1. Why Are You Here, Mo’Nique?

Before we got into the reunion, Mo’Nique tries to answer the burning question in many people’s minds: “Why in the hell are you here?” Before she became an Oscar-winning actress, Mo’Nique worked with VH1 as the host of Flavor of Love Girls: Charm School. Not to be all saddity about it, but Queen Latifah scored only an Oscar nomination and the only check she collects from Viacom is the one for executive producing Single Ladies. And Jennifer Hudson has been hollering on stage and on the big screen ever since her win.

To be fair, Mo’Nique does explain that on one faithful Saturday afternoon, she found herself so enthralled with the show. Let her tell it, she realized “what an adventure it was.” Call me cynical, but I bet that was after she had already signed the contract and VH1 shipped her homework. She tries to make it seem like her being there is some sort of noble act, but rumor has it she’s alienated many people in Hollywood, and to quote Young Jeezy, “And Georgia Power won’t give a n*gga lights free.”

2. “Hi, I’m Here, Too”

Poor Cyn Santana. If I were her, I’d use this cheap fame to get on that Evelyn Lozada career and relationship plan and keep it moving. Her relationship with Erica Mena has always seemed like a farce, though I will say that Cyn appears to be legitimately into Erica. However, on Erica’s end, it just seems like she found a girl that looks like her and then decided to treat her the way she felt Rich should have treated her.

As Cyn said so herself, “All I hear is ‘Rich, Rich, Rich, Rich, Rich.’” Yes, and even I’m sick of it. Mo’Nique tries to talk to all three, but we all knew how that was gonna go down even before it happened. Erica yells at Rich in sheer rage – proving just how much she still cares for him. Meanwhile, Cyn sits there wondering if she turned into Casper The Spanish Ghost.

The Cyn vs. Rich over Erica portion of the reunion takes up a significant portion of the broadcast. But yeah, they’re not worth obsessing over. Cyn herself says backstage,
“They’re clearly still in love with each other. This is nothing new.” Then figure out what you’re gonna do, Cyn, and save us all from their “Will they? Won’t they?” asses.

Oh, and Erica: “I didn’t ask for this.” Girl, whatever. You are the maker of your madness. Your hair was cute, though.

Read the rest at VIBE

 

EBONY: 2014 Grammy Awards: The Highs and (Mostly) Lows

To their credit, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences didn’t give Black people any pretense that the show wasn’t going to piss a bunch of us off. All but one of the hip hop and R&B categories were given before the telecast began, and for the most part, the winners in each category elicited some variation of “hell no” as a response. Based on the majority of the winners, many of them won for not necessarily being the best in their category but, rather, for being the Black name that old White men best recognized.

For example, you seem like a doll, Alicia Keys, but there’s a reason why Girl On Fire is your lowest selling album to date. Likewise, I love Rihanna like she loves a Swisher Sweet, but her winning “Best Urban Contemporary Album” aka “Best Of Those New Blacks” over Tamar Braxton, Mack Wilds, Fantasia, and Salaam Remi seemed wrong. Is there no safe place for any straight up R&B artist?

No, unless you’re Justin Timberlake, who conveniently picked up an R&B Award (Best R&B Song, “Pusher Love Girl”) while also scoring a nod for “Suit & Tie” in a pop category. Now, if any Black act sang that same song, it’d be relegated to the Best Traditional R&B category (which went to Gary Clark, Jr.’s “Please Come Home.” Congrats to him and to Lalah Hathaway, who took Best R&B Performance for Snarky Puppy’s “Something.”)

Speaking of things that don’t belong, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis took every rap category (Best Rap Album, Best Rap Song, Best Rap Performance), minus the one award that went to Jay Z (Best Rap/Sung Collaboration, with Justin Timberlake for “Holy Grail”), plus Best New Artist

Now, much of the online commentary about Macklemore’s essential sweep was, “You already know how it is, so why are you acting surprised?” You know, I’m never surprised when it rains, but that doesn’t mean I still can’t be bothered if I get too wet going outside.

For some of you “awards don’t matter,” but to many others they do which is why it can be both unsurprising and yet still glaringly offensive to see Macklemore best Kendrick Lamar in rap categories.

For the record, no, it’s not Macklemore’s fault that he benefits from White privilege, and yes, he’s a peach for acknowledging he has it. Nonetheless, if people want to complain about a so-so spoken word artist posing as a rapper getting major awards for a mediocre product in comparison to a much better emcee, so be it. No one, especially not a Black person, needs to toss on a cap and rush to defend Macklemore.

Never forget: He is a White man. Not only that, a White man doing a Black art form. No thinkpiece formed against him shall prosper.

As for the Grammys overall: insert your big yawn here. This show was geared more so towards White men over the age of 50 who are heavily into rock and country music acts past their prime. For those folks, last night’s award show probably turned that cherry out. When it comes to the rest of us, we had far less highlights.

Among them was Beyoncé and Jay Z’s performance of “Drunk in Love.” To be honest, while it was one of the better performances of the night, Beyoncé herself has done much, much better in other settings. One assumes her and her husband’s thought process going in was, “You raggedy, Kendrick Lamar-snubbing folks are even lucky we bothered to grace y’all with our presence.” If so, right on, girl, and shout out to you for throwing up Third Ward on stage and sipping on brown liquor in the front row of the show. Your Black is beautiful.
The others:

Pink: Alas, like Ciara had the matrix, she has spinning in the air like a Ringling Sister. Yes, it’s impressive, but she does this bit a lot. Oh well.
See you next flip.

Taylor Swift: Many of you hate her, but her offbeat bop to “Drunk in Love” and Kendrick Lamar’s set was fun to watch.

Read the rest at EBONY.

VIBE: ‘Love & Hip-Hop New York’ Recap: Marry Me… Or Nah?

Last night’s episode of Love & Hip-Hop: New York did not make me want to curse profusely or throw my remote in a fit of frustration. For those of you who have been following the show and my recaps in the past couple weeks, you realize what a proud moment this is.

Honestly, there was some growth displayed by a number of characters, and minus Erica Mena’s girlfriend and almost boyfriend, everyone was relatively civil and downright tranquil. Of course, that can only last for so long (a whole week), which means we need to cherish the moment until the ruckus returns (and we can cherish that, too). —Michael Arceneaux (@youngsinick)

The Bird vs. The Cornball

Cyn Santana and Erica Mena are a 1990s Cinemax softcore flick guised as a meaningful relationship. To that end, last night Cyn celebrates her birthday, so not surprisingly, Erica does it up for her – throwing her a party, getting her a party dress, blah, blah, and then some. I’m waiting for the day Erica presents her with a diamond and Cyn shouts, “Thank you, Big Daddy!” in the future. She really appears to love the idea of being a sugar daddy. Whatever floats your boat.

In addition to Cyn’s birthday, Erica celebrates the release of her sex book, which leads to another poorly, and unfortunately, yet another conversation with Rich about where they stand. I’m so tired of being dragged into this conversation via camera footage, so I can only imagine how exhausted Rich must be with actually having to carry it out so often. Like clockwork, as soon as those two start talking, Cyn steps in to get slick with Rich instead of dealing with her real problem: Erica Mena. I can’t stand people who are so consumed with the “other” person that they can’t see that no one should have to work that hard to keep a person that ought to be theirs if they’re truly that committed.

In any event, after being called “corny” one too many times, Rich goes ahead and tells Cyn that she’s a “bird” who Erica needs to put back in her cage with a Daily Newsunderneath her. Rich has repeatedly tried to be nice to Cyn, only to be disrespected in return. She might not like being called a bird, but what I just described is typical insecure bird behavior. You’re still cute, though, Cyn, if that’s anything.

Anger Is Still Your Answer, Keyshia Cole

Given Keyshia Cole’s last major hit was the one members of the #Beyhive placed upon the back of her head, I’m delighted to know she’s going back to what works for her.

I don’t wish misery on anyone much less the daughter of Frankie Lons, but Keyshia’s music is best when it caters to the following themes: Fuck that nigga. Fuck that nigga, he ain’t shit. Fuck that ain’t shit nigga. Sure, she has her moments when she can offer a gem when she’s singing about the joys of love and sex. The little known track “Hey Sexy” comes to mind. Still, most of Keyshia Cole’s fans – self-included – prefer Keyshia Cole when she’s cursing someone out.

That’s not to say she isn’t capable of singing more lovey dovey songs, but a lot of her decline can be attributed to her trying to sell us an image of herself that didn’t exist yet. It took Mary J. Blige a smooth decade before she introduced “Happy Mary J. Blige” and even then she had suffered some bumps in the road initially. You know, the Love & Life album that y’all didn’t buy. Or the one before it, No More Drama, which was essentially saved by “Family Affair” and “Rainy Dayz” from the rerelease. Whew, white people and old Black aunties and uncles love the hell out of some “Family Affair.”

In any event, Keyshia Cole was trying to serve you Happy Mary J. Blige in less than half the time, only it didn’t work because her “happier” themed reality show (among other things — like her opening her mouth) proved that she was still always two snide remarks away from potentially pulling out the razor blade from underneath her tongue and stabbing you in the neck. Where you at, Oakland?

And God Bless her throat, but it wasn’t made for some of the pop songs she attempted to sing. Girl, that’s not your purpose. The same goes for that one time I saw you sitting by Paris Hilton’s bed looking confused as the MTV cameras role.

That said, while I do think Keyshia Cole is at her best when she’s abrasive, I don’t think that she necessarily has to be angry to offer good, commercially viable music. The same goes for anyone else, including Our Lady of the Somber Bop, Mary J. Blige. Soul music doesn’t have to make you want to slit your wrist after one too many sips of Wild Turkey and Jack Daniels Honey, but it does have to actually be soulful — which requires you to sing from the heart. It you don’t sing it with conviction, consumers are going to know that and not buy accordingly. That ultimately is the larger issue that gets ignored in the sad vs. happy music debate we have about acts like MJB and her Solange, Keyshia Cole.

Keyshia, Mary can get away with singing soulless Christmas tunes made for the department stores of the country versus the hoods of the world because she gave us a whole decade of music we can always go back to. She’s family at this point whereas you remain that play cousin we’re cool with, but still won’t invite over for no more than a few hours.

Which is why Keyshia Cole can quietly continue to move a couple hundred thousand units each release – no easy feat for an R&B artist in today’s climate – but be seen as a declining act all the same. After all, K. Michelle has stolen all of Keysh’s old red packets of Kool-Aid for hair inspiration and won over fans with her mixtapes and album that gives The Way It Is (with a better voice) teases.

There’s room for both, but Keysh, there’s nothing like you singing about a bullshit man with your blend of sore throat-sounding hip hop soul. Maybe you can try that happy thing later. Say, when you actually seem your happiest. Like, many of us have come to accept that Mary is in a different space. We just hope that space incorporates more R&B when it can ala My Life II: The Journey continues. That’s not a common sentiment held for you, though, sis.

Until that changes, stick to songs like “Loyal Freestyle.” Well, without Sean Kingston. That’s not okay and you need to know that.

VIBE: ‘Love & Hip-Hop New York’ Recap: Will Tahiry Become Mrs. Joe Budden?

On last night’s Rap & Recklessness Love & Hip Hop: New York, numerous cast members pretended to be over with people we all know they’re going to go back to. Yes, the usual narrative.

Peter continued to base his relationship commitments on a game of duck duck goose; Erica Mena pressed on with her mission to pit Cyn and Rich against each other; Joe keeps on trying to win Tahiry back for the millionth time; Tara is still talking that talk to us, yeah.

Join me in rolling my eyes by reading the recap in full, why don’t you? —Michael Arceneaux (@youngsinick)

1. K. Michelle, Fix My Situation

K. Michelle is like poorly executed product placement on this show. For some strange reason, she has turned into the hood’s Ask Prudence and Dear Abby on this show. Personally, I’d ask K. Michelle for her advice about brown liquor & BBQ sauce, but anything else is pushing it. Then again, if you’re Peter Gunz, I suppose anyone else in a 10-mile radius is wiser.

He is such a draining person to watch. Every week Peter commits horrible acts then feigns aloofness that bad behavior has consequences. It’s a testament to the entertainment value of sociopaths in the reality genre, but I feel like I’ve been watching Peter Gunz forever and it’s only been nine episodes. Stevie J is quite the horrible mate, but he’s at least funny. There’s no humor in Peter Gunz and his follies. Hell, the same goes for the rest of the other miserable saps on this show.

In any event, K. Michelle tells Peter to reach out to Amina. I imagine it’s because while she doesn’t go as far back with Tara as producers may suggest, she is nonetheless not aiming to put the woman in any more misery with that man. Besides, Amina is a rare breed of sucker and more susceptible to his nonsense. Earlier in the show, Amina speaks with a homegirl and during the confessional portion of that segment, she says, “If this is how he treats our marriage then how can I trust him with my career?”

Oh, girl. Him being a horrible person to date doesn’t mean he can’t facilitate a singing career with you. Well, in theory anyway. Y’all have already sank that ship with this relationship and the wack ass theme song to go with it. Even so, the bigger problem is you chose to mix business with pleasure when you know for a fact that man was involved with someone.

Anyway, Peter gives Amina some sorry PowerPoint presentation with a bunch of pictures she likely took and that seemed to solve their problem – him still having sex with the woman whose home Amina helped break up. Another week of this nonsense and I’m calling immigration on Amina. Hell, Peter, too.