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Bless her heart: It’s been mighty rough for Tamar Braxton within the last year.

Not only was she forced to leave Dancing With the Stars because of a life-threatening health crisis, but her very good album, Calling All Lovers, caught the fade from consumers. Now one of the biggest breaks in her post-Braxton Family Values career—a slot on the hit daytime talk show The Real—has come to an abrupt end. While the official announcement claims that it was a mutual decision, the first outlet to report the news notes that Braxton was fired—something Braxton’s own fiery Instagram post suggests, since it claims “backstabbing.” Braxton didn’t name names, but she did unfollow everyone on the show except for her now-former-co-host-closest-to-the-ideals-of-Jesus, Tamera Mowry-Housley.

Quoting what it describes as a “very reliable source” (Wendy Williams suggested that it was Loni Love on Monday’s edition of The Wendy Williams Show), Love B. Scott reported: “Tamar Braxton just got fired from The Real. She wasn’t reading too well with the audience and sales people didn’t find her to be a good fit with advertisers. Also, production found her too difficult to deal with.”

Of course, when one reads phrasing like “didn’t find her to be a good fit with advertisers,” certain sensitivities are triggered. One of those includes the notion that maybe, just maybe, Tamar was too loud, and her rolling neck too active, to shill, oh, I don’t know, diet products, kale chips, Cheetos or whatever else daytime TV typically advertises. My people, my people. I feel you, but not in this instance.

Let’s be clear about The Real: Everyone on this show is loud minus Tamera, so while Tamar may be the real-life version of BET’s old cartoon character Cita, Loni Love has a volume set just as high (Jesus’ alarm clock).

As a longtime fan of Tamar Braxton’s (I listen regularly to the first album she pretends never happened), I think this is a teachable moment because I can totally see why Tamar might have gotten the boot. For one, she wasn’t always the most pleasant person on the panel. Her eyes rolled as hard as my body does after my sixth tequila drink (save the judgment) and the DJ turns on Beyoncé’s “Sorry.” She tended to talk over her fellow panelists. She could be dismissive here and there of their feelings, too.

In sum, she treated her co-workers the way Towanda Braxton claims she treats her sisters. The problem, though, is that there is no Mama Braxton to come and save her from their criticism. Moreover, these are co-workers, not kinfolk. Production doesn’t have to put up with you, especially once they realize that they don’t need you to survive. So as special as Tamar Braxton is and as magnetic a personality many find her, we’re all dispensable.

Shoutout to Star Jones and Rosie Perez.

I’m not Iyanla Vanzant, but I have a few suggestions for the littlest Braxton.

Read the rest at The Root.

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I’ve made it clear that I understood booking Madonna for a Prince tribute at this year’s Billboard Music Awards was BS in theory. So, now after actually watching the tribute last night, believe me when I tell you that I am reveling in all my truth the day after. God bless Madonna because I am a fan, but that tribute was not it. It was not even a lil’ bit of it.

The first problem with the tribute was song selection. I understand that Madonna really, really likes to sing, and to her credit, has worked hard over the years to maintain the voice that she has. Unfortunately, that voice remains incapable of delivering the emotion attached to the Prince songs she opted to cover. I wish she had hit her girl, Ursula The Sea Witch from The Little Mermaid on the hip and asked for a solid in order to secure a better voice for the occasion. Or, you know, Madonna could have just danced through a bunch of Prince’s uptempo tracks while others – including, I don’t know, some of the folks Prince worked with extensively over the years – would be left to handle the heavy weight.

Let’s talk about the set list, shall we? Madonna should have been covering “Let’s Go Crazy,” “Kiss,” or hell, even “Raspberry Beret.” Not, by any stretch, the two she opted for: “Nothing Compares 2 U” and “Purple Rain.” Speaking of the former, why exactly was Madonna singing the Sinead O’Connor version of “Nothing Compares 2 U?” If you’re going to sing a Prince song, sing the Prince song the way Prince actually sang it.

Beloved, WYD?

And what was with that cheap added instrumentation behind the track? Prince, the legendary and extremely gifted musician, would not have been pleased with such dollar-store sounding trickery. I know the always touring Madge knows better.

Speaking of well-meaning intentions going the way of Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign, why was Madonna dressed more like Liberace than the Purple One? Let’s reflect more on this: Madonna, queen of the visual, dressed like Michael Douglas’ body double in Behind the Candelabra for a Prince tribute.

Beloved, WYD?

Read the rest at EBONY.

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Of Beyoncé’s talents, her greatest might be her ability to make so many black women feel good and recognized in a world that actively tries to make them feel everything but. She makes my sister feel powerful, and my nieces feel beautiful and capable of achieving anything. She comforts, excites, and empowers my female friends in ways no man ever could. More often than not, Beyoncé makes art explicitly for black women. Of course, the rest of us are welcome to partake and enjoy, but her mission is clear.

Her short film, LEMONADE, which serves as the visual component of her album of the same name, is now the greatest example of this. LEMONADE is an hour-long account of personal heartbreak and perseverance that serves as an ode to black womanhood. It is for black women who have been handed lemons all their lives and manage to make something better of it all the same.

The film is incredibly ambitious. It spans several locations, urban and rural, intimate and expansive. We watch her levitate; writhe in water; leap from a building; take bats to some presumably trifling man’s car. She also rents a stadium that has hosted the Super Bowl like it’s a PO box.

There are other feats, too. Say, managing to wear black and yellow and looking stunning, as opposed to my normal association: a big ass bubble bee. Serena Williams, a spectacle for many wonderful reasons, makes an appearance, twerking for the Queen while Beyoncé pays subtle homage to the tennis star’s illuminating cover on a recent issue of Sports Illustrated.

And the looks! So many looks. The styling, the makeup, and the hair are all impeccable. One minute Beyoncé looks like she stepped off the runway, the next it’s as if she’s fresh from knocking the teeth out of the mouth of a side chick. Minutes later, her attire and stage setup suggest she’s summoning Satan for the turn up.

It’s sensory overload in the best way imaginable.

And like the “Formation” video, it’s black as fuck. Like that video, there are so many facets of blackness on display—Southern American blackness in particular. You might have to be from Texas or Louisiana to relate fully; I take immense joy in watching my fellow Houston native ride a horse down the street ever so casually. The same for the sight of marching bands and majorettes. This is everyday to many of us and it will never not be endearing how Beyoncé keeps how she grew up so close to her while also sharing it with the world.

Now, like many, there are numerous moments in which one wants to shout out, “What the hell did you do to Beyoncé, Jay Z?!” Follow up question: Do we need to put you back in an elevator with Solange, big homie?

Read the rest at Complex.

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Beyoncé shocked the world on Saturday night, but in some ways, her sixth album, Lemonade, isn’t all that different from its predecessor.

Like the Houston native’s eponymous fifth LP, Lemonade arrived after a lengthy bout of uncertainty: The album appeared on Tidal without warning, assuaging frantic fans with new tracks and captivating visuals to match. Lemonade also mirrors the structure of Beyoncé, with slow, haunting production that gives way to harder beats and a more intense delivery from the singer. Then she settles back down a bit, offering midtempo tracks and poignant ballads.

That said, the difference between Lemonade and Beyoncé is much like the difference between Beyoncé and 2011’s 4: The artist took something pretty damn amazing and had the audacity to make it even better.

Lemonade feels fuller because it features a wider range of emotions. Both albums deal with love; only here, someone not named Beyoncé screwed up, and it’s evident from the opening line of the album: “You can taste the dishonesty/It’s all over your breath as you pass it off so cavalier.”

Beyoncé is pissed, and angry Bey is a treat more listeners might finally appreciate thanks to this album. On her sophomore effort, B’Day, Beyoncé released “Ring the Alarm,” which was right in its tone and delivery – “I been through this too long/But I’ll be damned if I see another chick on your arm” – but nonetheless missed the mark: The song’s materialistic lyrics (“She gon’ be rockin’ chinchilla coats if I let you go …”) made it seem hollow. Here, her fury hits home because it stems from what feels like real heartbreak. This album isn’t about a chinchilla fur; it’s about figuring out what to do in light of broken promises.

On “Don’t Hurt Yourself,” Beyoncé sneers, “Who the fuck do you think I am?/You ain’t married to no average bitch, boy.” Next comes “Sorry,” where she informs us, “Me and my baby, we gon’ be alright/We gon’ live a good life/Big Homie better grow up.”

There’s already debate as to whether or not Beyoncé would really expose marital problems – namely her husband’s infidelity – to the masses. It’s hard to parse whether or not some of the material references her experiences with Jay Z, or her father, Mathew Knowles, or perhaps an imaginary scenario that’s serving as good practice for a future dramatic role she hopes will secure her an Oscar nomination.

Whatever the backstory, she sounds dead serious when she says, “I’mma fuck me up a bitch,” and, “If you try this shit again, you gon’ lose your wife.” Anyone who swings a bat like that means what they say. The same goes for the longing in the gorgeous “Love Drought,” the sadness that’s echoed in “Sandcastles,” and the joy of rejuvenated love in “All Night.” Lemonade feels like a breakup record, but there is forgiveness at its conclusion.

Read more at Rolling Stone.

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It is no secret that black creatives bear the burden of prejudices assigned to them for no other reason than complexion. We can be marginalized and segregated while simultaneously noticing that our white brethren are free to navigate numerous spaces—even the ones we’re by and large told to sit tight. Unfortunately, black women deal with this on an even greater scale than black men.

Black men—rappers and select singers alike—are still heard on multiple formats on radio. Meanwhile, if you want to hear a black woman, your options are far more limited. A few have openly discussed this—notably Jazmine Sullivan, who recently acknowledged her frustration with the likes of Adele enjoying superstardom while she of equal talents and gifts is not as lucky. However, no contemporary black female artist has been as vocal about her vexation with the state of the music industry and black women’s role in it than K. Michelle.

Last November, the Memphis-bred singer-songwriter and reality star announced an album title that further ignited conversation: I Ain’t White, But I Hope You Like. When asked about the title on Twitter, K. Michelle explained: “I’m sick of executives telling me I can’t sing certain songs because I’m black. I grew up on country, let me sing.”

Around that same time, K. Michelle took to Instagram to write: “Have you heard an amazing URBAN ballad on your Urban radio stations lately? Nope. You won’t without a fight. We have to sing songs like Fuck a man, about drugs, and sex all day in order to get mainstream radio play. I was JUST told by an executive that NO ONE wants to sign a Black woman soul artist, because they can’t promote it or make their money back.”

Despite those obstacles, K. Michelle has managed to enjoy some creative growth even if it may seemingly come with compromise. To wit, K. Michelle’s third album now has a different and far less polarizing title in More Issues Than Vogue. I prefer the original title, but the album does offer material that speaks to the critique of I Ain’t White, But I Hope You Like.

“If It Ain’t Love” is a country-influenced tune, though to K. Michelle’s credit, she showed her love of country via “God I Get It” from her last album. But, there are songs like “Make The Bed,” a duet with Jason Derülo that screams “Top 40 can get it.” It’s a good song though not the sort of track I would expect to hear from K. Michelle. The same applies the album’s lead single, “Not A Little Bit.”

Of course, there is plenty of familiarity to be found overall.

While she may not want to be burdened with having to record trap-inspired tracks solely because she is a black artist, there are elements scattered across the album. You hear it on “Ain’t You” and “Nightstand.” What works to K. Michelle’s benefit is that unlike many of the mindless artist flooding the market with cloning, she has a very distinct point of view and voice. Likewise, there is a certain wit and frankness to her lyrics that make every song undeniably hers. Say, on “These Men,” in which K. Michelle sings, “Then I tried Idris [Laughs.] and he still can get it/Even if he ain’t shit.”

Read the rest at Complex.

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When I saw the first commercial for The Carmichael Show, I had very little interest in watching the show. As happy as I was to see another Black show on network television, it looked a wee bit too familiar. My feelings on multi-camera sitcoms are akin to Kanye West’s thoughts on suit jackets and CDs: I’m over them. Multi-camera shows tend to be a bit less inventive and too reliant on television tropes that feel far beyond passé in 2016. Simply put, I was not into the idea of checking out Throwback Thursday TV.

However, after watching The Carmichael Show’s six-episode run that aired last summer by way of Hulu, my feelings have changed. Unlike Donald Trump on any given debate stage, I can admit that I was wrong. Mr. Trump should listen to more Mary J. Blige and K. Michelle. It would change his life.

In any event, the show is still very much a standard family sitcom. Its premise is pretty banal: Jerrod (played by comedian Jerrod Carmichael) finds himself torn between his liberal, therapist-in-training girlfriend Maxine (Amber Stevens West) and his old-fashioned parents, blue-collar dad Joe (David Allen Grier) and Jesus-praising mama Cynthia (Loretta Devine). Jerrod and Maxine move in together and hilarity ensues between them and Jerrod’s family.

And yet, while The Carmichael Show has a simple plotline, it is not a simplistic show. Likewise, while its multi-camera format may feel familiar, the show harkens back more so to family sitcoms of the 1970s than the 1980s, 1990s, or 2000s. Shows like Good Times and All in the Family tackled issues like racism, classism, and poverty, whereas many of the shows that came in the following decades did not. That is, with the exception of sitcoms like Roc in the early 1990s, which was the first TV show to feature a gay wedding, and Everybody Hates Chris, the early 2000s sitcom that made chronicling racism a priority. Outside of those, though, most Black-centered sitcoms have relatively played it safe in terms of pushing storylines tied to social and/or political issues.

Shows like ABC’s black-ish, Survivor’s Remorse on Starz, and now The Carmichael Show are bringing back a level of awareness that had been missing from Black TV. black-ish is superb television and in its second season, shown itself to be in a league of its own, but as others have pointed out, The Carmichael Show took on Black Lives Matter and gun violence first. The TCS also tackles politics, gender and sexuality. It’s episode guide confirms that each show tackles a particular subject with titles like “Protest,” “Gender,” “Gentrifying Bobby,” and “Prayer.”

To wit, in last night’s season two preview, the subject of cheating surfaces and Jerrod notes the double standard applied to men and women: “Hillary Clinton’s running for president, and we think she’s weak because she should have left,” he says. “But if Bill Clinton walked through that door, we’d all go, ‘Oh my God, it’s Bill Clinton!’”

Read the rest at VH1.

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You know you that bitch when you cause all this conversation.

No one is as equal parts gracious and commanding while essentially saying “fuck you” as Beyoncé is.

She may no longer communicate the way many would her prefer her to—i.e. interviews—but she is increasingly making sure her voice gets heard. Beyoncé’s new song “Formation” takes numerous shots, each one finding a deserving target. For anyone who thinks there is a secret, evil organization in which Satan and some Scooby Doo-like villains are trying to poison the minds of the masses via secret symbols in videos for songs like “Freakum Dress,” Beyoncé just offered you a sip of shut the hell up. Sip, sip, bitches.

Likewise, for those who engaged in the anti-blackness that questioned Beyoncé’s choice in spouses and the hair texture of her daughter, she couldn’t give any less of a damn. She likes her baby’s Afro and she is perfectly fine with her husband’s Jackson 5 nostrils. Y’all can go fly directly to hell if you don’t like it, and that includes some black folks, too, who are as equally guilty as others for perpetuating the notion that black in every shape, form, and texture is not beautiful.

And then there is the gorgeous, powerful scenery throughout the video.

The biggest pop star of her generation opened her latest video with the drowning of a New Orleans police car. That is two-fold a critique of the treatment of black New Orleanians during Hurricane Katrina and the continued onslaught of state sanctioned violence aimed squarely at black women, men, and children.

The shot of that young black boy in a hoodie before a row of cops in SWAT gear with their hands up will stay with me forever. As will that cop car sinking into the water as Beyoncé lays on top of it. For any cop or cop supporter who finds themselves offended by that imagery, imagine what it is like to be black in this country and rightly fear that you could easily be lying in a pool of your own blood from some trigger-happy, hateful police officer protected by a system that devalues black life.

Meanwhile, for those who are offended when Mr. and Mrs. Jay Z/Mr. and Mrs. Beyoncé don’t speak on social and political issues, look what Houston’s finest just did here. She commented on everything. While dancing down. Over a Mike WiLL Made-It production, which by the way, did not include his tag.

Even that tidbit along with the rest of the information proves Beyoncé is powerful and will wield that power however she sees fit.

No one is as important a pop star to me as Beyoncé. Beyoncé is getting her just due for creating what is being hailed as a very pro-black song and video in “Formation,” but the truth about Beyoncé is that she’s always been very black. She’s been very consistent with offering the world a very specific strain of blackness: black, Southern, and country. This strain has not always been as welcomed as others. She makes no apologies for who she is nor should she.

Read the rest at Complex.

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My memories of the O.J. Simpson trial are scant. I know it interrupted Days of Our Lives. I vaguely remember the Bronco chase. I recall the sentiment that we were all watching “the trail of the century” repeatedly being drilled into everyone’s heads.

What lingers most, though, is the day the verdict was reached. I was maybe 11 or 12, in choir (puberty unjustly stole my dream of being a trap soul artist), and I remember Black kids being elated that Simpson was found not guilty while the other Whites in the room—including our choir teacher—were angry. I’ll never forget my choir director’s look of disdain at what had just happened.

Middle school was the only time I was somewhat around White children and White teachers, and our divide along racial lines had never been clearer than that moment. The majority of us Black kids practically mocked the White folks appearing distraught by what they’d just heard.

I didn’t think much of any of that until last December, when I attended a screening of the first two episodes of The People v. O.J. Simpson at the Paley Center, and a dinner with the cast, along with the prolific writer-producer-director Ryan Murphy, who helmed the FX miniseries.

Since then, I have now watched six episodes, and I can say without question that it’s one of the finest things I’ve ever watched on television. Initially, I was somewhat skeptical of Murphy, who does fantastic work with all things involving spectacle (though such a novelty has its limitations). See: select seasons of American Horror Story and numerous episodes of Scream Queens. But The People v. O.J. Simpson is phenomenal, and it’s a testament to all parties involved, particularly every single cast member.

Cuba Gooding Jr. adds a level of emotional intelligence to O.J. Simpson that I didn’t think existed. There is a strength and fragility to Sarah Paulson’s portrayal of Marcia Clark that manages to make you both resent and feel sympathetic towards her—especially now that we know more of what she dealt with at the time of the trial. John Travolta is illuminating as the comically egotistical Robert Shapiro. David Schwimmer is somewhat hilarious as Robert Kardashian; he comes across as an Armenian version of “Ross” from Friends with dated (even for that era) hair. Still, it works very well.

And Courtney B. Vance is simply riveting as Johnnie Cochran.

As good as episodes one and two are, during the entire night of the screening and dinner, the cast stressed to everyone one on one that the best is yet to come. So it is. The deeper you dive into the show, the more engaging the show becomes. You learn exactly how Johnnie Cochran managed to take control not only of the Dream Team that Shapiro essentially amassed, but how that decision ultimately spared O.J. Simpson from life in prison. (Well, at least that time anyway.)

Likewise, to learn how Cochran mastered the racial politics behind Simpson’s legal strategy recalls the current case Bill Cosby faces, i.e., his choice to hire Monique Pressley. The same goes for the prosecution and how Chris Darden came to serve alongside Marcia Clark in the trial.

The People v. O.J. Simpson has forced me to think about what O.J. Simpson means 20 years later, when I, as an adult Black male, can better process what all happened when I was only a young child.

In the Hollywood Reporter cover story about the show, Murphy’s producing partner, Brad Simpson, touched on how the recent tragedies involving Trayvon Martin, Freddie Gray, Michael Brown and many others revealed racism in the criminal justice system. “As those things happened, we started to realize, ‘Oh, we’re not going to have to be telling people why the race story is important.’ ”

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It happened. I watched an entire episode of The Real Housewives of Potomac and didn’t get the urge to sprint directly into the exposed brick in my New York fishbowl that the real estate market here somehow manages to legally call an apartment. Much of that had to do with two things: the youngest Potomac housewife, Ashley, and brown liquor. Ashley is the least snotty one of the bunch and it brings a much needed remix to the otherwise sad love song this show has become since its debut.

But before we get to Ashley, whiskey-loving wonder, let’s address the person who wears me out most.

“I’ve been a socialite since I was in diapers.”

If show producers opted to never show another scene featuring Katie, I might rise from my chair to give a standing ovation. She’s not a mean person like much of her cast mates, but she does dab all over my nerves all the same. My thing with her is two-fold. She’s very-very-very caught up in dating a white man. There is nothing wrong with a union that may produce an Obama or Mariah, but on this show, which is highly color struck and classist, there’s something so off-putting about the way she more or less acts as if it places her on some pedestal above others.

I cringed a bit when she was hanging out with Ashley and her husband and going on and on about how elated she was to have another interracial couple to hang out with. You know, if your intent is to normalize interracial dating, you should probably treat it as it is: normal now. She almost fetishizes it in a way and I want her to go find something else to forge an identity with.

It’s even more bizarre to see how caught up she is given that Andrew clearly is not interested in marrying her despite her numerous attempts at pushing him into a proposal. He flat out told her last night that had she not nagged him about it for six months, they’d probably already be engaged and subsequently married. Do I believe him? Hell no. You should not have to work that hard to get anyone to marry you.

Then there was this comment: “Andrew has a reputation for being an eligible bachelor in this area, but once this article comes out, everyone’s going to know he is only with me.”

Y’all live together. He takes care of your three children. People still think he’s an eligible bachelor. You have to beg and plead like Brandy to get him to propose to you. He still has not done so.

Katie should go listen to Mary J. Blige and Aretha Franklin’s “Don’t Waste Your Time.” That’s probably too Black for her, though, so I suggest Fiona Apple’s “The First Taste” as an alternate.

So Not Vanessa Williams and Evil Tina Knowles are trying to forgive and forget.

In what I saw as proof of Karen wanting more camera time by refusing to accept Gizelle’s attempt at an apology last week, Karen invited Gizelle for tea and desserts, only they skimmed the latter (at least on camera). The two were civil, respectful of each other’s feelings, and even matched in attire (camouflage) for the occasion. This is how you have an adult frenemy relationship, beloveds.

If you get divorced and sleep in the same bed as your former spouse, you are doing it wrong.

Robyn talks about her ex-husband, Juan, like they’re still a couple. They behave like one i.e. they sleep in the same bed and I presume have the sex, they co-parent, and they talk about potentially moving because one has a potential job offer. This is couple s**t, but they’re no longer legally married. They’re a divorced couple who probably qualify for common law marriage status. Juan is fine as hell, so I can understand the reluctance to exit a bed with him in it, but Robyn, WYD?

Some of this seems financial as she alluded to him no longer getting NBA checks, the Stock Market and real estate market flatlining during The Great Recession, etc. Still boggles my mind, though.

Read the rest at VH1.

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I wish the rollout for Rihanna’s eighth and highly anticipated studio album, ANTI, had not been so fucked up.

This includes the numerous singles that didn’t make the final product. The somewhat interesting but no less confusing “ANTI diaRY” that saw fans go through various rooms to uncover…hell, I still don’t know. I’m all for a proper build-up for new product, but the puzzle Rihanna’s people hoped fans would work to solve came several months after their collective sentiment amounted to, “Are you dropping this album or nah?”

Of course we cannot forget one of the album’s producers taking to Twitter to complain about ANTI’s delayed release stemming from Travi$ Scott’s disapproval of the final product.

All of this has only added unnecessary pressure on Rihanna to deliver an album that would seemingly make up for our impatience over the three years it has taken for a new complete body of work. And then, when ANTI finally did drop, it was by accident. Tidal apparently didn’t mean to make the album available on Wednesday. The “the oops, our bad, here it goes” approach to delivering ANTI has made everything feel so anticlimactic.

It’s a bit jarring to my nerves because I think it overshadows how interesting ANTI is. First, in its delivery. The most consistent hitmaker of our generation just gave her album away for free to a million people. Calling it a “gift to my navy,” Rihanna tweeted a link to ANTI that came with a code that made the album free for what’s reportedly a first-come, first-served basis. The whole thing is tied to her $25 million sponsorship deal with Samsung, and although Jay Z gave away a million copies of his last album, Magna Carta Holy Grail, to Samsung phone users, it is a bigger deal for Rihanna to do this because unlike Jay Z at the time, Rihanna is still at the commercial peak of her career.

Yeah, a lot of folks give away music for free but not anyone on Rihanna’s level. This is like Janet Jackson giving away The Velvet Rope or All for You. Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, and Katy Perry are not giving away albums for free. Will they in the future? If they do by way of corporate sponsorship, they will perhaps, now that they’ve seen what Rihanna has managed to achieve (the RIAA has already certified ANTI platinum). It’s similar to Beyoncé dropping a surprise album. She didn’t invent the surprise album, but she proved she could pull off such a feat, and she made it safe for others to try.

As for the album itself, I think it’s her best yet. Already, I can feel numerous eyes rolling. Nonetheless, ANTI feels like an actual album. It does not have as many standout singles as her previous works, but with Samsung guaranteeing the album would bring in money, she rightfully seized the opportunity to make a project that deviated from what we’ve come to expect from her—uptempo, brash. I felt Rated R didn’t have as many standout songs, but “Rude Boy” was enough to carry it over to the next project.

On ANTI, Rihanna has two options to net a similar scenario: The latest single, “Work,” featuring Drake, and “Kiss It Better,” which I imagine will be played now until my very last breath after it is formally released.

And if she can find a decent radio edit for the DJ Mustard “Needed Me,” she’ll get a fair amount of airplay on “urban” radio, too. On that track, if this is what DJ Mustard meant by trying to push his sound in new directions, sign me up. I’ll also be referring to myself as a savage for the rest of my life. Thanks, Rih-Rih.

Read the rest at Complex.

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