The Last Word: Alicia Keys Becomes a Bodyguard, R. Kelly is a “Screamer,” and Jermaine Dupri Discovers Four Ways to Get You Wet

How’s life, everyone? Slowly but surely, we arrive at the end of another week. With a moderate 5.4 earthquake shaking up California, XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio finalizing their long-awaited merger, and the House of Representatives passing a resolution apologizing for slavery and the Jim Crow era, there was something to talk about […]

How’s life, everyone? Slowly but surely, we arrive at the end of another

week. With a moderate 5.4 earthquake shaking up California, XM

Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio finalizing their

long-awaited merger, and the House of Representatives passing a

resolution apologizing for slavery and the Jim Crow era, there was

something to talk about over these last few days.


Congratulations to Lee who will celebrate his fifth wedding anniversary

and birthday this weekend. Shout out to Usher, who recently helped

mentor 126 under-served kids through his annual Camp New Look, and the

sounding boards for making sure I have a drink in my hand and a way to

get to work on time.


And with that we have…the Last Word for the week ending Aug. 1, 2008.


1. Ne-Yo Goes Rock With Possible Marilyn Manson Collaboration


You’ve made a good living writing songs for well-known artists and

found success in your own right in the world of R&B and pop music.

So where do you go from here? If you’re Ne-Yo you naturally swing

towards rock music, as you consider who you want to work with to bring

out your inner rocker.


“It’s a little bit of alternative, a little bit of pop, a little bit of

rock,” the crooner told MTV News about his upcoming album Year of the Gentleman. “I basically stepped outside of my comfort zone and I came up with something that I can honestly say is for everyone.”


And while Fall Out Boy frontman Patrick Stump is confirmed to appear on

the album, fans may be surprised to learn who else Ne-Yo is interested

in working with.


“I’m also trying to get hold of Marilyn Manson about an idea I have,”

the crooner told WENN about his desire to collaborate with the shock

rocker. “Ne-Yo goes rock – you heard it here first!” 

And while he experiments with headbangers, Ne-Yo keeps his pop life

alive by working with ‘80s boy band New Kids On the Block on a new song

for their album, The Block. The track, titled “Single,” will be available on iTunes Aug. 12.  

2. Alicia Keys Finds Another Way to Die; Clears the Air with Indonesian Fans


It was a week of ups and downs for Alicia Keys, as she found herself

apologizing to fans in Indonesia after finding out that her upcoming

concert in the country’s capital Jakarta was being sponsored by a

cigarette manufacturer.


The Keys’ apology and demand for Mild Live Production to withdraw its

sponsorship garnered praise from Tobacco Free Kids president Matthew L.

Myers, who applauded Keys for setting things straight.


Although things started shaky for Miss Keys, she ended strong as she

made a bit of movie history. The singer is now the latest vocalist to

be selected to sing the theme song in a James Bond film. Keys and White

Stripes frontman Jack White will sing “Another Way To Die,” the theme

to the upcoming Bond film Quantum of Silence. The collaboration, according to Billboard, will be the first duet in Bond soundtrack history.


And while Alicia makes nice and sings for the international market, the

singer apparently caught the eye of director JC Spink. The filmmaker is

interested in casting Keys as Agent 355 in the big screen version of Y: The Last Man. For those (like myself) who don’t know, Y is

a critically-acclaimed six-issue comic book series that centers around

Yorick Brown, the only man who survives the mysterious simultaneous

death of every male mammal on Earth.


Agent 355 is Yorick’s bodyguard who works for a mysterious US government agency.


“I think Alicia Keys would be fantastic,” Spink told UGO. “Or Zoe

Saldana. By then ‘Star Trek’ will be out and she’ll be huge. I don’t

think Jada Pinkett Smith would be right, but a lot of people like her.”


If the Y movie

doesn’t work out, Alicia, you can always be my bodyguard. I don’t have

anybody trying to assassinate me, but the bill collectors are really

starting to get annoying.


3. R. Kelly Lives to Freak Another Song or Three


You would think that barely getting off on child pornography charges

would be enough to make R. Kelly slow down on the risque material. But

the freak train is still running without brakes as a gang of songs have

leaked onto the Internet.


With titles like “Screamer,”

“At the Same Time,” “Two Seater,” “Might Be Mine” and “Son of a B*tch,” you can tell that Kells is back in business as he gears up for the

release of his forthcoming album 12 Play 4th Quarter.

According to reports, the vocoder-led “Screamer” features Kelly

describing a secret sex session in a crowded house while trying his

best not to alert his company. The freakiness continues on “At the Same

Time,” as Kelly uses guitar plucks and a double bass drum to sing about

reaching his sexual goals.


And if you thought the Pied Piper put his rapping skills on hold with

this material, think again. The entertainer puts that talent to use on

the electronic bops and chopped and screwed chorus of “Two Seater,” a

song that highlights Kelly’s financial status.


Then there’s “Son of a B*tch,” where the singer switches to a

conversational tone over rolling piano notes as he describes another

sexual encounter, and “Might Be Mine,” a retelling of a “true story”

about a stripper whose lawyer called Kells one day to say the woman was

pregnant with his child.


Interesting stuff. The only question is will these songs make the final cut and be on the release?


So far, the album has only one official single, “Hair Braider.” Kelly

will shoot the video for the project’s another confirmed  single

“Skin,” this weekend.


So what’s does all of this mean? I guess you can put the freak on trial

in court, but you can’t scare the freak out of the man with more than a

decade behind bars with Bubba. By the way, when are you gonna give us

another gospel album, Kells? There’s got to be some inspiration to go

along with all this kinkiness, right? I’m just saying.


In Other Words….


* Look for Timbaland to bring out a different set of collaborators for his next album Shock Value 2. Among those lined up for the new project are Madonna, Beyonce, Jordin Sparks, Rihanna, T-Pain and the Jonas Brothers.



Whitney Houston is starting to resurface on the scene as her new song

“Like I Never Left” is turning up online. The Akon-featured track,

which clocks in at three minutes and 39 seconds, shows Houston reaffirming

her return by singing “Yes, your girl is coming back.”


* Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Tony Rich is gearing up to deliver a new musical offering with his upcoming album Exist.

The release is the crooner’s first project under his new recording home

Hidden Beach Recordings. Rich is best known for his hit “Nobody Knows.”


* Those waiting for Ciara’s upcoming film Mama, I Want to Sing, to

come to movie theaters will have to settle for the small screen. The

feature, which finds the entertainer playing a young R&B pop singer

whose views clash with those of her evangelist mother, is slated to be

released straight to DVD in early 2009.* Jermaine Dupri introduced his new R&B group G## Fresh this week at Def Jam in New York City. The quartet sang an a capella song called “Wet” with lyrics like “pouring water in your lap” and “walking in your panties in the rain.” The Miami natives were formerly known as Deepside when signed to Jive, but “got fresh” once Dupri found them. Their single “Booty Music” is heat for the summer, and when they’re not drenching the ladies so to speak, they’ll be releasing their debut album on October 7th. What do you think?