Thursday, 28 June 2012
LeBron James isn't the only king bringing Heat straight out of Miami right now. The NBA champion may just celebrate his success in the South Beach clubs to the music of another man taking his talents to the top. Latin pop and R&B sensation Elijah King is on his own road to victory too.
It's more than his 5,000 Twitter followers and equal number of Facebook 'likers' that tell us this. It's more than his co-signs and work with the legendary likes of Akon, Pitbull, Fat Joe, Mario and T-Pain that shows us this. It's more than the two year tenure at Miami’s Calle Ocho that proves this. It's even more than his performance at South Beaches top Power 96’s Beach House with big names like Flo Rida, Trina, T-Pain and Sean Kingston that really praises his singing.
You can hear through the speakers of one of his songs or his presence on one of his stages which shows this singer could become one of the leading mean and leading lights of Latin music. Even when this guy was a kid he was sought after by Disney, but he wasn't for that Mickey Mouse stuff. Instead like a King Elijah has paved his own way to his crowning achievement. With roots in gospel and singing about the trials and tribulations that come with going for your dream you best believe Elijah King is going to make it. Those not listening need to wake up and tune into the radio, because this sensation looks to dominate the airwaves.
He already hit number 35 on the Billboard Top 50 back in 2008 when he came out of nowhere with his stunning first single 'Cry No More' and after all his hard work and effort you know there will be no more tears when his debut hits the shores of South Beach. With tracks like last years 'Never See You Again' featuring top artist Gyptian and the Spanish single 'Nunca Te Vuelvo A Ver' the hand claps will be applauded to this record. It'll be the kind of album that will make him Miami's Rookie Of The Year. Even LeBron knows the throne is fit for a King. It's Elijah's turn now. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Sunday, 24 June 2012
(Originally Published in 2010)
With 'Love Letter' the R writes some of his best songs yet.
OK so this 'Zodiac' may not be delivering on the promise of three solo albums this year but that doesn't matter right now. After an 'Epic' release (http://ampsand808s.blogspot.com/2010/10/review-r-kelly-epic.html) Chicago Urban Soul legend R. Kelly writes us a 'Love Letter' just in time for the holidays. Lucky for those fans who don't name 'Untitled' as one of there favourite Kelz albums (a title that still deserves credit by the way) the R. in R&B is not doubling up on his club jams. Instead Kelly makes way for the slow jams with an album that is one part 'Happy People' and the other 'Loveland'. The perfect warm album for this frosty fall. Even from the 60's esque cover the singer looks like Ray Charles. Once again showing he's about to channel the greats from Marvin to Sammy as he furthers his discography and legendary status.
After a 'Love Letter (Prelude)' that again showcases the singers falsetto talent R. Kelly pens the albums title 'Love Letter'. This track is vintage Kelz and classic R&B from the first signature, soul harmonies. With uplifting lyrics in every verse including, "Sunny days, smiling face/Spirit filled, heaven praise /Memories in my mind/Reminiscing of good times/Miracles, so amazed". The singer gives more with 'A Love Letter Christmas',an extended wrapped up bonus which really is a gift that will get the steppers back on the floor.
The albums lead single 'When A Woman Loves' is the pick of this list however. A song that is as classic as 'When A Woman's Fed Up' but in many different ways. From the epic intro this is a big record that breaks Kelly back into the charts, just in a very different way. Kelly continues the love with three more tracks. With K. Michelle R. K draws a delightful duet on 'Love Is'. While the happy track 'Lost In Your Love' is uplifting to say the least, while the sad song 'Not Feelin The Love' is a great exercise in relationship analysis. Trademark Robert.
On the other wrong end of a bad breakup Kelz sounds honest and real with the poignant 'How Do I Tell Her'. This is another timeless R. Kelly ballad for the catalogue, as is 'Just Like That'. A song just as good as the also named 'Just Like That' off Kelly's classic 'TP-2. Com' album. After contributing to the 'Ali' motion picture soundtrack the king of R&B channels 'The Worlds Greatest' as he steals Muhammad's charming, charismatic, chat up line, crooning, "OK rest of me let's go". What results is a knockout track.
Kelly keeps the positive vibe going with slow songs to listen to while your in love. On 'Just Can't Get Enough' R. again proves he's Chi-towns finest after M.J. and on 'You Are Not Alone' R. Kelly pays tribute to another M.J., with a great cover of Michael Jackson's hit. The song that was orginally written by Robert for Michael feels even more poignant now with Kelly's lyrics about rembering lost loved ones (check his heartfelt intro). The R. also shadows another eccentric king of pop and R&B as 'Taxi Cab' catches Prince's classic themes of finding love (in any forms) in between the yellow and the meter. With great lyrics Kelz does not spare us the details, "Looking at the rear view she said to me let go and be free/Then she told the driver mind his business and then ... me/Then I told her/which is 15 minutes from my home/But she didn't stop, she kept saying it feels so incredible wrong". Once again this Christmas R. Kelly is naughty but nice.
Kelz aims for more chart success with the top notch, single worthy 'Number One Hit'. Than the legend goes double or nothing with 'Radio Message', preaching that he wants to bring love back to the radio and proving that this modern day basic R&B sound (one that he briefly adopted) has been getting old already. Through all the love devoted however Kelly still looks back to his first with 'Music Must Be My Lady'. A song as attractive as the beautiful women he sings about. The perfect lament, to expression, song-writing and the development of music. Captured perfectly in song.
Kelly's 'Love Letter' will be so well received it's almost a classic. Still post 'R' and 'Chocolate Factory' it's just a few tracks away from being one of the singers best scribes. With that being said however this is still one of the best choices of R. Kelly's catalogue. Critics may have started to write this man off but with 'Love Letter' the King of R&B makes a declaration that puts him back on the throne. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Saturday, 23 June 2012
Classic Kelz To The Letter.
The 'R' in R&B is back. The legendary R. Kelly returns with an album that shows the R is even more soulful these days with his modern, mainstream music. The R&B king was always bigger than his genre. Writing and producing songs for the likes of Michael Jackson and Celine Dion as well as guys like Usher and Tyrese. The man with more classics in R&B than there seems artists forged himself as the next great soul man in the nighties. Tracks like 'I Believe I Can Fly', 'If I Could Turn Back The Hands Of Time' and classic records like '12 Play' and the double dominance of 'R' helped put this man as the next in line of the great soul men of decades gone. Kelly literally has forged a career that has put him there with the likes of Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Sam Cooke and Donny Hathaway.
The reason the R is right there with the legends is because of his ability to create his own sound and style all whilst appealing to the mainstream fans. Take one of his biggest hits 'Ignition' for example. This club happy number came off the soul influenced smash album 'Chocolate Factory' an album that spurned soul classics like 'You Knock Me Out', 'You Made Me Love You' and 'Step In The Name Of Love'. The latter inspired the 'Happy People' feel-good, classic album that harked back to the classic days of real soul and positive emotion. Then two years back Kelly pushed the envelope yet again with the album 'Love Letter' featuring new classics like 'Radio Message', 'Just Can't Get Enough', 'Just Like That' and 'How Do I Tell Her'. Which was devoted to classic, chivalrous soul dedicated to love and happiness.
Now it's time for a rewrite as the singer/songwriter returns with 'Write Me Back'. Following his 'Love Letter's' critical acclaim in the press prose this Chicago star furthers the new music inspired by classics of decades gone. Just like when fellow Windy City legend Common backed up his beautiful, inspiring 'Be' with his 'Finding Forever' music Kelz is going back-to-back on classic good times. Raphael Saadiq better watch out, his new/old styling has some real competition. Just like Ray Ray from his great, iconic 'The Way I See It' to his latest 'Stone Rollin'', Kelz has taken the classic sound from his last album and upgraded it a decade to show not only that he's still got it but he's also no one trick pony. The man with such a vast and classic discography brings another class disc to the catalogue.
'When A Woman Loves' made R. Kelly's last album and career comeback and on this release 'When A Man Lies' shows the other side of this mans relationship analysis music. The 'When A Woman's Fed Up' singer is back with the traditional harmonies that sing louder than his previous more sexed up releases. At this rate next years 'Black Panties' will want to be covered up by more of this great music that keeps the good times stone rollin'. Even though Kelly talks about "populating" on the Philadelphia feeling lead-single 'Share My Love', this album plays it safe...well only in subject. In style this album pushes more boundaries and therefore breaks even newer ground for the singer.
From the colorful, throwback New York Saturday night-esque artwork to the up-tempo, party starting beginnings of 'Love Is' this album is live. 'Feelin' Single' is a worthy second single in it's own right, while 'Lady Sunday' is a woman praising new classic you'll fall in love with by weeks end. The beautiful break-up ballad 'Clipped Wings' is a new, forgiving classic that is one of the realest and honest songs this singer has ever wrote. R laments "Sunny days, I promised you /Life’s window pain /With a perfect view /A vow to love, unconditional/Be there for you, all season/And baby I never meant to clip your wings, oh my love" with perfect lyrics.
'Believe That It's So' raises the tempo and feel-good factor even more before R. Kelly buys out the bars with 'All Rounds On Me'. The clever 'Fool For You' and the perfectly pleading 'Believe In Me' brings us more confidence in this legends musical smarts. This album that's more tailored to the clubs of years back suits up and keeps things going with 'Green Light' and 'Party Jumpin', before finishing strong with the all-encompassing 'Share My Love'.
It's clear R. Kelly has stepped back in the name of love to his new letter and the deluxe edition of this disc shows us more devotions to this for the record. 'Beautiful In This Mirror' is a perfect reflection of this as is the ultimate heart-filled declaration of 'You Are My World' which channels R's late, legendary friend Michael Jackson (Kelly covered 'You Are Not Alone'-a song he wrote for Mike-on his last disc) and 'Fallin' From The Sky'. With the finale of 'One Step Closer' this singer steps further to the greats of soul music cutting a rug and making music of the past move to the dance-floors of today. With R. Kelly's latest writing he takes it back-and therefore forward-even further. Expect more love letters for this singer, signed, sealed and delivered. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
When Adam Levine revealed to the world his 'Songs About Jane' with his band Maroon 5 back in the early 2000's the world was graced with the new rock/pop group for the new millennium. Massive hits like 'This Love', 'She Will Be Loved', 'The Sun' and 'Sweetest Goodbye' (OK...let's face it the whole classic album) showed the modern mainstream music scene that popular records could still sound so good and be written so well. Following this the band formerly known as Kara's Flowers bloomed featuring on everything from Kanye West records to every advert and T.V. show on the tube. The follow up 'It Won't Be Soon Before Long' carried where they left off with some great tracks like 'Makes Me Wonder', 'Can't Stop', 'Better That We Break' and 'Goodnight, Goodnight' but their popularity waned a little bit. It returned with 'Hands All Over' which was a great reunion with good form featured on tracks like 'Misery', 'Never Gonna Leave This Bed' and 'Just A Feeling'. Still things weren't quite the same until arguably their biggest hit 'Moves Like Jagger' moved them back into the charts, onto the dance-floors and the pages of Rolling Stone.
You can find a special studio performance of that classic club hit here featuring Levine's 'The Voice' co-judge Christina Aguilera on the U.K. edition of this album. Still that isn't the only reason to pick up the new tongue-in-cheek titled M5 album 'Overexposed'. The pop party them of their Mick Jagger tribute keeps going on this dance-floor heavy album which looks to stay in even weightier rotation this scorching Summer. Just take the single 'Payphone' for example which is already dialling up the radio requests. Not only does this big hit have a big, cinematic Hollywood video complete with explosions and ba da boom it also features hot rapper of the moment Wiz Khalifa. This track has got the charts, hook, rap line and sinker.
The reggae infused second-single and album lead 'One More Night' is a brave and bold song that is just a feel good number that takes them further to their 'Police' idols without stinging or arresting their chances as their own band. 'Daylight' is the kind of deep pop track that will play all day on a Los Angeles drive. While 'Lucky Strike' is more than that it's a confident certified attack of bubblegum pop and 'The Man Who Never Lied' is the truth...real talk. 'Love Somebody' keeps the positive heart and soul inspired music beating to this generations iPod's and clubs while 'Ladykiller' looks to be the next Levine number to slay them in droves.
"It doesn't mean I'm afraid of all the things that you say/But I just think we should stay stuck in the moment today/And as the seasons roll back, no matter how hard I try/Summer will end and the leaves will turn again", Levine sings as his lyrics get deep and determined on 'Fortune Teller'. The 8-Ball's looking good for them here on out as all signs point to the lament of 'Sad' and the returns of 'Tickets'. Things get real funky as the party comes to last orders on 'Doin' Dirt' before 'Beautiful Goodbye' makes for the perfect end. Maroon 5 finishing ballads haven't sounded this beautiful since their 'Sweetest Goodbye'.
As an added bonus Maroon 5 'Wipe Your Eyes' before bringing the brilliant 'Songs About Jane' B-Side 'Wasted Years' back. A track die-hard fans have been pining for since it's debut on the CD/DVD release 'Live Friday The 13th'. If that wasn't enough the group channel one of their idol's Prince to finish their purple colourful artwork album. Nobody beats the artist but their nice cover is the perfect 'Kiss' goodbye. Lip service will tell you people are starting to talk about the voice of Adam Levine and his band. Maroon 5 are back, with a new member a new album and the right sound that is quintessentially meant for them. Get ready for the exposure. It's over now. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Friday, 22 June 2012
The eighties really was the golden era of hip-hop. That's why they call it old-school. It was the defining period. Guys like Run-DMC, Eric B. & Rakim, De La Soul and many more made this genre what it is. Let's not forget about two more gems of this period however. The legendary Big Daddy Kane and beat box king Biz Markie. Well last week the city of Manchester remembered as the pair of hip-hop kings gave the HMV Ritz some real musical royalty.
Big Danny Kane came on first giving the excited crowd who 'Know The Ledge' some real classics to deal with. Bouncing around the crowd with enthusiasm and energy this 43 year old showed that he was still as relevant as his extended discography as he ran through legendary tracks like 'I'll Take You There'. This 'Smooth Operator' showed there was no half stepping quickly switching the mic between his hands, coolly leaning on the speaker while spitting tongue twisters and even literally walking through the crowd (not jumping into it) and dancing and partying with the fans. Kane was even able to break dance as well showing us that he had the moves of a young man with his 80's B-boy flair. The charming and charismatic Big Daddy even joked around with the crowd, playing the age game, feeling old and honoured by his older and younger fans alike.
Then it was all about Biz. Markie came out in gold chains and an Avengers t-shirt making his mark with a Hulk strong like presence. Almost 50 Biz was at 100 showing he still has it, making the music with his mouth and dropping classics like 'Vapours' and 'Pickin' Boogers' complete with green lights for effect. Biz Markie paid tributes to some of musics greats with his beat boxing then closed his mouth and made the music with his throat and even put the microphone to his scalp and beat-boxed through his brain. He really was out of his mind. It doesn't get much crazier than that. It got even cooler however as a dressed down Kane (previously he looked like he could button up to an early, new millennium Will.i.am) complete with wine came back to roll through some of his collaborations with his mentor. Biz ended the night with his off-key, sing-a-long classic 'Just A Friend', which was as sought after by the fans as Kane's 'Aint No Half Steppin''.
All in all not only did this night take us back to the golden era of rap it also showed us just how good this music and these guys still are. These eighties legends aren't going anywhere like their decades strong and still relevant music. Biz and Big gave us more than a great gig. They continued the party they started along with the hip-hop genre back in the good ole days. The good times are definitely still rolling too and it all still sounds so great. These before their time pioneers showed they where still one thing today...timeless. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Wednesday, 13 June 2012
Raymond's found Raymond.
When Usher first came onto the scene in 1994 with his self-titled debut he was only a sweet 16 and already being courted by the like of Puff Daddy and the late, great Notorious B.I.G. When the huge albums 'My Way' and '8701' followed he did more than confirm himself as one of the youngest, hottest talents in the game. He also showed he was the young R&B prince to megastar R. Kelly's king. Since then he has been nipping at his friend Kelz heels all whilst inspiring a bunch of young singers who looked to take his spot. Still as good as Ne-Yo, Chris Brown and Trey Songz are. They don't have Usher's career yet.
Following the scorching summer album '8701' came Usher's biggest record to date. 2004's 'Confessions' (which featured classics like 'Yeah', 'Burn', 'Caught Up', 'Throwback', 'Seducation', all the 'Confession' parts and hey all the 'Confessions' album) revealed a million and change sales in it's first week and ended up cracking diamond. After that massive move Ush's great but lackluster sales-wise 'Here I Stand' was always going to pale in comparison (despite the huge 'Love In This Club' and 'Moving Mountains'). Still two years later and two years ago 'Raymond vs Raymond' and the massive singles including 'O.M.G.' stepped the singer/songwriter/dancer back to the top of moving sales. Now Mr. Raymond is back ushering in his new release 'Looking 4 Myself'.
From the 'Climax' of the first single it looks to be another hot Summer album too. The Grammy winner is back with what he terms "revolutionary pop" for a nice album that will leave you screaming "yeeeah man" like his popular catchphrase, like the single 'Scream'. The kid that introduced Justin Bieber has still got it as a thirty something. The different genres mixed together to create this new sound makes for some potent pop. Sure the man who just got his place back on the R&B throne takes risk's here but it makes for a much edgier, career turn.
Carrying on where the 'D.J. Got Us Falling In Love' dance-floor infused 'Versus -EP-' left off this album cuts more rugs. Sure it doesn't have as many big numbers as the last album ('Hey Daddy (Daddy's Home)', 'Lil Freak', 'There Goes My Baby') but it plays like a cohesive, class record that will help you get ready for the weekend. Jams like 'Can't Stop Won't Stop', 'Show Me', 'Dive' and the euphoric dance style of 'Euphoria' will do that for you.
There's also some depth on here as the ballad 'I Care For U', the moving 'What Happened To U' and the Salaam Remi produced 'Sins Of My Father' reveal some of this singers greatest records, especially the latter. 'Dive' into even greater depths like 'Numb' and what you have is the perfect album that knows how to treat both a Saturday night and a Sunday morning. Usher extends his range through pop/soul/dance bringing the likes of Diplo and Swedish House Mafia along.
There's more featured acts invited to the guest list too. After making great Summer pop music together ('U Don't Have To Call', 'I Don't Know' and more) Pharrell reunites with usher for the big and bold 'Twisted' track. While new Busta Rhymes/instant hit, R&B feature maker Rick Ross delivers again on 'Lemme See'. Still it's the crossover collaboration with Luke Steele of the sonically sensational Empire Of The Sun on the album-titled 'Looking 4 Myself' which is this records highlight. This track really does usher you out of Raymond's world and takes you to Steele's empire. Things get even more out there on the deluxe edition of this album with great tracks like 'I.F.U', 'Say the Words'. the swinging '2nd Round' and the single worthy 'Hot Thing'. This is a seasonal scorcher.
The gamble pulled off. Usher has delivered us a new style that is both eclectic and excellent. Raymond pushes the envelope here no fear but also knows the limits of his boundaries. Still giving us 'Lessons For The Lover' and his atypical, classic R&B, all whilst extending the range he pushed forward as he stepped out of the shadows of his last album. What results is a lighter, more scorching album that we haven't heard since the days of '8701'. '8701' may not of been Usher's most successful album, but it was definitely his most ground-breaking piece and on 'Looking 4 Myself' the man breaks further ground. All whilst taking it to the floor. Now dance. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Saturday, 9 June 2012
Straight From The Foxxhole.
By TIM DAVID HARVEY
Webster defines the word 'entertainment' as "amusement or diversion provided especially by performers" and "something diverting or engaging: as (1) : a public performance (2) : a usually light comic". Now put a picture next to that because you could personify entertainment as Eric Bishop or as we know him less formally; Jamie Foxx.
Foxx is the definition of versatile. People always talk about the crossover talents of those celebrities who have dual occupations, but Jamie is your real, legit and certified triple-threat. The Killers frontman Brandon Flowers once said (and I'm paraphrasing here somewhat) "actors can't sing and singers can't act", but with all due respect the usual on-point performer is wrong. Mr. Foxx has Oscars and Grammy credits to prove everyone differently. Not only is the charming and charismatic Foxx an incredible-and still somewhat underrated-actor and singer, the stand up guy and comedian is also one of the funniest people around.
I knew it. I always said it. I don't want to sound like one of those 'I told you so' or 'I had a part in this' writers trying to look for a credit but I always told people in the 'Any Given Sunday' days that this guy was going to be something. After his mesmerizing introduction and emotionally inspiring performance in 'Ali' as the greatest boxer of all times ring-man Bundini. A perfect performance with full support that led to dynamic director Michael Mann casting him for the taxi-confined, tense and dramatic thriller 'Collateral' (with a perfect part alongside Tom Cruise and against his assassin character) during the golden era of the 'Ray'/Kanye West hit making days that truly propelled him to superstardom.
He did it. After years of being the best party host for celebrities in Hollywood and bringing the laughs with 'The Jamie Foxx Show', 'In Living Color' Jamie truly made it. No one deserved it more than the nicest, hardest working man in show business who still doesn't get his due for all his versatile talent that still seem like a walk in the park (probably the reason why people overlook him somewhat sometimes).
Now Foxx looks to get even bigger and better with his future works. He's just taken over Will Smith. First this Christmas will see the tidings of a new Quentin Tarantino film 'Django Unchained' where Jamie will show us more of his range as a gun slinger. Taking the lead ahead of the greatest actor of our time Leonardo DiCaprio, the marvelously menacing, Tarantino darling Christopher Waltz, and seasoned co-worker and 'Avengers' assembler Samuel L. Jackson. This film looks to cause as much revolution as it does controversy. Will Smith was originally meant for this wild Western (may have looked a little 'Wild Wild West') but was working on current hot flick 'Men In Black 3'. Still Jamie seems perfect for this role and being the only star around as versatile as Smith, you know one day he could be as big. They've both had their own shows, albums and film-rolls stretching from the spitting sides of comedy to the most hard-fought of heart wrenching dramas.
They're both great friends too. Going way back. Foxx even provided the Fresh Prince with some funny interludes as the character 'Keith B-Real' on Smith's solo, monster debut album 'Big Willie Style'. You know there's no rivarly. It's all love and blessings like Mark Ruffalo taking the torn Hulk shirt off Edward Norton for 'The Avengers'. Smith wished he could have worked with Tarantino for 'Django' but says it's going to be "ridiculous". The biggest star on the planet probably isn't even mad-just glad-that Foxx is being tapped to play the President in a new film 'White House Down'. There was a time where rumors circulated that Spike Lee was going to direct Will and those ears for a Barack Obama biopic but it seems that Foxx has this role trapped. Sure the President definitely deserves a movie and most people would think the role would belong to Smith, but with no Will, there is a way...and his name is Jamie.
Jamie isn't the next Will Smith though, he's the next Jamie Foxx. Almost as bankable and with his versatility probably more marketable these days then the great Denzel Washington. Creating a legendary legacy in his own right Foxx can stand next to DiCaprio in more than just one picture. He's arguably as famous. Right there with the Damon's, Clooney's and Pitt's as one of the silver screens biggest stars. He should have been in the 'Oceans' films he's that big. Big enough to play the president and Smith roles. Throughout all the dramas and show business its all light and laughs too. Even when he's set to go head to head once again with 'Law Abiding Citizen' co-star Gerard Butler and his own White House movie; 'White House Taken'.
Just like 'Law Abiding Citizen'. Jamie's got so many great films under his multifaceted, utility belt already that you forget the great things he's already done. It's been a long time since he was part of the assembly line in 'Toys'. There's been 'Stealth', 'Jarhead', 'The Kingdom', a hilarious cameo in last years funniest film 'Horrible Bosses' as a character with the best name ever and a little help in 'Due Date' for Robert Downey Jnr. Like Robert helped him in 'The Soloist', where Jamie perfectly portrayed the real-life drama of Nathanial Ayers, a schizophrenic chello player who studied at New York's Julliard but ended up homeless in Los Angeles Skid Row. A sobering story of a musician that needed to be heard more. An emotionally raw role which should of garnered Foxx his second Oscar.
It wasn't the first time Jamie was overlooked. He should have arguably taken home the double 'Best Actor' and 'Best Supporting Actor' gongs when he was nominated for 'Ray' and 'Collateral' after being the third actor ever to be nominated for both by the Academy. He could have been the first actor to do this. He should have been. This is how legendary this man is. You know he deserved his star on the Walk Of Fame in Hollywood. His chilling performances in the confines of a taxi in 'Collateral' was something else and defined to the world just how good an actor he was. Next to the most Hollywood of stars in Tom Cruise, Foxx controlled this piece even as he drove Cruise's character around a dark, downtown Los Angeles with a gun to his head as Cruise's assassin knocked people off without even paying a fare. Just cue Foxx's emotion change from nervously apprehensive to seriously assured during key scenes. The testament to this gritty, action thriller was that the confrontations in the cab where as dramatic and thrilling as the shootout scenes, a Mann hallmark that has become iconic. He should have received that Oscar.
Thankfully though as well as leaving a lasting impression on the Academy he did on Mann too. After his show of solidarity and support for Smith on Mann's 'Ali' in all its charismatic, motivating inspiration, Foxx went on to partner Colin Farrell in Michael Mann's trip downtown, down in South Beach in the cool and calculated 'Miami Vice' remake. Another bold, big hit. Foxx received his just deserves for 'Ray' however and it goes beyond the Oscar. The late, legendary piano man was so impressed himself with Foxx's vocal and mannerism perfect performance of the great icon. Foxx has tinkled on the ivory since age 5, but it was like he'd been playing Ray Charles his whole life. Setting a new benchmark and trend in biopics, you almost couldn't tell it was Jamie like rapper turned actor Common once said. Still with that being said, Foxx's own style and charisma came shining through those dark glasses too, showing just how good a character he is.
It's this award winning interpretation and the critically acclaimed, but Academy unheralded and underrated portrayal of former gang member turned Noble Peace Prize winning Stanley 'Tookie' Williams in 'Redemption' (a role Foxx got so close to he ended up being one of the last people the real-life Tookie called before he was killed on death row (a true friend, this story deserves more time and ink in itself)) that makes Foxx the go-to-guy for biopics. Not in a generic way, but a genuine one. That's just how good Foxx is, that's why 'The Soloist' can play President. He's more than a chameleon portraying people though, he's his own man in his own right too.
Don't forget his diverse and already vast filmography. Coming late into the game-being truly famous for around a decade now at age 44-let's not forget Foxx in the early, funny days of 'Breaking All The Rules' and 'The Truth About Cats & Dogs'. Or his breakthrough role coached by Al Pacino in the top sports classic 'Any Given Sunday' which came with a song. Speaking of scoring soundtracks, how about his role in the Oscar winning 'Dreamgirls'? Or 'Rio', 'Valentines Day' or 'The Players Club'? Or more projects in the pipeline. Like his foray into video game territory, able to play Lynch in the movie version of 'Kane & Lynch', now in filming. Or his role as the villain Electro in the forthcoming 'Amazing Spider-Man' sequel that looks set to be electrifying. Who knows the roles he's had to turn down.
Because Jamie Foxx is more than an actor. If you don't think that's true then tell that to the hits he's made for Kanye West and the beginning of his career ('Slow Jamz', 'Gold Digger') among others (Twista, Quincy Jones, Snoop Dogg, Ludacris and LL Cool J after ending their 'Sunday' starting feud). Tell that to the records he's sold. The just shy of 2 million he moved with his 'Unpredictable' release. An album that came on the same year and heels of the Oscar nomination of 'Collateral' and success of 'Ray'. An album that made him the fourth Oscar winner ever to have a number one album in the same year, joining legends Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby and Barbra Streisand. An album that will last in his legacy. An album that played tag team with Mary J. Blige's 'Breakthrough' atop the billboard 100 during the fall of that year.
Jamie has always been about singing and playing. From the underrated days of his debut 'Peep This' (featuring top tracks like 'Experiment', 'Miss You', 'Summertime' and 'Don't Let The Sun (Go Down On Our Love)') to his breakthrough beating J. Blige to the top spot. With 'Unpredictable' against the odds Foxx brought an album rich of classic, hallmark nighties R&B. It hadn't sounded this fresh since Babyface carried the Luther Vandross torch. With hits like 'Extravaganza' featuring Kanye, 'D.J. Play A Love Song' with Twista and the album title track co-starring Ludacris, with 'Unpredictable', Jamie made his music and himself heard. If that wasn't enough with beautiful ballads like 'Heaven' and 'Wish You Where Here' and tracks like 'VIP', 'With You' and 'Warm Bed' rounding out the album the Hollywood star proved he was more than a one or two hit wonder. This was no act.
Neither was his follow up. 'Intuition' came with the foresight of Foxx's most formidable hit and a video full of famous faces too. Jamie "Blamed it on the alcohol" with Forest Whitaker, Samuel L. Jackson, Jake Gyllenhall and Ron Howard of all people for the strangest night out ever. 'Happy Days' indeed. The singer followed the huge 'Blame It' with a 'Number One' with Lil' Wayne that sampled the Beastie Boys, 'Digital Girl' and its huge Kanye, Drake and The-Dream remix and another huge hit with T.I. Foxx holed another great album in one. Tracks like 'I Don't Know', 'I Don't Need It' (produced by Timbaland) 'Freaking You' and his remix of Ne-Yo's 'Miss Independent' ('She Got Her Own' with the R&B star and Fabolous).
Then came the 'Best Night Of My Life' album which featured the 'Winner' single with fellow musician turned actors Justin Timberlake and T.I. and 'Fall For Your Type' featuring Drake, to go along with 'Living Better Now' featuring Rick Ross and great tracks like 'Rejoice', 'Hit It Like This' and 'Yep, That's Me' with actor/rapper Ludacris. This album once again gave Foxx more credits as not only a legit R&B star but one of the genres best. Certified by fellow greats like writing and production partner and R&B general Tank and with an army of brilliant B-Sides (like 'Don't Know You Anymore', 'Till I Met Your Sister', 'Speak French' the 'One Too Many Drinks', 'Extravaganza' remix and more) it's clear this soul soldier has more in reserve. Now you know there will be another album in the works too. Especially giving how hard he's working.
Jamie Foxx's dead-on, deadpan impersonations of Luther Vandross, (Jamie also covered the Luther classic 'Creepin'' beautifully for the late legends tribute L.P.) Prince and Babyface during his musical comedy routines always proved he could sing, before he proved he was an artist in his own right. Plus his stand-up hilarious impersonations of people like Shaquille O'Neal, Mike Tyson, Diddy and Bill Cosby show just how perfect at impressions he truly is. A quality which obviously helps him become a chameleon character in his biopic pictures. Still just like in music and films, when it comes to comedy Jamie shows he has his own personal routine too. From the personification of things to his hilarious observations and his take on things, this Richard Pryor/Red Foxx (where do you think he gets the name from?) inspired and influenced comedian is right there with Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, Louis C.K and Jon Stewart as some of today's more hilarious funny men.
Just check his 'Straight From The Foxxhole', 'Unleashed' and 'I Might Need Security' specials or his old sketch show and recent award show gigs. Nothing however is funnier than his inspired, improv owning of a bad comedic during a roast that was cooling off by the dead-air joke. It's more than worth a YouTube. Echoing into someone elses microphone and pretending to be the drowning comics concerned conscious Jamie nails it, the comedian and the better mood of the night, lifting everything up in a light hearted way. Yet another brilliant and underappreciated gem of the career of an incredible and somewhat underrated talent.
Jamie had the last laugh then and will continue to have whatever the medium. Did we mention he's a top talk show host? Whether on camera, in the studio or on stage Jamie's charm and charisma will shine through and this star looks to get even brighter after his next term in office. He's about to be off the chain and who knows what will link in with that. A new album? A new comedy tour? Don't rule anything out as this multi-talented man can do it all, especially when he gets into his hard working zone. From music to movies, comedy and everything inbetween Jamie Foxx really is show business.
Now that's entertainment.