The 2009 Chronicles: Emotional Musical Rollercoaster Part 2

Rebellion

“The 2009 Chronicles: Emotional Musical Rollercoaster” continues as AllHipHop Alternatives recaps the tumultuous year in R&B. We pick up with the death of Michael Jackson, a loss that eclipsed about everything that happened in entertainment. For part 1, which examines Chris and Rihanna, click here. Death of an IconWhere were you on June 25 when you heard that Michael Jackson died at the age of 50? According to reports, the King of Pop was given a lethal dose of propofol, lorazepam and midazolam to help him sleep. Jackson’s personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, was at the center of the situation, with manslaughter charges pending for his role in the death and a denial of any wrongdoing on his part.Nevertheless, it seemed like time stopped when the news of Jackson’s death was confirmed. Makeshift memorials, personal reflections from friends, fellow celebrities and family and an outpouring of thoughts and prayers for the music icon’s three children (Prince Michael Jackson Jr. Paris Jackson, and Prince Michael Jackson II (aka “Blanket”) soon followed.Jackson’s public memorial service became must see viewing around the world in July as a final farewell to the singer was given via heartfelt tributes from Usher, Mariah Carey, Jennifer Hudson and Michael’s brother Jermaine, who sang his famous sibling’s favorite tune, “Smile.”“Ever since I was born, Daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine … I just wanted to say I love him … so much,” said a tearful Paris, who touched those attending the funeral and reportedly up to 1 billion TV viewers worldwide.Prior to the public service, the Jackson family paid their respects to Michael in a private ceremony at Forest Lawn – Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles. The music pioneer was buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery of Glendale on September 3.The grief over Michael continued to be felt by fans that put the late singer back at the number one position on the Billboard charts, Amazon.com and iTunes with a dramatic surge in sales of his music. Solo albums from the singer became a fixture on Billboard with 422,000 copies sold in the week following his death, 800,000 copies sold in the first full week and 1.1 million copies sold in the following week of his memorial service. Jackson also made a significant impact digitally with him selling 2.6 million copies to become the first artist to sell more than million downloads in a week.Fans weren’t the only ones feeling Jackson’s passing. The death remained in the mind of radio stations, mixtape DJs and those behind this year’s BET, MTV Video Music and American Music Awards as more tributes were paid. In October, the Michael Jackson documentary/concert film, This Is It, was released in memory of the singer. The Kenny Ortega-helmed feature, which was not intended for public viewing, lovingly captured the entertainer in his element as it included rehearsal footage and a final look at Michael in his last days while preparing for a highly anticipated 50-date tour in London.Although it was originally slated for a two week run in theaters, This Is It earned $19.1 million in its first three and a half days of release and $23,234,394 in its opening weekend, thus taking first place at the box office and resulting in an expanded engagement that concluded at the end of the Thanksgiving weekend. The film, which became the highest grossing concert film and documentary in movie history, is set to come out on DVD and Blu-Ray on January 26, 2010.Internal Group Affairs and Solo DiscomfortWhile new faces staked their claim, veteran artists engaged in alleged beef. Case in point: former Pretty Ricky member Pleasure P, who found himself on the receiving end of a twitter attack centering on accusations of him being a child molester.Media sources report the attacks came from a Twitter user named “AGoldsteinGirl,” who posted photos of alleged court documents that intended to prove that Pleasure P had not only been accused of molesting a four-year-old child, but had also been found guilty of the allegations in a Broward County, Florida court. “AGoldsteinGirl” further fanned the controversy by claiming her family had received death threats after she made her accusations and made the documents available for download.Needless to say, Pleasure P dismissed the talk as he expressed how much of a toll the allegations have taken on him and his family.”All of the recent rumors and accusations that are being circulated about me are 100% false,” the vocalist said in a statement. “They are disgusting and vile; and they are being spread by individuals with their own sick agendas.”Whether or not Pretty Ricky is behind the twitter attacks is up in the air. Although reps for the group have denied any involvement in the situation, Pretty Ricky did issue a statement on its Twitter account that added weight to the rumors. Members further revealed that due to an injunction filed by Pleasure P’s legal team, they were not “at liberty to discuss” the circumstances surrounding the singer’s expulsion from the group. Contrary to popular belief, Pretty Ricky said it had been their decision to release Pleasure P from the group in 2007.The Pleasure P/Pretty Ricky conflict was among a few R&B beefs that kept the attention of fans in ’09. More group drama surfaced, courtesy of Day 26.Internal issues between members eventually led to the dismissal of Qwanell “Que” Mosley. According to Mosley, he was removed from Day 26 after the group asked him to leave.Despite his issues lying with Day 26’s new management and financial matters, the opposition did not sit well with remaining members Robert Curry, Brian Andrews, Willie Taylor, and Michael McCluney, who were forced to remove Mosley. The newly abandoned vocalist later admitted that he did not want to leave Day 26, but respected the group’s decision and wished them well.Groups may have accounted for a portion of conflict in ’09, but solo performers were not left out. The flames were stoked with alleged beef between Trey Songz and R. Kelly. Songz’ conflict with Kelly stemmed from an auto-tune flavored mixtape Kelly released called The Demo Tape.“Remember Aaron Hall? Where the hell he at?/ Trey Songz comin’, where Kelly at?/Why be indirect/ I think he feelin’ that. He got the game sewed so he layin’ back,” Songz said on his song “D.O.K.” (Death of Kellz) as he labeled Kelly a “T-Pain copycat.” “Who you got around you, Them people tryin’ to drown you/ Put that autotune on, yo homies shoulda clowned you…Now let the track breathe, Cut them braids off, who you tryin’ to be, me?”While the track could be taken as offensive to Kells, Songz repeatedly denied having any beef with one of his main influences, saying  his song was used as motivation for Kelly to “to go harder” in being the trailblazer he was when he arrived on the scent rather than yield to the popular Auto-Tune trend.  For Kelly, it was business as usual with his energy being used to work on his latest opus, Untitled. With songs like “Number One,” “Echo” and “Religious it’s clear that Kells has not lost his knack for making a hit or three. A Dream Deferred?Neither has The-Dream. But with a hit album (Love vs. Money), a string of singles from the same album (“Rockin That Sh*t,” “My Love feat. Maria Carey, “Walkin’on the Moon feat. Kanye West) does that equal recognition via a Grammy nomination? Apparently not.  And Mr. Nash did not take the snub lying down as he vented his disappointment on his Twitter page.“Isn’t it funny the best album of 2009 didn’t get a nomination for the second year strait,” the singer/songwriter/producer posted while referencing his last album, Love Hate and  stating that, “…this ain’t no Kanye sh– … and yes I am b*****n’.”And while his outburst could remind folks of Kanye, The-Dream defended his reaction by mentioning his followers and citing others who have been overlooked for their accomplishments. “That’s why I put the thing about Kanye [West],” the crooner told MTV. “I’m not on no Kanye, but when you bust your a** and you know you bust your a** and you don’t get a look, then you’re looking at people funny.”So much for Grammy love for The-Dream. Nevertheless, the man could be denied when it comes to providing fans with listener friendly material. Did the Ladies Run This?The same can be said for Mary J. Blige and  Beyonce. Both women chalked up successful albums and singles with their respective albums I Am…Sasha Fierce and Stronger With Each Tear (Blige’s first offering in two years). Throw in Alicia Keys and her number one collaboration with rap mogul Jay-Z (“Empire State of Mind”) as well as her official return with her new album, The Element of Freedom and the ladies were holding their weight up just fine.And we can’t forget Whitney Houston, who joined Sade and Maxwell as being among those coming back to thrill us with a long-awaited helping of what we’ve been missing for many years.  Like The-Dream, she may not have scored a Grammy nomination, but in the eyes of many, Whitney’s ’09 return was nothing short of glorious. After all, her album, I Look to You, did score a number one debut on the charts upon its first week of release.Mariah Carey also made waves in ’09 with her latest project, Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel. But with most albums, there’s always a bit of drama. For Mariah, that came with the album’s first single, “Obsessed.” The tune and accompanying video garnered an instant response from her former flame, Eminem, who felt the song’s content and video were directed at him in response to a dis he threw at Mariah and her husband Nick Cannon on his song “Bagpipes from Baghdad.” As a result, the rapper revealed intimate details of his short-lived relationship with Carey and lashed out at Cannon on a song called “The Warning.”Nevertheless, “Obsessed,” its Gucci Mane-featured remix and the follow-up track (a remake of the Foreigner classic, “I Want to Know What Love Is”) found a degree of success as it propelled Memoirs to a number three debut on the Billboard Hot 100 and number one status on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. Questions for 2010So there you have it. As 2009 draws to a close, it’s a safe bet to say that the newsmakers of this year will continue to give us something to talk about next year. And with 2010 there comes speculation towards who will be the artist to own the next 365.Will Keri Hilson and Co. expand their 15 minutes to include more time in the spotlight? Will Erykah Badu’s New Amerykah Part 2 (Return of the Ankh) meet the expectations of fans who crave new material to vibe on and digest? Will D’Angelo ever get around to putting together that album we’ve all been waiting for?The answer to these and a million other questions are sure to make the beginning of the new decade a time for taking advantage of the fresh start that awaits those who entertain us and the people who love them.What a difference a year makes. Indeed.

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