R&B

Juice Soul’s “Made Her A Woman”: A Relationship Counternarrative for the Fellas

While male artists, especially those in R&B and Hip-Hop, often receive charges of employing sexist, patriarchal, misogynistic and divisive imagery and language, Juice Soul, Jason Williams of Augusta, Georgia, offers a mature, balanced and compelling counternarrative to those charges. Too many songs across musical genres present an oversimplified ultimate reason why numerous intimate heterosexual relationships fail: it’s the man’s fault. Yes, admittedly, men, more often than not, create the core challenges and problems that plague relationships and inevitably lead to their undoing. In many cases, however, women contribute significantly to these relationship challenges and problems. “Made Her A Woman,” one of the hit tracks from Juice Soul’s 2005 100% Concentration album, boldly, yet respectfully, ventures into this frequently slanted, deficient in nuance discourse.

Juice Soul’s dexterous melding of urban contemporary R&B and neo-soul lends itself useful to illuminating his characteristic deftness in relating an enchanting story through song. The powerful art of storytelling represented in “Made Her A Woman”—and most of his works—facilitates heartfelt emotions expressed. Although the title, “Made Her A Woman,” might give the impression of a standard patriarchal song, the artist deploys an ironic title, to surprise, challenge, unsettle. Early in the song, Mr. Williams disabuses the listener of any thoughts about this work being laced with misogynist or patriarchal words or themes.

Juice Soul Jason Williams

(Photo Courtesy of Juice Soul)

The artist longs for his former love to appreciate the substantial contributions he made in her life that helped her to evolve into a mature and productive woman. Her unwillingness to give him the gratitude he deserves results in a vexing loneliness; a loneliness that engenders a primarily dejected mood. Pain, however, seems to motivate the artist to rise above the limitations of his extant inauspicious circumstances, communicating a slight sense of optimism about his future love life.

Williams’ oeuvre appears intimately grounded in realism. The type of raw emotion and zeal he delivers suggests mostly biographical content rather than purely fictional content, which could explain why his songs connect so strongly with fans.

“Made Her A Woman” taps into the universal human condition by engaging common feelings experienced: loss, loneliness, heartbreak and disenchantment. As an adroit and shrewd lyricist, Juice Soul always releases a sincere, candid piece. This track conveys an important message: heterosexual men’s relationship narratives possess great value, and when artists proffer those narratives without fear, we behold poignant, beautiful art—the type of art represented by his Summer 2016 song featuring rapper L.T. Terror, one of the best songs produced this decade, “Tasteless.”

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

“Tasteless” by Juice Soul Featuring L.T. Terror: The Hottest Track of Summer 2016

Tasteless Juice Soul

(Photo Credit: Juice Soul)

Rising star and independent singer and songwriter Juice Soul has released the summer’s hottest track, “Tasteless,” featuring rap artist L.T. Terror and produced by Chevalier. Corporate media often defines which song is the hottest of a particular season, with little input from consumers themselves. As an increasing number of people learn about “Tasteless,” they’re convinced it’s the best new song available this summer.

With this track, Juice Soul engenders a new movement, a movement centered on loving one another. In the extant political climate—where vile, xenophobic, racist and sexist discourse is exponentially increasing and sadly becoming normative—the native of Augusta, Georgia, Juice Soul, promulgates a national and global clarion call to “love somebody.” The song, therefore, offers a brilliant, masterful and powerful counternarrative to the dominant national narrative of discord advanced by political interlocutors on the Left and Right.

“Tasteless” has potential to burgeon an effective and robust national citizens’ counterinsurgency against elected officials and candidates with intentions to foment hate and violence. The song possesses immense revolutionary potential. If we collectively heed the core message of real and unwavering love it champions, then we will build relationships—instead of walls.

Receiving his undergraduate training in Literary Studies (English) at Albany State University in Albany, Georgia, Juice Soul understands how to deploy irony adroitly, thus his choice to create an ironic title. The track’s title critiques the current state of love across the globe; it’s instructive, informing us through negation how to treat one another.

When ones listens to “Tasteless,” he or she might experience nostalgia for R&B of the 1970s – 1990s—a period of time in which authentic and quality vocals were cornerstones of the genre and not auto-tune and other technologically manufactured effects. Although Juice Soul’s mellifluous sound has affinities with the classic singing of the aforementioned period, he’s still current, sporting vocals that bear influences of Jamie Foxx, Sam Cooke, and Donny Hathaway. Many people love to say, “Bring back real music.” Well, lament no more. Juice Soul is the answer.

On this track, Juice Soul is joined by a talented rapper, L.T. Terror, who will inevitably blaze the national scene and become a household name. L.T. Terror spits rhymes that perfectly complement Juice Soul’s vocals, yielding purposeful and exemplary art. Neither artist overshadows or upstages the other. Although both are remarkable talents, one should never overlook the amazingly gifted Chevalier, the producer behind this artistic gem, “Tasteless.”

Fellows, you will thank Juice Soul later for supplying you with a new track to add to your mood-setting repertoire. “Tasteless” will tastefully ready the atmosphere for love, for romance, for lovemaking. Numerous current R&B songs denigrate and objectify women. Displeased with this reality, Juice Soul desired to present men with a resource to help communicate how much they cherish the special ladies in their lives. The artist responded to the popular demand from women to craft music that resists using profanity toward them and that resists commodifying and reifying them. Ladies, this isn’t a song that views you as a female dog—it embraces your humanity, your equality, your longing for true love, your external and internal beauty.

Yes, most men are more balanced and complex than seeing women as being only worth what they can extend sexually. Guys, “Tasteless” captures this aforementioned sentiment. Ladies will find this song physically, emotionally, and mentally stimulating. This track is a refreshing departure from “Let Me Hit It.” You think?  As always, Juice Soul presents mature, thoughtful, sensual, sexy, smart, and compelling art.

Juice Soul is destined to become the next popular national recording artist. Listen to “Tasteless” on Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play, Tidal, and all other digital platforms. Let your local record stations know you want to hear his new single played. Purchase it on iTunes.

Do you long to love somebody? Well, join the “Love Somebody Movement” and support its progenitor, Juice Soul.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Alicia Keys: Beautiful Lady and Horrible Live Singer

Alicia Keys(Photo Source: Hip Hop Weekly)

Alicia Keys is a beautiful lady and has enjoyed a successful career.  Unfortunately, when she has to sing live, you wouldn’t think she’s an accomplished singer.  Her success as a vocalist emerges from her ability to sing much better in the studio.  Many recording artists cannot sing live and Alicia Keys is a representative example.  If it were not for her beauty and the reputation she’s built from her studio album sells, she would be one of those artists who quickly fade away.

Although her gorgeous face and breathtaking body are contributing factors in her enduring success, her success in more recent years has resulted from her ability to understand how to create songs that connect to larger phenomena than herself.  Her song, “Girl on Fire,” shrewdly connects with numerous women.  One of the most important ways it resonates with many women is it’s a song they can use and sing to express their self-confidence and celebrate their accomplishments, physical appearance, independence, and/or any other thing that gives them joy.  In her collaboration with Jay-Z, “Empire State of Mind,” she not only forms a bond with New Yorkers by singing a song that can be viewed as an anthem for New York, but also connects  with millions of Americans who love New York, especially in a post-9/11 America.

Those responsible for managing and marketing her must advise her to be more selective about the live events she elects to sing at.  If Keys is going to sing at live events, she needs to avoid high notes.  Her voice cracks entirely too much when she’s singing live (especially when attempting high notes).  In the studio, she has opportunities to correct errors she often makes when she’s singing live—without anyone ever knowing she made any errors.

Alicia Keys will not continue to be successful if she keeps having horrible vocal performances at prominent events like the Super Bowl and The Grammy Awards.

Keys shouldn’t allow her ego to fool her into believing she’s having amazing live vocal performances—when they’re really atrocious.  Whether she knows it or not, she’s beginning to develop the wrong reputation: “she’s not a good singer” or “she cannot sing at all,” which are frequent statements made by numerous individuals on Facebook and Twitter in response to her live performances.

In “Posing as a Great Singer: Trey Songz’s Intriguing Success,” I wrote about the horrendous live vocal performances of Trey Songz.  His managers and marketers, however, are more discerning about how many live performances he does and the type of events he performs at.  During live performances, they sell his physical appearance more than his vocals.  Keys would be better served by highlighting her physical appearance more than her vocals when performing live.

Are you a fan of Alicia Keys?  Do you think she’s a good live singer?  Why or why not?

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

“Pain is Love” by Jason “Juice” Williams: A Critical Assessment

Jason "Juice" Williams

One of the most talented independent artists in America is irrefutably Jason “Juice” Williams. Juice’s exceptional talent and oeuvre have been acknowledged by Soul Train, Revolutionary Paideia, and many others. On March 9, 2013 at the Albany James H. Gray, Sr. Civic Center in Albany, Georgia at 9:00 p.m., he will be performing live with Maze featuring Frankie Beverly. The purpose of this article is to provide an assessment of the dominant messages about love and relationships Juice’s “Pain is Love,” which is a single from his album A&J Live (2002), offer.

One recurrent theme in Juice’s full body of work is the notion of love being a nuanced phenomenon that’s never devoid of conflict. Even in his second album, 100% Concentration (2005), one can see how this aforementioned treatment of love is conspicuous. In “Pain is Love,” the artist communicates that problems can emerge even when they are not intentionally created. Those inadvertently engendered problems can cause pain for one or both individuals involved in a relationship. Even if the relationship terminates, Juice exposes the enduring pain often left unresolved.

The artist asks the lady for “just one minute” of her time to articulate how he feels about her and the love they have shared. The song, therefore, advocates for frank communication to be a significant part of the healing process in a relationship impacted by emotional pain. For those involved in relationships, it’s crucial to understand that candid communication is essential to overcoming problems. This candid communication must be guided by love, of course. Too often the lines of communication are shutdown when people are hurting in a relationship. If the lines of communication continue to be shutdown, the relationship is doomed to end inevitably. It will ultimately not be about the pain that caused fissures in the relationship, but it will be more about the failure to communicate that’s the authentic reason why the relationship ceases.

“Pain is Love” informs the listener that when you have real love for someone, you don’t intentionally inflict pain on him or her. This is an important message many people in relationships need to hear and embrace. Too many people, especially men, talk about how much they love the one they’re in a relationship with, but that “love” often is not strong enough to keep them from cheating on their partner. True love keeps you from being deceitful and unfaithful.

Jason "Juice" Williams

The artist longs to be with his lost love but she’s no longer by his side.

How frequent do we think about how our foolish actions can lead to the end of our relationships?

We should think more about how the things we’re doing can result in us losing the one we love and can cause us to experience a lifetime of pain.

The artist discloses that love will turn into pain if you are negligent in your relationship. You should never forget about showing the person you love how much you love him or her. If you abandon your duties in your relationship, you may discover just how much pain is love.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Posing as a Great Singer: Examining Trey Songz’s Intriguing Success

After engaging in a close examination of Trey Songz’s discography, there has to be significant factors that have contributed to his success—other than being able to sing—because he cannot sing. Now, Trey Songz seems to be a nice young man, although I have never met him in person. He has never, from my knowledge, been arrogant and has not had any beef with other artists. Mr. Songz has encountered trouble with the legal system since he has been an artist. He just seems to be a really good guy. Unfortunately, all of those things have nothing to do with singing. Trey Songz was named the Black Entertainment Television (BET) Best Male R&B Artist at the 2010 BET Awards. Really? Trey Songz? Are we really ready to say that this man is one of the best male R&B singers? Is he really a good enough singer to be granted such a prestigious award? This article seeks to offer possible explanations about why Trey Songz has been a successful artist.

While many may assert that I’m attempting to mar the reputation of Trey Songz as a singer, this piece is purely an attempt to try to understand the factors that contribute to the success of Trey Songz.

Many women I’ve asked posit that Mr. Songz is a very attractive man with a very nice body. With many women driving his sells, one has to dedicate at least some serious thought to the idea that Songz’s success results largely from his looks. Every opportunity Songz gets he takes off his shirt or simply shows up shirtless. We are all now familiar with the reality that sex and sexy sells. Trey Songz and his marketing team comprehends this well. They recognize that his sex appeal, good looks, and nice body resonate well with the ladies. It would be imprudent not to think about how vital his physical appearance is to the way in which his singing is primarily received. One’s physical appearance is crucial to one’s popular reception in today’s music industry.

Moreover, Trey Songz has done a fascinating job of becoming an award-winning singer without proving his ability to sing. When you listen to any song by Trey Songz, you never have an opportunity to really hear him sing. On many of his songs, his voice is drowned out by the musical accompaniments and sound effects. To be frank, he basically talks instead of sings on all of his songs. He and his handlers have orchestrated a great strategy to always ensure that he has the right songs, the right musical accompaniments, and the right sound effects that prevent his inability to sing from being exposed. He gets exposed, however, when he has to sing live.

Listen to Trey Songz’s “Bottoms Up” and witness how the music operates as a masking agent to camouflage his inability to sing. “Neighbors Know My Name” is a classic example of how he principally just talks instead of sings.

The aforementioned factors that contribute to Trey Songz’s success are important for us to remember when we start endowing accolades like “Best Male R&B Artist.” The previously mentioned factors that have contributed to his success collectively divulge that his success has nothing to do with his singing. We denigrate the venerated prestige of an award like “Best Male R&B Artist” when we give it to someone like Trey Songz. There’s a conspicuous difference between talking and singing. Now, do you really think Mr. Songz measures up vocally to the likes of R. Kelly, Brian McKnight, Eric Benét, Jamie Foxx, Chris Brown, and Usher? As far as Trey Songz’s vocals go, I contend that he’s not even qualified enough to hold their jockstraps.

Critically listen to Trey Songz’s singing and don’t just look at the pretty face and nice body. If you love his pretty face and nice body, then say that but don’t anoint him to be “Best Male R&B Artist.”

I’m afraid that we are giving many contemporary artists who are posing as singers a pass on their vocals just because we love how they look. Trey Songz should thank God every day for blessing him with the good looks he has because he would not have experienced the success he has without his good looks. I guess Trey Songz offers us a new model for being a successful artist in today’s music industry: Have the right hue of Black skin, a nice body, and good looks and you can become a successful singer without being able to sing.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison