Hot n’ Happenin’ By: Otis Stokes Just a few short months ago, The Weeknd was featured in our “Up n’ Comin’” section and I commented; “it’s safe to say that you’ll be hearing more from “The Weeknd,” in weekends to come. Well, those weekends have arrived. Now riding high with two top ten Billboard Hot 100 singles featuring the bass-heavy and captivating #1 “Can’t Feel My Face,” and the #5 charted, “The Hills,” Mr. Weeknd is ready for his close-up. In other words; the Canadian-born singer is poised to be a star. The Weeknd’s number one single “Can’t Feel My Face,” is a pop-natured upbeat dance number, which at first glance is seemingly about a woman. But former songs he released that were inspired by an adolescence of drug-taking and lost love, suggest another meaning in the lyrics — “And I know she’ll be the death of me, at least we’ll both be numb / And she’ll always get the best of me, the worst is yet to come” — which are widely understood to be talking about drug addiction, and more specifically, about cocaine addiction because of the drug’s numbing properties. To add insult to injury, Mr. “All-American” Tom Cruise, participated in one of Jimmy Fallon’s popular “lip-sync battles,” pantomiming the hit song. Cruise was all-in while performing the song, and had earlier referred to it as “the song of the summer.” That would indicate that Mr. Cruise was unaware that he was singing about an addict instead of a woman… much to his chagrin. Obviously it’s not a crime to write a song about drug addiction, and this artist is certainly not the first to do so. However, he may be the first to disguise it in such an innocent and clever way. The Weeknd has stated that, by singing vulgar, ignorant lyrics in an elegant, sexy way, he is paying homage to R. Kelly and to some degree Prince. Apparently his “hidden meaning” lyrical concept is paying dividends, because on Billboard’s Hot R&B Songs chart for the week of July 25, 2015, The Weeknd held down all of the top three spots; “Can’t Feel My Face” at #1, “The Hills” at #2 and “Earned It” at #3. This made him the first artist in the history of that chart to earn this distinction. But, let’s hope that The Weeknd hasn’t confused giving “props” to great artists, and becoming a great artist as being the same thing. Because it’s going to take a lot more than the use of double entendres to achieve the kind of musical greatness he claims to admire. ‘Nuff said!

Up n’ Comin’

Charlie Puth
“Some Type Of Love”
Atlantic Records
One would wonder why the internet video-streaming sensation YouTube doesn’t have its own record label by now. What with all of the artists who give the video-sharing website credit for their rise to fame or infamy, as the case may be. Blue-eyed soul singer Charlie Puth (rhymes with booth) is one of the latest artists to sing YouTube’s praises. Puth is widely known for writing and singing on Wiz Khalifa’s single “See You Again,” taken from the “Furious 7” soundtrack. The song became a tribute to the late Paul Walker. The singer, whose style mimics British sensation Sam Smith, got his start posting his own acoustic covers of other artist’s hits on YouTube. In October 2011, Ellen DeGeneres announced that she had signed Charlie Puth and Emily Luther to her label after seeing their cover of Adele’s “Someone Like You.” Puth and Luther performed the song on “The Ellen Degeneres Show.” On January 25, 2012, they came back to Ellen’s show and performed Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now” and an original song written by Puth titled “Break Again.” Puth left Degeneres’ eleven/eleven label for unknown reasons, and signed with Atlantic Records. He released his debut single, “Marvin Gaye,” in February 2015, featuring vocals from Meghan Trainor. The single peaked at #28 on the Billboard Hot 100, but did climb to #1 on the chart in New Zealand. Although Puth’s single didn’t reach the height or popularity of the Wiz Kahlifa hit (“See You Again” was #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for 12 non-consecutive weeks), it is continuing to make a name for Puth as both a producer and an artist. He produced “Slow Motion” for Trey Songz and has also worked with other notable artists like Jason Derulo and Lil Wayne. With a few Teen Choice and MTV Video Music Award nominations pending, it seems that the best is yet to come.