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Review: The-Dream's 'IV Play' (Literally) Bangs Despite Tired Formula

Terius Nash is something like a chameleon, with his songwriting and production morphing to fit the mold of whichever artist he’s working with. It’s a skill that bleeds into his own solo projects, too. On 2007’s Love Hate, the sound reflects the times: One moment there’s slaphappy flirtation and the next serious grind times. Six years later, The-Dream still leans on that formula with his fifth studio album IV Play (out May 28), mainly because it works. Throwing caution to the wind, The-Dream crafts sexually charged soliloquies that could either excite or offend you (more on that later).

IV Play opens with “High Art,” a woozy Auto-Tuned cut that sounds like the lovechild of Lil Wayne’s “Lollipop” and Jeremih’s “Down On Me.” Jay-Z hops in his DeLorean to rhyme like he’s not married to Queen Beysus, urging his girl that he’s only going out with the fellas despite her suspecting otherwise. Meanwhile The-Dream is blowing lines about getting high with his boys following coital escapades. It’s a strong opener especially given the cameo, but the high points don’t stop there—despite being laden with profanities and borderline nymphomania. Big Sean and Pusha T play the giggling homeboys to the perverted Mr. Nash on “Pussy,” on which Terius proves a master multitasker—“I got my left hand on that booty/Got my right hand on that pussy,” he croons over crashing thunderclaps. You’ve got to love the subtlety.

RELATED: 9 Shocking Moments On The-Dream's IV Play Album

The sexual metaphors eventually get tiring, evidenced by “Equestrian,” on which The-Dream likens sex to riding a horse or the title track where even when attempting romance, Terius still has to squeeze in the freak. Even while singing in the late Michael Jackson’s cadence on “Michael,” The-Dream drops F-bombs (something the King of Pop would never do on wax). He strays from the suggestiveness in rare (but beautiful) moments on the album. “Where Have You Been” gets a powerful cameo from Kelly Rowland, who tames The-Dream into lines about setting his love apart from the rest of the pack. The now-obligatory ratchet record comes on "Turnt," with a few phoned-in lines from Beyonce (was Ciara busy or something?) that merely simmers in comparison to their scrapped ganga ode, "Fire" (held for sample clearance reasons). On “Self-Conscious,” The-Dream tells his girl she doesn’t need to be bashful; he loves her just the way she is. It’s a pleasant break from the back-breaking that dominates the body of the work.

With an album title like IV Play, you know what you’re in for (although it sounds like Dream doesn’t believe in actual foreplay). While the lyrics at times eclipse his actual vocals, it’s still an entertaining ride. The songs are dripping in sex and go against any radio-friendly formula, but that’s The-Dream’s whole shtick. He doesn’t have to give you singles; he can write those for other people. He just came to bang. —Kathy Iandoli

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Miley Cyrus Is Making Music With Mike Will Made It Again After Dissing Hip-Hop

Miley Cyrus recently revealed she’ll be reuniting with Mike Will Made It on her upcoming album, which could be considered a controversial move since shunning hip-hop last year. In a recent interview with the radio station 95.5 PLJ, Cyrus explained that her next album will feature a wide range of genres, one of being hip-hop.

“A song that [Mark Ronson] and I have done together is more rock driven, modern Debbie Harry or Joan Jett,” she said. “Then we've got songs with Mike Will [Made It] that lean more hip-hop and songs with Andrew Wyatt that lean more pop/alternative. I just have kind of everything."

This revelation comes a year after the former Hannah Montana star called out hip-hop and distanced herself from the genre in a interview with Billboard, which prompted many to label her as a culture vulture.

“But I also love that new Kendrick [Lamar] song [‘Humble’]: ‘Show me somethin’ natural like ass with some stretch marks,’” she said in the interview. “I love that because it’s not ‘Come sit on my d**k, suck on my c**k.’ I can’t listen to that anymore. That’s what pushed me out of the hip-hop scene a little. It was too much ‘Lamborghini, got my Rolex, got a girl on my c**k’ — I am so not that.”

For her fourth-album Bangerz, the former Hannah Montana star called on Mike Will to executive produce the effort. Pharrell Williams and will.i.am to work on the production. French Montana, Future, Nelly and Ludacris were also featured artists on the project.

Cyrus’s recent country-pop/rock effort, Younger Now, debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 with 45,000 equivalent units sold in its first week. The project as a whole failed to garner any certification from the RIAA.

READ MORE: Miley Cyrus Says She's Over The Hip-Hop Scene, Shows Appreciation For Kendrick Lamar

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Oprah Discusses Her Final Days With Her Mother In New Video

Oprah Winfrey opened up about her mother’s recent passing with People. The entertainment mogul recalled her final days with Vernita Lee, who died on Thanksgiving Day at the age of 83.

Winfrey reveals that her mother was in hospice care, and she attempted to find the words to say ‘thank you’ to her mother before she died.

“In hospice care they have a little book about the little conversations,” Winfrey revealed in an interview. “I thought, ‘Isn’t this strange? I am Oprah Winfrey, and I’m reading a hospice care book on what to say at the end.'”

Throughout those final days, Oprah revealed that she enjoyed watching the visiting nurses come in to keep her mother company, even when she didn’t need them.

“She would tear up when she saw them,” she explained. “You could see the appreciation and love she felt for them. Then, I said to her, ‘What a wonderful thing to be able to say goodbye,’ because she’s completely coherent and perfectly understanding everything.”

She also said that her last goodbye to her mother before she passed was very special. She was able to have her good friend, gospel singer Wintley Phipps, FaceTime in and sing the song “Precious Lord.” After the rendition ended, Oprah said her peace.

“What I said was, ‘Thank you. Thank you, because I know it’s been hard for you. It was hard for you as a young girl having a baby, in Mississippi. No education. No training. No skills,’” she continued. “‘Seventeen, you get pregnant with this baby. Lots of people would have told you to give that baby away. Lots of people would’ve told you to abort that baby. You didn’t do that. I know that was hard. I want you to know that no matter what, I know that you always did the best you knew how to do. And look how it turned out.'”

“I feel complete,” she continued. “I feel really, really moved by all the people who’ve reached out to me… I feel like it was as sacred and as blessed as a passing can be.”

READ MORE: Oprah's Mother Vernita Lee Dead On Thanksgiving Day

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Ulysses King

Black-Owned Business Walker & Company Acquired By Proctor & Gamble

Walker and Company, the cosmetic company that creates health and beauty products specifically for people of color, has joined forces with Proctor & Gamble in efforts to keep maximizing their global outreach for black and brown people.

Founded in 2013 by Tristan Walker, Walker & Co. has created a slew of other flagship brands that make grooming products designed for the various textures of hair and beards that people of color pre-dominantly have. For men, Walker shelled out the Bevel Trimmer designed to help style men with more coarse or curly beards. Back in 2015, the trimmer made it on GQ's coveted Grooming Award List. 

“We wanted to build a trimmer that we fundamentally believe is the most advanced trimmer on the planet,” Walker told VIBE of the Bevel Trimmer. “We’ve innovated it in three ways: power, blade innovation and form.”

Our story. Our mission.https://t.co/x8WuSGgJ9S

— Walker & Company (@walkercobrands) January 29, 2016

Because Walker has helped revolutionize the beauty industry, there's no denying he's excited about joining Proctor & Gamble family and taking advantage of all he could accomplish with its support.

"When I started Walker & Company Brands, I set out to build a company that would meet the health and beauty needs of people of color on a global scale,” Walker said in a statement. “Having access to P&G’s outstanding technology, capabilities and expertise helps us to further realize that vision, giving us the power to scale and bring new products to people of color, while staying true to our mission and continuing to nurture the loyal community we’ve worked hard to build.”

READ MORE: Bevel Launches LGBTQ 'Black Love' Campaign For Valentine's Day

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