Interview: Ne-Yo Talks Remixing 'Suit & Tie,' Working On New Material With Beyoncé and Jay-Z

When chart-topping singer/songwriter Ne-Yo isn’t headlining around the globe, the daddy of two always makes time to re-visit his second home, the studio. Remaining true to his R&B roots, the "Let Me Love You" singer has been keeping busy, collaborating with music's beloved while mentoring a new crop of talented hopefuls.

His latest endeavor includes a remastered version of Ciara’s “Body Party,” where he brings an even more sensual atmosphere to the soirée.

“Ciara is a friend and I know a few of the people that work at her label. I made sure that I got the blessing from her first before I did it,” he tells VIBE. “They sent me the instrumental and I did what I did. It’s a song that I really like from her so I just decided to throw the gentleman’s touch on it.”

When it comes to double takes, the dapper crooner is more prone to crafting originals but when asked if he considered touching Justin Timberlake's "Suit & Tie" given his affinity for black tie ensembles, Ne-Yo said hopping on the feel-good track crossed his mind.

“I didn’t want people to feel like I was taking a jab at him or nothing like that, but when the song came out, a lot of people came at me like, ‘Suit and Tie? Okay Justin is trying to jump in your lane,'" he said. "I’m not the first person to wear a suit and tie. C’mon y’all, it doesn’t have to be that.” He mentions that it would have been a different story if the pair did the song together. "I wouldn’t take it upon myself to take the liberty," he adds. "I wouldn’t do that.”

Still, the seasoned hit-maker continues to juggle fedoras with his A&R position at Universal Motown Records and spearheading his Compound University label. He says that his first signee Soona Rele, a singer/songwriter from the United Kingdom, is a fusion of Bruno Mars, Alicia Keys and Weeknd. “I’ve been really focusing on making sure her stuff is all the way right as well,” he said about his discovery.

Despite his tight schedule, Ne-Yo has also managed to squeeze in some time with hip-hop's first couple, Jay-Z and Beyoncé, separately. While he's tight-lipped about the "Grown Woman" singer's upcoming project, he says she is preparing something that “she’s not going to put it out until it’s all the way right.”

He also hinted at a possible record with Bey's other half, who is piecing together his forthcoming album Magna Carta Holy Grail, due July 4.

"I did a session for Jay-Z. He’s back in the studio putting some stuff together," he said. "I don’t know if I’m going to make the cut but I put some hooks together. We’ll see what happens."

Photo Credit: Getty

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Young Thug Tweets Message For Dwyane Wade’s 12-Year-Old Trans Daughter

Dwyane Wade supporting his 12-year-old child’s gender transition is apparently sending a few ripples through the rap world. Young Thug took to Twitter on Tuesday (Feb. 18) with a message for 12-year-old Zaya, whom he referred to as Wade’s “son.”

“All I wanna say to dwade son is ‘GOD DON’T MAKE MISTAKES’ but hey live your true self,” he wrote. Many people online were quick to check Thugger for his comments and for misgendering the child. He eventually deleted the post and tweeted, “You’re gods [sic] best creation.”

“The London” rapper has been known to proudly sport gender-bending fashions, which includes wearing a dress on the cover of his album No My Name Is Jeffery, but he’s not alone in his comments about Zaya. Boosie Badazz recorded a viral Instagram rant about Zaya’s transition that was mostly met with backlash.

Zaya who was born Zion, came out as trans to Wade and his wife, Gabrielle Union. The NBA star and father of five opened up about the tween’s gender identity in an interview on The Ellen DeGeneres Show last week. “Me and my wife Gabrielle [Union] we are proud parents of a child in the LGBTQ+ community and proud allies as well,” said Wade.

“We take our roles and our responsibility as parents very seriously so when our child comes home with a question, an issue, or anything, it’s our jobs as parents to give them the best information that we can, the best feedback that we can. And that doesn’t change because sexuality is now involved.”

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‘Boyz N The Hood’ And ‘You Got Served’ Actress Esther Scott Dies At Age 66

Esther Scott, the actress who appeared in Boyz n the Hood, Beverly Hills 90210, Full House, You Got Served and more, has passed away at age 66.

Scott died last Friday (Feb. 14), days after suffering an apparent heart attack. Her death was first reported on Tuesday (Feb. 18) by TMZ.

According to the site, Scott was found unconscious in her Santa Monica, Calif. home last Tuesday (Feb. 11) and remained hospitalized for several days before passing away on Valentine's Day surrounded by friends and family.

"She loved what she did. She would get stopped on the street often and people would recognize her -- but they didn't know her name," Scott's sister told the website. "Hopefully now people will remember her name, her work and the contributions she gave to the entertainment industry."

The Queens native began her career as a voice actress in the ‘80s series StarWars: Ewoks. Scott’s first credited feature film role was as grandmother to the character Tisha (played by Leonette Scott) in Boyz n the Hood.

Scott worked steadily throughout the ‘90s and ‘00s, following up her appearance in Boyz n the Hood with roles in Encino Man, Don Juan DeMarco, Illegal Blue, Species, The Craft, and Out to Sea.

Scott found success in both TV and film appearing as a judge in Austin Powers in Goldmember, a grandmother in You Got Served, as well as roles in Dreamgirls, Transformers, Gangster Squad, and The Birth of a Nation, The Steve Harvey Show, Party of Five, Ellen, Hart of Dixie, and Sister, Sister.

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Lauryn Hill, Usher, TLC And Ludacris To Headline Lovers & Friends Festival

The lineup for the upcoming Lovers & Friends Festival is stacked with nostalgia. Lauryn Hill, Usher, TLC, Ludacris and Lil Jon, are set to headline the inaugural one-day music extravaganza, festival organizers announced on Tuesday (Feb. 18).

Additional performers include Summer Walker, Megan Thee Stallion, Jhene Aiko, Saweetie, Sean Paul, T-Pain, Monica, Ja Rule, Foxy Brown, Dru Hill, Tweet, Amerie, Eve, Jon B, Montell Jordan, and Nina Sky.

Lil’ Kim, Twista and Mase were reported among the lineup but according to Billboard they denied involvement in the festival.

Presale tickets go on sale on Thursday, Feb. 20, at 10 PM PST. In the meantime, fans can register on for an exclusive presale code and a link to purchase tickets before they go on sale.

General admission tickets range from $145-$175. VIP tickets will go on sale for $230-$250, and Super VIP passes start at $450. The festival also offers ticket payment plans for as little as $19.99 down.

The Lovers & Friends Festival takes place on May 9 at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif.


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