Destiny's Child 'The Writing's On The Wall' Cover Destiny's Child 'The Writing's On The Wall' Cover

What Millennials Should Know About... Destiny's Child's 'The Writing's On The Wall'

VIBE spotlights some of music's most essential timepieces for Gen Y to get hip to

The Writing’s On The Wall (1999)

Most Slept On:
-"Sweet Sixteen"
On an album full of brash wailing and dance tracks, this simple ballad about a misguided teenaged girl was overlooked. One of the few tracks that doesn’t feature Beyoncé as the only lead, it’s refreshing to hear the other voices in the group equally showcased. (Listen out for expert guitar licks from Tony! Toni! Toné! group founder Dwayne Wiggins).

Most Overrated:
-"Bills Bills Bills"
T-Boz, Left-Eye and Chili were the go-to girl-group in the late '90s and their influence can be heard just a bit too much on this joint. This entire song, from melody to vocal arrangement to lyrical content is a straight jack of TLC’s whole style. The connection between TLC and Destiny’s Child? That would be Real Housewife Kandi Burruss. After her group Xscape disbanded, Kandi focused on songwriting—for TLC and Destiny’s Child.

(Also) Most Overrated:
-"Bug a Boo"
Why? See above.

Old School References Millennials May Need Translated:
-“Tell MCI to cut the phone cord” (“Bug-A-Boo”)
See, long ago, you had to have two phone service companies, one for local service and a separate provider for long-distance calls. In the nineties, MCI was one of the biggest longest-distance service providers. The company was purchased by Verizon in 2006.

Lines Best For Status Updates [When You’re In A Man-Hating Mood]:-“Why is that men can go do us wrong/Why is that we just decide to keep holding on?” (“Hey Ladies”)
-“Ladies leave yo’ man at home/The club is full of ballers and they pockets full grown” (“Jumpin Jumpin”)
-“Say my name/Say my name/If no is around you/Say baby I love you/If you ain’t running game” (“Say My Name”)
-“When we were together/You told me what you didn’t like/And you went out and got exactly that type” (“She Can’t Love You”)
-“I know you’ve got your things to do/But tell me what means more to you” (“Stay”)

Bet You Didn’t Know: On the song, "If You Leave,” Destiny’s Child Beyoncé duets with singer R.L. from ‘90s R&B group Next. On the song, R.L. sings out the phone number to find his love and he uses the number 612-555-2422. Why that number? Since the 1950s, ‘555’ has been used in music, films and television for fictional numbers so that regular folks don’t have people crank calling them. And area code 612 is for Minneapolis, where R.L. and the group Next hails from.

Bet You (Also) Didn't Know: The song "Sweet Sixteen" was written and originally recorded by Grammy-Award winning entertainer Jody Watley for her album, Flower, which had just been released the year before.

Bet You Didn't Know This Either: The last song on the album, a rendition of gospel spiritual "Amazing Grace", is dedicated to DC’s former manager Andretta Tillman, referred to as Miss Ann at the top of the song. Tillman died of lupus in 1997, soon after things began to pick up for Destiny’s Child. Bey's dad Mathew Knowles then took over as their manager.

Synopsis: The title of this album proved prophetic. "The writing's on the wall" is an expression from the Old Testament that means the future is predetermined. And clearly, Beyoncé had a destiny that would leave the child(ren) behind. It’s often been said that Destiny’s Child was little more than a platform for Mathew Knowles to position his own child to solo stardom. And a close re-listen to this multi-platinum album makes that hard to deny. If you close your eyes and try real hard, you may be able to catch a few lines from Kelly here and there. But outside of spoken interludes, it’s impossible to identify any vocals from the other group members. Even the backgrounds seemed layered with just Bey’s voice.

Although the album was a runaway success, scoring several #1 hits for the group, it doesn’t hold up nearly as well as their follow up, Survivor. Many of the tracks were derivative and the overlying theme: men suck unless they have money, often overshadows the music. While this album cemented their status as superstars, it signaled the beginning of the end for the group. Six months after this album was released, two of the group members had been replaced and a new lineup was presented without a single hiccup.

The Writing’s On The Wall may not hold up as an example of stellar songwriting or innovative production. But with over 10 million in record sales, it can’t be dismissed either.

Aliya S. King's is the author of two novels and three non-fiction books, including the New York Times Bestseller, Keep The Faith, with recording artist Faith Evans. She had written for VIBE since 1998. Find her at and @aliyasking. You can also cop Destiny's Child's The Writing's On The Wall on iTunes here.

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Malcolm X’s Daughter, Ilyasah Shabazz, Speaks On His Legacy And Netflix Docuseries

In commemoration of the 55th anniversary of his assassination, Malcolm X’s daughter, Ilyasah Shabazz, spoke out on her father’s legacy and the popular Netflix documentary, Who Killed Malcolm X? 

Speaking with Democracy Now on Friday (Feb. 21), Ilyasah praised the filmmakers behind the six-part docuseries for their work in attempting to uncover, “Who killed our father? Who took the life of a very young man who challenged the moral compass of world nations.”

Ilyasah was just two years old when her father was assassinated in front of her, three of her sisters and her mother, Betty Shabazz, who was pregnant with twins at the time. A week before Malcolm’s murder, the family’s home was firebombed.

Ilyasah has no memory of her father’s assassination which took place on Feb. 21, 1965, inside Harlem's Audubon Ballroom. Malcolm was preparing to give a speech in the venue and invited his family to sit in the front row.

“I’m really grateful that I don’t have memory as my older sisters I’m sure can recollect, being 6 years old and 4 years old, the trauma and chaos and understanding that our father never came home,” she said. “And especially to my mother who was a young woman that actually saw bullets just tear my father’s body apart.”

The interview details the days leading up to Malcolm's death, including France banning him from entry into the country three weeks before his assassination. Malcolm who was only 39 years old when he died, traveled to Europe during the first week of February in 1965. He was turned away at the airport in France without explanation and subsequently forced to fly back to London where he delivered what would become one of his final speeches at the London School of Economics.

“He realized this was bigger than the Nation of Islam,” Ilyasah explained of Malcolm being banned from France. “The Nation of Islam itself did not have the power to keep him [out of France] and France did not want history to include that Malcolm was assassinated on their land. And so that speaks volumes, and my father understood that his life was not just challenged by the Nation of Islam. It was much bigger than that.

“It’s important to look at the work that he was doing,” she added. “Challenging world powers, challenging world nations for taking control of an [unequal] distribution of the world’s wealth.”

Ilyasah also dismantles the notion that her father “miraculously became Malcolm X” after he went to prison by detailing how his upbringing shaped his interest in political activism.

“He was always a leader,” she said. “He was always compassionate, he was always a learned young man. His parents instilled specific values in him and his siblings. The importance of self love, compassion, [and] care.”

Watch the full interview in the video above (Ilyasah’s portion begins at 12:17).

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Jhene Aiko Reveals Release Date For ‘Chilombo’ Album

Jhene Aiko announced the release date for her third studio album and what appears to be the album artwork on Friday (Feb. 21). The album titled, Chilombo, after Aiko’s sur name, is slated to drop on March 6 and promises to be some of her “realest” work to date.

“Just typed out all the lyrics to the free flows that are #CHILOMBO #phew realest s**t I ever wrote,” the Grammy-nominated tweeted on Monday (Feb. 17). Aiko described the album as an compilation of her previous work. “If sailing soul(s), sail out, souled out and trip had a baby #CHILOMBO.”

just typed out all the lyrics to the free flows that are #CHILOMBO 👏🏼 #phew realest shit i ever wrote....

— Chilombo (@JheneAiko) February 17, 2020

if sailing soul(s), sail out, souled out and trip had a baby #CHILOMBO 🌋

— Chilombo (@JheneAiko) February 17, 2020

Last month, Aiko dropped the track “P*$$Y Fairy (OTW),” which is expected to be on the album. Aiko’s last album, Trip, was released in 2017.

See the Aiko's latest album artwork below.


View this post on Instagram


"Chilombo" March 6th 🌋

A post shared by Jhené Aiko Efuru Chilombo 🌋 (@jheneaiko) on Feb 21, 2020 at 6:00pm PST

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Jojo Announces ‘Good To Know’ Album And Tour

Jojo has a new album, Good to Know, dropping this spring and will be hitting the road for a headlining tour kicking off in April, the singer announced on Friday (Feb, 21).

The album title encompasses all that Jojo has learned “in the past few years,” she explained in a statement. “Every piece of feedback, criticism (internal or external), whatever it is — it’s all just information. And it’s all good! I’ve been lucky to have the space to reflect on my own journey up to now, and I hope people can take comfort in the fact that I am not anywhere near perfect, and I will never sugarcoat anything. We're all constantly living and learning and that’s what makes this life fun.”

The 'Good to Know' tour launches at Seattle’s The Showbox on April 21, and wraps May 30, at First Avenue in Minneapolis. Presale tickets will be available beginning Monday, Feb, 24. Additional tickets go on sale to the public on Friday, Feb. 28.

Click here for more information.

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