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10 Years Later: Mariah Carey’s ‘E=MC²’ Tracklist, Ranked

E=MC² contains some of Carey’s most underrated material throughout her illustrious career, which spans nearly three decades.

Following a massively successful album would be a daunting task for most artists. But in 2008, musical icon Mariah Carey eagerly accepted the challenge when she released the long-awaited E=MC².

The 14-track LP felt like a continuation of The Emancipation of Mimi, which was dubbed as Carey’s comeback album. Earning a whopping 10 Grammy Award nominations, TEOM was a pivotal career moment, and it went on to produce the smash hits, “We Belong Together” and “Don’t Forget About Us.” Selling an upwards of 10 million copies worldwide, MC silenced naysayers and proved that she was capable of achieving commercial success after experiencing a mini career slump in the early 2000s.

As acts like Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift started to hit their prime respectively, critics foolishly pondered Carey’s lasting power when E=MC² arrived on this day in 2008, claiming that it offered no new feels from its predecessor. During that time, R&B became stagnant and was experiencing somewhat of an identity crisis, but Carey working with people like The-Dream helped keep the genre fresh. The album was also another step in her journey to creative freedom.

“Basically, I’m freer on this album than I’ve ever been. Some of the songs on the last album were cool but maybe not quite as neat as this album,” Carey told The Sun’s "Something for the Weekend," explaining the album’s physics-inspired title, which can also be seen as a not-so-subtle nod to the singer-songwriter’s musical genius. In a separate interview, she said, “This album is so much about fun and freedom and just the continuation of me feeling emancipated … people ask me all the time, ‘How do you stay relevant? How do you stay current? How do you make music that people continue to respond to?’ You just keep being real, keep being you, stay true to who you were from the beginning.”

At the time, America’s musical landscape was shifting drastically, with physical album sales steadily declining and pop artists infusing more hip-hop elements into their work (take Rihanna’s “Hard” and Justin Timberlake's “My Love,” for instance), but this was nothing new for the Long Island native. After all, Carey altered the course of pop music forever in 1995 when the then squeaky clean songstress enlisted the late rapper ODB for the iconic “Fantasy” remix.

Thankfully, E=MC² spawned the diva’s 18th chart-topper, “Touch My Body,” making her the solo artist with the most No. 1 singles, which surpassed Elvis Presley’s record. And while the album debuted atop the Billboard Hot 200 and garnered the highest first-week sales (463,000 units) of Carey’s career, it failed to live up to the hype due to its predecessor’s unforeseen success.

However, E=MC² feels more cohesive at times than TEOM, featuring an ample supply of ballads and uptempo songs unlike some of her previous offerings. On this modern masterpiece, Mimi fools around with auto-tune on “Migrate” and explores uncharted territory with “Cruise Control,” a reggae-tinged track. Moreover, Carey was steadfast in showing off her ability to not only survive, but flourish in the digital era, summoning a slew of highly sought-after hit makers, including Swizz Beatz, The-Dream and Tricky Stewart, to name a few. Despite selling 7.5 million copies less than Emancipation, E=MC² contains some of Carey’s most underrated material throughout her illustrious career, which spans nearly three decades.

In celebration of E=MC²’s 10th anniversary, VIBE ranked the album’s tracks to determine which song takes the crown. Check it out below.

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14. “Thanx 4 Nothin’”

While most of Carey’s songs feature some sort of bridge, “Thanx 4 Nothin’” cuts straight to the chase. A gut-wrenching breakup ballad, the track focuses on the aftermath of dealing with a pseudo romance and is sure to resonate with listeners going through, as Mariah puts it, “a bleak moment in their relationship.”

13. “Last Kiss”

Noted as Carey’s favorite song on the album, “Last Kiss” was in part inspired by the innocence of puppy love. “When I hear that song, I feel like an 8-year-old kid, like this is me as a little girl singing,”Carey explained. In addition, “Last Kiss” is one of the multiple instances on the album in which Carey and So So Def founder Jermaine Dupri reunite to create another breakup anthem—the first time was in 1995 for “Always Be My Baby” from Daydream—that translates into a sentimental moment on the album’s tracklist.

12. “Love Story”

Carey’s longtime collaborator Jermaine Dupri can be heard shouting, “MC said, ‘JD, you gotta make it knock’” before the beat officially drops on “Love Story,” a quintessential R&B ballad. Turning up the romance, Carey is determined to make her love story last. “And this ain’t gon’ end up like that Casablanca movie,” she testifies on the chorus. The visuals for the video gave fans an intimate look at Carey and then husband Nick Cannon’s whirlwind romance, making even the most cynical person a true believer in love at first sight.

11. “Side Effects”

“Waking up scared some nights, still dreaming about them violent times,” Carey confesses on the emotionally driven, “Side Effects.” Produced by Scott Storch, the electronic R&B track serves as an abrupt departure from E=MC²’s otherwise care-free vibes. In the autobiographical number featuring Young Jeezy, Carey opens up for an intense four minutes and 22 seconds about her tumultuous relationship with ex-husband Tommy Mottola, who she divorced 10 years prior to this album’s release.

10. “Migrate”

It’s impossible not to bounce when you hear “Migrate” flowing through your speakers. Enhanced with auto-tune, Carey boasts about “clinking glasses” and “sippin’ Grigio, slow,” with the likes of T-Pain on the hip-hop party anthem. But, more importantly, the track showcases the diva’s ability to virtually pull off any sound.

9. “I Stay In Love”

If Carey’s “We Belong Together” and “Don’t Forget About Us” had a baby, it would sound a lot like, “I Stay in Love,” the fourth and final single from E=MC². “Dying inside ‘cause I can’t stand it/Make or break up/Can’t take this madness,” Carey broods over the keyboard-driven ballad, before gradually unleashing those signature runs and ad-libs on one of the album’s most heartfelt tracks.

8. “Bye Bye”

Carey is known for pouring her life experiences into her music. On “Bye Bye,” the singer expresses the struggles of losing her father with deeply personal and specific lyrics, such as “And you never got to see me back at No. 1,” which references the success of The Emancipation of Mimi. The second single released from E=MC², “Bye Bye” only peaked at No. 19 in the U.S., but the song cracked the top 10 in New Zealand due to its universal message.

7. “Cruise Control”

On “Cruise Control,” Carey trades in her pop and R&B roots for reggae, a genre she surprisingly never explored until E=MC². The track shows off less of Carey’s vocals and more of the megastar’s playful side, especially when she imitates a Jamaican accent as she croons, “‘Cause he’s the flyest ting when he be cruisin’ on me avenue.” Accompanied by Damian Marley, “Cruise Control” is refreshing and easily serves as one of the album’s most joyous moments.

6. “I’m That Chick”

Drenched in 1970s soul, “I’m That Chick” is littered with Instagram-worthy captions. Borrowing from Michael Jackson’s “Off the Wall,” Carey compares herself to Tupac, Biggie, ice cream, the lottery and a blunt. “Take this seriously/Like Pac, all eyes on me,” she sings before commanding, “Take me for a ride.” Despite not being released as a single, “I’m That Chick” serves as a fun prelude to a wild night out with the girls and a reminder of her reign.

5. “O.O.C.”

Professing her need for rekindling a flame with an ex-lover, “O.O.C.” (an acronym for “Out of Control”) is an anthem for all the hopeless romantics out there who just can’t seem to move on past their love hangover. Co-written by Swizz Beatz, Da Brat and Carey herself, “O.O.C.” is among the handful of uptempo records on the album, and it’s clear that Mimi was having fun. In the second verse, she masters Italian, Spanish and French over borrowed orchestral elements from The Salsoul Orchestra’s 1976 song, “It’s Good for The Soul,” making it one of the album’s most addictive tracks.

4. “For the Record”

Die-hard fans often praise “For the Record” as a standout track on E=MC² for the simple fact that the singer-songwriter references some of her biggest hits during the song’s bridge i.e. “For the record, it’s obvious that we just can’t let go of us, honey.” But the track is haunting and stirring at its core.

3. “Touch My Body”

“Touch My Body” came at a perfect time in Carey’s career because there was nothing left to prove. The pop princess revealed a different side with overtly sexual lyrics and hilarious pop culture (YouTube and The Wendy Williams Show) references sprinkled throughout the radio-friendly song. The chorus is sugary sweet and the verses are hypnotic, illustrating Carey’s gift for melody. “Touch My Body” turned out to be a risk worth taking– it skyrocketed to the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100, making Mariah the solo artist with the most chart-toppers in the U.S.

2. “I’ll Be Lovin’ U Long Time”

You can’t really go wrong with a DeBarge (“Stay with Me”) sample. “I’ll Be Lovin’ U Long Time” is one of those songs that instantly puts the listener in a good mood. The song’s hook is infectious, making it a highlight on E=MC². It’s an overlooked gem on the platinum selling album, but it demonstrates Mariah’s ability to create a timeless R&B tune.

1. “I Wish You Well”

“I Wish You Well” reigns supreme on E=MC² due to Carey’s stripped-down performance. Backed by only a piano, the gospel-influenced ballad is reminiscent of Carey’s earlier work, specifically “Vanishing” from the singer’s debut, eponymous album. Not nearly as glamorous as some of the other album’s tracks, “I Wish You Well” is a salute to Carey’s artistry in the purest form. Laced with biblical verses, Carey preaches forgiveness and saves the vocal gymnastics and her whistle register for the song’s climax. Though “I Wish You Well” serves as the final track on E=MC², it is in many ways the cornerstone of the album and a triumphant moment in Mariah’s musical and personal journey.

 

Princess Gabbara is a multimedia journalist and storyteller. She’s a former reporter for the Lansing State Journal, part of the USA TODAY Network, who has written for outlets like EBONY magazine, Jetmag.com, Essence.com, Sesi, Greatist, XOJane and Bustle. Follow her on Twitter @PrincessGabbara.

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Six Things To Know About The Mysterious Death Of Tamla Horsford

Georgia officials have officially closed the case of Tamla Horsford, citing no foul play in her mysterious death.

But the case of a mother of five who died at an adult sleepover has raised a vast amount of questions due to the nature and behavior of those present. The mysterious death of Tamla Horsford caught the eye of the public this month, but the 40-year-old was found dead at a friend’s home in Cumming, Georgia in November 2018.

On Wednesday (Feb. 20), Major Joe Perkins with the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office told reporters in a press conference that none of the 40-year-old's injuries were aligned with foul play. “It was a party. They were drinking,” 11 Alive reports. “She was drinking. Most of the partygoers had gone to bed at that time, and she was on the deck alone.”

It was initially reported that Horsford accidentally fell off a balcony on Nov. 4, where she was attending a “Football Moms” sleepover with seven other mothers and three men. Local news site WSB-TV shared an early coroner’s death certificate that listed Horsford’s death as an accident but the fall from the deck caused “multiple blunt force injuries” and “acute ethanol intoxication,” known commonly as alcohol poisoning which might have led to the fall.

But friends and the internet sleuths believe there are other layers to the story as it never reached public attention until it was reported that court employee Jose Barrera was fired for illegally accessing documents related to the case. Barrera is also the boyfriend of the woman who owns the home.

Horsford’s best friend Michelle Graves who wasn’t at the party also believed foul play took part in her friend’s death. “It’s impossible to get the injuries that she had from one fall,” Graves said. After speaking to the WSB-TV about the case, she claimed her personal information was released by Barrera and sent to five of the women who were at the party. Only during an investigation into Graves claims it was revealed that Barrera accessed court documents related to Horsford’s case as well as a stalking incident involving his girlfriend.

On Wednesday (Feb. 20), more details were released about the case in the form of a 911 call made by Barrera the day Horsford’s body was found. While Barrera's 911 call was made at 8:59 am, Horsford’s body was discovered at 7:30 am by the homeowner’s aunt. Hashtags with Horsford’s name and videos shared by popular activists like Chakabars who have helped bring the story to public knowledge.

With so many layers to uncover, here’s what you need to know about the mysterious case of Tamla Horsford.

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1. Tamala Horsford Was Found Dead At “Football Moms” Sleepover, But Men Were Present

In a video sent to WSB-TV from the adult sleepover, Horsford is all smiles while singing “Happy Birthday” with friends. What’s also seen in the video are three men, including Jose Barrera who made the 911 call. Many have wondered why men were present if the witnesses claimed it was a sleepover meant for women.

2. Her Wrist Was Cut, But Attendees Believe She Fell Off A Balcony

In the 911 call released Wednesday (Feb, 20), Barrera is heard pointing out a cut on Horsford’s wrist. "She's lying in the yard, basically on the patio downstairs. She's not moving one bit. She's not breathing," he told dispatchers. "I'm noticing a small cut on her right wrist. She's not breathing whatsoever. I don't know if this cut was self-inflicted."

As mentioned above, an original coroner’s report claimed there was blunt force trauma to Horsford’s body from the fall, but close friend Michelle Graves says the family hired another medical examiner who reportedly found multiple abrasions on Horsford’s body. "We're glad we're not the only ones who feel there's something awry with the story and with how she lost her life," Graves told Mike Petchenik of WSB-TV.

3. Boyfriend Of Homeowner Where Horsford Died Was Fired For Accessing Court Files On The Case

In December 2018, Barrera, who worked as a pretrial services officer within the Forsyth County Court system was placed on administrative leave for using his position to “access confidential files on a current investigation surrounding a death in which you were a witness.”

Forsyth County News reported he was later terminated in a letter where Court Administrator Robin S. Rooks wrote he lost confidence in Barrera’s ability to do his job. It wasn’t until February 1 that an incident report was written mentioning Barrera’s actions. In addition to the findings, Graves claimed Barrera stated in the same report that the Georgia native exposed her “work and cell phone numbers, home address, work address and driver’s license, along with information about her height, weight and extended family.” Graves stated the information was given to the other women who were at the adult sleepover.

He denied the accusations but alluded that anyone’s information can be found publically. “For her to believe that her information was leaked by me is grossly incorrect and I will believe that until the day I die,” Barrera told FCN. “Anybody can be found.”

Barrera previously worked as a probation officer in Hall County from March to November 2017 and earlier as an officer of the Department of Community Supervision in Cumming County. He was fired for the latter position but alleged it was an unlawful firing due to an “interoffice disagreement over a relationship with a coworker.”

4. Public Curiosity Believes There Are Racial Undertones To The Case

Friends and relationships exist outside of color lines all the time, just see an episode of Grey’s Anatomy or studies on the population increase of non-white people in America. But Horsford’s case has raised eyebrows because she was the only woman of color at the party. Forsyth County’s history with black people isn’t the most favorable as it was a popular gathering of white supremacists as recent as 1987.

In a segment on the early days of The Oprah Winfrey Show, the former talk show host took a trip to Cumming, where she talked with residents about their disdain for “race mixing” the LGBTQ+ community as well as the difference between “blacks” and “ni****s.”

Weird history aside, the case didn’t get national attention until two months later. History has proven deaths of black women are often overlooked and while this case was heading that way, Black Twitter and black Georgia natives tried to rewrite it.

A GoFundMe was also made for Horsford’s family but hasn’t raised much since it’s creation on November 27, 2018.

5. Homeowner And Other Attendees Of Party Have Received Death Threats On Social Media

Marcy Hardin, Jeanne Marie and Nichole Renee Lawson are reportedly some of the women who were at the sleepover at the time of Horsford’s death. As the story gained traction, the group has been the target of death threats accusations that they played a role in their friend’s death.

Law firm Banks, Stubbs, and McFarland LLP, who is representing the homeowner, issued a statement maintaining their innocence.

“At this time, each of the partygoers and their families have received death threats on various social media postings," it reads. "The threats need to stop. This tragic accident is exactly that, an accident. It is unfortunate, sad, and unbelievably heartbreaking to her family and friends. However, certain very vocal friends and family members of Mrs. Horsford have been describing this accident as a “murder.” Nothing can be farther from the truth."

6. The Case Has Been Officially Ruled An Accidental Death

On Thursday (Feb. 20),  Horsford's case was officially closed, 11Alive reported.

“The State of Georgia has ruled the death accidental and consistent with an accidental fall,” said Major Joe Perkins with the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office. “None of the injury patterns noted were consistent with foul play.” After speaking to the attendees' police said Horsford's death happened when she accidentally fell from a deck at the house.

None of the attendees saw the fall because they were reportedly sleeping when it happened. “While the injuries sustained appeared to have been likely received in a fall, detectives awaited toxicology and medical examiner reports to verify the findings,” Perkins said.

Horsford’s body was taken to the GBI medical examiner for an additional autopsy report. Her family has told reporters that they aren't ready to speak the public about the case and are hoping to have family photos of Tamla Horsford removed from social media.

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Solitary Alignment: 5 Self-Affirming Reads For Single Ladies On Valentine’s Day

Ahh, the Feast of Saint Valentine—the Hallmark holiday that strikes us with its arrow each year, for better or for worse, depending on your bae status. While the romantic holiday is adored and celebrated by many, if you’re still reeling over, say, your ex’s refusal to commit, chances are Feb. 14 is more of a heartache for you than anything.

But as a wise woman once said, “If they liked it then they should’ve put a ring on it.” So whether V-Day has you scared of lonely or sulking over a lost love, as another wise woman once said, they “would be SUPER lucky to even set eyes on you this Valentine’s Day. That’s it. That’s the gift.” Shout out to The Slumflower.

Sure, having a bae on Valentine’s Day is cool, but so is reminding yourself why you’re just fine without one (cue Webbie’s “Independent”). In fact, single folks have better relationships overall, according to the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. You know how the old adage goes: love yourself before loving someone else.

For this Valentine’s Day, VIBE Vixen rounds up a nourishing list of books for our sisters doin’ it for themselves. Consider this your reminder of how badass you are—because you are! Oh, oh, oh. *Beyoncé voice*

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Young M.A. onstage during the BET Hip Hop Awards 2018 at Fillmore Miami Beach on October 6, 2018 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jason Koerner/Getty Images for BET)
(Photo by Jason Koerner/Getty Images for BET)

Young M.A., Boogie And Summer Walker Make January's #MusicMonday List

Last year was vibrant and diverse with the number of memorable songs and albums that were released, and now, music fans are looking forward to seeing what 2019 has to offer. With this new series, #MusicMonday, the VIBE staff will be sharing our favorite songs released from the previous month. Below, see our standout songs released during January 2019.

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Young M.A., “Bake Freestyle”

Outside of R&B singers like Jacquees, it’s no longer the trend for artists to take on a well-known beat and make it their own anymore. But Brooklyn’s Young M.A. bodied the instrumental for Jay-Z’s “Dynasty (Intro)” in 2017, and she’s outdone herself with “Bake Freestyle,” her shot at The Neptunes’ iconic beat for the Clipse hit “Grindin’.”

Young M.A. weaves in, out and around of the table-pounding percussion with an acrobatic flow that differs from others who have tackled the beat in years past. Young M.A. is flexing talk of money, baddies, and guns as always, but the quotables are at one of the highest clips we’ve ever heard from her. “White car brown seats, look like a Henny Colada / Made the Audi matte black, license plate say Wakanda / My b*tch said she mad at me, I just bought her designer / And some 30-inch Brazilian, now she thinks she's Chewbacca.” The video is even better, showing a cocky, smirking Young M.A. walking around a fly crib with text and small animations acting as adlibs. “Was looking for a reason to even keep rapping, and finally I found one,” she says near the beginning of the song before pushing her foot on the pedal. That’s good news for rap fans. — William E. Ketchum III

Summer Walker, "Riot"

What initially started out as an Instagram post of Summer Walker crooning over an electric guitar has turned into the addictive lead track from her latest EP, CLEAR. While the song's name is the definition of anarchy, Walker's careful delivery of each word places her delicate yet piercing approach to singing on full display. The criminally short song not only leaves the listener yearning for more, but also the Atlanta native's need to satisfy her passion. "You said you want love, babe/ You said you can give it to me just how I, I yearn it/ And you think of roses and daisies/ And I think of passion and fire like Hades." It's the 2019 version of Melanie Fiona's fevered "Give It To Me Right" with lyrics that demand a love that's delivered on an orgasmic platter every single time the two bodies meet. — Camille Augustin

Boogie, “Skydive II”

Anthony “Boogie” Dixon—not to be confused with his sing-songy East Coast namesake, A Boogie wit da Hoodie—is easily one of the most promising penmen hip-hop has right now. From The Reach to Thirst 48, Pt. II right on up to his Shady Records debut, Everythings For Sale, the Compton torchbearer has been consistent in pairing potent, on-the-sleeve reflections with soulful melodies that seep deep into the skin. (He already told us that he’s got a soft spot for R&B.)

“Skydive II,” arguably one of the album’s most entrancing songs, is as much of a poster child for this musical marriage as any. For one, he taps 6lack to be a Frank Ocean plug-in of sorts (in the best way possible). The Atlanta singer’s trippy rap-sung intonations, akin to Mr. Breaux’s on Blonde’s “Nikes,” complement Boogie’s rugged tones. Alongside his decent crooning over airy background vocals, Boogie’s gentle pacing and bittersweet poetry about the fallout of a relationship puts him at eye-level with his listeners. “Mother of my skies, why you always gotta intervene?/Father of my Time, don’t you got some more to give to me? Anything?” Ever the thoughtful emcee, he’s unafraid to let the proverbial tears fall where they may. — Stacy-Ann Ellis

Lil Duval and Ty Dolla $ign, "Pull Up"

While his first hit single “Smile (Living My Best Life)” went further than expected by hitting the Billboard Hot 100, Lil Duval’s music career doesn’t appear to show any signs of slowing down. While I’m not a fan of his by any means, I do have to say, his feel-good track is guaranteed to put me in a great mood. The infectious beat and the incredibly well-placed vocals of featured artist Ty Dolla $ign makes the intoxication of the nearly-four-minute song undeniable. It’s too early and (too brick outside) for a summer anthem, but had this dropped months from now, this could have been a front-runner. — J'Na Jefferson

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