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Over the weekend, music aficionados were gifted producer battles from the best in the business. In addition to The Dream and Sean "The Pen" Garrett's wild head to head, Ne-Yo and Johntà Austin's standoff was one for the books.
The gentlemen squared up on Instagram Live Sunday (March 29) after much fanfare. The rules were simple–Show up sober, play 2. 25 songs apiece, no unreleased music, the songs can be from any genre and the time limit would be up to 90 seconds for each song.
Soon, the battle kicked off with sentimental tracks like "Unfaithful" by Rihanna and "I Miss You" by the late Aaliyah. As spectators like Usher, Tyrese, 9th Wonder, Diddy, Tinashe, Snoh Aalegra, Eric Bellinger, Brian Michael-Cox and more entered the chat, the songs got bigger and better.
Rounds 3 and 4 saw the big guns come out. Austin played tracks from Aaliyah and Chris Brown with Ne-Yo playing his own songs and hits from Beyonce. "When all else fails, you got to bet on yourself" he hilariously said before playing his 2008 hit, "Miss Independent."
The final round left fans in a frenzy as Austin played Mariah Carey's "We Belong Together" and Ne-Yo ending with "Irreplaceable" by Beyonce. The entire match was a delight as both men praised each other for their pen game.
Superproducers Swizz Beats and Timbaland helped kicked off the current trend last week when they gave fans part 2 of their 2018 match. We also got to see a match between Boi-1da and HitBoy over the weekend with an unleased track with Roddy Rich and Drake.
But Sunday's battle was all about R&B, specifically tracks from the aughts that are often sampled today. Most fans and spectators landed at a draw for the battle as it was just too hard to land on a winner.
See the full list of tracks dished out below.
Johntà - "Get Gone" by Ideal (1999)
Ne-Yo- "That Girl" by Marques Houston (2003)
Johntà- "I Miss You" by Aaliyah (2002)
Ne-Yo- "Unfaithful" by Rihanna (2006)
Johntà- "Like That" by Mariah Carey, Fatman Scoop and Jermaine Dupri (2005)
Ne-Yo- "Knock You Down" by Keri Hilson featuring Ne-Yo (2009)
Johntà- "Don't" by Bryson Tiller (2014)
Ne-Yo- "She Got Her Own" by Jamie Foxx, Ne-Yo and Fabolous (2009)Round Two
Johntà- "Stingy" by Ginuwine (2002)
Ne-Yo- "Own It" by Mack Wilds (2013)
Johntà- "Yo! (Excuse Me, Miss) by Chris Brown (2006)
Ne-Yo- "Stay" by Ne-Yo featuring Peedi Peedi (2006)
Johntà- "Don't Forget About Us" by Mariah Carey (2005)
Ne-Yo- "Spotlight" by Jennifer Hudson (2005)
Johntà- "Just Be A Man About It" by Toni Braxton (2000)
Ne-Yo- "Do You" by Ne-Yo (2007)Round Three
Johntà- "Shortie Like Mine" by Bow Wow featuring Chris Brown and Johntà Austin (2006)
Ne-Yo- "Bust It Baby Pt. 2)" by Plies featuring Ne-Yo (2008)
Johntà- "Need A Girl" by Trey Songz (2009)
Ne-Yo- "Go On Girl" by Ne-Yo (2007)
Johntà- "Sweet Lady" by Tyrese (1998)
Ne-Yo- "Make Me Better" by Fabolous featuring Ne-Yo (2007)
Johntà- "Like You" by Bow Wow featuring Ciara (2005)
Ne-Yo- "Leave You Alone" Jeezy featuring Ne-Yo (2011)Round Four
Johntà- "With You" by Chris Brown (2007)
Ne-Yo- "So Sick" by Ne-Yo (2005)
Johntà- "Shake It Off" by Mariah Carey (2005)
Ne-Yo- "Take A Bow" by Rihanna (2008)
Johntà- "Can't Help But Wait" (2007)
Ne-Yo- "Sexy Love" (2005)
Johntà- "I Don't Wanna" by Aaliyah (1999)
Ne-Yo- "Flaws and All" by Beyonce (2006)Round Five
Johntà- "Come Over" by Aaliyah (2003)
Ne-Yo- "Miss Independent" (2008)
Johntà- "Poppin'" by Chris Brown (2007)
Ne-Yo- "Mirror" by Ne-Yo (2006)
Johntà- "Be Without You" by Mary J. Blige (2005)
Ne-Yo- "Let Me Love You" by Mario (2004)
Johntà- "We Belong Together" by Mariah Carey (2004)
Ne-Yo- "Irreplaceable" by Beyonce (2006)
Broadway Cares, Nevada’s Three Square Food Bank and MusiCares are receiving a big donation from the estate of Michael Jackson to help with those affected by the coronavirus.
Rolling Stone reports each organization will receive $100,000. Comprised of entertainment and service workers, the donation will help with those who have been hit the hardest due to production and stores closing in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States. The move to issue relief was also inspired by the passing of Manu Dibango, the legendary Afro-jazz saxophonist who died earlier this week from the virus in Paris.
Dibango's career started in the 1950s, and he worked with the likes of Fela Kuti, Robbie Shakespeare, and others, but he's perhaps most known for "Soul Makossa" – which along with being popular in its own right, was sampled by Michael Jackson on the Thriller hit "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin.'"
“This virus strikes at the heart of the communities we are close to,” John Branca and John McClain, co-executors of the Estate of Michael Jackson, said in a statement. “We learned today that the legendary Manu Dibango passed away from the virus. Other performers and support staff in music and on Broadway are sick or have been left without work and are facing an uncertain future. And in Las Vegas, which has been so welcoming to Michael Jackson, the entire city has been shut down leaving thousands of workers and their families devastated and without an income.”
“MusiCares is very grateful for the outpouring of generosity we’ve seen from many in the music industry to grow the COVID-19 Relief Fund,” Steve Boom, MusiCares chair, said in a statement to the outlet. “The challenges that our industry is facing right now are enormous. It is contributions such as these that will help our community survive in this unprecedented time of tremendous need.”
Self-isolation during the coronavirus outbreak seems to be best practice in keeping our families and peers safe but it's also a shift in our normal social behavior. As millions of families around the country get adjusted to self-isolation, the state of our mental health and how our bodies react to the practice are changing by the day, especially lower-income and marginalized groups.
Speaking with Wired, John Vincent, a clinical psychologist at the University of Houston, shared how apathetic behavior can rise to the forefront, making space for anxiety and depression.
“People start getting lethargic when they don’t have positive inputs into their small worlds,” Vincent says. “We can expect depression to kick in, and depression and anxiety are kissing cousins.”
But the biggest reason behind the uneasiness isn't the self-isolation but just how long it will last. Details of COVID-19 are changing by the day with the most cases now coming out of New York. Yet, there's still little to no information on what happens next.
“Open, transparent, consistent communication is the most important thing governments and organizations can do: Make sure people understand why they are being quarantined first and foremost, how long it is expected to last,” Samantha Brooks of King’s College London told the outlet. “A huge factor in the negative psychological impact seems to be confusion about what's going on, not having clear guidelines, or getting different messages from different organizations.”
Uncertainty hitting low income and marginalized groups is also a problem within itself. As virtual parties and celebrities opening up on social media happen on a daily, there are people who might not access fun distractions on the web.
“Some people have posited technology as a means of connecting people, but lower-income groups might not even have FaceTime or Skype or minutes on their phone,” Thomas Cudjoe, a geriatrician researching the intersection of social connections and aging at Johns Hopkins University says. “People take that for granted, using their devices can be a strain on people’s incomes.”
To make self-isolation less than a bore or a daunting task, experts suggest creating a schedule to dictate control in your home.1. Work It Out
Gyms are closed, but your home can be transformed into a personal training center. Use heavy bags for weights and if you can, create a playlist of workouts on YouTube. For those who have memberships for Blink or Peloton, the platforms have streamed their workouts on apps.2. Mindful Meditation
Meditation isn't about dumping your thoughts, it's about staying aware and mindful. AQUA has developed online that leverages the power of "Mindful Meditation and Mobility Movements" for flexibility and fluidity in the body. Classes are free of charge but feel free to donate.3. Take It Back To High School
Give your friends a call or indulge in a FaceTime party. Feel free to use the Wifi in your home to reduce the amount of data used on your phone. Lala Anthony held a too-cute FT birthday party for writer Kiyonna Anthony with a 70s theme. You can also find creative ways to hop on the phone with friends and family instead of constantly chatting about 'rona.
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We made the best out of our quarantine situation🎉‼️FACETIME 70s Party💃🏽🎉HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY NIECE @kiyonnathewriter ❤️❤️💃🏽💃🏽SHOUT OUT TO ALL MY ARIES ♈️ MAKE THE BEST OF IT!!!😘4. Start A Journal
Journals just aren't for kids. The practice not only gives you something to do, but it fuels creativity and a new level of self-awareness. Former First Lady Michelle Obama recently developed Becoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice, with over 150 inspiring questions and quotes that connect to key themes in her memoir. The journal will also help bring readers to terms with the importance of family and personal reflections as well as the goals they'd like to make a reality.5. Have a Dance Party or Enjoy Lo-Fi Beats To Quarantine To
If you don't have data or battery power to watch a virtual DJ party, make your own. If you have to pull out your record player, do it! You can also hop on your favorite streaming service and create a playlist all your own.