Today's Artist is Dana Elaine Owens (born March 18, 1970), is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, actress, and producer. Born in Newark, New Jersey, she signed with Tommy Boy Records in 1989 and released her debut album All Hail the Queen on November 28, 1989, In her music career, Dana has sold nearly 2 million records worldwide. She has been dubbed as the "Queen of Jazz-Rap". She became the first female hip-hop recording artist to get nominated for an Oscar. she is a recipient of a Grammy Award, with six nominations, a Golden Globe Award, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, with two nominations, two NAACP Image Awards, including thirteen nominations, one Emmy Award, with three nominations and an Academy Award nomination. She was the first hip-hop artist to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. . ....... N Joy
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Queen Latifah was certainly not the first female rapper, but she was the first one to become a bona fide star. She had more charisma than her predecessors, and her strong, intelligent, no-nonsense persona made her arguably the first MC who could properly be described as feminist. Her third album, Black Reign, was the first album by a female MC ever to go gold, a commercial breakthrough that paved the way for a talented crew of women rappers to make their own way onto the charts as the '90s progressed. Latifah herself soon branched out into other media, appearing in movies and sitcoms and even hosting her own talk show. Yet even with all the time she spent away from recording, she remained perhaps the most recognizable woman in hip-hop, with a level of respect that bordered on iconic status.
Queen Latifah was born Dana Owens in Newark, NJ, on March 18, 1970; her Muslim cousin gave her the nickname Latifah -- an Arabic word meaning "delicate" or "sensitive" -- when she was eight. As a youngster, she starred in her high school's production of The Wiz, and began rapping in high school with a group called Ladies Fresh, in which she also served as a human beatbox. In college, she adopted the name Queen Latifah and hooked up with Afrika Bambaataa's Native Tongues collective, which sought to bring a more positive, Afrocentric consciousness to hip-hop. She recorded a demo that landed her a record deal with Tommy Boy, and released her first single, "Wrath of My Madness," in 1988; it was followed by "Dance for Me." In 1989, Latifah's full-length debut, All Hail the Queen, was released to strongly favorable reviews, and the classic single "Ladies First" broke her to the hip-hop audience. In addition to tough-minded hip-hop, the album also found Latifah dabbling in R&B, reggae, and house, and duetting with KRS-One and De La Soul. It sold very well, climbing into the Top Ten of the R&B album charts. Latifah quickly started a management company, Flavor Unit Entertainment, and was responsible for discovering Naughty by Nature. Her 1991 sophomore album, the lighter Nature of a Sista, wasn't quite as popular, and when her contract with Tommy Boy was up, the label elected not to re-sign her. Unfortunately, things got worse from there -- she was the victim of a carjacking, and her brother Lance perished in a motorcycle accident.
Latifah emerged with a new sense of purpose and secured a deal with Motown, which issued Black Reign in 1993. Dedicated to her brother, it became her most popular album, eventually going gold; it also featured her biggest hit single, "U.N.I.T.Y.," which hit the R&B Top Ten and won a Grammy for Best Solo Rap Performance. By this point, Latifah had already begun her acting career, appearing in Jungle Fever, House Party 2, and Juice, as well as the TV series The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. In 1993, she was tabbed to co-star in the Fox comedy series Living Single, which ran until 1997; during that period, acting was her primary focus, and she also co-starred as a bank robber in the 1996 film Set It Off. That same year, Latifah was pulled over for speeding and was arrested when a loaded gun and marijuana were discovered in her vehicle; she pled guilty to the charges and was fined.
Order in the Court
After Living Single was canceled in 1997, Latifah returned to the recording studio and finally began work on her fourth album. Order in the Court was released in 1998 and found her playing up the R&B elements of her sound in a manner that led some critics to draw comparisons to Missy Elliott; she took more sung vocals, and also duetted with Faith Evans and the Fugees' Pras. The album sold respectably well on the strength of the singles "Bananas (Who You Gonna Call?)" and "Paper." The same year, she appeared in the films Sphere and Living Out Loud, singing several jazz standards in the latter. The Queen Latifah Show, a daytime talk show, debuted in 1999 and ran in syndication until 2001. In November 2002, Latifah ran afoul of the law again; she was pulled over by police and failed a sobriety test, and was placed on three years' probation after pleading guilty to DUI charges. However, this mishap was somewhat overshadowed by her performance in the acclaimed movie musical Chicago, which garnered her Best Supporting Actress nominations from both the Screen Actors Guild and the Golden Globes.
In 2004, she released The Dana Owens Album, a diverse collection of covers and interpretations -- from Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band's "Hard Times" to Billy Strayhorn's "Lush Life" -- that highlighted her singing skills rather than her rapping. Trav'lin' Light followed with a similar format in 2007, ranging from the Pointer Sisters to Shirley Horn, with guest appearances from Joe Sample, George Duke, Erykah Badu, and Jill Scott. During the years between the releases, she acted in several movies, including Taxi, Beauty Shop, Last Holiday, and Hairspray. In 2009, she released the star-studded Persona, a pop-flavored album produced by Cool & Dre.
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The hooks on the rap records indicated it could be possible, the roles in Living Out Loud and Chicago made it possible -- the first record in which Dana Owens, better known as Queen Latifah, does nothing but sing. On The Dana Owens Album, she takes on vocal standards and an unlikely array of blues, pop, and soul classics that were adaptable to this intimate setting. The worst thing about it? It makes you upset that it isn't her seventh or eighth record in this vein. Owens' seasoned voice isn't the only attraction. This is a big-time production with a cast of all-star support that includes Arif and Joe Mardin, Herbie Hancock, Vinnie Colaiuta, Jeff Porcaro, and John Patitucci. And then there's Al Green, who steps in to duet on a sizzling and delicately playful cover of his "Simply Beautiful." The range of material is very surprising. The assurance in Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "I Put a Spell on You" is all the more spooky given Owens' poised quietude; Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band's "Hard Times" (!) is one or two production tricks away from sounding like a missing cut from a '70s Rufus & Chaka Khan record; the version of Bill Withers' "The Same Love That Made Me Laugh" is so faithful and knowing that a young Owens must've worn out her parents' copy; the Mamas & the Papas' "California Dreamin'," unlike so many other versions, doesn't sound ironic or willfully corny; and most fitting of all is Joe Zawinul's "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy," in which Owens is able to let loose and belt it out a little. Through and through, this is a real delight -- very classy and a whole lot of fun. Owens has been a busy woman the past several years, whether in front of a camera or behind the scenes, but she really ought to consider doing this type of thing more often. She inhabits the skin of a sultry saloon sista singa and she wears that skin like a big ole rich beaver coat, smooth, full and warm. This whole album feels warm, yo. Not Les Jazz Hot, and not lazy Cali Cool jazzy, but warrrrrrmmm… like cocoa that’s been brewed to just the right temperature and flavor.
Queen Latifah - The Dana Owens Album (flac 296mb)
01 Baby Get Lost 3:43
02 I Put A Spell On You 3:08
03 Simply Beautiful 4:11
04 The Same Love That Made Me Laugh 3:53
05 Moody's Mood For Love 3:59
06 Close Your Eyes 2:56
07 California Dreamin' 3:42
08 Hard Times 5:22
09 Mercy, Mercy, Mercy 3:27
10 Hello Stranger 3:00
11 If I Had You 4:05
12 Lush Life 4:25
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Trav'lin' Light, Queen Latifah's follow-up to her first collection of pop standards, The Dana Owens Album (2004), is, if anything, even better than that Grammy-nominated set. Contemporary performers often get into trouble when they take on music of the pre-rock era, but this one, who is by now so far removed from her origins that she probably should be referred to as a former rapper, not only has the vocal talent to carry it off, she also has put in the hard work with producers, arrangers, musicians, and (no doubt) a vocal coach to create a more-than-credible album. Previously, Queen Latifah made the jump from rapper to Oscar-nominated actress, and her acting classes also seem to have come in handy here. In song after song, she has come up with a character to portray through the lyrics, and that helps make her interpretations convincing. Sometimes, it is the songwriters themselves she seems to be channeling. "Poetry Man," the leadoff track, is not far removed from Phoebe Snow's original, although Queen Latifah wisely undersings where Snow elaborated. Similarly, on "I Love Being Here with You" and "I Want a Little Sugar in My Bowl," she seems more than familiar with the originals by authors Peggy Lee and Nina Simone, and her versions are affectionate annotations on them. She probably knows the '40s song "Don't Cry Baby" through its '60s revivals by Etta James and Aretha Franklin, and without competing against those greats gives it an enthusiastic treatment. And, of course, the title song dates to a Billie Holiday recording with Paul Whiteman; Queen Latifah suggests Holiday's style without aping it. She is ably assisted by some expert studio supporters including producers Tommy LiPuma and Ron Fair and arrangers Jerry Hey and John Clayton; no expense has been spared in filling several studios with dozens of musicians, including full string and horn sections and such name soloists as Stevie Wonder (featured on harmonica on "Georgia Rose") and Joe Sample (piano on "Georgia Rose," "Trav'lin' Light," and "I Want a Little Sugar in My Bowl"). A great deal of thought has gone into the song choices (executive producer Monica Lynch is thanked specifically for her suggestions), which range from the '20s all the way up to "I Know Where I've Been" from the 2007 Hairspray soundtrack. Finally, however, it is the singer herself who deserves the credit for making the album work. As with her acting, Queen Latifah's singing is most laudable for not trying to do too much; she may evoke James or Simone or Holiday (or Smokey Robinson or the Pointer Sisters), but she never tries to outsing them; rather, her versions are glosses on the greats she and her producers so admire.
Queen Latifah - Trav'lin' Light (flac 344mb)
01 Poetry Man 4:40
02 Georgia Rose feat. Stevie Wonder 3:44
03 Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars 3:54
04 Don't Cry Baby 2:54
05 I Love Being Here With You 2:53
06 I'm Gonna Live Till I Die 2:10
07 Trav'lin' Light 4:06
08 I Want a Little Sugar in My Bowl 3:06
09 I'm Not in Love 4:48
10 What Love Has Joined Together 3:41
11 How Long (Betcha' Got a Chick on the Side) 5:42
12 Gone Away 5:51
13 I Know Where I've Been 4:14
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Persona kicks off with 'The Light' which is an uplifting and fitting track where Queen basically lets all know that she is back lyrically as a femme-c. Her flow is on point and the track is a mix of light and grit. Next is 'Fast Car' which features a guest rap spot by Missy Elliot. This cut has a futuristic feel and is apparently the next single per Queen in interviews during the promo of the album. 'Cue the Rain' the first single, follows in its original 6+ minute form where she sings a portion of Fleetwood Mac's 'The Chain.' 'The Couch' has Queen exploring her sensual side, which continues with 'Take Me Away (With You)' featuring a Prince-esque sounding Marsha Ambrosius of Floetry on ad-libs and the hook. Queen mixes singing with a nice flow. The track goes on with 'With You' which has a Euro-Dance vibe to it, one of the stand out tracks in my opinion and a total departure for Queen that she executes magnificently.
'Hard to Love Ya' is an urban and truthful song featuring Busta Rhymes while 'What's the Plan' has a throwback early 80s sound with Queen just on the hook singing "What's the plan?" 'Long Ass Week' is a nice, chill rap cut encouraging nothing but relaxation and good times in spite of. 'Runnin' is a relationship song dealing with the theme of the title. 'People' featuring Mary J. Blige is another inspirational track where Queen flows effortlessly over a mid-tempo track; it sounds like she is preaching almost the way she puts it down. 'If He Wanna' produced by the Neptunes is another exceptional stand out track, her voice is the purest you might ever hear on the album, if not ever, and she vocally hits a couple of runs and ad-libs that are exciting to hear. 'Over the Mountain' and 'The World' finish off the album as typical story-teller/inspirational songs.
The album should definitely be commended. This is an album. Even the not-so strong cuts can be appreciated because work was put into this. Although I do loathe the ever played-out auto tune bit she uses here and there on the album, for songs like 'Fast Car' and 'With You' they just wouldn't work without it; Queen doesn't overuse it or try to compete with the younger artist doing it today, which will make songs like these classic a decade from now and not just swept under the rug. You can tell this wasn't some fly-by-night project. I know that this will probably not be commercially received as it deserves to be given the current state the music industry is in, but I hope there is a break through because this album deserves the ears of many. This album is definitely more Pop, Dance, and R&B than anything, with a dabble of rap here and there, to give all Queen Latifah fans something they can enjoy, hence the title: Persona
Queen Latifah - Persona (flac 440mb)
01 The Light
02 Fast Cars
03 My Couch (feat. Dre)
04 Hard To Love Ya (feat. Busta Rhymes, Shawn Stockman & Dre)
06 Take Me Away (With You) (feat. Marsha Ambrosius)
07 Cue The Rain
08 Long Ass Week
09 People (feat. Mary J. Blige & Jadakiss)
10 The World
12 If You Want To
13 Over The Mountain
15 Fair Weather Friend
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Queen Latifah - Come Into My House+Mama Gave Birth to the Soul Children (flac 287mb)
01 Come Into My House (The Richie Rich Mix) 8:14
02 Come Into My House (Richie Rich Dub Vocal Mix) 4:18
03 Come Into My House (Orbital Dub Mix) 3:13
04 Come Into My House (Mark the 45 King Mix) 4:12
01 Mama Gave Birth to the Soul Children (Infant Mix) 3:40
02 Mama Gave Birth to the Soul Children (The Open University Remix) 7:04
03 Mama Gave Birth to the Soul Children (Instrumental Mix 6:15
04 Mama Gave Birth to the Soul Children (Original Version) 6:05
05 Mama Gave Birth to the Soul Children (The Primary Mix) 3:54
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