(March 5, 1956 - December 26, 2010)
R&B diva, "Ivory Queen of Soul," breaker of racial barriers.
(W)RAPPING 2010: While DJ Earworm lays down the beat on the past year's top 25 Billboard Hot 100 hits on "United State of Pop 2010 (Don't Stop the Pop)," another artist known for his yearly musical recaps bows on R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.
Skillz, born Shaquan Lewis, scores the Hot Shot Debut on the latter list, as "2010 Rap Up" begins at No. 92.
"2010's a gift, so you know I had to (w)rap it up!" Skillz muses.
"Rest in peace to my little soul man / 'Whatchutalkinbout, Willis?' Gary Cole-man.
"And, Teena Marie, come sing for me."
"2010 Rap Up" is Skillz' fifth consecutive chart entry reviewing pop culture. The 2006 edition reached No. 67 on the Jan. 13, 2007, survey, followed by versions that peaked at Nos. 77, 55 and 52, respectively.
FOREVER YOUR 'LOVERGIRL': Skillz is hardly the only music fan commemorating the career of Teena Marie, who passed away Dec. 26 at 54.
Consumers have shown their appreciation for the late singer, as three of her classics debut on Dance/Electronic Digital Songs. "Lovergirl" enters at No. 14 with sales of 21,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan, followed by "Square Biz" (No. 20; 11,000) and "I Need Your Lovin' " (No. 36; 7,000).
"I Need Your Lovin' "/"Chains" stands as Teena Marie's top-peaking entry on Dance/Club Play Songs, having reached No. 2 in 1980. "Square Biz"/"It Must Be Magic" rose to No. 12 a year later and "Lovergirl" climbed to No. 6 in 1984.
"Lovergirl" represents Teena Marie's one Hot 100 top 10 (No. 4) among seven appearances beginning in 1981. She last graced the chart with "A Rose by Any Other Name," featuring Gerald Levert (No. 97), in 2005.
"Teena Marie inspired me vocally as a child," said Mary J. Blige. "Her songs I sang in the mirror with a hair brush. Every girl that grew up in the 'hood with her blasting through the windows, cars and radio waves can feel me."
HIGH 'SOCIETY': Esperanza Spalding seems the dark horse candidate to win the Best New Artist category at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards Feb. 13 in Los Angeles.
Of the nominees, all but Spalding have reached the top 15 on the Billboard 200. "Chamber Music Society" marks Spalding's lone Billboard 200 chart appearance, having bowed at its peak-to-date of No. 107 in September.
This week, the multi-instrumentalist/singer strengthens her case among voters (whose ballots are due Jan. 12), as the set ascends to No. 1 in its 20th week on Contemporary Jazz Albums.
The collection bests the performance of her prior entry on Contemporary Jazz Albums. "Esperanza" peaked at No. 2 in a 78-week run in 2008-09.
JAZZ 'HAND': While relative newcomer Spalding makes headlines on one Billboard jazz chart, a late legend does the same on another.
Michael Jackson's "Hold My Hand," featuring Akon, debuts on Jazz Songs at No. 24. The song signifies the first appearance for each artist on the Nielsen BDS-based radio airplay chart, which launched in 2005.
The lead radio single from "Michael" has now appeared on three genre airplay tallies. It reached No. 12 on Adult R&B and No. 38 on Pop Songs.
'COUNTRY STRONG' ON COUNTRY SONGS: Faith Hill debuts at No. 60 on Country Songs with "Give in to Me." The cut is the third from the "Country Strong" soundtrack to dent the list, following Sara Evans' "A Little Bit Stronger" (No. 28 peak to-date) and Gwyneth Paltrow's title track (No. 35).
"Country Strong" stars Paltrow, Hill's husband Tim McGraw, Garrett Hedlund and Leighton Meester.
(While Hill's song starts at the survey's anchor position, McGraw claims household bragging rights, as "Felt Good on My Lips" leads Country Songs for a second week).
"Country Strong" writer/director Shana Feste told Billboard that the film's story of a fallen country singer seeking an industry comeback was inspired by Britney Spears' career arc. "We build these artists and celebrate them, then at the first sign of weakness, we rally around their downfall. Then, we want to build them back up," says Feste.
"How difficult to live life like that in public."
After premiering in Nashville Nov. 8, "Country Strong" opens nationwide tomorrow (Jan. 7).