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Uptown Records’ Biggest Billboard Hits: ‘Forever My Lady,’ ‘Real Love,’ ‘Candy Rain’ & More

Jodeci and Mary J. Blige, among others, gave the imprint its most successful singles. As both fans and leading industry figures mourn Andre Harrell, best known for founding the Uptown Records imprint, Billboard reveals and ranks the biggest hits from the label’s roster. Many of the tunes, from acts such as Mary J. Blige, Guy…

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Uptown Records’ Biggest Billboard Hits: ‘Forever My Lady,’ ‘Real Love,’ ‘Candy Rain’ & More

Jodeci and Mary J. Blige, among others, gave the imprint its most successful singles.

As both fans and leading industry figures mourn Andre Harrell, best known for founding the Uptown Records imprint, Billboard reveals and ranks the biggest hits from the label’s roster. Many of the tunes, from acts such as Mary J. Blige, Guy and Jodeci, bridged the gap between R&B and hip-hop as the genres surged in popularity in the 1990s.
Harrell died at age 59 of an apparent cardiac arrest episode.

The mogul founded Uptown in 1986, and it quickly became a home for some of the hottest emerging R&B and hip-hop artists. In addition to Blige, Guy and Jodeci, Uptown counted Heavy D & The Boyz, Soul For Real and Monifah as key players in its heyday.
The organization kept its eye on industry talent, too. Famously, a young Sean Combs (the future Puff Daddy/P. Diddy/Diddy) interned at Uptown and soon nabbed a leading A&R role. Though Combs was fired in 1993, Harrell and Uptown planted the seeds for for one of hip-hop’s biggest producers and executives to learn the tricks of the trade.

In honor of Harrell’s enduring impact across two genres, let’s recap Uptown Records’ 25 biggest hits on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. Among the accomplishments, eight No. 1s on the ranking, including five for Jodeci. The R&B group also claims the imprint’s top performer, the 1991 classic, “Forever My Lady.”
Song Title, Artist, Peak Position, Peak Date1. “Forever My Lady,” Jodeci, No. 1 (two weeks), Nov. 9, 19912. “Candy Rain,” Soul For Real, No. 1 (three weeks), March 11, 19953. “Real Love,” Mary J. Blige, No. 1 (two weeks), Oct. 17, 19924. “Lately,” Jodeci, No. 1 (four weeks), July 24, 19935. “Cry For You,” Jodeci, No. 1 (four weeks), Jan. 15, 19946. “Come & Talk to Me,” Jodeci, No. 1 (two weeks), May 30, 19927. “You Remind Me,” Mary J. Blige, No. 1 (one week), July 25, 19928. “I Wanna Get With U,” Guy, No. 4, Dec. 22, 19909. “I Like,” Guy, No. 2, May 13, 198910. “Stay,” Jodeci, No. 1 (two weeks), Feb. 8, 1992

11. “Groove Me,” Guy, No. 4, Aug. 6, 198812. “Freek’n You,” Jodeci, No. 3, July 29, 199513. “Be Happy,” Mary J. Blige, No. 6, Dec. 24, 199414. “Let’s Chill,” Guy, No. 3, April 6, 199115. “Big Daddy,” Hev-D, No. 5, March 8, 199716. “Somebody For Me,” Heavy D & The Boyz, No. 8, Nov. 18, 198917. “Love No Limit,” Mary J. Blige, No. 5, June 5, 199318. “Feenin’,” Jodeci, No. 2, April 16, 199419. “Got Me Waiting,” Heavy D & The Boyz, No. 3, May 7, 199420. “Now That We Found Love,” Heavy D & The Boyz, No. 5, Aug. 31, 1991

21. “Reminisce,” Mary J. Blige, No. 6, Feb. 6, 199322. “We Got Our Own Thang,” Heavy D & The Boyz, No. 10, Aug. 12, 198923. “I’m Still Waiting,” Jodeci, No. 10, Sept. 26, 199224. “I Miss You (Come Back Home),” Monifah, No. 16, Feb. 3, 199625. “Every Little Thing U Do,” Christopher Williams, No. 7, May 29, 1993
Uptown Records’ Biggest Billboard Hits are based on actual performance on the weekly Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart through May 9, 2020. Songs are ranked based on an inverse point system, with weeks at No. 1 earning the greatest value and weeks at lower ranks earning lesser values. Due to changes in chart methodology over the years, certain eras are weighted to account for different chart turnover rates over various periods.

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Art & Culture

Janelle Monáe Leads The Revolution In Stirring ‘Turntables’ Video

YouTube “We are in the middle of a revolution right? What’s a revolution without a song and a song without a revolution.” That’s the question the Grammy-winning artist Janelle Monáe posed to Entertainment Weekly when describing her latest single, “Turntables.” The song was released on and flips between cleverly rapped lines about “liberation, elevation, education” and a harmonic…

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Janelle Monáe Leads The Revolution In Stirring ‘Turntables’ Video

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“We are in the middle of a revolution right? What’s a revolution without a song and a song without a revolution.”
That’s the question the Grammy-winning artist Janelle Monáe posed to Entertainment Weekly when describing her latest single, “Turntables.” The song was released on and flips between cleverly rapped lines about “liberation, elevation, education” and a harmonic refrain with clear gospel influences. It’s Monáe’s take on a contemporary protest song, a call for a political sea change, in the vein of, say, Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit” or Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power.”
Courtesy of Atlantic RecordsAnd on Tuesday (September), Monáe released a moving music video — or, as she calls it, an emotion picture — that solidified that message. The visual opens and closes with the singer walking along the beach in a beige trench coat and military cap. At times, she can be seen singing into a retro microphone before an American flag; in others, she moves through staged breakfast scenes, with a family reading through newspaper headlines as they mouth her lyrics. The visual flashes through archival and contemporary footage depicting inspirational figures past and present: Where one scene shows the model and activist Jillian Mercado at a photo shoot, another depicts a conversation with lifelong activist Angela Davis.
What rings true without is a hopeful cry for change and for equality, and a recognition of those who have been leading that fight for decades. Monáe wrote “Turntables” for the new Amazon Studios documentary, All In: The Fight for Democracy, that shines a light on voter suppression, particularly through the lens of Stacey Abrams’s failed bid for the Georgia governorship. “Right now, I am focused on turning the election in our favor,” Monáe told Entertainment Weekly, “and I hope this song can inspire those who are on the ground doing the work.”

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Joe Keery’s Reinvention, Mxmtoon’s Carly Rae Jepsen Collab, And More Songs We Love

Getty Images/April Blum The search for the ever-elusive “bop” is difficult. Playlists and streaming-service recommendations can only do so much. They often leave a lingering question: Are these songs really good, or are they just new? Enter Bop Shop, a hand-picked selection of songs from the MTV News team. This weekly collection doesn’t discriminate by…

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Joe Keery’s Reinvention, Mxmtoon’s Carly Rae Jepsen Collab, And More Songs We Love

Getty Images/April Blum

The search for the ever-elusive “bop” is difficult. Playlists and streaming-service recommendations can only do so much. They often leave a lingering question: Are these songs really good, or are they just new?
Enter Bop Shop, a hand-picked selection of songs from the MTV News team. This weekly collection doesn’t discriminate by genre and can include anything — it’s a snapshot of what’s on our minds and what sounds good. We’ll keep it fresh with the latest music, but expect a few oldies (but goodies) every once in a while, too. Get ready: The Bop Shop is now open for business.

St. Vincent ft. Yoshiki: “New York”

St. Vincent, the intuitive musical goddess that she is, must have sensed our collective need for another quarantine ballad. Enter “New York [Feat. Yoshiki],” a classical arrangement of the standout single from 2017’s Masseduction. An added string section courtesy of Yoshiki, a Japanese multi-instrumentalist, beautifully complements the song’s original piano instrumentals. What more can I say? “New York isn’t New York / Without you, love” just hits different in the middle of a pandemic. —Sam Manzella

Djo: “Keep Your Head Up”

Last year, Joe Keery (of Stranger Things fame) released a glossy solo album under the moniker Djo. It was titled Twenty Twenty, and its sparkling arrangements ended up being quite far removed from the overall vibe of 2020 the year, but who could fault him for his optimism? Keery has also long been a contributing member of Chicago psych band Post Animal, but Djo is simply Joe — and latest “Keep Your Head Up” feels like several Joes ripping open a vortex in the funk-time continuum. This is a groove, peppered with buzzy synths and icy falsetto and an honest-to-god sax part. It’s akin to Todd Terje doing Tame Impala, a lightheaded cocktail rush that feels both clubby and bedroom ambitious. Positively galactic. —Patrick Hosken

Mxmtoon ft. Carly Rae Jepsen: “OK On Your Own”

When Mxmtoon’s Maia said she recorded “OK On Your Own” for the girls and the gays, she wasn’t kidding. The mellow bedroom-pop bop soundtracks a journey of self-reflection after a breakup, complete with the soft ukulele instrumentals that put the 19-year-old singer-songwriter on the map. Is it revelatory? No, but with pop icon Carly Rae Jepsen lending her sugary-sweet vocals to the second verse, it doesn’t have to be. Now I’m just waiting for “Party for Two.” —Sam Manzella

Video Age: “Aerostar”

Pleasure Line, the third album from emerging indie pop quartet Video Age, delivers perfectly escapist ’80s new wave vibes for when you need to get outta 2020 for just a moment. “Aerostar” is its punchy center, a hip-twisting, shoulder-shuffling groove that delivers quirky robot dance commands (“Slide to the left, now! Shimmy to the right!”) over hoppin’ funk synths and a kickin’ drum machine. It all harkens to a simpler time, one where dance floors were actually a real thing. Oh, the ’80s! —Terron Moore

Ruel: “As Long As You Care”

About a year ago, Australian middle-part heartthrob Ruel told MTV News that for him, “songwriting is exaggerating to an extent.” On his latest, the technicolor, soulful “As Long As You Care,” his exaggeration is so seamless, you’d be forgiven for believing the 17-year-old is actually a time traveler. The neo-soul groove he rides propels everything upward, even as the sound cheekily looks backward. “As Long As You Care” has one amazing hook, coupled with sonic candy that makes his upcoming third EP, Bright Lights, Red Eyes (out October 23) one to watch. —Patrick Hosken

Alycia Bella ft. Boogie: “Cue the Sun”

Something magical happens two-and-a-half minutes into “Cue the Sun,” the exploratory new collab between striking R&B voice Alycia Bella and rapper Boogie. After piping in the aural equivalent of stage smoke via jazzy piano and gorgeous vocalizations — “It feel like being lost in the right direction” — Bella’s song enters a more sparkly realm for Boogie’s recitations. By the end, you’re lighter, like your mind’s been cleared of all the cobwebs. Cue the sun. —Patrick Hosken

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Who Are You Most Excited to See Perform at the 2020 ACM Awards? Vote!

The 55th Academy of Country Music Awards will welcome back Taylor Swift and present a new collaboration from the evening’s host Keith Urban and P!nk on Wednesday, Sept. 16. But which one of the highly anticipated performances are you counting down the hours to? Nine-time ACM Award winner Swift, whose latest studio album Folklore has topped the Billboard 200 for six…

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Who Are You Most Excited to See Perform at the 2020 ACM Awards? Vote!

The 55th Academy of Country Music Awards will welcome back Taylor Swift and present a new collaboration from the evening’s host Keith Urban and P!nk on Wednesday, Sept. 16. But which one of the highly anticipated performances are you counting down the hours to?
Nine-time ACM Award winner Swift, whose latest studio album Folklore has topped the Billboard 200 for six weeks, will come back for the first time in seven years to perform the country-leaning fan-favorite track “Betty.” Meanwhile, 15-time ACM Award winner Urban and Pink will come together for the world television premiere of their brand new collaboration “One Too Many,” which is from the country star’s forthcoming album, The Speed of Now, Part 1.

Billboard broke the news Monday (Sept. 14) that all five nominees for entertainer of the year — Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Luke Combs and Thomas Rhett — will take the stage to perform a medley of their greatest hits. Additionally, ACM’s freshly crowned new male and female artist of the year winners Riley Green and Tenille Townes, respectively, will also perform.

For the first time in the awards show’s history, the ACMs will be broadcast live from Nashville, with socially distanced performances from the Grand Ole Opry House, the historic Ryman Auditorium and The Bluebird Cafe.
The 55th ACM Awards will air live Wednesday, Sept. 16, at 8 p.m. ET (delayed for the West Coast) on CBS and CBS All Access. (The event is produced by dick clark productions, which shares a parent company with Billboard.)
So which of the performances can’t you wait to see? Vote below!

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