Tuesday, April 15, 2008

What do you get when you put Anthony Hamilton in the studio with Jermaine Dupri, Usher, and Jay-Z? That's what I'm trying to find out after seeing a home video recently posted on a few hip-hop websites and YouTube.

The video, shot last week, starts off with Dupri holding the camera while Jay-Z, Usher, and Hamilton are toasting with what I can only assume is some very expensive drink. They appear to be celebrating music they've just completed. Then Jay-Z starts talking about how he has a concert in New Orleans in three hours. I think they're in Atlanta.

Warning: There's a little profanity in this video.

This collaboration of hip-hop and R&B giants is likely for Usher's new album, Here I Stand, which, as Usher points out in the footage, has been pushed up two weeks to be released May 27. There's a lot of demand for his album after the first single, "Love In This Club," was leaked and then skyrocketed to the top of the Billboard charts.

I'm not surprised to see Hamilton here. I think the Charlotte native is trying to set a world record for the most collaborated artist of all time. He's definitely putting in work as a singer and songwriter. In the last eight months or so he's appeared on songs with Keyshia Cole, Chingy, Mint Condition, and even country singer Josh Turner. He also has a duet titled "Home" with John Rich (of Big and Rich) on the recently released Randy Jackson's Music Club Vol. 1. It's one of the few good songs on the American Idol judge's attempt to show how many industry friends he has. And Hamilton is also featured on Al Green's new album, Lay It Down, which is due to be released the same day as Usher's album.

When I interviewed Hamilton for a story in October, shortly before the release of American Gangster, in which he appears in the movie and on the soundtrack, he said he was getting back into the studio to complete work on his next album. The release date has been delayed once. I think he might be a little too busy working with other artists to focus on his own project. But I don't blame him. How many artists can say they've been in the studio with Jermaine Dupri, Usher, and Jay-Z all at the same time? Probably just them four.

I emailed Hamilton tonight to see what I could find out. When he replied he was surprised the video was online. So I emailed him the link. But he hasn't given me a scoop yet. I'll keep you posted if I find out something.


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