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Bits & Bytes

August 31, 2001

Q-Tip Disappears

Q-Tip has disappeared from the rap world. Pulling a Prince-P.Diddy doozy, rhymer Q-Tip has decided to unload his musical moniker and go with Kamaal instead. With a highly anticipated new album ready to hit Virgin Megastores this Oct 23, Kamaal The Abstract, the rapper formerly known as Q-Tip decided it was time for a fresh start with a fresh name. Despite having already altered his legal name to Kamaal a few years back, the celebrated hip hopper only recently translated that change into his professional life. Whatever he wants to call himself, unlike the Puffster, Kamaal will still get massive respect for those smart and original rhymes worth grooving to.

Isley Brothers Hitting The Road, Prepping New Mr. Biggs Video

If you want to open for the Isley Brothers' fall tour, nine times out of ten, you won't have a hard time meeting at least one of their criteria. According to a spokesperson for the group, the siblings, who have seen success over the past 40 years, are looking for an act that will appeal to people younger than their age bracket.

The Isleys have been getting their fair share of love from the youth as well as the older cats with their new album, Eternal. Powered by the hit "Contagious," which their friend R. Kelly produced and wrote, the LP has sold almost 500,000 copies in just three weeks. The next single off of the album will be the Raphael Saadiq-produced "Move Your Body." They start filming the video on September 22 in L.A. under the direction of Bille Woodruff, who co-directed the video for "Contagious" with Kelly. That clip ends with Ronald "Mr. Biggs" Isley and Kelly facing off over R&B chanteuse Chanté Moore, with Kelly ultimately leaving with Moore.

Though the treatment for "Move Your Body" is still being written, Mr. Biggs said in July that the video would begin where "Contagious" ended. The Isleys' spokesperson said to expect a lot of dancing from a lot of scantily clad women in the video.

In addition to a movie centering on the Mr. Biggs character, Ron Isley said earlier this month that a play featuring the brothers and Kelly will appear somewhere down the line.

Isley Brothers tour dates, according to DreamWorks Records:
  • 9/30 - Dallas, TX @ Dallas Convention Center
  • 10/5 - Jacksonville, FL @ Metropolitan Park
  • 10/6 - Galveston, TX @ The East Beach
  • 10/7 - Lafayette, LA @ Cajun Dome
  • 10/11 - Phoenix, AZ @ Celebrity Theater
  • 10/12- Universal City, CA @ Universal Amphitheater
  • 10/13 - Concord, CA @ The Chronicle Pavilion
  • 10/14 - San Diego, CA @ TBA
  • 10/19 - Charlotte, NC @ Cricket Arena
  • 10/20 - Norfolk, VA @ Norfolk Scope Arena
  • 10/21 - Richmond, VA @ Landmark Theater
  • 10/24 - New York, NY @ TBA
  • 10/25 - Columbus, OH @ Schottenstein Center
  • 10/26 - St. Louis, MO @ Fox Theater
  • 10/28 - Minneapolis, MN @ Orpheum Theater
  • 11/1 - Clearwater, FL @ Ruth Eckerd Hall
  • 11/2 - Sunrise, FL @ Sunrise Musical Theater
  • 11/3 - Orlando, FL @ TD Waterhouse Center
  • 11/8 - Milwaukee, WI @ Riverside Theater
  • 11/9 - Chicago, IL @ Arie Crown Theater
  • 11/10 - Pine Bluff, AR @ Civic Center
  • 11/11 - Louisville, KY @ Whitney Hall
  • 11/16 - Atlantic City, NJ @ Trump Taj Mahal
  • 11/17 - Atlantic City, NJ @ Trump Taj Mahal
  • 11/23 - Washington, DC @ Constitution Hall
  • 11/24 - Washington, DC @ Constitution Hall
  • 11/25 - Baltimore, MD @ The Mini Theater

By Shaheem Reid

August 30, 2001

Ja Rule Helps J. Lo Deliver Hot Crossover Joints

Between trying to make a last-minute song addition to his October 2 release, Pain Is Love, before it goes through the mastering process this weekend and hitting the road to promote the album, you'd think Ja Rule wouldn't have time for any extracurricular activities. And you'd be right. During a Monday conversation in the Murder Inc. recording studios, a facility nicknamed "the crack house," Ja admitted his newfound prosperity as an R&B songwriter has him feeling the pressure.

"They're paying top dollar and they want their records now," the rapper said of all the singers who want him to pen tunes for them. "I'm avoiding phone calls and everything 'cause I'm trying to finish my own album. It's a crazy game. You gotta be a workhorse."

The Ja Rule-penned remix of the Jennifer Lopez hit "I'm Real" has helped J.Lo. rise steadily from # 90 spot on the Billboard 200 albums chart in early July to a top-10 position this week and next, according to a Wednesday (August 29) SoundScan report.

"She's mad cool. She goes in, knocks the sh-- out, no problem," said Ja of Lopez, with whom he'll perform "I'm Real" September 6 during the MTV Video Music Awards. "I love artists like that."

Although Lopez and Sony Music CEO Tommy Mottola are credited with first recognizing Ja's aptitude for writing R&B tunes, Mariah Carey was actually the first songstress to get a song from Ja.

The 25-year-old said he wrote a cut for Carey's upcoming Glitter and guests on the track with Nate Dogg.

"It was kinda crazy because I wrote the words with Mariah," he said. "For the J. Lo joint, they dropped off a CD and said, 'Do what you want.' That was weird because I hadn't written a whole R&B record before. They had faith in me.

"I'd been pumping it up that I could do it," he continued. "I'd done it before, just f---ing around, but never gave it to nobody. They gave me the chance, I did it and it turned out to be a hell of a record. Now we get so many calls and I got so much work to do."

One of Ja's top priorities is returning to the studio with Lopez. He's writing the lyrics for an "Ain't It Funny" remix.

"I'm about to f--- y'all up," he boasted. "We use the 'Flavor in Your Ear' beat, but it's remixed and vamped-up crazy. It's totally not J. Lo.

"It's J. Lo now because of 'I'm Real'," he said, correcting himself. "It's gonna put her in another zone. After this one, they gonna be expecting hot crossover R&B joints from J. Lo. They ain't gonna want the pop version of J. Lo no more, they gonna want the 'I'm Real' version."

In addition to Lopez and Carey, Ja looks forward to working on upcoming albums by Brandy, Macy Gray and Enrique Iglesias.

"I'm just now getting the feel for what each artist wants," he said. "I know the style Brandy wants, but with artists like Macy Gray or Enrique Iglesias, I gotta get their albums and listen to their sh--. I'm hip-hop; now I have to tap into their worlds."

By Shaheem Reid

Jackson's Return To Limelight Gets Mixed Reviews

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Michael Jackson's long-awaited return to the airwaves with the release of a new song from his album ``Invincible'' has not been as ``thrilling'' as expected, according to station programmers.

The pop star, whose 1982 album ``Thriller'' ranks among the best-selling albums in the United States, officially returned to the airwaves last Friday after a long hiatus, as Epic Records released the first single off his comeback album to radio stations.

Epic said it released the upbeat dance tune, ``You Rock My World,'' a few days earlier than planned after it was ``leaked'' by a pair of New York City stations that obtained a bootleg copy of the track. Epic is a unit of Sony Corp.

But several radio programmers seemed skeptical, saying they believed Epic itself ``leaked'' the song early to generate a buzz. In either case, radio stations are reporting a lukewarm reception among its listeners and programmers to the song.

``The excitement was there initially,'' said Dave Morales, music director for KHKS-FM In Dallas. ``We got the single, we heard it and put it on the air... and it was just sort of there. We're not getting any more repeat requests for it,'' he said.

``You kind of wish he came back with something huge, but this song kind of falls in line with what we've already heard before from him,'' said Morales, but added, ``in all fairness, maybe this was just the wrong single to go with.''

Los Angeles Times music critic Richard Cromelin, in a review of the song Wednesday said that waiting for the single was better than hearing it.

``It's pleasant enough as anonymous fluff goes, but at this point in a precarious career, the erstwhile pop provocateur should be shooting for another 'Thriller' not filler,'' Cromelin wrote. The Times, in an accompanying article, said an informal survey it conducted of key programmers showed mostly listener apathy.

``Invincible'' is the first disc of all-new studio material from Jackson in six years and how the album is received could determine whether the eccentric singer can regain his claim to the title ``The King of Pop.'' It is slated for release overseas October 29 and in North America on October 30.

Jackson, who turned 43 on Wednesday and has been out of the limelight for several years, is now planning his return with a vengeance by headlining two all-star concerts in New York City's Madison Square Garden next month.


Several radio executives said the song has potential to be a hit and is just getting off to a slow start.

``Only time will tell if it is a hit. Jackson's been out of the business for a number of years and has been retooling himself,'' said David Lawrence, the host of the Net Music Countdown show in Washington D.C., which is broadcast in radio stations nationwide.

``There are lots of artists who release a song that programmers don't perceive as a hit. 'Smooth' by Santana was a good example of one that eventually caught fire,'' he said.

Lawrence predicts the song's popularity will peak after the Madison Square Garden extravaganza, celebrating Jackson's 30 years as a solo performer.

Lawrence and others also said the ``weird factor'' makes Jackson a target among radio programmers. ``People love to make fun of him,'' Lawrence said.

Some industry experts feel that Jackson has to win over a whole new young audience not familiar with his material.

At Power 106 in Los Angeles, a station which caters to youthful listeners who like edgier hip-hop and R&B, the Jackson song was a flop.

``I don't think its something we'll be playing. The song is too pop, but that doesn't mean the next song off the album won't work,'' said Tito Corona of Power 106.

But Albie Dee, music director for Hot 99.5 in Washington D.C., said ``It's still a little early to tell. I'm getting some phone and Internet requests for the song and could be a possible hit. It's Michael Jackson so it's an event. You've got to at least give it a shot and see how it goes.''

By Sue Zeidler

August 29, 2001

Bilal: Philly Soul, Voice Control, and Smooth Roll

NEW YORK - It's 2:30 p.m. and a fatigued Bilal is sluggishly trying to make his way up the steps to sit for an interview. Once in the conference room, he drops his lifeless body into a chair and lets out a long sigh of relief, as if he has just plopped onto the bed in his Brooklyn apartment. Mustering up every last bit of energy left in his body, he announces, "I've been up all day shooting a video for my next single, 'Love It.' I need some sleep."

If you've ever witnessed Bilal Sayeed Oliver's onstage theatrics - which include him gyrating as if he were possessed and channeling the spirits of such soul legends as James Brown - then the subdued 22-year-old in that chair would surprise you. His ability to turn it on and off while performing won him a number of fans before he even had a record deal. But while some perceive his Jekyll and Hyde act as laying it on too thick, he's got a reason for the drama. "When I perform, I live the music," he says, "I'm expressing whatever emotion lies in the song."

His onstage antics helped create a strong buzz for his recently released debut, 1st Born Second. Unfortunately, the album's release was repeatedly pushed back, frustrating fans. Now that the record is finally out, though, Bilal thinks those listeners will find it ... and like it. "I think the momentum is growing," he says. "I feel like I have a very good album."

Record sales aside, this Philly youth is packing a tremendous amount of talent, exposing a provocative old soul that shines through. Whether Bilal is singing about keeping his pimp hand strong on "Certified," from Guru's Jazzmatazz: Street Soul, or delivering a black-girls-rule ode on his album's first single, "Soul Sista," his nostalgic vocal gymnastics touch the listener in a deep place and ignite some booty shaking. Similar to D'Angelo, Bilal's old-school, hip-hop-tinged approach to music has critics comparing him to the usual suspects: Al Green, Prince, and Marvin Gaye.

"I think the timelessness of my music brings about those comparisons," Bilal says. "I'm an artist, so I take my music very seriously. If somebody says, 'You sound exactly like Prince,' I want to put my middle finger up. It depends on how the comparison is done."

Bilal has spent years mastering his vocals, studying everything from opera to jazz - he studied jazz and big-band arrangements at the Mannes College of Music in New York - and translating the unique stylings of musical instruments into his delivery. "I come from a jazz background, so I use my voice as an instrument. When I sing and go high, I'm doing it to have a trumpet effect. When I perform I like to use my voice to be different characters. I like to get different effects."

Prior to embarking on his solo career, Bilal performed in a jazz band in Philadelphia and a blues band when he later moved to New York. It didn't take long for his unique take on R&B to get noticed. When his demo tape found its way to fellow eclectic singer Erykah Badu, Bilal's career began to take off.

Before he knew it, Bilal was invited to join Philly's elite musical family, the Soulquarians, which consists of Badu, D'Angelo, James Poyser, Talib Kweli, and the Roots, among others. Guest appearances on several projects quickly followed, including producing and writing on Badu's Mama's Gun and singing alongside Jill Scott on Common's "Funky for You."

"I get inspired when I'm in the studio around them. We all feed off each other, and we're all close friends," Bilal says of the all-star musical collective. On 1st Born Second, Bilal enlisted the help of fellow Soulquarians Mos Def, Common, and Poyser to produce a memorable project.

With a plethora of sexually driven songs on the album, it's no surprise that female fans have taken a liking to the man behind the dark shades. Could he soon be the target of lingerie-flinging women at his shows? After a sustained chuckle, Bilal declares, "I can see it happening."

Janet Jackson's Tour Itinerary Succumbs To Flu Again

Once again, Janet Jackson has had to call off a string of All for You tour dates - and once again, it's the flu.

Starting with Tuesday night (August 29) in Philadelphia, Jackson has put off three dates this week to give her time to rest before she resumes the tour on Friday, according to her publicist. That makes nine shows this summer that have been postponed or canceled.

Jackson's first bout of illness led her to postpone performances in Cleveland (August 5), Indianapolis (August 7) and Pittsburgh (August 8). Those dates were quickly rescheduled.

This time around, Jackson is postponing Philadelphia (Tuesday); Charlotte, North Carolina (Wednesday); and Birmingham, Alabama (Thursday) due to a relapse. "She has a recurrence of her respiratory problem that plagued her two weeks ago," publicist Paul Freundlich said. "We're scrambling to make the dates work."

The Philadelphia show has already been rescheduled for Friday, the Charlotte show is still pending and the Birmingham show has been canceled outright, according to her manager. On Jackson's web site (http://www.janet-jackson.com), a message tells fans in Charlotte to hold on to their tickets because news about the postponed show should be available soon. It also advises Birmingham fans to return their tickets for a refund.

This relapse marks the fifth time in two months that Jackson has nixed concerts. Jackson's spate of postponements came right from the start, when she was forced to put off the tour's July 5 opener in Vancouver because a portion of the stage set hadn't arrived at General Motors Place in time. That show was rescheduled for four days later, and Jackson opened her tour in Portland, Oregon, on July 7.

Jackson's next setback, a chipped tooth that required emergency dental work just hours before show time at the Bradley Center, forced her to postpone a July 18 Milwaukee show until October 16.

Jackson had last altered her tour schedule when she moved up a date at Madison Square Garden in New York (originally scheduled for August 21) to accommodate a New York Liberty WNBA playoff game.

August 28, 2001

Did Excess Weight Cause Aaliyah Plane Crash?

NASSAU, Bahamas -- U.S. officials joined the investigation into the plane crash that killed 22-year-old singer Aaliyah and eight others amid reports that their plane was overloaded when it went down shortly after takeoff.

Aaliyah and the others had come to the Bahamas to shoot a music video, authorities said. Their twin-engine Cessna 402B was bound for Opa-locka, Fla. when it went down roughly 60 metres from the end of the runway at Marsh Harbour airport on Abaco Island, 160 kilometres north of Nassau on Saturday.

Bahamian investigators have searched through the wreckage for clues to the crash. Police Superintendent Basil Rahming said only that one of the Cessna's engines "apparently failed."

On Monday, two local newspapers, the Tribune and the Freeport News, quoted a baggage handler they did not name as saying he had warned the pilot that the plane was too heavy for a safe takeoff.

Lewis Key, a Bahamian pilot on Abaco, said he had heard rumours the plane was overloaded, but he did not believe extra weight could have caused the crash if both its engines were working.

Key, who said he has flown the same model of Cessna in the past, said that judging by the distribution of the wreckage, it appeared the plane veered off sharply, indicating a failed engine.

Authorities from the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration were to join the investigation on Monday, said NTSB spokesman Ted Lopatkiewicz.

Aaliyah, who had two Grammy nominations, a platinum album and several high-profile movie roles, was killed instantly. Five others on board also died in the crash, while three more died later of their injuries, Rahming said.

Born in New York City and raised in Detroit, Aaliyah had deep roots in the R and B community. She later returned to live in Manhattan. She is survived by her mother, father and brother.

"Aaliyah's family is devastated at the loss of their loving daughter and sister," said a statement from the singer's publicist, PMK. "Their hearts go out to those families who also lost their loved ones."

Police identified the other victims as bodyguard Scott Gallin, 41; Keith Wallace, 49, of Los Angeles; Douglas Kratz, 28, a representative for Virgin Records, makeup artist Eric Foreman, 29, Gina Smith, 29, all of Hollywood, Calif.; Anthony Dodd, 34, of Los Angeles; and Christopher Maldonado, 32, of New Jersey. The plane's pilot, identified only as L. Maradel, also died.

The bodies were taken to the morgue at Princess Margaret Hospital in Nassau, where they were to be kept for relatives to help identify them, U.S. Embassy spokesman Brian Bachman said. Some were badly burned in the crash, authorities said.

Virgin Records offered to pay for the relatives' travel costs, Bachman said. The company was also considering bringing the bodies to Miami, to be met by family members there, he said.

The Cessna 402 was owned by Skystream, a company based in Pembroke Pines, Fla., said Kathleen Bergen, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration in Atlanta. The company's telephone number was not listed, and company officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

A spokeswoman for Wichita, Kan.-based Cessna, Marilyn Richwine, said she was not aware of any safety problems with the twin-engine 402 model. The company hasn't manufactured that model for about 12 to 15 years, she said.

Aaliyah's song, Try Again, earned her a Grammy nomination this year for best female R and B vocalist. She was nominated in the same category in 1999 for Are You That Somebody. In 1996, she released her second album; the single, If Your Girl Only Knew, went double platinum.

Aaliyah made her first feature film appearance last year in the movie, Romeo Must Die.

She was born Aaliyah Haughton on Jan. 16, 1979, in Brooklyn. She made her stage debut as an orphan in a production of Annie at the age of 6. Her uncle was married to soul singer Gladys Knight, who invited Aaliyah to perform with her during a five-night stint in Las Vegas at age 11.

Aaliyah struck a licensing deal as a teenager after her uncle, Barry Hankerson, formed Blackground Records.

Aaliyah went gold with her debut album, Age Ain't Nothing But A Number, in 1994 -- when she was 15 -- and benefited from working closely with hip-hop artist R. Kelly.

Timbaland, P. Diddy, Other Artists React To Aaliyah's Death

The music community reacted Monday to the loss of one of its brightest young stars, praising the late Aaliyah for her creativity, warmth and kindness.

"She was like blood, and I lost blood," producer Timbaland, whose collaborations with Aaliyah included the hits "Are You That Somebody?" and "We Need a Resolution," said in a phone call to "TRL." "Me and her together had this chemistry. I kinda lost half of my creativity to her. It's hard for me to talk to the fans right now. Beyond the music, she was a brilliant person, the [most special] person I ever met."

Aaliyah, 22, was killed when the small plane she and eight others were traveling in crashed soon after takeoff in the Bahamas on Saturday. The singer was on Abaco Island filming a video for "Rock the Boat," her label said, adding that it's too early to tell whether or not the video will ever air.

A visibly shaken P. Diddy, hosting "TRL" Monday, talked about his friendship with Aaliyah and mourned the death of an artist whose best work was yet to come. "She was one of those individuals that would light up a room," he said. "She always greeted you with a smile. Her time was coming; [she] was just about to explode."

He said Aaliyah's family was the closest he'd ever seen. Aaliyah is survived by her parents, Diane and Michael Haughton, and a brother, Rashad.

Other artists remembered the singer and actress as much for her personality as for her work.

DMX, who co-starred with Aaliyah in "Romeo Must Die" and dueted with her on "Come Back in One Piece" for the film's soundtrack album, characterized her as "talented, classy, warm, beautiful, compassionate [and] humble" in a statement issued Monday afternoon. Aaliyah was a "down-to-earth sister with enough energy to put anyone on a cloud," he said. "Let us pray."

"Words can't express what I'm feeling, she was family," Ginuwine said in a statement. "I will truly miss her."

"There are no words to express the loss of Aaliyah, whose unique talent was just beginning to blossom," Ernie Isley said in a statement. "The world will never get to see how her gift could have developed, and that is truly a loss." Aaliyah reworked the Isley Brothers' "Choosey Lover" for her 1996 album, One in a Million.

Michael Rymer, who directed Aaliyah in the title role of the upcoming "Queen of the Damned," remembered the star as a perfectionist and an exceptional young actress. "Aaliyah, who doesn't have an evil atom in her body, came off as this intensely sexual, sensuous, delightfully evil, naughty performer," he said. "It was a very tough role to pull off. ... I think she delivers."

"Of all the people I know, [she] had such a clear and pure spirit, such a clear idea of what she wanted. It's hard to imagine that being interrupted," added Rymer. Rymer said Aaliyah had planned to collaborate with Timbaland and Korn's Jonathan Davis for the film's soundtrack, but he wasn't sure if those plans came to fruition.

A Jive Records statement noted that R. Kelly, who produced Aaliyah's 1994 debut, Age Ain't Nothing but a Number, was "deeply saddened by the tragic loss. His thoughts and prayers are with her family during their time of grief."

Aaliyah's "Romeo Must Die" co-star Jet Li issued a statement extending his condolences to Aaliyah's family and the family of Eric Foreman, a makeup artist who also died in the crash.

"I heard of the devastating news and am deeply saddened that she is no longer with us," Li said. "She was a wonderful and talented artist who will be missed by everyone whose lives she touched."

One music-industry veteran who worked with Aaliyah early on was struck by her motivation as a 12-year-old with a burning desire to break into the business. "It was clear she had all the gifts," said Hank Neuberger, executive vice president of Chicago Recording Company, where Aaliyah recorded much of Age Ain't Nothing. "She had a great voice, she was stunningly beautiful and she had a strong sense of what she could do at a very young age."

"Her depth and versatility as an artist was matched by the passion and devotion she had for her craft," Virgin Records said in a statement issued Sunday "Aaliyah Mourned As Artist Who Had 'Limitless Potential'").

Fans responded to the tragedy with candlelight vigils and spontaneous memorials. In Detroit, a candlelight vigil was set for Monday evening outside the Detroit High School for Fine and Performing Arts, according to a school official. Aaliyah graduated from the school with a 4.0 GPA in 1997.

"We are devastated," said Stan Childress, Detroit Public Schools communications director and former student activities advisor at the high school.

"This tragedy has young people crying, hugging each other, expressing love for each other, saying things like, 'This has taught us how to value life, because you don't know what's going to happen,' " said Childress, who noted that Aaliyah had often given her time and advice to fellow students aspiring to enter the entertainment business. "She's an angel for this city."

Outside Tower records on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, fans wrote messages on an Aaliyah billboard and left candles and flowers, according to clerk Jonathan Stapleton. He added that the store has seen a huge increase in demand for her albums over the past few days.

In New York, a spray-paint artist was busy Monday creating a mural of the singer in Manhattan's Lower East Side, according to the Associated Press.

An investigation into the plane crash was ongoing Monday, and authorities in the Bahamas said initial indications pointed to engine failure as the accident's cause. Among the eight others killed in the crash were Foreman, 29, bodyguard Scott Gallin, 41, and Virgin Records' director of video production, Douglas Kratz, 28.

By Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen, with additional reporting by Elon Johnson ,Shaheem Reid, Brian Hiattand Teri vanHorn

August 27, 2001

Nelly's Latest '#1' Is Dedicated To The Haters

Next time Nelly yells his signature "uh oh!" it might not be because he's trying to figure out where the party's at - it may be because he's mad.

On his new single, "#1," the first offering from the "Training Day" soundtrack, Nelly lashes out at haters, biters and people who say his music isn't "real hip-hop."

"You better watch who you talking about, running around like you know me," he warns. Nelly later goes on to blast "rappers emulating my style right to the 'down, down'" and sings, "two is not a winner, and three no one remembers" on the chorus.

Monday evening before the Source Hip-Hop Music Awards in Miami, Nelly said people forced his hand.

"No controversy at all. We ain't trying to take nothing from nobody," Nelly explained, "we just don't want nobody taking nothing from us. We got a lot of people trying to discredit us for the things we've done. '#1' is to let you know we did what we had to do - don't hate on us. We didn't step on nobody to get to where we're at."

Nelly will begin shooting the clip's video with director Steve Carr in Las Vegas on Monday. The "Training Day" soundtrack hits stores September 11, and the movie hits theaters September 21.

The "Training Day" soundtrack's track listing, according to Priority Records:

  • C-Murder and Trick Daddy - "Watch the Police"
  • Golden State Project - "Bounce With Golden State"
  • The LOX - "Dirty Ryders"
  • Snoop Dogg - "I Can't Take It"
  • Cypress Hill featuring Kokane - "Greed"
  • Tupac featuring the Outlawz - "Letters to the President"
  • Gang Starr - "The Squeeze"
  • Clipse featuring the Neptunes - "Guns N' Roses"
  • Krumbsnatcha featuring M.O.P. - "Wolves"
  • P. Diddy and David Bowie - "American Dream"
  • Napalm - "Crooked Cops"
  • Roscoe - "Training Day (In My Hood)"
  • Pharoahe Monch - "Fuó"
  • Dr. Dre - "Cops DR2"
  • Soldier B - "Protect Your Head"
  • W.C. - "Assault & Battery"
  • Nelly - "#1"

- Shaheem Reid, with additional reporting by Sway

Murray, Ludacris, LL Join Forces To Toast The 'Fatty Girl's

They finally have it right. After several changes to the beat for a collaboration between LL Cool J, Ludacris and Keith Murray, the song "Fatty Girl" is ready to roll.

You can blame Bill Cosby for the drama, Ludacris said. The original version of the song was produced by the Neptunes and sampled the elastic bassline from the theme to "Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids," but Cosby, who owns the rights, wasn't feelin' it.

"Bill Cosby, I love you like a brother, but I don't know why you didn't clear that record," an exasperated Cris said last Friday in Miami, the night before the song's video shoot. "Hip-hop is not dangerous. We ain't trying to degrade nobody. We're just speaking love, man."

The Neptunes remixed the song with a guitar-laden track, but FUBU's FB Entertainment, the company releasing the song, decided to go with a more bass-heavy beat submitted by the Trackmasters.

"Trackmasters laced it," said Ludacris, who'll also feature the cut on his November 6 release, Word of Mouf . "It's just as good right now."

At the video shoot on Saturday, with Miami sweltering in 100-degree heat, Murray was dressed in a waist-length black leather jacket and matching leather pants. Luckily, director Hype Williams was shooting indoors.

As Murray stood in front of a green screen at the Miami Broadcast Center, ready to let loose, he looked like a '60s wild child, his cornrows undone to form a crinkly afro. When his lyrics were played back - "Goodness, gracious, good God almighty" - Murray started his kinky onscreen antics, pulling out a motor oil bottle filled with baby oil and pouring it on a brown-skinned model lying across a Harley.

"Murray, rub it on her, but watch the face," Hype instructed, standing three feet away, looking at the shot through the camera.

"Ooh weee, Jesus, JoJo, K-Ci and Mary," the speakers blared out while Murray got his freak on and the now-shiny model pretended to be turned on. As soon as Hype yelled, "Cut," her look of ecstasy turned to horror as she wiped off with a towel.

"It feels real good to be back and to be accepted as part of this hip-hop thing," Murray said earlier that day. The rapper was recently released from prison after a three-year stint behind bars.

Looking at Murray's footage in a monitor, FUBU's four principals - Daymond John, Carl Brown, J. Alexander Martin, and Keith Perrin - nodded and smiled with approval.

Although the four of them came up with the concept for the song, according to John, "We let the professionals do the rapping, and we let Hype do the directing."

"'Fatty Girl' means the beauty of women," he explained.

"We all know the obvious [meaning]," added Brown, "but beyond that, we're talking about a girl that has a phat job, phat crib - she's just phat. She's holding it down. She's just doing her thing."

The guys, who have made millions with their FUBU clothing line, have expanded their company into FB Entertainment. They'll put out The Good Life compilation on September 25, featuring appearances by Nas, Nate Dogg, India.Arie, Dawn Robinson and Mr. Cheeks.

The foursome are also producers of "The Crow: Lazarus," which will star DMX. They say the barking rapper is the only one cast so far for the film, which is scheduled to begin shooting in February.

As Murray began a third set of takes, mouthing his verse while doing pushups, LL was in his trailer getting his dome shaved and his goatee trimmed, and Ludacris was arriving with his clique, Disturbing the Peace.

Shooting was interrupted when a member of the hired female eye candy had trouble dancing. Hype - who has been dubbed "Hypodermic" by those on the set - had her wearing high-heeled sandals that were two sizes too small. As she stepped away to change her top, which Hype had made her change twice already, Cris released the beast and began to lip-sync his part.

"Girl, you taste like a Cinnabon - so sweet, from the thighs to the feet. Sex on the beach," filled the soundstage as Cris crawled on the floor, rapping.

"Basically, all us, we just wildin' out," Cris said before he started shooting. "We're acting out everything we're saying in our rhymes. We're going to be acting a monkey."

- Shaheem Reid

August 26, 2001

Singer Aaliyah, 7 others die in plane crash

MARSH HARBOUR, Bahamas - R&B singer and actress Aaliyah died after a small plane that was to carry her and eight others back to the United States crashed after takeoff in the Bahamas, authorities said. Eight were killed in Saturday's crash, and one critically injured man was flown to Florida for treatment, officials said.

"We find it devastating and most unfortunate that after having this world-famous star Aaliyah and her crew select the Bahamas as their choice location for her latest video, the project has climaxed on such a tragic note," said Minister of Tourism Tommy Turnquest, who happened to be visiting Abaco Island, where the plane went down. Aaliyah, 22, was to begin shooting the video for "Rock The Boat" this month in Miami, according to her Web site. It was not clear whether she filmed that video while in the Bahamas.

Aaliyah's song "Try Again" earned her a Grammy nomination for best female R&B vocalist. She made her feature acting debut in the film "Romeo Must Die." She also had signed on to appear in two sequels to the high-tech thriller "The Matrix."

"She was like one of my daughters, she was one of the sweetest girls in the world," said Quincy Jones, 68, the Grammy-winning producer, arranger and composer. "She vacationed with me and my family together in Fiji. I loved her and respected her and I am absolutely devastated."

The private plane was leaving the Marsh Harbour airport on a trip to Opa-locka, Fla. when it went down Saturday evening, said police spokesman Marvin Dames. Marsh Harbour is located about 100 miles north of Nassau.

After the crash, the mangled twin-engine plane rested about 75 yards from the end of the runway in a marshy area. Workers carried away badly burned bodies and laid them nearby. Pieces of the plane were strewn about the crash site.

Abaco Island Chief Councilor Silbert Mills said those killed included two women and six men. He said he happened to be at the airport and saw the plane taxi out. The next thing he knew, the plane was on the ground. He said he helped rescue the injured.

"I pulled one from the aircraft, and he was screaming," Mills said. "He said he was in a lot of pain."

The cause of the crash was unclear. Kathleen Bergen, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration in Atlanta, said the plane was a Cessna 402 owned by Skystream, a company based in Pembroke Pines, Florida. She said the plane crashed at the end of the airport's runway at 6:50 p.m.

August 24, 2001

Carey To Discuss Breakdown With Barbara Walters

Pop diva Mariah Carey will sit down with ABC's Barbara Walters on 20/20 in her first public interview since being hospitalized in July after suffering a nervous breakdown.

 Reuters reports Carey, who suffered what her publicists said was an "emotional and physical breakdown", will tape an interview with Walters that is scheduled to air on Sept. 12

 A publicist for Carey said the Grammy-winning pop singer will openly discuss "the reasons behind her hospitalization" and the release of her new album, "Glitter", scheduled to hit store shelves the day before the 20/20 interview airs.

 The release of her album, and the movie by the same name, were delayed after the 31-year old singer entered a clinic for treatment back in July.

 The movie features Carey in her first starring role playing an aspiring young singer.

Michael Jackson's "You Rock My World" All Over The Net

Michael Jackson's "You Rock My World" was leaked to American radio last Friday and since then the net has become infiltrated with unauthorized downloads of the song.

Although Napster is now dead in the water, the new breed of file swapping programs such as Morpheus offer literally 100's of places to grab a preview of the first single from the first new Jackson album in 8 years.

The official release date for "You Rock My World" is yet to be announced by Sony, but Australian radio will be serviced the single at 10 past 8 Thursday August 30.

The song first appeared on American radio since last Friday. Copies of the version New York's WKTU put to air, complete with KTU ID's are readily available using file swapping clients such as Morpheus. KTU have since been issued with a court order to stop playing the song, but managed to play it 12 times before taking it off the air.

"You Rock My World" is getting good response from the American press with it's smooth R&B feel. While nothing innovative for Jackson, the song does stand up alongside most of his catalogue. Comedian Chris Tucker shares vocals in the opening monologue of the song. It starts with Tucker saying "Oh man look at that girl right there. Goodness gracious. That girl's fine man. Oh see's fine, she know she's fine. She's off the hook. You can't get that girl, Michael, I guarantee you can't get that girl" Then Michael respondes "Watch me get that girl."

Comments such as "I'd say this track is WAY below "Rock With You" and "Billie Jean", far below "Remember The Time", a bit below "Scream", slightly below par of "Baby Be Mine", or "Get On The Floor", and far above than "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" and "Heal The World" by one US critic are pretty close o the mark in describing the song.

The album will be released October 29 internationally.

August 23, 2001

Nate Dogg Receives Three Years Probation In Firearm Case

Rapper Nate Dogg plead no contest to possession of an unmarked firearm in Norwalk, Calif., Superior Court on Tuesday (Aug. 21) and was sentenced to three years probation and a $1000 fine, according to a spokesperson for the Los Angeles District Attorney's office.

The rapper -- real name Nathaniel Hale -- was originally arrested in June of last year when a SWAT team surrounded his home after he allegedly held his girlfriend at gunpoint at a house in Lakewood, Calif., assaulted her, threatened to burn her mother's house down, and later allegedly torched her mother's car. Several more serious charges were dropped in favor of the firearm charge after the rapper's girlfriend failed to cooperate with police.

Due to a 1996 drug conviction, Hale cannot legally possess a firearm of any kind. The gun in question was also ordered destroyed as part of Tuesday's sentencing.

-- Kevin Raub

Lauryn Ditched From Tour

Lauryn Hill has been removed from a South African concert tour.

Earlier this month she failed to appear at the New York date for the Black August tour.

Consequently, promoters in South Africa chose to remove Lauryn from their Johannesburg, Durban and Capetown gigs to prevent disappointment to the fans.

Organisers of the Black August tour in the US confirmed her withdrawal, saying she's almost six months pregnant and as a result touring is no longer possible in her condition.

Even though Lauryn's not going to be there, South African hip-hop folks will still get to see Talib Kweli, Common, Dead Prez, Black Thought and Jeru the Damaja.

August 22, 2001

Outkast, Nelly Earn Two Source Hip-Hop Music Awards

The mayhem, disorder and downright chaos at Monday's Source Awards - where Nelly and Outkast each picked up a pair of wins - were restricted to the production end of the show's six-hour taping at the Jackie Gleason Theater.

Unlike last year's violence-tarnished program, members of the hip-hop community mainly showed love and support for one another here. They knew the world would be watching to see if there would be any more assaults.

"We hope things go right, we hope everybody chills out," Outkast's Dre said as he entered the venue. The mood was chill backstage, too.

"Nobody wants to take it there," said Mobb Deep's Prodigy, who exclaimed "f--- Jay-Z!" after presenting the Artist of the Year/Group award to Outkast.

"It doesn't make any sense to mess up something that's ours," added his partner, Havoc.

Before the show, several MCs recognized rapper L.L. Cool J's importance and influence.

"I knew if I stayed hotter than him, I'd be good," said DMX. "I always compared myself to him."

If an artist can sell 7 million records and still be a dark horse, Nelly was it. The St. Louis rapper's Country Grammar bested records by Jay-Z, Outkast, Snoop Dogg, M.O.P. and heavy favorite Eminem in the Album of the Year category. Nelly was also deemed New Artist of the Year over Ludacris, Lil' Bow Wow, Trina and Shyne.

Outkast - who, like Eminem, had five nominations - were the night's other multiple winners, taking home the Artist of the Year/Group and Live Performer of the Year awards. Jay-Z won Artist of the Year/Solo, while Scarface was a surprise winner for Lyricist of the Year over Eminem, Jay-Z, Prodigy and Talib Kweli.

Other artists commented on the love movement sweeping through the hip-hop community.

"We took the responsibility in our own hands tonight," Busta Rhymes said after the show.

"The positive vibe here tonight was the highlight for me," said Treach. "It was truly beautiful."

The 2001 Source Awards winners:

Album of the Year
Nelly, Country Grammar

Artist of the Year/Solo

New Artist of the Year

Single of the Year
Ja Rule featuring Lil' Mo and Vita, "Put It on Me"

Artist of the Year/Group

Producer of the Year

R&B Artist of the Year
R. Kelly

Live Performer of the Year

Video of the Year
Eminem, "Stan"

Lyricist of the Year

- Shaheem Reid, with additional reporting by Sway Calloway

Music Sales Down 10% This Year

Music buyers kept a tighter hold on their purse strings in the first half of 2001, but for those who did hit the stores, full-length CDs accounted for even more purchases than they did last year, according to data released Monday by the Recording Industry Assn. of America.

Unit shipments of music in all formats tumbled nearly 10% in the first six months of the year compared with the same period a year ago, while their dollar value slipped by 4.4% to $5.9 billion, the RIAA said.

Accounting for part of that discrepancy was the relative strength of the industry's second highest-ticket item (behind DVDs), the CD album. CD unit shipments slipped by 5% -- half the overall figure -- and the format's share of the market on a unit basis rose to 90% from 86% year-over-year.

Continuing a long-running trend, cassette shipments continued their free fall, sliding 43% in the first half. Singles of all formats also took a dive, moving 38% fewer units in the latest interval.

RIAA chairman Hilary Rosen voiced the trade group's ongoing concerns about music downloaded over the Web and burned onto blank recordable CDs. She noted that an RIAA study found that half of respondents had culled music from the Net in the past month, and 70% of downloaders burned their tunes on a CD-R.

The RIAA's long-running war with Napster, the king of music-download services, resulted in an injunction against the service and a subsequent slump in Napster usage early this year, but other services, including Kazaa and AudioGalaxy, have sprung up in its wake.

The industry is readying two subscription-based services of its own for release in early September, intended to provide a legal alternative to free-music swapping. MusicNet is backed by AOL Time Warner, Bertelsmann, EMI and Zomba, while Pressplay has the support of Vivendi Universal and Sony.

Meanwhile, Rosen said the RIAA was ``confident that our year-end numbers will be strong,'' bolstered by what it expects will be major second-half releases from Mary J. Blige, Andrea Bocelli , Brandy, Macy Gray and Enrique Iglesias, among others

- By Justin Oppelaar

August 21, 2001

Eminem, Nelly Just The Latest Rappers To Strike Gold With Crew Cuts

Once a hip-hop artist achieves any semblance of success, expect to hear about it from his friends. More than simply brag about their platinum-selling homie, though, chances are they'll rap with him on their own album.

Within the last two months, collections from the Nelly-backed St. Lunatics and the Eminem-featured D12 have stormed into record stores. The Lunatics' Free City debuted on the Billboard 200 albums chart at #3 on June 13, while D12 earned the #1 slot with Devils Night two weeks later.

Many other hip-hop acts have turned the same trick, piggybacking a new act on the strength of a star, and with the success of St. Lunatics and D12, the trend shows no sign of slowing. Eminem and Nelly maintain that they just happened to blow up before their crews; both have said in countless interviews they and their crews had an understanding that whoever made it big first would return and bring the entire band up.

"In general, posse albums tend to be a lot weaker than the star's album," said Serena Kim, Vibe magazine's music editor. "It's usually about a posse of semitalented people versus a supremely talented star."

Many fans agree with Kim's evaluation. "I've been down with Eminem since he was underground, but the D12 album is garbage because they're all trying to be smart-alecks like Eminem instead of busting their own styles," said Byron Stancil, a 25-year-old hip-hop fan in Massachusetts. "Proof and the rest had their own little talents, but they're just trying to be carbon copies of Eminem, and I don't think it works."

Regardless of the talent level of groups such as D12 and St. Lunatics, there's a definite business benefit to launching acts via established stars.

"It's smart from a sales perspective," said Masta Ace, former member of the Juice Crew, an artists' collective that also included Marley Marl, Big Daddy Kane and Biz Markie, among others. In its prime, from the mid-'80s to the early '90s, the Juice Crew was one of the first hip-hop clans to create careers for each of its members.

"It's just that much easier to establish other artists when they can spin off of something that's already successful," Ace said. "It's a formula labels are chasing like crazy now. It's gotten to the point where labels won't sign an act unless they know who he's associated with. It has watered down the music."

It's sales that count in the end, however, and it's almost always easier to launch an act springboarding off of a Nelly "St. Lunatics' Ali Preps Solo Album" or an Eminem than it is to break an unknown act without an endorsement from an established rapper.

It "makes sense" to operate this way, according to Dave Weiner, senior vice president of urban music and distributed labels for JCOR Entertainment, whose roster includes 8Ball & MJG. "It's definitely a common way to launch careers. Pretty much everyone who's had gold or platinum success has done this. It makes sense to the people financing the project because it piggybacks on the marketing and promotion of their previous success."

And, said Vibe's Kim, "It helps to perpetuate the hype of the artist without the artist having to commit to a whole album. Plus, if the crew is on the star's label, the star makes money from royalties."

Music seems to be the only entertainment outlet in which friends regularly put friends in talent-driven positions. Michael Jordan's high-school buddy never suited up for the Chicago Bulls, and Michael J. Fox's childhood pal didn't trip "Back to the Future" with him.

But here is Nelly's crew repping St. Louis to the max, while Eminem's dirty dozen join him on his devils nights.  It's a practice Nas used to launch the Firm (a supergroup that included Foxy Brown, AZ and Nature) in 1997 and Busta Rhymes implemented to introduce his Flipmode Squad in 1998.

Some argue that, unlike in other media, these artists worked together to achieve success, with one of them achieving notoriety first.

"They all come up together," Weiner said. "I assume these guys were all in a crew in the independent-label world. You don't have that in basketball or television, which are monopolized by the majors. In the rap world, however, we've developed an independent opportunity for people to shine without the guidance, finance and help of the majors.

"The majors probably see that if Eminem and Nelly sell 8 or 9 million copies, they'll probably go platinum with a featured artist associated with one of those acts, and they can exploit that through the independent channel. If you're Michael Jordan's or Michael J. Fox's homeboy, there's no middle place to enter the industry."

Regardless of an artist's standing, quality material still has to be the end result.

"Hopefully, people take the time to make the project dope," said the producer Hi-Tek, whose musical friends and collaborators include Talib Kweli and Mos Def. "Nobody wants to go back to working for the post office or Taco Bell."

It's unlikely the St. Lunatics or D12 will be frying tacos any time soon. The Lunatics' Free City will be at #28 on next week's Billboard 200 albums chart, having sold 46,000 copies its 10th week in stores. While these sales are impressive, they don't have quite the commercial sparkle of Nelly's Country Grammar, which sold 38,000 copies the same week, after more than a year on the charts.

D12's Devils Night sold 372,000 copies its first week, far short of the 1.7 million sales rung up by Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP, but enough to easily top the albums chart. Two months later, it's still in the top 10, with sales of 90,000 copies last week.

Even if the D12 and St. Lunatics albums fail to generate as much excitement or sales as their mentors, rappers will certainly continue releasing offshoot projects. Dr. Dre, for one, has benefited from the success of his protégés, who range from Snoop Dogg to Eminem.

"There's more money in the rap game now, so it's more business-oriented," Hi-Tek said. "Everybody's trying to be an entrepreneur and take advantage of their whole situation while they can."

 -Soren Baker

C-Murder Turns Self In, Will Answer Attempted-Murder Charge

A day after a warrant was issued for his arrest, C-Murder turned himself in to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, police Friday morning (August 17) to answer charges of attempted murder and illegal use of a weapon.

C-Murder, hip-hop mogul Master P's brother, is accused of firing a gun outside of Club Raggs just before midnight on Tuesday after owner Norman Sparrow and doorman Daryl Jackson refused to let the rapper enter without first being searched.

Sparrow and Jackson, together with nine others who claimed C-Murder aimed his gun at them, filed a joint civil lawsuit Friday claiming the rapper caused them emotional distress. Joel Porter, one of the two lawyers representing the 11 complainants, was at the club during the incident.

Ken Fabre, Porter's co-counsel, said it is common knowledge in Baton Rouge that everyone is searched before entering Club Raggs.

C-Murder (born Corey Miller) allegedly fired at Sparrow, but the gun malfunctioned and later discharged into the floor. Baton Rouge police spokesperson Cpl. Don Kelly said the club has turned over videotape of the incident to authorities. Under Louisiana law, the footage will not be released to the public until the case is over.

The rapper's bail is expected to be set Monday.

Priority/No Limit, C-Murder's record label, which is named in the civil suit, released a statement Friday saying, "Mr. Miller is confident in the legal process and is cooperating with authorities to aid in the resolution of this matter." The label had no other comment.

- Corey Moss, with additional reporting by Jennifer Vineyard

August 17, 2001

Dupri Has Instructions For Those Who Think Ice Age Is Over

After working as a producer, songwriter, label CEO, rapper and a backup dancer for Whodini, Jermaine Dupri will tell you in a heartbeat that he deserves his prosperous life.

So on his new album, Instructions, due this fall, he's not going to be apologetic about building up his riches or about what he does with his greenbacks.

"I just kind of took off where 'Money Ain't a Thang' left off," he explained. "It's picking up from that era, at a time when everybody thinks 'Bling Bling' is over."

Well, if talking about ice and girls isn't en vogue, JD is in his own little time warp. Instructions features songs on which Dupri brags about his "money, hos and power." He does more than 100 miles per hour in his Bentley, engages in freaky lovemaking with models and, if tested, he'll smack you in the face with one of his wads of cash.

"I named it Instructions because there are people that are curious, furious and don't understand how I keep coming back with hit records over and over again," he said. "Instructions is a record where people will run to see if it has the ingredients in there to tell them how I continue to keep doing what I'm doing."

To help cook up his playafied stew, he called on a host of friends - just as he did on his solo debut, Jermaine Dupri Presents: Life in 1472 - but he insists on not being a guest on his own project.

"It's not a compilation. I'm on every song," he said. "It's more me than it was on the last record. I [also] wanted to make sure that I created and came up with a new list of stars and artists."

Among the newjacks JD recruited are the Field Mob, R. Kelly's protégés Boo and Gotti, and some of his own So So Def rappers. Meanwhile established acts such as Jagged Edge, U.G.K., Da Brat and Nate Dogg also appear on the album.

Dupri uses current lyrical champion Jadakiss and up-and-coming wordsmith Freeway on the first single, "Hate Blood."

"It's basically about people hatin' and not knowing it's a contagious disease," Dupri said. "The disease to hate stuff that's good and to be saying stuff is bad for no reason. A lot of people don't even pay attention to the fact that they're doing it. You ever just watch a video with somebody and they gotta find something wrong with the video? They just can't sit and watch the video and say, 'Oh, it's hot,' knowing it's a hot video."

Dupri is hoping the song's clip, which was shot last week in Los Angeles, won't get any jeers. Last month he disclosed that he'll be taking a cue from a certain rock group when making the video.

"Tool, I'm sorry," he said, "but I'm definitely inspired by [the video for 'Schism,'] and you will see something in there that reminds y'all of your video."

Dupri said his video won't be as far out as Tool's but will definitely be profound.

"I'm 'a go inside the vein," he said. "Something like that Tool video but on the rap side. Something stimulating to make you say, 'God, what the hell is this?' It's about hate in your blood, and I feel people got people inside of their veins like the devil, and that's what you gonna see."

He also said people will see Lil' Bow Wow's second album before the end of the year.

"His new album is coming out around Thanksgiving. It's called Doggy Bag. I'm trying to sell 500,000 with Bow his first week. We haven't finished it yet - we just started working on it."

- Shaheem Reid, with additional reporting by Jermaine Linton

C-Murder Wanted For Attempted Murder

No Limit rapper allegedly shot at two nightclub employees in Louisiana.

Police issued an arrest warrant for C-Murder on Wednesday after the rapper allegedly shot at two nightclub employees in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

C-Murder, Master P's brother, is wanted on two counts of attempted first-degree murder and one count of illegal use of a weapon, Baton Rouge Police spokesperson Col. Maryann Godawa said Thursday (August 16). Police said the No Limit rapper, whose real name is Corey Miller, fired at the owner of Club Raggs just before midnight on Tuesday, after the owner and the doorman refused to let C-Murder enter without searching him. The gun malfunctioned on the first shot, but Miller fixed it and fired into the floor, according to an account given by Godawa. After a third shot malfunctioned, she said, he fled in his sport utility vehicle.

C-Murder is also wanted on counts of aggravated burglary and aggravated assault with a firearm for an unrelated incident in which police say the rapper forced his way inside a Baton Rouge home on June 14 and held a person at gunpoint. He was allegedly searching for a man he fought with earlier that day.

Police did not have the victim's names in either incident. Calls to Club Raggs were not returned, and a spokesperson for C-Murder at No Limit/Priority had no comment.

C-Murder recently recorded a remake of N.W.A's "F--- Tha Police" with Trick Daddy called "Watch the Police". The song is featured on the upcoming soundtrack to "Training Day."

CP3.com, the rapper's fourth solo album, is due October 23, the label spokesperson said.

- Corey Moss

August 16, 2001

Lil' Bow Wow, Jagged Edge, Jermaine Dupri Play Hardball

Young stars Lil' Bow Wow, Lil' Wayne, Lil' Zane and Sammie play a lil' "Hardball" on a new song, the lead single from the Jermaine Dupri-produced soundtrack to the movie of the same name.

The four shot a video for the tune in Los Angeles earlier this month. The clip will include footage from the movie, in which a chronic gambler played by Keanu Reeves pays off a debt by becoming a little league baseball coach in a Chicago housing project. The film comes out September 14.

The "Hardball" soundtrack also features new material or remixes from Jagged Edge, Big Tymers and new neo-soul singer Fundisha, as well as previously-released music from Notorious B.I.G. and R. Kelly. The soundtrack is set for a September 11 release.

Hardball track list, according to Sony Music:
  • Fundisha - "Intro (Live the Life)"
  • Lil' Bow Wow, Lil' Wayne, Lil' Zane and Sammie - "Hardball"
  • Big Tymers - "You Can't Break Me"
  • Jagged Edge - "Where the Party At (11-01-01 Remix)"
  • Fundisha - "Insomnia"
  • Notorious B.I.G. - "Big Poppa"
  • R.L. featuring Jermaine Dupri - "Ghetto"
  • R. Kelly - "The Storm Is Over Now"
  • Da Brat - "Ball Game"
  • Mobb Deep - "Play"
  • R.O.C. - "Who Ya Love"
  • Xscape - "Rest of My Life"

- By Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen

D12 Dropped from Warped Tour After Dropkickin' Rivals Backstage

Violence will get you nowhere but off the Vans Warped Tour, just ask Eminem's latest ensemble. After a whopping three-day jaunt with the tour, D12 have been dropped from the lineup.

Already an odd fit in the predominantly punk roster, the rap entourage couldn't find friends in fellow rappers Natas while traveling with the big summer fest. Did we mention both are from Detroit? Apparently, any hip hop or hometown bonding couldn't help the growing tension between the two acts, which resulted in a fierce brawl that reportedly left emcee Esham (of Natas) suffering from a broken nose, a concussion, a busted eyeball and even hearing damage. Ouch.

The incident, which erupted at the Camden, New Jersey stop of the Warped Tour on Fri (8/3), reportedly saw 40 members of D12's group pile out of a tour bus to bombard Esham and Natas partner T.N.T. With Eminem absent from the event, both D12 and Natas have been booted from the tour commonly characterized for its friendly, down-to-earth atmosphere and artist camaraderie.

D12 spokesperson Dennis Dennehy confirmed there was an intense physical altercation in a statement issued to the Associated Press. “On Friday, Aug. 3, an incident occurred backstage at the Warped Tour, spurred by D12's concern for the safety of their guests,” he said.

Meanwhile, an investigation by local authorities is in the works and the rest of Warped has gone back to its policy of peace, love and punk.

August 15, 2001

Timbaland's Sick Of Making Hit Songs

Timbaland is like an athlete who took his franchise team from lottery-pick status to a dynasty. After helping everyone from Nas to Nelly Furtado stay on people's lips when they make requests to a DJ, Timbaland is bored. He needs new challenges and wants to start from scratch.

"I'm tired of making hit songs," lamented Tim, who said he's the coach "Phil Jackson" of the studio. "I done made 20 #1 hit records. That's old to me. Let somebody else go and do it. I gotta make records that mean something."

With the exception of a few of his friends like Ludacris and Jay-Z, and a few prior obligations like "Take a Look Around" and "Re-Arranged" for a Limp Bizkit remix album ("When they hear them, they'll be like 'Uh oh, he can be a part of our band,' " he said), Tim said he's laying off working with the big names. He wants to introduce the new acts on his own label, Beat Club.

"I'm really focusing on what I gotta do," the Virginia native said. "I'm tired of making money for other labels. I need to make money for my label."

Tim said he's already finished the albums by his first two artists, rappers Bubba Sparxxx - who'll invade video outlets any day now, racing tractor trailers and wrestling hogs in his clip for "Ugly" - and Jade, who Tim said will have Furtado on her second single. With his brother Sebastian (the author of many of Timbaland's rhymes) "two songs away" from being done with his debut and singers Storm and Shelby - whom he describes as "Timbaland meets LeAnn Rimes" - waiting in the wings, Tim feels he's building another dynasty.

"I don't mess with artists that are just artists, I mess with superstars," he boldly declared. "That's how Timbaland got his name, because he broke people. That's why I stopped doing a lot of acts."

And although he didn't stop working with them altogether, Tim's presence was noticeably lessened on the latest LPs by his Superfriend clique members Aaliyah and Ginuwine.

"Let me clear that up," he said. "A lot of people say we kinda separated. That's not the truth. The reason I wasn't on these albums like Aaliyah and Ginuwine is because at one point in time, all of us was trying to come out at the same time. I'm one man. I can't do it all.

"I was working with [fellow Superfriend member] Missy Elliott, I had to do her whole album. I was working with Ginuwine but he had some other producers he wanted to work with. And the timing, Sony wanted to rush and put it out. Aaliyah was in Australia filming a movie so I couldn't go to Australia. A lot of my focus was on Beat Club. I try to give those artists, which is my family, hits. But if I give them all away, I can't concentrate on myself."

One project that isn't Timbaland's focal point is his latest album with Magoo, Indecent Proposal. He said that although he'll still support it when it drops, the delays in the album's release have taken away his enthusiasm.

"[The album's being released] on Blackground through Virgin, so that's on them," Tim said nonchalantly. "It's been done for like a year. It's hot. We gotta shoot the right video. Magoo is ready. I got Petey Pablo on four records. I got Twista, Jay-Z, I got Beck [on what] might be a bonus track. The album is crazy but it's been so long, it don't hit me like my new stuff."

A spokesperson at Blackground said the LP is now going to be released in October or November and has no idea what the holdup is.

Aside from his Interscope imprint, another project that tickles Timbaland pink when he thinks of it is his work on the new No Doubt album.

"Gwen [Stefani] is so adorable," he said, laughing to himself. "I talk to her like a real person, not as no industry cat. She needs Phil Jackson sometimes too. Her rhythm is different from my rhythm, so she'll be like 'I'mma go in there Tim and get the rhythm that you talk about.' The whole band is crazy."

Like he does so often, Tim said he switched gears with his production on No Doubt, the Beat Club projects and on the work he did on upcoming albums by Ludacris, Petey Pablo and Jay-Z.

"I feel like I'm back to the drawing board," he said. "My beats is gonna have more of a grind on them."

He's hoping to mesh that grind with the banging thrash of heavy metal one day.

["I would like to work with] Metallica," he said. "I'mma reach out to Metallica and to Trent Reznor. I'm on a whole different vibe. I have to take that world and mix in what I do in R&B and freak it."

- -Shaheem Reid

Mariah Carey Hasn't Shot New Video, But One's Coming Anyway

Video for next single, 'Never Too Far,' assembled using footage from Carey's movie, 'Glitter.'

Mariah Carey hasn't been in any shape to shoot a video recently, but there's a new one coming anyway.

A video assembled using footage from Carey's movie, "Glitter," will accompany "Never Too Far," the second single from her upcoming Glitter album, according to a spokesperson for Virgin Records.

Carey is recovering from what her spokesperson said was "a physical and emotional breakdown" that left her hospitalized in a psychiatric clinic for two weeks and caused her to cancel all public appearances. Last week, release dates for her movie and album were pushed back to September 

Carey is "doing great," spokesperson Cindi Berger said Monday (August 13). She again declined to predict when the singer might be able to return to work, however.

The "Never Too Far" video will include footage of Carey's character in the movie performing the single onstage, according to Virgin. Carey plays a troubled singer in early '80s New York.

"Never Too Far," an adult-contemporary, slow-jam love song that boasts an emotive performance from Carey, bears little resemblance to the first single from Glitter, the sample-fueled dance track "Loverboy."

"Too painful to talk about it, so I hold it in/ So my heart can mend and be brave enough to love again," Carey sings on "Never Too Far" over a bed of synthesized strings, gentle drums and Spanish-style guitar.

Virgin has already released the "Never Too Far" video, and has begun promoting the single, according to a label spokesperson. There are no plans yet for a commercial release of the single, the spokesperson said.

- Brian Hiatt

August 14, 2001

Jermaine Joins the Party

Just call Jermaine's name, and he'll be there. Eventually.

It took a little more arm-twisting than getting, say, Tito or Marlon to show up. But after threatening to sit out over high ticket prices, Jermaine Jackson has apparently changed his mind and will join brother Michael for his much-hyped 30th anniversary bash next month.

Jermaine (in typical middle-sibling fashion) initially threatened to be the lone holdout in the first Jackson 5 reunion in nearly two decades, complaining that "the exorbitant ticket prices being charged by promoters will prevent some of our most loyal fans from attending." The King of Pop's star-studded Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Celebration, the Solo Years is set for September 7 and 10 at Madison Square Garden, and in addition to the Jackson reunion, will feature appearances from Destiny's Child, 'N Sync, Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott, Ray Charles, Jill Scott, Luther Vandross and Britney Spears, among others.

No reason was given for Jermaine's change of heart, but promoters were pleased to hear he's now showing up.

"Jermaine was always an integral part of the Jackson 5," producer David Gest said in a statement. "I am delighted he has signed his contract and will be joining his brothers: Michael, Jackie, Marlon, Tito and Randy for these very special evenings. Michael is extremely happy that all his brothers...will be involved in these milestone events."

With ticket prices topping out at $2,500 a pop, Jermaine originally released a statement questioning the prices and asking why the money wasn't going to charity. He also claimed to be speaking on behalf of younger brother Randy, but the other brothers denied Randy ever planned to ditch Michael's party.

Despite the disagreements, Jermaine insisted that "the Jackson family is united in their unfailing support of brother Michael and there is no rift between Michael and any of his family members."

With Jermaine now in line, the two shows will mark the first time all six brothers have performed together since 1984's Victory Tour. The concerts, which will also mark Michael's first U.S. live shows in 11 years, will be taped as a two-hour special for CBS airing next season.

- Mark Armstrong

Junior M.A.F.I.A. Members Charged With Attempted Murder

Junior M.A.F.I.A. members Lil' Cease and Larceny, along with a bodyguard, have been charged with attempted murder following a shooting outside a New York deli on Friday (Aug. 10), according to a spokesperson for the King's County District Attorney's office.

Lil' Cease (real name James Lloyd) and Larceny (real name Antoine Spain) were arrested at La Guardia Airport in Queens, N.Y., following the arrest of Suif Jackson, a bodyguard for the group. Jackson was seen exiting a Lincoln Navigator that was spotted at a shooting early Friday morning outside a Brooklyn, N.Y., deli, according to witnesses. The vehicle was registered to Junior M.A.F.I.A. member Lil' Kim.

The shooting victim, Michael Goody, was wounded in his right leg and taken to Brooklyn Hospital where he remains in stable condition. Goody was allegedly arguing in the deli with Spain, Lloyd, and Jackson prior to the shooting. Shortly afterward, the three men allegedly fired off several shots and sped off.

All three men were charged with attempted murder, assault, criminal possession of a weapon (two 9 mm handguns were found in the vehicle), and attempted criminal possession of a weapon. The trio will next appear in Brooklyn Criminal Court on Aug. 29 to face the charges.

The incident could re-open Lloyd's recent possession of marijuana charges in Manhattan , which had been adjourned with contemplation of dismissal if the rapper stayed out of trouble. Spain, who was arrested at the same incident and charged with possession of a weapon in the second and third degree, is due in Manhattan Criminal Court on Aug. 21 to continue facing those charges.

- Kevin Raub

August 13, 2001

Eminem Turns Up On Jay-Z's Blueprint

Roc-A-Fella Records CEO Damon Dash put just a little more of a pimp stroll than usual in his confident swagger as he walked into the penthouse of Manhattan's Hotel Giraffe Thursday night. Dash was about to show a handful of invited guests his trump card - the new Jay-Z album, The Blueprint, which features appearances by Eminem and, apparently, Michael Jackson.

"I don't want to say we're the backbone of hip-hop, because that may sound arrogant, but it is what it is," Dash said before playing seven songs from the LP, which comes out September 18 and features the single "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)".

"Y'all can't f--- with Jay, what type of ex y'all on?" Jigga asks on the first track, an intense barrage of metaphors and punchlines called "The Ruler's Back." Staking claim to the title of "king of hip-hop" on the cut, Jay's letting everybody know that although he's reaped the benefits of reigning supreme in the rap world, he's still "representin' for the seat where Rosa Parks sat."

Speaking of the Ruler, Slick Rick, who earned that title in the '80s with his superb wordplay, helps Jay out on the hook on "Girls, Girls, Girls," as do Q-Tip and Biz Markie. The Diabolical B.I.Z. beatboxes, while Ricky Dee and Tip sing, "Girls, girls, girls, girls/ Girls I do adoorrrrre." Meanwhile, Jay humorously describes the women he has in his stable, including a "young chick" who complains about him not buying her Reeboks and a "project chick" who hides his guns for him.

Things turn more serious as Jay Hova teams up with none other than Eminem for "The Renegades." Eminem, who also produced the track, provides a dementedly savory piano-chord backdrop while he and Hov release some stress. "Do you listen to music or just skip through it?" Jay asks critics who call his tunes one-dimensional. He then blasts the government, saying that he was "influenced by the ghetto you ruined." Slim Shady, who likens himself to a "modern day Shakespeare," tells everyone (this is a shocker) that he's "never been afraid to say what's on his mind."

On the soulful "Song Cry," Jay says, "I can't see it coming down my eyes so I gotta make the song cry." Like "Soon You'll Understand" on his last LP, Jay raps about losing a true love because of his unwillingness to settle down. He tells the "good girl turned bad" it's a struggle to "live with the fact I did you wrong, forever."

Dash said that the Timbaland-produced "Hola O Vito" will be the third single - "Girls, Girls, Girls" will be the second. On the club knocker, Timbo uses a buzzer-sounding bassline and Jigga boldly proclaims to be "Michael, Magic and Bird rolled up in one." He goes on to say that "If I'm not better than Big, I'm the closest one."

One track that Dash didn't play is Jay's duet with Michael Jackson. He did, however, confirm that M.J. is supposed to be on The Blueprint and that Jay-Z will be on Michael Jackson's upcoming album. Dash also said that Jay has worked on a dis record to address all the MCs who have been coming at him, and that the song is so harsh that the careers of Jay's foes won't be able to be rehabilitated.

Jay probably won't be lashing out at DMX. Dash admitted that there was speculation as to whether X was aiming at Jay in a recent song, but he says the two are friends, they talked and that is not the case - it's all gravy.

"It was never going to be a beef," he said of the friction between his artist Beanie Sigel and Jadakiss, noting that Roc-A-Fella and the Ruff Ryders have had a good relationship over the past few years. He did say that Russell Simmons wanted to act as a mediator between the two MCs, but things were squashed before "the Godfather of rap" needed to get involved .

The Blueprint marks the end of Roc-A-Fella's contractual partnership with Def Jam. Dash said they are going through renegotiations but are contemplating selling off half of their company to other parties. The exec also said that he and Jay could start up a whole new enterprise elsewhere.

This uncertainty hasn't stopped Dash from trying to sign a few artists, both new and established. He wouldn't mention any names except Brownsville, Brooklyn, headbangers M.O.P.

- Shaheem Reid

DMX Determined To Be Top Dog With The Great Depression

The inspiration behind the title of DMX's upcoming The Great Depression is plain and simple: The author of "Stop Being Greedy" has been telling the people who work with him that after his LP drops on September 25, all the other rappers are going to starve.

"You thought I'd let you have this sh--?," he screams on the album intro, "Sometimes." "You thought this rap sh-- was yours? You muthaf---ers done lost your mind!"

He calms down just a little to give a shout out to all of his friends and family who have been influential in his life on "School Street," named after the block he grew up on in a Yonkers, New York, project building.

Perhaps the person who most touched his life, his grandmother, is remembered on "I Miss You," featuring Faith Evans. The first song he recorded for the album is produced by newcomer Kid Kold, and finds X asking his grandmother, "Why couldn't I come when he came to get you?" Then he says he would do anything to have one more hug. DMX also recollects some childhood events, like his grandmother teaching him about religion, and speaks to her in heaven about how every member of the family is doing since she's been gone. On the chorus, Evans sings what X remembers his grandmother used to say to him: "Baby it's gon' be OK."

The mood shifts about 180 degrees on "When I'm Nothin." Here, the Dog flips Stephanie Mills' '80s hit "What Cha Gonna Do With My Lovin' " to help him talk about fake friends and admirers who might not be behind him in times of need. Despite the subject matter, the song still gets the party going.

According to a source close to X, Mills was so much in love with how X - who co-produced the song with Dame Grease - used the sample, she requested to sing on the track. She retools her old lyrics to "What you gonna do when I'm nothing?/ You're crazy about my style/ What you gonna do when I'm nothing/ Please don't have me acting wild/ Tell me now!" X later chimes in with ad-libs, yelling "What! What!" while Mills barks back "Tell Me!"

"We Right Here" is a more conventional rugged X street anthem, where he puts everyone on notice that he wants a diamond award with his new album.

Dark Man, who spent some of his childhood in Baltimore, recently went there to shoot the video for the song, which replaced the even rougher, and less danceable, "Who We Be" as the first single.

The rapper decided go with "We Right Here" after driving around to various neighborhoods, playing the album, and asking people which song they thought should be the leadoff single, according to the source close to X. He is planning to follow the same procedure for the second single, for which he plans to shoot a video in a couple of weeks.

"Trina Moe" is a spastic-paced, synthesizer-heavy DMX tangent. Here, as he often does, X uses his intense growl to get his point across, saying that it's his "fourth album and still he'll still get in that ass!" He also encourages (OK, he downright threatens) rappers to stop bragging about ice and help out the 'hood. "Trina Moe" has a dual meaning - it's a dance he does and it's also the name of one of his friends.

The third installment of the "Damien" song series appears on The Great Depression, and, as on all his albums, X takes time out to speak to the Lord on "Prayer IV." His main collaborator from the last LP, Swizz Beatz, only put in work on two songs; this time around X chose to go with a more diverse attack of menacing beat makers - Grease, PK, Kold and newcomer Black Key.

Just Blaze provides the track for the guitar-laden "I'ma Bang." Basically a rock song, X sprays a ferocious freestyle at "ni--as who ain't got the balls to say to his face what they think behind his back." Kold also incorporates live rock guitars and drums on "Bloodline Anthem," where X's lyrics reiterate what he's trying to get out on this album: He's going straight back to the top.

"Told you, 'go ahead drop a few albums, I'll do a movie/ But when I come back dog, respect my slot!' "

Track list for The Great Depression, according to Def Jam:
  • "Sometimes"
  • "School Street"
  • "Who We Be"
  • "Trina Moe"
  • "We Right Here"
  • "Bloodline Anthem"
  • "Shorty Was Da Bomb"
  • "Damien III"
  • "When I'm Nothing" featuring Stephanie Mills
  • "I Miss You" featuring Faith Evans
  • "Number 11"
  • "I'ma Bang"
  • "You Could Be Blind"
  • "The Prayer IV"
  • "A Minute for Your Son"

    Bonus tracks:
  • "Problem Child" featuring Mysonne and Drag-On
  • "Sh--s Still Real" featuring Mic Geronimo and Big Stan

- By Shaheem Reid

August 3, 2001

Mariah Carey Had 'Breakdown,' Her Publicist Says

Pop singer, hospitalized for a week, is undergoing psychiatric care.

The "extreme exhaustion" that led to Mariah Carey's hospitalization last week was actually "an emotional and physical breakdown," her publicist said Wednesday (August 1).

Carey was in the midst of promoting her new album, Glitter, and the movie of the same name when she checked herself into a hospital last Wednesday night. She is undergoing psychiatric care, publicist Cindi Berger said.

A press release sent out last week by Berger's company, PMK, suggested that the pace of filming two movies and making an album caused Carey to become exhausted. Before her breakdown, Carey broke some glasses and dishes in a hotel room, and "may have cut her foot" unintentionally, according to Berger. She declined to speculate on when Carey might be released. "I'm trying to understand things in life right now and so I really don't feel that I should be doing music right now," Carey said in a despondent voice message left on her official Web site before she checked into the hospital.

Glitter, Carey's first album for Virgin Records, is due in stores August 21, while the movie is scheduled for August 31 release.

Carey has canceled all public appearances, including a planned headlining performance Wednesday night at MTV's "MTV20: Live and Almost Legal."

While juggling a video shoot, a recording session and a whirlwind publicity schedule in May, Carey told MTV News that the non-stop pace was getting to her.

"I'm honestly really, really delirious and stressed out and overworked and doing too much," she said. "I haven't slept in like two weeks and that's an important detail for you to know."

If she hadn't been so busy, Carey said, she'd be "crying on the floor."

"It's an insane time in my life. It's crazy," she said. "Everything is going on like really fast. Everyone from my manager to everybody that's with me, we're all a bunch of freaks right now because we're trying really hard to make this deadline and just really get everything together."

Carey added, however, that she was excited about her future as an actress and as a singer with a new label.

"Everything that I'm doing is a crazy bunch of stuff going on," she said. "But it's also an amazing time in my life because it's a fresh new happy situation."

Lil' Bow Wow, O-Town To Kick Off U.S. Open

Pint-size MC, TV-turned-pop stars to perform at sixth annual Arthur Ashe Kids' Day August 25. Lil' Bow Wow and O-Town are preparing to appear before the court ... the tennis court, that is.

The pint-size MC and the TV-turned-pop stars will serve up selections from their latest albums - Beware of Dog and O-Town, respectively - at the sixth annual Arthur Ashe Kids' Day on August 25, according to an event publicist. Held at the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing, New York, the affair marks the start of the U.S. Open, which runs from August 27 to September 9.

Arthur Ashe Kids' Day performers of the past include Hanson, Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, 98° and Jessica Simpson.

CBS News' Mark McEwan will co-host Arthur Ashe Kids' Day, which will be broadcast on the network August 26, from noon to 1:30 p.m. (ET).

The event is named for '70s tennis great Arthur Ashe, who died of AIDS-related pneumonia in 1993 at age 49. Proceeds will benefit the USA Tennis NJTL (National Junior Tennis League), a program Ashe founded in 1969 to provide tennis opportunities to economically disadvantaged children.

Besides the music, Kids' Day will also feature tennis clinics and interactive games.

MTVi's parent company, Viacom, also owns CBS.

August 2, 2001

MC Hammer To Return With Autobiography

Rapper hopes new album, DVD and world tour will drive comeback. With his eighth album due in November on his own label, MC Hammer is still too legit to quit.

And the return of MC in his name is a sign of things to come for the artist otherwise known as Hammer. "This is classic MC Hammer hip-hop," promised a publicist at the artist's WorldHit Music Group label, a division of Hammertime Holdings Inc.

The Autobiography of MC Hammer, the rapper's first album under that name since 1990's breakthrough Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em, will feature a slew of guest performers from his label, including Pleasure, the Stooge Players, Analise, James Greer and Chuck Get Down.

Each of those artists will put out an album on WorldHit this year or next.

"I have been able to meet and work with artists who are not generally known in the music business," Hammer said in a statement. "I intend to put them on the charts."

Diverging from commercial rap to a hard street style and later to a more spiritual approach, MC Hammer hasn't been on the charts since the early '90s, when he scored huge with singles such as "U Can't Touch This" and "Pray." He hopes this new project and a few others slated for fall will help him make a comeback.

Among these efforts are an introspective DVD, to be released around the time of the album. It will include new videos, profiles of Hammer and other WorldHit artists, and dance instructions. It will also include a profile on Hammertime Holdings.

The WorldHit publicist said Hammer will promote the record with a world tour in the fall.

- Corey Moss

Run-DMC, Tone Loc, Other Old-School Hip-Hoppers Hitting Road

Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock, Sir Mix-A-Lot, 2 Live Crew also among early rappers rhyming still. Nostalgia tours don't always have to feature Ringo Starr or hair bands.

More than 20 years after "Rapper's Delight" broke through to radio, hip-hop has its own legends - and nothing befits a legend more than a comeback trek.

A healthy number of the rappers who first brought the genre to radio and video are still touring the country and releasing new music. Here's a rundown of who's doing what and why you should know.

(Tour dates are according to various booking agencies, artists' management and venues.)

Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock
Breakthrough single: "It Takes Two" (1988)
Catchphrase: "Don't cheer me, just hear me out, 'cause I got the clout - shout!"
Famous fashion accessory: Big gold chains, lots of 'em.
Forgettable moment: Cover of Edwin Starr's "War."
Most recent record: Break of Dawn (1994)
Current projects: Unknown.
Tour dates: 10/16 - Las Vegas, NV @ Center Stage

Breakthrough single: "Walk This Way" (1986)
Catchphrase: "You be illin'."
Famous fashion accessory: Unlaced Adidas.
Forgettable moment: "Ghostbusters" from the "Ghostbusters 2" soundtrack album.
Most recent record: Crown Royal (2001)
Current projects: Promoting new album with worldwide tour; Daryl McDaniels (DMC) will release his solo album in the fall.
Tour dates:

  • 8/1 - New York, NY @ Hammerstein Ballroom (MTV's 20th anniversary)
  • 8/2 - Budapest, Hungary
  • 8/3 - Budapest, Hungary
  • 8/9 - Boston, MA
  • 8/15 - Cleveland, OH
  • 8/18 - Philadelphia, PA
  • 8/19 - Omaha, NE
  • 8/22 - Columbia, SC
  • 8/24 - Reading, UK @ Reading Festival
  • 8/25 - Leeds, UK @ Leeds Festival
  • 9/15 - Denver, CO
  • 10/13 - Louisville, KT
  • 10/27 - Los Angeles, CA @ Greek Theatre (breast cancer benefit)
  • 11/1 - Las Vegas, NV
  • 11/17 - Atlanta, GA

    Sir Mix-A-Lot
    Breakthrough single: "Baby Got Back" (1992)
    Catchphrase: "Look at that butt. It is sooo big."
    Famous fashion accessory: Long fur coats.
    Forgettable moment: Producing Rebecca from "The Real World - Seattle."
    Most recent records: Beepers, Benzos and Booty: The Best of Sir Mix-A-Lot (2000) and Return of the Bumpasaurus (1998)
    Current projects: Playing occasional shows with members of the Presidents (formerly the Presidents of the United States of America) under the name "Subset"; recording a new album.
    Tour dates:

  • 8/18 - Crow Agency, MT @ Crow Indian Reservation
  • 9/1 - Seattle, WA @ Naft Studios
  • 9/2 - Portland, OR @ Waterfront Park (KKRZ radio festival)
  • 9/3 - Springfield, OR @ Island Park
  • 9/14 - Las Vegas, NV @ Center Stage
  • 9/15 - Compton, CA @ Crystal Casino
  • 9/20- Stillwater, OK @ Tumbleweeds
  • 9/22 - Houston, TX @ Fitzgerald's
  • 9/26 - Fort Walton Beach, FL @ The Swamp
  • 9/27 - Pensacola, FL @ Big Daddy's
  • 9/28 - Tampa, FL @ Empire
  • 9/29 - Tallahassee, FL @ Cow Haus
  • 10/3 - Cincinnati, OH @ Elektra
  • 10/4 - Pittsburgh, PA @ Banana Joe's
  • 10/6 - Youngstown, OH @ Varsity Club
  • 10/9 - Grand Rapids, MI @ Grotto
  • 10/10 - Davenport, IA @ Stars & Stripes
  • 10/11 - St. Louis, MO @ In Cahoots
  • 10/12 - Columbia, MO @ Jesse Auditorium
  • 10/13 - Omaha, NE @ Music Box
  • 10/14 - Minneapolis, MN @ Quest

    Sugar Hill Gang
    Breakthrough single: "Rapper's Delight" (1979)
    Catchphrase: "A hip-hop, the hi-be, to the hi-be, the hip-hip-hop, you don't stop rockin'."
    Famous fashion accessory: Shiny jump suits.
    Forgettable moment: "Kids' Rapper's Delight," a sing-along version of their hit, and just about everything else on their kids album (see below).
    Most recent record: Jump On It! (1999)
    Current projects: Unknown.
    Tour dates:

  • 8/11 - Fresno, CA @ Big Fresno Fairgrounds

    2 Live Crew
    Breakthrough single: "Me So Horny" (1989)
    Catchphrase: "Banned in the U.S.A."
    Famous fashion accessory: Thongs (see cover of As Nasty as They Wanna Be)
    Forgettable moment: "Bill So Horny," a topical remake with new lyrics about Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky.
    Most recent record: Private Personal Parts (2000)
    Current projects: Raising hell in a town near you.
    Tour dates:

  • 8/4 - Omaha, NE @ Music Box
  • 8/6 - Vail, CO @ 8150 Club
  • 8/7 - Breckenridge, CO @ Sherpa & Yeti's
  • 8/9 - West Hollywood, CA @ The Arena
  • 8/10 - Tucson, AZ @ The Rock
  • 8/16 - Scottsdale, AZ @ Cajun House
  • 8/17 - Santa Ana, CA @ Galaxy Theatre
  • 8/24 - Bend, OR @ Club 97
  • 8/28 - Spokane, WA @ Double Dribble
  • 9/7 - Starkville, MS @ Remington's Hunt Club
  • 9/8 - Pensacola, FL @ Big Daddy's
  • 9/14 - Athens, GA @ Athens Music Factory

    Tone Loc
    Breakthrough single: "Wild Thing" (1988)
    Catchphrase: "I need $50 to make you holler."
    Famous fashion accessory: None.
    Forgettable moment: "Hit the Coast" from the "Surf Ninjas" soundtrack album.
    Most recent record: Cool Hand Loc (1991)
    Current projects: Recording first album in a decade, new single set for fall release; starring in new John Stamos TV show, "Thieves"; and developing the animated TV show "Dog Years."
    Tour dates:

  • 9/1 - Everett, WA @ Jimmy-Z
  • 9/2 - Portland, OR @ Waterfront Park
  • 9/3 - Springfield, OR @ Island Park
  • 9/7 - Las Vegas, NV @ University of Nevada
  • 9/21 - Pensacola, FL @ Big Daddy's
  • 9/22 - Tallahassee, FL @ Cow Haus
  • 9/27 - Statesboro, GA @ Legends
  • 9/28 - Starkville, MS @ Remington's Hunt Club
  • 9/29 - Nashville, TN @ Bar Nashville
  • 10/31 - Columbia, MO @ Jesse Auditorium
  • 11/1 - Stillwater, OK@ Tumbleweeds

    Vanilla Ice
    Breakthrough single: "Ice Ice Baby" (1990)
    Catchphrase: "Drop that zero and get with the hero."
    Famous fashion accessory: Spray-painted jeans, neatly elevated bangs, shaved line in eyebrow.
    Forgettable moment: "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Secret of the Ooze."
    Most recent record: Hard to Swallow (1998)
    Current projects: Recording new album; raps about his manliness on Betty Blowtorch's "Size Queen."
    Tour dates:

  • 8/10 - Essington, PA @ The Lagoon
  • 8/11 - Joliet, IL @ Tuck Away Tavern
  • 8/17 - Greensburg, PA @ Bobby Dale's
  • 8/18 - Pittsburgh, PA @ Rock Jungle
  • 8/19 - Austintown, OH @ The Mill
  • 8/23 - Lake Tahoe, NV @ Caesars Tahoe
  • 9/7 - Odessa, TX @ Daddy's Place

    Young M.C.
    Breakthrough single: "Bust a Move" (1989)
    Catchphrase: "Standing on the wall like you was Poindexter."
    Famous fashion accessory: None.
    Forgettable moment: Return of the 1 Hit Wonder
    Most recent record: Ain't Going Out Like That (2000)
    Current projects: Raps on "Cadillac," the first single from Mest's August 14 album, Destination Unknown.
    Tour dates:

  • 8/25 - Springfield, MO @ University of Missouri
  • 9/2 - Portland, OR @ Waterfront Park
  • 9/3 - Springfield, OR @ Island Park
  • 9/7 - San Diego, CA @ San Diego Street Scene
  • 9/14 - Las Vegas, NV @ Center Stage
  • 10/17 - Harrison, AR @ University of Arkansas

    - Corey Moss

April 09, 2020  
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