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Bits & Bytes

February 29, 2000

Pullman Group Buys Ronald Isley Assets

A settlement agreement between Ronald Isley, Isley's bankruptcy trustee Howard Ehrenberg, EMI Music Publishing, and the Pullman Group was approved yesterday at a bankruptcy hearing in Los Angeles. The agreement calls for the Pullman Group's purchase of Isley's portion of the Isley Brothers' catalog for $4.8 million.

The Pullman Group, EMI Music, and Michael Bolton had previously filed separate bids. Rudolph Isley and several other Isley-related entities are also parties to the agreement. The Pullman Group, originator of asset-backed bonds, plans to issue bonds secured by Isley's assets, as it has for David Bowie and other artists.

February 27, 2000

"Strictly Dickly"

"Strictly dickly" is what an off-air Eve has to tell a deflated and disappointed caller to Funkmaster Flex's radio show who can't believe she's not a lesbian. "How can you not be a lesbian when you have so many lesbian fans?"

At the downtown Manhattan studios of Hot 97 FM, Eve struggles to explain why she loves men, who are so, so, soSsomething to her that she's at a loss to describe just what that is at the moment. The caller takes the opportunity to pounce on all the illy Y-chromosome carriers in the house. "Yes, men are dogs," Eve nods in agreement with homegirl's observation, "but I can train a dog."

As the first lady of DMX's Ruff Ryders clique and a veteran of tour dates with Juvenile and New Orleans' Cash Money crew, Eve's had ample opportunity to hone her canine-taming skills. (Earl "DMX" Simmons calls her "the meanest female pit bull in a skirt.") A big part of Eve Jihan Jeffers's charm is that like most Real Black Women, straight or gay, she seems quite unfazed by the company of ruffnecks à la DMX, the Lox, and their entourages. She seems to thrive on the challenge of gracefully navigating her way through all that Nubian testosterone with her femininity intact.

Like the song says, Eve's "gotta man" Those who have listened closely to her platinum-and-rising debut, Eve Up close and personal, Eve's got the kind of star charisma that arrives in the room before she does. And when she does arrive Funkmaster Flex's show is where I first note Eve's effect on your average brother. The general tendency among the young'uns is to just look down when she's around. Middle-aged cats, like the guards in the lobby, will shout her out, but usually when she's walking away from them. Call it respectfully awestruck. Funkmaster Flex's show is where I first note Eve's effect on your average brother. The general tendency among the young'uns is to just look down when she's around. Middle-aged cats, like the guards in the lobby, will shout her out, but usually when she's walking away from them. Call it respectfully awestruck.

A few nights later I head south for a grand tour of Eve's Philly. Our interview is to take place at her family's two-story house in Germantown, an immaculate middle-class district whose pavement and lawns are blanketed by torrents of autumn leaves. Eve's too-fly mom invites us to partake of the spiced whiting, salad, and lemonade she's prepared for the gang of friends and family who are rollin' through tonight. Mrs. Jeffers coordinates fashion shows in the area, and Eve's stepdad is a designer who was once Min. Louis Farrakhan's tailor. A portrait in the family dining room shows the two distinguished-looking black men just a-beaming with brotherhood.

Eve didn't grow up in Germantown This particular Sunday, Philly is getting chilly and choppy. Eve wears a Muppet-fur orange mink hoodie that makes her feel like "a monster." The landscape around Mill Creek is bleak, desolate, and foreboding in that peculiar way of project environments. You're not sure people live there until you're right up in their faces.

As soon as Eve appears, children start spilling out of the woodwork Observing Eve at this stage of her career is like watching a cracky science experiment on the effects of instant fame on a single human life. The saying goes that you don't change so much as the people around you do. Eve detests it when people she's known for years roll up in her face screaming and cheesing. "They'll go, 'It's Eve!!!' like they think I must want that. I don't," she says.

The irony beez Eve truly is down-to-earth enough to roll up in the PJs in a mink and a stretch and make everybody feel as if there's nothing unusual going on. By the same token, her status demands a Fruit of Islam security team with Secret Servicelevel skills. Not to mention a new apartment complex somewhere in Philly with enough shops to supply all of life's little needs and, as she reports to Mom, enough back entrances to ensure no one will ever know she's there. Eve in a nutshell: Chill, calm, confident, and innately (as opposed to artificially) style-conscious. "My image is Eve as I really am," says the former stripper. "The things I wear now are things I would've worn before I got signed, if I had the money. I always saw myself as sexy but not vulgar. Sexy is not the little teeny shirt I got on, it's the attitude. The ugliest person in the world can be sexy. One thing people always say to me is I represent for real females. Like, 'Girl, you got your clothes on, and that's great because we wear clothes."

Modeling contracts are in the works, though Eve generally hates her pictures ("I see every detail that's wrong"). And she agrees with me that the public would probably like to see the "Seven Deadly Venoms" Sprite commercial (featuring her and Angie Martinez) made into a feature film. Already an urban fashion trendsetter whose hairstyle is widely imitated, Eve has her own stylist, a cat from the U.K., and a hair specialist<"Be sure to mention Treasure from Texas, who I fly everywhere," she adds.

Eve's been rocking her blondie for six years, ever since calling somebody on a bluff and because "I got tired of going to the hairdresser every week. It took too much time in the morning, so I said, 'Let me just cut it and slap some gel on it.' Now people bug out if they even think I'm about to change my hair."

January will find her back in the studio to begin work on First Lady's follow-up; in February Ruff Ryders and Cash Money are joining forces for a major tour. Eve plans to approach the next album as she did the first "Talking with Lauryn was like [hearing] a motivational speech," Eve says. "She told me that I was gifted and need to do things wisely. It was dope to be talking to her that day because I was having issues with myself about the game. Women in hip hop need more unity. I love the women in hip hop. When I met Pepa I wouldn't let her go; I hugged her so hard. I was like, 'I love you, man.' Roxanne Shanté, Queen Latifah Respect was something Eve herself began to earn when she hooked up with the Philly-based Black Friday management team of Mark and Sherman Byers, Siddiq Knox, and Troy Carter, who also handle Jay-Z protégé Beanie Siegal. When a 1998 deal with Dr. Dre's Aftermath Entertainment proved to be going nowhere fast "When I first got with Ruff Ryders, they'd had other girls there before who turned out to be groupies," Eve recalls. "They saw this was my life and my business. But there were bets on me. People around the company were betting on whether or not I could do the album. It's all good because it worked out." The nonbelievers lost their money.

Though Eve has always written her own material, she hadn't defined herself as an artist until she tried making an album. "I discovered my flow and voice and character when I got signed to Ruff Ryders. Just being around 'X and the Lox, when they build you as an artist they want to know who you are. They say, 'Write about what you know, write about what you're feeling.' The cut on the soundtrack for the movie Bulworth (Interscope, 1998), 'Eve of Destruction,' was me trying anything to get signed, shouting-out Dre and Aftermath, whatever. I'm hungry now because I have a purpose. Before I was just rapping."

Pursuit of a greater purpose is also moving Eve toward a full embrace of the Sunni Muslim faith. "Islam is peace," she says. "I've been through Jehovah's Witnesses, the Baptist church thing, CatholicismScouldn't do it. I went to Catholic school for two years wondering, What is this Trinity thing? They were like, 'Shut up already.' I got into Islam because of a friend of mine who lived across the street. I liked praying and learning. I don't know hardly enough about the Koran, but when I say the prayers, I feel peace." One reason success hasn't gone to Eve's head is because she hardly sees platinum as the be-all and end-all. "Some of the guys who are rapping now, all they can see is right now. It's about their music and that's it. They don't have a vision. I know because I ask questions like, 'What are your plans?' and there is no plan. I feel there's no limit to what I can do and that this is just a stepping stone.

"I'm not going to be doing this for the rest of my life You may remember from the film The Terminator (Orion, 1984) a creature known as the Infiltrator model, a humanoid assassin capable of blending in with the underground rebel population before blowtorching their asses and blowing up the whole spot. Eve's near-perfect combination of brains, beauty, and spit lends her an Infiltrator-like profile in the dick-dominated world of hip hop.

In an era when realness is measured in Bad Boysize Benjamins, and representin' hip hop means depending on the fickle-ass streets and MTV for validation, Eve would be a fool not to have a plan worked out for the downside. Judging from what we've seen, Mama didn't raise no fool.

February 25, 2000

42nd Annual Grammy Awards

Carlos Santana proved unbeatable at last night's 42nd Annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The veteran guitarist from the '70s won in every category for which he was nominated, including the night's top honors: album of the year ("Supernatural"), record of the year (to his single with singer Rob Thomas, "Smooth") and song of the year ("Smooth" again). In all, Santana himself collected eight awards, matching Michael Jackson's 1983 record for the most Grammys won in a single year. (The song of the year trophy went to the songwriters of "Smooth," Itaal Shur and Rob Thomas.) Santana, 52, told reporters backstage that tying with Jackson was "a real honor." He also said that he was proud "to be able to demonstrate to the people that deepness and class can be as profitable as shallowness and crass." Ricky Martin, Marc Anthony, the Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears (who lost the best new artist title to Christina Aguilera), despite their high profiles, were left empty-handed last night. Still, the No. 1 topic on early a.m. TV and radio shows today was presenter Jennifer Lopez's dress. Or lack of it. Lopez's outfit, a green and yellow silk chiffon Donatella Versace scarf dress, was cut all the way down to her navel, then split apart again and fell to the floor. (Only a brooch kept the actress-singer from exposing her privates.) As her co-presenter David Duchovny said at the podium, "For the first time in my career I can be sure nobody's looking at me."

February 13, 2000

TLC Nominated For Three Soul Train Music Awards

Hip-hop trio TLC, who are already up for eight Grammy Awards, received another batch of accolades last night, as the group received three nominations for this year's Soul Train Music Awards, leading all artists.

Nominees for the 14th Annual Soul Train Music Awards were announced last night by Montell Jordan and Tamia during a press conference at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, California.

Aside from TLC, the nominees for the Soul Train awards were evenly divided among the ten categories, with seven artists including Mary J. Blige, Whitney Houston, Destiny's Child, and Donell Jones each receiving two nominations. DMX, Mariah Carey, Juvenile, and 20 other artists each picked up a single nomination.

In addition to the competitive categories, organizers for this year's Soul Train Music Awards have announced that DMX and Mary J. Blige will both receive the Sammy Davis, Jr. Award for "Entertainer Of The Year," while Prince will be named "Artist Of The Decade."

The 14th Annual Soul Train Music Awards will be handed out at a gala event scheduled for March 4 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, with Eric Benét, Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, Tamia, and Shemar Moore set to co-host.

The complete list of nominees for this year's Soul Train Music Awards:

Best R&B/Soul Single, Female

"Ex-Factor" - Lauryn Hill
"Heartbreaker" - Mariah Carey featuring Jay-Z
"My Love Is Your Love" - Whitney Houston
"Chante's Got A Man" - Chante Moore

Best R&B/Soul Single, Male

"So Anxious" - Ginuwine
"U Know What's Up" - Donell Jones
"Fortunate" - Maxwell
"Back At One" - Brian McKnight

Best R&B/Soul Single, Group, Band, Or Duo

"Bills, Bills, Bills" - Destiny's Child
"Beauty" - Dru Hill
"Get Gone" - Ideal
"No Scrubs" - TLC

Best R&B/Soul Album, Female

"Mary" - Mary J. Blige
"On How Life Is" - Macy Gray
"My Love Is Your Love" - Whitney Houston
"On The 6" - Jennifer Lopez

Best R&B/Soul Album, Male

"A Day In The Life" - Eric Benét
"100% Ginuwine" - Ginuwine
"Where I Wanna Be" - Donell Jones
"Back At One" - Brian McKnight

Best R&B/Soul Album, Group, Band, Or Duo

"The Writing's On The Wall" - Destiny's Child
"It's Real" - K-Ci & JoJo
"Princesses Nubiennes" - Les Nubians
"Fanmail" - TLC

Best R&B/Soul Or Rap New Artist

"Gotta Man" - Eve
"Get Gone" - Ideal
"Back That Azz Up" - Juvenile featuring Manny Fresh and Lil' Wayne
"No More Rain (In This Cloud)" - Angie Stone

Best R&B/Soul Or Rap Music Video

"Hot Boyz" - Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott featuring Nas, Eve, and Q-Tip
"Vivrant Thing" - Q-Tip
"What's It Gonna Be" - Busta Rhymes
"Will 2K" - Will Smith

R&B/Soul Or Rap Album Of The Year

"Mary" - Mary J. Blige
"Flesh Of My Flesh, Blood Of My Blood" - DMX
"R." - R. Kelly
"Fanmail" - TLC

Best Gospel Album

"The Lord Is A Wonder" - Dorothy Norwood
"God Can & God Will" - Dottie Peoples
"Healing: Live In Detroit" - Richard Smallwood
"Live In Detroit, Vol. 2" - Vickie Winans

February 12, 2000

D.A. Accuses Puffy Of Allegedly Bribing Driver

Sean "Puffy" Combs' legal situation got even more complicated on Thursday, as a Manhattan district attorney claimed that the rap mogul attempted to bribe his driver to take the fall for several gun possession charges currently leveled against Combs.

Prosecutors made the accusations during a pre-trial hearing at Manhattan Supreme Court in which the district attorney's office was looking to raise Combs' bail from $10,000 to $150,000, according to "The New York Daily News."

In the hearing, prosecutor Matthew Bogdanos claimed that Puffy attempted to bribe driver Wardel Fenderson in front of several police officers at the Midtown South precinct station where Combs and girlfriend Jennifer Lopez were questioned following the shooting at Club New York on December 27.

Combs allegedly offered Fenderson $50,000 to take the blame for a stolen gun found in the vehicle Lopez and Puffy fled the nightclub in, even offering Fenderson the diamond pinkie ring Lopez had given him in November for his 30th birthday as collateral.

Prosecutors also alluded to the fact that they may ask a grand jury to indict Combs on a bribery charge, noting that the grand jury was still reviewing evidence in the case and had yet to be dismissed.

The Manhattan District Attorney's Office has not returned calls from MTV News seeking information about if and when prosecutors would ask the grand jury to indict Combs on the additional charge.

Bogdanos also asked Judge Charles Solomon to raise Combs' bail because its office considered the rapper-entrepreneur, who is slated to launch a European tour on March 14 in Dublin, Ireland, to be a potential flight risk.

After Thursday's hearing, one of Puffy's attorneys, Benjamin Brafman, strongly contested the notion that Combs might flee prosecution.

"Suggesting that Mr. Combs is a flight risk is ludicrous," Brafman said. "He is immediately recognized wherever he goes. But more importantly, he has no intention of running away from this.

"He has every intention of addressing this case responsibly in a courtroom," Brafman continued, "and he fully expects to be exonerated, because he knows he didn't commit a crime on the night in question."

Judge Solomon said he would decide whether or not to raise Combs' bail during the next scheduled hearing for the case, set for February 22.

February 8, 2000

Big Punisher Is Dead

Rapper Big Punisher, currently heard on Jennifer Lopez' "Feelin' So Good" single, suffered a heart attack and was pronounced dead Monday afternoon at the age of 28.

A hospital spokesperson declined to discuss details of the rapper's condition and told MTV News that Big Pun (real name Christopher Rios) was dead on arrival at the hospital at approximately 4 p.m. (ET) Monday afternoon.

Rios is survived by a wife and three children.

Big Pun was slated to join Lopez and Fat Joe for a performance of "Feelin' So Good" on last weekend's edition of "Saturday Night Live," but he did not turn up on the show.

Pun leapt from the underground to the mainstream with his 1998 album "Capital Punishment" and the hit single "Still Not A Player." At the time of his death, the rapper was preparing to release his sophomore album, titled "Yeehah Baby," in April.

February 7, 2000

Ice Cube Talks "Peace" And The Future

For a man who introduced himself as simply that "crazy motherf***er named Ice Cube," O'Shea Jackson is making quite a nice go of it in the straight world these days.

The rapper jumped out at us as such on "Straight Outta Compton" with hardcore innovators N.W.A. some twelve years ago. Now, with critical praise coming his way for his role in "Three Kings" and the recent box office-topping success of his co-scripted, exec-produced starrer "Next Friday," the man who dubbed himself "Amerikkka's Most Wanted" (via a 1990 album title) and was once considered a menace to society in the heady days of the Bush Administration has the figureheads of mainstream American entertainment beating down his door, brandishing deals and cash.

Hopefully the hoopla surrounding "Next Friday" (now pushing $40 million in U.S. theaters) will die down soon, though, 'cause the man has an album to talk about.

Cube's turning his focus back toward hip-hop with "War & Peace Volume 2: The Peace Disc," which is due out on March 21. True to its title, the follow-up to 1998's "Volume 1: The War Disc" promises to be a less dark, though no less thought provoking, excursion.

"I always felt, coming from N.W.A., [that] people wanted a hardcore record," Cube told the MTV Radio Network of his past solo work. "['The Peace Disc'] was a record where it's a couple of hard ones on there, but most of them were records not just talking about how it is, but maybe how it should be, how things can be different, things can change.

"There's party records on there," he continued. "I've had a lot of success with records like 'We Be Clubbin'' and 'You Can Do It,' and I wanted to do a couple more of those to put on here. This is just a fun record. I didn't want it to be political. I didn't want it to just be over nothing. I just wanted to rap, do good music, and let people enjoy the record. And that's why I call it the 'Peace' album."

One of those feel-good tracks is the first single, "Until We Rich," which features Cube alongside Krayzie Bone of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. Cube feels it's a song that, by its positive nature, is a lot like Tupac Shakur's "Dear Momma" and his own now-classic "It Was A Good Day."

"It's an off-the-hook single," Cube enthuses. "It's one of those uplifting kind of songs. Me and Krayzie Bone, this is the first time we got down together, so it should be a good thing."

Other guests on "The Peace Disc" include DJ Quik, Mack 10, and Chris Rock, with production appearances by Chucky Thompson (of Puff Daddy's Hitmen) and Sean "Puffy" Combs himself as well as Bud'da, with whom he's worked in the past. For his track "You Can Do It," the single off the "Next Friday" soundtrack, Cube sought out someone fresh to add to the mix.

"It's a guy named One-Eye, he produced that," Cube said of "You Can Do It." "As usual, I always use new producers, mainly to try to come up with a new flavor for an album."

The same notion could be applied to Cube's approach to filmmaking; with confidence he made his directorial debut with "The Player's Club" in 1998 (a film he also wrote, executive produced, and starred in). Now he's passing along the first-time torch to talents such as "Next Friday" director Steve Carr (who had previously directed Jay-Z's videos for "Can I Get A..." and "Hard Knock Life") and actor Jean Claude La Marre, whose low-budget debut as a writer-director, "Stoop," is in the works with thanks in part to Ice Cube's new multimedia production company, Cube Vision.

Soon after founding Cube Vision with partner Matt Alvarez, the rapper found himself in possession of a three-picture deal with New Line Cinema; the company has gone on to ink deals for film and TV with Artisan Entertainment and Warner Brothers as well. Content to focus on the big and little screens for the time being ("I really wanna crawl before I walk," he says), Cube plans to expand the company's reach to soundtracks and multimedia/Internet concerns in the future.

Gauging the response to "Next Friday," Cube Vision's first cinematic salvo, that shouldn't be a problem. The rapper is pretty pleased he's been able to strike a balance between "Billboard" and the box office with such success; in fact, he thinks of it as if he's testing his skills out in public.

"Most people don't have that comfort, to be able to slide back and forth and try to do it well," Cube said. "I still think I can become a better actor. I think I can become a better writer, producer, better rapper, and I'm always striving to be better. So to be able to bounce back and forth and kinda sharpen your pencil and make sure you tight on the mic here and make sure you tight in acting there, I feel blessed."

One of the few things Cube won't do these days is produce other artists, a job he picked up in post-N.W.A. 1991 with Del Tha Funkee Homosapien and Yo Yo (known then as "the female Ice Cube") and working straight through to Mack 10's 1997 LP "Based On A True Story." The rapper has since developed a Machiavellian singlemindedness about working behind the scenes with other artists, opting to produce film rather than music.

"I just got burnt out," Cube explained. "I think when you produce too many acts, your music suffers, and I don't want that to happen. I want to still be able to put together quality music for people that wanna buy my records. I'm gonna let the people that's really got they head into that really take that over, 'cause I only have time for Ice Cube."

Cube, who hasn't toured since his stint on the inaugural Family Values tour in 1998, hopes to find enough time for himself to hit the road in support of the new album.

February 4, 2000

KRS-One, Long Beach Dub Allstars Play Marley Fest

KRS-One, Long Beach Dub Allstars, Burning Spear, and Beenie Man have signed on to perform for the 19th Annual Bob Marley Day Festival being held in Los Angeles on February 19 and 20 at the Long Beach Arena.

Jamaican dancehall DJs Beenie Man and Bounty Killer will headline the first day's concert, which will also include sets from rapper (and Reprise Records A&R man) KRS-One, and such reggae faves as Barrington Levy, Admiral Bailey, and jazz vocalist Glen Washington.

Reggae legend Burning Spear will highlight the second day of L.A.'s Bob Marley Day festival, with additional performances by Long Beach Dub Allstars (comprised of the former members of Sublime ), Yami Bolo, and Johnny Osbourne, among others.

The Bob Marley Day Festival will travel to San Diego on February 21 for a concert at the San Diego Sports Arena featuring a reggae and dancehall lineup of Beenie Man, Barrington Levy, and Luciano.

The three-city fest will then wrap with a three-day stand at Maritime Hall in San Francisco on February 25-27, anchored by appearances from Levy, the Wailing Souls, and Steel Pulse.

Tickets for all of the concerts are currently available through Ticketmaster, as well as each of the venues' respective box offices.

February 3, 2000

Brandy, L.L. Cool J, Q-Tip To Help NBA Honor Volunteers

Brandy, L.L. Cool J, Q-Tip, 98 Degrees' Nick Lachey, and Jessica Simpson will be among the artists honoring teen volunteers at next NBA TeamUP Celebration 2000.

The aforementioned artists will hit San Francisco's Cow Palace on February 12 for the event, which will also boast appearances by with NBA all-star Kobe Bryant, supermodel Tyra Banks, MTV's Ananda Lewis, DJ Funkmaster Flex, actress Kirsten Dunst, and 1999 NBA Rookie Of The Year Vince Carter.

Q-Tip is expected to offer up "It's A TeamUp Thing," a reworking of his hit single "Vivrant Thing," at the event, while Jessica Simpson will perform the song "Where You Are" with 98 Degrees' Nick Lachey. Bryant and Banks are also scheduled to team up on Bryant's upcoming single "K.O.B.E." [RealAudio] for the event.

If you can't make it to the Cow Palace, the NBA TeamUp Celebration 2000 will be simulcast on NBC, TNT, BET, Nickelodeon, and NBA.Com.

February 1, 2000

Outkast Continues Rap Experiment With "Stankonia"

After drawing critical praise and multi-platinum sales for its last album, 1998's "Aquemini," the rap duo known as Outkast is currently holed up in an Atlanta studio, preparing the eagerly-anticipated follow-up.

The working title of the new record is "Stankonia," which takes its name from that of the group's new hometown recording facility, and is tentatively expected to be released in July.

During a recent studio visit with MTV News, Outkast said that the upcoming LP, the group's fourth, would continue to push the rap and hip-hop envelope in the same manner its previous releases had.

"Our music, it's so vast and it's so many different types... of feels of music," Big Boi said. "We just really have no fear of experimentation and pushing the envelope to do nothing. That's Outkast, you know what I'm saying?"

"You gotta take a risk, and just be true to yourself," he continued. "I mean, if everybody else don't dig it, [that's fine]. At the end of the day, you can still know that that's what I wanted to do, and it was jamming. And that I did my best." [RealVideo]

Aside from its own work, Outkast recently made a guest appearance on a Goodie M.O.B. cut, "Sole Sunday," that was included on the "Any Given Sunday" soundtrack.

January 29, 2000

Puff Daddy Announces European Tour Dates

Hip-hop mogul Puff Daddy will be launching his first-ever European road trip this spring.

The "Puff Daddy And The Family" Tour kicks off in Dublin, Ireland on March 14, hitting Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and the Netherlands before closing out in the U.K. at the Wembley Arena on April 7.

January 28, 2000

Cypress Hill Lines Up Eminem, Everlast, Noreaga, Deftones' Chino For New Single

It never hurts to have friends, especially when you're looking to jazz up a new single.

The hip-hop veterans in Cypress Hill have plenty of friends, judging from the plans for their new single, "Superstar." The track will be the first single from the group's upcoming "Skull And Bones" album and will spawn two different versions. Noreaga and Eminem were enlisted to help out on "(Rap) Superstar," while Everlast and Deftones frontman Chino Moreno will turn up on "(Rock) Superstar."

Spokespeople for Cypress Hill describe the song as a warning to young would-be music stars and note that both versions of the song should hit radio on February 22. The single will then arrive in stores on February 29, with Cypress Hill's "Skull And Bones" album following on May 2.

While the group unleashed a Spanish language version of its greatest hits late last year, the upcoming effort will mark Cypress Hill's fifth studio album overall and first since 1998's "Cypress Hill: IV."

January 25, 2000

Donell Jones Arraigned On Assault, Harassment Charges

R&B singer Donell Jones was in a Brooklyn Criminal Court on Tuesday and was formally arraigned on charges of assault, menacing, harassment, criminal possession of a weapon, unauthorized use of a vehicle, and criminal possession of a vehicle.

The misdemeanor charges stem from Jones' alleged involvement in the carjacking attack against limousine driver Travis Ingram after a concert in Queens last November. Two of Jones' supposed accomplices, Rock Bunce and Spencer Jackson, were also arraigned yesterday.

According to a court spokesperson, Judge Bailey Schiffman also issued an Order Of Protection during the proceeding, stating that Jones and two other defendants could not come within 200 feet of Ingram. The next hearing in the case will be on February 23.

In court documents, Ingram claims that Jones, Bunce, and Jackson attacked and beat him on November 27 after he refused to drive the men to the Washington Heights area of Manhattan to purchase drugs.

Although all the charges currently filed against Jones are misdemeanors, the court is considering upgrading the assault complaint to a felony. A decision on that matter is expected to be made at the February 23 hearing.

Jones released his second album, "Where I Wanna Be," in June 1999 and scored a number one hit on the "Billboard" R&B Singles chart with "U Know What's Up," which features guest vocals by TLC's Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes.

January 24, 2000

Ol' Dirty Bastard Is Back In Jail

ODB has been kicked out of the Impact Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center in Pasadena, California after allegedly being found drunk. The troubled 31-year-old rap star had been sentenced to the rehabilitation center for a year after making death threats and wearing body armor.

ODB left the Impact treatment center on Thursday and was transferred to the Biscaluz Recovery center, the institution's jail facility. According to the Web site, SonicNet, prosecutors expect that ODB will now serve out the rest of his sentence behind bars. He will remain at Biscaluz until February 25, when he will be sentenced for the alcohol offense.

The violation of his sentencing and probation means he could spend at least two years in jail. When Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Marsha Revel sentenced him to rehab treatment, she cautioned that he would be sent to jail if he failed to stay the course at Impact. Marcia Daniel, a Los Angeles deputy DA, said she intended to seek a jail sentence and would consider sending ODB to state prison.

Queens prosecutor Ken Holder told SonicNet's Teri vanHorn, "Both sides of the country have their hands on him." He said that Impact discharged ODB on January 10. The rapper was discovered with a bottle of alcohol after returning from New York, where he appeared in court to answer charges of possessing crack cocaine with intent to sell. It was believed that he arrived back at Impact intoxicated.

An Impact representative escorted ODB to his court appearance in Queens last week. That was the day that saw ODB at his most outrageous. While at Queens Criminal Court, he asked a prosecutor, "Do I make you horny?" Frequently he appeared to be in a stupor, picking his nose, transfixed by the "In God We Trust" insignia, and later falling asleep during a break in proceedings. ODB later became separated from the escort and flew back to California in a separate plane.

His Kool Keith collaboration will turn up alongside cuts from Snoop Dogg, Run-DMC, Cash Money Millionaires, Method Man & Redman, Mobb Deep, Mystical, Slick Rick, the Hot Boys, and others when "WWF Raw" hits stores in February.

January 23, 2000

Kelly Price, Montell Jordan, Dru Hill Team Up To Battle Breast Cancer

After handing the track "Love Sets You Free" over for the soundtrack to the critically acclaimed film "The Hurricane," Kelly Price has reworked the song with some high-profile friends for a good cause.

Price (who originally recorded the song with Aaron Hall) hooked up with Montell Jordan and Dru Hill in Los Angeles on Tuesday to record a remix of the song. The artists have earmarked proceeds from sales of the remix to benefit breast cancer research.

Of course, the original version of the song can be found on "The Hurricane" soundtrack, which also carries cuts from Black Star, The Roots, Jazzyfatnastees, Gil Scott-Heron, K-Ci & JoJo, Bob Dylan, and Ray Charles

January 21, 2000

Mariah Carey

Over the last few years, the only way you could get Mariah Carey to perform before a live audience was to call her the artist of the decade or dub her a "diva." Having made the '90s her own, Mariah is now planning to take 2000 by storm with her first world tour since 1993. At the moment the tour has nine North American dates.

Mariah intends to round up many of the guests who appeared on her Rainbow and Butterfly albums for the shows. She told MTV News, "I'm going to see who's around whatever city we're in. Hopefully in Atlanta or Chicago, maybe we'll have Da Brat. I haven't asked her yet. I have to give her a call and see what's up with her. I was paging Jermaine [Dupri] last night. He said he'll be there."

Let's hope she lost 98 Degrees' number. At least Mariah shouldn't have trouble picking a set list. She's had a No. 1 record every year in the last decade. In 1999 her No. 1 "Heartbreaker" helped her break the Beatles' chart record of 59 weeks at No. 1 on the American charts. Never mind the fact that the Beatles racked up those 59 weeks over a period of six years, while Mariah took a good decade.

The American Music Awards paid tribute to her achievements by presenting her with an Award of Achievement last Monday. Carey dedicated the award to two young fans she escorted to the ceremony from the Make-a-Wish Foundation, noting, "Their achievements are a lot more special than mine."

Mariah's Rainbow Tour - One Night Only! will begin on Valentine's Day, February 14, in Antwerp, Belgium before continuing on to New York on April 11. Contrary to its name, the One Night Only! tour will actually spend two nights in Tokyo. Some venues have yet to be confirmed.

January 20, 2000

Whitney Houston Walks Away From Drug Bust

Whitney Houston may have to leave the Hawaiian Islands out of future touring and vacation plans, as the singer could be facing charges on marijuana possession stemming from an incident at an airport last week.

Security officials at the Keahole-Kona International Airport allegedly found a half-ounce of marijuana in one of Houston's bags as she was attempting to board a January 11 flight to San Francisco.

However, Houston and husband Bobby Brown didn't end up in handcuffs. Although Houston's bag was seized by security, the couple refused to wait for police and instead boarded their San Francisco-bound flight, which took off 45 minutes before cops even arrived.

Houston's alleged possession of a half-ounce (or 15 grams) of pot is a petty misdemeanor under Hawaiian law, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. Prosecutors in Hawaii have yet to determine what action they might take against the Grammy Award-winning singer, noting that they do not usually seek to extradite those from mainland America on misdemeanor offenses.

The incident hasn't dented the singer's schedule yet, as Houston made it to New York's Radio City Music Hall Saturday night to sing "God Bless America" before Roy Jones Jr.'s nationally televised boxing match. Houston is also scheduled to travel to Europe this week. The singer is currently back home in New Jersey and as of press time had no comment on the allegations.

January 15, 2000

Puff Daddy Indicted On Weapons Charges

A Manhattan grand jury today indicted Sean "Puffy" Combs on charges of criminal possession of a weapon in the second and third degree, for having two loaded 9-millimeter guns in his possession. Combs could face 15 years in prison if convicted. The charges stem from a Dec. 27 incident in which weapons were found in the rap mogul's vehicle, following a shooting at a New York nightclub in which three were injured. Combs' bodyguard, who was in the car, was also indicted on a weapons charge. Combs has retained high-powered lawyers Johnnie Cochran and Benjamin Brafman; they join Harvey Slovis on the rapper's defense team. Cochran is best known as the attorney for O.J. Simpson; Brafman defended Mafia member Salvatore "Sammy The Bull" Gravano. Addressing the media today in New York, Cochran maintained Combs' innocence on all counts and reiterated that the rapper has been absolved of charges related to the shooting. " As we have always maintained and now as the grand jury has concluded, Sean Combs had nothing whatsoever to do with the shooting," he said. "Further, we want to make it clear that at no time during the evening in question was Mr. Combs in possession of or in control of any weapon." Brafman added that there is "no forensic evidence, to my knowledge, linking Combs to the weapon." In a statement, Combs says, "The decision to indict me is wrong. I'm innocent, and we will prove it. I am putting my faith in God, and I know my name will be cleared." Combs was not indicted on charges of obstructing justice and witness tampering, stemming from allegations that he offered payment to his driver to take the fall for him. No arraignment date has been set.

January 7, 2000

Shyne Indicted In Shooting. Bad Boy rapper Shyne was indicted yesterday for attempted murder in the second degree, according to published reports. The rapper, whose real name is Jamal Barrow, has also been charged with assault and attempted assault. The charges stem from a Dec. 27 shooting at Club New York that injured three people. Sean "Puffy" Combs, Jennifer Lopez, and two others were arrested after leaving the scene. Combs has been charged with criminal possession of a weapon. He has denied the charges against him, and is due back in court on Feb. 14. Lopez was exonerated in the case.

Jay-Z Is First No. 1 Of 2000.
Jay-Z debuts at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 this week with his Roc-a-fella/Def Jam album "Vol. 3 ... Life and Times Of S. Carter," one of four hip-hop albums in the top six of the tally. "Life" sold 463,000 copies in its first week of release, according to SoundScan. DMX's "... And Then There Was X" (Ruff Ryders/Def Jam) falls from the top spot to No. 2, while Dr. Dre's "Dr. Dre 2001" (Aftermath/Interscope) leaps 13 spots to No. 5. Celine Dion's "All The Way ... A Decade Of Song" (550/Epic) drops one notch to No. 3, while Christina Aguilera's self-titled RCA album moves up one spot to No. 4. "Still I Rise," another posthumous release by 2Pac + Outlawz, moves up one spot to No. 6. The chart's greatest gainer is also a hip-hop album: the Def Jam compilation "The Source Presents Hip-Hop Hits Vol. 3" jumps from No. 107 to No. 46. Rounding out the top 10 are Universal's compilation "Now That's What I Call Music! 3" at No. 7, Santana's Grammy-nominated "Supernatural" (Arista) at No. 8, Mariah Carey's "Rainbow" (Columbia) at No. 9, and Korn's Immortal/Epic set "Issues" at No. 10. Over on the Billboard Hot 100, Aguilera finally unseats Santana's "Smooth" featuring Rob Thomas from the No. 1 spot, with the track "What A Girl Wants." With "Smooth" dropping to No. 2, Brian McKnight's "Back At One" falls to No. 3, while Savage Garden's "I Knew I Loved You" jumps two places to No. 4.

Spice Girl Mel G. Splits With Husband.
Spice Girl Mel G., whose real name is Melanie Gulzar, has split with her husband of 15 months, according to reports. In a statement, the singer says she intends to "remain good friends" with husband Jimmy Gulzar, whom she met on the Spice Girls' 1998 tour. The couple were married in September of that year and have a 10-month old daughter, Phoenix Chi. The hit-making U.K. female pop group last performed in mid-December in London. The group's 1998 Virgin album "Spiceworld" peaked at No. 3 on The Billboard 200 and has sold 4.1 million copies in the U.S., according to SoundScan.

The Dept. of Justice is waltzing with Viacom's mighty MTV Network --- examining the deals MTV cuts with music companies to air videos.

The majors find MTV's terms onerous, but, since it is the only act in town, MTV pretty much calls the shots as to what gets aired and what gets paid.

The DOJ look-see was triggered by Viacom's recent acquisition of the Box, a much smaller operation but a competitor nonetheless.

Stewart Halpern, former chief financial officer of Def Jam Records and now a Wall Street entertainment analyst at Bank of America Securities, recalls the Box as a home for rap videos in their early days when it was tough to get a hearing from MTV. MTV, he says, is "an immensely powerful vehicle that the music industry benefits from terrifically, but also a stringent gatekeeper that has tremendous impact on visibility."

Not surprisingly, the major diskeries have always had a love-hate relationship with the cable net. The Web will be the next battleground as music companies fear MTV will gain the hegemony on the Internet it enjoys on the airwaves. MTV claims it operates in a highly competitive environment. The net says it's competing with other cable networks --- really with all other programmers.

That's like giant radio groups insisting it's OK if they dominate any given market since they still compete fiercely with newspapers and other media. Both assertions may be true, but do they matter?

In MTV's case, no, music insiders insist. "We're talking about the programming decisions made by virtually the sole channel on television dedicated to music," one says.

But our vigilant regulators aren't stopping here. A day after the DOJ/MTV news broke, the smiles of music companies exex were wiped off their faces. The Federal Trade Commission is investigating them for providing ad dollars to retailers who agree not to sell CDs below a so-called "minimum advertised price." Retailers who offer big discounts don't get the ads.

The practice is legal and has been going on for years.

Consumers can get great deals with music clubs, and the big diskeries own major stakes in these clubs.

Stepped-up scrutiny comes at a time when the music biz may become democratized and decentralized as never before, thanks to the Internet. The big companies are teaming to find a way of downloading music legally. Although they were being mostly defensive, the talks may have helped fuel regulatory preoccupation.

The multi-millionaire rapper Sean Combs, also known as Puff Daddy or Puffy, counts himself close to the heart of British royalty. He was bailed last week for pounds 6,000 after being charged with criminal possession of a weapon following a nightclub shooting in New York. Now he needs character witnesses in fighting the charge. Luckily Puffy seems to have lots of top celebrity options. In a pamphlet handed out to potential investors, Puffy cites his "relationships with A-list celebrities" as an asset. Among friends on the list are Sting, Elle Macpherson and Michael Bolton.

But also on the list is his little-known best friend, the Duchess of York.

Last summer Puffy invited her to his house for one of his notorious weekend parties and she attended his 29th birthday party in New York last year, along with Kevin Costner, Naomi Campbell and Muhammad Ali.

"Fergie's not so popular in England right? Well I don't care. She was cool. She's certainly no prude," he said recently.

"I believe they have met a few times. Mr Daddy certainly seems to be quite fond of the Duchess," says her spokeswoman.

"He has come from nowhere several times to express his admiration for her, and she is very grateful. Sarah is high up in the mountains skiing with her daughters at the moment and I am sure she knows nothing about what's been going on in New York."

Sadly for Puffy, Fergie won't be appearing in court. "The Duchess of York will be very busy at the time with a punishing work schedule," the aide adds. "Seriously, I doubt she will want to get embroiled."

January 6, 2000

Puffy Gets Sued...Again
After being arrested in connection to a nightclub shooting last week, things only seem to get worse for Sean "Puffy" Combs. According to MTV, Julius Jones, the bouncer who was injured in the shooting incident at Club New York, has filed an $800 million lawsuit against Puffy, his chauffeur, rapper Shyne, Bad Boy Records, Club New York and its owner, Michael Bergos. The lawsuit stems from the December 27th shooting incident at Club New York in which three people were injured, and Puff Daddy and Jennifer Lopez were stopped by police while attempting to leave. Both parties were taken to the police headquarters where they were questioned. Lopez was released and cleared of all charges while Combs was released on bail and charged with criminal possession of a weapon. Combs has since claimed that the weapons charge was false. In other related news, Lopez gave her testimony before a grand jury on Thursday and Puff is slated to testify sometime this week.

The Rock & Method Man?
The extremely popular World Wrestling Federation, which breeds fanatics from all walks of life, is pleased to bring you a much-promised hip hop compilation. The album, which is tentatively titled Raw, will be released by No Limit Records on January 29. Artists featured on the album include Method Man & Redman, Snoop Dogg, Slick Rick & Dana Dane and many others.

August 10, 2022  
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