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Bits & Bytes

November 26, 2002

Benzino Ignites Beef By Calling Eminem '2003 Vanilla Ice'

Em responds to dis track with two songs of his own. Eminem may have made peace with Christina Aguilera, but now he's caught up in another beef — this time with veteran rapper Benzino.  Calling Em a "2003 Vanilla Ice," Benzino's slow-tempo "Pull Your Skirt Up" goes after hip-hop's great white phenom with lyrics like: "Five shades darker, you'd be Canibus/ And no one would care about your complicated rhyme style/ ... What you know about pumpin' on the block 'til you freeze?/ What you know about cutting up rocks, duckin' [detectives]?/ What you know about facing a grand jury indictment?/ As far as I'm concerned, you're just industry excitement."

Referring to his day job as the self-proclaimed "co-founder and visionary" of The Source (which some see as a conflict of interest that explains how he landed on the cover), Raymond "Benzino" Scott reminds the multiplatinum rapper that the magazine highlighted him as up-and-coming talent. "You was unsigned hype before you ever met Dre/ I birthed your little career, now you owe your life to Ray."

While picking the biggest name in rap as your target may seem like a play for attention, Benzino claims "Pull Your Skirt Up" is his reaction to racism in American pop culture.

"I had a problem with 'the machine,' with the double standard in hip-hop," he said. "Certain media outlets take to him and look at him as the savior in hip-hop and the #1 in hip-hop and [do] not recognize the guys out here that created hip hop. ... Eminem is just the hood ornament for the machine. ... You think I could grab my crotch and put my ass in people's faces the way he does? No way. But as long as the color of his skin and his eyes fits what America wants, ... it's all right."

Since hearing "Pull Your Skirt Up," the ever-busy Eminem has recorded two response tracks, "I Don't Wanna" and "Nail in the Coffin." In the first, Em calls out Benzino for everything from being an "83-year-old fake Pacino," to struggling as a rapper, to "pimping your son" (Sony recently signed Benzino's young son), to using his position at The Source to get rappers to contribute to his album: "You sit behind a desk at The Source butt kissing, beggin' motherf---ers for guest appearances/ And you can't even get the clearances because real lyricists don't even respect you or take you serious/ It's not that we don't like you, we hate you, seriously."

All the while, Em reminds listeners that he didn't start the beef but that he plans to finish it. "I don't wanna be like this, I don't wanna hurt no feelings/ I'm only being real when I say nobody wants to hear that grandfather rap/ ... Put the mic down and walk away, you'll still have a little bit of dignity."

On "Nail in the Coffin," Eminem ends by rapping, "[You're] the softest, fakest, wannabe gangster in New York, and it's pitiful/ I woulda never said sh-- if you had kept your mouth shut, bitch. Now what?"

Both songs aired Thursday night on DJ Kay Slay's WQHT-FM radio show in New York. Kay Slay is also including Em's tracks on his latest mixtape, Street Justice Part 6: Loyalty and the Terror.

"Pull Your Skirt Up" will be featured on Benzino's second solo album, Redemption, due in January. The rapper emerged in the early '90s as a member of Boston's Almightly RSO (later called the Made Men). Last year Benzino went solo with The Benzino Project, which sold poorly despite appearances from Teddy Riley, Fabolous and P. Diddy. His latest single, "Rock the Party," was produced by P. Diddy hitmaker Mario Winans.

- By Rahman Dukes, with additional reporting by Minya Oh and Shaheem Reidl

Beastie Boys Begin Work On New LP ... Finally

Group recently set up new studio, hopes to finish album next year. The Boys are back in town and ready to rise again.  Beastie Boys recently set up a new studio and have begun work on their sixth studio album, which they hope to finish next year. So far they've drummed up some fat beats, but haven't completed any full songs, according to the group's publicist.

More than four years have passed since the group released its last album, Hello Nasty. In that time the bandmembers have coordinated Tibetan Freedom Concerts and embraced other political causes, closed their record label Grand Royal, and waited for rapper Mike D to recover from shoulder surgery he needed after crashing his bike.

Aside from two September 11 benefit shows last October in New York, there's been little recent musical action in the Beastie camp, causing some to write the group off as casualties of hip-hop evolution.

The group's DJ, Mix Master Mike, is currently on tour opening for Guns N' Roses, but is expected to join the Beasties in the sonic laboratory when he finishes the tour.

- By Jon Wiederhorn

November 21, 2002

Mariah Remakes Cam'ron Song, Drops Timberlake From New LP

World-traveling singer's Charmbracelet due December 10. As a world traveler who's been bouncing around to Paris, Miami, the Bahamas, Jamaica and most recently St. Tropez, Mariah Carey knows a thing or two about being relaxed and inspired by exotic locales.

But none of those spots, she said, have a thing on Italy, where she lived during the summer while recording parts of her upcoming Charmbracelet (December 10).

"This album is probably the most personal album I've ever made," she said. "I basically moved into the studio in Italy. I was writing songs in my little apartment upstairs, then I would go downstairs and record them at night. I had so much to say, [and] this was the perfect outlet for me to do that."

Charmbracelet's likely next single, "The One," was co-written with Jermaine Dupri. "It's a personal song," Mariah said. "I've been collaborating with Jermaine since we did 'Always Be My Baby' in 1996. So every time we do something together it's a special moment for me. The song is kinda about when you feel hurt in relationships in the past, and maybe you meet somebody and you want to get involved but you're unsure whether you should or not."

Mariah said the video will likely be directed by Joseph Kahn (DMX, Janet Jackson) on location in Japan.

For another track, "Oh Boy," Mariah looked to Cam'ron's Come Home With Me LP. "I redid Cam'ron's 'Oh Boy' for the record, and Cam'ron came out to Capri and did his rhyme out there. It's definitely one of my favorites, 'cause I love the original. It was cool to have him out there doing his thing in such a random environment."

Cam'ron wasn't the only member of Roc-A-Fella to record on the album. Jay-Z and Freeway appear on "You Got Me."

" 'You Got Me' is a song produced by Just Blaze," Carey explained. "We went in the studio after I heard the 'Oh Boy' track he did for Cam'ron 'cause I just loved it. This is kind of a signature Just Blaze track. We had Freeway on the song, and Jay-Z was in Capri this year taking a little vacation and he came and heard the song. He said he wanted to get on it."

One person who didn't make the album was Justin Timberlake. The two did work together, but Carey said their collaboration will appear in the future via a remix.

"Justin and I did a song together called 'Yours,' which is probably going to be on the remix of that song," she said. "He did an amazing job on the vocals and I was happy with what he did. It's sort of a romantic, mid tempo R&B record that Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis and I wrote together."

Besides working on her own disc, Carey has also gotten on the new Busta Rhymes album, It Ain't Safe No More, which drops November 26.

- By Shaheem Reid, with additional reporting by Jeff Cornell

Queen Latifah Arrested After Failing Sobriety Test

Highway patrol had pulled rapper/actress over for making unsafe lane change. The California Highway Patrol arrested Queen Latifah early Wednesday for driving under the influence of alcohol. The rapper/actress was pulled over about 3:15 a.m. for making an unsafe lane change and then failed a sobriety test, according to highway patrol spokesperson Alex Delgadillo.

Latifah, whose real name is Dana Owens, was driving a 2003 Cadillac Escalade in North Hollywood when the arrest occurred. She was transported to the Los Angeles Police Department's 77th Division headquarters, where she posted bail of about $2,500.

While she has not released a studio album since 1998's Order in the Court, Latifah released a compilation album of her Flavor Unit crew titled The Unit — 100% Hater Proof in October and has a greatest-hits package due in December. She also contributed to the hip-hop remix of last year's "What's Going On" benefit single.

These days, Latifah is better know for her acting, appearing in recent hits like "Brown Sugar" and "The Bone Collector." She will next appear in the upcoming musical "Chicago."

A spokesperson for Latifah did not have a comment.

- By Corey Moss

November 20, 2002

Ashanti, Eminem, Nelly Lead AMA Nominees

Ashanti leads the field for the 30th annual American Music Awards with nominations in five categories, followed closely by Eminem and Nelly, who each garnered four. Ashanti's self-titled Def Jam debut is up for favorite album in both the pop/rock and R&B/hip-hop categories; she is also nominated for best new artist in both genres. Ozzy Osbourne and his family will host the event, airing live Jan. 13 on ABC from Los Angeles' Shrine Auditorium.

Eminem and Nelly will battle for favorite pop/rock male artist and in both the pop/rock and R&B/hip-hop favorite album category for "The Eminem Show" (Shady/Interscope) and "Nellyville" (Fo' Reel/Universal), respectively.

Enrique Iglesias, Celine Dion, Pink, Creed, Linkin Park, B2K, Nappy Routs, Alan Jackson, Toby Keith, and Dixie Chicks all scored two nominations.

Nominees are compiled from music industry publications and the results are revealed at the ceremony. Winners are selected by a national sampling of about 20,000 listeners.

- By Jonathan Cohen

Rick James Denies Sex Assault Allegations

Singer Rick James, publicly confronting allegations that he recently sexually assaulted a 26-year-old woman at his home, appeared on Friday outside his lawyers' office in Los Angeles to say he is the victim of a financially motivated smear campaign. As previously reported, police went to James' home in California's San Fernando Valley Nov. 11 with a search warrant to investigate the allegations.

A spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Department confirmed that detectives were looking into allegations that James sexually assaulted the woman, but declined to provide further details of the case.

"Once the smoke has cleared the air, everyone will find out that these are just false allegations," the braided-haired entertainer said. "I feel good, I'm working on albums. I'm trying to be a father to my son and leave all the drugs alone."

His attorney, Steffeny Holtz, said the performer was cooperating with police who were investigating "allegations of battery being made by a former guest at his residence."

James and his lawyer said his fame, personal access and his criminal history -- he served two years in prison for a 1993 conviction on charges of assaulting two women -- made him an easy target for opportunists.

"I'm in a fish bowl, and sometimes you can pray to God all you want, and I do a lot of that, and sometimes the wrong people enter into your space, and they're money-hungry and greedy," said James, who wore a charcoal-colored suit, open-necked shirt, and purple-tinted sunglasses. "The police have been very, very helpful in this," he said. "They, like I, would like to get to the bottom of this and find out exactly where this is coming from."

The self-styled "King of Funk" made a comeback bid in 1996 after serving two years in prison for separate attacks on two women -- one at his home in the Hollywood Hills and the other at a luxury West Hollywood hotel, while under the influence of cocaine.

He released an album in 1997, but suffered a stroke in November 1998 caused by a condition known as "rock'n'roll neck," brought on by whiplash-like motion of the head and neck on stage.

- By Jonathan Cohen

November 19, 2002

Beyonce Working It With Missy Elliott On Solo Album

Destiny's Child singer's Dangerously in Love due in spring. Beyoncé Knowles spent the week working — or rather, working it — on her debut solo album with Timbaland and a certain supa dupa fly producer.

"We just did a song last night called 'Wrapped Around Me,' " revealed a sleepy Missy Elliott last week. "Basically, she's saying she's not an extra chick, like she don't have to do nothing extra, like, 'I'll still have you wrapped around me.' "

Elliott said she and Beyoncé were still feeling each other out but compared the Destiny's Child star to another R&B artist she's produced. "Destiny's Child are incredible as a group, ... but now it's like you see the maturity in Beyoncé," Elliott explained. "Now she's this grownup woman like [how] you witnessed Aaliyah from 'Back & Forth' to 'More Than a Woman.' Her album is incredible. The songs that she's recorded so far is hot."

Knowles has also recorded a duet with Luther Vandross for Dangerously in Love, due in the spring, and she said recently she's been brainstorming on a variety of other producers.

The singer will take a break in recording to embark on a short holiday tour with Destiny's Child beginning December 5 in Houston.

Elliott's Under Construction was released on Tuesday.

- By Corey Moss, with additional reporting by Minya Oh

Brandy Makes Recording Next Album A Family Affair

Husband, producer Robert Smith, sees the 'more street' LP out by spring. The Smiths are one big happy family. Brandy, her husband Robert and their five-month-old baby girl Sy'rai have been inseparable, spending the past couple of weeks in the studio together.

"We're four songs into it right now," Robert "Big Bert" Smith said of the follow-up to Full Moon last week. "We've been cutting some blazers. We have a couple of uptempo [tracks] and a couple of ballads. We'll probably be finished in another month and a half. As far as working in the studio, [Brandy]'s so focused. 'Let's get these joints done. Let's make them as hot as they can possibly be.' "

So far Brandy has only been working with her husband, but Timbaland will be checking in behind the boards soon.

"I'm pretty much overseeing the album, doing A&R," Smith said of his role. "[There are] going to be a few people [producing] on there. Right now we're gonna start off with me and Tim and see where we go from there. There's also gonna be a crazy [guest] appearance. We're trying to be creative. It's just coming up with who and what kind of song it's gonna be.

"We're going street this time," Smith explained of the LP's direction. "Radio is a little more urban now. The good thing about Brandy is that she has such a pretty voice. She's still gonna have that balance where she has those big, pretty songs, but it's gonna be a little more street. It's gonna be a great album."

Smith, who also produced tracks on the current albums from Kelly Rowland, Dave Hollister and Toni Braxton, says balancing family life with career has been no problem for the couple.

"We got a full-time nanny. It's fun. [Sy'rai's] the best baby in the world. She doesn't cry or nothing. Half the time I'm playing with her and recording at the same time. It's been real good. This is my first baby. Everyday it's been something new. It's amazing to watch that baby grow up. Brandy loves it. That's her life right there."

Smith expects Brandy's album to drop by spring 2003.

- By Shaheem Reid

November 18, 2002

In Wake Of Tha Row Raid, Five Suspects Still At Large

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said Friday it served only three of eight arrest warrants for conspiracy to commit murder. Five suspects are still at large in the investigation of a gang-related slaying that led to the raid of Marion "Suge" Knight's record label office and homes on Thursday.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said on Friday (November 15) it served only three of eight arrest warrants for conspiracy to commit murder at the 16 locations around Los Angeles and Las Vegas raided by more than 175 deputies.

Kordell Dupree Knox, a 37-year-old former sheriff's deputy, Michael Leroy Payne, 25, Theodore Peter Kelly, 29, and five other men are accused of plotting the June slaying of Eric Daniels in retaliation for the April killing of Tha Row employee Alton McDonald.

Although McDonald was allegedly with Knight the night Tupac Shakur was gunned down six years ago in Las Vegas, officials said Thursday's arrests were not related to the Tupac slaying.

The sheriff's department could not say whether the five at-large suspects are employees of Knight — who is not a suspect — nor could they elaborate on the relationship of Knox, Payne and Kelly to Knight, except that they are associates.

Knight, the hip-hop mogul behind the influential Death Row Records, had no comment on Friday.

- By Corey Moss

Eminem Wins Most MTV Europe Music Awards

Rapper takes three awards at the ceremony held in Barcelona. Like he does with the majority of his recent endeavors, Eminem made the most of the MTV Europe Music Awards, making good on three of his four nominations to lead the pack of winners.

Slim Shady picked up awards for Best Male Act, Best Hip-Hop Act, and Best Album, for The Eminem Show, at the ceremony, held Thursday (November 14) in Barcelona, Spain. Each time he took the podium to accept an honor, — with D12 member Proof in tow — Em made a point to thank Interscope Records, Dr. Dre, and his imprint Shady Records. He also shouted out to his daughter Hailie on his first trip to the stage and wished protégé Obie Trice a happy birthday in his final acceptance speech.

Sexy songbird Kylie Minogue, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Linkin Park were tied for second place in the awards race. Minogue walked off with honors for Best Dance Act and Best Pop Act; the Peppers were dubbed Best Live Act and Best Rock Act; and Linkin Park, whose sole present member DJ Joseph Hahn received a chorus of boos after his second acceptance speech consisted only of a mumbled "Thank you," won for Best Group and Best Hard Rock Act.

Although the band wasn't present at the ceremony, the Chili Peppers' taped acceptances were the most entertaining of the speeches. The first featured singer Anthony Kiedis standing front and center with the statuette hanging out of his fly, while Chad Smith provided dramatic drum fills and bassist Flea and guitarist John Frusciante stood on their heads in the background. The second one was even stranger. With Flea behind the kit, Kiedis gave thanks poetically in bursts and stops while standing on a riser above his bandmates. Smith concluded the "thank you" by banging on a cymbal with the award.

Initally evoking an image of the confident don, P. Diddy hosted the three-hour event with the requisite cavalcade of dumb jokes that mostly fell flat, not the least of which had him pretending to take a cell phone call from convicted shoplifter Winona Ryder, who wanted some free Sean John apparel. His constant costume changes ranged from a gold suit to a Run-DMC-esque leather hat and white T-shirt in honor of the late DJ Jam Master Jay.

Diddy was also responsible for the evening's most outrageous moment, which took place towards the end of the show. After describing his diamond-encrusted pinky ring, he offered it up to any woman who would get naked on stage. Almost before he finished speaking, a woman in the front row hopped up and shrugged off her dress, suddenly topless before the Bad Boy, a packed Palau Sant Jordi, and an estimated one billion people watching worldwide. She quickly snatched the ring and ran backstage, leaving many wondering if seamlessly-executed stunt was staged.

Besides scoring the most awards, Eminem also laid claim to one of the best performances of the evening. Clad in a black and white hooded sweatsuit, his rendition of "Cleaning Out My Closet" came off slightly lackluster, until the opening monologue of "8 Mile" soundtrack hit "Lose Yourself" began, at which point the crowd went absolutely nuts, singing along and moving their raised arms in unison.

Sung slightly off key, off-kilter Pink's three-song medley of "Get the Party Started," "Don't Let Me Get Me" and "Just Like a Pill" was clumsy and less-than-thrilling, despite the singer's revealing bondage-buckled corset. Speaking of which, the always demure — not! — Christina Aguilera performed "Dirrty" with Redman, wearing only black leather chaps, some sort of swath for a top and not much else.

Other performance highlights included Bon Jovi's "Everyday," Foo Fighters' "All My Life," Enrique Iglesias' "Love to See You Cry" with bits of Billy Idol's "White Wedding" thrown in; Whitney Houston's "Whatchulookinat"; Robbie Williams' "Feel," from his forthcoming album Escapology and Wyclef Jean's Tom Jones-inspired "Pussycat." Moby's rather rockin' "In My Heart" closed the show.

Shakira, who came into the evening tied with Eminem, Minogue, and Pink with four nominations, walked away empty handed.

Europe Music Awards 2002 Winners List:

  • Best Group: Linkin Park
  • Best Song: Pink "Get the Party Started"
  • Best Female Act: Jennifer Lopez
  • Best Male Act: Eminem
  • Best Album: Eminem The Eminem Show
  • Best New Act: The Calling
  • Best Hip-Hop Act: Eminem
  • Best R&B Act: Alicia Keyes
  • Best Rock Act: Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Best Dance Act: Kylie Minogue
  • Best Hard Rock Act: Linkin Park
  • Best Pop Act: Kylie Minogue
  • Best Live Act: Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Best Video: Röyksopp: "Remind Me"
  • Web Award: Moby.com
  • Best Nordic Act: Kent
  • Best UK Act: Coldplay
  • Best French Act: Indochine
  • Best Dutch Act: Brainpower
  • Best Italian Act: Subsonica
  • Best Spanish Act: Amaral
  • Best Polish Act: Myslovitz
  • Best German Act: Xavier Naidoo
  • Best Romanian Act: Animal X
  • Best Russian Act: Diskoteka Avariya

- By Joe D'Angelo

November 15, 2002

New York Tabloid Fingers Prime Suspect In Jam Master Jay Killing

Police can't confirm report naming Curtis Scoon that appeared in Sunday's New York Post. While theories concerning a lookout and prime suspect have surfaced in the fatal shooting of Run-DMC DJ Jam Master Jay, police will say only that their investigation continues, and that they have yet to name a suspect. Meanwhile, an additional $250,000 reward is being offered in hopes of bringing the culprits to justice.

The Sunday edition of the New York Post reported that an associate of the iconic DJ may have served as a lookout while Jay, born Jason Mizell, was shot to death.

The alleged associate is believed to have tipped the killers off when Jay arrived at his 24/7 studio in Queens, according to the Post. He then waited outside while the perpetrators committed the crime. The man believed to be an accomplice to Jay's murder is thought to be hiding out in Washington, D.C. He was only identified as "a convicted drug dealer."

The paper also said that Jam Master Jay may have been killed for a dispute over money, and fingered an individual named Curtis Scoon as the prime suspect in the investigation and the man wanted by police for questioning. In last Monday's New York Times, it was reported that police were hoping to question a man — only identified at the time as being from "the South" — in connection with the killing. The Times report said he had been feuding with the acclaimed turntable technician.

Attorney Marvyn Kornberg, who recently represented Justin Volpe in the Abner Louima assault case, said last week that a man believing he was the subject of the Times report acquired his services. Kornberg said his client will not be talking to police unless he is arrested and charged.

On Tuesday, Detective Bernard Porter Jr. of the 103rd precinct said he could not confirm the report about Scoon, and that police still did not have any suspects. They are still soliciting members of the community for information on Jam Master Jay's slaying.

"We're always interested in hearing what the streets are talking about who may have been involved," Porter said. "It's our job to prove or disprove what the streets are saying."

People may be enticed to come forward with a new reward that has been posted. Charles Fisher, founder and chairman of the Hip-Hop Summit Youth Council, said his organization recently received an anonymous donation of $250,000 to be used as reward money. This compensation is independent of the $62,000 that has already been put up by the New York Police Department and a coalition spearheaded by Russell Simmons.

Fisher, who started his organization shortly after Russell Simmons held the inaugural Hip-Hop Summit in June 2001, said the donor did not want to have any dealings with the authorities, but felt comfortable leaving the money in his care.

"He [said] he would be willing to support what we're doing and contributed this money for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the murderers of Jam Master Jay, but it would have to be through our private number [which is] 718-264-9092," Fisher said of the mystery person. "This is almost like the street tip line. Everything is confidential, you don't deal with law enforcement, you'll be dealing directly with the streets.

"People trust us enough to know that we have a working relationship with the police and we're like the press — we don't give up our sources," he continued. "But we turn information over to the police. We don't want to do the police's job, I'm not going out to arrest anybody. I just want the information."

Over the weekend, flyers were posted throughout Queens urging anyone who knew about the pioneer's slaying to contact the authorities. A $62,000 reward was listed as an incentive. "America's Most Wanted" also leant a hand to the investigation — the program ran a segment about the killing on Saturday.

Anyone with information can call the 103rd Precinct Detective Squad at (718) 657-8822 or Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS.

The Mizell family has said donations can be made to the Mizell Children's Fund, c/o Terri Corley-Mizell, P.O. Box 3497, New Hyde Park, NY 11040.

- By Shaheem Reid

Deputies Raid Tha Row's Offices, Suge Knight's Homes

Early-morning searches in Los Angeles, Las Vegas tied to murder investigation. Deputies arrested two men at Tha Row Records' Beverly Hills headquarters Thursday morning and seized several boxes of papers and computers in a massive raid that included 15 other locations, including homes in Los Angeles and Las Vegas owned or previously owned by label head Marion "Suge" Knight.

Three men, including one of the men detained at Tha Row's offices, were charged with conspiracy to commit murder.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department began the raid at 5 a.m. and said the arrests pertained to several ongoing investigations, including murder. Officials could not say whether the arrests were tied to the murders of Tupac Shakur and Christopher "Notorious B.I.G." Wallace.

"What I can say is there are some active investigations in Los Angeles County as to a number of crimes that occurred, and those investigations lead us here," Deputy Darren Harris, a spokesperson for the sheriff's department, explained. "I can't tell you that they are related to those crimes at this point because it's an ongoing active investigation."

Although deputies raided several of Knight's current and previous residences, Harris said he is not a suspect. Las Vegas police Sgt. Kevin Manning, chief investigator of Shakur's murder, told the Associated Press the raid of Knight's former home there had "nothing to do with the Tupac slaying."

Five men were arrested in the raids, which took place in Paramount, Compton, Linwood, Long Beach, Malibu, North Hollywood and Lakewood.

The men charged with conspiracy to commit murder are 25-year-old Michael Leroy Payne, 37-year-old Kordell Dupree Knox and 29-year-old Theodore Peter Kelly. Harris said they have been booked without bail. Knox is a former sheriff's deputy who was fired November 1 because of his suspected involvement in an assault with a deadly weapon, deputy Alba Yates told AP.

Kelly and 32-year-old Daryl Small, who was charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession, were arrested at Tha Row's offices. Another man, 35-year-old Deshone Lacey, was charged with cultivation of marijuana. Bail for the marijuana charges was set at $10,000.

Harris could not say where the other men were arrested.

The sheriff's department was aided in the raids by special weapons teams, homicide investigators and police in each of the cities, including Las Vegas. About 60 officers took part in the raid of Tha Row, which temporarily shut down Wilshire Boulevard and attracted a media blitz.

Deputies loaded computers and dozens of boxes from the offices into pickup trucks. Harris would not say what items were seized but said they're on a warrant issued by Judge John J. Cheroske of Compton Superior Court. No weapons were seized, he added. Seventeen warrants were issued, but one was not served for reasons Harris could not confirm.

Knight's lawyer, Arthur Barens, called the raids "totally inappropriate."

"We are disappointed that law enforcement has proceeded in such a heavy-handed nature, for instance by breaking in the doors of our office building, which was totally unnecessary," Barens said. "They simply could have waited until the office opened at 8 o'clock instead of breaking in at 6 o'clock and causing thousands of dollars of property damage to the building. They went to Suge's house, his wife is full-term pregnant and delivering a child in 10 days. They handcuffed his wife, made her wait outdoors at 6:30 in the morning in the cold. They found nothing, either in the office building or at the house."

Knight was released from prison in August 2001 after serving five years for violating probation by fighting at a Las Vegas hotel. The September 1996 scuffle in the MGM Grand casino occurred just hours before Shakur was killed in a drive-by shooting as he rode in Knight's car.

- By Corey Moss, with additional reporting by Ryan J. Downey

November 13, 2002

K-Ci & JoJo Talk New LP, Explain Pants-Dropping Incident

Duo's fourth record, Emotional, drops November 26. There's no hidden meaning in the title of K-Ci & JoJo's upcoming album, Emotional.

"We have a lot of songs dealing with a lot of emotions," K-Ci explained of the duo's fourth record, due November 26. "K-Ci & JoJo do songs about what goes on in relationships, it don't necessarily have to be about our personal experiences. We just want to write songs people can relate to."

For instance, Emotional's Rodney Jerkins-produced mid-tempo first single, "It's Me," is about discovering your lover is a gold digger. Nzingha Stewart (Bilal, Common) directed the video.

One subject that didn't come up in writing material for the album is K-Ci's arrest last year for indecent exposure. The singer said the incident was a misunderstanding and he hasn't thought about it much since.

"What happened was, if you know K-Ci & JoJo, you know I love to go into the audience," he explained. "And what happened was I jumped in and got back onstage, and without my knowledge they had ripped my belt off. My pants were soaking wet and falling down and I don't know what happened, but I would never do anything like that. There wasn't nothing but kids in the audience. I'm a proud father of two children and I would never disrespect someone else's children."

"This Very Moment," a ballad K-Ci likened to their hit "All My Life," will be the second single. Written and produced by backup singer Tim Owens, the song will also appear on the soundtrack to the LL Cool J film "All About Eva."

Other producers on Emotional include Mike "Smoove" Bell, Babyboy and Babyface, who collaborated on "Down for Life."

"Face respects our talent, that's why I love working with him," JoJo said. "He'll put you on that street, but you need to know when to stop and when to go and how fast to drive. He lets you get involved and be yourself."

K-Ci & JoJo will promote the follow-up to 2000's X with a tour set to kick off next year with Gerald Levert and Dave Hollister. "We're going to call it Ladies Night or Ladies Only," JoJo said.

The duo, brothers Cedric and Joel Hailey, have also written more than 100 songs with Dalvin DeGrate and DeVante Swing for the first album from Jodeci in seven years, due next spring.

"It's going to sound like [classic] Jodeci," K-Ci said. "We don't want no outside producers, nothing but ourselves."

- By Corey Moss

Ludacris Raises Funds For Kids, Promises Hard Next Album

Rapper's charitable foundation plans major fundraiser. As Ludacris' entertainment career branches out, so does his charity. The Ludacris Foundation, which has supported other kids' charities since it launched a year ago, has announced its first major fundraiser in Atlanta on February 5, just before NBA All-Star Weekend.

While the line-up for the event has not yet been announced, a spokesperson for the foundation said talented kids from the area will be involved. Meanwhile, the rapper is hosting workshops this month at the Boys and Girls Club in Miami, where he is filming "The Fast and the Furious 2".

"We basically workin' with a lot of kids in the community ... we sponsor a lot of things as far is getting kids off the street," Ludacris said during a recent set visit. "Whatever time of the year it is, we wanna help out. Whether it's Thanksgiving, whether it's Christmas, it's all about giving back, and a lot about helping kids help themselves."

In the past, Ludacris, whose began his music career as an intern at an Atlanta radio station, has hosted motivational speaking events with organizations such as the Delaney House, the Red Cross and Gilda's House. The Ludacris Foundation also sponsored a basketball team at the For the Good of the Neighborhood organization's annual tournament in New York.

Ludacris said his third album, Chicken and Beer, is due next spring.

"It's gonna be the greatest album you ever heard in your life," he promised. "We just recording hella songs. We don't know exactly what we gonna choose just yet, so just know it's gonna be the hardest album you ever heard."

- By Corey Moss

November 12, 2002

Jay-Z Speaks On Beef With Nas, Links With 'Austin Powers'

Competition sparks the rapper's creativity. You knew he had beef with Nas, but who would have guessed Jay-Z could count Austin Powers and Foxxy Cleopatra among his allies? It's enough to make Dr. Evil hold a pinky to his lips. "We're just trying to create a 'Six Degrees of Separation' with Mike Myers and the whole thing," Jay-Z said on Thursday (November 7), describing the title track of his upcoming album, The Blueprint 2: The Gift and the Curse.

On "Blueprint 2," the Jiggaman sparks up another round with Nas and does his best Austin Powers impersonation, using the British agent's catchphrase, "Oh behave!" Jay's album also features Beyoncé Knowles, who starred as Foxxy Cleopatra in "Austin Powers in Goldmember," the 2002 film that won laughs with Austin's rendition of "Hard Knock Life." Hmm.

"Nah, it just came together like that," Jay said, explaining the connection. "That movie was coming out when I was making that song, so I was influenced by that. It just all ties in together."

"You have to understand that what we had as rappers was exactly what it is," he explained of his never-ending lyrical feud with Nas a few weeks ago in New York. "It's music. It's just us being creative. We're competitive at what we do. That is what rap music was built on — 'I'm better than you,' you know? We just had a full-on clash, so I don't know. It might go on forever.

"It's not a violent thing, it's a music thing," he continued. "I think it helps. I think it helped the guy out; I think he made better music. It's doing a great job for me, because after making so many albums, you need something to spark you."

There's no end in sight to Jay and Nas' lyrical entanglement. On "Blueprint 2," Jay accuses his verbal adversary of being a hypocrite and tries to expose him.

"Can't y'all see that he's fake/ The rap version of T.D. Jakes ..." Jay rhymes on the song. "Y'all buy into this sh-- , caught up in the hype/ 'Cause a ni---a wear a kufi/ Don't mean that he right/ 'Cause you don't understand him/ Don't mean that he's nice/ It just means you don't understand all the bullsh-- that he writes."

- By Shaheem Reid, with additional reporting by Sway Calloway and Curtis Waller

Kurupt Hits Big Screen, Talks Lisa Lopes Album, Tha Row

Rapper puts music aside for roles on big screen and as senior VP of Tha Row. Don't look for lyrical assassin Kurupt to be shooting off at the mouth on his own album anytime soon. He's focusing on his acting career and helping Suge Knight put out some long-discussed releases from Tha Row.

"Right now I'm just sitting behind that desk, I'm planning on chilling out for a little bit," he said last week, via phone from Los Angeles. "I'm going to concentrate on these movies and running this company side by side with Suge. I'm the Senior Vice President of Death Row.

"We're patching up Crooked I's album right now," he continued. "The first release is going to be Lisa 'Left Eye' Lopez's album. The N.I.N.A. album, that's the first record we are going to release from the company."

Kurupt said Suge is going to have the final decision on the album's title. He wasn't sure of the LP's release date because Missy Elliott and 'NSYNC were still adding guest vocals to tracks ("We just really waiting on those last two records before we lock down the album and call it complete," he said). He was certain, however, that the first single was called "Untouchable."

"The first single is basically Tupac and Lisa," Kurupt revealed. "All Lisa wanted was a record with Pac. She loved Pac. They were real close friends. And we brought that dream to life. We felt it was only right that the first release on this record is in dedication to the two fallen soldiers from our company."

Another song off the album Kurupt is excited about is "Friends."

"["Friends"] is really about a relationship with a girl and a boy, showing how they separated and how no matter what, the girl was with him," he said. "She is really sincere about herself with him. He's out there f---ing around. They break up and even through all this heartbreak and all this name-calling he was doing with her, she still accepted him back in the end. It's such a big record. Its what I would describe as a classic TLC record. This is like Lisa's 'Waterfalls.' It's so big."

Tha Row didn't want to make a big deal loading the long-anticipated album up with cameos.

"We kept it really closed circuit; we didn't want to Hollywood it out," Kurupt explained. "We just let certain people get involved into it. People that we know Lisa respected, business or musically-wise. Or you gotta be a friend of Lisa's. Missy was real close with Lisa, and Lisa loved some 'NSYNC, so we were definitely with that right there. But as far just loading it up with a gang of people to make a gang of noise, nah. We really want everybody to concentrate on Lisa. She was not for play. And when people hear this record, they are going to see a whole different side of Lisa rap-wise because she really put that pen to work."

When he gets a chance to get outside of the office, chances are you'll find him on the movie set. "Half Past Dead", where he co-stars as Twitch with Steven Seagal, Morris Chestnut and Ja Rule hits theaters November 15. Meanwhile, he's filming "Two Cops" with Harrison Ford, Master P., Gladys Knight and Josh Hartnett . That movie and "Dark Blue," where Kurupt shares screen time with Ving Rhames and Kurt Russell, are slated to drop in 2003.

- By Shaheem Reid

November 8, 2002

'Run-DMC Is Officially Retired,' Says Rev Run

Run says he can't imagine performing again without the group's three original members.Many people who love Run-DMC will tell you that there would be no group without Jam Master Jay, and that the DJ was the backbone of the trio. On Wednesday morning Reverend Run told a room full of people just how indispensable Jason Mizell was: Without their slain friend, Run and DMC have decided to end their 19-year run rocking the microphone.

"The thing that I recognize is that we were just on tour with Aerosmith and Kid Rock and we can't perform anymore," Run said in the Majestic East Room at the Rihga Royal Hotel. "Nobody wants to see Run and DMC without Jay. Jay was definitely one third of the group. People might see us on television and be wondering if Jay was a significant part of the group. Yes, he was.

"We split this money three ways," Run continued with DMC nodding his head in agreement in the back. "We're not able to go back out in December with Kid Rock and Aerosmith, and that was a big break for us. We had an endorsement deal with Dr. Pepper, we can't make those commercials now. Run-DMC is officially retired. I can't get out onstage with a new DJ. Some rock bands can replace the drummer, but I don't know any other way but [to perform] with the three original members. We're retired, does anybody have a job out there?"

Run-DMC, Russell Simmons, P. Diddy, Chuck D, Doug E. Fresh, Foxy Brown, Juelez Santana, Andre Harrell, Spinderella, Busta Rhymes and BET's Big Tigga were those on hand to announce their unified efforts to not only aid Jam Master Jay's family, but to help bring his killers to justice and promote peace.

"As you know, the funeral was yesterday and we didn't want to wait one day to deal forthrightly with making sure that the family of Jam Master Jay does not have any debt," Minister Benjamin Chavis said. "We're standing together in unity, taking our responsibility and we're also here today to announce our plans to launch a street campaign to keep the legacy of Jam Master Jay positive."

Russell Simmons announced a $50,000 contribution by LL Cool J and listed Dr. Dre, Eminem, Interscope Records, Murder Inc. Records, BET, The Source, XXL, Redman, Method Man, Busta Rhymes, Kid Rock and Aerosmith as contributors to the effort. Besides paying for the Mizells' $250,000 house and college funds for Jay's three sons, $50,000 is also being set aside for a reward to be given to anyone who has information leading to the arrest of the killers.

"The legacy of Jam Master Jay has to continue and the history of Jam Master Jay has to be told," said a visibly distraught Ed Lover. "Everybody that's in the industry right now that's living well and living in mansions and driving nice cars and feeding their families, have to realize that if wasn't for Jay, none of us would be eating the way we're eating. That's why it's so important that his wife eats and his kids go to school and get that education."

Simmons praised the NYPD for their handling of the case and asked people in the community to step up and help the authorities with information. Chuck D called on rappers to be more responsible, not only with their music but in reaching out and speaking to the public.

"I don't live in penthouses, suites, $300 hotel rooms," Chuck D scolded. "I'm in the communities from here to across the Pacific and see people that only listen to and watch rappers. It's no reason for us to not be men and women. Yes, we do control the climate. Understand we have the ears of the people, we have to be men and women. I don't want to ruin the atmosphere, but Run, Jay and DMC made it possible for everybody."

"Rap is indifferent," chimed in Run, "it's about whose hands it is in. This shooting, this murder, has nothing to do with rap music. It has to do with an angry, sick mind."

One hundred thousand flyers will hit the streets on Wednesday to spread the word of the coalition's efforts. They will contain the words "The Positive Legacy of Hip-Hop, Jam Master Jay, Jan. 21, 1965-Oct. 30, 2002." Also listed on the flyer is information about where people can send donations to the family, and the police hotline number, 800-577-TIPS.

The Mizell family has said donations can be made to the Mizell Children's Fund, c/o Terri Corley-Mizell, P.O. Box 3497, New Hyde Park, NY 11040.

- By Shaheem Reid

Bobby Brown Arrested For Drug Possession, Speeding

Singer pulled over early Thursday morning in Atlanta. Singer Bobby Brown was arrested on Thursday morning in Atlanta for speeding, driving without a valid license and possession of marijuana.

Brown was driving in his black Cadillac Escalade SUV on Peachtree Road in the tony Buckhead area of Atlanta at around 2:35 a.m. Police clocked him at 52 miles per hour in a 35 mph zone, and proceeded to arrest the singer not only for speeding, but, upon further inspection, for driving without a valid license and possession of less than an ounce of pot, according to a police department spokesperson.

At around 10 a.m., Brown posted his $1,300 bail and was released ... directly into the hands of Atlanta's neighboring DeKalb County authorities. Brown had failed to appear in DeKalb County Court after a 1997 arrest for similar offenses: DUI, speeding and "failure to maintain lane."

Brown quickly posted a $10,000 bond and was released. The DeKalb County hearing is set for Friday afternoon, where the "Thug Lovin' " singer may face either a fine or jail time.

While hitting two jails before noon certainly doesn't sound like a day at the beach, at least Brown was amongst friends. Said one Atlanta Police Department rep, "Oh yeah, we know Bobby quite well around here. He comes through here often."

Bobby Brown's spokespeople did not return calls by press time.

- By Minya Oh

November 7, 2002

K-Ci & JoJo Get 'Emotional' On New Disc

R&B duo K-Ci & JoJo (brothers Cedric and Joel Hailey) returns Nov. 26 with its fourth MCA album, "Emotional." The set is preceded by the single "It's Me," which is No. 11 on Billboard's Bubbling Under R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart. It's the pair's first album since 2000's "X," which debuted at No. 3 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.

The new disc boasts production from a slew of writers/producers, including Babyface, Mike "Smoove" Bell, Tim Owens, Rodney Jerkins, Babyboy, and the Underdogs. Besides "It's Me," other album tracks include "Special," the hip-hop themed "Baby, Yeah, Yeah (Movin' It)," and ballad "This Very Moment."

"This CD is so special because we had almost total control over it," K-Ci said in a statement. "When we weren't writing or producing, we chose who did, and we chose the songs." The pair recorded "Emotional" at their home recording studio in Los Angeles throughout 2002. The duo are planning a tour in support of the new album, while K-Ci has his sights set on recording a solo album in the near future.

K-Ci ran into a bit of legal trouble in December 2000 while performing in support of "X" at Los Angeles radio station KIIS-F.M.'s annual holiday concert. The artist flashed the audience and was later charged with 23 counts of indecent exposure. In July 2001, he was sentenced to two years probation. 

- By Troy Carpenter

Eminem Hits Big Screen

8 Mile mirrors rapper's own life."Compared to Eminem, Kurt Cobain was an optimist." - Dave Marsh, rock writer emeritus.

Ever have one of those days when you can't get a particularly annoying ABBA tune out of your head? They have a drug for that now, you know.

On the other hand, you could try our method for coping on those days when some heinous pop song keeps playing over and over and over and over and over in our minds - and no, it doesn't involve guns, but thanks for asking. What we do when the mental turntable just won't stop is this: We think about Eminem. We think about his music. We think about what a big huge star he's going to be.

You thought he was already a big, huge star? Wait until 8 Mile, his first movie, opens this Friday.

Directed by Curtis Hanson (Wonder Boys) and produced by Oscar-winner Brian Grazer (A Beautiful Mind), 8 Mile was screened as a work-in-progress during the Toronto film festival, and those fortunate enough to have seen Mr. Marshall Mathers's screen debut will tell you that he is very good. So is the movie, although we are not allowed to say that, officially, for another six days.

Named for the street that separates mostly black Detroit from its mostly white suburbs, 8 Mile has Eminem growing up as trailer trash and longing to do better in life. He wants to be a rap star and leave off being a factory worker; the film is autobiographical to some extent.

But inquiring minds want to know: autobiographical to what extent, exactly? What are the facts on this guy who has happily called himself white trash and whose lyrics, if you only hear them on radio, are all bleeps?

"My character, Jimmy, is really hotheaded," says Eminem of his 8 Mile movie character, "which is how I used to be, and I guess still can be at times."

That's Eminem talking, either directly to us or via the magical and mysterious medium of movie production notes. We'll let you guess.

Hotheaded? This guy almost went to jail for pistol-whipping some guy who kissed his ex-wife. He's no stranger to hand weapons in general; he sings about killing and maiming and he dissed his own mom so much in song that she sued him, even though close friends attest to the fact that Marshall's mom is somewhat out there. Come on - mom is played by Kim Basinger in 8 Mile. What does that tell you?

He doesn't get along with his grandma too well, either.

The Marshall Mathers III biography we're all meant to accept has our hero growing up in a broken home, moving a lot, getting picked on at school and finally dropping out after failing ninth grade three times. (This is not entirely a reflection of academic skill - at Mathers's high school, anyone who was absent more than 10 days had to repeat the whole year. He could do the absent thing with ease.)

He grew up on the mostly black east side of Detroit, though Mathers was actually born in Kansas City. His dad left when he was a few months old and they have never crossed paths again. He has a half-brother.

Mathers was nine years old when his favourite uncle first got him to listen to rap and hip hop. (That uncle, Ronnie, killed himself, an incident that is said to have devastated Mathers.)

Time passed. On the romantic front, Mathers had a girlfriend named Kim Scott, who was with him 11 years. They eventually got married, though that lasted only a year before their mondo bizarro divorce. They actually met at Lincoln high school (don't be absent!) in 1989. The former Mrs. Mathers actually looks quite a bit like Eminem, only she's taller and is usually photographed wearing too much lip liner. They share custody of their daughter, Hailie Jade, who is almost seven.

Eminem adores his little girl and has said, "I don't cuss around my daughter." So there you go.

Other facts? He has a very nice nose. His real hair colour is brown. When he played at the SkyDome in Toronto two years ago, Ontario's then attorney general Jim Flaherty asked the federal Immigration Department to stop him at the border so he couldn't come to Toronto. At the time, Mayor Mel Lastman said Eminem's music was not entertainment. He said those who went to the concert should be ashamed of themselves. What prompted this? Did Eminem sing about appliances or something? We will never know, but you can't buy that kind of fab publicity, ladies and gents.

Eminem is now 29. Why, you might ask, does he have three different names? Slim Shady is the name he says he gave his anger, his temper. Eminem is the rapper, with Slim being the attitude behind the rapper. Marshall Mathers is the real him. At least, that's what he told Spin magazine.

On the career front, our lad has scored. The Slim Shady LP sold seven million copies worldwide. The Marshal Mathers album sold up there, too. Eminem has won a pack of Grammys for best rap album and best rap solo performance, though why he won in those categories is more about the weirdness of the Grammy Awards than it is about his popularity or his music.

Anyway, he has also won MTV and Billboard music awards. His band, D-12, has a debut recording called Devil's Night that has sold three or four million copies globally. Eminem exec-produced the LP.

The Eminem Show, his newest album, is one of the top-selling recordings of the year. The release date of The Eminem Show had to be moved up a week because bootleg copies of the album were already appearing on the Internet.

According to Time magazine, Eminem's response to the bootleggers was, "Whoever put my s--- on the Internet, I want to meet that motherf----- and beat the s--- out of him."

This language caused all manner of tsk-tsking and concern, except to anyone who's ever worked in a newsroom, a police station or a hospital operating room, where everybody talks s--- like that all the f------ time.

Eminem's objective, musically speaking, seems to be to scare the grown-ups, but some of us grown-ups have never been afraid of him or his lyrics. Worse yet - for Eminem - some grown-ups are actually interested in his music, his various personae and even most of his lyrics. Now, that's scary.

He once said of the fans who stop him on the street, "I try to be nice, but there are times I have snapped and pulled guns out on them."

How could anyone not love this guy?

- By Liz Braun

November 6, 2002

Jam Master Jay Laid To Rest; Hip-Hop Legends, Fans Pay Tribute

Doug E. Fresh, Kurtis Blow, Foxy Brown among those in attendance at Tuesday's funeral for the Run-DMC DJ. Whether they were family, friends or fans, they all came out to express their love for the man who touched their lives in some way, Jam Master Jay. The DJ who helped introduce hip-hop to the masses was laid to rest in Queens on Tuesday.

Outside the Greater Allen Cathedral of New York it looked like it could have been the premiere of "Krush Groove," as such hip-hop legends as Doug E. Fresh, Russell Simmons, EPMD, Queen Latifah, A Tribe Called Quest, Kurtis Blow, Chuck D, Whodini and Pepa walked a red carpet into the church along with Jay's family and the rest of his friends.

Some of those who weren't able to make it sent their condolences along with elaborate floral arrangements, one of which was shaped like two turntables with records on them. "Love and Respect," read a grouping of flowers sent by LL Cool J. "Hollis," read another. One person sent a mural of the Jam Master as most people remember him, wearing an Adidas jogging suit, the trademark Run-DMC black godfather hat and a thick gold chain. "R.I.P. JMJ," it read on the top left corner.

Some in the funeral congregation paid homage to Jay by wearing black leather pants and jackets and white Adidas without shoelaces.

From the onset of the ceremony, the Rev. Dr. Floyd H. Flake let people know they weren't in for a morning of sadness.

"He didn't live a long life," Flake said. "But he lived well by the people whose lives he touched. We are here to celebrate his life."

Jay's longtime good friend, the Rev. Run, who gave the Prayer of Comfort, echoed Flake's sentiments. He compared JMJ to someone who builds houses and then leaves when the job is finished.

"Jay helped build hip-hop, and now he's gone," Run said. He also urged people not to question why such a good person was gone, but to question why they are here and what they can contribute to society.

"I wasn't going to say this," Run continued, "but this is Jay's biggest hit with all the love and support we've been getting."

DMC later came up to speak and promised not to let the media portray hip-hop as something negative and violent. He also painted a picture of Jay as a man of peace and said others should follow in his footsteps.

"Jay was not a thug," he told the packed church. "Jam Master Jay was a B-boy. Jam Master Jay was the embodiment of hip-hop. ... Hip-hop manifested was Jam Master Jay. He was never a sucka MC, perpetratin' a fraud."

Gospel great Pastor Donnie McClurkin also contributed with a stirring performance of "We Fall Down."

After the ceremony, people including Foxy Brown, old school DJ AJ and Run-DMC biographer Bill Adler took time to embrace old friends. Merrick Boulevard seemed twice as packed as it was in the early morning, when hundreds were lining up as early as 8 a.m. to attend the funeral, which was open to the public.

"He was beautiful man," a numb Treach of Naughty by Nature said after the service. "Jay was one of the kindest-hearted people I met in hip-hop. I never seen him raise his voice, always seen him smiling."

"I think today's service was very nice," Doug E. Fresh said. "The way they put it together, with the preachers and ministers coming together from all religious backgrounds, that showed the unity that Run-DMC represented. I liked what Run said as far as this being a celebration of life and this was 'Jay's hit.' He made us look at it from another perspective. I loved what DMC said. He was very moving and it was very honest. To see all the different entertainers and the regular day-to-day people that just got love for Run-DMC come out. ... It's sad that it has to be because of his passing, but we can use this to make change for the better."

"Before we even went on tour with Run-DMC, we used to mimic them in the mirror, buy their posters," said EPMD's Parrish Smith. "This is like the bloodline of hip-hop has been shaken. Us as a whole, we're gonna bring forth some type of change and educate the youth."

"This is like a John Lennon of hip-hop," Parrish's partner Erick Sermon declared. "You saw the effect at the wake last night and today, it's like 10,000 people."

"For people that didn't know what that man meant to hip-hop, now they know," EPMD's DJ Scratch said. "It's like a president died, that's how many people are out here. The streets are blocked off and everything."

"I knew Run-DMC for 18 years," said Tyrone Williams, founder of former hip-hop powerhouse label Cold Chillin'. "Run-DMC and my artist Roxanne Shante would always do shows together. Jay would be more the one to be like, 'Let's go to the Waffle House, without security.' Not that the other ones weren't down-to-earth, but he was the most down-to-earth. A distinguished member of hip-hop got shot for no reason.

"The turnout was going to be huge because of the love everybody had for him," Williams continued. "It's not superficial starstruck garbage. People genuinely loved Jay." "Jam Master Jay was the foundation of Run-DMC," said 20-year-old Carin Moore of Queens, "and they were the kings of hip-hop. They showed us that, yeah, you can make it without having to sell drugs. I never met him, but he just inspired everyone. He deserved to have all his fans show up to his funeral and pay respect."

Wednesday's murder of Jason Mizell, better known to the world as Jam Master Jay, shocked everyone. During his 19 years in the spotlight, he touched countless people as a DJ with Run-DMC and as a man of the community. He lived his whole life in Queens, and right up to the end the 37-year-old was doing what he enjoyed: helping to create music in the studio.

Of all the accolades he's received, perhaps nobody said it better than DMC and the funeral congregation he beckoned to join in: "Jam Master Jay, that is his name/ And all wild DJs he will tame/ Behind the turntables is where he stands/ Then there is the movement of his hands/ So when asked who's the best, y'all should say, 'Jason Mizell ... Jam Master Jay!' "

The Mizell family has said donations can be made to the Mizell Children's Fund, c/o Terri Corley-Mizell, P.O. Box 3497, New Hyde Park, NY 11040.

- By Shaheem Reid

Ashanti, Keys, Solange 'Proud' Participants In Animated Series

Latest round of musical guests on 'The Proud Family' also includes Mos Def, 3rd Storee. Penny, Bee Bee, Cee Cee, Trudy and Oscar have more reason than ever to be proud.

The clan from the animated series "The Proud Family" is about to be visited by some of pop and R&B's biggest stars, including Ashanti, Alicia Keys and Solange Knowles, according to a Disney Channel spokesperson.

Not only does Solange perform the show's theme song with a little help from big sister Beyoncé's Destiny's Child, the 16-year-old up-and-comer will surface in the episode "Behind Family Lines," scheduled to air December 13. Knowles lends her voice to Penny's snotty cousin Chanel, who winds up being the catalyst for a sweeping change of attitude at a chaotic family gathering.

Ashanti, with a relatively lighter itinerary than she had right after releasing her multiplatinum self-titled debut, also found time to tape an episode. In "It Takes a Thief" she portrays a store manager who hires Penny for an after-school job. When some items turn up missing, a moral lesson on shoplifting soon follows. The episode will be part of the show's third season, expected to launch next year.

If the voice of a judge on "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly," — a riff on the reality talent show "American Idol" — sounds like it's in A minor, it's because the real-life pipes behind the animated adjudicator belong to ivory-ticklin' B-girl Alicia Keys. Scheduled to tape November 20, Keys' episode will also air next year.

"The Proud Family" chronicles the life of 14-year-old Penny Proud as she copes with her family, friends and school. The show recognized the value of musical guest stars early on when an episode featuring the voice of Lil' Romeo garnered the series' highest ratings.

Rapper/poet/actor Mos Def's cameo precedes the pack when his episode, which finds him in a creative stretch playing himself as the host of a poetry slam, airs Friday.

Contemporary gospel singer Kirk Franklin and R&B pop quintet 3rd Storee are also set to appear in next season episodes.

"The Proud Family" airs Fridays at 7p.m. on the Disney Channel.

- By Joe D'Angelo

November 5, 2002

Police Optimistic About Finding Jam Master Jay's Killer

Detective confident someone will come forward with information to help solve case. While Jam Master Jay's family moves ahead with plans for a public memorial, police investigating Wednesday night's fatal shooting of the hip-hop legend are optimistic about their chances of finding his killer.

"I am confident that being the person who [Jay] was and the legacy he left, that the person who has the information will do the right thing and come forward and help us out," said detective Bernard Porter Jr., who is investigating the homicide.

"If [Jay] was just a street guy who was in the mix and at the wrong place at the wrong time, it would take longer to solve. We are expecting help from the community," Porter said. "That phone call might come five minutes from now, it might come tomorrow, it might come a few days from now. One thing I feel good about is that it's gonna come because of who Jay was. He was loved and respected. People might come forward with information, they might not be doing it for any personal gain, they'll be doing it for him."

Porter said police have recovered ballistic evidence from the crime scene but could not divulge what was found. He would also not discuss how many others were in the studio at the time of the attack besides Jay (born Jason Mizell) and Uriel Rincon, who was shot in the leg and survived.

Porter did say the two assailants were buzzed in to the building, located at 90-10 Merrick Blvd. in Jay's hometown of Queens. But police don't know if the perpetrators were allowed in from the studio or from one of two other businesses that share space in the building.

The detective said investigators have encountered nothing but cooperation so far. "The folks we've been speaking to have been cooperative based on the fact that they love and respect Jay," Porter explained. "What we've found is that he's very beloved, not just in Queens but all over the country, probably around the world".

Police give no credence to tabloid suggestions that Mizell's death was related to a rap rivalry. "It's unfortunate and it's got to be hurtful to his friends in the hip-hop community that [some in the media say] it 's a rap war, condemning him and his profession," Porter said. "We're not doing that."

The community is welcome to say a final farewell to Jay on Monday and Tuesday in Queens. The family will hold a wake on Monday at the Jay Foster-Phillips Funeral Home, 179-24 Linden Blvd. Public viewing will take place from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The funeral will follow on Tuesday at 10 a.m. at the Allen A.M.E Cathedral, 110-31 Merrick Blvd.

The Mizell family has said that donations can be made to the Mizell Children's Fund, c/o Terri Corley-Mizell, P.O. Box 3497, New Hyde Park, NY 11040.

- By Shaheem Reid

New Tupac Tracks Roll Out On Another Posthumous Double Album

Six years after the rapper's murder, his output continues. More than six years after the death of Tupac Shakur another posthumous double album from the influential rapper is being released.

Better Dayz, due November 26, follows on the heels of last year's triple platinum Until the End of Timeand finds a storm of rappers contributing additional vocals to tracks Tupac recorded just before his murder on September 13, 1996.

Anthony Hamilton sings on the first single, "Thugz Mansion," which hit the airwaves on Monday, according to a spokesperson for the project. Nas, Trick Daddy, Mya, Ronald "Mr. Biggs" Isley, Tyrese and the Outlawz are featured elsewhere on the 20-track collection, which features production work from 7 Aurelius (Ja Rule), Jazze Pha (Ludacris) and Frank Nitty (Big Punisher).

Suge Knight and Tupac's mother, Afeni Shakur, executive produced the album, some of the proceeds of which will benefit the Tupac Shakur foundation.

Tupac's music continues to have an incredible influence on popular music, as is evident by Jay-Z's and Toni Braxton's latest singles, which both sample "Me & My Girlfriend".

Better Dayz also comes at a time of peak interest over the rapper's murder, which was the subject of a recent controversial Los Angeles Times investigative report and a documentary.

Since his death, several albums by Tupac have been released, including Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory under the name Makaveli, a greatest-hits package and a collaboration album with the Outlawz.

The Tupac Shakur Foundation, which provides training to aspiring artists, is planning to open the Tupac Amaru Shakur Center for the Arts (TASCA), which will include a museum of the rapper's work and artifacts, in 2003.

- By Corey Moss

November 1, 2002

Jam Master Jay, Run-DMC DJ, Killed In Shooting

Jason Mizell died in shooting at Queens studio, according to group's camp.   Legendary hip-hop DJ Jam Master Jay of Run-DMC was shot and killed in Queens on Wednesday (October 30), according to police.

Authorities confirmed that Jay, born Jason Mizell, was fatally shot inside a studio on Merrick Boulevard at 7:30 p.m. local time. Another victim, Urieco Rincon, was shot in the leg. Rincon, 25, is listed in stable condition at an area hospital.

Mizell, 37, is survived by his wife, three sons, mother, brother and sister.

Around 9 p.m., during a concert at the Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhattan, fellow hip-hop icon Big Daddy Kane informed spectators that he just had gotten word that "something happened" to Jay, though he did not know at the time if it was true. He then went on to pay homage to deceased rap greats Tupac Shakur, Freaky Tah, Notorious B.I.G., Big Punisher and Big L.

A few blocks away, at the opening of Russell Simmons' "Def Poetry Jam," the media mogul was visibly distraught.

"We'll never have a band," Simmons' brother, Run, said in a 1988 interview before pointing to Jay, his one-man sound machine. "That's our band."

"Such a good person," Funkmaster Flex said of Jay on his radio show Wednesday night. "Sometimes when we talk about people passing away, sometimes you forget to say you miss a good person. ... For us who knew Jay and other artists who knew Jay, [he] may be one of the few people who embraced things that are new, from artists to DJs. He's one of the people from the early '80s who has a relationship with a lot of artists [from the old school and new school]."

"If you love this hip-hop thing like I love this hip-hop thing, it's a sad day," Big Daddy Kane's longtime DJ, Mr. Cee, urged as he fought back tears throughout Flex's show. "This has to stop, not just in hip-hop, but all over. This violence is just crazy. It's unreal."

"Hip-hop has to take a moment to recognize that we lost one of the gurus of the game," wrote Farai, 22, of Indianapolis to MTV News' You Tell Us forum.

"I just loved the fact that while he was dropping the craziest hardcore heart poundin' beats, that classic smile never left his face," wrote Matt, 32, from Boston. "God bless you, Jay."

For close to 20 years, Jam Master Jay, Run (Joseph Simmons) and DMC (Darryl McDaniels) have been touching the lives of multitudes of fans who include their peers and associates in the music industry. Their brash b-boy style introduced hip-hop to the MTV audience with classic clips such as "Rock Box," "King of Rock" and "Walk This Way," which also resuscitated Aerosmith's careers.

"That's Run-DMC's mission," DMC said in a 1988 interview. "Let everyone know this is music. It's the most exciting form, the most educational, the most vivid and visual."

It wasn't just the swinging gold chains, the Adidas sneakers or the black jogging and leather suits. Fans fell in love with Run's sheer audacity and charisma, DMC's depth and strength and the Jam Master's skills. His scratching and mixing exhibitions on songs such as "Jam Master Jay," "Sucker MCs" and "Peter Piper" (which Missy Elliott uses a portion of on her latest single, "Work It") were as influential on future turntablists as Run and DMC's raps were on the MCs who followed in their footsteps.

"Run-DMC's 'Rock Box' — that record, right there, slammed the whole industry," KRS-One said in the late '80s.

"Run-DMC definitely made me feel rap was here to stay," Big Daddy Kane concurred of his peers' pioneering.

More recently, Ice Cube praised the trio. "They're the Rolling Stones of the rap game," he said. "They're pioneers. Run-DMC made rap emerge out of hip-hop to be the signature art."

"They took hip-hop to a level that I don't think nobody's ever taken it to to this day," Eminem marveled of their spot in the hip-hop annals. "[Nobody] ever could take it further than they took it."

Jay, Run and DMC, who were immortalized on Hollywood's Rock Walk earlier this year, also served as reference points for any hip-hop stars thinking of making a move to the big screen. They starred in the cult classic "Krush Groove" in 1985 and the blueprint 'hood flick "Tougher Than Leather" in 1988.

Outside of the group, Jay always had his ear to the street, signing Onyx to his JMJ Records imprint and helping to produce their multi-platinum debut, 1993's Bacdaf--up. Years later, Jay wouldn't have to travel out of his native borough of Queens to discover another act who would go on to set the streets ablaze — 50 Cent spent time under Jay's wing, at one point recording 36 songs in 18 days, before eventually making the move to the Trackmasters' camp and subsequently landing in the Shady/Aftermath Records fold.

Run-DMC recently wrapped a tour with Kid Rock and Aerosmith and were scheduled to perform Thursday (October 31) as part of the half-time festivities at a Washington Wizards home game.

Aside from the Kid Rock/Aerosmith tour, Run-DMC were keeping visible with a handful of TV appearances, including August's 2002 MTV Video Music Awards. According to DMC, the trio were planning to return to the studio and work on their eighth album, the first since last year's Crown Royal. The release of the LP and its supporting tour would've coincided with their 20th anniversary.

- By Shaheem Reid

Doggfather Teams Up With Godfather Of Soul

Snoop, James Brown collaborating on song for soundtrack to 'My Baby's Mama.'
Now that he's "Da Boss," Snoop Dogg is aligning himself with some hard workers, including the hardest of them all.

Snoop and James Brown plan to record a track together for the upcoming comedy "My Baby's Mama," starring Eddie Griffin, Method Man and Anthony Anderson ("Barbershop"), according to Snoop's spokesperson.

Quaze, who worked with Snoop and Bootsy Collins on material for "Undercover Brother," will likely produce the collaboration.

Meanwhile, Snoop has settled on the track list for his next album, Paid Tha Cost to Be Da Boss, due November 26.

The album features guest appearances by A-list veterans like Jay-Z, Ludacris, Redman, Nate Dogg and Warren G as well as newcomers like Goldie Loc, Lil' Half Dead and Uncle Charlie Wilson.

The Neptunes produced two tracks, "Beautiful" and the first single, "From Tha Chuuuch 2 Tha Palace".

DJ Premier and Hi-Tek also each produced two tracks, while Just Blaze, E-Swift, Jelly Roll, Battlecat, Fredwreck, LT Hutton, and Meech Wells and Keith Clark also had a hand in production.

Snoop samples a range of classics on Paid Tha Cost to Be Da Boss, including Parliament's "Flashlight" (on "Stoplight"), R. Kelly's "Contagious," Eric B. and Rakim's "Paid in Full" ("Paper'd Up"), Robert Palmer's "I Didn't Mean to Turn You On" ("Wasn't Your Fault"), and Sugar Hill Gang's "Rapper's Delight" ("Pimp Slapp'd").

Paid Tha Cost to Be Da Boss track list, according to Snoop's spokesperson:

  • "Don Doggy"
  • "Da Bo$$ Would Like to See You"
  • "Stoplight"
  • "From Tha Chuuuch to Da Palace" f/ Pharrell Williams
  • "I Believe In You" f/ LaToiya Williams
  • "Lollipop" f/ Jay-Z, Soopafly and Nate Dogg
  • "Ballin'" f/ the Dramatics and Lil' Half Dead
  • "Beautiful" f/ Pharrell Williams and Uncle Charlie Wilson
  • "Paper'd Up" f/ Mr. Kane and Traci Nelson
  • "Wasn't Your Fault"
  • "Bo$$ Playa"
  • "Hourglass" f/ Mr. Kane and Goldie Loc
  • "The One and Only"
  • "I Miss That Bitch" f/ E-White
  • "From Long Beach 2 Brick City" f/ Redman, Nate Dogg and Warren G
  • "Suited N Booted"
  • "You Got What I Want" f/ Ludacris, Goldie Loc and Uncle Charlie Wilson
  • "Batman & Robin" f/ Lady of Rage and RBX
  • "A Message 2 Fat Cuzz"
  • "Pimp Slapp'd"

- By Corey Moss

April 17, 2024

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