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Puff Daddy comes home early
Puff Daddy wrapped up his European tour a day earlier than planned on Friday night at Wembley Arena in London with special guest appearances by Lil' Kim, Lil' Cease, Bounty Killah, Doug E. Fresh, Donell Jones and Sisqo, who upstaged the headliner with a performance of his hit, "Thong Song." A scheduling misunderstanding forced the cancellation of the Saturday show at Wembley, which Puff Daddy apparently had never agreed to play. Without confirming the date, U.K. promoters had gone ahead and planned the second Wembley gig, even though Puffy's reps say they informed the organizers at least a month in advance that Puffy had to travel to Los Angeles to begin rehearsals for Arista Records' 25th birthday bash. After Friday's finale, Puffy was seen partying at a London nightclub with Jennifer Lopez, Macy Gray, Lil' Kim and Lil' Cease.


Two more tour dates canceled
Two more stops on the Cash Money/Ruff Ryders tour have been canceled in the wake of a backstage fight at a Boston show that sent six people to the hospital. Interscope Records announced that Thursday night's show in Tampa and Friday night's show in Miami were called off, but did not offer an explanation. Monday night's show at Boston's FleetCenter was cut short before DMX and The Lox were able to perform, and Tuesday night's performance in Philadelphia subsequently was put on hold. The tour still has eight dates remaining, including stops in Charlotte, Atlanta, Seattle and Phoenix.


Rah Digga gets key to hometown
Rah Digga was in her hometown of Newark, N.J., on Tuesday for a very special album release party. Newark's mayor, Sharpe James, presented Digga with the key to the city at the Blazin' Soundz record store, where Rah celebrated the release of her solo debut album, Dirty Harriet. Rah Digga originally was discovered by Q-Tip, but for the past few years has been a premier component in Busta Rhymes' Flipmode Squad. Busta is featured on her current single, "Imperial." Eve, Sonia Blade, The Outsidaz and Carl Thomas also appear on Dirty Harriet.


Mack 10, T-Boz are getting married
Mack 10 and girlfriend T-Boz of TLC will marry in Los Angeles in August, according to a spokesperson from TLC's record label, LaFace Records. The couple is already expecting a child together. Meanwhile, the TLC rep also confirmed that Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes is talking marriage with boyfriend Sean Newman. The two were seen shopping for diamond rings at Tiffany's in London recently.


Violence erupts backstage at concert
Two people were arrested, six people were hospitalized and 50 people were detained for questioning by police after a fight broke out at the Cash Money/Ruff Ryders concert at the FleetCenter in Boston on Monday night. One victim was struck by a marble bench and five suffered stab wounds in the fight, which prevented The Lox and DMX from performing and caused the cancellation of Tuesday night's show in Philadelphia. Thursday's show in Tampa will be the tour's next stop. The fight took place in a backstage area reserved for artists and VIP guests. A video director who was accompanying the tour told the Boston Globe that local-group Made Men might have been involved after clashing with the tour's camps earlier. Made Men is best known for being the pet project of David Mays over the years, receiving special treatment in The Source as both Made Men and The Almighty RSO.


"B.I.G. Night Out" raises $200,000
The second annual "B.I.G. Night Out," which took place last Tuesday at New York City's Chelsea Piers, raised a total of $200,000 for the Christopher Wallace Memorial Foundation, according to a representative for the group. Jay-Z was among those who appeared at the event, while Mary J. Blige and Faith Evans both performed. The founders of FUBU were honored with the "B.I.G. Heart Award" in recognition of their support of local communities. "B.I.G. Night Out" benefits the Christopher Wallace Memorial Foundation, an organization founded by Voletta Wallace, mother of the late Notorious B.I.G. The CWMF provides educational assistance to children residing in Biggie's old neighborhood in Brooklyn and other areas of the country. Last year's inaugural benefit raised more than $250,000.


Busta's big summer starts early
Mountain Dew has brought back Busta Rhymes for a second round of commercials. MTV, BET and the WB have begun airing two new spots that will continue running through the end of the year. In "DewMolition," a frustrated Busta is trapped in a Los Angeles traffic jam that is delaying him from reaching a recording session across town, while "Crowd Control," finds him performing in front of a wild nightclub audience. Both conclude with Busta taking extreme measures to get his Dew. "Busta Rhymes embodies many of the characteristics that have made Mountain Dew the fastest-growing soft drink in the country," said Charlee Taylor-Hines, director of urban and ethnic marketing for Pepsi-Cola Company. "By tapping the essence of what has made Busta popular with inner city youth -- his explosive energy and uncompromising personality -- Mountain Dew hopes to continue reaching into the heart of urban America." The commercials give Busta an early start on what should be a big summer. On June 16, "Shaft Returns" hits theaters with Busta starring opposite Samuel L. Jackson, and his fourth solo album, Anarchy, is due in stores four days later.


Jay-Z's case delayed until May
Jay-Z and his defense team filed for a dismissal of his indictment for the stabbing of Lance "Un" Rivera on Thursday due to insufficient evidence and improper presentation by the prosecution. Jay's defense attorney, Murray Richman, claims that the prosecutor neglected to call three witnesses who would testify that Jigga was running off the stage during the fight and that they didn't review the entire videotape that Richman contends will show Jay's innocence. Richman also claims that Rivera calls and visits Jay-Z on a regular basis. The judge continued the case until May 3 to give the prosecution time to respond to the new allegations.


Q-Tip possibly faces assault charges
Q-Tip has been ordered to appear in court to answer to charges that he allegedly assaulted a man inside a Times Square record store in New York City. According to an NYPD spokesperson, Tip turned himself in to authorities last Wednesday and was issued a desk appearance ticket by authorities on a possible charge of third degree assault. Q-Tip was not arrested or taken into custody, but he must appear in court April 24 to answer to the possible assault charge. After the hearing, authorities will decide whether to arraign him. The New York Post reported that Q-Tip allegedly attacked Kenrick Miranda while in the Virgin Megastore in Times Square on March 15. Apparently, Miranda and Q-Tip have a history. The newspaper also reported that Q-Tip argued with Miranda after preventing him from passing out demo tapes in front of the Hit Factory last summer. Q-Tip's debut album, Amplified is certified gold with more than 515,000 copies sold since its release in November.


Ja Rule allegedly attacks 50 Cent
50 Cent, his DJ and another crew member were attacked early Friday, March 28, at New York's Hit Factory recording studio. A police spokesperson confirmed that the incident took place at 12:55 a.m., but would not release the names of the suspects or victims. However, one source identified Ja Rule (pictured, with Vita) as one of the attackers. 50 Cent's debut single, "How To Rob" featuring Madd Rapper, discusses stealing jewels and money from various rappers. Some speculate that the song, which has already drawn responses from Ghostface Killah and Jay-Z on wax, might have provided the motivation for the attack.


Third child on way for Will Smith
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith announced on March 28 that they are expecting the birth of their second child in the fall. Their son Jaden was born in 1998. Will also has a 7-year-old son, Trey, from his first marriage.


Snoop hits road with Lakers
Snoop Dogg took a trip north of the border to show his support for the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night. Despite not taking a single shot in the Lakers' 108-99 victory over the Vancouver Grizzlies, Snoop made almost every highlight reel, including a brief appearance on ESPN's "Sportscenter." Snoop was decked out in full warmup gear with a vintage Magic Johnson jersey underneath and personally congratulated Kobe Bryant from his courtside seat as the Lakers' star passed by. Bryant scored 28 points and Shaquille O'Neal added 19 as the Lakers hit the 60-win mark for the second time in three seasons.


5 years without Eazy-E
On March 26, 1995, Eazy-E died of complications from AIDS, just 10 days after announcing his condition to the world. Although he has been gone for five years, his influence still is being felt today, from the continued success of proteges Bone Thugs-N-Harmony to the upcoming reunion album of his former group, N.W.A. While there was talk that Eazy-E had more than 80 tracks in the can at the time of his death, only two posthumous albums have surfaced -- the 14-track Str8 Off the Streets of Compton and a greatest hits CD, Eternal E. However, Erick Sermon has unearthed one of those unused tracks for a song on his upcoming project being released under the name Erick Onasis, due in stores May 16. Meanwhile, the recently taped N.W.A reunion concert will air Monday, March 27, on USA's "Farmclub.com." Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, MC Ren and Snoop Dogg performed "Chin Check" as well as classics "Straight Outta Compton" and "Nuthin' But A 'G' Thang" at the March 11 taping. The show was N.W.A's first appearance together in more than 10 years.


ODB is back in prison
After spending the past few months in the jail facility of a drug treatment center, ODB is being sent to prison for a 90-day evaluation that will determine his future. Ol' Dirty admitted Friday in a Los Angeles courtroom that he violated his probation in January when he returned to rehab drunk after a New York court appearance. As a result, he will be sent to the California Department of Corrections in Chino for a psychological evaluation and analysis of his criminal record. A judge will decide at a hearing on June 23 whether to put ODB back on probation or sentence him to more prison time.


Wyclef cancels concert in protest
Wyclef Jean canceled his March 24 concert at the College of Charleston in South Carolina in support of the NAACP's economic sanctions against that state's tourist industry. The sanctions are intended to persuade the state to stop flying the Confederate battle flag over the state capitol building. "As much as I hate to cancel a show," Wyclef Jean said in a statement, "I cannot in good conscience perform in a state that has an emblem of racism and division flying over its capitol." However, Wyclef did kick off his tour earlier this week in Georgia, which incorporates the Confederate flag into its state flag.


DMX faces warrant in New York
DMX, who failed to appear in a Cheektowaga, N.Y., courtroom Wednesday to answer to drug and traffic violations, was detained and issued a warrant for his arrest later in the day in Houston after a stop on his Cash Money-Ruff Ryders tour. DMX can be seen on the big screen with Jet Li and Aaliyah in the recently released "Romeo Must Die, as well as on the cover of the latest Rolling Stone.


Missy falls from top spot
Missy Elliott's record-breaking run at the top of the Billboard rap singles chart finally has ended. After holding off strong competition from some high-profile artists for 18 weeks, the Ying Yang Twins' "Whistle While You Twurk" took over the No. 1 spot this week from "Hot Boyz," which also features Nas, Eve and Q-Tip. The previous record was 11 weeks, accomplished by three different songs: Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise," Puff Daddy's "Can't Nobody Hold Me Down" and Da Brat's "Funkdafied."


What's in a name?
For years now, cybersquatters have snatched up the domain names of popular athletes and movie stars in the hopes of making a quick buck. Now the trend has trickled down to the nickname of one of hip-hop's most popular MCs. "Jigga.com" is for sale right now on eBay, with bids starting at $750. So far no one is biting, but the auction continues until March 30. And you don't have to use it for anything Jigga-related -- just read the sales pitch: "Originally coined from rapper Jay-Z, who is really popular and has international appeal, the name is now so much more meaningful. It's a heavily popular site even with nothing on it. It's an easy to remember name, and has great potential for branding." They're right about one thing -- there's nothing on the site, just a front page and several dead links. But "the name is now so much more meaningful?" While the Johnny Blaze nickname might have strayed from its originator (Method Man), there isn't anyone that doesn't directly associate Jigga with Jay-Z. So buyers beware, eternal businessman Shawn Carter just might want a piece of the action.
Visit the site or put in a bid if you like.


Dr. Dre, Snoop attack Death Row
With Death Row Records' recent deal with Musicmaker.com, Suge Knight has managed to get under
Dr. Dre's skin once again. The three-year licensing deal allows individual tracks from Death Row's entire catalog to be sold on custom-made compilation CDs. According to Dre's lawyer, Death Row only has the right to sell The Chronic as a whole in its original form, not as individual tracks or remixes, but the triple-platinum classic is currently available in pieces on the site. Dr. Dre intends to send a cease and desist letter to Musicmaker, but the company released a statement saying that the tracks will remain up until lawyers for Death Row and Dre settle the issue. However, a ready-made CD featuring an assortment of Dr. Dre tracks, including "Natural Born Killaz," "Keep Their Heads Ringin'" and several from The Chronic, has been removed. Meanwhile, Snoop Dogg is getting his shots in on a new track originally intended for his upcoming album, The Last Meal. Although plans to include the track now are up in the air, you can hear it and read the lyrics at the unofficial Snoop site, Snoop's Dogghouse.


Puffy's magazine is in trouble
Puff Daddy revealed to the New York Post that his magazine, Notorious, is currently being retooled for a relaunch in the summer. The paper had reported previously that he halted production because he was having trouble paying the staff, and Puffy called to personally deny the report. "It's ridiculous," Combs said of the original report. "Notorious will still exist. It's not shut down." Puffy bought a majority interest in the magazine from founder David Anthony when it was in financial trouble in 1998. Anthony, who still serves as CEO, admitted that Notorious suspended publication after putting out a January issue and that some of the staff had been laid off. The magazine might be best known for
the cover of the September/October 1999 issue, which exposed just about as much of Puffy's girlfriend, Jennifer Lopez, as she did on her own at last month's Grammy awards. Puffy interviewed Lopez for that issue's cover story with questions like "Could you ever see yourself giving me a kiss?" And they wonder why it isn't selling?


Ice Cube drops new album
Ice Cube and MC Ren were at the Virgin Megastore in New York City on Monday signing autographs, talking with fans, appearing on MTV's TRL and promoting Cube's new CD, War & Peace Vol. 2: The Peace Disc, which hit stores Tuesday. When MTV stopped by to chat with Cube, one fan took the on-air opportunity to direct a question at Ren instead. Nice to see the Ruthless Villain being acknowledged in the mainstream media, even if it was by a fan on the normally teen-flooded TRL and not the network itself. Although today is supposed to be all about Ice Cube, not even he can hide the anticipation for his next project -- the reunion album of N.W.A -- especially since Peace contains another hot track from the reunited supergroup, "Hello." The first single from the album, "Until We Rich," features Krayzie Bone.


Warren G gets back to basics
Warren G has been holding it down for the West Coast since first appearing on Dr. Dre's classic The Chronic back in 1992 and blowing up as an MC two years later with "Regulate." But the owner of one platinum plaque and two gold albums never has received the credit he deserves for his contributions to West Coast hip-hop. Yet he was there during its rise to dominance in the early '90s and was right in the middle of its resurgence late last year with the hit single "I Want It All." The 411 Online caught up with Warren G late last week and he addressed the issue of respect. "I don't think people give me a lot of credit cause they just look at me as being a rapper," Warren said in the interview. "They forgot that I'm a producer. I ain't trippin'. That's one of my main things I'm working on right now -- getting back to that. Being a producer, cause I feel like I'm one of the tightest next to Dre on the West Coast." Warren G will flex his production skills on the upcoming release from Da Five Footaz, a group that has been with him since the dawn of his label, G-Funk Records. The complete interview...


Jay-Z on 'Making the Video'
MTV's "Making The Video" will premiere the clip for "Big Pimpin'," Jay-Z's third single (if you count "Anything," which appears only on Beanie Sigel's album in the U.S.) from Vol. 3... Life and Times of S. Carter, on Monday at 10:30 p.m. EST. The half-hour show will take an in-depth look at the video, which was directed by Hype Williams and features UGK, the production of Timbaland and footage filmed in Trinidad and Miami.


Too Short, E-40 hook up
Reports have been circulating that the Bay Area's most prominent hustlers, Too $hort and E-40, are planning to do an album together under a name still to be determined. The duo, who have collaborated on tracks in the past (most notably with K-Ci and JoJo twice), made their mark selling tapes out of trunks nearly a decade apart, but the common threads of that bass-heavy Bay Area funk and vocabularies that have become catch-phrases in households across the nation make the pairing a natural fit. Stay tuned for more on this story as it develops.


Eminem completes sophomore album
Eminem recently finished recording his new album, The Marshall Mathers LP, which is scheduled to drop May 30. The follow-up to the Grammy-winning, triple-platinum Slim Shady LP features 16 tracks, seven of which were produced by Dr. Dre, including the first single, "The Real Slim Shady," hitting stores toward the end of the month. Eminem also did some production as well as FBT Productions and Mark The 45 King. The album also features RBX, Sticky Fingaz and "B---- Please 2," which will feature a lineup of top notch West Coast MCs.


Will Smith gets another award
Will Smith is one of several actors who will receive a Tree Of Life Award from The Friends Of The Black Oscar Nominees. Smith will be honored, along with Denzel Washington, Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne, Samuel Jackson, Jamie Foxx and Eddie Murphy, for his performance in last year's "Wild Wild West." The Tree Of Life Awards will be presented on March 25, the day before the 72nd Annual Academy Awards at the Sunset Room in Beverly Hills, Calif.


More news on Cee-Lo, Ghostface Killah and N.W.A


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