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Hill lawsuit heads to court
Lauryn Hill will make her first court appearance June 21 in connection with a lawsuit filed by New-Ark Entertainment alleging that Hill "used their songs and production skills but failed to properly credit them for the work" on her five-times-platinum debut album, The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill. Hill will be asked under oath whether or not she wrote the songs on her album. Hill claims she wrote and produced the entire album, but New-Ark's suit says that they should have received credit as songwriters and producers. Members of the New-Ark production team are credited as supplying "additional production," "additional musical contribution" and "additional lyrical contribution" to the Grammy-winning album.


50 Cent shot 3 times in Queens
50 Cent is in stable condition at Jamaica Hospital in Queens after being shot once in each leg and once in the jaw Wednesday morning. A spokesperson for the hospital said that at the family's request no information would be made available. However, a police spokesperson reported that 50 Cent was sitting in a parked car around 11:20 a.m. when a man in a blue car pulled up and fired nine shots from a 9mm handgun. A passenger in the car sustained a gunshot wound to the hand. 50 Cent is best known for "How To Rob," a song detailing an episode in which he jacks the likes of Jay-Z, DMX, Master P and Lil' Kim.


Mack 10, T-Boz set wedding date
Priority Records has confirmed that Mack 10 and TLC's T-Boz finally have set a wedding date The couple will marry on August 19, 10 days before Mack 10 is scheduled to release his next solo album. It also has been confirmed that T-Boz is four months pregnant.


Master P pushes clothing line
With his No Limit clothing line suffering from a decline in sales nationwide, Master P is using some new tactics to spark interest. BET personality Rachel Stuart is featured in ads for NL Jeans and Twisted Denim inserted in the new 504 Boyz album, Goodfellas, and the brand is mentioned several times on the disc, including in two skits that sound like radio commercials. Rachel is the former host of "Planet Groove" and "Caribbean Rhythms" and currently co-hosts "Live from L.A."


Jay-Z, Nas prepare new albums
With Jay-Z and Nas being two of the most consistent suppliers of hip-hop product, it should come as no surprise that both are expected to drop new albums by the end of 2000. Jay-Z, who has released a solo album in every calendar year since 1996, apparently is preparing a disc under the working title Vol. 4... You Have Been Watching that might end up being a double album before all is said and done. Vol. 4 will feature production from DJ Premier, Dr. Dre and Timbaland and is rumored (again) to be Jigga's final chapter. Meanwhile, Nas, who released two albums in 1999, is in the lab preparing Stillmatic 2001.


Foxy Brown disses Lil' Kim
Capone and Noreaga finally have finished The Reunion, the long-awaited follow-up to their 1997 debut, The War Report, but it looks like a behind-the-scenes catfight might steal its thunder. Apparently, Foxy Brown decided to use the first single from C-N-N's new album to call out friend-turned-rival
Lil' Kim. The track, titled "Bang, Bang," somehow fell into Kim's hands and rumor has it she's already prepared a response, possibly to be included on her upcoming album, The Notorious K.I.M. Not to be outdone, Foxy and the boys already have a remix ready to hit her right back. The Notorious K.I.M. hits the streets June 27, while Capone and Noreaga's album is expected to drop in August.


Black Rob arrested in Manhattan
Black Rob was arrested on charges of drug and weapons possession in Manhattan on Sunday, May 21, after undercover police officers saw a gun inside Rob's car. According to the New York Post, Rob had pulled his car over to sign autographs, but was arrested when police allegedly saw him pass a .22-caliber handgun to a man in the passenger seat. Upon searching the car, police discovered the gun and several tablets of what was suspected to be Ecstasy. Both Rob and the passenger in his car, Kwamie Thomas, were charged with criminal possession of a weapon and criminal possession of a controlled substance. Black Rob's debut album, Life Story has sold more than 670,000 copies since its release in March, and the next stop on his solo tour is scheduled for May 25 in Fort Wayne, Ind.


DMX saves hometown church
According to the New York Daily News, DMX paid $220,000 to prevent the eviction of a church that once put him up in its basement when he needed a place to stay. "There's no doubt he will be rewarded by God," said Marie Cooper, the pastor of the church in Yonkers, N.Y. DMX currently is appealing a 15-day jail sentence in Buffalo, N.Y., stemming from traffic and drug charges.


More exposure for Lil' Kim
Lil' Kim, despite not having an album since 1996, has now graced the cover of every hip-hop-related magazine still in existence within the past year. And every time, she's been wearing next to nothing. Lil' Kim's appearance in a bikini on the cover of the December 1999 issue of The Source led to record-breaking sales on the newstands. Now the latest issues of XXL and Vibe are using the shameless tactic to move product. XXL's May cover shot of a blue-haired Kim covering the essentials as she emerges from a bubble bath tells readers all they need to know about that issue's contents, but just in case someone somehow missed the point, big bold letters announce, "LIL' KIM. WET." Inside, the article reads more like a Playboy centerfold spread, with several more pictures and not much content. Vibe takes the opposite route. After drawing readers in with their Kim cover, the mag supplies only a couple of photos surrounded by a decent profile piece that touches on Kim's love for the late Notorious B.I.G. and the troubled times she experienced coming of age on the streets of Brooklyn. But Kim, who has never had any problems drawing attention, tops them all with the ad for her long-delayed new album, which now is scheduled to hit stores June 27. The full-page spread shows the Queen Bee in the back of a limo fully nude -- except for a hat and boots.


Report: RBX signs with Korn's label
Reports are circulating that Death Row escapee RBX has been signed to Korn's Elementree Records and is expected to drop an album in early 2001. However, a spokesman for Reprise Records, which distributes Elementree, refused to confirm or deny the report. RBX made his debut on Dr. Dre's 1992 classic, The Chronic, but left Death Row after his solo debut was pushed back repeatedly, and has released two albums during stints at three different labels. RBX released his debut solo disc, The RBX Files, on Premeditated in 1995. He joined Aftermath when Dre launched it in 1996, but only appeared on two tracks on the initial compilation and never dropped an album. In 1999, RBX finally released a follow-up, No Mercy, No Remorse, on Street Solid Records, a small label that also included Above the Law's Cold 187um (a.k.a. Big Hutch).


Jay-Z, Ice Cube headline Colorado show
Jay-Z and Ice Cube will headline an outdoor performance at KS 107.5's "Summer Jam 2000," which will take place June 10 at Fiddlers Green in Englewood, Colo. The show starts at 6 p.m. and promises to go on "rain or shine." Additional performers are expected to be announced at a later date. Seats for the concert can be purchased online for $4-$35 at
Ticketmaster.


DJ Quik will perform at UrbanFest L.A.
DJ Quik will join an impressive list of performers at the 4th Annual Urban Focus Music Conference on June 24-25 in Los Angeles. Quik, whose fifth album, Balance and Options arrived in stores Tuesday, was added to a lineup that already included Common, De La Soul and Talib Kweli. UrbanFest L.A., which will take place on the campus of USC, is expected to draw 10,000 to 12,000 people each day. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Urban Focus Music Foundation, the Rhythm & Blues Foundation, Music & Kids Inc. and Temple of Hip-Hop Kulture. Tickets for UrbanFest L.A. are on sale now at Ticketmaster.com.


Eminem bootlegs surface in NY
Eminem.com has put out a bootleg alert regarding Slim Shady's latest album, The Marshall Mathers LP. Apparently, an incomplete version of Eminem's sophomore joint has been circulating on the streets of New York. The site reports that the bootleg "is merely a copy of The Marshall Mathers LP snippet tape" and is missing key songs like "B Please II" and "Stan." The authentic version arrives in stores May 23.


Dr. Dre compiles list of his own
If you've been trading Dr. Dre files recently on Napster, don't be surprised if you're soon blocked from the service. Like Metallica before him, Dre has hired U.K.-based software company NetPD to compile a list of Napster users that are trading his copyrighted materials. Dre is expected to submit a list of more than 200,000 names to Napster on Wednesday. After Metallica, which is represented by the same lawyer as Dre, delivered their list of more than 300,000 offenders to the company's San Mateo, Calif., office, Napster had no choice but to ban them from using the service. However, 20,000 users have appealed the ban, and unless Metallica pursues each individual case, their service will be restored in 10 days. Any users banned as a result of Dr. Dre's list likely will go through the same process.


Outkast launches Aquemini Records
Outkast's Andre "3000" Benjamin and Antwan "Big Boi" Patton have teamed with David "Mr. DJ" Sheats and Elektra Records to launch Aquemini Records. The first artist to debut on the Atlanta-based imprint will be Slimm Calhoun. "Our goal is to bring the freshest talent to the world in a way nobody has ever seen before," Big Boi said. Andre added, "Aquemini Records is a specialty label based on quality as opposed to the factory approach of chasing the latest trends." Slimm Calhoun's album, The Skinny, is scheduled to hit stores this fall. "Slimm is the dawning of the age of Aquemini," said Michael "Blue" Williams, Outkast's manager and general manager of the new label. "He is a hip-hop artist, rap star and musician all rolled into one. He's the perfect representative to kick off the label founded by Outkast. Let the revolution begin." Calhoun can be heard on Outkast's upcoming fourth album Stankonia and also appeared on the "Light It Up" soundtrack.


DMX passes 10 million mark
Def Jam announced recently that DMX has sold an astounding 10 million records since his debut in 1998. In just more than one year, the Yonkers, N.Y., native has released three multi-platinum records and appeared on two of the most successful hip-hop tours ever. He co-headlined the Hard Knock Life Tour last summer and recently headlined the Ruff Ryders/Cash Money Tour. "DMX's raw talent combined with his dedication and passion have propelled him to success achieved by few. We are confident that his achievements as an artist will continue to grow." Kevin Liles, president of Def Jam Records, said in a statement. DMX's first album, It's Dark and Hell is Hot, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard albums chart in 1998 and sold more than 4 million copies. He followed with Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood just six months later, and it debuted at No. 1 as well. It marked the first time in more than 20 years that an artist had two records debut at number one within the same year. Flesh went on to sell 3 million copies. DMX's third time was a charm as well. And Then There Was X sold 698,000 in its first week to debut at No. 1 last December, and the album recently eclipsed triple-platinum status.


Chuck D will speak before Congress
Public Enemy's Chuck D will testify May 24 before a congressional committee on online music, according to a report on Sonicnet. The informational hearing will be open to the public. Although the hearing was not specifically organized to address the Napster controversy, the topic will more than likely come up now that Chuck D is involved. The Public Enemy frontman has been the most vocal supporter of Napster and MP3 technology. Last year, Public Enemy's There's a Poison Goin' On became the first major album released in MP3 format.


Andre, Badu no longer together
Apparently, Outkast's Andre is no longer Erykah Badu's main man. EUR reports that Badu and comedian Eddie Griffin have been serious for about six months and are even considering marriage. Badu appeared on Outkast's last album, Aquemini, and she and Andre also have a child together.


Money B is not a suspect in shooting
Digital Underground's Money B is not a suspect in the fatal shooting of Ronlan Entertainment co-founder Ronald Blackburn last month, according to police. In a statement released by the San Francisco Police Department on Tuesday, homicide inspector Mike Johnson said that they have a suspect, but that no one is in custody. Blackburn, 31, was shot around 2 a.m. April 20 outside the Glas Kat Club after Money B's record release party. Blackburn allegedly was seen beating on the car Money B was riding in before the fatal shots were fired from the car as it was left the area. Money B and two others were taken into police custody and questioned after the incident.


Ice-T provides voice for video game
Ice-T has agreed to provide the voice of the main character for Fox Interactive's upcoming science-fiction/adventure game, "Sanity: Aiken's Artifact." The game is set thirty years in the future and Ice-T will play Agent Nathaniel Cain, a government agent with psychic powers that players use to track down criminals with similar abilities. The game is expected to be released for both Windows and Macintosh this fall, but a definite release date has not been set. Ice-T will appear at Fox Interactive's booth at the Electronic Entertainment Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center on May 12 from 2 to 6 p.m. PT to promote the game.


Simmons revives Rap The Vote
Russell Simmons is stepping up his efforts to politicize urban youth with the help of 360HipHop.com, his highly anticipated online venture set to debut in June. The new web site, which Simmons touts as "the ultimate destination point on the Internet for all things hip-hop," will join Rock The Vote in sponsoring Rap The Vote 2000, an expansive campaign aimed at getting thousands of young people across the country into voting booths this year. 360HipHop.com will stage political forums and fundraising events all geared toward educating and empowering the hip-hop community. "With issues like racial profiling and police brutality taking a center stage in this year's elections, the hip-hop community needs to mobilize, move as an army and make their voice heard," Simmons released in a statement. The slogan for the campaign will be "Register. Vote. Represent."


Queen Latifah is big winner on game show
Queen Latifah won $250,000 for charity during celebrity week on ABC's "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire." Latifah's winnings will go to The Lancelot Owens Scholarship Foundation, a charity promoting youth education that's named after her brother. Record-breaking numbers of people tuned in for the first celebrity edition of "Millionaire." Monday's show had 35.8 million viewers, the most ever to watch the game show, and for the first time had more viewers than all of the shows on CBS, NBC, Fox, UPN and the WB combined.


DMX, Seagal team up for new movie
DMX has joined the cast of Steven Seagal's next film, "Exit Wounds." Seagal, the action star of "Under Siege," "The Glimmer Man" and "Hard To Kill," will play Orin Boyd, a cop in an inner-city precinct that uncovers corruption and enlists the aid of DMX to bring down the bad guys. DMX's acting resume includes a brief appearance in "Romeo Must Die" earlier this year and a starring role in 1998's "Belly." "Exit Wounds" re-teams DMX with director Andrzej Bartkowiak, who directed "Romeo Must Die." The movie is not expected to arrive in theaters until 2001.


Up in Smoke Tour finalized
Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, MC Ren, Snoop Dogg, Eminem and Warren G finally have confirmed cities, dates and venues for their upcoming tour, which is now named the Up In Smoke Tour. While not confirmed in Thursday's official announcement, Kurupt and Xzibit are expected to join the tour for several dates. The 25-city arena tour will be the first for Dre after several false starts since his solo success with 1992's The Chronic. In an interview on Big Boy's Power 106 morning show, Snoop Dogg credited Jay-Z for paving the way. "If it wasn't for the Hard Knock Life Tour, we wouldn't be able to do this," Snoop said. The Up In Smoke Tour will start June 15 in San Diego and make stops in several West Coast cities before heading to the Midwest and East. The tour wraps up down South in Tampa, Fla., on Aug. 2.

The updated schedule for the Up In Smoke Tour: 6/15 -- San Diego, CA @ Coors Amphitheater; 6/16 -- Anaheim, CA @ Arrowhead Pond; 6/19 -- San Jose, CA @ San Jose Arena; 6/24 -- Portland, OR @ Rose Garden; 6/30 -- Indianapolis, IN @ Conseco Fieldhouse; 7/1 -- Columbus, OH @ Schottenstein Center; 7/2 -- Cleveland, OH @ Gund Arena; 7/3 -- Pittsburgh, PA @ Melon Arena; 7/6 -- Detroit, MI @ TBA; 7/8 -- Chicago, IL @ Allstate Arena; 7/10 -- Minneapolis, MN @ TBA; 7/13 -- Rochester, NY @ Blue Cross Arena; 7/14 -- Albany, NY @ Pepsi Center; 7/15 -- Boston, MA @ Fleet Center; 7/18 -- Philadelphia, PA @ Spectrum; 7/20 -- Uniondale, NY @ Nassau Coliseum; 7/21 -- East Rutherford, NJ @ Continental Airlines Arena; 7/22 -- Hartford, CT @ Hartford Coliseum; 7/25 -- Baltimore, MD @ Baltimore Arena; 7/26 -- Buffalo, NY @ Midland Marina Arena; 7/27 -- Washington, DC @ MCI Center; 7/29 -- Charlotte, NC @ Charlotte Coliseum; 7/30 -- Atlanta, GA @ Lakewood Amphitheater; 8/1 -- Ft. Lauderdale, FL @ TBA; 8/2 -- Tampa, FL @ Ice Palace.


Jay-Z presents videotape to judge
Jay-Z was in Manhattan Supreme Court on Wednesday to present a videotape to Judge Micki Scherer that he hopes will clear him of assault charges in connection with the December stabbing of record executive Lance "Un" Rivera. "It shows Jay was not near the fight scene," lawyer Murray Richman said in an interview with The New York Daily News. "He was stage left, talking to Busta Rhymes. The fight was stage right." Richman also said that after the stabbing occurs and the tape goes dark, the cameraman can be heard saying, "Jay is bookin'. He's outta here. We're right behind them." The judge is expected to make a decision June 7 on whether the tape can be admitted as evidence.


Blaze magazine shuts down
For the second time in less than a year, a major hip-hop publication has closed its doors. Vibe/ Spin Ventures announced Thursday that it was shutting down Blaze because the magazine failed to meet circulation and advertising goals. Blaze started off on the wrong foot in the fall of 1998 and has been a center of controversy ever since. The magazine thought it would be a good idea to get artists' reactions to reviews before they were printed and publish the two alongside each other. However, the idea backfired. Three weeks before the premiere issue, Blaze's editor in chief, Jesse Washington, accused Wyclef Jean (pictured) of pulling a gun on him in a recording studio after Jean was presented with a negative review of Canibus' debut album (which Wyclef executive-produced). In November 1998, Deric "D-Dot" Angelettie allegedly assaulted Washington after Blaze ran a photo that identified Angelettie as the artist known as the Madd Rapper. Washington was fired shortly after hiring a man accused (but cleared) of killing the son of Time Warner executive Gerald Levin as an intern. At the time, Time Warner owned Vibe/Spin Ventures, but the trio of magazines has since been sold to Miller Publishing Group. In October 1999, Larry Flynt Publications shut down Rap Pages. However, the magazine was sold late last year and is expected to make a return this summer.


Suspect in Biggie murder ruled out
The Los Angeles Police Department is no longer investigating Amir Muhammad in connection with the fatal shooting of Notorious B.I.G., according to the Los Angeles Times. The Times first reported in December 1999 that the police were looking into the relationship between Muhammad and David A. Mack, a former L.A. police officer currently serving time in prison for bank robbery. The article reported that Muhammad was hired by Mack to kill Biggie, who allegedly had ties to Death Row Records CEO Suge Knight. Muhammad angrily denied the report, declaring that he was "a mortgage broker... not a murderer." Knight, who is serving a nine-year prison term for a probation violation, also has denied being involved. Notorious was shot and killed outside of a Vibe party in Los Angeles on March 9, 1997. No arrests have been made.


DMX sentenced to 15 days in jail
The next time DMX decides to do the right thing and turn himself in to police, he'll remember to clean out his pockets first. DMX, who had a warrant out for his arrest in Cheektowaga, N.Y., stemming from a missed court date in March, allegedly had marijuana in a pack of cigarettes he was carrying when he was being processed by police on Wednesday. He immediately was charged with possession and fined $250. Earlier in the day, DMX was sentenced to 15 days in the Erie County Correctional Facility in upstate New York after pleading guilty to charges of driving with a suspended license and marijuana possession stemming from a March 3 arrest. He also was fined $350. DMX's lawyers filed an appeal and were attempting to get a stay of sentence granted. X had missed the first court date because he was in Houston with the Ruff Ryders/Cash Money tour.


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