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Ja Rule will play in Peoria
Ja Rule will headline the Teck $ Holiday Jingle Jam at the Civic Center in Peoria, Ill., on Saturday, Dec. 23. The show will be hosted by Teck Holmes, a native of Peoria who rose to fame on MTV's "The Real World: Hawaii" and now hosts "Direct Effect," MTV's latest hip-hop series. An assortment of local and regional talent has been selected to open for Ja at the 7:30 p.m. concert, which is being billed as "the biggest holiday concert party to hit central Illinois." Ja Rule's sophomore album, Rule 3:36, recently was certified platinum, and his hit single with Christina Milian, "Between Me & You," still is getting heavy airplay on both radio and TV.

Jay-Z will perform on "Saturday Night Live"
Jay-Z will be the musical guest on the Dec. 16 edition of NBC's "Saturday Night Live," which airs at 11:30 p.m. ET and will be hosted by Lucy Liu. Jigga also recently wrapped up shooting his new video, "Change The Game." The track featuring Memphis Bleek will serve as the second single from The Dynasty: Roc La Familia, which has just been certified double-platinum. Bleek, meanwhile, debuted at No. 16 on the Billboard 200 albums chart after selling 149,000 copies of his sophomore album, The Understanding.

Eminem and his wife are back together
Eminem and his wife, Kim Mathers, have decided not to get divorced after all. The couple, whose on-again, off-again relationship is often the subject of Eminem's rhymes, signed an agreement to dismiss their divorce claims on Wednesday. In a statement released on Thursday, Kim's lawyers revealed that the reconciliation was made in an effort to provide the best living arrangement for their daughter. "Mrs. Mathers is pleased that she and her husband have been able to set their differences aside, particularly for the sake of their daughter, Hailie Jade," the lawyers said in the statement. "Kim strongly believes that it is best for Hailie to be raised in a two-parent home." The family environment has been anything but normal for Hailie so far. In addition to the derogatory lyrics aimed at his wife, Eminem is facing weapons and assault charges in a June incident outside a nightclub after Kim was seen kissing another man, Kim attempted suicide in July, and Eminem filed for divorce in August, which was followed by Kim's $10 million lawsuit. Eminem addresses most of this drama on "Don't Approach Me," a cut off of Xzibit's new Restless album. Meanwhile, Eminem will have some extra time to think about a plea bargain that would involve mandatory jail time for the alleged assault. He originally was scheduled to appear in court on Friday, but a judge pushed the hearing back to Feb. 13 at the request of his lawyers.

Busta Rhymes leaving Elektra?
In October,
rumors were circulating that Busta Rhymes and his Flipmode Squad were leaving Elektra Records to sign with Def Jam. Now, the Hollywood Reporter is reporting that Busta will jump ship to sign with Clive Davis' new label, J Records, by the end of the month. However, a source at Elektra told The 411 Online, "As far as I know, Busta still owes us a record and is still on the label." Busta Rhymes has been with Elektra since he dropped his first album, A Future Without A Past, with Leaders of the New School in 1991. After another L.O.N.S. album in 1993, Busta went solo, debuting in 1996 with The Coming. He's released four solo albums -- three certified platinum and one gold -- and dropped one with the Flipmode Squad. A second effort with Rah Digga, Rampage, Spliff Star and Baby Sham, titled The Rulership Album, was scheduled to hit stores in September, but was postponed indefinitely.

Suge, Death Row ordered to pay $10 million more
Less than a week after being ordered to pay $4.3 million in compensatory damages to the former managers of
Kurupt, Suge Knight and Death Row Records were ordered to pay $10 million in punitive damages to Lamont and Ken Brumfield. When Kurupt signed with Death Row in 1993, when he already had a deal with the Brumfields. Knight's attorney, David Kenner, said they will appeal. "The publicity surrounding Suge Knight and Death Row Records, both being from the street, adversely affected the jury's decision," the record company said in a statement, which went on to say that the label is "extremely disappointed that the jury chose a grossly excessive amount that is clearly not related to the facts of this case." Knight, who is is serving a nine-year prison sentence for violating parole, has denied he knew about the Brumfields' agreement.

Shyne's lyrics might be used against him
"Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law." Even if what you say is on an album? Shyne will soon find out. Launch reports that the lead prosecutor in Shyne's upcoming attempted murder trial plans to use some of the lyrics from his self-titled debut album against the Bad Boy MC. Prosecutor Matthew Bogdanos believes that the line, "Let me warn ya / Trip against my team / You's a goner," from "Commission" proves motive in his case against Shyne. On Jan. 8, Shyne will begin to face attempted murder charges stemming from a December 1999 shooting at Club New York in New York City that injured three people. The shooting allegedly occurred after a wad of money was thrown at Puff Daddy, who also faces charges in the incident. Bogdanos thinks the lyrics prove that Shyne opened fire because Puffy was disrespected. Shyne's lawyer, Murray Richman, released a statement saying that the "Commission" lyrics are not relevant. Because they were recorded after the crime took place, Richman doesn't think the lyrics will be admitted as evidence.

Dre: N.W.A reunion is on hold
The N.W.A reunion that was
announced just over a year ago might go the route of Dr. Dre and Ice Cube's Helter Skelter. In other words, it might never happen. "We got a couple things down, nothing that I'm happy with, so they don't mean anything," the ever-meticulous Dr. Dre said in an interview with Sonicnet. "The status of N.W.A right now remains in limbo, because everybody that's supposed to be a part of this record has their own careers, and they're out doing their things. Cube is working on a big special-effect movie, Snoop has a record coming out and is gonna promote that, and I'm working with my new artists, trying to do my thing. I have no idea when that record's gonna happen, or if it's gonna happen." Dre, Cube and Snoop joined M.C. Ren for a track on the "Next Friday" soundtrack, which was released Dec. 14, 1999, and a performance on Farmclub in March -- their first together in 11 years. Back in 1994, Dr. Dre and Ice Cube's planned reunion album ended up being relegated to just one song: "Natural Born Killaz," and the N.W.A reunion might end up with two: "Chin Check" and "Hello." Dre also hinted at his normal timetable for an album in the interview. "Usually it takes between nine and 10 months to produce and make a record that's gonna be hot enough to present to the people." So if you're still counting on hearing that Dre-produced Rakim album, Oh My God!, by spring, you can forget it. An album with expectations like that (not to mention the title) ought to take Dre at least a year. At least one of his long-delayed projects finally made it into stores on Tuesday -- Xzibit's Restless.

Revisiting the Wu in Ohio
Cox News Service reported once again on the ongoing police investigation of the Wu-Tang Clan's 60-acre retreat in Steubenville, Ohio. Police in Steubenville refer to the site, which is owned by the RZA, as a compound. It has been the target of gun-trafficking allegations for several months, and the local sheriff passes by every weekend "just to nose around," according to the report. The RZA, who is from Steubenville, still has family in the town. "It's the longest investigation in the history of the United States," said Peter Frankel, the group's attorney. "It keeps circulating in the rumor mill."

Prodigy gets $343,000 in jewelry stolen
According to a report in the New York Daily News, Mobb Deep's Prodigy had $343,000 worth of jewelry stolen by muggers during a video shoot in New York on Friday morning. Prodigy was taking a break from the shoot when two men robbed him at gunpoint, according to police spokesperson Joe Cavitolo. The mugging happened outside a store in Long Island City, not far from the Queensbridge Housing Projects where Prodigy and his Mobb Deep partner, Havoc, grew up.

L.L. Cool J to part ways with Def Jam
In a live webcast on Y2G.COM, FUBU's urban lifestyle web site, L.L. Cool J stated he expects to part company with Def Jam Records -- ending a relationship that lasted 15 years. "Right now Def Jam and I are figuring out where we're at," L.L. said in the interview. "My contract is basically up. And we plan on just seeing what's going on. It looks like I'm going to be moving on. Where I'm going to go I don't know. How it's going to work out I don't know. It's not any bad blood. It's not negative. It's not like I hate them or they hate me. We did what we did for a very long time. It's time for us to change the sheets on the bed. Nothing like crisp sheets to make you feel fresh again. That's part of it. You gotta grow. Def Jam is a great label and they'll continue to have success. I plan on having success, God willing... As long as people know that it's nothing negative. It's positive. We plan on seeing what we're gonna do. They've agreed to let me go and I've agreed that I would like to leave. I've expressed that wholeheartedly." L.L.'s latest album, The Greatest of All Time, recently was certified gold by the RIAA.

Report: Lil' Kim faces bankruptcy
The World Entertainment News Network is reporting that
Lil' Kim is close to bankruptcy and is taking drastic measures to avoid it. To offset debts that WENN reports were from using the top stylists for hair and makeup, Kim is selling her home in New Jersey. She reportedly also is accepting any and all offers to make public appearances, in addition to being part of the Jingle Ballers Jam lineup that also includes Nelly and the Cash Money Millionaires. Kim can also be seen in Jay-Z's latest video for "I Just Wanna Love You." WENN spoke to sources close to Kim that claimed she spent enough money on hair and makeup to "float a third world country." Those millions that Playboy was rumored to offer her to pose nude must be looking real good to Kim right now.

Death Row hit with $4.3 million verdict
A Los Angeles jury awarded $4.3 million to Lamont and Ken Brumfield, the former managers of
Kurupt, in a verdict against Death Row Records and its imprisoned CEO, Suge Knight. The Brumfields claimed that Knight interfered with their contractual and economic relationships with Kurupt when Knight signed him to Death Row. Approximately $3,279,000 of the $4,344,000 in damages is against Death Row and $1,065,000 million is against Knight, whose testimony was videotaped because California Superior Court Judge Emilie H. Elias feared for the safety and security of the jury if Knight was present in the courtroom. Knight is serving a nine-year prison sentence at at San Luis Obispo men's colony for violating parole in 1996, but he may be released as early as next year. Kurupt originally was signed by Lamont Brumfield's Rapp Central Productions and Ken Brumfield's Hoodsta-4-Life Publishing, but proceeded to sign recording, publishing and management contracts with Death Row as he became part of the family with appearances on Dr. Dre's The Chronic. Kurupt declared bankruptcy in 1996, which voided all of the contracts in question. Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, who was accused of convincing Kurupt to break his deal with the Brumfields, also took the stand in the case.

Snoop Dogg, Doggy's Angels are sued
Columbia Pictures has filed a lawsuit agaunst
Snoop Dogg's Doggystyle Records (formerly Dogg House) and its distributor, TVT Records, for infringing on the "Charlie's Angels" logo design. The cover art of the new Doggy's Angels single, "Baby If You're Ready" shows the Angels -- Coniyac, Kola, and Big Chan -- in the classic "Charlie's Angels" pose popularized by the TV show and revived by the recent movie. The suit also claims that customers might mistakenly think the single is the soundtrack to the movie (apparently at an extremely discounted price). TVT released a statement saying that the cover was a parody. Doggy's Angels, the second act released on Snoop's label, dropped their debut album, Pleezbaleevit!, on Nov. 21. Snoop's first group, Tha Eastsidaz, went platinum.

The Pharcyde's bizarre ride
The recording industry is a fickle business. One minute you're hot, the next you're not. In order to keep an ongoing buzz going for yourself, you have to constantly be in the public eye, either by dropping some guest vocals on another artist's song, showing your face at some hob-knob industry event or engaging in the new trend of releasing back-to-back albums. Your fans' fascination with you or your group must never fade. Now what if you haven't released an album in five years? What then becomes of your career? In the case of the
Pharcyde, touring has kept them and their name alive. The crew, which has been responsible for such classic joints like "Passin' Me By" and "Runnin'," is back in the mix with their third album, entitled Plain Rap. The 411 Online recently chatted with Pharcyder Romeye a.k.a. Booty Brown about what has transpired for the group during these past five years and what's next on their agenda. Click here to read the complete interview.

Wyclef's big event takes shape
Wyclef Jean held a press conference Tuesday to announce the details of his Jan. 19 benefit concert at Carnegie Hall. Destiny's Child, Whitney Houston and Eric Clapton will be among the performers at the event, which will benefit Clef's Kids, a group of young musicians that also will perform at the show, and other causes aided by Wyclef's foundation. The partcipants will sing current hits as well as covers from throughout the 20th century. Wyclef will be the first hip-hop artist to headline a show at the legendary music hall, even though he admits he is distancing himself from rapping and concentrating more on singing. When discussing his plans for his third solo album, Masquerade, Wyclef said, "Everything is singing... even when I'm rhyming, I'm singing." That could be due to the fact that his biggest hits have been the tracks he sings on. Wyclef's "Gone Till November" recently was ranked as the No. 88 pop song of all time by MTV and Rolling Stone, and his current duet with Mary J. Blige, "911," is getting heavy video and radio airplay.

Hip-hop shut out at Billboard Awards
Because hip-hop and R&B apparently were packaged together in every category this year, not one MC went home with an award at the 2000 Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas on Tuesday night. In fact, R&B dominated so thoroughly that
DMX was the only MC even listed among the finalists in the major R&B/Hip-hop categories. X got nods for R&B/Hip-hop Artist of the Year and Male R&B/Hip-hop Artist of the Year, but Sisqo ultimately took home both of those honors, as well as the award for New R&B/Hip-hop Artist of the Year. Toni Braxton won the Female R&B/Hip-hop Artist of the Year award. Eminem no doubt hated the fact that he was not included among the hip-hop nominees yet still was a finalist for three awards for his record-breaking album, The Marshall Mathers LP. Eminem was a finalist for male artist of the year (also won by Sisqo, who topped the show with six), albums artist of the year and album of the year. The Billboard Awards are based on radio airplay and retail sales tracked by Broadcast Data Systems and Soundscan, so the winners actually are pre-determined. Last year, Jay-Z was named Rap Artist of the Year and J.T. Money and Solé's "Who Dat" won Rap Single of the Year, but there was no mention of those honors being awarded this year on the released list of winners or on the live telecast from the MGM Grand. Hip-hop wasn't completely absent from the show, though. L.L. Cool J introduced a performance by Destiny's Child (winners of four awards), Mystikal performed the radio-friendly "Shake It Fast," and Lil' Bow Wow rolled out on his scooter in a skit that closed the show.

Kay Gee leaves Naughty By Nature
Kay Gee has left
Naughty By Nature to focus on his production company, Divine Mill, and on developing new R&B talent. "I've graduated from that," Kay Gee said in an interview with Sonicnet. "Naughty by Nature is where I come from and I appreciate it, but that's not where I plan on being and growing old. You can't do that. You can't grow old out on the stage, not in hip-hop. Hip-hop is for the kids." Kay Gee has had R&B success recently with Next and way-back-when with Zhane. He produced Next's two No. 1 singles, "Too Close" and "Wifey," and that first dip into R&B resulted in "Hey Mr. DJ," a top 10 hit for Zhane in 1993. Upcoming projects for Kay Gee include an album from newcomer Jaheim, who just released his first single, "Could It Be," and Luther Vandross' upcoming album on Clive Davis' new J Records.

Take the Snoop Dogg challenge
Death Row Records continues to find ways to strike a nerve in its former artists. This time, they've stooped to the level of your corner bootlegger and released what they claim is
Snoop Dogg's entire upcoming album on their web site, Since Death Row recently released a Snoop album of their own, Dead Man Walkin', a collection of tracks from when Snoop was still stranded, they offer up their album as well. The pitch is to "choose between Dead Man Walkin' and The Last Meal. Listen to both albums and choose song for song which album is better." The site offers 19 cuts that are supposedly from The Last Meal, even though no official track listing has been released. The album, Snoop's last on No Limit Records, will be released on Dec. 19. Also, if you missed the first four airings of Snoop's "Behind the Music" on VH1, it will be shown once again on Sunday, Dec. 10, at 6 p.m. ET.

Run DMC is down but not out
Despite the fact that they've been struggling to release an album for well over a year, Run DMC has found a couple of new ways to reach their fans. The first is a DVD that includes a documentary and several videos from their early days. Of course, hits like "Walk This Way" and "Rock Box" -- the two Run DMC videos you're most likely to see on an MTV countdown -- appear, but classics like "King of Rock," "Christmas In Hollis," "It's Tricky," "Run's House" and "Beats To The Rhyme" are included as well. Even a couple you might have thought even they didn't want to see anymore have been thrown in -- "Pause" and "On The Avenue" from their colorful, big-floppy-hat days. The DVD will be released Dec. 12. The second project is a new book from Reverend Run titled "It's Like That: A Spiritual Memoir." As for Crown Royal, the long-delayed album is getting a full makeover after failing to get single clearances from some of their collaborators. It's now expected to be released in early 2001.

P.E., Alkaholiks relaunch sites
Two groups from opposite ends of the country and opposite ends of the hip-hop spectrum have recently overhauled their web sites.
Public Enemy and the Alkaholiks both relaunched their sites in recent weeks. P.E., true hip-hop pioneers in many ways -- including on the internet -- have added e-commerce, MP3s, classic videos and better navigation to their primary site, Chuck D's monthly commentary and the ever-popular Enemy Board are still staples of the site as well. Meanwhile, the Liks have redone their site in anticipation of their new album, XO. features news, tour dates, bios, discography and will add a new show, "Likwit TV," in January. There are also plans to add a behind-the-scenes documentary on next year's promotional tour as well as production tips from E-Swift.

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