L.L. Cool J the entertainer
L.L. Cool J has been in the spotlight for
most of hip-hop's public life, and even though it's constantly changing
he's been able to stay in the game. His longevity will be extended with
the release of his latest album, Ten, which will hit stores Oct.
15. "There's just more opportunity to get in, but it's harder to be seen
and be noticed because there's more competition," L.L. told The 411 Online.
"I mean, there used to be a time when people were excited to hear their
records in the daytime, but now whole stations are based on the music."
Not only has L.L. been able to enjoy success in music, but he was also
one of the first to make it in movies, something that he is equally proud
of. "They're both a tremendous accomplishment. Neither one is easy. I'm
proud of both. I enjoy both equally. I love the music and I love the films
and it's very enjoyable. I just love what I'm doing as an entertainer
in general." Read the complete interview.
drops Ludacris TV ad
After coming under public attack by the national news media, Pepsi has
decided to take a television ad featuring Ludacris
off the air. Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly criticized Pepsi for hiring
a "thug" to represent their product, calling Ludacris "controversial"
Tuesday on his show, "The O'Reilly Factor," and reciting lyrics that he
felt encouraged "intoxication and the degradation of women."
O'Reilly went on to say that in protest he would drink only Coca-Cola
in the future. Instead of coming out in support of Ludacris, Pepsi released
a statement Wednesday announcing that the entire campaign was being pulled
immediately: "We have a responsibility to listen to our customers
-- and we've heard from a number of people that they were uncomfortable
with our association with this artist. We've decided to discontinue our
ad campaign with the artist, and we're sorry that we've offended anyone.
There are many different types of talented celebrities and artists, but
not all of them are compatible with our brands and what consumers have
come to expect from us."
shoots for perfect Ten
While adding to his list of credits in films such as "Any Given Sunday,"
"Deep Blue Sea" and "Rollerball," L.L. Cool J
strayed away from the music scene, with no concerts and just one album
to speak of in the past four years. But all that is about to change. L.L.
returned to the road in June and started getting to know his audio audience
again in preparation of the Oct. 15 release of his new album, Ten.
"I think that's the perfect way to describe it -- getting reacquainted
with everyone out there," L.L. told Reuters. "It's just a clean, positive...
very smart record." As always, the styles will be diverse, but L.L. isn't
jumping on the latest trends just to debut at No. 1 (although his 2000
album, The Greatest Of All Time, did just that anyway). His goal
is longevity. "This is my 10th album... I didn't get into this for a quick
hit and then I'm gone. I'm around for the long haul, I promise you." And
his film career isn't going away, either. Next year, L.L. stars alongside
Gabrielle Union in "Deliver Us From Eva" and with Val Kilmer and Christian
Slater in "Mindhunters."
runs the pop charts
If there was any doubt that hip-hop truly has gone pop, all it takes is
one look at this week's Billboard charts to erase it. Nelly
not only is No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart with "Dilemma"
featuring Kelly Rowland, he's got a lock on the No. 2 spot still with
"Hot in Herre." Meanwhile, Nellyville returned to the top of the
Billboard 200 albums chart by edging Eminem's
The Eminem Show by about 5,000 copies, 183,000 to 178,000. However,
over on the R&B/Hip-Hop chart, Scarface maintained his hold on the top
spot with The Fix. "Dilemma" received 40 percent more airplay than
any other song in rotation last week, increasing its audience to more
than 163 million and breaking the record that "Hot in Herre" set earlier
this summer. Nelly's 20-city tour kicks off in Virginia Beach, Va., on
Oct. 3, and he also has a track on the new "XXX" soundtrack, so don't
expect him to disappear from the spotlight anytime soon.
drive to success
Notorious B.I.G.'s climb to fame is the subject of VH-1's latest installment
of "Driven." The episode, which debuted Tuesday, features footage of Biggie
rapping at age 14, exclusive audio from his first studio sessions a year
later and video of him energizing crowds on the street corners of Brooklyn.
The show portrays Biggie as one of the hardest working MCs in the business,
revealing that Biggie often did concerts for as low as $1,000 -- during
his prime -- and made cash deals for guest appearances just to stay in
front of the mic. Through interviews with Lil' Cease and other members
of Junior M.A.F.I.A., Easy Moe Bee, Damion “D-Roc” Butler and Biggie's
mother, Voletta Wallace, the hour-long program follows Biggie's rise to
stardom up until his untimely death in 1997 that cut short plans for a
clothing line, restaurants and a music empire of his own. "Driven: Notorious
B.I.G." airs again Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET, Thursday at 7 p.m. ET, twice
Friday and several other times during the next month.
2 for Angie Martinez
Hot 97 on-air personality Angie Martinez
is celebrating the release of her second album Tuesday with an in-store
appearance and live remote broadcast from 3-6 p.m. at The Wiz on West
Fordham Road in the Bronx. The follow-up to last year's Up Close And
Personal, Animal House already has spawned one hit single.
"If I Could Go," featuring Elektra labelmate Lil' Mo and newcomer Sacario,
isn't only receiving steady airplay on Martinez's home station, it's making
noise on Billboard's rap and R&B singles charts. And the video is in regular
rotation on the MTV family of channels, especially BET and 24-hour digital
cable rookie of the year MTV Jams. Animal House also includes appearances
by Missy Elliott, Fat Joe, Petey Pablo, Kelis and Tony Sunshine.
D switches up on Elvis
You remember the lyrics: "Elvis was a hero to most/ But he never
meant sh-- to me, you see/ Straight up racist that sucker was simple and
plain/ Motherf--- him and John Wayne." Chuck D delivered that shot
with an assist from Flavor Flav on Public Enemy's
1989 anthem, "Fight the Power." But it seems Chuck has softened
his stance on the rock 'n' roll icon as Elvis' fans reflected on the 25th
anniversary of his death last week. "As a musicologist -- and I consider
myself one -- there was always a great deal of respect for Elvis, especially
during his Sun sessions. As a black people, we all knew that," Chuck
said in an interview with Newsday. "My whole thing was the one-sidedness
-- like, Elvis' icon status in America made it like nobody else counted.
My heroes came from someone else. My heroes came before him. My heroes
were probably his heroes. As far as Elvis being 'The King,' I couldn't
buy that." Chuck also had some thoughts on the similarities between
Elvis and one of today's most popular MCs. "Eminem is the new Elvis
because, number one, he had the respect for black music that Elvis had.
I think he's courteous and sympathetic to black music, and, unfortunately,
he's more sympathetic to black music than many black artists themselves."
Public Enemy's latest album, Revolverlution, was released July
L.L. Cool J concert
shut down early
Cool J's performance at Los Angeles radio station The Beat's Summer
Jam event in Irvine, Calif., was cut short Sunday when members of rival
gangs took over the stage at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre and began
striking people with metal bars. Police told Reuters that security guards
lost control of the crowd of 15,000 people, and three people received
minor injuries after being crushed by the crowd as it rushed outside.
About 30 people were taken in custody to face possible charges ranging
from drug possession to parole violations. L.L.'s set initially was interrupted
by a disturbance in the crowd between the two groups. What started as
screaming escalated into violence and the groups eventually stormed the
stage with metal bars they obtained backstage. After the show, L.L. called
the incident "appalling" in an interview with a local TV station.
"I think that it's just a prime example of how much we as black men really
need someone around us who can guide us in the right direction and how
we are so in desperate need of attention that we should ruin an event
just to feel important." Earlier acts that were able to perform during
the day-long event without incident included Snoop Dogg, Trick Daddy,
Trina, Nelly and Mystikal, who debuted a song addressing his rape charges.
Smith, Def Jam:
Free Slick Rick
Smith has added his support to the cause of Slick Rick, who is facing
deportation because he was convicted of attempted murder 11 years ago.
"I have known Rick for over 15 years," Smith wrote in a letter to the
Immigration and Naturalization Service. "While I'm aware of his past problems,
I've also had the pleasure to watch him develop into a good person." Slick
Rick is a legal resident but not a United States citizen. He served more
than five years in prison for a 1991 shooting in New York, and U.S. law
requires the deportation of any non-citizen who serves more than five
years in a U.S. prison. Rick was arrested by immigration officials last
month in Miami aboard a cruise ship that had hired him to perform. He
is in custody in Florida pending an immigration hearing. "I don't believe
I'm a bad person," Rick said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.
"The whole incident was years ago. I've been out and six years crime-free.
All this now seems like an extreme measure." Slick Rick's label, Def Jam
Records, is asking fans to support his release by signing a petition on
its web site.
DMX, Jamaica target Ja Rule
After numerous subtle disses in tracks such as "Do You" and "We Don't Give a F---"
DMX is ready to go all out on Ja Rule. "I got some sh--, man," X said in an interview with MTV. "They trying to stop me from doing this song called 'Ruled Out.' Everybody in here don't want me to do it -- they whining -- but I'm gonna do it. I've been thinking about it for a minute. I bit him lightly, on the second album. But I see he didn't get the point." When asked if he thought Ja's recent crossover success had gone to his head just a bit, X responded, "A little? One thing I can't really f--- with is how a n---- change up. If I could stay the same, why can't you? Even if you do change up, don't change up to your n----- before all this. We was broke together, man." If DMX doesn't catch him first, the Jamaican authorities just might. Police in Montego Bay put out an arrest warrant for Ja Rule after he failed to appear in court to face charges of violating local antiprofanity laws during a performance last summer. Ja was served a summons on Sunday while visiting and was told to appear in court by Monday. When he failed to show up, the warrant was issued for his arrest.
Cam'ron arrested in New York
was arrested in Manhattan on Monday on drug and weapons charges. Cam, who
earlier this year released Come Home With Me, was pulled over for
a traffic violation while on his way to the set of Roc-A-Fella's latest
film, "Death of a Dynasty." Police allegedly spotted marijuana from outside
of the Range Rover, proceeded to search the vehicle and found a .22-caliber
handgun. Cam'ron was charged with criminal possession of a firearm, criminal
possession of marijuana and criminal possession of a forged fire department
placard, which he allegedly used for increased parking and toll privileges.
Cam spent the night in jail, was arraigned on Tuesday, and was released
after pleading not guilty and posting bail. Roc-A-Fella released a statement
in support of Cam: "All of us at Roc-A-Fella Records, as well as his family
and fans, are fully behind him. We believe that when the truth of what happened
comes out, Cam'ron will be vindicated."
Mystikal arrested on rape charge
Mystikal has been accused of raping a 40-year-old woman with two other men at his home and committing extortion, and police say much of the alleged attack was videotaped. Mystikal, whose real name is Michael Tyler, surrendered Thursday and was booked on an aggravated rape charge. He was released on $250,000 bond. The extortion charge accuses Mystikal of demanding sex in exchange for his agreement not to turn the woman over to police for using checks from his bank account without his permission.
Mystikal denied the allegations as police led him from headquarters Thursday, and his agent, Tivester Scott, said: "We have no comment, but are 100 percent sure he is innocent of these charges." If convicted of the aggravated rape charge, Mystikal would face a mandatory life sentence, while the penalty for extortion carries a prison term of one to 15 years. According to the arrest warrant, Mystikal ordered the woman to go into his bedroom and undress, then made her perform oral sex on him while he called his friends on the phone. The woman told police that when his friends arrived she was forced to have intercourse with one and perform oral sex on the other while being videotaped. Among the items detectives confiscated from Mystikal's home was a videotape, and it "confirmed that the accused and two co-defendants had sexually assaulted the victim," the warrant alleges.
Project Pat wants new trial
Project Pat, convicted last month on federal weapons charges, is seeking a new trial, claiming that the judge and jury were improperly influenced by his lyrics. In a filing to the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, defense attorneys argue that Judge Robert H. Cleland, a visiting federal jurist from Detroit, allowed images of guns in Project Pat's music to be used unfairly. During the trial, Pat's lawyers tried to limit questions about rap music or his lyrics on a claim of "protected speech." The defense also objected to using the term "gangsta rap," which prosecutors argued referred specifically to Pat's style of music. The judge sentenced Project Pat, whose real name is Patrick Houston, to four years and three months in prison. "We contend ... (Cleland) increased the sentence as a result of the lyrics of some of Mr. Houston's songs," defense attorney John E. Herbison of Nashville said this week. "I have some concerns ... as to whether that violates the First Amendment." Project Pat, a state felon convicted of aggravated robbery, was arrested in January 2001 when Memphis police looking for stolen sport utility vehicles pulled him over and found two loaded revolvers under a front floor mat in his Cadillac Escalade.
Nelly knocks Eminem from top
Thanks to Nelly, Eminem's
The Eminem Show will come up three weeks short of matching
the record eight-week run at No. 1 of his 2000 album, The Marshall
Mathers LP. Nelly's second album, Nellyville, sold more
than 716,000 copies last week and will replace Eminem at the top
of next week's Billboard 200 albums chart. The Eminem Show
didn't fall far, dropping one spot to No. 2 after moving more than
307,000 units for a grand total of 3.6 million. Noreaga's God's
Favorite sold more than 118,000 copies to check in at No.
3, while Will Smith's Born to Reign will debut at No. 13
after selling only 60,000 copies. Smith's might at the box office
will be tested by another hip-hop upstart as "Men In Black II" goes
head-to-head with Lil' Bow Wow's
"Like Mike," which somewhat surprisingly has earned critical praise
so far. Chances are Smith's July 4 movie throne is safe, but don't
underestimate Bow Wow, his legions of young fans and the marketing
power of the NBA.
Trick Daddy, Trina talk album
has been dropping hints around Miami that she and Trick
Daddy might collaborate on a full-length album in the near
they're able to pull it off and it doesn't go the way of Dr. Dre
and Ice Cube's Helter Skelter, it would mark the first time
one of hip-hop's power couples doubled down on a disc. In the meantime
it's first things first for Trick, whose Thug Holiday will
arrive in stores on Aug. 6. The first single is called "In Da Wind"
and features Outkast's Big Boi and the Goodie Mob's Cee-Lo. Two
versions of the track are planned for the album, which will also
have guest appearances by Scarface and the Big Tymers' Baby.
Nas rips Hot 97, several MCs
Nas backed out of a scheduled headlining performance at Hot 97's Summer Jam on Wednesday because he felt the organizers of the event were trying to control too much of his stage show. "I've been bamboozled, hoodwinked and the whole nine," Nas said while venting in an interview on rival station Power 105. "I'm here to let my people know -- all my hip-hop community people know -- that I was dissed this morning by Hot 97 and told what I couldn't do on the show." Hot 97 reportedly did not want him to perform "Ether," his response to the dis Jay-Z unveiled at last year's Summer Jam, "Takeover." The station also was uncomfortable because Nas planned to stage some sort of hanging during his performance.
"You're gonna tell Nas what I cannot do on a Summer Jam stage when the same acts have been done four or five years in a row and last year it happened to be a dis toward me by Jay?" Nas continued. "And he was all high and mighty. Then I dropped the 'Ether' napalm bomb and their whole crew was running like roaches. And now you got this station over there crying because he lost." Nas went on to say he was tired of hearing rhymes about "record sales and rims" and called out a few MCs by name: Cam'ron ("the album is wack"), Noreaga ("step your rap game up") and Nelly ("you're trying to battle KRS-One? ...don't follow Nas unless you're going to be creative").
Eminem's run at No. 1 hits five weeks
For the fifth straight week, Eminem's The Eminem Show will top the Billboard 200 albums chart. After moving more than 500,000 units in each of its first three full weeks on the chart (the album's Sunday release created a short first week), The Eminem Show's sales slipped to 381,000 copies, which is still more than the next two albums combined and brings its total haul to more than 3.3 million. Wyclef Jean's Masquerade will debut at No. 6 after selling more than 81,000 copies, while P. Diddy's We Invented the Remix drops three spots to No. 8.
Khujo loses leg in car crash
Khujo of the Goodie Mob (pictured, far right) is in stable condition after crashing his car in Atlanta on Tuesday. Cee-Lo told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Wednesday that doctors had to amputate Khujo's right leg below the kneecap. "Khujo is still in very good, strong spirits," Cee-Lo said. Several news outlets prematurely reported that Khujo lost both legs. Cee-Lo said Khujo was returning home from the Dungeon Family's famed studio in southwest Atlanta between 3 and 4 a.m when he fell asleep while driving north on Interstate 75. While accepting the BET Award for best group Tuesday, Outkast's Big Boi asked fans to pray for Khujo, while Andre reportedly skipped the show so he could stay at the hospital.
Outkast repeats at BET Awards
Outkast made it two-for-two Tuesday night at the second annual BET Awards. Andre and Big Boi took home best music group honors for the second straight year at the show, which switched venues but not hosts. Steve Harvey and Cedric the Entertainer once again presided over the ceremonies, which moved from Las Vegas to Hollywood's Kodak Theatre. Ja Rule, who performed with Charli Baltimore and Ashanti, was named best male hip-hop artist, while Missy Elliott won for best female hip-hop artist. Busta Rhymes' "Pass The Courvoisier Part II" featuring P. Diddy and Pharrell was picked as video of the year. Winners were determined by record label executives, media and fans. Nelly and Lil' Bow Wow also were among the performers. Click here for a list of all the winners...
More news on Nelly, MC Lyte and Foxy Brown...
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