MTV Unplugged Returns With Mary J. Blige
MTV's on-again, off-again "Unplugged" program will return in a big way this summer, with new episodes featuring the Police, Bon Jovi, Kenny Chesney, Mary J. Blige and John Mayer. This time around, however, the show will be rolled out on a variety of related channels and platforms, including VH1, CMT and MTV.com.
Bon Jovi will usher in the 2007 edition of the series beginning June 22 on MTV. The next two evenings, VH1 and CMT will air a version of "Unplugged" specifically tailored to those channels' audiences.
Bon Jovi is credited with inspiring the "Unplugged" format after its stripped-down performance on the 1989 MTV Video Music Awards. The group's appearance coincides with its new country-tinged album, "Lost Highway," due June 19 via Island.
No information has yet been unveiled about the other tapings, although the Police will reportedly hold their "Unplugged" show in mid-July in Miami. Rumor has it the group is also mulling the release of an album featuring acoustic renditions of old material.
Nas & dead prez To Collaborate?
What happens when two underground, political rappers meet with a mainstream self-proclaimed thug poet? We're about to find out.
"We've done quite a few songs with Nas," M-1 recently told MTV. "We have had a relationship for years. Stic had did a song with just him on it. And I did a song with just me and Nas on it. I don't know when it'll surface yet."
While working on solo LP's and looking for a home for their group album, the crew has been thinking about what the music world needs from them and what the youth has been getting from others. M1 even spoke on Al Sharpton and Russell Simmons.
"People don't have political clarity. And young people are not clear on their positions and not able to speak. I don't know if you consider me young or not...I can tell you my position comes from an informed political stand. ... A lot of positions are ambiguous," M-1 stated. "The leadership has not emerged to be present enough to speak out ... I'd be interested to see who does have a position that could give clarity to what is happening now."
"Al [Sharpton] and Russell [Simmons]...I think they are more into ambulance-chasing than actually grinding out [a] position that makes sense," M-1 continues with his critique. "I think it'll take some sincere forces that don't have any interest in anything other than changing our community and making things better."
M1 is also working on Birth of a Nation, which will be yet another project for the rapper.
"It's an organizational tool to get more interactive with people who feel like there is no inroads to get their voices heard...We're gonna [use it to] address all the recent issues."
Def Jam Records Upsets North Carolina High School
On a recent trip to a Charlotte, North Carolina high school — Myers Park High — Def Jam Records and their promotional team handed out free gifts, such as umbrellas, posters, lip-gloss and CDs. But according to WCNC.com, the school, as well as student’s parents, complained that CDs with vulgar lyrics were handed out without their approval.
The trip by Def Jam’s promo team, which was approved by the school, was supposed to be a reward for students with good behavior. But according to Assistant Principal Carlos Grant, “They handed out some things that we were not aware of, definitely vulgar.” Subsequently, the school banned Def Jam from the campus and sent out phone calls to student’s parents letting them know what happened.
“I don’t think they’d be very happy at all,” Grace McEwen, a student told WCNC. “My mom would probably complain.” McEwen’s mother, Grace, feels the school’s intentions were in the right place and blames the Def Jam promo team.
“I think the school did it [in a] well-intentional manner,” Grace McEwen told WCNC. “I’m not upset with the school. I’m upset with the individual who took advantage of the situation.”
PRINCE PLAYS ‘GUITAR’ FOR VERIZON WIRELESS
Guitar,” the first single from a new Prince album due in July, will be available free exclusively to Verizon Wireless subscribers who participate in an online demo of its new Song ID music identification service.
You’ve seen the commercial where a woman puts her Verizon phone up to a speaker blasting her favorite song, and suddenly the tune’s information is on her display with a prompt to download. The company is hoping that a promotion with Prince will encourage more users to get acquainted with this new service.
The Song ID demo – available on Verizon's Web site, as well as online video outlets like YouTube, Revver and MySpace – features a clip of the music video for the single and a prompt for subscribers to hold their phone to the computer speaker to ID the song. Once identified, users can then download the song in a single click.
At the same time, Prince is hoping that his relationship with Verizon will help to publicize his upcoming album, “Planet Earth,” as he is presently without a label to market or distribute the CD.
"There is no music label involved here," says Verizon senior VP of marketing and digital media John Harrobin. "That enabled us to work very closely together."
Prince’s last CD, “3121,” was released last year through a one-album deal with Universal.
Verizon’s TV ad campaign, launched last night (May 31), features both Prince and the music video.
Jermaine Dupri Signs Jason Fox of "Aunt Jackie" Fame
Jermaine Dupri has signed Harlem sensation Jason Fox — responsible for the street hit "Aunt Jackie," a tune that complements the flamboyant New York City dance of the same name — to Island Urban Music.
The dance has been an online smash, with kids appropriating the moves in homemade video clips.
"I think we're seeing the life of hip-hop coming back with songs like 'Aunt Jackie,' " Dupri said in a statement. "It's the kids acting like kids used to act when I was growing up, and I love it because, to me, hip-hop has been too-cool-for-school lately. It's time for a change."
Expect a debut album from Jason Fox sometime in 2007.
18 Year Old Windsor, Ontario Man In Hot Water Over Phone Call To Eminem
An 18 year old aspiring Windsor, Ontario rapper lost his job, tainted his family's reputation and had both Detroit and Windsor police officers after him for stealing Kim Mathers cell phone and contacting her former husband, the rapper Eminem.
"I'm just really desperate to get my music heard," Kyle Spratt said. "I'm not having a good life...and I feel that my music could really help me if I really made it, ever made it."
Ms. Mathers is said to be a regular player at Paradise Bingo, the family business where Mr.Spratt used to work, before he was fired for snatching Ms. Mathers cell phone while she was smoking outside. The Spratt family gave the cell phone back shortly after it was taken a month ago - but not before Mr.Spratt wrote down the personal numbers for Shady Records stars Eminem and Obie trice.
A couple of week's ago Mr Spratt finally decided to call his rap idol and ask him to listen to a demo track.
"He was a real ass--hole," Mr.Spratt said "He pretended it was wasn't him, and he did a fake voice"
After a brief conversation, Mr. Spratt wondered if he had written down the wrong number. But then he received a call from Detroit police advising him to stop harassing Eminem. Mr.Spratt recorded the conversations he had with both Detroit police officers and Eminem and sampled the tracks in a rap song he wrote in a tribute to his new hatred for the Detroit rapper.
The song called "Slim Shady Is A Sellout" was posted on Mr.Spratt's myspace page and received 1,400 hits in two days.
But yesterday the link to the song was removed from Mr.Spratt's website and the high school drop-out found himself face to face with Windsor police detectives standing at his door.
Windsor police Insp.Greg Renaud said Detriot had contacted the local force about three days ago, which is about the same time Mr.Spratt posted his song online.
"The reason they called originally was because the phone had been stolen and there was allegation, apparently, although we haven't confirmed this, that the kid wanted to talk to Eminem and get some promotion and if he wasn't going to get it he was going to post pictures of Eminem's children on the web," Insp. Renaud said.
Mr.Spratt said police checked his computer but didn't find any photos. He said Ms.Mathers misunderstood one of the text messages he sent her, leading to suspicion of stolen photos. "I was trying to get her going. I did it to get her going. She assumed that I took pictures off her phone, which I did not. They said that Kim thinks I'm going to put out pictures of her kids that were on the phone, which is not true. Kim was doing that to stir the pot" said Mr. Spratt.
According to reports, Kim Mathers will not be pressing charges.
Wyclef Ready To Move On Without Fugees
Wyclef Jean is dropping a new album and he's enlisted many of today's Hip-Hop stars to help on The Carnival 2: Memoirs of an Immigrant.
Why drop an album now?
"My sound is definitely missing out there, it's obvious...And basically, I just want to regroup with my family. I got my little brother with me — whenever you hear me say, 'All hands on deck,' that's my brother Sedeck. And you know, of course, Jerry Wonder forever ... you just have to, as a producer, sometimes step at it from the outside, see what's going on inside, and attack it with a fresh edge," he told MTV recently.
Features will include T.I., Paul Simon, Akon, Mary J, Will.i.am of The Black Eyed Peas, and Ex-Pussycat Doll, Nicole Sherzinger.
Will and Nicole are on the first single and Clef spoke on that, too.
"My cousin came with ... an old  sample from Haiti...It's an old Compa; Compa is the rhythm of my country. So imagine now, we land in the West with this old-time [beat] and we go, 'Check, Will,' and Will is like, 'OK, this is what you working with?' And he jumps on it and throws some drums on top of it. Then I'm like, 'OK, this is what you working with?' Then I go in the booth and start jumping in. He goes in and starts jumping. And then next thing you know, Nicole happens to be there. Like, ain't nothing rehearsed because we went in on a vibe."
With so many stars on the LP, one would expect at least one Fugees track. According to the report, it is not likely. The fact is, no Fugees are expected to be on the LP and no Fugee reunion tracks are on the way, either.
No word on the official release date for The Carnival 2.
Michael Jackson Purchases Some of Eminem's Publishing?
According to Yahoo! News, Michael Jackson now owns the rights to some of Eminem's catalog. This is the direct result of his Sony/ATV Music Publishing company's purchas of Famous Music LLC from Viacom.
So which songs Em's does the King of Pop own? Two of the rapper's biggest hits: Without Me and The Real Slim Shady.
In the purchase, the singer also obtained the rights to music by Shakira, Beck and Bjork, as well as the sountracks to movies such as The Godfather and Mission: Impossible.
Jackson said, via statement: "This is a milestone event for Sony/ATV Music Publishing. The diverse collection of songs in this catalog range from timeless classics to contemporary hits, and I am pleased to add the acquisition of Famous Music to Sony/ATV."
In 2004, Em controversially poked fun at the pop artist with his lead single's video at the time, Just Lose It.
Young Jeezy's USDA Crew Caught Moving Weight, Ne-Yo Back Slides And Amy Winehouse "Bounces Black"
In this week's Hip-Hop and R&B charts, Young Jeezy and U.S.D.A snatch the top spot, Ne-Yo slips and Amy Winehouse ascends.
Debuting at No. 4 on the charts this week is Young Jeezy and his crew U.S.D.A with their debut album Cold Summer. The set, which features appearances from Scar, R. Kelly, Bun B and Jadakiss, scanned 95,300 discs in its opening week, according to Nielsen's SoundScan.
A three spot drop to No. 10 doesn't seem to hurt Ne-Yo as Because Of You moves 40,500 units this week. After 4 weeks, the album has sold 435,900 copies.
Floating a step up to the 11th spot is Amy Winehouse. Back To Black shifts 39,000 discs this week, bringing the album's total sales to 443,600.
Tank, who debuted at No. 2 last week, tumbles ten spots to No. 12. Despite the slip, Sex, Love and Pain still has cash registers ringing as it shells out 37,000 CDs in its second week. The album's tally stands at 140,200.
Bone Thugs-N- Harmony stalls six slots to No. 15 this week. Strength & Loyalty, which is on its third week on the charts, reins 33,900 units. So far, the album has sold 206,200.
Entering the charts at No. 17 is Lil' Boosie and Webbie with their compilation titled Survival Of The Fittest. Thanks to the single "Wipe Me Down," the set moves 30,900 copies in its first week spin.
The Black Eyed Peas' Fergie stays put at No. 18. Dutchess lugs in 29,100 units this week. To date, the album has sold 1,929,000 copies.
Posted up at No. 19 is Akon. Konvicted has sold 2,373,600 copies thus far, with 28,600 representing the week-in total.
Tripping twelve spots down to No. 26 is Bobby Valentino. Special Occasion shelves off 21,400 discs this week, bringing the album's tally to 146,900.
Sliding four spots to No. 28 is Justin Timberlake. FutureSex/Love Sounds bags up 21,100 units this week. To date, the album has sold 3,272,100 copies.
Two slots below is Robin Thicke at No. 30. The tally for Evolution Of Robin Thicke stands at 1,121,200. The album scans 19,000 discs this week.
Taking ten steps down the ladder to No. 37 is Beyonce. This week, 15,000 fans picked up her sophomore album, B-Day. After 38 weeks, the disc has sold a total of 2,703,700 copies.
Timbaland continues to stay afloat on the charts. Holding on to the No. 38 spot, Shock Value hustles 14,900 discs this week, rounding out the beat maker's sales to 343,200.
Seven steps away at No. 45 is Joss Stone. Introducing Joss Stone ropes in 13,300 discs this week, bringing the album's total sales to 381,900. Not far behind at No. 46 is Musiq Soulchild. Luvanmusiq pushes 13,100 this week. So far, the album has sold a total of 392,500.
Leanin' at No 49 is Corrine Bailey Rae. Her self titled opus scans 12,690 discs this week, pushing her album's total sales to 1,522,200. Murder Inc's Lloyd takes two steps down to No. 50. Street Love bags up 12,600 CDs, rounding out the crooner's sales to 397,700.
Joe continues to struggle to find a solid spot on the charts as he plunges fifteen spots to No. 54. Ain't Nothing Like Me reels in 11,800 copies this week. After five weeks, the album has sold a total of 180,700 copies.
Paul Wall staggers three steps to No. 63. Get Money , Stay True sells 10,000 discs this week, bringing its tally to 224,600. Young Buck continues his downward spiral on the charts as he stumbles fourteen steps to No. 71, Buck The Worldonly moves 9,000 copies this week, rounding its total to 321,500.
Further down, Young Jeezy sits at No. 83. The Inspiration rings out 8,200 discs this week, pushing the album's total sales to 1,070,900. Fantasia moves five spots to No. 85. Her self titled album shifts 8,100 units this week, bringing her album's total to 388,500. MIMS plunges fifteen spots to No. 83. Music Is My Savior hauls in 7,900 copies this week. To date, the album has sold 215,200 copies. Ciara trips nine slots to No.101. Evolution shells out 6,800 copies this week, bringing the album's total to 1,166,500. Posted at No. 104 is Rich Boy. His self titled album has moved 303,500 copies thus far, with 6,780 representing the week-in total. Wrapping things is up Eminem's protégé Cashis who debuts at No. 106 with his debut album County Hounds. The album pushes 6,700 copies in its opening week.
Next week look for R. Kelly to make an impact on the Hip-Hop and R&B charts