Rapper Young Jeezy charged with DUI in Atlanta

June 19, 2008 at 10:07 am | Posted in usher, Young Jeezy | Leave a comment
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Rapper Young Jeezy was charged with driving under the influence and speeding after he was pulled over on an Atlanta highway early Wednesday.

The multi-platinum-selling artist, whose real name is Jay Jenkins, was driving a Corvette when he was stopped about 2:30 a.m. on Interstate 85, police department spokesman Officer James Polite said.

The arresting officer noticed the vehicle did not have a license plate, but Polite could not say how fast Jenkins was driving.

Jenkins was charged with speeding, driving with no proof of insurance or license plate, having an open container, reckless driving and driving impaired by alcohol or drugs.

He was released from the Atlanta City Detention Center a few hours later on a $4,100 bond. He is scheduled to appear in court July 17.

His attorney, Scott E. Leemon, said in a news release that Jenkins was arrested after leaving a recording studio, where he was working on his new album.

“A court date has been scheduled and Jeezy looks forward to getting the matter resolved,” Leemon said. Jenkins is due in court on July 17.

Jenkins’ collaboration, “Love in This Club,” with R&B star Usher is currently sixth on Billboard’s Hot 100 list.

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Lil Wayne tops the 1 million mark with first-week sales of ‘Tha Carter III’

June 19, 2008 at 9:57 am | Posted in 50 Cent, kanye west, lil wayne | Leave a comment
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Like a superhero arriving in the nick of time, rapper Lil Wayne has swooped in to stem the tide, however briefly, of both the record business’ general slump and the steeper slide that rap music has suffered in recent years.

The New Orleans rhymer’s “Tha Carter III” has become the first album to top the 1 million sales mark during its first week in stores since 50 Cent’s “The Massacre” more than three years ago. It also is the first rap album to top the national sales chart since Jay-Z’s “American Gangster” held that spot in November.

“I’m sure there are people who thought we wouldn’t see a 1 million copy week again,” Geoff Mayfield, Billboard’s charts director, said Wednesday. “This doesn’t mean there isn’t trouble in the music business, but it does mean if you have the right record at the right time, it’s still possible.”

The fact that Lil Wayne, who is less a household name outside hip-hop circles than Jay-Z, Kanye West, Eminem or 50 Cent, managed to hit that threshold speaks to the groundswell of popularity he has generated through a string of singles and mix-tapes released over the Internet in the last year.

His single “Lollipop,” which he sang Monday at his release-week concert at the House of Blues in West Hollywood, is one of the year’s biggest hits. In recent weeks it has ridden high on both Billboard’s Hot 100, which measures radio airplay, physical and digital sales, and the magazine’s Hot Digital Tracks chart, indicating its popularity as a download.

“There had been a lot of anticipation building for the album,” Mayfield said. “It shipped 1.3 million copies, which is a number like the old days.”

It’s a dramatic step up for Lil Wayne, whose previous album, “Tha Carter II,” sold 238,000 copies during its first week in stores in 2005, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and peaked at No. 2 on the chart. The closest anyone has come to the 1 million sales week since 50 Cent was West, whose “Graduation” album logged a first-week figure of 957,000 last September.

At local stops, hip-hop just flops

May 27, 2008 at 3:34 pm | Posted in Alicia Keys, beyonce, jay z, kanye west, Mary J. Blige | 2 Comments
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Kanye West was snubbed here twice. Beyonce played to more empty seats than occupied ones. And now Alicia Keys has joined the Cold Shoulder Club.

It’s sad but true: Tampa Bay is a brutal market for major R&B and hip-hop concerts. West, Beyonce and Keys are multiplatinum superstars that have fans of all ages, genders and races. I want them to come back. But do you?

On Saturday, the 27-year-old Keys — who’s had four consecutive No. 1 albums — played to 7,201 people in the St. Pete Times Forum, a Tampa venue that can seat about three times as many. The show was a dazzler, but it would have been better with a full house cheering her on. Tickets started at $39.50, a relatively good deal these days.

You could blame the recession, the price of gas, the price of life. But other major tours are doing great in the Tampa Bay area (Radiohead, Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen). Plus this is a trend that tracks well before 2008.

In July, Beyonce played to a smattering of fans in the Times Forum, probably no more than 4,000. Final figures were never released, no surprise there. Minutes before the show — in a move I’ve never seen before — people in the upper levels were invited down to grab a seat in the lower level. Even more amazing? There weren’t enough people in the pricier seats to complain.

The last two times rapper West set up shop in Tampa Bay, a widespread case of couldn’t-care-less broke out. In October 2005, as he was selling out consecutive nights in Madison Square Garden, West drew a measly 3,572 in the USF Sun Dome, which has a capacity of about 10,000.

A few weeks ago, West came to Ford Amphitheatre with a hit-making supporting cast of Rihanna, Lupe Fiasco and N.E.R.D. They drew just 9,200, or about half of the venue’s capacity.

The very next night, at Miami’s American Airlines Arena, which holds 19,600, Kanye & Co. performed for a sold-out crowd, according to the Miami Herald.

Granted, we’re not Miami, and we’re definitely not New York. But something’s going on here.

DJ Trauma, an on-air personality at Wild 98.7, one of the few local stations that play West and Keys, says there are two major reasons why R&B and hip-hop shows are tanking. First of all, “They don’t have the proper promotions behind them,” he says. “They don’t know how to get the word out to the right people.” Much has been made of Tampa Bay’s dearth of urban radio choices, which could also be part of the problem.

But DJ Trauma also points to the success of Wild’s two annual hip-hop festivals: Wild Splash and the Last Damn Show, multiact events that cost about $20 and routinely draw huge crowds.

But “all these people around here don’t have $40 to spend on a concert,” he says. “There’s a lot of money in Miami and Dallas. This is different here.”

A few R&B and hip-hop acts do well here: Mariah Carey drew 16,493 fans to her 2006 Times Forum show. Gwen Stefani, whose biggest hits are hip-hop collaborations, drew 16,500 at the amphitheater last year. Not as good, but not awful, were crowds for a double-bill of Eminem and 50 Cent (13,593, Times Forum, 2005), and R&B belter Christina Aguilera (11,538, Times Forum, 2007).

Overall, Tampa Bay is considered a good, if unreliable, concert market. Country acts always fill the seats. Veteran performers (a la Neil Diamond, coming Oct. 24) are slam-dunks. And ’80s acts (such as Cheap Trick, Heart and Journey, a triple-bill coming July 30) are money in the bank, too. Those sales numbers are reflected in the local abundance of country and classic-rock radio stations.

But hip-hop shows? Not so much. And that’s too bad, especially since West, Keys and many more have made hip-hop the most creatively daring genre in popular music.

According to Billboard magazine, one of 2008’s hottest tours is the tandem of rapper Jay-Z and “queen of hip-hop soul” Mary J. Blige. Tickets start in the $30s, and nightly grosses in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Oakland have topped $1-million. There are no plans for Jay and Mary to come to Tampa. With our attendance records, why would they?

Combs Turns Screenwriter

May 26, 2008 at 2:47 pm | Posted in diddy, Eddie Murphy, Sienna Miller | Leave a comment
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Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs has been so inspired by this year’s Cannes Film Festival, he is now writing his own big-screen project.

The hip-hop star has previously expressed an interest in pursuing a career in Hollywood, and has even made acting appearances in films such as Monster’s Ball and Made.

But now the rap mogul, who made his first trip to the French event this month, is desperate to prove he also has what it takes to become a filmmaker.

And he has already compiled his shortlist of leading stars.

He says, “I’m writing a film, a comedy. For actresses (who could be cast), I’m thinking Angelina Jolie or Sienna Miller. For actors, Eddie Murphy.”

Bun B Plans To Bring The West Coast “Back To Its Prominence”

May 24, 2008 at 5:20 pm | Posted in Bun B | Leave a comment
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With his latest album II Trill currently in stores, southern rap pioneer Bun B kept it trill with SOHH about his thoughts on the state of hip-hop, collaborating with Kidz in the Halland his plans to bring the West Coast back.

A 20 year veteran of hip-hop, after surviving an era when making money from the genre was a struggle, Bun B says he can appreciate the current climate because artists are finally able to generate an income.

“The fact that this present generation was able to capitalize off the craft more than we ever were able to is a beautiful thing and it should be applauded,” Bun told SOHH. “Anybody who is mad about young people from the ghetto making money and doing something with their lives should be ashamed of themselves and to be honest they need they ass whooped. ”

Currently featured on the remix for Kidz In The Hall’s “Drivin Down the Block” along with Pusha T from the, Clipse and The Cool Kids Bun said he keeps it very simple when it comes to deciding when to collaborate.

I work with people that I feel make good music,” Bun explained. “I don’t get into personal politics because I don’t want anybody in my business like that.”

“I like Kidz in the Hall, I like what they were doing, it has nothing to do with where they are from or what people label them as,” he continued. “I think they are a talented group, I really like the song and I wanted to be a part of [it].”

As for divided rap fans who choose to champion one form of rap over another, Bun advised listeners to ease up.

“People make rap too personal, I see people do that all time and this shit will break your heart,” Bun told SOHH. “Hip-Hop don’t belong to nobody and as soon as you feel like it’s all about what you love, that’s when it shifts gears and goes to something other people love. ”

“You can’t get mad at hip-hop, it’s just the cycle of life,” he added. “The world is not meant to make you happy 24 hours a day 365 days a year you have to learn to be disappointed.”

With his native South thriving in hip-hop Bun also told SOHH he’d like to help bring talented West Coast artists to the forefront.

“I’m linking up with my man Nino Cap from LA starting up II Trill West with his Paper Chase Ent,” Bun revealed. “We are trying to bring the West Coast back to it’s prominence. With artists like Crooked I, Glasses Malone and Roscoe Umali, there is a lot more LA has to offer to the game and if I have the opportunity to bring back II Trill West I’m going to do that.”

II Trill is currently in stores.

Kanye, Common, Method Man Sued Over Jazz Sample

May 24, 2008 at 8:59 am | Posted in common, kanye west, method man | Leave a comment
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Rappers Kanye West, Method Man, Redman, Common and their record companies were sued yesterday (May 22) by late U.S. jazz musician Joe Farrell’s daughter, who accused them of using her father’s music without approval.

The lawsuit, filed by Kathleen Firrantello in the U.S. District Court in New York, names the rappers along with various labels owned by Universal Music Group.

None of the record companies or representatives for the rappers were immediately available for comment.

The lawsuit said all the rappers used portions of Farrell’s 1974 musical composition “Upon This Rock” in three separate songs — West in “Gone,” Common in “Chi-City” and Method Man and Redman in their song “Run 4 Cover.”

Firrantello is seeking punitive damages of at least $1 million and asked that no further copies of the songs be made, sold or performed, according to the lawsuit.

Hip-hop pioneer `Slick Rick’ pardoned by N.Y. gov

May 24, 2008 at 8:57 am | Posted in slick rick | Leave a comment
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ALBANY, N.Y. – New York Gov. David Paterson is granting a full and unconditional pardon to rapper Ricky “Slick Rick” Walters for the attempted murders of two men in 1991.

The pardon is expected to halt efforts to deport Walters to the United Kingdom, the country he left as a child.

The eyepatch-wearing star behind the ’80s rap classic “La-Di-Da-Di” served more than five years in prison after the shooting of his cousin and another man. Both survived.

The governor says Walters is now a rap artist and landlord in the Bronx who hasn’t had any criminal problems since his release from prison in 1997. He also says Walters has volunteered to counsel youths against violence.

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