|Lil' Kim: 'I am in good spirits and I will be fine'|
Today, Rapper Lil' Kim and her entertainment attorney
issued the following statements to the supporters who have been eagerly awaiting an update on her condition since turning
herself into a Federal Detention Center in Philadelphia last Monday:
"I want all my friends, family and fans to know
that I am in good spirits and I will be fine," says Lil' Kim. "Contrary to the rumors, I am in general population at FDC and
I have adjusted to the facility and to my fellow inmates who are all cool people. Each day, I read, sharpen my focus and grow.
Of course, I wish I could be out to celebrate the release of my new album this week, 'THE NAKED TRUTH' but instead, I am looking
to take advantage of this time to work on my personal development. Thank you to all for your continued support."
was amazed at just how good Kim looked on my two visits to see her in prison last week," says prominent entertainment lawyer,
L. Londell McMillan. "Even in a jumpsuit, Kim still has the style and swagger of a star. Kim respects her inmates and they
respect her. She will turn this experience into a positive reality for herself as well as her fans and community. She is evolving
into a remarkable person of faith and courage."
Lil'Kim's latest album 'The Naked Truth' hits record stores today.
|Notorious B.I.G. Duets Album to Drop In November|
The long awaited 'The Notorious B.I.G. Duets: The
Final Chapter' will be released November 29 on Bad Boy.
The first single, "Hold Ya Hand," featuring reggae legend Bob Marley
was released Monday on AOL music.
Bad Boy promises guest appearances from "some of music's greatest vocalists and MCs"
and "the industry's top producers."
|Damon Dash Sells His Rocawear Portion for 30 Million|
Damon Dash has sold his share of Rocawear back
to Jay-Z and other partners for the price of almost $30 million.
Dame Dash is still working with Tiret watch company,
the Damon Dash music label, plus State Property and Rachel Roy clothing lines
|Beanie Sigel Acquitted of Attempted Murder|
Beanie Sigel was found not guilty of attempted
murder today in connection to a 2003 West Philadelphia shooting.
"I'm just thankful for a fair jury," Sigel told reporters
after joyfully hugging dozens of family members and supporters.
"I just want to get back to my life. I can chill now.
I can get back to my business and my family," said the 31-year-old.
Common Pleas Court jurors deliberated about four
hours over two days before announcing an acquittal on all charges. In April 2004, a jury weighing the case announced that
it was hopelessly deadlocked after five days of deliberations.
Sigel was accused of shooting Terrence Speller near
52d Street and Larchwood Avenue in West Philadelphia on July 1, 2003.
However, last week, a key prosecution witness
repeatedly contradicted himself - claiming at turns that Sigel shot Speller, then saying he didn't actually see the shooting
or see Sigel with a gun.
"There was absolutely no evidence to support the charges," defense attorney Fortunato Perri
Jr. told reporters. He said that Speller and the witness were motivated by money to accuse Sigel.
Speller, 28, was
shot in the stomach and foot. In May, he sued Sigel seeking more than $50,000 in damages. That lawsuit is pending.
Who is Mike Jones?
This Houston rapper owes it all to his grandma
Jim Cooper / AP
Houston rapper Mike Jones debut album is called "Who is Mike Jones?"
The Associated Press
Updated: 9:21 a.m. ET April 19, 2005
NEW YORK - The only ordinary thing about Mike Jones is his name.
Thanks to innovative marketing schemes like making his personal phone number public and saying his
name as often as possible, the Houston rapper has managed to shoehorn his “Still Tippin”’ single into heavy
rotation nationwide. Now comes his debut album, “Who Is Mike Jones?”, which promises to spread his Texas drawl
even further. He spoke with The Associated Press about phone bills, soap operas and grandmamas.
AP: Mike Jones is a pretty common name. Has anyone ever confused you with another
Jones: A lot of people started booking fake Mike Jones shows. There was a rapper
saying he was Mike Jones, he went to a radio station and told everybody in New Orleans he was gonna come to their show. They
pump it up, he step on stage singing, “Who? Mike Jones.” And (the audience) was like, “That ain’t
Mike Jones!” People was throwin’ stuff at him.
AP: Did you ever try to investigate him?
Jones: Nah, it ain’t even that crucial. His embarrassment was worth millions
to me. So I had to give out my number so people could call me (about shows) so I can tell them if I’ma be there or not.
AP: Your phone bill must be crazy!
Jones: I had the crazy cell bill. Now it ain’t nothing but $150 a month.
I had a 281-455-1858 number but Cingular was charging me like a $1,000 phone bill every month. I left them and got another
company. And now the phone number blew up so big, I got all different phone companies wanting to sign me to promote their
AP: Now the world knows your cell number along with your first and last name.
You might as well just give out your middle name too.
Jones: Oh, I can’t let the world know that one. (Laughs.) See my mom
gave me the Mike Jones and my grandma gave me that middle name. She got it from some (TV) show. I’m like, “Man,
I ain’t tellin’ nobody that name.”
AP: But your grandmother was the one who also told you to use “Mike Jones”
as your stage name. What else did she tell you?
Jones: My grandma, Elsia Mae Jones, is the main reason I’m doing what
I’m doing now. Her main things was to treat people how I like to be treated. I listened to everything, I didn’t
always agree, but I listened. Now I’m thinking, “Damn, I wish I would’ve blown up sooner to where whatever
the illness was I could’ve fixed it. She just passed almost 2 years ago.
AP: Some say when a close family member passes they come to you in a dream.
Has that happened to you?
Jones: Yeah, it’s scary man. Like she’ll just be sitting up smiling
and some dreams she’s just looking. It only happened once. One time I was listening to the song I made for my grandma,
called ’My Grandma.’ It was very touching and after I laid it, I was crying. I have a tattoo that covers my whole
left arm with a picture of my grandma and a picture of my cousin in jail. And I know all the money in the world can’t
bring her back.
AP: Sounds like you were a grandmama’s boy.
Jones: Yeah, I was. I used to always stay home with her. So when I couldn’t
go outside she had me sitting there watching those stories, like “One Life to Live,” “Guiding Light,”
“Young and the Restless.” It came to a point where after I was on punishment, I’d tell my friends, “Hey
I’ma (meet) y’all at 2,” so I could watch the soap. And pretty soon I’d start askin’ about what
AP: You still watch the stories?
Jones: I’ve been too busy.
AP: But if you weren’t, would you?
Jones: Yeah. I mean, I don’t know. I can’t really say. It was something
my grandmama used to really watch. Men don’t watch that stuff, but she had the alarm clock up so you could watch every
episode. And now it went from that to (me watching) ’The Wire,’ which is like a soap opera, and ’The Pretender.’
It’s all the same thing.
AP: Your grandma would be proud.
Jones: Out of ten people, my grandmother was the only one who said I could
do (this rap thing). I went against all nine and went with her. And I’m glad I did.
Contributed by Richard Irby aka young pimp
A this for my boys down there at Winewood Church
doing it real big!
Late Registration (Roc-A-Fella)
US release date: 30 August 2005
UK release date: 29 August 2005
Kanye West spent a little time in college (he proudly dropped out, in case you missed it), and the experience seems to
hold the same place in his psyche that first moving to the prairie held in Willa Cather's. After appearing as Mr. College
Dropout for his debut, he's now showing up for a Late Registration. Why would you register if you're out of school?
It's for us -- he's taking us "back to school". Yeah, the conceit (in both senses) is horrible, but behind it lies music worth
inclusion on your Hip-Hop 2005 syllabus.
The individual tracks vary too much in quality, but West has once again assembled an album that works from start to finish,
paying attention to sequencing, thematic movements, and lyrical progression. "My Way Home" features a sample of Gil Scott-Heron's
powerful "Home Is Where the Hatred Is", and West quickly ties this track into the following "Crack Music" with a deft rhyme:
"You hear that, what Gil Scott was hearin' / When heroes and heroines got hooked on heroin?" Even the appearance of the malleable,
Dre-created the Game functions here, even if he sounds more example than exemplar, possibly because he appears after Common's
West also offers a surprise by putting Nas's guest vocal immediately following Jay-Z's. The ever-fussing producer couldn't
have overlooked this juxtaposition; it's a way he's reinforcing his opinion of himself as hip-hop's elevator. Getting arch-rivals
Nas and Jigga next door is a more unlikely accomplishment than pulling together so many threads of black popular music from
the past 50 years (merging Otis Redding, Heron, chopped and screwing, with Ray Charles and Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles). West
has no limits on his ambition, and while that might lead to seven-and-a-half-minute stumbles like "We Major" (one of the only
times co-producer Jon Brion overdoes it), it also leads to 70-plus minutes of precise presentation.
Despite the production precision, the album doesn't prevail lyrically against The College Dropout. West still brings
the social commentary and humor, but it was his conflicted personality that made the first album so endearing; now the focus
turns from artistic self-expression to ambitious music consummation. Although he proficiently provides an encompassing musical
view, he doesn't present a singular emotional concern. Where Dropout was questioning, erratic, and affecting, Registration
is assured, composed, and affected. The political call-outs are too facile, the emotional moments are too easy, and West's
vocabulary is too hard for its own good (check the increase of ho-nigga-bitch usage). Neither "Roses" nor "Hey Mama" -- the
album's primary takes on familial relationships -- works; the first loses out to preachy lack of insight on an important topic
(class and medical care), and the second falls prey to its own insistence and directness. West expresses his love most effectively
through oblique unveiling, not through bald statements and cloying, tinkly production.
The unified personality might be best left in check, though. West's well-known arrogance rears up in odd and inconsistent
ways. "Bring Me Down", which includes a competent performance by Brandy, tries to rant against the haters, but West bursts
out with his own insults, irritating his critics and colleagues rather than spreading the cheer. Which would be fine, I suppose,
if he didn't do it by dropping lines he used on "Wack Niggaz" from last year's The Beautiful Mixtape. West insults
his contemporaries by using old lines in his complaints about everyone trying to bring him down? This moment is less a confidence/fear
conflict than sloppy work. Here's the thing -- and pay attention, Kanye -- the whole "I'm only arrogant because I'm insecure"
is worse than a lie and worse than lazy; it's boring.
Kanye's flow has improved, which ameliorates even the weaker moments on the album. He sounds more confident in his delivery,
twisting around words and tight rhymes, losing the mic-as-blunt-object feel that previously served as a charming shortcoming.
Even so, it's really the production that's worth noting on Registration. He avoids the deep crate-digging of other
top producers for interesting work with recognizable samples. The single "Diamonds from Sierra Leone" -- on which Jay-Z takes
time out of his AARP schedule to make sure we're paying attention to the ice in the Roc -- features an ironic use of the Bond
theme "Diamonds Are Forever". On "Drive Slow", West uses his knowledge of the current hip-hop scene to critique his own content.
By turning the end of the song into its own chopped-and-screwed sizzurp number, he draws a dark ambivalence to the song. What
started out as a plea to slow down for hoes has become a warning to proceed with caution.
"Gone" delivers the real showstopper with a gorgeous hook based on Otis Redding's pain from "It's Too Late", which carries
an otherwise over-long track. The piano and vocal loop carries a far more powerful wallop than any of the competent lines
from West, Consequence, or Cam'Ron. West not only creates a great sound, he knows how to work it, bringing it in and out of
the mix for impact, re-charging the song at any moment the rappers (or the listeners) need to be directed back to center.
Unlike "Diamonds", there's nothing of cleverness here -- it's just intelligent artistry.
So the self-aggrandizing, tantrum-loving, almost-conscious, beat-making rapper dropped his new record and it's neither
a disappointment nor a masterpiece. It's hard to deny that West is a brilliant craftsman, unafraid to pursue unusual song
structures and persistent in pursuing the perfect hook, but that craft has turned from self-expressive tool toward canon-expanding
weapon. West is a star when he sounds least like one, nakedly exploring his life. The more he sounds like a genius (even in
the company of Ray Charles), the more his current attempts at musical glory become the unmentioned centerpiece of Late
Registration. He's very good, but you don't make classics by trying to make classics. I don't think they teach that lesson
until your third year.
— 29 August 2005