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May 29th, 2007 - LATEST NEWS: Jay-Z and Damon Dash sued for $15 million

Jay-Z and former business partner Damon Dash are being sued for $15 million (£7.5 million) by an author from Philadelphia, who claims the duo stole his book concept for their movie State Property. In the lawsuit filed earlier this month, Antonne Jones alleges the 2002 movie bears striking similarities to his own novel, The Family: A Philadelphia Mob Story, about four men who seek to gain money, power and notoriety. The writer claims he was in talks with Roc-A-Fella to hand over the rights of the book for use in a movie, but negotiations fell through because Jones wanted $450,000 (£225,000) more than Jay and Dash were willing to pay. It was only when the Beanie Sigel-starring State Property was released that Jones realised the similarities in the two plots. The film’s distributor, Lions Gate, is also named as a defendant in the legal papers. Moving on, and rap newcomer Mims has been hit with a $7.5 million (£3.75 million) discrimination lawsuit, after a New York promoter claimed he had backed out of a concert because of his misogynistic views towards women. Club promoter Marquitta Blair claims she paid $2,500 (£1,250) to the rapper’s agents for a gig at the Manhattan club, Eugene. But Mims failed to turn up for the show; an action Blair believes is down to his discriminatory views towards the fairer sex. The lawsuit states his supposed views are “a pattern of conduct involving the belittlement and degradation of females as ‘bitches and hoe’s’.” Blair goes on to quote several of Mims’ lyrics in the suit. Meanwhile, Young Jeezy was arrested outside a club in Atlanta, Georgia, early last Thursday (May 24). Jeezy, born Jay Jenkins, was allegedly involved in an incident outside Stoker’s strip club and was later arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. Public Information Officer for Dekalb County Sherriff’s Office, Mikki Jones, said: “I do know that there was no physical altercation between them. This was a verbal confrontation.” Jeezy was eventually released on a $284 (£142) bond. News on 50 Cent now, and the Queens rapper is going ‘Straight To The Bank’, after receiving a reported $400 million (£200 million) payout. The drinks firm Glaceau, which produces the rapper’s vitaminwater energy drink range, has been taken over by The Coca-Cola Company for $4.1 billion (£2.05 billion), meaning 50’s 10 per cent share in Glaceau is now worth $400 million. In related news, the rapper has denied reports his new album ‘Curtis’ has been pushed back from June to September due to the poor feedback of his new songs. In contrast, the G-Unit general insists the delay in its release is to ensure fans across the world can get hold of the album at the same time, with a worldwide release set for September 4. He says, “I’m an international artist. My fans worldwide deserve to receive my album at the same time as my fans here in the US. Taking that into consideration moving the album to September was a necessary course of action.”

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May 23rd, 2007 - LATEST NEWS: Foxy Brown ordered to submit DNA sample

Foxy Brown has been ordered to submit a DNA sample to prosecutors in relation to an alleged assault at a Florida beauty store earlier this year. The Candy rapper stands accused of charges of battery, after a shop worker claimed he had been assaulted by Brown in February, when he asked her to leave because they were closing up. Brown – born Inga Marchand – is alleged to have become irate and threw a bottle of hair glue at the employee before spitting on him. She was arrested and charged with battery and obstruction of justice. She was released on $1,500 (£750,000) bond, and has already turned down a plea deal from prosecutors at Broward County Court. The rapper has proclaimed her innocence in the charges, and says, “The only crime I am guilty of committing is being a young black female celebrity in Broward County. I am the victim of an overzealous police department who engaged in police brutality and a money hungry store owner whose motives are for me to pay his mortgage on his house and his children’s tuition.” She is due in court on September 24, and could face up to a year in jail if found guilty. Moving on, and Busta Rhymes has settled a $100,000 (£50,000) lawsuit with a fan who accused the rapper of assault. The lawsuit relates to an incident last year, when Rhymes and his bodyguard Troy Green are alleged to have assaulted Melvin Smith after he asked the rapper for an autograph in a Manhattan sandwich shop. Smith claims he needed hospital treatment for a cut over his eye following the unprovoked attack, which Rhymes denies any involvement in. The details of the settlement have not been disclosed. Meanwhile, Jay-Z has been hit with a lawsuit accusing him of paying workers at his 40/40 club below the minimum wage. Former waitress at the club, Celeste Williams, filed a civil lawsuit against the rapper on behalf herself and other workers on Tuesday (May 22), claiming Jay-Z and co-owner Juan Perez were “wilfully failing and refusing to pay them at the legally required minimum wage” and overtime. The papers also allege they took a cut of the workers’ tips. However, the club’s management have dismissed the allegations, and spokesman Ron Berkowitz said, “That is certainly not true. Everyone makes the minimum wage at the club, 100%.” Williams is seeking unspecified damages. In other news, Tyrese, Ginuwine and Tank are teaming up to form R&B supergroup, TGT. The trio can currently be heard on Tank’s song, ‘Please Don’t Go (Remix)’, but the new group have plans to release a new album and embark on a worldwide tour. Ginuwine says, “(TGT is) a dream come true. Basically, the world of R&B needed a change, and there were only a few chosen that could do it; R&B needed a pick up, R&B needed TGT.” Tyrese adds, “With all the support our fans have given us individually over the years for our distinct signature styles, collectively we felt our fans deserved to hear great music in a way that they could never have imagined. I’ve known these guys for years and they truly are like brothers, so it only felt right to come together as a trio to make history.”

May 14th, 2007 - LATEST NEWS: The Game arrested in police raid on LA home

The Game has been arrested in Los Angeles and charged for making criminal threats in relation to an incident which took place in February this year. The rapper, born Jayceon Taylor, had his home in Glendale raided by the Los Angeles Police Department for more than three hours on Friday (11th May) before he was taken into custody. The raid was captured on camera by an American news network, and as he was taken away by police, The Game stuck his tongue out at the camera and said, “I want to say that I’m not guilty, and I love California.” Bail has been set at $50,000 (£25,000). Meanwhile, Jermaine Dupri has spoken out to set the record straight about his recent run-in with police in West Hollywood. The producer was caught on camera on Wednesday (9th May) being stopped and briefly detained in the back of an LAPD car. He was later released and drove away in his Lamborghini. Explaining the incident, Dupri says, “I was pulled over because the police said my exhaust pipes were too loud. I had tinted windows and platinum motor plates. Nothing more, nothing less.” Moving on, and Busta Rhymes has rejected a plea deal in relation to two assault charges from last year and one count of driving under the influence stemming from his arrest earlier this month. The rapper appeared in a Manhattan, New York, court room on Tuesday (8th May) to answer the charges, but chose not to settle with prosecutors on a deal which would have seen him serve up to one year in prison and attend a drinking-and-driving programme. Rhymes, real name Trevor Smith, is accused of assaulting his former driver in December 2006 and beating up a fan who allegedly spat on his car after a performance in August. His attorney says, “Busta does have a defence to the assaults and today, we submitted a sealed affirmation to the court detailing Busta’s defence to these cases.” The case has been adjourned until 10th July. In other news, Akon has publicly apologised for an explicit dance with a 14-year-old girl last month. The singer was performing at a club in Trinidad on 12th April when he danced provocatively with the teen on stage, causing uproar among the local community. The 34-year-old says, “I want to sincerely apologise for the embarrassment and any pain I’ve caused to the young woman who joined me on stage, her family and the Trinidad community for the events at my concert.” He adds, “It was never my intention to embarrass or take advantage of my fans in any way, especially those under the age of 18. That is why we tried to make sure that the club did not admit anyone under 18 in the audience. Somehow, that standard was not met.” Finally, rapper/actor Nick Cannon is engaged to his Victoria’s Secret model girlfriend, Selita Ebanks, after four months of dating. The star proposed to Ebanks with a 12-carat diamond ring in New York’s Times Square on Monday (7th May), with the help of a large video screen which read, ‘Selita, will you marry me?’

April 1st, 2007 - LATEST NEWS: Young Buck criticises Tony Yayo for alleged assault on teen

Young Buck has distanced himself from G-Unit group member Tony Yayo, after the ‘So Seductive’ star was arrested and charged with assaulting a teenager last week. Speaking on New York radio station Hot 97, Young Buck reprimanded Yayo for the alleged attack on the 14-year-old son of rival Jimmy ‘Henchman’ Rosemond. He told presenter Angie Martinez, “I’ma be honest, I don’t respect nobody putting no hands on no kid. I got a child myself. If somebody put they hands on mine, I understand the way it goes.” He continued, “In this situation, I don’t understand the truth of it, but I don’t rock with nothing that’s under that circumstance about putting your hands on no kid. I’m a real street individual and it wouldn’t matter if it was my crew or any other crew.” Moving on, and Busta Rhymes could face jail after the judge presiding over his assault case withdrew a plea deal relating to charges from two separate incidents last year. Rhymes stands accused of assaulting his former driver Edward Hatchett in an argument over back pay and attacking a fan who spat on his car in Manhattan, New York, last August. An arrest warrant has been issued for The Game after the rapper failed to turn up at a New York court on Friday (Mar.30) to answer charges of impersonating a police officer. The incident dates back to November last year, when The Game – born Jayceon Taylor - is alleged to have posed as an undercover cop to a cab driver, forcing him to run several red lights. The warrant however, will only be activated if The Game misses his rescheduled court date on June 13. In more legal news, Taboo from The Black Eyed Peas was arrested for driving under the influence on Tuesday (Mar.27), after he was involved in a minor car crash. Los Angeles police also charged Taboo, real name Jaime Luis Gomez, with two other violations: possession of marijuana and possession of a prescribed medication without a valid prescription. He was released from custody shortly after the incident and must appear in court at an undisclosed later date. Meanwhile, Foxy Brown has pleaded not guilty to two charges relating to an alleged attack on a beauty store assistant in Florida on February 15. Brown was charged with resisting an officer without violence and simple battery following the incident at Queens Beauty Shop in Pembroke Pines. After the court hearing, the rapper told reporters she will “stand up and fight and take care of this.” The trial is due to commence in June. Sad news now, and rapper Johnny Ca$h died on Thursday (Mar.29) after being shot in the head in his apartment in Vallego, California. Ca$h, born Johnny Castaneda, was signed to Mac Dre’s Thizz Entertainment, having joined after Mac was gunned down in 2004. Authorities have yet to release details about the murder, but it is understood Ca$h suffered from multiple gunshot wounds. Finally, former Death Row Records boss Marion ‘Suge’ Knight has dismissed reports he was recently evicted from his Los Angeles home, after news spread of his alleged forced departure from his apartment earlier this month. Knight’s publicist, Jonathan Wolfson, said, “I don’t understand how his move could have been misunderstood as an eviction. He is currently living at an undisclosed location in Malibu.”

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March 12th, 2007 - LATEST NEWS: P. Diddy faces lawsuit for Oscars assault

P. Diddy has been hit with a lawsuit by a man who claims the rapper assaulted him and his fiancée at an Oscar afterparty last month (Feb. 25). In the court papers filed in Los Angeles on Friday (Mar. 2), Gerald Rechnitzer claims he saw the Bad Boy CEO, born Sean Combs, flirting with his fiancée at Teddy’s nightclub at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood. As Rechnitzer approached the group of men surrounding his partner, Combs is alleged to have shouted, ‘What the f**k you looking at dude? I’ll smack flames out of your ass!’ before allegedly punching him in the jaw. The lawsuit reads, ‘At no time (did the) Plaintiff ever threat(en) the Defendant. …After attacking the Plaintiff, Defendant Combs intentionally, wilfully and knowingly pushed Plaintiff’s girlfriend and attempted to spit on another female member of Plaintiff’s group.’ Rechnitzer is seeking an unspecified amount for compensation and punitive damages. However, a representative for P. Diddy issued a statement refuting the claims. It reads, “These claims are completely false and ridiculous. It is pitiful that Mr Rechnitzer is stooping so low to prey on Mr. Combs’ celebrity. Mr Combs will not stand for such ludicrous accusations.” Meanwhile, DMX is also facing legal trouble after missing a court date in relation to a traffic incident on February 2, when he was found to be driving with a suspended licence in New York. X, born Earl Simmons, escaped incarceration for failing to appear for the hearing last Wednesday (Mar. 7) when the judge turned down the prosecutor’s request for an arrest warrant. In addition, Simmons reportedly skipped another pretrial hearing on Tuesday (Mar. 6) in relation to a separate traffic charge. Moving on, and rap mogul Jay-Z has sold his Rocawear clothing company for $204 million in cash – taking him another step closer to becoming one of the most powerful businessmen in hip hop. Shawn ‘Jay-Z’ Carter agreed to the deal with the Iconix Brand Group, which owns other design brands including Mudd, Candies and Joe Boxer. Jigga will continue to oversee the development and marketing of the Rocawear brand, which Iconix expects to bring in $43 million in royalty revenue in the first 12 months under its new ownership. News from the Soul Train Music Awards now, and Mary J. Blige and Jamie Foxx were the big winners last night, each taking home Best Album accolades for 'The Breakthrough' and 'Unpredictable' respectively. Jennifer Hudson was honoured with the Sammy Davis Jr. Award for Entertainer of the Year for her role in 'Dreamgirls', while John Legend won Best Male Single for 'Save Room' and Gnarls Barkley picked up Best Group Single for 'Crazy'. Jay-Z marked his return to rap with the Michael Jackson Award for Best Soul or Rap Video for 'Show Me What You Got' and Babyface was presented with the Stevie Wonder Award for Outstanding Career Achievement in Song Writing.

February 26th, 2007 - LATEST NEWS: Trina concert cancelled after gunshots fired

A performance by Trina in a Florida strip club was cancelled at the last minute, after gunshots were fired at the venue, wounding seven people. A fight broke out inside the Synn City nightclub early Saturday morning (Feb. 24), shortly after Trina arrived, when one gunshot went off. The shooting continued after the arguing factions were taken outside the club, where several more bullets were fired hitting two security guards and five other men. A 17-year-old suspect was arrested following the fracas and charged with using a firearm in public. Moving on, and Busta Rhymes has been charged with driving with a suspended license, after being stopped by police for running a red light early last Thursday (Feb. 22) morning. The rapper, born Trevor Smith, could face up to 15 days in jail if convicted of the charge. In related news, Rhymes has rejected a plea bargain from prosecutors in relation to the alleged assault of his former driver in December last year and another alleged attack on a fan in August 2006. He is now considering pleading to the lesser charge of third degree misdemeanour assault, after turning down the offer of serving six months in jail for the reported assaults. Meanwhile, Beanie Sigel has had his probation extended for a further few months after violating the terms of his original probation, which was due to finish this summer. However, the Philadelphia emcee failed to inform his probation officer that he had recently been stopped twice by state authorities while travelling with convicted criminals, resulting in the lengthening of his probation. The extension relates to gun and drug charges dating back to April 2003. In other news, Foxy Brown has addressed her recent arrest and subsequent charges for battery and obstruction of justice at a press conference this morning (Feb. 26) after being incarcerated for an incident at a South Florida beauty shop. Brown – born Inga Marchand – protested her innocence and confirmed that she was considering pressing charges against Florida authorities for alleged “police brutality”. She fumed, “I have been vilified in the media as assaulting a store owner. The only crime I am guilty of committing is being a young black female celebrity in Broward County.” She continued, “I am the victim of an overzealous police department who engaged in police brutality and a money hungry store owner whose motives are for me to pay his mortgage and his children’s tuition.” Finally, fallen Bad Boy rapper G-Dep is back in the studio after serving time in prison for an incident at a mobile phone store in Manhattan, New York, last month. His bail was reportedly set at $750, but having failed to produce the funds, G-Dep – born Trevell Coleman – spent almost a month behind bars. The ‘Special Delivery’ star was signed to P. Diddy’s Bad Boy Records some time back on a five-album contract, but has so far only released one LP, ‘Child Of The Ghetto’ in 2001.

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February 19th, 2007 - LATEST NEWS: Foxy Brown arrested and charged for assault

Foxy Brown was arrested and charged with battery on Thursday (Feb. 15) following an incident at a beauty store in South Florida. The BK rapper is reported to have been browsing products at the store when she was told it was closing time. She then became enraged and allegedly began throwing bottles of hair glue at employee Hayssamn Ghoneim before spitting on him as he tried to call police. When authorities arrived, Brown had fled the store, but was found elsewhere in the shopping mall, when she attempted to resist arrest. She was charged with battery and obstruction of justice before walking free from jail having posted bail at $1,500. Meanwhile, rapper Gillie Da Kid was released from jail last Friday (Feb. 16) after being arrested 10 days earlier and charged with conspiracy and possession of drugs with the intent to supply. Gillie – real name S’ard Nasir – faces the allegations along with four other associates, after Philadelphian authorities found over 89 pounds of marijuana worth approximately $404,000. Nasir maintains his innocence and hopes to be exonerated from all charges. In other news, Eminem has dismissed claims by his ex-wife Kim Mathers alleging the emcee is still on drugs, after she went on air at a Detroit radio station to make the accusations. During the interview, Kim blamed Em’s alleged continued drug use for not helping to look after their daughter Hailie Jade, and her children from other relationships. The rapper refutes the allegations, saying, “It’s a shame that I’ve moved on and Kim hasn’t. Her ongoing press campaign is doing nothing but harm to the children, and for that I feel truly sorry. For their sake I wish she would stop.” Moving on, and Nas is entering the footwear industry after signing a deal with 310 Global Brands to release his own line of signature shoes. The collection, called Disciple Footwear Collection by 310, is the company’s second collaboration with hip hop, following The Game’s Hurricane line last year. Nas said, “310 is not based on a one-size-fits-all approach. It’s about customisation, expressing your own personal style… I’m excited to design styles that respect that we are not all the same – that we’re here to celebrate our diversity, our roots, our history.” Disciple Footwear will go on sale in the US in June. Grammy Awards news now, and Mary J. Blige was crowned Queen of the red carpet as she collected three honours for her LP ‘The Breakthrough’. Blige won Best R&B Album, Best R&B Song for ‘Be Without You’ and Best R&B Performance. T.I. took home two awards for Best Rap Solo Performance for ‘What You Know’ and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for ‘My Love’ with Justin Timberlake, while Gnarls Barkley got nods for Best Urban/Alternative Performance and Alternative Music Album. Ludacris also won Grammys for Best Rap Album for ‘Release Therapy’ and Best Rap Song for ‘Money Maker’, while Chamillionaire received his first award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group for ‘Ridin’.

February 5th, 2007 - LATEST NEWS: Brandy hit with $50 million wrongful death lawsuit

Brandy has been hit with a $50 million lawsuit by the parents of car crash victim Awatef Aboudihaj, claiming wrongful death, a day after prosecutors suggested she be charged with manslaughter. The family accuse the R&B singer’s “reckless driving” for their daughter’s death on December 30, 2006, and filed for compensation and punitive damages on Wednesday (Jan. 31). The Los Angeles Police Department have ruled out alcohol, drugs and car malfunction as factors which caused the crash. They also stated there was no evidence to suggest Brandy had been using her mobile phone or other device at the time of the accident. Meanwhile, Busta Rhymes has been labelled a ‘liar’ by the sister of his slain bodyguard, Israel Ramirez. Ramirez was fatally shot last February (2006) on the set of the video shoot for hit single ‘Touch It (Remix)’. After the incident, Rhymes, born Trevor Smith, assured the Ramirez family he would do his best to co-operate with police investigating the shooting. However, Sonia Ramirez accused the star of failing to honour his promise and said, “We really don’t want anything to do with that man. He could stop breathing tomorrow, and I wouldn’t care. Whatever happens to Busta Rhymes is not going to bring back my brother.” New York Police added, “He’s not talking. He doesn’t want to lose money by getting the reputation for talking to cops, so a killer remains free.” Moving on, and Tyrese has broken his silence over reports he physically assaulted his pregnant girlfriend during an argument at their LA home on January 4. The singer/actor, born Tyrese Gibson, released a statement to deny the allegations that he had hit his girlfriend twice in the arm and once in the thigh – a claim initially made by his girlfriend but later retracted. Gibson said, “I am a very private person, but as untrue information is still circulating, I feel I owe it to my fans and supporters to finally address the rumours and put them to rest once and for all. Please be assured that accusations of an alleged physical altercation between my girlfriend and me are absolutely false. No charges were filed. I am grateful for the prayers and support I have received over the last several weeks from my fans and supporters and I want to thank them.” In other news, 50 Cent has ignited the beef between himself and Cam’ron after appearing on New York radio’s Hot 97, where the pair exchanged insults over the number of records each of their artists had sold. Later, 50 quipped, “I think [Cam’ron] thinks that he’s actually able to compete with me.” Finally, Jay-Z is teaming up with drinks giant Coca Cola to help relaunch the Cherry Coke range. The Def Jam president will front the new advertising campaign for the drink, as well as help to redesign the bottle through his Rocawear clothing company. Rocawear representative Jameel Spencer said, “It’s his new opportunity to expand his standing in the business world. Besides just recording, he’s making TV commercials and campaigns for brands… who is better than Coke? They’re the biggest.”

 January 29th, 2007 - LATEST NEWS: Brandy faces manslaughter charges after fatal car crash

R&B singer Brandy is facing manslaughter charges after she was involved in a multiple car pile-up which left one woman dead on December 30th, 2006. The star, born Brandy Norwood, allegedly failed to see slowing traffic in front of her while driving along a California motorway. Her vehicle crashed into another car, killing 38-year-old Awatef Aboudihaj. Norwood was not arrested by Los Angeles police, but after handing the case over to prosecutors, the Los Angeles City Attorney recommended the singer be charged with misdemeanour vehicular manslaughter. Meanwhile, contrary to recent reports, disgraced rapper Mystikal has not been released early from the Louisiana prison where he is serving time for sexual battery charges. Michael ‘Mystikal’ Tyler was in fact moved to another state facility, where he will remain behind bars until 2010, after he was found guilty in 2004 of forcing his hairstylist to perform oral sex on him in an incident that took place two years before. More legal news now, and Snoop Dogg has pleaded not guilty to various weapons charges in a Californian court last Wednesday (Jan. 24). The charges are in relation to an incident in September 2006, when airport security found a collapsible baton in the rapper’s hand luggage. Though Snoop claims the weapon was just a prop for a movie he was filming, if convicted, he could face up to three years in jail. Young Buck is also in trouble after the G-Unit rapper was arrested on Friday (Jan. 26) for missing a court hearing on previous driving violations last year. An arrest warrant was issued after the rapper was caught driving with a suspended license last July and failed to appear in court to face the charges. He was only arrested after officers stopped him in his black Cadillac Escalade in Nashville, Tennessee, and subsequently released on $1,000 bail. He is due back in court on February 27. In related news, Young Buck’s sophomore LP, ‘Buck The World’ will finally be released on March 20, after several delays in its release The album features beats by Dr Dre and Jazze Pha, with T.I., UGK and the rest of the G-Unit crew making guest appearances on the project. Finally, speaking of G-Unit, affiliate producer David ‘Disco D’ Shayman committed suicide last Tuesday (Jan. 23). The beatmaker behind 50’s ‘Ski Mask Way’ and Nina Sky’s ‘Turnin’ Me On’ had been suffering from depression and had recently been diagnosed with bi-polar disease. Chamillionaire, who had just picked one of his beats for sophomore album ‘Ultimate Victory’, sent his condolences to the Shayman family, and said, “We were in the process of negotiation with his management and lawyers but a situation as tragic as this makes me not even want to think about discussing any music or contracts. I send my condolences to his family and loved ones. I hope he rests in heavenly peace.” Shayman was believed to be struggling to make ends meet financially and was still trying to get over the break up with his fiancée.


January 3rd, 2007 - LATEST NEWS: Busta Rhymes arrested on assault charge

Busta Rhymes was arrested by US police this Wednesday (Jan.3) after a former employee accused the rapper and his bodyguards of physical abuse. Rhymes’ former limo driver, Eddie Hatchett, claims he was assaulted on Boxing Day (Dec.26) when he asked his boss for back pay so he could buy his daughter a Christmas present. The request soon escalated into an argument, with the Aftermath rapper shouting at the 39-year-old driver before laying into his employee. Hatchett said, “I don’t know what set him off... He’s garbage. He’s fake… In his mind, he’s bigger than himself.” Busta Rhymes was out of the country when the warrant was posted, but turned himself in to Manhattan authorities upon his return from Angola and was booked on a misdemeanour assault charge. His management have denied all allegations, saying: “We are totally innocent of this charge being thrust upon Busta Rhymes and [we] look forward to putting this past us as soon as possible.” Moving on, and Styles P has refused to press charges against the truck driver responsible for injuring the rapper in an alleged road rage incident in New York last Saturday (Dec.30). Driver John Henson, 50, appeared in court on Wednesday (Jan.3) on charges of second degree assault, where he apologised for causing the rapper harm and said the crash was an accident. Reports state Styles’ 2003 Mercedes-Benz was cut off by Henson in the Greenburgh area of NY. Enraged by the traffic offence, Styles proceeded to cut the truck off before getting out and throwing napkins at the driver’s window. As he was getting back into his car, his Benz was rammed by the truck, breaking Styles P’s leg. He was treated in hospital and later released, while Henson was arrested and later posted $1500 bail. Meanwhile, 50 Cent was fined for erratic driving last Tuesday (Dec.28) after he was pulled over in Harlem, NY, for making a wrong turn. The ‘Candy Shop’ star had a lucky escape though, as he was only given a penalty ticket this time around. In other news, Nelly has been playing the good Samaritan, donating items from his women’s clothing line, Apple Bottoms, to the female victims of Hurricane Katrina. An Apple Bottoms’ model handed out the clothes to women and children at the Allie Mae Multi Service Centre, an organisation providing shelter to those who lost their homes in the tragic disaster. Album news now, and Michael Jackson is allegedly in talks with R&B singers Chris Brown and Akon to collaborate on the superstar’s forthcoming studio album. Brown had previously met Jackson at the World Music Awards in London in November, where the teen performed a tribute to Jackson with his hit, ‘Thriller’. Other stars rumoured to be involved in the upcoming project including Usher and G-Unit associate, DJ Whoo Kid. Finally, congratulations go out to West Coast rapper Kurupt and fiancé Gail Gotti, who got engaged on Christmas Day (Dec.25). Kurupt popped the question to Gotti with a diamond Tiffany & Co. ring, estimated at $24,000.

December 27th, 2006 - LATEST NEWS: Baby and B.G. call a truce

Cash Money Records head Bryan ‘Baby’ Williams has ended a long-running feud with B.G., after the former Hot Boy called in to a radio station where Williams was being interviewed to offer his condolences for the death of Baby’s sister, Tamara, earlier this month. The 26-year-old student nurse was killed in a head-on collision in New Orleans on December 12. Both rappers put aside their differences in the wake of Williams’ death, with B.G. calling to tell Baby: “I just wanted to say I’m sorry despite what you and me been through. I knew Tamara personally, we grew up together, we go back. I just wanted you to know that my heart goes out to you and the whole Williams family.” The pair fell out after B.G. accused Baby of cheating him out of album royalties, and neither had any kind words to say to one another until now. He went on, “I’m not on your side like I used to be, but for something like this to happen, I can still feel like your pain… I feel like I’m right there with you.” Baby respected B.G. for taking the first steps to reconciliation and said he would “put everything on the side for that.” In other news, Roc-A-Fella Records has been hit with a lawsuit by independent hip hop label, Tuf America, in which the ROC is accused of illegally using a sample of Trouble Funk’s ‘Let’s Get Small’ on State Property’s 2003 album, ‘The Chain Gang Vol. 2’. The song in question is ‘Criminal Background’, which samples the popular 1982 record. Tuf America is suing for damages, although the value remains undisclosed. More court news, and Carmen Bryan, Nas’ baby mama, has been accused of plagiarism by an author who claims she wrote the original version of Bryan’s tell-all book, ‘It’s No Secret: From Nas to Jay-Z, from Seduction to Scandal – a Hip-Hop Helen of Troy Tells All’. The court papers were filed in Columbus, Ohio, by Tannell Davis, who says she holds the copyright for her original work, titled ‘Sex, Drugs and Hip-Hop… Oh, and Did I Mention Love?’, which Bryan plagiarised in her new book. Bryan’s recent release details her life story, as well as revealing secrets of her affair with Nas’ former rival, Jay-Z, while she was still courting the QB rapper. In other news, Sean ‘P. Diddy’ Combs and partner Kim Porter welcomed two healthy twin girls into their family last Thursday (Dec. 20). In a statement, Diddy said, “In honour of the two people to have incredibly impacted me and Kim’s lives, we are proud to announce that we are naming the twins after our beloved grandmothers.” The girls were named Lila Star, after Porter’s grandmother, and Jessie Smalls, after Combs’ grandmother. Ending on a sad note this week, funk/soul legend James Brown died on Christmas day (Dec. 25) from congestive heart failure at his home in Atlanta, Georgia. The ‘Godfather of Soul’ was rushed to hospital on Sunday (Dec. 24) after suffering from pneumonia, and passed away early Monday morning. He was 73.


December 11th, 2006 - LATEST NEWS: Lil' Wayne slams Jay-Z

Lil’ Wayne has been setting the airwaves alight this week with his controversial comments on Jay-Z’s return to mic, claiming that he is better than the self-proclaimed ‘President of Hip Hop’ – and everyone else in rap for that matter. Defending his reasons for the outburst, the former Hot Boys member said, “I don’t like what he’s saying about how he had to come back because hip hop’s dead and we need him. It’s not your house anymore, and I’m better than you.” He declared, “I’m better than this game. We could be having this conversation about any other person in this game.” Part of the beef stems from last year, when Roc-A-Fella and Def Jam chose to pass on signing Weezy to their roster. However, the young rapper also had some choice words for Pharrell and The Clipse. “I don’t see no f*cking Clipse. How many years them n*ggas been around?” he quipped. “Who the f*ck is Pharrell? Do you really respect him?” Moving on, and Hollywood star Wesley Snipes has accused the American Internal Revenue Service of using him as a ‘scapegoat’, after being arrested and charged with tax evasion last Thursday (Dec. 7) by police in Orlando, Florida. The actor turned himself in to authorities nearly two months after an arrest warrant was put out, accusing the 44-year-old of failing to pay $12 million (£6.15 million) in tax. Snipes has allegedly been under surveillance for the last four years, but told a local newspaper, “It appears I’m to be the scapegoat, because there’s more public interest in celebrities gone bad than rich people being taken advantage of.” He continued, “I’m not running, I’m not a fugitive, despite the misrepresentations in the press.” In other news, Nas has been offering a helping hand to the family of a New York citizen killed by authorities on his stag night. Sean Bell, 23, was shot dead by the NYPD last month (Nov. 25), after he accidentally reversed into an unmarked patrol car. The QB rapper, along with NBA star Chris Webber, has donated an undisclosed amount to Bell’s fiancée to support her and the couple’s two children. In lighter news, Jay-Z and Beyoncé have been denying reports they were to wed on the Caribbean island of Anguilla this weekend (Dec. 9-10), in a birthday party for Hov which some claimed was in fact a disguise for the exchanging of vows. However, Shawn ‘Jay-Z’ Carter has hinted that the couple will marry in the near future, although he remained shady when asked how near: “I don’t know,” he told interviewer Barbara Walters. “I don’t.” Meanwhile, Mary J. Blige leads the Grammy 2007 nominations with eight nods, including Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, Best R&B album for ‘The Breakthrough’, and Song of the Year for ‘Be Without You’. The Black Eyed and Prince each received five nominations each, while T.I., Justin Timberlake, Beyoncé and Gnarls Barkley are up for four categories each. The awards take place in Los Angeles on February 11, 2007. Finally, Dr Dre has announced a release date of September 2007 for his hugely anticipate album, ‘Detox’. The long-delayed LP boasts collaborations with Eminem, Hi-Tek and D12’s Kon Artis, among others.

November 20th, 2006 - LATEST NEWS: The Game arrested for police impersonation

The Game is back in the headlines this week after being arrested in New York for impersonating a police officer on Thursday night (Nov.16). The rapper, born Jayceon Taylor, is claimed to have told a taxi driver he was an undercover cop in an effort to persuade the man to run a series of red lights in downtown New York. The car was pulled over by authorities for ‘erratic driving’. However, the Compton MC denied all the allegations, blaming the NYPD for setting him up. “This is a ploy by the hip-hop police to humiliate me because they harass and follow me every single time I come to New York,” he said in a statement. “I was in town this week to work and promote my new album, ‘Doctor’s Advocate’. I never impersonated anyone, especially and absolutely never a police officer.” He is due in court on December 12 to answer the latest charges. In related news, Game’s business partner, John ‘Johnny Hooks’ Abbey, was arrested last Friday (Nov.17) and charged with money laundering. Abbey, who helped set up the Black Wall Street East recording studio in New Jersey, is alleged to have laundered over $100,000 for members of the Bloods gang. There is no word yet on whether The Game is a suspect in the investigation. Moving on, and DipSet president Ezekiel ‘Freekey Zeeky’ Jiles has spoken out about life after his three year stint in jail for running an ecstasy ring, after he was released from a Durham, North Carolina, prison this week (Nov.20). He said, “It’s a headache already, but it’s all good. That’s my atmosphere, that’s how I live. If it’s not loud music, if it’s not police siren, fire siren, gunshots, people yelling, if it’s not a loud atmosphere, I am not going to feel comfortable, no way, no how.” In other news, Jay-Z successfully completed a 24-hour ‘Hangar Tour’ on Saturday (Nov.18), hitting the road for his new album ‘Kingdom Come’, playing seven 30-minute gigs in cities across the US. However, not all’s well for Jigga, as his album was leaked on networking website prior to its Stateside release this week. Now, Universal Music Group, parent company of Def Jam, is taking MySpace owners News Corp. to court, claiming copyright infringement. Def Jam CEO, Antonio ‘LA’ Reid, said, “I’m sure it’s cut into our sales, and not by a small amount. Even if it [sells] a million units it’s not what it should have been.” Universal are seeking $150,000 in damages for infringement of 58 songs and videos featured on MySpace. Finally, Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown have lost ownership of their mansion in Atlanta, Georgia, after the property was seized and sold on by local authorities because the pair could not manage their mortgage payments. The couple, currently going through divorce proceedings, owe $1 million in unpaid mortgage and taxes on the building.

November 14th, 2006 - LATEST NEWS: Jay-Z fires back at Cam'ron

Less than a week to go before the US release of his comeback album, Jay-Z has hit out at Cam’ron and his DipSet crew on a track called ‘Dig A Hole’. While victims remain anonymous, the lyrics point the finger at Cam, who made his beef with Jigga public last January with the diss track ‘You Got It’. Jay, who was recently named one of GQ’s Men Of The Year, rhymes: ‘Hov gon get you, I ain’t forget your little disrespect/ No, Hov daddy gon spank you for that sh*t you said/…You sellin’ low too, only time you went plat/ My chain was around your neck, that’s an actual fact.’ The Hov is back! Moving on, and Hip Hop’s infamous Jacob The Jeweller is suing Scarface over unpaid bills for $37,000-worth of bling bought in 2002. Jacob Arabo claims the Def Jam South boss ignored repeated requests for payment, and was thus forced to file a lawsuit. Meanwhile, G-Unit rappers Lloyd Banks and Young Buck have escaped jail time after gun possession charges against the pair relating to an incident in August 2005 were dropped last week (Nov. 8). The stars were arrested after doing an Anger Management 3 show in New York, when their van ran a red light and was subsequently searched by police. Two loaded handguns were discovered and all 13 passengers were taken in and charged with weapons offences. However, prosecutors have determined that neither rapper was in personal possession of the guns. In other news, ATL’s T.I. was the big winner at the first annual BET Hip Hop Awards last Saturday (Nov. 11), taking home three of the eight awards he was nominated for. The rapper won Best CD for latest album ‘King’, Best Hip Hop Video for ‘What You Know’, and the gong for MVP of the Year. “You can’t hate on hard work and talent,” told the self-proclaimed ‘King of the South’. Grandmaster Flash was honoured with the I Am Hip Hop Icon award, while other winners included Jermaine Dupri for Best Producer, Chamillionaire got Rookie Of The Year, Busta Rhymes won Best Live Performer, and Common was awarded Lyricist Of The Year. The ceremony was hosted by comedian Katt Williams, who was released on bail just in time on Friday (Nov. 10), after being arrested for carrying concealed weapons in his luggage at Los Angeles International Airport on Monday (Nov. 6). Ending on a sad note this week, R&B singer Gerald Levert died on Saturday (Nov.11) from a heart attack at the age of 40. Levert, who had just returned from a tour of South Africa with his father, Eddie from The O’Jays, suffered from moderate heart disease. A musical tribute is being held on Friday (Nov. 17) to celebrate Levert’s life with family, friends and fans of the star in Cleveland, Ohio, with artists including Stevie Wonder, Johnny Gill and Angie Stone in attendance.


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