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Soulja Boy (DeAndre Way), the prolific social media influencer and American rapper, record producer, actor, and entrepreneur announced today the details of his 5-year $400M endorsement deal (tweeted on May 1st 2016) is with publicly traded World Poker Fund Holdings (OTC PINK: WPFH), a leading developer and operator of online and event-based social gaming platforms and brands.

The decision for Soulja Boy to engage with WPFH comes on the heels of the recent success of Nas, Sean "Diddy" Combs and 50 Cent's investment and ambassador brand deals with technology and consumer products like Ciroc and Vitamin Water. However, unlike Nas, Diddy and 50 Cent, Soulja Boy is arguably the world's youngest music mogul to complete a deal of this magnitude. At 25, he is one of most influential urban entertainers and artist on social media today, boasting a social media following of over 15 million. Soulja Boy will mobilize his network to promote World Poker Fund's online gaming assets such as CelebrityWorld.com and its soon-to-launch "in-flight gaming" platform which aims to service the 3 billion plus global travelers across multiple airlines worldwide.

Soulja Boy, "I invest in things I understand. I enjoy music, and of course gaming. Being an influencer is a form of currency. Having portfolio diversification is critical if you want to be an effective brand ambassador. With regards to World Poker Fund, I believe in its strategy, its team, the vision, and management's ability to target its financial goals."

Matthew Bird, President of 1-800-PublicRelations and spokesperson and publicist for World Poker Fund Holdings "WPFH," commented, "The world of marketing is changing, today's biggest influencers are not brands, but individuals who create content that drive loyalty and brand sentiment. We no longer are fed content from major news networks -- we seek it out and consume it by individual influencers that enrich our lifestyles. Soulja Boy represents the best of the best and we are already seeing the impact from his presence."

BET Networks has announced the nominations for the 2016 "BET Awards," taking place at Microsoft Theater on Sunday, June 26. This year’s broadcast marks 16 years of spectacular performances, must-see moments, outstanding talent, and exquisite music: from Alicia Keys performing during the Prince Lifetime Achievement Award tribute and Michael Jackson taking the stage with James Brown to Beyoncé catering to Terrence Howard and the reuniting of The Fugees, the “BET Awards” has set the standard for can’t miss specials.

Drake leads the list of entertainers with an impressive nine nominations including ‘Best Male Hip Hop Artist,’ ‘Video of the Year,’ and ‘Best Collaboration’ for his hit “Where Ya At” with fellow hip hop artist Future. Beyoncé and Rihanna follow with five nods each. Beyoncé is nominated for top nods of the night including ‘Best Female R&B/Pop Artist,’ ‘Video of the Year,’ and ‘Best Collaboration’ for “Feeling Myself” with Nicki Minaj. Rihanna is in the running for awards including ‘Best Female R&B/Pop Artist,’ ‘Video of the Year,’ and ‘Best Collaboration,’ for “Work” featuring Drake. Other nominees include newcomer Bryson Tiller who is up for four awards including ‘Best Male R&B/Pop Artist.’ Chris Brown is nominated for the same number including ‘Best Male R&B/Pop Artist’ and ‘Video Director of the Year.’ Future could also walk away with four awards including ‘Best Male Hip Hop Artist’ and the ‘Coca-Cola Viewers’ Choice Award.’

The nominees represent depth and diversity in achievement over the past year and we look forward to recognizing them next month,” said Stephen Hill, BET’s President of Programming. “This show will be innovative and special; in addition to celebrating the best in entertainment, we’ll also spend time throughout the show remembering Prince as only BET can. You can count on memorable performances and moments in honor of a true legend.”

The complete list of nominees for the 2016 "BET Awards" are:

Best Female R&B/Pop Artist

Best Male R&B/Pop Artist

Best Group

Best Collaboration

Best Male Hip Hop Artist

Best Female Hip Hop Artist

Video of the Year

Video Director of the Year

Best New Artist

Dr. Bobby Jones Best Gospel/Inspirational Award

Best Actress

Best Actor

YoungStars Award

Best Movie

Sportswoman of the Year

Sportsman of the Year

Coca-Cola Viewers’ Choice Award

Centric Award

Best International Act Africa
MZVEE (Ghana)

Best International Act UK

The 2016 “BET Awards” will premiere around the world on BET’s international network. It will air in the UK on Tuesday, June 28th at 9:00pm BST, in Africa on Tuesday, June 28th at 7:00pm CAT, and in France on Wednesday, June 29th at 9:00pm CEST.

Joey Bada$$ and Pro Era are announcing the second annual Steez Day Festival to honor their late comrade Capital Steez. Steez was the founder of the Beast Coast movement and originator of Pro Era. In its first year, over five thousand fans packed into Central Park for the festival. This year, the festival is taking place in Downtown Los Angeles at The Novo by Microsoft on July 7th. The lineup includes Pro Era (Joey Bada$$, Kirk Knight, Nyck Caution, CJ Fly), A$AP Mob, Danny Brown, Raury, and special guests. All proceeds from the festival will go to support Capital Steez's family.

In every city on tour, fans have a chance to hang out with Cam'ron by signing up for the "Meet and Greens" Meet and Greet.

Tour Dates:
5/31 - Vancouver, BC @ Vouge Theater
6/1 - Portland, OR @ Crystal Ballroom
6/2 - Seattle, WA @ Showbox at the Market
6/4 - San Francisco, CA @ Regency Ballroom
6/5 - Los Angeles, CA @ Club Nokia
6/8 - Santa Ana, CA @ The Observatory
6/9 - San Diego, CA @ North Park Observatory
6/12 - Phoenix, AZ @ Livewire
6/15 - Salt Lake City, UT @ The Complex
6/17 - Denver, CO @ Cervantes Ballroom
6/18 - Albuquerque, NM @ Sunshine Theater
6/19 - El Paso, TX @ Tricky Falls
6/23 - Dallas, TX @ Gas Monkey
6/25 - St. Louis, MO @ The Ready Room
6/26 - Lawrence, KS @ The Granada
6/27 - Minneapolis, MN @ Sky Theater
6/29 - Chicago, IL @ Concord Music Hall
6/30 - Columbus, OH @ Park Street Saloon
7/1 - Cleveland, OH @ Agora Theater
7/5 - Montreal, QC @ Petit Olympia *
7/6 - Boston, MA @ House of Blues
7/8 - Philadelphia, PA @ TLA
7/9 - New York City, New York @ Playstation
7/10 - District of Columbia, MD @ The Fillmore
7/12- Baltimore, MD @ Rams Head Live

7/13 - Richmond, VA @ The National
7/14 - Norfolk, VA @ The NorVa

Ariana Grande, Calvin Harris, J. Cole, Martin Garrix and Fetty Wap will headline the second annual Billboard Hot 100 Music Festival that will also feature special performances by Audien, AWOLNATION, Sleigh Bells, Rae Sremmurd, Desiigner, Timeflies, Madeon, Marshmello, Wale, Nervo and more.

The highly anticipated festival, produced by Billboard, the leading global destination for charts, news, trends and innovations in music, in partnership with Live Nation, the world's leading live entertainment company, will bring together some of the biggest chart-topping artists on August 20 and 21 at New York's Nikon at Jones Beach Theater and surrounding beach areas for a weekend of epic music performances. More than 40 of today's hottest hitmakers along with exciting breakthrough artists will perform on one of the festival's three stages.

Drake’s Views holds at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart for a second week. Views earned another 313,000 equivalent album units in the week ending May 12, according to Nielsen Music (with 175,000 of that in pure album sales).

Views tallied a 70 percent decline in units compared to its debut frame a week ago (1.04 million units), while its sales collapsed by 79 percent (falling from 852,000 to 175,000).

That said, Views has quickly sold more than a million copies (1.03 million) in just two weeks' time, and it is the first album released in 2016 to surpass 1 million copies sold.

Only two albums have sold more than a million this year: Views, and Adele’s 25, which was released in 2015. 25 sold 1.27 million in 2016, of its total 8.71 million.

Beyonce’s Lemonade holds at No. 2 on the new Billboard 200 with 202,000 units (down 27 percent). The former No. 1 album sold another 153,000 copies in pure album sales (down 22 percent).

Prince’s The Very Best of Prince rounds out the top five, as it slips one rung to No. 5 with 77,000 units (up 10 percent) and 65,000 copies sold (up 17 percent). Source: Billboard

WTRMLN WTR, the pioneer in cold-pressed watermelon water, announces today that entertainment icon and entrepreneur Beyoncé has joined CAVU Venture Partners and a list of other investors in the Company's recent capital raise. Beyoncé's involvement in the 3-year-old, New York-based Company has been confirmed today by WTRMLN WTR co-Founder and Creative Director Jody Levy.

"Beyoncé is aligned with many of our Company's core values, especially our commitment to empowerment and passion to 'seed change and spread liquid love' among fitness enthusiasts. She is an inspiring human whose involvement will help educate the world about the importance of putting clean food and drinks into our bodies so that we can all be happy and healthy," stated Levy.

"Beyoncé's partnership and investment brings energy and purpose to our mission to help educate consumers about clean, healthy hydration for active lives," states Levy.

"I invested in WTRMLN WTR because it's the future of clean, natural hydration; as partners, we share a simple mission to deliver accessible wellness to the world," said Beyoncé. "This is more than an investment in a brand, it's an investment in female leaders, fitness, American farmers, and the health of people and our planet."

BET Networks goes deep ‘inside’ the music industry with the premiere of its new original series “INSIDE THE LABEL,” airing Tuesday, May 17 at 9 PM ET/PT. The original docu-series tells in-depth stories of the rise... and sometimes fall of iconic record labels, told through the eyes of the founders, artists, competitors, and key players involved in the creation of the music that defined us over the last quarter century. “INSIDE THE LABEL” unfolds in eight one-hour episodes and explores how music labels transformed the sound, face and business of hip hop and reveals the behind-the-scenes power players responsible for the rise and success of many artists. Labels featured include in the series include Uptown Records (premiere episode), Disturbing Tha Peace (DTP), Grand Hustle, Loud Records, Murder Inc., Ruff Ryders, Slip-N-Slide Records and Terror Squad. Prior of the premiere of “INSIDE THE LABEL,” the second season premiere of the Network’s docu-series BET LIFE OF will focus on the career and evolution of Diddy at 8 PM ET/PT.

Each gripping episode will highlight one label and take viewers from the beginning of each label’s inception to current day with never-before seen footage and intimate first person testimonies from hip hop’s most influential contributors including:

Uptown Records Episode:
Andre Harrell, Diddy, Jay-Z, Mary J. Blige, Babyface, Teddy Riley, Russell Simmons, Jodeci, Damion Hall, Brett Ratner, Laurieann Gibson, Robin Thicke, Sanaa Lathan, Doug E. Fresh, Al B. Sure!, Eddie F, Kim Porter, Father MC, Jeff Redd and Monifah.

Grand Hustle episode:
T.I., Jason Geter, Young Dro, Kevin Liles, Lil Duval, Killer Mike, DJ Toomp and B.o.B.

Loud Records Episode:
Steve Rifkind, RZA, Xzibit and E-Swift.

Slip-N-Slide Records Episode:
Ted Lucas, Rick Ross, Trick Daddy, Trina and DJ Khaled.

Terror Squad Episode:
Fat Joe, DJ Khaled, Noreaga, Remy Ma, Papoose Cool & Dre and Jesse Terrero.

Ruff Ryders Episode
Joaquin Dean, Darren Dean, Chivon Dean, Swizz Beatz, Eve, The Lox, Irv Gotti, Drag-On, DJ Clue, Kool Herc, Lyor Cohen and Jimmy Iovine.

Disturbing Tha Peace (DTP) Episode:
Ludacris, Chaka Zulu, Jeff Dixon, Chingy, Bobby V., Shareefa, Lil Scrappy, Bangladesh, Lil Fate, I-20 and Poon Daddy.

Murder Inc.:
Irv Gotti, Ashanti, Ja Rule, Jay-Z, Charli Baltimore, Kevin Liles and Lyor Cohen.
“INSIDE THE LABEL” is executive produced by Arthur Smith, Frank Sinton, and Donny Jackson for A. Smith & Co. Productions, Chaka Zulu, Jeff Dixon and Chris “Ludacris” Bridges.

ASCAP, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, the world leader in performing rights and advocacy for music creators, today announced record-breaking financial results, with domestic revenue hitting an all-time high of $716.8 million, up $61 million over 2014, driving record high domestic distributions of $573.5 million, up 6.2 percent over 2014. ASCAP, which operates on a not-for-profit basis, delivered $867.4 million in total royalty distributions to its 560,000 songwriter, composer and music publisher members in 2015. For the second year in a row, ASCAP's combined domestic and foreign revenue topped $1 billion with total 2015 revenue of $1.014 billion.

ASCAP delivered the best value proposition in performing rights licensing, returning 88 cents of every dollar collected to music creators while supporting their careers through advocacy and professional development and investing in technology and innovation initiatives to offer enhanced services to members and licensees. ASCAP's operating expense ratio was 12.3 percent, among the most efficient and lowest in performing rights. The number of performances ASCAP tracked, matched and processed for payment in 2015 increased by 14 percent to 570 billion. Demonstrating a commitment to transparency, ASCAP became the first U.S. PRO to provide fractional share ownership information in its publicly available online database for each of the more than 10 million musical compositions in the ASCAP repertory.

ASCAP President Paul Williams said: "ASCAP is a tireless advocate for the rights of music creators who depend on ASCAP to earn a living, whether it's on Capitol Hill or at the negotiating table, and we are truly invested in their success. ASCAP's superlative results mean we are doing the best job possible for our songwriter and composer members even as we advocate for changes to the outdated music licensing laws that disadvantage songwriters in the today's digital world. These results are a testament to why the world's most talented songwriters choose to call ASCAP home."

ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews commented: "2015 was a winning year for ASCAP members, who are the heart and soul of our organization. While the music industry is in the midst of tremendous change, ASCAP has stayed ahead of the curve with a strategic focus on revenue growth, operational efficiencies, technology and service innovations demonstrating that the collective licensing model delivers the best value proposition in the performing rights world. We are happy that we could deliver a 6.2 percent increase in domestic royalties to our members in 2015, and we remain committed to transforming into the most progressive operation ensuring that songwriters, composers, lyricists and music publishers can enjoy a sustainable living in today's music marketplace."

2015 Revenue Detail - Growth in All Major Categories
Domestic revenues of $716.8 million grew across all major categories, including Audio/Visual, New Media, General Licensing and Radio. In the Audio/Visual category, which covers broadcast and cable TV as well as top streaming services like Amazon and Netflix, ASCAP closed 68 agreements representing 245 programming services and their related websites. General Licensing, which covers bars, restaurants, music venues, and similar businesses, saw record growth of $11.0 million, or 9.1 percent.
Record setting domestic revenue helped ASCAP to collect more than $1 billion in revenue for the second year in a row, despite the fact that foreign collections, at $298.0 million, were down by 14.1 percent from 2014, caused by the negative impact of the strengthening U.S. dollar.

ASCAP created a new Global Services Team in 2015 to provide best in class services to its music creator and publisher members as well as to its foreign PRO partners, which annually handled over 70,000 inquiries.

ASCAP songwriters crafted the biggest songs of 2015, topping 18 separate Billboard year-end song charts with songs like The Weeknd's "Earned It (Fifty Shades of Grey)" by ASCAP writers Belly (SOCAN), Jason Quenneville (SOCAN) and The Weeknd (SOCAN), which was #1 on R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay Songs and Adult R&B Songs; Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth's "See You Again" by ASCAP writers Andrew Cedar and DJ Frank E, which was #1 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, and Hot Rap Songs; and Walk the Moon's "Shut Up and Dance" by ASCAP writers Ben Berger, Eli Maiman, Ryan McMahon, Nicholas Petricca, Kevin Ray, Sean Waugaman, which was #1 on Adult Top 40 Songs.

Nearly 40,000 members joined ASCAP in 2015, including recent chart-toppers Fetty Wap, Kelsea Ballerini and OMI. Many top songwriters and composers renewed their membership agreements with the organization, including Marc Anthony, Iggy Azalea, Blondie, Hal David, James Fauntleroy, George Gershwin, Ashley Gorley, Calvin Harris, Jimi Hendrix, Kevin Kadish, Savan Kotecha, Greg Kurstin, Led Zeppelin, Mozella, Nate Ruess, Meghan Trainor, Usher, Van Halen and David Vanacore.

ASCAP's commitment to membership success in 2015 also manifested itself with events across musical genres including three song camps, seven workshops and multiple showcases at the Sundance Film Festival, South by Southwest (SXSW) and the CMJ Music Marathon. ASCAP also hosted 2600 songwriters and 193 panelists at its 10th Annual ASCAP "I Create Music EXPO," the only conference dedicated exclusively to songwriting and composing.

The law firm of Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP has been retained in the Marion "Suge" Knight case. Mr. Knight is currently facing murder charges stemming from a January 29, 2015 incident taking place in Compton, California. (Los Angeles Superior Court, Case No. TA136401)

The Southern California-based law firm has successfully handled over 200 combined criminal jury trials and comes into the case after the departure of Attorney Thomas Meserau.

Attorney J. Tooson, Partner at the firm, commented on the case: "In addition to my Partner Jeremy Lessem and I speaking with Mr. Knight at length, we have also had the opportunity to view video of the incident. That said, we look forward to aggressively defending Mr. Knight's innocence.

"We strongly caution anyone from rushing to judgment in this case based on Mr. Knight's past. We believe the evidence will show that on the day in question, Mr. Knight was ambushed by several perpetrators armed with firearms. While under attack, Mr. Knight attempted to flee for his life."

Attorney Thaddeus Culpepper will remain on the case as co-counsel in addition to Attorney Antoine Williams who will be a key member of the new defense team. Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP anticipates this matter going to a jury trial.

Beyonce's Lemonade album is heading for No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, according to industry forecasters. The set, which was released on April 23 through Parkwood/Columbia Records, could sell around 450,000 copies (or more) in the week ending April 28, and earn 550,000 equivalent album units. If it starts at No. 1, it will give Beyonce her sixth chart-topper, and continue her hot streak atop the Billboard 200: all five of her previous studio albums have debuted at No. 1.

The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week based on multi-metric consumption, which includes traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). The top 10 of the new May 14-dated Billboard 200 chart (where Lemonade will likely start at No. 1) is scheduled to be revealed on Billboard’s websites on Sunday, May 1.

Lemonade was introduced on April 23 through its same-named film, which was soundtracked by the album’s songs, and premiered on HBO. The visual album was released following the film’s debut, initially exclusively through Tidal. By Monday, April 25, the album — which is bundled with the film — went on sale through other digital retailers, but Tidal remains the only service with streaming rights to the set. A physical version of the album will be released on May 6. Source: Billboard

On the heels of releasing his critically acclaimed debut album Genesis, Domo Genesis is back today to announce The Chore Tour 2016. Domo is also sharing a video titled "Domo Who?" that gives a look into Domo's everyday life and who he is from the perspective of friends and family. The run of US dates begins at the end of May at Soundset Festival in Minnesota and includes stops at Atlanta's Masquerade, New York's SOB's and The Roxy in Los Angeles.

Watch "Domo Who?" HERE

Tour Dates:
5/29 - St. Paul, MN @ Soundset Festival
6/1 - Seattle, WA @ Vera Project
6/3 - Portland, PR @ Peter's Room
6/5 - Santa Cruz, CA @ The Atrium
6/7 - Oakland, CA @ New Parish
6/10 - Dallas, TX @ Cambridge, HOB
6/11 - Houston, TX @ Bronze Peacock, HOB
6/12 - New Orleans, LA @ Hi Ho Lounge
6/13 - Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade, Purgatory
6/15 - Baltimore, MD @ Soundstage
6/16 - New York, NY @ SOB's
6/18 - Philadelphia, PA @ The Foundry
6/19 - Washington, DC @ DC9
6/20 - Boston, MA @ Middle East Upstairs
6/23 - Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop
6/24 - Chicago, IL @ Reggies
6/25 - Detroit, MI @ Shelter
6/26 - St. Louis, MO @ Fubar
7/23 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Roxy
7/24 - Santa Ana, CA @ Constellation, Observatory

Flo Rida, will introduce his new mobile app 'SPEED GODS', a joint venture between Flo Rida, IM3 Gaming and in conjunction with D3M Licensing Group.

The conference will be held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco on April 27th and 28th. In addition to talking about his new Android app, Flo Rida, will be taking questions from the audience in an 'Ask Me Anything' session.

"I'm honored that Samsung has invited me to their annual conference," said the artist. 'SPEED GODS' was a labor of passion, and I'm excited to be able to introduce it at such a prestigious event."

"Obviously, Flo Rida has international appeal but it was his understanding of the mobile gaming space that made this partnership make sense", said Chris McMillian, CEO of IM3 Gaming. Flo Rida and Chris McMillian were put in contact with Samsung from licensing partner D3M Licensing Group, LLC, whose CEO, Marlo Gold, echoed similar enthusiasm about the artists' presence at SDC.

Drake will launch the DRAKE SUMMER SIXTEEN TOUR WITH FUTURE AND SPECIAL GUESTS in support of his brand new album, View. The North American tour, promoted exclusively by Live Nation, will kick off on Wednesday, July 20 in Austin, Tex. and visit over 30 cities throughout the U.S. and Canada with multiple shows scheduled in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston. Other cities on the DRAKE SUMMER SIXTEEN TOUR WITH FUTURE AND SPECIAL GUESTS include Philadelphia, Vancouver, Boston, Atlanta, Washington DC and more.

Drake's newest album, View, is currently set for release on April 29, 2016. The album's multi-platinum certified lead single, "Hotline Bling," became a massive hit reaching #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and #1 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs and Billboard Rhythmic charts. Three of the album's subsequent singles, "Summer Sixteen," "Pop Style," and "One Dance," are all currently in the Top 20 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs charts with "One Dance" and "Pop Style" sitting at the #1 and #3 spot respectively on the Billboard R&B/Hip Hop Digital Songs chart this week.

Prince died earlier today (April 21) at age 57 at his Paisley Park home and studio, his publicist confirmed to the Associated Press. TMZ first reported the news.

Prince was hospitalized last week after his plane for was forced to make an emergency landing in Moline, Ill. Released a few hours later, a rep told TMZ that he had been battling a bad case of the flu.

One of the most iconic musicians in music history, Prince's extensive career grew out of the music scene of his native Minneapolis, where he lived his entire life. His 1978 debut album For You and self-titled second LP, released in October 1979, kicked off an incredibly prolific run of albums that included 1999, Purple Rain, Around The World In A Day, Sign O The Times and Batman, among others, throughout the 1980s at a clip of nearly one per year, evolving with each release.

Over his 35-plus-year career, he released 39 solo studio albums and never stopped releasing new material; since September 2014, he put out four new full-length records with his latest band, 3rd Eye Girl, continuously experimenting with psychedelic rock and intergalactic funk.

Story developing.

VeganSmart, a Naturade product, continues to identify innovative partnerships that amplify the message of a plant-based lifestyle by reaching communities without convenient access to healthy options.
In a new joint venture, Love is Love, a product extension for VeganSmart, VeganSmart and Styles P have created a new movement born from the hip hop artist's own dedication to health and wellness and a new flavor Cookies and Cream. The Love is Love product line is a plant-based all-in-one nutritional protein shake exclusively placed in the underserved communities that need them the most.

Styles P has lead the introduction of a series of fresh juice bars with locations surrounding the New York City metro area. Styles P has also recruited his hip hop trio’s, The Lox, group member Jadakiss, another long-standing pillar in the hip hop community and former Bad Boy Records artist, in the journey. The Juices for Life fresh juice bars are providing easy access to fresh juices for poorer neighborhoods where healthy living is seldom promoted or encouraged. The mission of the Juice for Life bars is to educate their customers on how to choose to be healthy and how certain foods can be toxic and potentially lead to unhealthy results.

To support the introduction of the Love is Love brand, VeganSmart and Styles P will be debuting the product line at the Green Festival Saturday 16th 2016 at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City. “We at Naturade couldn’t be more excited about this joint venture with Styles P. His dedication to providing healthy options to poor neighborhoods without access to fresh food, and possibly food deserts, is exactly what drew us to his movement. With the Love is Love joint venture, we hope to support his efforts which we feel is one and the same as ours. VeganSmart is a healthy alternative and we focus continually on bringing our products to the communities that need them the most. Whether you are vegan, or are just trying to eat a more healthy diet, VeganSmart is for you.” - Naturade owner and CMO, Kareem Cook

The Kendo division of LVMH Moët Hennesy Louis Vuitton has landed a deal with Rihanna, one of the hottest-selling celebrities in the world of licensing, to do a complete makeup collection.

As one veteran cosmetics executive observed, “everything with her is off the charts.”

Estimates of what LVMH may have paid to make the deal run as high as $10 million.

Kendo, which functions as an incubator producing products that end up being retailed by LVMH’s Sephora perfumery chain and other outposts, will launch a Rihanna makeup range, called Fenty Beauty by Rihanna, in the fall of 2017.

While the company provided no other details, David Suliteanu, chief executive officer of Kendo, was in a celebratory mood. “Fenty Beauty by Rihanna is a beauty rocket ship that will appeal to a huge and diverse global audience,” he said. “We are aiming for the stars.”

That is exactly where the Rihanna brand tends to orbit. As an entertainer, the 28-year-old singer is the youngest solo artist to have 14 number-one singles on the Billboard Hot 100 and she has spent 58 weeks on the top of the chart. So far, Rihanna has sold more than 54 million albums and 215 million singles worldwide. Her tally of awards includes eight Grammys, 12 Billboard Music Awards and nine American Music Awards. Her latest album, “Anti,” was released in January to strong sales.

As far as image goes, Rihanna received a Fashion Icon Award from CFDA in 2014.

“Kendo is honored to work with Rihanna,” Suliteanu concluded.

She previously has collaborated in 2013 with MAC Cosmetics on a four-part, limited-edition RiRi Hearts MAC color cosmetics collection, and she also represented Viva Glam lipstick in 2014 to raise funds for AIDS research.

She has produced seven fragrances for Parlux Ltd. and the relationship continues. The latest one, RiRi, was launched in fall 2015. During a promotional appearance at Macy’s in Brooklyn, the star raised $46,000 in an afternoon. Although the celebrity fragrance category is decidedly on the wane, Rihanna’s star seems to burn brighter than ever. Industry sources estimate that Rihanna’s Parlux fragrances, as a group, generate about $75 million in wholesale net shipments. In addition to the U.S., her fragrance business is said to be particularly strong in the U.K. and Europe.

“Our Rihanna business continues to flourish,” said Diana Espino, global vice president of marketing and brand development. Adding that Rihanna remains on top of the celebrity heap, Espino said the reason is because “what she produces has the authenticity of a fashion icon and an entertainment trendsetter. She is really a developer,” she noted, that in an era of social media transparency, “the consumer knows it.”

The Rihanna makeup brand will be the third major color cosmetics project that Kendo has undertaken, following those by Kat Von D Beauty and Marc Jacobs Beauty.

Kendo has given Rihanna the opportunity to play a key role in the development of her brand and the longevity of a long-term relationship. The company also offers a deep bench of development talent and a global reach in distribution. In markets where there are no Sephora stores, other, suitable retailers will be found. Source: wwd

DJ Khaled has been signed to Epic Records by Chairman & CEO LA Reid, in an exclusive deal that encompasses Khaled's highly successful We The Best Music Group, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary in 2016. Khaled's hotly anticipated new album, MAJOR KEY, his first release for We The Best/Epic Records, will be available soon.

"Bringing Khaled to Epic is a blessed reunion for me," said Mr. Reid, who first signed Khaled and We The Best to Def Jam Recordings in 2008. "Khaled is a supremely gifted artist and social media guru whose music has defined hip-hop and R&B for the past decade. With an extremely loyal fan base radiating world­wide out of Miami, every new release by Khaled has now become a firestorm event and his devoted legion of fans only grows bigger by the day. With Khaled's passion and creative savvy, together with our dedicated and versatile staff, we are poised to reach even greater heights together than ever before."

"After weeks of consideration I have made a decision on where to land the biggest brand in the game. A brand that has been built from the ground up. A brand that I spent my entire life building even before I gave it a name. Today I proudly announce my new partnership with LA Reid and Epic Records," said DJ Khaled. "We The Best Music/Epic. Those two brands are synonymous with quality music. Iconic music. LA Reid was the first executive to give We The Best Music an opportunity to distribute my music on a grand scale. It is a very satisfying feeling to realign myself with someone who shares my vision of bringing fans the best music possible. When I think about Epic Records the first thing that comes to mind is Michael Jackson Thriller. An iconic artist with an iconic album and iconic logo. In short I'd like to thank all the people behind the scenes that helped make this partnership a reality. And to all aspiring superstars across the globe I say this I AM SEARCHING FOR NEW TALENT TO PRESENT TO THE WORLD! When it comes to breaking new artists, no one does it better than WE THE BEST MUSIC!! I'm also proud to announce my new album title to the world. Fan luv you've been asking me to bless you with new music. The wait is over!!! My 9th album MAJOR KEY is the best album of my career and I do it all for my fans. Stay tuned for new singles alert!!! New artist alert!!!! I'm looking for you!!! It's We The Best Music/Epic. The next chapter of success has begun. The "machine" is the most powerful it's ever been! Intact it's the biggest machine in the game. Don't ever question it!!!! It's We The Best Music. It's Epic. Bless up!"

Referred to in the music industry as the "Quincy Jones of hip-hop & R&B," Khaled has made dozens of chart topping hit records featuring collaborations with the greatest names in music. His most recent (eighth) studio album, I Changed A Lot (October 2015), entered the Billboard Independent Albums chart at #1 and R&B chart at #2. The album spun off a quintet of chart singles including "They Don't Love You No More," "Hold You Down" (RIAA gold), "How Many Times" (RIAA gold), "Gold Slugs," and "You Mine."

Heineken®, the official malt beverage sponsor of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival for the 15th year, is proud to announce it will bring the fan-favorite Heineken House back to the festival for both weekends, April 15–17 and April 22–24. Festival attendees, ages 21 and over, will have the chance to engage with Heineken in a relaxed house party setting.

Building on the success of last year's live musical performances, 2016 house guests will enjoy exclusive access to live shows by legendary artists including headliners Doctor P (Friday, 4/15), Warren G (Saturday, 4/16), and Diplo & Friends (Sunday, 4/17). Also taking the Heineken House stage will be Crizzly, CRNKN, Green Lantern, DJ Jayceeoh, KAYZO, Ookay, Protohype, UFO, DJ Premier, Just Blaze, Londonbridge, Lookas, Too $hort, Two Fresh, TRAVISWILD, Brillz, BRO SAFARI, ETC(!) ETC(!), FKi 1st, Neo Fresco, Nina Las Vegas, Party Favor, Paul Devro, and DJ 4B.

"Heineken House arrives at Coachella this year to throw the ultimate house party," said Pattie Falch, brand director for sponsorships and events, Heineken. "We're excited to once again bring to the festival top-notch musical talent and entertainment in a fantastic space right in the middle of all the action where attendees can relax and enjoy some of their favorite things—music, art, and ice-cold beer."

In a move designed to reinforce the development of key executive talent at the senior level of the Def Jam Recordings Promotion Department, Nicki Farag has been promoted to Senior Vice President, Promotion; Keith Rothschild has been promoted to Senior Vice President, Top 40 Promotion; and Noah Sheer has been promoted to Senior Vice President, Rhythm / Crossover & Dance Promotion, it was announced today by Rick Sackheim, Executive Vice President, Promotion, Def Jam Recordings. Mr. Rothschild, who is based in New York, and Mrs. Farag and Mr. Sheer, who are based in Los Angeles, will report directly to Mr. Sackheim.

"Noah, Nicki and Keith have all shown tremendous value to Def Jam and our incredible roster of hit-makers," said Mr. Sackheim. "Individually, each of them are leaders in their field of expertise, but together they show a force of leadership unparalleled in promotion. I am proud to see their growth and development as executives."

"There is a rich history and a special culture here at Def Jam that Steve Bartels, Rick Sackheim and the entire team have nurtured," said Mrs. Farag. "I want to thank them both for giving me the opportunity to be a leader on this team. Def Jam is an iconic brand and a lifestyle, and I'm honored to be one of its ambassadors."

Mrs. Farag has served as Vice President, Promotion, Def Jam Recordings, since 2014. A Def Jam veteran, she came to the company in 2003, and served in positions of increasing responsibility over the years, including Assistant, Promotion Manager, Director of Promotion, Senior Director of Promotion, Vice President, and now Senior Vice President. Prior to joining Def Jam, she spent just over a year as Promotion Manager at radio station Z100 in New York.

"I would like to thank Steve Bartels and Rick Sackheim for this incredible opportunity," said Mr. Rothschild. "I am looking forward to representing Def Jam's established stars as well as breaking new artists at the format. This is an exciting time to help lead the team to continued success."

Mr. Rothschild has served as Vice President, Top 40 Promotion, Def Jam Recordings, since 2013. Prior to joining Def Jam, he spent 15 years at Warner Brothers Records starting in 1996, first as a Regional Promotion Manager, and later as National Director of Top 40 Promotion.

"I'm extremely proud of what we've accomplished here at Def Jam," said Mr. Sheer. "We approach each and every day with the excitement, passion and motivation to excel. That starts at the top with the incredible leadership of Steve Bartels and Rick Sackheim, and resonates all the way through to every word spoken about this most iconic and cultural of labels, Def Jam Recordings."

Mr. Sheer was appointed Vice President, Top 40 Promotion, at the former Island Def Jam Music Group (IDJ) in 2008. He came to the company in 2000, as Mid-Atlantic Regional Promotion Manager, and was promoted four years later to Senior Director, Rhythm Promotion. He began his career in 1998, as a Promotion Assistant at Arista Records.

Respected industry veteran Sonya Askew has been appointed Senior Director, Commerce, Def Jam Recordings, it was announced today by Faisel Durrani, General Manager, Def Jam Recordings.

Ms. Askew will oversee the strategic planning and execution of Def Jam's commercial efforts across all retail partners. Additionally, Ms. Askew will be tasked with the aggressive expansion of Def Jam's Direct to Consumer (D2C) programs, and exploitation of the label's rich, historic catalog. In her new post, Ms. Askew will work closely with the label's marketing department on the promotion and positioning of its artists. Ms. Askew, who will be based in New York, will report directly to Mr. Durrani.

"We're thrilled that Sonya is joining the team here at Def Jam," said Mr. Durrani. "She comes to us with an unmatched expertise and knowledge of the commercial marketplace, as well as a deep respect and understanding of Def Jam's artists and culture. Her unique instincts and insight have made her a consistent leader. We're excited to bring her focus and energy to the team.

"I've always been a huge fan of Def Jam as a record label and a very strong brand," said Ms. Askew. "I'm excited and looking forward to working with Steve, Faisel and the entire Def Jam team."

Ms. Askew comes to Def Jam after a five-year stint as Senior Buyer, Urban Music for ANconnect. Formerly Anderson Merchandisers, ANconnect is the exclusive music buying consultant for Best Buy and Walmart. She began her career in 1995, specializing in the Urban genre as Music Buyer at entertainment specialty retailer Camelot in Ohio. After four years, she moved to Minnesota's Musicland chain as National Buyer, expanding her accomplishments in the Urban field.

Ms. Askew's success continued as Director of Urban Marketing/National Buyer at Albany-based Trans World Enter­tain­ment/FYE, starting in 2006. Prior to joining Anderson in 2011, she worked for independent music and video distributor eOne Entertain­ment, serving as Director of Urban Marketing/Label Manager. Ms. Askew graduated from Ohio University in Athens, with the Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism.

Tab Nkhereanye has been promoted to Senior Vice President, A&R, Def Jam Recordings, it was announced today by Steve Bartels, CEO, Def Jam Recordings. Upon joining Def Jam in 2014, Mr. Nkhereanye made immediate impact with the signing and creative direction of Alessia Cara - one of the industry's most exciting new artist development stories. He is also responsible for JAHKOY, another major new priority signing for the label that is set to launch later this year.

"In a very short period of time, Tab has shown incredible ability in both finding bright, new, exciting talent, and shepherding relationships with some of our most iconic artists," said Mr. Bartels. "In addition, as a successful songwriter, Tab has the unique experience to relate to artists and help them bring their creative visions to life. We are fortunate to have Tab as part of the Def Jam family and this well-deserved promotion is reflective of our belief in him."

"It's an honor to be part of the great Def Jam tradition," said Mr. Nkhereanye. "I'm excited to be working alongside such respected executives as Steve Bartels and Faisel Durrani, and the entire family here at Def Jam. Making records for this legendary company is nothing short of special."

Mr. Nkhereanye, a five-time ASCAP Award-winning songwriter, joined Def Jam in 2014. He began his career in music in 2006, based in Atlanta as an A&R Consultant for Bug Music/BMG. He moved to Los Angeles in 2009, where he was named Vice President, A&R, Sony ATV Music Publishing. He has written hits for Destiny's Child, Mary J. Blige, Madonna, Justin Bieber, and others.

Songwriter and rapper Christian Combs has signed an exclusive recording deal with Bad Boy Entertainment/Epic Records.

The signing was overseen by Epic Chairman and CEO LA Reid, and his long-time friend and musical partner, Grammy Award®-winning artist, producer, entrepreneur Sean 'Diddy' Combs aka Puff Daddy, Christian's father and the founder of hip-hop's iconic Bad Boy Entertainment.

In late-2015, Bad Boy signed an exclusive partnership agreement with Epic that includes distribution through Sony Music Entertainment. Since the deal, Puff Daddy has had a string of hits and just released his latest, 'You Could Be My Lover" featuring Ty Dolla $ign and Gizzle, from his critically-acclaimed album MMM (November 2015).

'King' Combs, as Christian is known, took to Instagram to express his excitement over being able to spread his New York City-inspired sound worldwide: "Yesterday was the greatest day of my life -- it was the day a dream came true. I got signed to Bad Boy and Epic Records. I'm extremely thankful for everything that God has blessed me with and I will never take it for granted. Music is something that's been part of me my whole life. #Epic #Badboy we got this!"

"I couldn't be prouder of Christian. He's an incredibly talented artist with a bright future. Christian has earned this opportunity from hard work and dedication and he represents the future of Bad Boy," said Sean 'Diddy' Combs.

"Our ability to pass the torch to a new generation is what music history is all about," said Mr. Reid. "I have watched Christian grow into a very talented young artist and it fills me with great pride to share this with my brother and friend Puffy."

Christian 'King' Combs, the son of Sean "Diddy" Combs and model Kim Porter, was born on April 1, 1998. Inspired by iconic New York City rappers Nas, Notorious B.I.G., Mase, and Puff Daddy, 'King' is one of the founders of rap organization CYN. CYN is a crew of young up-and-coming rappers who make diverse sounds that represent the NYC culture. Stay tuned for news of the first new music to arrive on Bad Boy Entertainment/Epic Records from 'King' Combs!

To showcase and celebrate excellence in music across genres, The Recording Academy® has partnered with Upsilon Ventures, producer and developer of iconic destinations and visitor experiences and the New York City Mayor's Office to present GRAMMY Park™ the first GRAMMY®-branded, multiday live music experience.

Over the course of four days and 10 live concert performances, more than 30 artists, collectively honored with 40-plus GRAMMY and Latin GRAMMY Awards®, will converge in Brooklyn to celebrate the rich musical diversity of various genres, including R&B, hip-hop, gospel, pop, Latin, and jazz.

Live music performances and signature Artist Spotlights featuring seven-time GRAMMY winner Toni Braxton, three-time GRAMMY winner NE-YO with Jazmine Sullivan, and a special evening featuring GRAMMY nominees Robin Thicke and Aloe Blacc will take place in two of Brooklyn’s most iconic locations, the Prospect Park Bandshell and the historic Kings Theatre. Additional special events and programs will be held at LeFrak Center at Lakeside, Prospect Park.

Free concert events — open to the public — include a special concert featuring emerging artists and jazz ensembles on Saturday, May 7 at 10 a.m. and a Mother’s Day gospel concert on Sunday, May 8 at noon, both at Prospect Park Bandshell. Each concert requires a ticket.
Thursday, May 5

8 p.m.
Artist Spotlight: NE-YO with Jazmine Sullivan
Location: Kings Theatre
NE-YO (three-time GRAMMY® winner) with
Jazmine Sullivan (11-time GRAMMY nominee)

Friday, May 6

5:30 p.m.
Changing The Game
Location: Kings Theatre
A provocative conversation about hip-hop's impact on the music world and society, featuring Joey Badass and the groundbreaking artists listed below.
8 p.m.
Hip-Hop Groundbreakers: Concert
Chuck D (six-time GRAMMY nominee)
Just Blaze (six-time GRAMMY nominee)
MC Lyte (two-time GRAMMY nominee)
Keith Shocklee
The Kidd Creole
Ray Chew, music director

7 p.m.
Latin Mix
Location: Prospect Park Bandshell
Natalia Lafourcade (GRAMMY winner; seven-time Latin GRAMMY winner)
Arturo O'Farrill & The Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra (O'Farrill, three-time GRAMMY winner; Latin GRAMMY winner)
Alex Cuba (four-time Latin GRAMMY winner)
Additional performers to be announced

Saturday, May 7

10 a.m.
The Next Generation: Emerging Artists - (free and open to the public)
Location: Prospect Park Bandshell
Showcasing emerging stars of the jazz world; performers to be announced.

2 p.m.
Jazz All-Stars
Location: Prospect Park Bandshell
Monty Alexander - Harlem Kingston Express (Alexander, GRAMMY nominee)
Terence Blanchard featuring The E-Collective (Blanchard, four-time GRAMMY winner)
Kurt Elling (GRAMMY winner)
Christian McBride Trio (McBride, five-time GRAMMY winner)
Cécile McLorin Salvant (GRAMMY winner)
John Patitucci Electric Guitar Quartet (Patitucci, GRAMMY winner)

8 p.m.
Artist Spotlight: Robin Thicke & Aloe Blacc
Location: Kings Theatre
Robin Thicke (five-time GRAMMY nominee) and
Aloe Blacc (GRAMMY nominee)

Sunday, May 8

Gospel Concert - (free and open to the public)
Location: Prospect Park Bandshell
Hezekiah Walker (two-time GRAMMY winner)
BeBe Winans (six-time GRAMMY winner)
Ray Chew, music director

7 p.m.
Big Band & Broadway Remix
Location: Prospect Park Bandshell
Christian McBride Big Band
Special Guests:
Jonathan Butler (two-time GRAMMY nominee)
Andra Day (two-time GRAMMY nominee)
Dianne Reeves (five-time GRAMMY winner)
Additional performers to be announced

7 p.m.
Toni Braxton
Location: Kings Theatre
Toni Braxton (seven-time GRAMMY winner)

"As The Recording Academy recognizes musical excellence every year with our annual GRAMMY Awards®, we also celebrate musical diversity year-round through our many events and programs, and GRAMMY Park will do just that," said Branden Chapman, Executive In Charge Of Production & Chief Business Development Officer of The Recording Academy. "We're excited to offer the public the opportunity to experience various music genres and share the cultural diversity of the GRAMMYs®, and there is no better place to do this than the Big Apple."

"All year long Brooklynites and New Yorkers flock to Prospect Park to attend free concerts, get fit and stay healthy, and simply take in the beautiful scenery," said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. "We look forward to working with The Recording Academy to provide visitors with another cultural opportunity to celebrate all things music and New York City's diversity."

"We are honored to work with The Recording Academy, and also look forward to working with the New York City Mayor's Office and New York City Parks to create a multifaceted experience that has never been done before," said Itai Shoffman and Sar Inbar, Principals of Upsilon Ventures. "New York City is the epicenter for music and we intend to take guests of GRAMMY Park on a musical journey that blends best-in-class concerts, and experiences and events with local, national and international artists."

As one of the most celebrated producers and rappers of his generation of hip-hop artists, Black Milk has conditioned fans and critics to expect the unexpected with each release. His first offering of 2016 is a live instrumental LP, The Rebellion Sessions, created in conjunction with the band Nat Turner (Aaron “Ab” Abernathy on keys, Malik Hunter on bass, and Zebulun “Z” Horton on drums). The album, releasing April 4th, is a product of a week-long jam session among the guys. It was recorded in one week and mixed and mastered by Black in another in December of 2015. Although the guys have appeared on Black’s previous works,

“This project is the result of Nat Turner and me deciding to meet up, lock ourselves in a room for one week, and hope that some musical gems could be created in that short amount of time,” explains Black Milk. “For most of the tracks on the album there are only three instruments being played, drums by Z, bass by Malik and keys / Fender Rhodes by Ab. ‘The Knock’ was us having fun, playing until something original came out. We called it ‘The Knock’ because, if you listen closely, you can hear the neighbor banging at the door towards the end. It was like 3am when we made it.”

The Rebellion Sessions is the first project created amongst the four as a collaborative unit. The album builds off Black Milk and Nat Turner’s incredible live show, honed over the course of years and more than 90 shows played worldwide in 2015 alone during Black Milk’s Play Like Hell Tour. This May, the guys will take their new show on the road, kicking off their Rebellion Tour in Europe before hitting the US in June and July.

5/11/2016 Zurich, Switzerland
5/12/2016 Lucerne, Switzerland (Südpol)
5/13/2016 Antwerp, Belgium (JC Den Eglantier)
5/14/2015 Bruges, Belgium (Muziekcentrum Cactus)
5/15/2016 Düsseldorf, Germany
5/18/2016 Vilnius, Lithuania
5/19/2016 Breda, Netherlands (Mezz Breda)
5/20/2016 Bordeaux, France
5/21/2016 Marseille, France (Nomad Café)
5/23/2016 Budapest, Hungary (A38 Ship)
5/24/2016 Copenhagen, Denmark (Pumpehuset)
5/25/2016 Stockholm, Sweden (Fasching)
5/26/2016 London, UK (Brooklyn Bowl)
5/27/2016 Lausanne, Switzerland (Le Romandie Rock Club)
5/28/2016 Basel, Switzerland (Kaserne Basel)

BET has revealed the celebrants of “BLACK GIRLS ROCK!™” 2016:
Rihanna, Rock Star Award, Shonda Rhimes, Shot Caller Award, Gladys Knight, Living Legend Award
Danai Guira, Star Power Award, Amandla Stenberg, Young, Gifted & Black, Black Lives Matter Founders: Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi, Community Change Agent Award

Additionally, Brandy, Monica, Jazmine Sullivan, Andra Day, Marsha Ambrosius, Corinne Bailey Rae will be hitting the stage as performers along with “Living Legend” Celebrant Gladys Knight gracing the stage for an unforgettable performance. This year the dynamic “BLACK GIRLS ROCK!™” movement, founded by Beverly Bond, celebrates its 10 year anniversary and its sixth televised broadcast on BET Networks. The NAACP Award winning event on BET continues to represent a revolutionary landmark in media as it delivers edifying, entertaining and inspiring content honoring the nexus of achievements made by powerful Black women and girls. Tracee Ellis Ross will return as host of the event at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center located in downtown Newark, New Jersey. Tune in to watch on Tuesday, April 5, 2016 at 8:00 P.M./ET.

This years’ presenters will feature exceptional Black women who rock including BET’s “Chasing Destiny” star Kelly Rowland, songstresses Erykah Badu, Dionne Warwick, Spiritual Life coach Iyanla Vanzant, activist Bethann Hardison and actresses Naturi Naughton, Tatyana Ali, Teyonah Parris and Yara Shahidi.

The Smokers Club has announced this years tour which will feature Cam'ron, The Underachievers, G Herbo, Smoke DZA, Nyck Caution, MobSquad Nard, G-Jet and Liam Tracy. 7 years ago Jonny Shipes founded The Smoker's Club at SXSW and that year the first tour took off with Curren$y, Smoke DZA, and Big K.R.I.T. headlining the bill. Since then, The Smokers Club has evolved into a all-encompassing, leading cannabis lifestyle brand promoting good times, good weed, good music, and legalization. This years tour stops across the US and into Canada, including Club Nokia in LA, Concord Music Hall in Chicago and Playstation Theater in NYC. Tickets go on sale starting Friday at 10am EST. Check out the flyer above and full tour routing below. Stay tuned for more dates to be added soon.

Tour Dates:
5/31 - Vancouver, BC @ Vouge Theater
6/1 - Portland, OR @ Crystal Ballroom
6/2 - Seattle, WA @ Showbox at the Market
6/4 - San Francisco, CA @ Regency Ballroom
6/5 - Los Angeles, CA @ Club Nokia
6/8 - Santa Ana, CA @ The Observatory
6/9 - San Diego, CA @ North Park Observatory
6/12 - Phoenix, AZ @ Livewire
6/15 - Salt Lake City, UT @ The Complex
6/17 - Denver, CO @ Cervantes Ballroom
6/18 - Albuquerque, NM @ Sunshine Theater
6/19 - El Paso, TX @ Tricky Falls
6/23 - Dallas, TX @ Gas Monkey
6/25 - St. Louis, MO @ The Ready Room
6/26 - Lawrence, KS @ The Granada
6/27 - Minneapolis, MN @ Sky Theater
6/29 - Chicago, IL @ Concord Music Hall
6/30 - Columbus, OH @ Park Street Saloon
7/1 - Cleveland, OH @ Agora Theater
7/5 - Montreal, QC @ Petit Olympia *
7/6 - Boston, MA @ House of Blues
7/8 - Philadelphia, PA @ TLA
7/9 - New York City, New York @ Playstation
7/10 - District of Columbia, MD @ The Fillmore
7/12- Baltimore, MD @ Rams Head Live

7/13 - Richmond, VA @ The National
7/14 - Norfolk, VA @ The NorVa

*No Underachievers

Presidential Candidate Dr. Robert Ornelas Announces Release of New S.O.G. Crew Album "Fighting 4 Love" and National Tour

Presidential Candidate Dr. Robert "Battle Ax" Ornelas announced today that May 20, 2016 will be the release date of The S.O.G. Crew's 4th album in their eighteen year career. Album will be distributed thru Thump Records/ Universal Music Group digitally with hard copies at 7-Eleven franchise and wherever Lowrider Music is sold.

The S.O.G Crew (Sons of God) is a Hip-Hop group based out of Anaheim, CA that has been around since the late 90's. They have performed at schools, prisons, rehabs, churches, night clubs, community events, featured in movies and so much more while on this journey of musical revolution inspiring the masses along the way in just about every major city and Native American community in the United States. Of late they have worked in Los Angeles county promoting academics thru creative expressions program successfully using live Hip Hop performances in schools and community presentations to capture the interest of students while delivering positive messages thanks to Thomas Heck and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. By cooperating in a joint effort they have managed to reduce the crime in communities with high crime and violence. When they are not rescuing communities from the hard urban issues you can find them empowering and sponsoring young ladies in pageantry thanks to Miss NOHO Productions Inc. Amanda Lee Wasvary and Tara Rice founder of the Miss West Coast Pageant.

"We want to thank all those that helped us on this project. Fighting 4 Love is by far our the best album that we have ever made. The entire group definitely brought their A game while creating this masterpiece. Greg Leonti and Tito Rodriguez are the only producers that I like to use. Leonti brought the dance style while my childhood friend Tito Rodriguez (Snoop Dogg) brought the heavy bottoms. Both producers helped us create the anthem style of music that so many of our fans have enjoyed for years. Geoff Gibbs (The Game, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, Michael Jackson) engineered most of the music. His mix has kept our music ahead of the game for a long time to come. Big Bottom Bob Lanzner (Bob Marley, Snoop Dogg, Michael Jackson) from Technovoice Mastering put his expertise on this project.

I can not just end the credits there. Many thanks to Thump Records owner Bill Walker and former Lowrider Magazine owner Albert Lopez for bringing us in to the Walk-Low ASCAP Publishing Company. Bill Walker is organizing a National college and radio tour for our new release. He has already scheduled us for an interview on 99.1 KGGI The IE's Hottest Music with Chicano Hip Hop legend ODM from A Lighter Shade of Brown.

Album is definitely versatile with reggae, Hip Hop, dance, rock and Latin styles. This album is amazing with so many messages of hope. Songs like "Got To Believe" inspire people never to give up, "California" has a message of our California constitution, "Fighting 4 Love" has us reaching out to those that feel hopeless and so on. They all have so much meaning to us. The song "Let's Change The World" is a good one. The song is about the many doors that have opened to us but how we refuse to walk thru them unless our loved ones come with us. It truly is a real story of reconciliation with those that started with us from our beginning. I learned it from reading the bible. There was a young man named David that never left any of his men out that grew weak from the long battles. This example has taught me to reward the strong and faint hearted even in Hip Hop," announced Ornelas.

Original members are Robert "Battle Ax" Ornelas, Johnny Diaz, Lyrical Shine, DJ Siren, Krista Rocha, Lezette Garza and Robbie "Little Battle Ax" Ornelas from Anaheim. New SOG members are Esther Escobedo, Dez Lewis, Joshua Lopez, Ray Speakmoore, Hapizzez, J Biz, Arlizzy, J5, Justin DeWolfe and Big Smooth Luis Cruz.

About Dr. Robert "Battle Ax" Ornelas:
Dr. Robert Ornelas of the American Independent Party was selected by the delegates in 2012 for his support of Israel and current activism throughout the country. First time in the history of the United States that a hip-hop artist and Latino with Mexican descent ran for the office of the U.S. Vice President. It was the second time in history that a person of Native American ancestry had vied for a Vice Presidential office. He was the second after Herbert Hoover’s Vice President, Charles Curtis, to have a Native American ancestry. Dr. Robert Ornelas is the great-great-great-grandson of Chief Cristobal Osuna from a tribe in the San Diego Mountains circa the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo. Robert Ornelas was selected to appear on the June 2016, Presidential Primary Election ballot as a candidate for the AIP's presidential nomination.

Ornelas promotes clean entertainment by agreeing to be in general partnership with new television network FamplexTV. Motto states The Premiere Destination for Faith and Family.Ornelas will be working in acquisitions and marketing departments with CEO James Love and company president Earl Johnson along with company partners. FamplexTV is set to release a soft launch March 20, 2016.

Dr. Robert Ornelas partnered with Vice President of Communications for Conference Ministries International Harold Velasquez as he promotes Latin Leaders Fest. The Latin Leaders Fest is a two day conference that will take place at the Anaheim Convention Center on May 20th and 21st. Theme of conference is BE LIGHT! Workshops and presentations from evangelist Luis Palau, President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference Samuel Rodriquez Jr., Pastor Delgado founding Pastor of the Bilingual Alpha & Omega church in Miami, misic from Christine D'Clario, Nic Gonzales (Salvador) and Jaci Velasquez.

Ornelas was recently featured in producer Romane Simon's Life of Gia Movie that is gaining momentum featured in numerous film festivals around the world. He is also set to begin filming this May with producers James Love and Brandon Wayne Byrd in a comedy movie titled "I Will Be Home For Christmas," where he plays a Latino detective named Jose.

The S.O.G. Crew Upcoming Tour Schedule:
Mar 29­ - Hapizzez Speaking at Schools ­ Escondido High School, CA
Mar 30­ - Hapizzez Speaking at Schools ­ Escondido High School, CA
Mar 31 - Esther Escobedo at Chaffey High School - Ontario, CA
Apr 2­ - Battle Ax at Miss West Coast Head Shot Day ­- Santa Monica, CA
Apr 2 - Battle Ax at By His Grace Car Show - Boyle Heights, CA
Apr 7 - Esther Escobedo at Chaffey High School - Ontario, CA
Apr 9 - Dez Lewis at Camp Meeting - Parker, AZ
Apr 14­ - Battle Ax at Fort Berthold Indian Reservation ­- North Dakota
Apr 14­ - Hapizzez Speaking at Schools ­ San Pasqual High School, CA
Apr 14 - Esther Escobedo at Chaffey High School - Ontario, CA
Apr 15­ - Battle Ax at Fort Berthold Indian Reservation ­- North Dakota
Apr 15­ - Hapizzez Speaking at Schools ­ San Pasqual High School, CA
Apr 16­ - Battle Ax at Fort Berthold Indian Reservation ­- North Dakota
Apr 18­ - Hapizzez North County Media Center (PRC)- San Diego, CA
Apr 21 - Esther Escobedo at Chaffey High School - Ontario, CA
Apr 27­ - Hapizzez Speaking at Schools ­ Orange Glen High School, CA
Apr 28­ - Hapizzez Speaking at Schools ­ Orange Glen High School, CA
Apr 28 - Esther Escobedo at Chaffey High School - Ontario, CA
Apr 29 - Little Battle Axe - Tucson, AZ
Apr 30 - Little Battle Axe - Tucson, AZ
May 5 - Esther Escobedo at Chaffey High School - Ontario, CA
May 7 - Little Battle Axe - Oklahoma
May 12 - Esther Escobedo at Chaffey High School - Ontario, CA
May 14­ - Battle Ax and EliteTV News at Rock N Roll hall of Fame ­- Denver, CO
May 15­ - Battle Ax and EliteTV News at Rock N Roll hall of Fame ­- Denver, CO
May 19 - Esther Escobedo at Chaffey High School - Ontario, CA
May 20­ - Battle Ax at Anaheim Arena and Convention Center - Anaheim, CA
May 21­ - Battle Ax at Anaheim Arena and Convention Center ­- Anaheim, CA
May 26 - Esther Escobedo at Chaffey High School - Ontario, CA
June 4- Little Battle Axe - Oklahoma
June 11 - Battle Ax at Ruby Martinez Event - Pueblo, CO
Jul 15 - Jim Felix Honoring - Whiteriver, AZ
Jul 23 ­- Battle Ax at Miss West Coast Pageant Interviews
Jul 29­ - S.O.G. Crew at Heaven Fest at Bandimere Speedway ­ Morrison, CO
Jul 30­ - S.O.G. Crew at Heaven Fest at Bandimere Speedway ­ Morrison, CO
Aug 13 - Battle Ax Concert and Outreach - Oroville, CA
Oct 15 - Dez Lewis, Battle Ax and Big Smooth at Lowrider Gospel Fest - Phoenix, AZ

T-Mobile (NASDAQ: TMUS) has announced that not one, but two artists will perform at the T-Mobile Arena Opening Celebration Concert in Las Vegas. On April 7, multi-platinum, GRAMMY®-nominated artist Nicki Minaj with special guest Ariana Grande will break in the new T-Mobile Arena to officially open the stunning new venue. T-Mobile’s pulling out all the stops to give customers the VIP treatment, starting with an exclusive T-Mobile customer ticket pre-sale from 10:00 a.m. PT Friday, March 25th through Sunday March 27th. Tickets will be available to the general public starting Monday, March 28th at 10:00 a.m. PT.

"What better way to open this amazing arena than with TWO amazing artists – Nicki Minaj and Ariana Grande – and a few thousand customers and friends?” said John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile. “We un-leashed music and entertainment on your smartphone. Now, we’re taking that to the next level with T-Mobile Arena where T-Mobile customers get all the perks and can experience music and entertainment up close and in person!”

Nicki Minaj stands at the top of the pop vanguard. Her two-time platinum selling and critically lauded third full-length album, The Pinkprint, arrived at the top of both the Billboard 200 and the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts, cementing her as rap's reigning queen. To date, the global superstar has sold over 55 million singles and 5 million albums worldwide. Minaj has also been the recipient of a bevy of awards including American Music Awards, MTV VMA’s, Billboard Awards, People’s Choice Awards, BET Awards, and many others.

TRIBE CALLED QUEST MEMBERS (Q-Tip, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Jarobi White) RELEASE STATEMENT: "Our hearts are heavy. We are devastated. This is something we weren't prepared for although we all know that life is fleeting. It was no secret about his health and his fight. But the fight for his joy and happiness gave him everything he needed. The fight to keep his family happy, his soul happy and those around him happy, gave him complete and unadulterated joy... until he heeded his fathers call.

"We love his family his mother, his father, his son, his wife, his nieces, his family here in New York, Atlanta, California and Trinidad.

"Thank you for the outpouring of prayers and support from the fans, fellow artists, music outlets, blogs, radio stations, DJ's, social media and the music community at large. This too is part of his joy and means a lot to him. His family is overwhelmed by the support, well wishes and are thankful. His music and what he's contributed is seismic and hard to measure. He's affected us as much as he's affected all of you. We're inspired by his daily joy and courage. He wasn't in pain. He was happy.

"We take comfort in knowing he will be beside his grandmother."

Rapper Malik Taylor, better known to fans as Phife Dawg of the group A Tribe Called Quest, died Tuesday of complications from diabetes, according to a statement from his family and manager. He was 45.

Taylor had long suffered from health issues associated with his having Type 1 diabetes. In 2008, he underwent a kidney transplant.

"Malik was our loving husband, father, brother and friend," the statement read. "We love him dearly. How he impacted all our lives will never be forgotten. His love for music and sports was only surpassed by his love of God and family."

Born in the Jamaica area of Queens in New York City, he became childhood friends with future group mate Q-Tip. The pair met at the age of 2 in church and would eventually become a part of A Tribe Called Quest, which was formed in 1985 with classmate Ali Shaheed Muhammad.

The report revealed that recorded-music revenues rose by 0.9% last year to $7bn.
That’s estimated retail value: the amount of money people spent on physical music, downloads and streams. The wholesale value – the money flowing back to rightsholders – rose 0.8% to $4.95bn.

Another key point from the RIAA’s announcement: streaming is now the biggest chunk of US recorded-music revenues, rising from 27% in 2014 to 34% in 2015 – overtaking download sales in the process.

Streaming revenues were up 29% to $2.4bn in 2015. Download sales fell from $2.58bn in 2014 to $2.33bn in 2015 – a 9.6% decline. Meanwhile, physical sales fell by 10.1% to $1.9bn last year.

A big positive story from the figures is the growth of paid subscriptions to streaming services in the US. Revenues from streaming subscriptions rose by 52% from $800m in 2014 to $1.22bn in 2015.

“In 2015, digital music subscription services reached new all-time highs, generating more than $1bn in revenues for the first time, and averaging nearly 11 million paid subscriptions for the year,” wrote RIAA boss Cary Sherman in a blog post.

“Heading into 2016, the number of subscriptions swelled even higher-- more than 13 million by the end of December holding great promise for this year.”

There’s rounding going on here: the number of paid subscriptions in the US have risen from 3.4m in 2012 to 6.2m in 2013, 7.7m in 2014 and 10.8m in 2015, and as Sherman made clear, these are averages for the year, not year-end totals.

Other components in the US streaming sector included SoundExchange distributions – which rose from $773m in 2014 to $803m in 2015 – and income from on-demand ad-supported streams, which rose from $295m to $385m.

The latter area is proving controversial in the US, just as it is elsewhere in the world. In fact, Sherman adopted the same language as IFPI boss Frances Moore in lamenting the “value gap” between ad-funded streaming consumption, and the revenues flowing back to rightsholders and musicians. Source: RIAA

Farewell to Radio:

Today I am bidding farewell to a major part of my career. A role that gained me entry into the music business and has garnered so many relationships that have turned into friendships. Today, I am hanging up my radio hat and walking away from my syndicated radio show. During my 15 years as a radio DJ, I have been the proud recipient of many awards, from syndicated radio DJ of the year to East Coast DJ of the year, to the big one which was the overall, "Radio DJ of the Year".

I've interviewed everyone from Jay-Z, Kanye West, T.I., Samuel L. Jackson, Brad Pitt, and Janet Jackson. I was the reason Shade 45 on Sirius/XM had to install curtains to their on air studio so no one was offended by my antics and guests during my years on the station. To my early beginnings, fooling the industry into thinking that I had a successful online radio show which got everyone from Eminem, Common, Wu-Tang, and Cam'ron to my moms basement back in Boston. If it wasn't for being on radio, I would have never met The Clipse and we would have never created the "We Got It For Cheap" mixtape series which was named by Rolling Stone magazine as a top 50 album of the year. I would have never met my buddies Tommy Lee, Tyrese, Kardinal Offishall & Talib Kweli. I would have never been able to make the lifelong friendships with fellow DJ's around the world who I still maintain friendships with now. I wouldn't have become an official Ciroc boy for the past 6 years, toured as Diddy's DJ, and my voice certainly wouldn't have been heard every week by millions from Sydney to Belgium, Brazil to my hometown of Boston, Mass from my days on Hot 97.7 to Jamn 94.5. Where I up until this letter, was on air every weekend.

There are so many people to thank and acknowledge who have helped me or played a major role in my radio career that I would need to write a book but two people who really have been paramount in believing in me from the beginning was Reggie Beasley, who was the first person to really recognize my talent and bring me on full time and give me my own weekly radio show. To Victor Starr, who also believed and supported me by not just giving me a weekly show in Connecticut, but also giving me another weekly show in Baltimore, even when I didn't stick to playlists and constantly broke the rules. I actually think that's what Victor liked most about me. Haha. I also could not have done the show without my great friend and producer, DJ BK.

A lot of people don't know this but it was a lot of work and sacrifice to build what I did. I was the only DJ to be on four stations in four different cities LIVE every week. I was live Monday and Tuesday in Boston. Wednesday I would drive 4 hours to New York to do Shade 45 on Sirius/XM live from 8-midnight, then drive 4 hours home. Thursday I would do Boston radio live. Friday, I would drive 2 hours to Hartford, CT to do radio from 5-9pm and then again midnight-3am & then drive home 2 hours to Boston so that I could catch my Saturday morning flight to Baltimore to do my show on 92Q Saturday nights 7-10pm. I did this every week for years & I did it all with my own dime because I knew, or at least hoped, that doing this would help me build my relationships to move on to produce records for everyone from Pitbull, Beyoncé, Rick Ross, Ludacris to Lady Gaga ANNNNNNND it worked.

As sad as I am to leave this part of my life behind me, I am equally if not more excited about the next chapter. THANK YOU to all the stations that carried my show to all the DJ's that supported me and welcomed me to their station. All the radio reps from record labels that believed in me & supported me. Most importantly, ALL the LISTENERS AND SUPPORTERS, I am so incredibly grateful and honored to have been apart of your life. I can only hope I introduced you to some great music or made you laugh and I am truly appreciative that you decided to GET FAMILIAR!

The third annual iHeartRadio Music Awards will be hosted by Jason Derulo on Sunday, April 3, bringing the music of the iHeartRadio app to life at the historic fabulous Forum in Los Angeles. The event will air live on TBS, TNT and truTV at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and will broadcast on iHeartMedia stations nationwide, as well as on the iHeartRadio digital music platform.

The 2016 telecast will feature today’s biggest artists and songs with live performances by Zayn, Chris Brown, DNCE, Fetty Wap and Demi Lovato who were added to the list of already announced performers including Justin Bieber and Meghan Trainor, with more to come. The telecast will also feature first-time duets and collaborations, celebrity guest appearances, live award presentations, and exclusive can’t-miss special performances by Pitbull and Maroon 5 that will be simulcast from the Capital One JamFest, which is part of the March Madness Music Festival taking place in Houston, TX. This is the first year for the Turner networks to simulcast the event, which is scheduled to take place on Sunday, April 3, the night between the NCAA Final Four National Semifinals and the NCAA National Championship on TBS.

“iHeartRadio has been such an important supporter of mine, and I'm thrilled and honored to be hosting this year's iHeartRadio Music Awards,” said Jason Derulo. “2015 was an incredible year for so many talented artists. It's going to be a great night of celebration and performance for music fans all across the country, and I couldn't be more excited to be a part of it.”

“Over the past four years we have seen Jason evolve into a global superstar,” said John Sykes, President of Entertainment Enterprises for iHeartMedia. “When we were choosing a host, there was no doubt in our minds that Jason was the man for the job.”

"Jason Derulo embodies all of the qualities of the perfect host for our show,” said Tom Poleman, President of iHeartMedia’s National Programming Group. “Anyone who has ever seen Jason perform knows that he has the rare ability to completely connect with his audience. Since the iHeartRadio Music Awards is about bringing fans and artists together, there is no better liaison than Jason. He is a creative and talented artist with the same passion and energy as our fans, making him the perfect bridge between the two groups.”

This year’s awards will feature a broad array of categories. Category finalists (by alphabetical order) are:

Song of the Year:

"Blank Space" - Taylor Swift
"Can't Feel My Face" - The Weeknd
"Hello" - Adele
"Shut Up and Dance" - WALK THE MOON
"Uptown Funk" - Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars

Female Artist of the Year: (New Category)

Carrie Underwood
Meghan Trainor
Selena Gomez
Taylor Swift

Male Artist of the Year: (New Category)

Ed Sheeran
Justin Bieber
Luke Bryan
Sam Smith
The Weeknd

Best New Artist:

Fetty Wap
Sam Hunt
Shawn Mendes
Tove Lo

Best Duo/Group of the Year: (New Category)

Fall Out Boy
Maroon 5
One Direction
Zac Brown Band

Album of the Year: (New Category)

1989 - Taylor Swift
25 - Adele
Beauty Behind the Madness - The Weeknd
In the Lonely Hour - Sam Smith
X - Ed Sheeran

Best Tour: (New Category)

Foo Fighters
Garth Brooks
Luke Bryan
Taylor Swift

Alternative Rock Artist of the Year: (New Category)

Foo Fighters
Twenty One Pilots
X Ambassadors

Alternative Rock Song of the Year:

"Cigarette Daydreams" - Cage The Elephant
"Ex's & Oh's" - Elle King
"Renegades" - X Ambassadors
"Shut Up and Dance" - Walk The Moon
"Stressed Out" - Twenty One Pilots

Rock Artist of the Year: (New Category)

Breaking Benjamin
Five Finger Death Punch
Foo Fighters
Three Days Grace

Rock Song of the Year: (New Category)

"Cut The Cord" - Shinedown
"Failure" - Breaking Benjamin
"Footsteps" - Pop Evil
"Heavy Is The Head" - Zac Brown Band featuring Chris Cornell
"I Am Machine" - Three Days Grace

Country Song of the Year:

"Buy Me A Boat" - Chris Janson
"Homegrown" - Zac Brown Band
"I See You" - Luke Bryan
"Lose My Mind" - Brett Eldredge
"Take Your Time" - Sam Hunt

Country Artist of the Year: (New Category)

Blake Shelton
Brad Paisley
Luke Bryan
Sam Hunt
Thomas Rhett

Dance Song of the Year:

"Hey Mama" - David Guetta featuring Nicki Minaj, Bebe Rexha & Afrojack
"Lean On" - Major Lazer & DJ Snake featuring MØ
"Waves" - Mr. Probz
"Where Are Ü Now" - Skrillex & Diplo with Justin Bieber
“You Know You Like It" - DJ Snake & AlunaGeorge

Dance Artist of the Year: (New Category)

Calvin Harris
David Guetta
Major Lazer
Skrillex & Diplo

Hip Hop Song of the Year: (New Category)

"Blessings" - Big Sean featuring Drake & Kanye West
"Flex (Ooh, Ooh, Ooh)" - Rich Homie Quan
"Hotline Bling" - Drake
"Trap Queen" - Fetty Wap
"Truffle Butter" - Nicki Minaj featuring Drake & Lil Wayne

Hip Hop Artist of the Year: (New Category)

Big Sean
Fetty Wap
J. Cole

R&B Song of the Year: (New Category)

“Bitch Better Have My Money" - Rihanna
"Earned It" - The Weeknd
"Planez" - Jeremih featuring J. Cole
"Post To Be" - Omarion featuring Chris Brown & Jhene Aiko
"The Hills" - The Weeknd

R&B Artist of the Year: (New Category)

Chris Brown
The Weeknd
Trey Songz

Latin Song of the Year: (New Category)

"Ay Vamos" - J Balvin
"El Perdón" - Nicky Jam & Enrique Iglesias
“Hilito" - Romeo Santos
"La Gozadera" - Gente De Zona featuring Marc Anthony
"Mi Verdad" - Maná featuring Shakira

Latin Artist of the Year: (New Category)

Enrique Iglesias
J Balvin
Nicky Jam
Prince Royce

Regional Mexican Song of the Year: (New Category)

"Aunque Ahora Estés Con Él" - Calibre 50
"Eres Una Niña" - Gerardo Ortiz
"Levantando Polvadera" - Voz de Mando
"Mi Vicio Más Grande" - Banda El Recodo de Cruz Lizárraga
"Te Metiste" - Ariel Camacho y Los Plebes del Rancho

Regional Mexican Artist of the Year: (New Category)

Banda Los Recoditos
Calibre 50
Gerardo Ortiz
Julión Álvarez y Su Norteño Banda
Voz De Mando

Best Lyrics: *Socially Voted Category

"Die A Happy Man" - Thomas Rhett
"Fight Song" - Rachel Platten
"Hello" - Adele
"Photograph" - Ed Sheeran
"See You Again" - Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth

Best Collaboration: *Socially Voted Category

"Bad Blood" - Taylor Swift featuring Kendrick Lamar
"Like I'm Gonna Lose You" - Meghan Trainor featuring John Legend
"See You Again" - Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth
"Uptown Funk" - Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars
"Where Are Ü Now" - Skrillex & Diplo with Justin Bieber

Best Cover Song: (New Category) *Socially Voted Category

"1989" (Album in Full) - Ryan Adams covering Taylor Swift
"Bad Blood" - Alessia Cara covering Taylor Swift
"Bitch Better Have My Money" - Kelly Clarkson covering Rihanna
"Cheerleader" - Pentatonix covering Omi
"Hands To Myself/Sorry" - Troy Sivan covering Selena Gomez And Justin Bieber
"Hello" - Demi Lovato covering Adele
"Hotline Bling" - Justin Bieber covering Drake
"Hotline Bling" - Sam Smith & Disclosure covering Drake
"Trap Queen" - Ed Sheeran covering Fetty Wap
"Uptown Funk" - Fifth Harmony, Jasmine V, Jacob Whitesides and Mahogany Lox covering Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars

Best Song from a Movie: (New Category) *Socially Voted Category

"Earned It" - The Weeknd (50 Shades of Grey)
"Love Me Like You Do" - Ellie Goulding (50 Shades of Grey)
"See You Again" - Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth (Furious 7)
"Til It Happens To You" - Lady Gaga (The Hunting Ground)
"Writing's On The Wall" - Sam Smith (Spectre)

Most Meme-able Moment: (New Category) *Socially Voted Category

Adele and all of the "Hello" memes (Lionel Richie, Miss Piggy, Etc.)
Drake and “Hotline Bling”
Katy Perry and the Left Shark (from Super Bowl 49)
Kanye West and Kanye For President / Kanye 2020
Taylor Swift's "Crazy Girl" with Running Mascara (from "Blank Space" video)

Best Fan Army presented by Taco Bell: *Socially Voted Category

5 Seconds of Summer – 5SOSFam
Adam Lambert - Glamberts
Ariana Grande - Arianators
Demi Lovato - Lovatics
Fifth Harmony - Harmonizers
Justin Bieber - Beliebers
Little Mix - Mixers
Nicki Minaj - Barbz
One Direction - Directioners
Selena Gomez - Selenators
Shawn Mendes - Mendes Army
Taylor Swift – Swifties

Biggest Triple Threat *Socially Voted Category

Hailee Steinfeld – Singer / Actor / Model
Jason Derulo - Singer / Host / Dancer
Jennifer Lopez – Singer / Actor / Dancer
Justin Timberlake – Singer / Actor / Dancer
Lady Gaga – Singer / Actor / Activist
Nick Jonas – Singer / Actor / Model
Selena Gomez – Singer / Actor / Dancer
Troye Sivan –Singer / Actor / YouTuber
Usher – Singer / Actor / Dancer
Zendaya – Singer / Actor / Dancer

Michael Jackson's estate has agreed to sell his remaining stake in the Sony/ATV Music Publishing catalog to Sony Corporation for $750 million. The lucrative deal will give Sony sole ownership of works by The Beatles, Bob Dylan and other hit making musicians, including Eminem and Taylor Swift.

Sony Corp. president and CEO Kazuo Hirai said in a statement, "This agreement further demonstrates Sony's commitment to the entertainment businesses and our firm belief that these businesses will continue to contribute to our success for years to come."

"This transaction further allows us to continue our efforts of maximizing the value of Michael's Estate for the benefit of his children," added the co-executors of Michael's estate, attorney John Branca and music executive John McClain, in a statement. "It also further validates Michael's foresight and genius in investing in music publishing."

The sale does not include rights to Michael's master recordings or songs that he wrote. The estate of the King of Pop will continue to have a stake in EMI Publishing, Inc.

Michael's estate has paid all of his massive debts through a mixture of new music and movie ventures and re-releases of his most popular music. It benefits his mother and three children, Prince Jackson, Paris Jackson and Blanket.

Michael bought the ATV portion of the catalog in 1985 for $41.5 million, before he merged it with Sony. The deal for the Sony/ATV catalog is expected to close by the end of March.

Kendrick Lamar’s surprise Untitled Unmastered project debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, earning 178,000 equivalent album units in the week ending March 10, according to Nielsen Music. Of that sum, 142,000 were in pure album sales.

The set was released without advance notice on March 4 and gives Lamar his second chart-topping set in less than a year, following To Pimp a Butterfly. The latter (his first No. 1) was released on March 16, 2015, and bowed atop the list with 363,000 equivalent album units in its first week, of which 324,000 were in pure album sales.

The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week in the U.S. based on multi-metric consumption, which includes traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). The new March 26-dated chart (where Lamar is No. 1) will be posted in full to Billboard’s websites on Tuesday, March 15.

Lamar is the third act since January 2015 to notch two No. 1s in less than 12 months time, following Drake and Future. Source: Billboard

After a string of independent mixtape releases on the heels of Odd Future's explosion onto the scene, Domo Genesis is back to announce the release of his debut album. An instrumental member of Odd Future, his early projects like Rolling Papers and Under The Influence helped cement the group's hold on the rap world and solidified Domo as one of the its best pure lyricists early on.

Genesis, his debut full-length for Odd Future Records and set for release on March 25th, solidifies that role for Domo. The album, which boasts features from Tyler, the Creator, Mac Miller, Wiz Khalifa, Juicy J, Anderson .Paak and more, is more sonically adventurous than anything Domo has released to date. For evidence of this, check out the lead single, "Dapper" featuring Anderson .Paak. LISTEN HERE

Tour Dates
03/16 Austin, TX - House of Vans @ Mohawk (10:30 PM)
03/17 Austin, TX - ICM @ Mohawk (11:00 PM)
03/18 Austin, TX - Cannabis Conference Expo @ Emo's (10:00 PM)
03/26 Los Angeles, CA - The Lyric (Genesis record release show)

Domo Genesis / Genesis (Odd Future Records)
out 3/25/16

1. Awkward Groove [prod. by Mike & Keys]
2. One Below [prod. by Sha Money XL]
3. Wanderer (feat. Tay Walker) [prod. by Cam O'bi]
4. Questions (feat. Da$h and Kendra Foster) [prod. by Maffyuu]
5. My Own (feat. JMSN) [prod. by Christian Rich]
6. Go (Gas) (feat. Wiz Khalifa, Juicy J, & Tyler, The Creator) [prod. by Tyler, The Creator]
7. Coming Back (feat. Mac Miller) [prod. by Sap]
8. Faded In The Moment (feat. Cam O'bi) [prod. by Cam O'Bi]
9. Dapper (feat. Anderson .Paak) [prod. by Garcia Bros]
10. Brotha [prod. by Drewbyrd & Kintaro]
11. All Night (feat. King Chip) [prod. by Left Brain]
12. Lost and Found [prod. by Steely Wonderbread]

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony rapper Krayzie Bone was forced to postpone his tour because he's battling the same disease and flu like symptoms that killed comedian Bernie Mac.

Krayzie told TMZ he suffers from sarcoidosis, an autoimmune disease that attacks the lungs. He thinks he came down with an intense case of pneumonia during a Canadian tour because his sarcoidosis meds weaken his immune system.

His doctors didn't want to take any chances, so they ordered Krayzie to cancel the rest of his gigs and head back to L.A. for treatment. The rapper expects to make up the missed shows once he recovers. Source: TMZ

Roc Nation has signed an exclusive, worldwide management deal with Puerto Rican star Yandel. The deal will encompass all aspects of Yandel’s career, including sponsorships. Yandel’s longtime manager, Andy Martinez, will continue to work with him in partnership with Roc Nation.

“It’s been three years of hard work to get to this point,” said Yandel, who rose to fame as one half of Wisin & Yandel, the top-selling reggaeton duo of all time. “Roc Nation has an army. I’m happy because this is what I needed. I have the music, but they have the muscle.”

For both Wisin and Yandel (real name Llandel Veguilla Malavé), staying a duo would have been the easy way out. The duo was huge and regularly playing arenas when they split amicably in 2013. Since then, both have worked to develop their solo careers.

For Yandel, who is signed to Sony Music Latin, it’s meant a series of small steps. Although his two solo albums, last year’s Dangerous and 2013's De Lider a Leyenda, have debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Latin Albums chart, his solo tours began in clubs. Last year, however, he had a series of high-profile opportunities, including an HBO special and a performance prior to the Pay Per View fight between boxers Miguel Cotto and Canelo Alvarez in Las Vegas.

It was Cotto, who is also signed to Roc Nation, who took Yandel to the company. Yandel would be the first Latin artist besides Shakira to sign to Roc Nation.

“Honestly, I wasn’t looking for this,” said Yandel. “It came out of the blue. I really want my music to go mainstream,” says Yandel, who’s taking English lessons. “Latin is huge now, but I want another movement.” Source: Billboard

Kendrick Lamar is the latest musician to release a surprise album, as his newest collection dropped Thursday night. The compilation of tracks is named untitled unmastered., which is a fairly self-explanatory titled. Information about the record first appeared on Spotify last night, and it was soon released on all digital music retailers.

untitled unmastered. collects eight songs from the critically-acclaimed rapper, including songs he performed over the past year-and-a-half on The Colbert Report and The Tonight Show, as well as an unreleased verse from his Grammy performance last month. All eight songs are simply called "untitled" then a number and a date, with the majority appearing to come from 2014. Lamar won five Grammys in February, including Best Rap Album for 2015's To Pimp a Butterfly.

ColleGrove, the collaboration of 2 Chainz and Lil Wayne, has released their debut, self-titled album on Def Jam Recordings. The album is available with all digital and streaming partners and will be available for physical purchase on March 25.

For weeks Atlanta's multi-platinum and Grammy®-nominated, 2 Chainz, and New Orleans' multi-platinum, 4-time Grammy®-winner Lil Wayne have been using social media to tease their fans about ColleGrove. Buzz heated up when Felt Like Cappin, Chainz's most recent mixtape (released in January), included the track "Back On the Bullshyt" featuring Lil Wayne and in February when ColleGrove took the stage at NBC's The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon for their debut performance of the track "Rolls Royce Weather Every Day." This past Wednesday, Kanye West revealed the album art shot by Jonathan Mannion on Twitter along with the March 4 release date.

Fans have waiting for a collaborative album like this to happen from the hip hop juggernauts since 2007, when Lil Wayne showed up as a feature on the street classic "Duffle Bag Boy" by Playaz Circle (Chainz' original group). The single hit #2 on the Billboard Rap chart, Top 5 R&B, and Top 15 on the Hot 100. Other collaborations over the years between 2 Chainz and Lil Wayne include the RIAA certified platinum tracks "Rich As Fuck" and Juicy J's strip club anthem "Bandz a Make Her Dance."

Yo Gotti earns his first No. 1 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (chart dated March 12) with his latest set, The Art of Hustle, selling 45,000 copies in the week ending Feb. 25, according to Nielsen Music. The arrival marks his ninth charting set since 2003. The album’s hit single, “Down in the DM” featuring Nicki Minaj, continues to crown Rap Airplay for a third week, while reaching a new peak on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, hopping 5-3.

Streaming of the track peaks with a new high of 11.9 million weekly streams in the U.S. during the week, also aiding in a 18-13 jump on the Billboard Hot 100. Hustle starts at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 with 61,000 equivalent album units. Source: Billboard

Today Domo announced that three-time Grammy Award-winning rapper, actor and entrepreneur Tip "T.I." Harris will perform at Domopalooza™ 2016. As a pioneer of hip hop subgenre trap, Tip has brought Southern rap to mainstream audiences for nearly two decades, with seven of his nine studio albums reaching the top five on Billboard's charts. His tenth album, "The Dime Trap," is expected for release later this year on his label Grand Hustle Records.

Along with releasing "Dime Trap," Tip will also star in History's "Roots" remake (May) and have a featured role in "Sleepless Night" starring Jamie Foxx and Gabrielle Union. Also, the winter collections of his two clothing lines, Hustle Gang and Akoo, are currently in stores and the sixth season of his hit VH1 Show "T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle," is set to air in the spring.

"To complement our world-class lineup of speakers that will inspire Domopalooza attendees, we're looking forward to entertainment from a lineup of high-energy performers," said Josh James, founder and CEO of Domo. "Domopalooza 2016 is guaranteed to be a one-of-a-kind learning and networking experience, and our musical entertainment will bring its own brand of energy to the stage."

Nelly and Flo Rida will also perform after hours during Domopalooza's three days of education, training and networking activities. Domo's lineup of inspiring speakers, includes NBA Hall of Fame athlete and prolific entrepreneur, Earvin "Magic" Johnson, as well as General Stanley McChrystal, best-selling author and former commander of the nation's premier military counter-terrorism force, Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). Both will share their insights on leveraging data to make decisions that improve organizational performance. Domopalooza, Domo's annual customer event, is designed to educate, inform and inspire Domo's fast-growing community of users from the world's most progressive organizations and most recognizable brands. Now in its second year, it is being held March 21-23 in Salt Lake City.

Domo is a cloud-based business management platform that transforms the way business is run. Domo gives CEOs and decision makers across the organization the confidence to make faster, more effective decisions and improve business results by giving them one place to easily access all the information they need.

Other T.I. News: T.I. Signs Distribution Deal With Roc Nation, Becomes Latest Co-Owner of Tidal.
After leaving the major-label system following the release of his ninth studio album Paperwork in October 2014 via Columbia, T.I. has finally found a new home under Jay Z's wing. Ahead of his pop-up performance at Greenbriar Mall in his hometown of Atlanta on Monday night (Feb. 22), Tip announced he has signed a distribution deal with Roc Nation for his upcoming album, Dime Trap, and joins the growing list of artists who are co-owners of Tidal. Dime Trap will be T.I.'s first album released without a major label, though Roc Nation is itself distributed through Universal Music Group.

On Friday afternoon, about 300 students packed out a large New York University assembly hall to hear Joey Bada$$ launch his "long and fruitful career as a lecturer." One week later he will be speaking at Harvard, at the invitation of the university's Black Men's Forum.

At NYU, The 21-year-old hip hop artist and entrepreneur spoke to the students about his career that began at early the age of 15, sharing many invaluable lessons that he has learned along the way.In addition to giving history and context to Pro Era, the hip hop collective that he co-founded, Joey touched on his experiences as a young Black man trying to navigate the music industry while remaining independent and staying true to himself. He also gave the audience a taste of a new song. To close, Joey suggested that he looks to act in television and film this year as well as getting behind the camera. Following his lecture, Joey participated in a Q+A with the students, many of whom were aspiring artists seeking advice.

In addition to the lecture series, 2016 has already seen Joey featured in Calvin Klein's international Spring 2016 campaign alongside the likes of Justin Bieber, Kendrick Lamar, Kendall Jenner, and FKA Twigs. He was also listed among Forbes' Hip-Hop Cash Princes and featured by Vogue Magazine during this month's New York Fashion Week. With Coachella and Governor's Ball performances coming shortly, 2016 is shaping up to be a banner year for the Brookly denizen. Joey is currently recording the follow up to his debut album, B4.DA.$$, which is in stores now.

Universal Music Group has announced that Billboard magazine named its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Lucian Grainge as No. 1 on its list of the 100 most powerful people in the global music industry.

Grainge is the only executive to appear at No. 1 on the Billboard ranking three times – 2013, 2015 and 2016 – and he is the first to hold that rank for consecutive years.

In addition to building on the company's exceptional track record of developing and breaking new artists, Billboard this year also cited Grainge's entrepreneurial strategy behind the company's expansion into technology, branding and film to produce new creative and commercial opportunities for artists and labels.

"This is an enormous honor and a recognition of the work of our entire Universal Music team, many of whom are also individually recognized on the Power 100 list," Grainge said. "True power originates with the artist and their creativity, and it's amplified by the dedication and passion of our employees around the world. And as much as we've accomplished so far, we have truly only just begun. We remain focused on leading the industry into an exciting new future and we're committed to a vibrant music ecosystem that's in the mutual interest of all participants."

Additional UMG executives and partners selected by Billboard include Executive Vice President Michele Anthony, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President Boyd Muir, Republic Records Chairman and CEO Monte Lipman, Republic Records President and Chief Operating Officer Avery Lipman, Capitol Music Group Chairman and CEO Steve Barnett, Universal Music Publishing Group Chairman and CEO Jody Gerson, Big Machine Label Group President and CEO Scott Borchetta, Interscope Geffen A&M Records Chairman and CEO John Janick, Universal Music Group Nashville Chairman and CEO Mike Dungan, Def Jam CEO Steve Bartels and Island Records President David Massey.

Billboard also recognized General Counsel and Executive Vice President of Business and Legal Affairs Jeffrey Harleston, Executive Vice President of Digital Strategy Michael Nash, Republic Group President Charlie Walk, Universal Music Latin America and Iberian Peninsula Chairman and CEO Jesús Lopez, Glassnote Entertainment Group President Daniel Glass, Interscope Geffen A&M Records Vice Chairman Steve Berman and Capitol Music Group COO Michelle Jubelirer.

During 2015, Universal Music distributed six of the top 10 artists worldwide, according to the IFPI, including Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Maroon 5, Sam Smith, Drake and The Weeknd. UMG finished the year with an industry-leading 38.4% share of the U.S. market, per Nielsen SoundScan.

VH1 is moving full steam ahead with The Breaks. The Viacom-owned cable network has picked up the hip-hop drama to series, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

The drama, which started out as a TV movie/back-door pilot, is based on Dan Charnas' best-selling book The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop. The book is considered one of the most comprehensive accounts of the history and business of hip-hop. Charnas documented the rise of the genre as a writer for The Source, the first rap magazine, and is a former record executive. His book spans 40 years of stories and was culled from more than 300 interviews with execs, entrepreneurs, hustlers and handlers.

The Breaks aired in January and currently ranks as the No. 2 cable original movie of the year among adults 18-49, 18-34 and women in both demos. The January premiere and immediate encore collected a combined 2.6 million total viewers, propelling VH1 to a 42 percent gain among adults under 50 in January.

Wood Harris (The Wire), Mack (Tristan) Wilds (90210), Afton Williamson (Banshee), David Call (Gossip Girl), Antoine Harris (Ballers) and Method Man starred in the TV movie. Most are expected to return for the series. An episode count has not yet been determined. The Breaks was written, directed and executive produced by Seith Mann (The Wire), with Mann and Charnas contributing the story; DJ Premier composed the score and served as executive music producer. Bill Flanagan exec produced and Maggie Malina oversees for VH1.

The Breaks chronicles the journey of Nikki, David and DeeVee, three friends united by their love of hip-hop, as they work to make their big mark in the music industry. The film started in summer 1990 in New York, where the music industry’s artists and hustlers intersect in the dance clubs and the street corners of the still crime-ridden city. But they will all soon discover lives can be broken as fast as legends can be born.

“The Breaks’ is VH1 at its best, intersecting '90s nostalgia with hip-hop for the masses,” VH1 GM Chris McCarthy said. “Both the viewers and critics have spoken, and we couldn’t be happier to continue telling the story that has already connected with millions of pop culture fans.”

For VH1, The Breaks marks its latest foray into scripted originals. The cable network has scripted drama Hit the Floor in its third season and reality TV parody Barely Famous set for its second run later this year. The cabler last year reversed course on a second season of critical darling Hindsight, scrapping the series completely in a fiscal play.

The Breaks series order comes as hip-hop continues to be a hot genre in the scripted and unscripted arena on the small screen. Fox has mega-hit Empire; Starz has the similarly themed Power, from EP 50 Cent; and Netflix will unspool Baz Luhrmann's 1970s hip-hop drama The Get Down this year. Last week, Apple entered the space with Vital Signs, a scripted series starring Dr. Dre; WE tv has docuseries Growing Up Hip Hop, featuring the aspiring offspring of music legends including Russell Simmons; and Empire music producer Timbaland is prepping a hip-hop docuseries. On the film side, Straight Outta Compton was a hit last year, and the Empire writers are penning a movie about Sugar Hill Records' Sylvia Robinson, aka the "mother of hip-hop." Source: Hollywood Reporter

Scarface has taken his critically-acclaimed 12th studio album, Deeply Rooted, on the road, bringing material from his 2015 release to fans across the country which started Thursday, February 11th. The "Icon Tour" kicked off in Tulsa, OK and will run through 38 cities, wrapping up in the rapper's hometown of Houston, TX on Friday, April 1st. (Full tour dates below).

Following a seven-year hiatus, Scarface made a triumphant return to music last summer, with Deeply Rooted debuting on five charts. Upon its release, the CD was a Top 20-selling CD in the country debuting at the #11 position on the "Billboard 200." "There's no need for Deeply Rooted to make up for seven years of lost time because Scarface's legacy is secure," said Brandon Caldwell of the Houston Press upon the project's release. "But my God does it feel epic at every turn." It was the Top 10-selling digital release in the country landing at the #10 position on Billboard's "Digital Albums" chart. The CD also graced Top 5 positions on Billboard's "Independent Albums (#3)," "Rap Albums" (#2) and the "Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums" charts (#3).

Icon Tour Dates

Feb 11 Tulsa, OK The Shrine
Feb 12 Dallas, TX Trees
Feb 13 Oklahoma City, OK OKC Farmers Market
Feb 15 El Paso, TX Club 301
Feb 16 Tucson, AZ Club 4th Ave
Feb 17 San Diego, CA La Luz Ultra Lounge
Feb 18 Los Angeles, CA Los Globos
Feb 19 San Francisco, CA Mezzanine
Feb 21 Sacramento, CA Harlows
Feb 23 Seattle, WA Nectar Lounge
Feb 24 Portland, OR Hawthorne Theater
Feb 25 Bozeman, MT Cat's Paw
Feb 26 Salt Lake City, UT Liquid Joe's
Feb 27 Colorado Springs, CO Sick Puppy Saloon
Feb 28 Denver, CO Roxy Theater

Mar 2 Louisville, KY Coles Place
Mar 3 Des Moines, IA Val Air Ballroom
Mar 4 Lincoln, NE Bourbon Theater
Mar 5 Chicago, IL Portage Theater
Mar 6 Sauget, IL Pops
Mar 9 Indianapolis, IN Vogue
Mar 10 Fort Wayne, IN Leverage
Mar 11 Columbus, OH Skully's
Mar 12 Lansing, MI Fahrenheit Live
Mar 13 Cleveland, OH Grog Shop
Mar 15 Cincinnati, OH Celebrities
Mar 17 Barre, VT Barre Opera House
Mar 18 Manchester, NH Shaskeen
Mar 19 Cambridge, MA Middle East
Mar 20 Hagerstown, MD Hard Times
Mar 21 Washington, DC Tropicalia
Mar 22 Philadelphia, PA Theatre of Living Arts
Mar 23 Virginia Beach, VA Shakas
Mar 24 Asheville, NC New Mountain
Mar 25 Augusta, GA Sky City
Mar 26 Columbia, SC Music Farm
Mar 29 Murfreesboro, TN Tempt
Mar 30 Huntsville, AL Club Rush

April 1 Houston, TX Koko Nightclub

Bunker Hill Community College celebrated Black History Month with Dark Matter: An Afternoon of Science and Stories with GZA a.k.a. "The Genius," founding member of Wu-Tang Clan, hip hop artist and science educator. GZA is co-founder of the Science Genius program, which engages high school students in science through hip hop.

"You can use the scientific method to approach any challenge," GZA told the audience. "You try something, you experiment, and you draw a conclusion." He described himself as a science enthusiast—not a scientist—and recommended science as a way of understanding oneself. "Everything is connected," he said, pointing out that sound is vibration and every being emits vibrational music. His forthcoming album, "Dark Matter," brings science and music together. "Maybe it will influence the gravitational direction of hip hop," he joked.

GZA, who rapped several scientific concepts along with his story of growing up in New York and developing an early interest in science, drew an enthusiastic response from the audience. Students peppered him with questions and then stood in a lengthy line to get his autograph.

Earlier in the day the hip hop celebrity visited Dr. Belinda Kadambi's Introduction to Biotechnology class and chatted with students about DNA models they were constructing. He also attended a luncheon with students and others prepared by Culinary Arts majors in the College's dining room.

The Science Genius program grew out of GZA's collaboration with Dr. Chris Emdin of Columbia University's Teachers College. As part of the Science Genius B.A.T.T.L.E.S. initiative, GZA visits high schools, where students battle each other with science raps they write.

GZA's day-long visit was the centerpiece of eight events at BHCC in February celebrating Black History Month.

DMX was found unresponsive and not breathing in Yonkers, New York on Monday (Feb. 8). According to TMZ, police officers responded to a call about an unconscious male at a Ramada Inn around 6 p.m. When cops arrived, they found DMX on the ground in the parking lot. He reportedly had no pulse, but police officers managed to get the “Party Up” rapper breathing again after a minute of CPR.

The cause of the collapse is unclear. A witness told police that X ingested a powder before falling. While signs point to a drug overdose, family members claim it was an asthma attack.

The 45-year-old, who’s been open about addiction struggles in the past, also denies taking drugs before the incident. He claims breathing issues followed a bout with bronchitis. DMX remains in the hospital and appears to be in stable condition.

iHeartMedia and Turner announced today the finalists for the 2016 iHeartRadio Music Awards on Sunday, April 3 at the historic Forum in Los Angeles. The event will be televised live on TBS, TNT and truTV at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and will be simulcast on iHeartMedia stations nationwide, as well as on the iHeartRadio digital music platform.

This year, the iHeartRadio Music Awards will feature 31 categories, including new awards for "Best Tour," "Best Duo/Group of the Year" and "Latin Song of the Year," as well as individual awards for "Artist of the Year" in music’s biggest genres. Taylor Swift leads nominees with eight nominations and will vie for the first “Female Artist of the Year” award, while The Weeknd received seven nominations, including in the inaugural “Male Artist of the Year” category. Swift and the Weeknd will go head-to-head in the coveted “Song of the Year” and first-ever “Album of the Year” categories. Other artists who have received multiple nominations include Adele, Drake, Justin Bieber, Ed Sheeran, Luke Bryan and Sam Smith. All nominations are listed below.

“Because the iHeartRadio Music Awards are a celebration of all things music, it’s extremely fitting that we expand the categories this year to recognize even more of today’s biggest artists across every genre,” said Tom Poleman, President of iHeartMedia’s National Programming Group. “It’s going to be an unforgettable night and a true representation of the country’s favorite artists and music.”

The 2015 iHeartRadio Music Awards was the No. 1 rated show on the broadcast networks among adults 18-49 and captured the attention of Twitter users worldwide, securing the No. 7 spot on Twitter's Top Music Trending List of 2015 with #iHeartAwards. The event generated more than 14 billion social media impressions throughout the promotional period of the show, nearly 75 percent more than the 2014 iHeartRadio Music Award’s 8.5 billion and almost triple that of the Academy Awards. The iHeartRadio Music Awards was also one of the first ever to engage fans through live behind-the-scenes Twitter Periscope broadcasts.

Song of the Year:

"Blank Space" - Taylor Swift
"Can't Feel My Face" - The Weeknd
"Hello" - Adele
"Shut Up and Dance" - Walk The Moon
"Uptown Funk" - Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars

Female Artist of the Year: (New Category)

Carrie Underwood
Meghan Trainor
Selena Gomez
Taylor Swift

Male Artist of the Year: (New Category)

Ed Sheeran
Justin Bieber
Luke Bryan
Sam Smith
The Weeknd

Best New Artist:

Fetty Wap
Sam Hunt
Shawn Mendes
Tove Lo

Best Duo/Group of the Year: (New Category)

Fall Out Boy
Maroon 5
One Direction
Walk The Moon
Zac Brown Band

Album of the Year: (New Category)

1989 - Taylor Swift
25 - Adele
Beauty Behind the Madness - The Weeknd
In the Lonely Hour - Sam Smith
X - Ed Sheeran

Hip Hop Song of the Year: (New Category)

"Blessings" - Big Sean featuring Drake & Kanye West
"Flex (Ooh, Ooh, Ooh)" - Rich Homie Quan
"Hotline Bling" - Drake
"Trap Queen" - Fetty Wap
"Truffle Butter" - Nicki Minaj featuring Drake & Lil Wayne

Hip Hop Artist of the Year: (New Category)

Big Sean
Fetty Wap
J. Cole

R&B Song of the Year: (New Category)

“Bitch Better Have My Money" - Rihanna
"Earned It" - The Weeknd
"Planes" - Jeremih featuring J. Cole
"Post To Be" - Omarion featuring Chris Brown & Jhene Aiko
"The Hills" - The Weeknd

R&B Artist of the Year: (New Category)

Chris Brown
The Weeknd
Trey Songz

Latin Song of the Year: (New Category)

"Ay Vamos" - J Balvin
"El Perdón" - Nicky Jam & Enrique Iglesias
“Hilito" - Romeo Santos
"La Gozadera" - Gente De Zona featuring Marc Anthony
"Mi Verdad" - Maná featuring Shakira

Latin Artist of the Year: (New Category)

Enrique Iglesias
J Balvin
Nicky Jam
Prince Royce

Best Lyrics: *Socially Voted Category

"Die A Happy Man" - Thomas Rhett
"Fight Song" - Rachel Platten
"Hello" - Adele
"Photograph" - Ed Sheeran
"See You Again" - Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth

Best Collaboration: *Socially Voted Category

"Bad Blood" - Taylor Swift featuring Kendrick Lamar
"Like I'm Gonna Lose You" - Meghan Trainor featuring John Legend
"See You Again" - Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth
"Uptown Funk" - Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars
"Where Are Ü Now?" - Skrillex & Diplo with Justin Bieber

Best Cover Song: (New Category) *Socially Voted Category

"1989" (Album in Full) - Ryan Adams covering Taylor Swift
"Bad Blood" - Alessia Cara covering Taylor Swift
"Bitch Better Have My Money" - Kelly Clarkson covering Rihanna
"Cheerleader" - Pentatonix covering Omi
"Hands To Myself/Sorry" - Troy Sivan covering Selena Gomez And Justin Bieber
"Hello" - Demi Lovato covering Adele
"Hotline Bling" - Justin Bieber covering Drake
"Hotline Bling" - Sam Smith & Disclosure covering Drake
"Trap Queen" - Ed Sheeran covering Fetty Wap
"Uptown Funk" - Fifth Harmony, Jasmine V, Jacob Whitesides and Mahogany Lox covering Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars

Best Song from a Movie: (New Category) *Socially Voted Category

"Earned It" - The Weeknd (50 Shades of Grey)
"Love Me Like You Do" - Ellie Goulding (50 Shades of Grey)
"See You Again" - Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth (Furious 7)
"Til It Happens To You" - Lady Gaga (The Hunting Ground)
"Writing's On The Wall" - Sam Smith (Spectre)

Most Meme-able Moment: (New Category) *Socially Voted Category

Adele and all of the "Hello" memes (Lionel Richie, Miss Piggy, Etc.)
Drake and “Hotline Bling”
Katy Perry and the Left Shark (from Super Bowl 49)
Kanye West and Kanye For President / Kanye 2020
Taylor Swift's "Crazy Girl" with Running Mascara (from "Blank Space" video)

Best Fan Army: *Socially Voted Category

5 Seconds of Summer – 5SOSFam
Adam Lambert - Glamberts
Ariana Grande - Arianators
Demi Lovato - Lovatics
Fifth Harmony - Harmonizers
Justin Bieber - Beliebers
Little Mix - Mixers
Nicki Minaj - Barbz
One Direction - Directioners
Selena Gomez - Selenators
Shawn Mendes - Mendes Army
Taylor Swift - Swifties

Beyonce announced The Formation World Tour following her appearance during SuperBowl 50. The tour, promoted by Live Nation, presented by American Express and produced by Parkwood Entertainment, will kick off in North America on April 27 in Miami, Fla. at Marlins Park with 21 additional stadium dates lined up throughout the country including New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Toronto, Philadelphia, Dallas and more. The European leg of the World Tour will start on June 28 in Sunderland, United Kingdom at Stadium of Light. Additional European stadium dates include London, Manchester, Zurich, Amsterdam, Paris, Milan, Stockholm, Frankfurt and more. A full list of tour dates and venues is below.

True to her life's work of always giving back, fans will be given the opportunity to participate in Beyoncé's #BeyGOOD initiative supporting local United Way programs and the continued work surrounding the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. United Way of Genesee County has been at the forefront of distributing thousands of filtration pitchers, faucet mount filters, replacement cartridges and truckloads of water to underserved populations to address immediate needs in Flint Michigan. They are also partnering with the Community Foundation of Greater Flint to create a fund that will address long-term developmental, education, nutrition and health needs of the children affected by the Flint Water Crisis.

As Beyoncé wants to present her fans with the best possible experience at the concerts, she has joined forces with THX® Ltd to provide the highest quality audio experience during the Tour. THX has assessed, optimized and certified that the acoustic systems used at the concerts are without peer. With this association, concert-goers will get the best acoustic experience possible at any large-venue event.

The Tour is Beyonce's first solo tour since her ambitious Mrs. Carter Show World Tour in 2013. The sold-out tour spanning two years and five continents thrilled nearly two million fans and was hailed by critics worldwide. During the summer of 2014, BEYONCÉ and JAY Z launched the six-week ON THE RUN Tour, playing major stadiums in the US. They ended the tour in Paris, France in September 2014 with two additional dates that were filmed for an HBO Special that was nominated for an Emmy Award.

Producer, artist and longtime music executive Jermaine Dupri has signed with CAA in all areas. The Grammy winner, who launched So So Def Recordings in 1993, has collaborated with such artists as Usher, Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson, Jay Z, Nelly, Ludacris, TLC and Diddy, among others. A DJ (one of the first in hip hop to hold a five-year residency at Wynn Las Vegas), songwriter and published author (his biography, Young, Rich, and Dangerous: The Making of a Music Mogul, was released in 2007), Dupri is also known for having dated Jackson in the 2000s and hiring Justin Bieber manager Scooter Braun to run marketing at So So Def in 2001.

Beyond music, Dupri holds an executive producer title on Lifetime’s unscripted series The Rap Game, along with Queen Latifah, and stars on the show, serving as a mentor to the contestants. Next up: Dupri will star in BET Network’s docu-series Music Moguls with Snoop Dogg, Cash Money's Birdman and Damon Dash.

Creative Artists Agency is an American talent and sports agency headquartered in Los Angeles, California.

The Legendary Slum Village are heading to Europe in February along with a special set from Blaq RoyalT (Young RJ's forthcoming solo project)

Tour Dates:
Feb 9 Bristol, UK Colston Hall
Feb 11 Newcastle, UK Hoochie Coochie
Feb 12 London, UK Brooklyn Bowl
Feb 14 Moscow, Russia Science & Art
Feb 17 Nantes, France Le Ferrailleur
Feb 18 Liege, Belgium Reflektor
Feb 19 Vienna, Austria Porgy & Bess
Feb 20 Dublin, Ireland Sugar Club
Feb 25 Rome, Italy TBA
Feb 26 Milan, Italy Biko
Feb 27 Biel, Switzerland La Coupole
Feb 28 Paris, France Divan Du Monde

BMG has promoted Zach Katz to head up its U.S. music publishing operations. Katz, based in Los Angeles, was previously the company's Chief Creative Officer. Katz will be reporting to Laurent Hubert, BMG president of creative and marketing.

In his new position as president of music publishing in the U.S., Katz will lead the creative teams across the company's three U.S. offices in Los Angeles, New York and Nashville.

"Zach is an exceptional leader whose track record for identifying and nurturing talent is second to none," Hubert says in a statement. "He truly understands the power of a song and works tirelessly to promote BMG's songwriters and bring out the best in them. BMG has reached new heights in the U.S. on Zach's watch and our current chart success speaks for itself."

Prior to joining BMG, Katz co-founded indie record label Beluga Heights with his client/partner J.R. Rotem; worked closely with Dr. Dre's Aftermath Entertainment; and served as GM of Groove Attack USA, according to the announcement. He began his career in 1996 as a music attorney. Source: Billboard

Rita Ora sued Jay-Z's Roc Nation back in December, claiming that the label neglected her and demanding to be released from her contract. The company has now responded by countersuing the British singer for $2.4 million.

Ora was signed to Roc Nation in 2008 when she was an "unknown" singer. She was supposed to deliver 5 albums under the label, but she has so far dropped only one, 2012's "Ora". She had recorded new material for a follow-up record, but the label hadn't released it yet as they continued to focus on their sports division, said Ora in her suit.

Contrary to her claims, Roc Nation states in their own suit that they've invested more than $2 million to promote her second album. "[Roc Nation] has tirelessly promoted [her] career, investing millions of dollars in marketing, recording and other costs, which was instrumental in guiding Ms. Ora to her current level of success and fame," read the legal documents obtained by Page Six.

However, the legal battle involving the 25-year-old songbird and her label may soon be over. Her attorney, Howard King, claims that Jay-Z has already promised to release her from her contract. "Jay Z has personally and graciously promised Rita complete freedom from Roc Nation, the details of which are now being finalized," said King. "We believe that Roc Nation's distributor, Sony Music, has required Roc Nation to file this action to preserve whatever rights Sony might have pending resolution."

Rihanna's latest effort "Anti" has already been certified platinum by the RIAA. As part of her partnership with Samsung, a million copies were purchased by the company and distributed to fans. The number of streams has now reached the 15 million mark worldwide.

Anti is Rihanna's eighth studio effort and the follow-up to 2012's Unapologetic. It spans 13 tracks, including collaborations with Drake on the song "Work" and SZA on the track "Consideration. It also features a cover of Tame Impala's "New Person, Same Old Mistakes." The album, however, does not include previously revealed singles "Bitch Better Have My Money," "American Oxygen," and "FourFiveSeconds," all of which were released in the lead up to Anti.

Rihanna wrote on Twitter: "You guys legit made me the happiest girl in the world!! I'm so grateful that you appreciate the #ANTI album! It's the most rewarding feeling." And by Thursday afternoon she posted: "1 MILLION in under 15 hrs!!!! NAVY R die!!!! Thank u to all my fans and @samsungmobileus."

Rick Ross has signed an exclusive new worldwide deal with Epic Records, it was announced today by LA Reid, Chairman and CEO, Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment.

"Rick and I have been close friends and musical collaborators for more than a decade," said Mr. Reid, who originally signed the larger-than-life rap icon to Def Jam Recordings in 2006. "It has been incredible to witness his growth as an artist as well as a successful business entrepreneur and master strategist. It's an honor to be back together and to kick off Rick's second decade as one of hip-hop's bona-fide kings."

"Because of the hustle, perseverance and willingness to put in the work, I've been blessed to see multiple Grammy nominations, 8 chart-topping studio albums, multiple business ventures and run one of the most respected music conglomerates in the game," says Ross. "LA Reid understands the route that we took and has witnessed our success manifest itself from the beginning! You have to respect the moves that he and the entire EPIC team have made these past few years, not just in music, but in business entirely. I'm excited to be working with LA Reid and Epic Records. Looking forward to another successful decade and beyond in the music business and to continuing an #EPIC career!"

With eight #1 and #2 Soundscan original studio albums, and four Grammy Award® nominations under his belt since 2006, Rick Ross was a core artist on the Def Jam roster. His drawing power was established virtually overnight when, in an earlier digital era, his 2006 label debut, "Hustlin'" became the first mastertone ever certified RIAA platinum before the associated album had been released. That album was his classic debut, Port Of Miami (in tribute to his hometown), the first of four Rick Ross albums to debut at #1.

His long string of signature top-charted Rap and R&B hits went on to include "The Boss" featuring T-Pain (RIAA platinum); "Here I Am" featuring Nelly and Avery Storm (RIAA gold); "Aston Martin Music" featuring Drake and Chrisette Michele (RIAA gold); "You the Boss" featuring Nicki Minaj (RIAA gold); and "The Devil Is a Lie" featuring Jay-Z (RIAA gold).

Most recently, Rick Ross aka Ricky Rozay set a high-water mark when he released three consecutive full-length studio albums in less than two years, Hood Billionaire and Mastermind in 2014, and Black Market in 2015. The latter attracted guest appearances by an elite A-list of friends, among them John Legend, Cee-Lo Green, Nas, DJ Premier, Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, Chris Brown, and Future.

Rick Ross is also the founder of the successful Maybach Music Group (MMG), which has released some 20 albums since he founded the label in 2009.

Hometown legend Ludacris will dazzle an expected capacity crowd at the 2016 Honda Battle of the Bands (HBOB) Invitational Showcase. The marching band event of the year will be held January 30, 2016 in Atlanta.

Talented student musicians from the nation's Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) will once again provide a unique display of showmanship, high-energy music and carefully curated choreography during the 14th annual HBOB.

"It's an honor to perform for these young, talented student musicians who have worked so hard to make it to the big stage, and for the HBCU community that supports them every step of the way," said Ludacris. "Music is a force that connects and inspires young people all around the world."

The 2016 lineup consists of new and familiar HBCUs: Alabama A&M University, Alcorn State University, Bethune-Cookman University, Jackson State University, Lincoln University (PA), Prairie View A&M University, South Carolina State University and Tennessee State University.

The eight bands were selected through a process that included online fan voting, as well as feedback from band directors, HBCU presidents and American Honda representatives. In addition to a $20,000 grant from Honda to support their music education programs, each participating HBCU will receive travel and accommodations to the Invitational Showcase in Atlanta.

"Honda Battle of the Bands is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that helps HBCU student musicians showcase their talent, represent their communities and universities, and discover their greatness, both on and off the field," said Steve Morikawa, Vice President, Corporate Relations and Social Responsibility, American Honda. "Ludacris has supported HBOB for many years. His presence helps the students realize how far dreams, hard work and dedication can take them, and we're happy to welcome him back to the HBOB stage."

Held January 21-24, NAMM welcomed a record number of exhibitors and registrants to Anaheim, CA. Hundreds of new-to-NAMM companies paired with an increase in global interest, and those quintessential "only at NAMM" moments made for what many NAMM members called the most exciting NAMM Show in the association's 115-year history.

"As we look at the record number of exhibiting brands, influx of new entrepreneurial spirit and attendance from 125 countries, the industry seems poised for vital growth and breakthroughs," said NAMM President and CEO Joe Lamond. "The NAMM Show is a reflection of our industry, not only where it is now, but even more importantly where it is heading next. NAMM members brought their A-game to Anaheim this week with creative, innovative, beautiful products. They also came with inquisitive minds, filling NAMM's educational sessions all four days."

As the scope of music making expands, so do the number of brands that depend on the NAMM Show platform to unveil new products. This year's show was the largest and most inclusive event in the National Association of Music Merchants' (NAMM) 115-year history. A record 1,726 exhibiting companies representing more than 6,000 brands brought the entrepreneurial spirit to life. The energy was palatable, with a 7% increase in exhibiting companies over 2015's event.

"We're almost in a bubble focused on designing and developing products all year. But we set deadlines and goals around NAMM. NAMM is the platform, the only platform really, our flagship event to launch products," said Brian Ball, president, Ernie Ball Inc.

A mix of NAMM member buyers and retail employees, exhibitors, media, artists, NAMM members' invited guests, NAMM's Generation Next (college music students) and Music Education Day participants (school music teachers) resulted in a record 101,736 NAMM Show registrants. This is a 2% increase over last year's record-setting event.

For buyers worldwide, NAMM is the ultimate music store. "We're shopping our established vendors – like Yamaha – buying combo, band & orchestra and looking for what is new," said Steve Ceo, general manager, C. A. House Music in Ohio. "I like to see people, build relationships, and meet face-to-face with the heads of brands – it makes a difference. Sure, our reps will come to see us, but here we are able to see the excitement of the industry, see what everyone is doing and how it comes together – it is amazing!"

This year according to longtime NAMM Show exhibitors, buyers arrived ready to buy, many writing orders at the show. "We've been swamped! We expanded our booth to have more room and it filled up right away with customers…like it is supposed to (with a smile)," said Greg Deering, president and co-founder, Deering Banjos. "Mostly we are seeing retail store owners and they are writing a lot of orders. Our sales this show are up over average, our numbers are really good."

Paul Pitcher, Managing Partner at First Down Funding, has found a new way to reach the masses in the United States and Canada. Hip Hop Legend Cam'ron is now a part of the First Down Funding team. This is a developing story as more information is expected to be released soon.

Details are still swirling as Mr. Pitcher's front office has yet to return phone calls and messages in regards to the new partnership, but we expect to hear more later this month.

Both Cam'ron and Bret "Hitman" Hart posted pictures together while attending a Baltimore Ravens game with Paul Pitcher a few weeks back.

Blade Hart, son of WWE Hall of Famer Bret "Hitman" Hart, released a clip of what we expect to be the launch of future work with Paul Pitcher and Cam'ron.

Pressure is mounting for Chris Rock to join the Oscars boycott. 50 Cent joins actor Tyrese Gibson in calling for Rock to turn down his hosting duties for the awards show in response to the #OscarsSoWhite issue.

Quincy Jones on Oscars Diversity: 'You Can Boycott or You Can Fix It'

Jada Pinkett Smith, Al Sharpton and Spike Lee spurred the discussion by stating that they wouldn't attend the Oscars Feb. 28 because of the lack of diversity in all four acting categories this year. The boycott is gaining momentum, as is the call for Rock to step down as well.

50 Cent took to Instagram to plead his case, telling Rock: "You mean a lot man, don't do it. Please."

Gibson also took to Facebook on Wednesday, comparing Rock hosting this year's Oscars to the hypothetical situation of Bravo's Andy Cohen hosting in a year that LGBTQ nominees were shut out of the awards. "If Andy Cohen of ?#?WWHL? was hosting the Oscars and they purposely left out all gays and or homosexuals from being nominated for an ?#?Oscar? HE would of stepped down already," says Gibson's Facebook post.

He re-posted both Lee's and Pinkett Smith's messages earlier in the week, telling the actress, "I stand with you," after she announced her boycott. Both 50 Cent and Gibson say that Rock should step down as Oscars host in order to support the boycott.

Snoop Dogg has also taken to Instagram to air out his grievances with the Academy Awards. "Somebody was actually like am I gonna watch the motherfucking Oscars. Fuck no," he said about the annual ceremony in a video clip. Source: Billboard

The Recording Academy has announced Run-D.M.C. will be honored with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award this year.

The Queens-bred group -- comprised of Darryl "DMC" McDaniels, Joseph "Reverend Run" Simmons and the late Jason "Jam Master Jay" Mizell will join a host of legendary recipients including R&B veteran Ruth Brown, Latin legend Celia Cruz, popular funk band Earth, Wind & Fire, jazz icon Herbie Hancock, counterculture rock act Jefferson Airplane and pop sensation Linda Ronstadt.

"I just got a call from the Grammys!! They shocked me!!," tweeted Rev Run. "We're the first rappers to get this award!! Shocked! Grateful!. God is good!!! I’m so honored to be a #GRAMMYs Lifetime Achievement Award recipient this year. Thank you to the Recording Academy!"

Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow praised the 2016 lifetime-achievement recipients in a press release announcing the news. "Each year, The Academy has the distinct privilege of honoring those who have greatly contributed to our industry and cultural heritage, and this year we have a gifted and brilliant group of honorees. Their exceptional accomplishments, contributions, and artistry will continue to influence and inspire generations to come."

Run-D.M.C. -- who will be celebrated in a special ceremony alongside other recipients this spring -- was the first rap act to land a gold album with their self-titled 1984 debut and to be nominated for a Grammy. Past honorees include The Beatles, George Harrison, The Bee Gees and Buddy Guy. Source: Billboard

Straight Outta Compton has earned a nomination for Best Original Screenplay. Straight Outta Compton‘s Oscar nomination is the second major nod the movie has earned during awards season. The film was also nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture by the Screen Actors Guild.

Straight Outta Compton will compete against Bridge of Spies, Ex Machina, Inside Out and Spotlight for Best Original Screenplay. The 2016 Academy Awards will be hosted by Chris Rock and air live on ABC on Feb. 28.

Wiz Khalifa is set to headline Fresh Island 2016 with further performances confirmed from Ty Dolla $ign. Statik Selektah, DJ Premier, Logan Sama, Shakka and Tim Westwood, with many more still to be announced.

Having earned a well-deserved reputation as one of Europe’s most unique music festivals, Fresh Island will once again welcome thousands of revellers to the idyllic waterside settings of Zrce Beach to witness international and underground talent across the full spectrum of Hip Hop, R&B and Grime.

Headlining the anniversary celebrations this year is rap demigod Wiz Khalifa, riding high of the back of a huge 2015 that saw him slay the charts with the Grammy nominated See You Again. Wiz will be joined by one of Hip Hop’s most dominant voices Ty Dolla $ign, who’ll be ready to deliver live cuts from his formidable debut album Free TC. Making a welcome return to the island after recording the Beautiful Life music video with fellow Fresh Island alumni Action Bronson and Danny Brown last year, is seminal East-Coast producer Statik Selektah. DJ Premier is another legendary producer who'll be jetting to Zrce beach for Fresh Island.

Holding it down for the UK is BBK collaborator and rising r&b prodigy Shakka, alongside grime champion Logan Sama. No Fresh Island line-up would be complete without the godfather Tim Westwood on the bill and the DJ will be joined by Melody Kane and Miss DJ Candy. Keeping the party going throughout the week are some of the UK’s finest crews including Shorebitch, Applebum, So Fresh So Clean, Cheese On Bread, Faded and Rompa's Reggae Shack.

The two-week tour launches Feb. 17 in Portland, Ore. and hits cities including Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Tucson, wrapping up March 1 in San Diego.

Feb. 17 – Portland, OR – Roseland Theater
Feb. 18 – Seattle, WA – Showbox SoDo
Feb. 19 – Garden City, ID – Revolution Concert House
Feb. 20 – Spokane, WA – Knitting Factory
Feb. 21 – Missoula, MT
Feb. 23 – Chino, CA – Senator Theater
Feb. 24 – San Francisco, CA – Regency Theater
Feb. 25 – Santa Cruz, CA – The Catalyst
Feb. 26 – Los Angeles, CA – Club Nokia
Feb. 27 – Scottsdale, AZ – The Livewire
Feb. 28 – Tucson, AZ – Rialto Theater
Feb. 29 – Santa Ana, CA – Observatory
Mar. 1 – San Diego, CA – Observatory

The Trumpet Awards Foundation and title sponsor American Family Insurance present the 24th Annual Trumpet Awards, to celebrate and honor history-making entertainment, humanitarian, political and philanthropic individuals. "The Best Man" actress Nia Long and "Survivor's Remorse" actor Mike Epps, co-stars of the upcoming ABC sitcom Uncle Buck, will host the black-tie ceremony, to be held at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in Atlanta, Georgia on Saturday, January 23, 2016. The 24th Annual Trumpet Awards will air on Bounce TV and nationally in over 75 markets.

Among the prestigious list of individual honorees at this year's ceremony include GRAMMY® Award winning and platinum-selling artist Ne-Yo, who will be presented with "The Visionary Award;" television and film producer Will Packer, who will be honored with the "Entertainment Award;" legendary comedian and actor George Wallace will receive the "Legend Award" and Alicia Boler-Davis, EVP and COO of General Motors will be honored with the "Corporate Executive of the Year Award."

In a very special tribute, the African American Women in the United States Congress will be presented with the distinguished "Political Leadership Award" in recognition of their unparalleled leadership and steadfast work in representing their constituents and promoting diversity.

Dr. Curtis Ivery, Chancellor of Wayne Community College will receive the "Education Award;" Alexis M. Herman, Former Secretary of Labor and Chair & CEO of New Ventures will be presented with "The Phoenix Award;" and HRH Princess Basmah Bint Saud, International Humanitarian, will be honored with the "Global Humanitarian Award."

The Trumpet Awards was conceived, founded, and nurtured by Ms. Xernona Clayton, who has built the Awards and Awards Foundation into a renowned testimonial around the world. "We have come so far since we started this project in 1993 and I am extremely appreciative to those individuals who saw the vision and who have worked with us for over twenty years. We are most jubilant to bring this event to the world and to celebrate the achievements of those who had an impact on our community," says Ms. Clayton.

"We're proud to partner with the Trumpet Awards Foundation and Ms. Xernona Clayton to continue their legacy of honoring fearless dreamers from all walks of life. We believe the spirit of these honorees will continue to inspire a younger generation to give birth to their dreams," says Telisa Yancy, American Family Insurance VP of Marketing.

The past 2015 Trumpet Awards was a major success. Hosted by Laila Ali and Dolvett Quince, honorees included Jamie Foxx, Tommy Hilfiger, Janelle Monae, The Isley Brothers and Lou Brock.

Founders Entertainment is excited to announce the lineup for the 2016 Governors Ball Music Festival. The sixth annual edition of New York City’s very own homegrown fest will take place from Friday, June 3rd through Sunday, June 5th on beautiful Randall’s Island Park. Featuring performances from Kanye West, The Strokes, The Killers, Beck, Robyn, Of Monsters And Men, Death Cab For Cutie, Chet Faker, Chvrches, Haim, Miike Snow, M83, and many many more, Governors Ball will play host to 65+ artists throughout the weekend. Now heading into its sixth year, Governors Ball has cemented itself as New York City’s homegrown major music festival, while earning its place as one of the premiere live music events in North America. As born and bred New Yorkers, the people behind Governors Ball are also incredibly proud of the economic impact the festival has had for the city and its residents. Governors Ball generated $49 million in economic benefits for New York City in 2015, a 29% increase over the previous summer, creating 353 local jobs and $23 million in wages in the process. Many of the jobs and economic benefits were generated in the East Harlem and South Bronx communities, which surround Randall’s Island. The festival also maintains a long track record of giving back to its community by working with, and donating to local organizations, non-profits, and community groups.

Kanye West
The Strokes
The Killers
Death Cab For Cutie
Of Monsters And Men
Chet Faker
Two Door Cinema Club
Miike Snow
Father John Misty
Jamie XX
Bloc Party
Gary Clark Jr.
Big Grams (Big Boi + Phantogram)
Matt & Kim
Lord Huron
Action Bronson
Purity Ring
Mac Miller
Courtney Barnett
Joey Bada$$
Thomas Jack
Eagles of Death Metal
Duke Dumont
De La Soul
Cold War Kids
Years & Years

Vince Staples
Catfish And The Bottlemen

Against Me!
Christine And The Queens
Vic Mensa
Albert Hammond Jr.
Betty Who
Bat For Lashes
Jon Bellion
Marian Hill
Bob Moses
Elle King
The Knocks
Circa Waves
Meg Mac
Black Pistol Fire
Blank Range
London Souls
Louis The Child
Public Access T.V.
Day Wave
Holly Miranda
Whilk & Misky
Eliot Sumner
Tor Miller

Nielsen Music has released its annual report on the previous year's music sales. Adele tops the list. According to Billboard, 25 was easily the best-selling album in 2015, moving 8.01 million equivalent album units, with 7.44 million in traditional album sales. Additionally, Adele is the first artist to have the #1 album of the year three times in the Nielsen SoundScan era, as she also led the way in 2011 and 2012.

Taylor Swift's 1989 was the second-biggest album in 2015, with 3.1 million equivalent album units, 1.99 million of which were pure sales. Purpose from Justin Bieber was #3 (2.22 million equivalent units and 1.27 million in sales), then Ed Sheeran's x, with 2.21 million equivalent units and 1.16 million in sales. The top five was rounded out by The Weeknd's Beauty Behind The Madness, with 2.04 million equivalent units and 862.000 copies sold. The rest of the top ten for 2015 were Drake, Meghan Trainor, Sam Smith, Sam Hunt and Fetty Wap.

Nielsen Music also reports that 2015's music consumption added up to 549.35 million equivalent album units, a 15.2 percent increase over 2014. Overall album sales in 2015 fell by six percent to 241.39 million, down from 257.02 million a year before. Of course, Adele's 25 greatly contributed to these numbers and Billboard reports there would have been a nine percent drop without her. 25 actually made up 3.1 percent of all album sales last year.

While digital album sales dropped off by three percent in 2015, Adele dominated this category as well. 25 sold 2.31 million copies digital, which was the largest amount of digital albums sold during a year ever, as well as the first time an album has sold over two million digitally in one year. Of course, the previous record holder was Adele with 21.

Vinyl sales were up by 30 percent last year, and you guessed it, Adele's 25 was the best-selling vinyl album as well, with 116,000 copies.

The #1 digital single of 2015 was Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars' smash hit "Uptown Funk," with over 5.5 million copies sold. "Thinking Out Loud" from Ed Sheeran was at #2, with just under 3.98 million sold. "See You Again" from Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth was third, selling 3.8 million copies. "Hello" from Adele was at #4 with Maroon 5's "Sugar" at #5.

The rest of the digital singles' top ten was made up of "Shut Up and Dance" by Walk The Moon, "Trap Queen" from Fetty Wap, OMI's "Cheerleader," "The Hills" by The Weeknd and Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood" remix featuring Kendrick Lamar.

Beyoncé’s debut solo album Dangerously In Love has now sold more than 5 million copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen Music.

Dangerously In Love opened at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart and was the first of so-far five No. 1 albums for the diva. All of her full-length studio efforts have reached the top slot, and all of them have sold at least a million copies: B’Day (released in 2006, 3.41 million sold), I Am… Sasha Fierce (2008, 3.2 million), 4 (2011, 1.5 million) and her self-titled album (2013; 2.3 million). So far, Beyoncé has sold 16 million solo albums in the U.S. Source: Billboard

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the Estate of Michael Jackson, Epic Records and Legacy Recordings announced today that Michael Jackson's THRILLER is the first album in RIAA Gold & Platinum Program history to be certified 30X Multi-Platinum for U.S. sales, continuing The King of Pop's reign as the biggest selling artist of all time with worldwide sales of over 100 million for Thriller and 1 billion overall.

"RIAA has awarded Gold & Platinum records on behalf of the music business for nearly 60 years, but this is the first time an artist has crossed the 30X multi-Platinum plateau," said Cary Sherman, Chairman & CEO, RIAA. "We are honored to celebrate the unique status of Thriller in Gold & Platinum history. What an exceptional achievement and testament to Thriller's enduring spot in our hearts and musical history."

Michael Jackson's masterpiece Thriller, produced by Quincy Jones and Michael Jackson, won a record setting 8 Grammys, more than any album ever, and has been earning awards and setting new standards of success since its release on November 30, 1982. Thriller spent nearly 2 -1/2 years on the Billboard album chart and holds a modern day record of 37 weeks at #1. It was the first album in history to spend each of its first 80 weeks in the album chart's Top 10, a feat only reached by one other album in the more than three decades since. During its 112th week on Billboard's album chart, it became the first title ever to be certified RIAA 20Xmulti-Platinum (October 30, 1984). Worldwide, Thriller went to #1 in practically every country in the world, including the UK, France, Italy, Australia, Denmark, Belgium, South Africa, Spain, Ireland, New Zealand, Canada and apartheid South Africa.

More than just an album, Thriller has remained a global cultural multi-media phenomenon for both the 20th and the 21st centuries, smashing musical barriers and changing the frontiers of pop forever. The music on Thriller is so dynamic and singular that it defied any definition of rock, pop or soul that had gone before. '"Beat It" was a new kind of pop rock hybrid and demolished the longstanding segregation between black and white music with Eddie Van Halen's incendiary guitar. On "The Girl Is Mine" a black man and a white man bantered about the same girl. On the same album were songs like the African-rooted "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" and the rhythm and blues based "Billie Jean". No one had ever released an album with such a vast range of material.

"Perhaps Michael's most significant racial trailblazing came with music videos," wrote Joe Vogel in Man in the Music. Fascinated with the fledgling art form Michael wanted to tell a story and entertain on a grand scale. Despite the luscious cinematography, dramatic narrative and spectacular choreography of "Billie Jean", a fledgling MTV, which was programming white rock artists almost exclusively, refused to play it. Epic persisted. Once the wall came crashing down, MTV's ratings soared and a door was opened for a generation of African American artists. "He was MTV's Jackie Robinson," said cultural critic Toure. Next came the unforgettable short film for "Beat It" which featured Michael bringing two gangs together through the power of music and dance. And then there was "Thriller". Premiered at the AVCO Theatre in Los Angeles in 1983, it sold out every night for three weeks. No other video before or since has generated such excitement and has such a hold on our attention such that more than 30 years later we all share it as a collective memory and it remains the only music video to be inducted into the elite National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

The importance of Thriller was recognized by Michael Jackson's industry peers at the Grammys. Thriller was nominated in a record breaking 12 categories, and won a history making eight, which stands as the record for most Grammy Awards to be won by any album. Seven of those Grammys that year were awarded to Michael for: Album of the Year; Record of the Year ("Beat It"); Best Male Pop Vocal Performance ("Thriller"); Best Engineered Recording, Non-Classical (Thriller); Best Male Rock Vocal Performance ("Beat It"); Best Male R&B Vocal Performance ("Billie Jean"); Best R&B Song ("Billie Jean"). (Michael's eighth Grammy that year was in the Best Recording for Children - Single or Album, Musical or Spoken category for "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial"). That same year, Michael Jackson took home eight American Music Awards and three MTV Video Music Awards. The following year, "The Making of Michael Jackson's Thriller" took home the Best Video Album trophy at the 27th Annual Grammy Awards.

During his extraordinary career, Michael Jackson sold more than a billion records worldwide, released 13 No.1 singles and became one of a handful of artists to be inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Guinness Book of World Records recognized Jackson as the Most Successful Entertainer of All Time and "Thriller" as the World's Top-Selling Album of All Time. His artistry, choreography and music continue to inspire generations of pop, soul, R&B and hip-hop artists and fans.

"It is crystal clear that Michael Jackson is simply the greatest, and biggest artist of all time," says LA Reid, Chairman & CEO of Epic Records. "Not only are his charts hits and sales stats staggering, but his pure musicality was other-worldly. Thriller was groundbreaking and electrifying...it was perfection. I am extremely proud that Michael is the heart and soul of Epic Records and he will forever remain the one-and-only King of Pop."

"100 million albums and counting. There has never been a phenomenon like Thriller," says John Branca and John McClain, co-executors of the Estate of Michael Jackson. "Michael opened the floodgates of his creativity, explored emotional depths and pushed the boundaries of sonic innovation. In the process, he breached destructive barriers in the music industry and literally united the world through his music: there isn't a place on this planet that hasn't been exhilarated by the music of Michael Jackson. 30 years after its release, Thriller continues to be a revelation.

"Welcome everybody to the second annual Diamond Ball," Rihanna smiled from the stage at Santa Monica Airport's Barker Hangar on Thursday night. The Grammy-winning singer's charity ball kicked off with a heartwarming speech, as she quickly dispelled any potential surprise album drops by announcing, "This evening is not about me. Tonight is about extending a helping hand to others when they need it most."

More specifically, helping people through the Clara Lionel Foundation, which was founded by Rihanna herself in 2012. The foundation was named for her grandparents, Clara and Lionel Braithwaite, and aims to help those in need through health, education, arts and culture. Last year's Diamond Ball raised more than $2 million for the Clara Braithwaite Center of Oncology in Barbados, and as soon as he took the stage, host Kevin Hart made it clear he wanted to beat last year's amount -- and during the night, he proudly announced they had done just that, with more than $3 million raised this year.

As he spoke to the audience, Hart singled out the night's queen to say: "Your heart is a heart of gold. And tonight, everybody's heart in here will become a heart of gold, because we are going to follow in Rihanna's lead," before launching back into the comedy. "We'll let you eat before we really get into it."

In between the baby greens salad to start and brown sugar ginger cake for dessert, a live auction took place. There were six lots, including "King, 2011," an original oil on canvas by Roy Nachum, the artist behind the upcoming Anti cover art; the piece sold for $47,000. Another lot was Bono's autographed (RED) Gretsch Guitar featuring lyrics from the song "Invisible." As a sales tactic, the auctioneer invited Hart back onstage to play a few poorly mic'd chords -- which seemed to work, as it sold for $75,000.

After the auction, Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino was the inaugural recipient of the Diamond Honors award. As the back end of the hall filed out, Rihanna introduced the night's performer: "So to be honest, it's really hard to introduce someone whose music speaks for itself. I'm gonna give it a try." Those who stayed swarmed the front to watch Lionel Richie perform. "I'm sure everyone in here has a favorite Lionel Richie song, right? There's 'All Night Long,' 'Stuck On You,' 'Say You, Say Me,' which is my favorite, and 'Dancing on the Ceiling.' He also wrote this song called 'Hello' way before Adele was even born."

Richie then took to the stage to perform his and the Commodores' hits.The black-tie crowd slipped off their heels and jackets to let loose as he performed "Running Through the Night," "Easy like Sunday Morning" and "Brick House." Transitioning to the piano, Richie said, "There is a song I need to reclaim..." before playing the classic -- and, as of late, heavily mentioned -- "Hello" before rounding out the night with "All Night Long."

As Richie himself said, "Rih, I wouldn't have missed this for the world," and after the delicious food, sincere stories, laugh-out-loud moments and the lively musical performance, the audience -- which included Tyga and Zendaya -- couldn't have agreed more. Source: Billboard

King Ice, a leading men's jewelry brand offering street-inspired designs, has partnered with Snoop Dogg to launch his official line of products that fuse themes of both hip hop culture and animal life.

The licensing agreement, according to Cuong Diep, the co-owner of King Ice, "Aims to provide Snoop Dogg with his own line of products, envisioned and approved by Snoop to appeal to both his fans and our own. But more importantly, provide a line of products that are both affordable and made from the highest quality of materials that fans of the King Ice and the Snoop Dogg brand will enjoy."

Before the partnership ever came into fruition, Snoop Dogg was a fan of King Ice -- As Diep recalls, "We tried a number of times to get noticed by Snoop and other celebrities. But what earned his attention and the admiration of other artists was our persistence and loyalty to creating original designs, two qualities that represent our Jungl Julz line."

Jungl Julz will provide price ranges from as low as $60 to as high as $100.

Universal’s N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton has been named Best Picture by the African American Film Critics Association, one of three categories it topped along with Best Ensemble and Best Supporting Actor for Jason Mitchell. Best Director went to Creed helmer Ryan Coogler, while its star, Michael B. Jordan, won for Breakout Performance and Tessa Thompson was named Best Supporting Actress. Best Actor went to Will Smith for Concussion and Best Actress to Teyonah Parris for Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq.

The AAFCA honors excellence in cinema by creating awareness for films with universal appeal to black communities, while emphasizing films about the black experience and those produced written, directed and starring performers of African descent. It will hold its awards ceremony February 10 in Hollywood. Source: Deadline

Here’s the full list of winners:

Best Picture
Straight Outta Compton (Universal Pictures)

Best Director
Ryan Coogler,Creed (Warner Bros.)

Best Ensemble
Straight Outta Compton (Universal Pictures)

Best Actor
Will Smith, Concussion (Sony)

Best Actress
Teyonah Parris, Chi-Raq (Roadside Attractions/Amazon Studios)

Best Supporting Actor
Jason Mitchell – Straight Outta Compton (Universal Pictures)

Best Supporting Actress
Tessa Thompson, Creed (Warner Bros.)

Best Independent Film
Chi-Raq (Roadside Attractions/Amazon Studios)

Best Screenplay
Rick Famuyiwa – Dope (Open Road Films)

Breakout Performance
Michael B. Jordan, Creed (Warner Bros.)

Best Animation
The Peanuts Movie (20thCentury Fox)

Best Documentary
A Ballerina’s Tale (Sundance Selects)

Best Song
“See You Again”, Furious 7 (Atlantic Records)

Best TV Comedy
Black-ish (ABC)

Best TV Drama
How to Get Away with Murder (ABC)

Best Cable/New Media TV Show
Survivor’s Remorse (Starz)

AAFCA Top Ten Films of 2015 in order of distinction:

1. Straight Outta Compton (Universal Pictures)
2. Creed (Warner Bros.)
3. Mad Max: Fury Road (Warner Bros.)
4. Beasts of No Nation (Netflix)
5. The Martian (20th Century Fox)
6. 3-1/2 Minutes/Dope (HBO/Open Road Films)
7. Chi-Raq (Roadside Attractions/Amazon Studios)
8. Carol (Weinstein Co.)
9. The Big Short (Paramount Pictures)
10. The Danish Girl (Focus Features)

The nominations for the 58th annual Grammy Awards were announced today..

Kendrick Lamar scored a leading 11 nominations, with Taylor Swift and The Weeknd each earning seven nominations. Drake scored five nominations. Lamar, Swift and The Weeknd will face off in the category of album of the year, going up against Alabama Shakes and Chris Stapleton.

Swift's "Blank Space" is also up for record of the year, as is The Weeknd's "Can't Feel My Face." They're up against D'Angelo and the Vanguard's "Really Love"; "Uptown Funk," from Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars; and Ed Sheeran's "Thinking Out Loud."

Lamar and Swift will also vie for the song of the year Grammy, with Lamar's "Alright" going up against Swift's "Blank Space." Other nominees in the category, which awards the songwriter, are Little Big Town's "Girl Crush," Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth's "See You Again" and Sheeran's "Thinking Out Loud."

The best new artist nominees are Courtney Barnett, James Bay, Sam Hunt, Tori Kelly and Meghan Trainor.

Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth's Furious 7 soundtrack hit "See You Again" scored three nominations, including ones for song of the year, best pop duo/group performance and best song written for visual media. Two songs from the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack — Ellie Goulding's "Love Me Like You Do" and The Weeknd's "Earned It" — also scored multiple nominations. "Love Me Like You Do" is up for best pop solo performance and best song written for visual media. "Earned It" is up for best R&B performance, best R&B song and best song written for visual media. Meanwhile, Dr. Dre's Straight Outta Compton-inspired release Compton is up for best rap album.

The best song written for visual media category includes a number of Oscar hopefuls. Beyond "See You Again" and the Fifty Shades selections, Lady Gaga and Diane Warren's "Til It Happens to You" from The Hunting Ground is up for the Grammy. Those songs will face off against last year's Oscar winner for best song, Common and John Legend's "Glory."

Past and present Oscar hopefuls are also represented in the categories of best compilation soundtrack for visual media and best score soundtrack for visual media. The first category includes the soundtracks from best song Oscar hopefuls, Fifty Shades of Grey and Pitch Perfect 2 as well as the soundtracks for 2015 Oscar nominee and winner, respectively, Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me and Selma. The latter category includes the soundtracks of 2015 Oscar winners Birdman, The Imitation Game, Interstellar, The Theory of Everything and Whiplash.

Amy Poehler is up for best spoken word album for the audio book of Yes Please. Other nominees in that category are Patti Smith (Blood On Snow), Dick Cavett (Brief Encounters), Jimmy Carter (A Full Life) and Janis Ian & Jean Smart (Patience and Sarah). In the category of best comedy album, Louis C.K.'s Live at Madison Square Garden is up against Lisa Lampanelli's Back to the Drawing Board, Wyatt Cenac's Brooklyn, Jay Mohr's Happy. And A Lot. and Craig Ferguson's Just Being Honest.

The first batch of nominees was announced on CBS This Morning with the full list released later on Monday.

The 58th annual Grammy Awards will air on CBS on Monday, Feb. 15, 2016 at 8 p.m. ET, live from L.A.'s Staples Center. Source: Hollywood Reorter

The rapper was awarded Shoe of the Year at Footwear News’ 29th Annual Achievement Awards on Wednesday night in New York City.

While accepting the prize for his Adidas Yeezy Boost 350s, West gushed about his family with wife Kim Kardashian, including sharing his excitement about the impending arrival of baby No. 2.

“I’m waiting on my son to arrive any day now and I look at my daughter and I look at my wife and she’s rich,” he joked in his speech. “And I don’t plan on being broke.”

He also made a sly joke about his infamous speech at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards, telling the audience, “If you don’t like 10-minute profanity-laden speeches that end in a presidential bid, I suggest you go to the bathroom now.”

With Kardashian’s due date only a few weeks away, the reality star couldn’t travel with him to celebrate his latest achievement. But she did issue a tweet congratulating her husband.

“So well deserved!” she tweeted. “Congrats babe on winning Shoe of the Year Award! I see how hard u work & how meaningful this is!”

West is only the second person to be honored with the Shoe of the Year Award, with Footwear News awarding him the prizefor having the "most-coveted, most-talked-about, most-recognized shoes this year." Source: NY Daily

Pandora announced Wednesday it plans to raise $300 million in a convertible debt offering, a move that should help the company build and acquire licenses for a subscription service and international expansion.

This will be Pandora's first debt offering. It has subsisted on a 2011 initial public stock offering that raised $235 million, and a secondary offering in 2013 that raised about $250 million. Long-term liabilities are few, and at the end of the third quarter Pandora had a $60 million credit facility that was virtually untouched.

Due in 2020, the notes will be used for "general corporate purposes" and to pay the transaction costs of capped calls, a set of transactions that aim to prevent potential dilution when notes are converted into common stock. The offering comes on the heels of Pandora's purchase of assets from bankrupt on-demand service Rdio that will help it develop an on-demand service. It also plans on expanding to new markets.

Pandora's Internet radio service doesn't require direct licenses from record labels -- it does have a couple licensing deals in place, however. On-demand subscription services are different. It's not uncommon for music streaming services to seek capital before launching new products or expanding to new markets. Spotify raised $100 million before its U.S. launch in 2011 and Soundcloud raised $150 million last December as its licensing discussions were heating up. Source: Billboard

With the clock ticking on Morgan Creek’s Tupac Shakur movie, the company is in the midst of hiring music video and commercial director Benny Boom to helm.

The company, which has been working for years to bring the late rapper’s story to the big screen, is operating with a sense of urgency given that the music rights will revert back to Shakur’s mother, Afeni Shakur, at the end of the year if the film isn’t in production by then. Carl Franklin was poised to direct as recently as the summer, picking up the baton after John Singleton dropped out in April and trashed Morgan Creek in the process.

“The people involved aren't really respectful of the legacy of Tupac,” Singleton wrote on Instagram, promising to make his own rival project.

But things continued to move forward until Franklin quietly exited the project amid a fresh round of intrigue that surfaced about a month ago. In late October, producers Emmett/Furla filed a $10 million lawsuit against Morgan Creek, saying the company breached a co-production agreement by selecting a lead actor and setting a budget and production schedule without Emmett/Furla's approval.

It wasn’t the first time the project had become entangled in a lawsuit. The studio sued Afeni Shakur for the music rights to the film.

Given the success of another rap biopic, Universal’s Straight Outta Compton (more than $200 million worldwide), a Tupac film was seen as particularly attractive. Tupac’s life story – which includes his rise to multiplatinum-selling artist and his mysterious death – is seen as one of the most tempting.

The Tupac character has appeared twice in film — in 2009’s Notorious and Straight Outta Compton — both supporting roles played by Anthony Mackie and newcomer Marcc Rose, respectively.

Boon has previously directed two features - Summit's 2009 action comedy Next Day Air and the made for home video action movie S.W.A.T.: Firefight - but has made a name for himself in the commercial and music scene.

Boom won video director the year at the BET Awards for his work with artists such as NIcki Minaj, Ll'l Wayne, and Meek Mill. Source: Billboard.

Activision Publishing, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ: ATVI), has unveiled the first crowd-sourced video generated for Guitar Hero Live through a user-driven contest that asked fans to submit clips of themselves lip-synching along to Ed Sheeran's hit song "Sing" via the musical.ly mobile app. Based on musical.ly analytics, the contest generated more than 100,000 videos that have already collectively been watched more than 100 million times in ten days.

The music video featuring notable athletes and celebrities like basketball MVP Stephen Curry, legendary basketball player Shaquille O'Neal, sports broadcaster Erin Andrews, and Vine star King Bach is now playable in GHTV, Guitar Hero Live's online playable music video network and also viewable HERE. The submissions were edited together and animated by veteran music video editor Alan Chimenti (editor of Katy Perry's "Roar," among many more).

"From basketball MVP Stephen Curry to fans lip-synching with drones and dancing on hover boards, it's been absolutely incredible to see the creative responses we got for the Guitar Hero TV Star contest," said Tim Ellis, CMO of Activision Publishing, Inc. "With GHTV, we can create unique playable music experiences, such as capturing footage from live concerts and transforming fan-submitted music videos into a playable experience. We couldn't be happier with the response."

"It's extremely rewarding to see musical.ly users contribute to such an exciting and fun music video" said Jun Zhu co-CEO and co-founder of musical.ly. "We're thankful to Activision and Guitar Hero for giving our users a chance to showcase their talents in the game. As a content platform, musical.ly is unique in its ability to encourage creativity and collaboration between users, artists, and brands, and we're excited for future opportunities to showcase the creative potential of the musical.ly community."

GHTV, the world's first playable music video network, is a revolutionary way to play Guitar Hero, allowing fans to play along to hundreds of official music videos, from the newest releases to favorite hits. And with the premiere of the fan-sourced music video for Ed Sheeran's "Sing," players will be able to jam along to the first ever crowd-sourced music video in GHTV.

The annual Soul Train Awards recapped (Nov. 29), taped Nov. 6 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. The Weeknd and “Uptown Funk” tied with two awards each to lead the winners’ circle.

The Weeknd nabbed best R&B/soul male artist and album of the year for Beauty Behind the Madness, while Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk” featuring Bruno Mars claimed awards for song of the year and video of the year. Among the other winners: Jidenna (“Classic Man”) for best new artist.

Opening the show with a medley of her songs, a fiesty Erykah Badu held court as host, keeping up a lively pace. At one point, she even made fun of her rumored “bad influence” on some of hip-hop’s notable rappers. In another comedic riff that drew raucous laughter, Badu noted the evening would be devoted to singing and thus, no rappers were allowed. Taking a phone call onstage, Badu tells the caller, Iggy Azalea, that she can come to the show however “because you’re definitely not rap.”

This was Badu’s second stint as host of the Soul Train Awards, having helmed the show for the first time in 1999. “They gave me an associate producer’s role this year,” said Badu, “so I was a part of the show from its inception. And as a writer on the show, they allowed me to be super loose. So it created a really comfortable, fun atmosphere. I was tickled most of the time.”

It was definitely wall-to-wall soul inside the Orleans Arena as a parade of established and emerging acts delivered powerful performances, including Tyrese (who won the Centric Certified Award), R. Kelly, Jazmine Sullivan, Cameo, Erica Campbell, Tasha Cobbs, Empire’s V. Bozeman and After 7. Badu, along with Chrisette Michele, K-Ci Hailey, Lalah Hathaway and Eddie Levert, brought the audience to its feet during the inaugural Soul Train Soul Cypher.

Badu conceived the idea of doing a soul cypher. “I felt it would be really cool,” she said a few days after the awards show taping. “I handpicked the artists and the music; I was just amazed that it came together so fast. It was one of the most brilliantly received pieces of the evening.”

Capping the show were special tributes to Jill Scott and Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds. Upon receiving the first-ever Lady of Soul Award, Scott reeled off a stirring performance of fan faves and new work, including current single “Back Together,” “A Long Walk,” “Whatever” and “Cross My Mind.” Later during the telecast, Scott also took home the award for best R&B/soul female artist.

“The Lady of Soul honor means a lot,” Scott told Billboard before taking the Orleans stage. “It’s the culmination of 15 years of giving my heart and energy to an audience that appreciates it. It’s a real privilege to still be able to tap into people’s hearts and have ourselves look at ourselves. And for it to come from such a great legacy… This is Soul Train; this is what brought soul music into America’s houses.”

Babyface’s prolific and multiple Grammy Award-winning legacy as a songwriter/producer and artist was the focal point of a roof-raising salute that featured Fantasia (who turned the house out on "Exhale [Shoop Shoop]" and "Superwoman"), Boyz II Men ("I'll Make Love to You" and "End of the Road"), Brandy ("Sittin' Up In My Room"), Tevin Campbell ("Can We Talk") and surprise guest Bobby Brown ("Roni," joined by Babyface). Epic chairman/CEO and longtime creative/business partner and friend L.A. Reid presented the Legend Award to Babyface, who ended the salute with a performance of his own classic hit “Whip Appeal.”

Talking to Billboard on the red carpet before the taping, Babyface noted that it was exactly 25 years ago when he received his first Soul Train Award. “To still be remembered, to still be relevant is a great feeling,” he added. Asked about the Soul Train Awards’ legacy, Babyface said, “So many people say R&B is dead, that it’s not what it was before. That's not true. This reminds people that it’s alive and well. Don Cornelius started Soul Train way before 25 years ago. But it was something we all needed then -- and we need it just as much now.” Source: Billboard

2015 Soul Train Awards winners:

Best New Artist

Best R&B/Soul Male Artist
The Weeknd

Centric Certified Award

Video of the Year
Mark Ronson Featuring Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk”

Best Gospel and/or Inspirational Song
Lecrae, “All I Need Is You”

Album of the Year
The Weeknd, Beauty Behind the Madness

Best Hip-Hop Song of the Year
Kendrick Lamar, “Alright”

Best R&B/Soul Female Artist
Jill Scott

Song of the Year
Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk”

The Ashford & Simpson Songwriter’s Award
“Glory” (from the motion picture Selma) written by Lonnie Rashid Lynn, John Roger Stephens and Che Smith
(artists: Common and John Legend)

Best Dance Performance
Silento, “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)”

Best Collaboration
Omarion featuring Chris Brown & Jhené Aiko, “Post to Be”


Pete Rock 2015 European Tour Dates
Nov 20 Berlin, Germany - Gretchen (w/ Blackalicious)
Nov 23 Ljublijana, Slovenia - Gala Hala
Nov 25 Madrid, Spain - Sala Penelope
Nov 26 Barcelona, Spain - Razzmatazz 2
Nov 27 Zurich, Switzerland - Exil
Nov 28 Biel, Switzerland - La Coupole
Nov 29 London, UK - Brooklyn Bowl
Dec 3 Trondheim, Norway - Familien
Dec 4 Naples, Italy - La Casa Della Musica
Dec 5 Santiago De Compostela, Spain - Sala Capitol (w/ DAS EFX)
Dec 6 Pescara, Italy - Qube
Dec 7 Venice, Italy - Rivolta
Dec 9 Budapest, Hungary - Durer Kert
Dec 10 Paris, France - La Bellevilloise (w/ Apollo Brown)
Dec 11 Turin, Italy - Notorious (w/ DAS EFX)
Dec 12 Copenhagen, Denmark - Rust

Atlantic Records has announced the release of "CREED: ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK," the music from the eagerly awaited film from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line Cinema. The album arrives at all digital retailers today. CREED opens in theaters nationwide on Wednesday, November 25th.

Highlights on the soundtrack include a brand new song from platinum-selling rapper Future, inspired by the film and written exclusively for this collection, marking the first new release from the Atlanta native since the release of both his #1 album "DS2" and the chart-topping collaborative album with Drake, "WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE."

The soundtrack is also heralded by the song "Lord Knows," from Maybach Music Group/Atlantic rapper Meek Mill, which also appears on the rapper's chart-topping sophomore studio album "DREAMS WORTH MORE THAN MONEY." The track's thrilling, Spike Jordan-directed companion video -- featuring exclusive footage from CREED -- premieres today & is streaming now at Meek's official You Tube page. In addition, Mill's "Lord Knows" is featured in the trailer for the mobile game "Real Boxing 2: CREED".

The new soundtrack collects 18 tracks from some of hip-hop's most iconic artists, including 2Pac, Nas, Future and The Roots (Feat. John Legend), plus tracks from an array of rising artists, including Joey Bada$$, Jhené Aiko, White Dave, and CREED star Tessa Thompson. The album also features brand new songs from Tessa Thompson and White Dave, which both artists wrote exclusively for the soundtrack"

"CREED: ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK" was produced by Atlantic Records President of Film & TV and GRAMMY® Award winning soundtrack producer Kevin Weaver (Furious 7, Boardwalk Empire, The Fault In Our Stars, Girls Volumes 1 & 2, True Blood Volumes 1 & 2) and music supervisor Gabe Hilfer (The Place Beyond The Pines, Fury, Project X, Get Hard, Black Swan).

From Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line Cinema comes award-winning filmmaker Ryan Coogler's "Creed." The film reunites Coogler with his "Fruitvale Station" star Michael B. Jordan as the son of Apollo Creed, and explores a new chapter in the "Rocky" story, starring Academy Award nominee Sylvester Stallone in his iconic role.
"Creed" also stars Tessa Thompson ("Selma," "Dear White People"), Phylicia Rashad (Lifetime's "Steel Magnolias") and English pro boxer and former three-time ABA Heavyweight Champion Anthony Bellew.
Coogler directs from a screenplay he wrote with Aaron Covington, based on characters from the "Rocky" series written by Sylvester Stallone. The film is being produced by Irwin Winkler, Robert Chartoff, Charles Winkler, William Chartoff, David Winkler, Kevin King-Templeton and Sylvester Stallone, with Nicolas Stern executive producing. The music is by composer Ludwig Goransson.

Vape Connoisseur company, White Rhino, is pleased to announce a Collaboration with TIP's Grand Hustle Music. Reality Star, Actor and Hip-Hop Recording Artist TIP "T.I" Harris founded Hustle Gang in 2003.

The White Rhino X Hustle Gang unveils a Vaporizer series that incorporates a unique style with the high performance that you come to expect from White Rhinos' superior line of products.

'If you don't respect nothin' else, you will respect this hustle' - TIP "T.I." Harris

"Partnering up with TIP's Hustle Gang will be a great opportunity for White Rhino to reach the hip hop industry. We are excited to be working with such a strong partner. Their name says exactly their motto; Hustle Gang. TIP is one of the hardest working men in Hollywood. You see the guy everywhere; he is always on his hustle and never stops working." - Adnan Afridi CEO/White Rhino

White Rhino has been revolutionizing the vaping industry since 2011 by creating one of kind innovations that provides superior service and products to the world. The Company was founded by CEO, Adnan Afridi, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Eminem and Shady Records have partnered with Music Powered Games to release the new mobile game Shady Wars, which is available now for iOS and Android. The game delivers a combination of rhythm and arcade gameplay powered by Shady Records' music, including Eminem's "Phenomenal" and "Kings Never Die" from the soundtrack to the movie Southpaw, which was executive produced by the superstar artist.

"This is a new, fun, and potentially addictive way for fans to interact with and experience music from our label," says Shady Records CEO and co-founder Paul Rosenberg of Shady Wars. Releasing a freemium game rewards millions of Eminem fans with a cool new way to experience Shady music. The game also hosts a combination of in-game ads and in-app purchases. Eminem's legions of fans are already playing the game and sharing their reward stats on Twitter, which is driving downloads of Shady Wars and introducing Shady music to hosts of potential new fans.

Unlike many other celebrity games which simply reskin an existing engine to shoehorn in a celebrity, Shady Wars actually unites music, image, and character in a way that does seem to fit Eminem's brand.

Bread Winners Association recording artist Kevin Gates has kicked off his much anticipated "Islah Tour (Part 1)" in Jacksonville, FL. The first phase of Gates' nationwide headlining tour will travel the U.S. through mid-December.

The tour heralds the upcoming release of Gates' massively anticipated debut album, "ISLAH," (pronounced EES-lah) now slated for release on January 29th, 2016.

"ISLAH means to reform, to improve, to make better; and I believe that's what my first daughter did to me. So I named my first album after my first daughter; because it improved me, it made me better." -- Kevin Gates

Gates -- who only recently wrapped the sold out second leg of his massively successful "I Don't Get Tired (#IDGT) Tour" -- is of course featured alongside Juicy J, Sage the Gemini and Future on "Payback," one of the many hip hop highlights found on "FURIOUS 7: ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK," Atlantic Records' chart-topping musical companion to Universal's blockbuster action-thriller. The album debuted at #1 on the SoundScan/Billboard 200 upon its April release, while also triumphing around the globe with gold certified sales in Australia, Hungary, Japan, and the United Kingdom.

At the close of 2014, Gates released the follow-up to his debut mixtape, "LUCA BRASI 2: A GANGSTA GRILLZ SPECIAL EDITION MIXTAPE." The collection -- which marked the latest installment of DJ Drama's widely respected "GANGSTA GRILLZ" series -- includes the phenomenal anthem, "I Don't Get Tired (#IDGT) (Feat. August Alsina)," which caused a social media commotion upon its release. Gates' use of the phrase, "I Don't Get Tired" and the #IDGT hashtag -- which represent his relentless hardworking approach to life -- was used well over a million times on Instagram alone, with countless placements on other social media platforms.

Kevin Gates first broke out with 2013's masterful mixtape, "THE LUCA BRASI STORY." The set earned the Baton Rouge-based MC both popular success and widespread critical acclaim for his extraordinary emotional power and melodic invention, ultimately leading to a new partnership between Atlantic Records and his own Bread Winners' Association. In addition, "THE LUCA BRASI STORY" was named by Rolling Stone as one of the "20 Best Hip Hop Albums of 2013."

"BY ANY MEANS" arrived in March 2014 and immediately affirmed Gates as a major force in hip-hop. The mixtape landed at # 3 on Billboard's "Top Rap Albums" chart at #17 on the overall SoundScan/Billboard 200, with sales nearly doubling his previous first week sales record.


13 Jacksonville, FL Mavericks
14 Atlanta, GA Tabernacle
15 Nashville, TN Marathon Music Works
17 Columbia, SC Music Farm
18 Raleigh, NC Lincoln Theater
19 Philadelphia, PA TLA
20 Boston, MA Middle East
21 New York, NY Gramercy Theatre
22 Washington, DC The Fillmore
24 Cleveland, OH Agora
25 Louisville, KY Mercury Ballroom
27 Detroit, MI Majestic Theatre
28 Chicago, IL Bottom Lounge
29 St. Louis, MO Pop's


01 Tulsa, OK Cain's
02 Abilene, TX Abilene Civic Center
03 Dallas, TX South Side
04 Houston, TX Warehouse Live
05 San Antonio, TX Alamo
06 Austin, TX Emo's
08 Mobile, AL Soul Kitchen

POWER 106’s (KPWR, 105.9 Los Angeles) is proud to announce the addition of Chris Brown to the star-studded Cali Christmas 2015 line-up! Cali Christmas features a collection of multiplatinum superstars and fresh new talent, CHRIS BROWN, WIZ KHALIFA, MACKLEMORE AND RYAN LEWIS, TRAVIS SCOTT, LOGIC, POST MALONE, SKEME AND DEJ LOAF and a very special performance by PHARRELL! All this and some very special surprise guests!

Cali Christmas is Southern California’s annual marquee holiday Hip-Hop event and is Friday, December 4, 2015, at the Los Angeles Forum.

Ear Drummer Records/Interscope Records artists Rae Sremmurd (brothers Slim Jxmmi and Swae Lee) have announced the launch of the first-annual SremmFest — a three-day festival that will be held in the duo's hometown of Tupelo, Mississippi, from December 18th through the 20th. The festival aims to celebrate Rae Sremmurd's extraordinary success this year, and also serves as a way for the guys to thank the community for their support by giving them a weekend to remember forever - "We're trying to bring good vibes back to our hometown and to bring positivity through the music that's brought us from Tupelo, Mississippi, to all across the world," said Slim Jxmmi.

The weekend festivities kick off with a celebrity basketball game on Friday, followed by the headline concert event on Saturday at the Bankcorp South Arena. Rae Sremmurd will perform alongside artists Yo Gotti, DeJ Loaf, K Camp, and more, including a special DJ set from Mike WiLL Made-It. That night the duo will also receive the keys to the city from Tupelo mayor Jason Shelton, an honor that Swae Lee compared to "winning a championship ring" and a "life changing moment for us." A community BBQ, featuring a toy and food drive, will take place on Sunday.

SremmFest is a culmination of a breakout year for Rae Sremmurd. The duo have racked up 500 million views on VEVO/YouTube and scored two platinum-selling singles, the Mike WiLL Made-It-produced "No Flex Zone" and "No Type," which is co-produced by Swae Lee. Both tracks appear on the duo's debut album SremmLife, which debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart in January. Also this year, Rae Sremmurd was nominated for a Billboard Music Award for Top Rap Artist and for three BET Awards, taking home the award for Best Group. They have toured nationally with Nicki Minaj and performed at major music festivals around the world, including SXSW, Coachella, Wireless, Encore, Belfort, and Listen Out.

Activision Publishing, a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard (Nasdaq: ATVI), today confirmed that Call of Duty®: Black Ops III is the biggest entertainment launch of the year. In its first three days, the blockbuster title exceeded $550 million in sell-through worldwide, according to Activision estimates. The opening weekend haul is the biggest entertainment launch of 2015, including theatrical box office, music and book launches.

Engagement per player also set a new record for the Call of Duty® franchise. Additionally, fans played more than 75 million hours online in its opening three days.

"Call of Duty's millions of passionate fans have shown us, yet again, the strength of their commitment to this enduring franchise," said Bobby Kotick, Activision Blizzard's Chief Executive Officer. "Call of Duty: Black Ops III is the biggest entertainment launch this year in any medium, and bigger than any theatrical opening weekend ever."

"The Call of Duty: Black Ops III launch is bigger than any game, any movie, or any entertainment launch this year. But more importantly, our fans are engaging more deeply with the franchise than ever before. In fact, so far, people are playing Black Ops III for more hours per player than any Call of Duty game on record," said Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision Publishing. "Call of Duty is more than a game, it's a year round passion for a growing base of millions of fans and it's only gaining momentum."

"As we've said from the start, PlayStation is the best place to play Call of Duty, and this record-breaking launch shows how true this statement is. Black Ops III is the biggest launch of the year so far, and the PlayStation Nation is ready. We're proud to call PlayStation the home of Call of Duty and look forward to supporting our community with DLC map pack content first," said Adam Boyes, VP of Publisher and Developer Relations, Sony Computer Entertainment America.

On PlayStation®4, Black Ops III set a new record as the best-selling digital full game by units sold in its first day of availability in PS4™ history.

During the three-day opening, worldwide sales rose significantly over the previous two years, including setting a new franchise mark, as digital downloads of the game across next generation consoles rose nearly 100% from a year ago.

Black Ops III established new marks in viewership as the No. 1 most streamed and most viewed game of any game launch in 2015, as reported by Twitch.

The next leg of Ciara's North American Jackie Tour, sponsored by TOPSHOP, is moving to Spring 2016. Full list of new dates to be announced.

A global entertainment company has extended an opportunity to further market and promote the next leg of the tour and will include a special surprise to fans.

To accommodate this offer, the tour will move to Spring 2016. The spring tour will also include additional cities because of demand from the fans. Details to follow.

" I am very excited about moving my tour to the new scheduled dates for the great things we have planned ahead!" says Ciara. "The Jackie Tour has been successful and I look forward to rockin' with my fans again in 2016!"

Run-DMC front man Joseph “Rev Run” Simmons has traveled the world with bandmates and friends. Now, he is ready to take on the world in a new way – with his family. Rev, along with his wife, Justine, and their kids, 18-year-old Russy and 7-year-old Miley, will embark on an unforgettable escapade in Travel Channel’s all-new 16-part series “Rev Runs Around the World,” premiering with back-to-back episodes on Wednesday, December 2 at 10:00 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. ET/PT.Equipped with four around-the-world airline tickets and no itineraries, Rev intends to order room service and lie by the pool everyday. Justine and the kids have different plans! In each half-hour episode, the family will be stretched to their limits as they brave new territories, fascinating cultures and authentic food – with Rev in tow.

“Shooting ‘Rev Runs Around the World’ with my family was one of the best experiences of my life,” said Rev Run. “Justine, Russy and Miley dragged me along on their adventures – and I wouldn’t trade those experiences with my family for anything. Whether we were riding elephants in Thailand or learning how to be ninjas in Tokyo, I’ll cherish those moments forever.”

In the premiere episode of “Rev Runs Around the World” (10:00 p.m. ET/PT), Rev and family’s first stop is the home of reggae – Jamaica. Rich in history and music, this Caribbean island is the perfect place for Rev to get in some much-needed relaxation. With the hotel’s pool and palm trees on the brain, he can’t wait to bask in that Jamaican irie vibe. But, Justine and the kids have other plans in mind. The family meets up with Tami, a local Rev has met through mutual friends in the music industry. She welcomes the Simmons to Jamaica with a special fried fish lunch – eyes and all – on Hellshire Beach, followed by an impromptu jam session at Tuff Gong, Bob Marley’s famous recording studio. Justine manages to bring a begrudging Rev along on a trip in the rain to the Jamaican Blue Mountains for some of the world’s richest coffee. But to Rev’s delight, the next few days also include a visit to Jamaica’s biggest soccer facility, Boardwalk Beach and a homemade Sunday supper with friends.

In the second episode (10:30 p.m. ET/PT), Rev and the family take on the next leg of their journey in Mexico City. The Mexican capital is a colorful urban sprawl bursting with culture, history and culinary delicacies galore. Alex, a local foodie guide, introduces the family to one of the best street food markets where Justine is eager to try crickets, a delicacy in Mexico. Not so keen on the Mexican snack, Rev is set on finding a more traditional taco while in this incredible capital city. Also, while exploring south of the border, Russy and Miley mask up, taking their turn at Lucha Libre wrestling, a popular Mexican sport that is not for the faint of heart. The family explores Plaza Garibaldi, heads toward El Huequito for the best tacos al pastor in town and Rev breaks out his bargaining skills at the famous Mercado de Ciudadela. Finally, the family’s excursion wraps up with a mariachi-filled cruise.

Rev, Justine, Russy and Miley start their journey from their home base in New Jersey and hit 16 unbelievable cities along the way, including Tokyo, Bali, Hong Kong, Dubai, Istanbul, Geneva, Reykjavik, Copenhagen and Rio de Janeiro to name a few. Despite their differences in travel style, the family is in for great fun, major laughs – and maybe a little frustration – as they learn what it takes to travel together and explore the amazing cultures each country has to offer.

“Rev Runs Around the World” is produced by Departure Films and Simmons Lehman Productions. For Departure Films, the executive producers are Max Weissman, Matt Levine and Timothy Robbins. For Simmons Lehman Productions, the executive producers are Joseph “Rev Run” Simmons and Michael Lehman. For Travel Channel, the executive producer is Dale Roy Robinson.

Universal Music Group (UMG), the world's leading music company, announced today that Eric Berman has been appointed Executive Vice President of Public Affairs, effective immediately. In this position, Berman will have responsibility for public policy and government relations globally. He will report jointly to Jeffrey Harleston, General Counsel and Executive Vice President of Business & Legal Affairs, and Will Tanous, Executive Vice President of Communications.

"Eric is the rare professional who truly lives at the intersection of public policy and business," said Harleston. "He has a proven judgment that can only come from the kind of diverse real-life experiences he has had at the highest levels of government, politics and business."

Tanous added, "After working together for years, we are fortunate to have Eric join UMG. As a trusted adviser to our executive team, he has demonstrated a perceptive understanding of the challenges facing our industry, a keen vision for how to seize the opportunities before us and an astute appreciation for how to advance public policy in the mutual best interest of all of our industry's stakeholders."

Berman has more than a decade of experience counseling clients in the music industry in his role at the public relations firm Kekst and Company, where he worked since 1997. As co-Head of Kekst's Public Affairs practice, he served companies across a range of industries – from entertainment and technology, to finance, retail, energy and many more – helping navigate a wide variety of business, regulatory and policy matters across the U.S. and internationally, including some of the most high-profile and complex corporate situations.

Prior to his time at Kekst, Berman worked for nearly ten years in the worlds of public policy and politics, including positions in the White House under President Bill Clinton, at the Democratic National Committee and on Capitol Hill, as well as senior roles in several political campaigns, including the 1992 Clinton-Gore campaign and other elections around the country.

Berman serves on the Board of Directors of the international non-profit, Search for Common Ground, and he is on the Board of Trustees of Congregation Rodeph Sholom in New York.

Berman holds an A.B. in Government, with a specialty in International Relations, cum laude, from Harvard College.

The Recording Academy® Producers & Engineers Wing® will celebrate its ninth annual GRAMMY® Week event by honoring multi-GRAMMY winner Rick Rubin for his commitment to creative and sonic excellence and ongoing support for the art and craft of recorded music. The event will be held on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, at The Village studios in West Los Angeles. GRAMMY Week culminates with the 58th Annual GRAMMY Awards® on Monday, Feb. 15, 2016, airing live on the CBS Television Network, at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

"Rick Rubin has said he has one rule regarding his recording process, 'The only rule is that it's not done until it's great,'" said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy. "His contributions to music and to the artists he's worked with prove that Rick is beyond simply great. He is remarkable. We look forward to celebrating this musical icon and his pioneering career, which continues to inspire and climb to new heights."

One of the highlights of GRAMMY Week, the Producers & Engineers Wing event gathers passionate behind-the-scenes music makers in celebration of their efforts and advancements in the pursuit of sound perfection.

Rubin has received eight GRAMMY Awards, including two for Producer Of The Year for 2006 and 2008. His other wins include two for Album Of The Year (Adele, 21; Dixie Chicks, Taking The Long Way), two for Best Country Album (Taking The Long Way; Johnny Cash, Unchained), Record Of The Year (Dixie Chicks "Not Ready To Make Nice"), and Best Rock Album (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Stadium Arcadium). Producing critically acclaimed and multiplatinum albums in a wide array of genres, including country, hip-hop, metal, pop, rock, and soul, additional artists Rubin has worked with include the Beastie Boys, Black Sabbath, Neil Diamond, Eminem, Jay Z, Kid Rock, LL Cool J, Metallica, Tom Petty, Public Enemy, Damien Rice, Ed Sheeran, Slayer, Justin Timberlake, Kanye West, and ZZ Top.

As the Producers & Engineers Wing 2016 honoree, Rubin joins an impressive list of past honorees: Chris Blackwell, T Bone Burnett, Tom Dowd, Ahmet and Nesuhi Ertegun, Jimmy Iovine, Quincy Jones, Arif Mardin, Nile Rodgers, Al Schmitt, Jerry Wexler, and Neil Young.

About The Recording Academy: Established in 1957, The Recording Academy is an organization of musicians, songwriters, producers, engineers and recording professionals that is dedicated to improving the cultural condition and quality of life for music and its makers. Internationally known for the GRAMMY Awards — the preeminent peer-recognized award for musical excellence and the most credible brand in music — The Recording Academy is responsible for groundbreaking professional development, cultural enrichment, advocacy, education and human services programs. The Academy continues to focus on its mission of recognizing musical excellence, advocating for the well-being of music makers and ensuring music remains an indelible part of our culture

Boombotix, a leader in audio technology, and RZA, founder of the Wu-Tang Clan, have released a new Ol’ Dirty Bastard (ODB) track through a limited edition Boombot REX. Earlier this year, RZA was going through the archives of tapes stashed at the Wu Mansion when he came across the unreleased recording. The single from the late Wu-Tang Clan legend, “Obey Me,” is embedded in a limited edition Boombot REX speaker, which features two remixes by Shash’U and High Klassified.

With ODB’s birthday and passing anniversary coming up, Boombotix and the Estate of Ol’ Dirty Bastard will also commemorate the famed rapper with Ol’ Dirty Bastard Week.

“Ol’ Dirty never made mainstream decisions,” said RZA, creator of Wu-Tang Clan and Head Abbot of Product and Content Development at Boombotix. “This project is not only a unique way to market new music and get people talking about their personal experiences with tunes, but it exemplifies the type of originality that he would have wanted from his own releases. I think he’d be proud to know his legacy lives on.”

Boombotix is working with the Estate of Ol’ Dirty Bastard and RZA have created Ol’ Dirty Bastard week—starting on Nov. 9—to celebrate the life of ODB (Russell Jones), who died on Nov. 13, 2004, just two days before his 36th birthday. On Nov. 9 the limited edition speaker will be available for purchase on Boombotix.com and in Zumiez stores.

“By creating this celebration week we are really honoring my husband and his legacy,” said ODB’s wife and administrator of the estate Icelene Jones. “I believe the fans will really enjoy the new music Boombotix is releasing.”

On Nov. 11, Boombotix will debut a new music video for Shash’U’s remix of “Obey Me.” The music video will feature Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s son, Bar-son Jones (professionally known as “Young Dirty Bastard”).

The week will finish with a party on Nov. 13 thrown in conjunction with Zumiez. Zumiez Stash members will be able to attend the party held at The Wick in Brooklyn.

“The week is going to expose a lot of young music listeners to one of the most creative hip hop artists ever,” said Mustafa Shaikh, Vice President of Marketing & Rhetoric at Boombotix. “A lot of his creativity came from Ol’ Dirty Bastard simply being true to himself. We hope these series of releases and events do justice to his legacy.”

CENTRIC has announced that the 2015 SOUL TRAIN AWARDS will be hosted by the incomparable singer-songwriter Erykah Badu. The hippest trip led by the illest chick will celebrate soul music’s R&B legends alongside the next wave of talented artists. Filmed November 6 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, the SOUL TRAIN AWARDS will air on CENTRIC and BET on November 29th, 2015 at 8PM ET.

Musical luminaries being honored at the show include Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, who will receive the Legend Award and Jill Scott who will accept the first-ever Lady of Soul Award. These icons are being recognized for their longstanding presence in the industry and influence on the world of music past and present. R&B legend and record producer Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds has won 11 Grammy Awards and written and produced 26 No. 1 R&B hits. His new album, Return of the Tender Lover, will be released December 4th. A torchbearer of R&B music, Jill is a 3x Grammy Award-winner who has also established herself as a critically acclaimed actress as well as a New York Times bestselling poet.

The SOUL TRAIN AWARDS will feature an exciting lineup of unforgettable performances and viewers can expect special appearances by some of the brightest stars in entertainment. The event annually showcases Soul Train’s influence on the history of music and dance from the 70s to today.

The 2015 SOUL TRAIN AWARDS is produced by Jesse Collins Entertainment. Executive Producers of the network telecast are as follows: Debra Lee, Stephen Hill, Connie Orlando and Lynne Harris Taylor from BET; and Jesse Collins from Jesse Collins Entertainment. Erykah Badu is an Associate Producer.

Scarface (real name Brad Jordan) was arrested after the recent taping of the BET Hip Hop Awards in Atlanta on Oct. 9 on charges of unpaid child support. His bond was set at $482,190. He was released last Friday and has just issued a written statement regarding his arrest.

"First and foremost I would like to thank my supporters for their concern during my recent arrest in Atlanta. While we have resolved the issue I would like to correct some misinformation. The amount reported that was owed is inaccurate and I had no knowledge about there being an arrest order for me as I have traveled to Atlanta many times; with the latest trip being in September to perform at the One Music Festival. Due to the nature of the case (having a minor child involved), I will make no further comment at this time."

Fetty Wap has been honored with two American Music Award nominations: New Artist of the Year and Favorite Artist - Rap/Hip Hop. The news comes on the heels of his No. 1 debut on the Billboard 200 last week. Fetty Wap is the first hip-hop act in over two years to top the chart with a debut studio effort. His self-titled, independently released album remains in the Top 5 of the Billboard 200 this week. FETTY WAP (RGF Productions/300 Entertainment) is available in a 17-track standard format and 20-track deluxe edition. To date, Fetty Wap has sold upwards of 4.8 million tracks and has one billion paid streams.

The New Jersey-based newcomer swept last night's BET Hip Hop Awards with wins for "Track Of The Year," "Who Blew Up Award" and "Sweet 16: Best Featured Verse" with Drake. He took home the "Artist to Watch" award at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards earlier this year.

Fetty Wap kicked off his career with an astonishing streak of smashes. Over the course of 2015, his breakout hit "Trap Queen" went triple Platinum as his next two singles, "My Way" (feat. Monty) and "679" (feat. Monty), reached Gold and Platinum status, respectively. With the success of these tracks, Fetty Wap became the first artist since Eminem to land three songs in the Top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100. By August 2015, the songs were charting in the Top 11. The only previous act to chart three concurrent songs in the Hot 100's Top 11 with its first three charted titles was the Beatles. "Again," Fetty Wap's fourth single, cemented his spot in history as the first artist ever to simultaneously chart his inaugural four entries in the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot Rap Songs Chart.

"I didn't really think I would be an artist. Last year, I didn't have an address," says Fetty Wap. "I just want fans to enjoy the record. It's me. Personally, I'm most excited to be able to provide for my children. They won't have to experience the same struggles I did as a kid, God willing. They're my biggest inspiration, and I do this for them."

Below are the nominees in some of the key categories.

Luke Bryan
Ariana Grande
Maroon 5
Nicki Minaj
One Direction
Ed Sheeran
Sam Smith
Taylor Swift
Meghan Trainor
The Weeknd

Fetty Wap
Sam Hunt
Tove Lo
Walk The Moon
The Weeknd

Fetty Wap
Nicki Minaj

Cole – 2014 Forest Hills Drive
Drake – If You're Reading This It's Too Late
Nicki Minaj – The Pinkprint

Wiz Khalifa Featuring Charlie Puth “See You Again”
Mark Ronson Featuring Bruno Mars “Uptown Funk!”
Ed Sheeran “Thinking Out Loud”
Taylor Swift “Blank Space”
The Weeknd “Can’t Feel My Face”

Wiz Khalifa Featuring Charlie Puth “See You Again”
Rihanna & Kanye West Featuring Paul McCartney “FourFiveSeconds”
Mark Ronson Featuring Bruno Mars “Uptown Funk!”
Skrillex & Diplo Featuring Justin Bieber “Where Are Ü Now”
Taylor Swift Featuring Kendrick Lamar “Bad Blood”

Hosted by none other than Uncle Snoop at the Boisfeuillet Jones Civic Center in Atlanta, Georgia, the BET “Hip Hop Awards” 2015 delivered yet another notable year of celebrating hip hop’s most influential artists as well as featured performances by some of the hottest names in hip hop.

Drake, Kendrick Lamar and Big Sean tie with three wins each – Drake wins “MVP of the Year”, “Sweet 16: Best Featured Verse” and “People’s Champ Award” for “Blessings”; Kendrick Lamar wins “Best Hip Hop Video”, “Lyricist of the Year” and “Impact Track”; Big Sean wins “Best Collabo, Duo or Group”, “Best Club Banger” and “People’s Champ Award” for “Blessings,” while J. Cole wins big for “Album of the Year” and “Best Live Performer.” Viewers were treated to show-stopping performances throughout the night by Future, Sean “Diddy” Combs aka Puff Daddy, Lil Kim, T.I., Young Dro, Dej Loaf, Kid Ink, Rich Homie Quan, iHeartMemphis and Travis Scott closing out the show.

Ludacris presented the “I Am Hip Hop” Award, which recognizes legends in hip hop music, to legendary rapper Scarface. And the highly anticipated BET “Hip Hop Awards” cyphers brought the heat with cyphers featuring Redman, Erick Sermon, Keith Murray, Doug E. Fresh, Rahzel, Black Thought, Vince Staples, Casey Veggies, Tink and more, as well as return of the live cypher performance on stage featuring Charlie Clips, Rain 910, K-Shine, DNA and T-Top.

The 2015 complete list of BET “Hip Hop Awards” winners are:

Best Hip Hop Video
Kendrick Lamar – “Alright”

Best Collabo, Duo or Group
Big Sean f/ Drake & Kanye West – “Blessings”

Best Live Performer
J. Cole

Lyricist of the Year
Kendrick Lamar

Video Director of the Year
Benny Boom

DJ of the Year
DJ Mustard

Producer of the Year
DJ Mustard

MVP of the Year

Track of the Year
“Trap Queen” – Produced By Tony Fadd (Fetty Wap)

Album of the Year
J. Cole – “2014 Forest Hills Drive”

Who Blew Up Award
Fetty Wap

Hustler of the Year
Dr. Dre

Made-You-Look Award (Best Hip Hop Style)
Dej Loaf

Best Hip Hop Online Site

Best Club Banger
Big Sean f/ E-40 – “IDFWU”

Best Mix Tape
Future – “56 Nights”

Sweet 16: Best Featured Verse
Drake – “My Way Remix” (Fetty Wap f/ Drake)

Impact Track
Kendrick Lamar – “Alright”

People’s Champ Award
Big Sean f/ Drake & Kanye West – “Blessings”

Rihanna, Selena Gomez and "The Weeknd" will perform on THE VICTORIA'S SECRET FASHION SHOW, to be broadcast Tuesday, Dec. 8 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

Victoria's Secret Angels Adriana Lima, Alessandra Ambrosio, Behati Prinsloo, Candice Swanepoel and Lily Aldridge, as well as newest Angels Elsa Hosk, Jac Jagaciak, Jasmine Tookes, Kate Grigorieva, Lais Ribeiro, Martha Hunt, Romee Strijd, Sara Sampaio, Stella Maxwell, Taylor Hill and Victoria's Secret PINK model Rachel Hilbert, will be a part of the show that merges fashion, fantasy and entertainment into a runway spectacle. The show, seen in more than 180 countries, will include pink carpet interviews, model profiles, a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the world's most celebrated fashion show and the multi-million dollar Fantasy Bra.

Rihanna has taken the music, entertainment and fashion industry by storm. As an accomplished performer, she has sold 54 million albums and 210 million digital tracks worldwide, making her the top-selling digital artist of all time. She has achieved 13 #1 singles and won eight Grammy Awards. With more than seven billion views and 21 Vevo certified videos, she is the most viewed artist on Vevo/YouTube, and is one of the biggest artists on Facebook with over 81 million friends. In addition, she's the name and face of some of today's most prestigious and recognizable fashion and beauty brands.

The Weeknd," a Grammy Award®-nominated, multi-platinum alternative R&B artist, continues a streak of smashing records. His critically acclaimed gold-certified third full-length album Beauty Behind the Madness sold more than 412,000 album equivalents upon release, held #1 on the Billboard Top 200 for three consecutive weeks, making for the longest run at #1 on the chart this year, and debuted at #1 on the Apple Music overall albums chart in more than 70 countries and Top 10 in nearly 100. The album is the first to surpass 100 million global audio streams, with over 80 million plays from Spotify, breaking their U.S. and global record for most streams in a single week. Prior to release, Beauty Behind the Madness sold more than 1 million album equivalents worldwide, with four of the tracks from the album reaching platinum or multi-platinum status. This fall, "The Weeknd" will support the release of Beauty Behind the Madness with The Madness Fall Tour.

Atlantic Records is proud to announce the third RIAA platinum certification of the worldwide #1 hit single, "See You Again," by Wiz Khalifa (Feat. Charlie Puth), marking sales now in excess of 3.5 million. The track -- featured on "FURIOUS 7: ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK," Atlantic's official musical companion to Universal's blockbuster action-thriller -- is of course a global smash, with its deeply touching companion video having just reached 1 billion individual views at Wiz Khalifa's official YouTube channel -- The fastest video on YouTube in 2015 to reach 1 billion views.

Featured in FURIOUS 7's touching closing tribute to the late Paul Walker, "See You Again" has entered the history books as one of the decade's biggest singles, topping Billboard's "Hot 100" for a stunning 12 weeks to tie the record set by Eminem's "Lose Yourself" for a rap single's longest run atop the chart. "See You Again" also reached #1 on a number of additional charts, standing atop both Billboard's "Hot Rap Songs" and "Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs" for an amazing 14 weeks each.

"See You Again" has further proven a worldwide phenomenon, rising to #1 on the iTunes Store's "Top Songs" chart in the US along with 93 other countries including the UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Poland, Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, India, and South Africa.

"See You Again" also shattered Spotify records, still the most streamed track ever on Spotify in a single day, with 4.2 million streams on April 13th alone. "See You Again" went on to make history, ranking at one point as Spotify's most streamed track in a single week with a stunning 21.9 million worldwide streams. What's more, "See You Again" reached #1 on Shazam's Worldwide Chart, as well as Top 200s in the US and the UK.

The "See You Again" companion video -- directed by Marc Klasfeld (Jay-Z, Katy Perry, Justin Timberlake) and featuring retrospective footage spanning the Fast & Furious franchise's incredible history -- premiered via FURIOUS 7 star Vin Diesel's personal Facebook page and instantly drew more than 800,000 Facebook shares and a staggering 40 million views within its first twelve hours online. The GRAMMY®-nominated Khalifa also posted the "See You Again" video on his own Facebook page, with Facebook's new "Donate" call-to-action button allowing fans to donate to Paul Walker's "Reach Out Worldwide (ROWW)" charity.

Khalifa has celebrated the powerful track with a number of high profile TV appearances, including USA Network's WWE RAW and NBC's The Voice. Khalifa and Puth's electrifying live performances of "See You Again" on NBC's The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and The Ellen DeGeneres Show are streaming now.

"See You Again" is now beginning to collect what is sure to be a long list of awards and honors, including a pair of 2015 Teen Choice Awards (for "Choice Music: R&B/Hip Hop Song" and "Choice Music: Song From Movie or TV Show"). What's more, the song received nominations for two 2015 MTV Video Music Awards: "Best Collaboration" and "Best Hip-Hop Video."

The nominees for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame class of 2016 have been revealed-- the eclectic list includes The Cars, Chaka Khan, Chicago, Cheap Trick, Chic, Deep Purple, The J.B.'s, Janet Jackson, Los Lobos, Steve Miller, N.W.A., Nine Inch Nails, The Smiths, The Spinners, and Yes. To be eligible for nomination, an individual artist or band must have released its first single or album at least 25 years prior to the year of nomination. The 2016 Nominees had to release their first recording no later than 1990. Ballots will be sent to an international voting body of more than 800 artists, historians and members of the music industry.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2016 induction ceremony will be held in New York in April, and HBO will again broadcast the ceremony later in 2016. Venue and ticket on-sale information will be announced at a later date.

Grammy Award Winner Ciara announces the second leg of her North American Jackie Tour sponsored by TOPSHOP. Ciara has been named a U.S. Ambassador for the international fashion retailer. The next leg of the Jackie Tour will begin in her hometown Atlanta on Nov 27 and end in Southern California on Dec 20. Full listing of the Jackie Tour dates follow.

The first leg of the Jackie Tour, which coincided with the release of her new album, "Jackie," sold-out in 18 cities and received rave reviews including The New York Times heralding her "...body and heart working as one" and the Boston Globe stated that Ciara "...thrilled the hyper crowd."

The Jackie Tour marks Ciara's first live concert tour in over six years. The "Jackie" album on Epic/Sony Music Entertainment has already produced two hit singles, "I Bet" & "Dance Like We're Making Love."

Jackie Tour DATES:

Atlanta GA
Center Stage

Lake Buena Vista FL
House of Blues

Charlotte NC

Greensboro NC
Cone Denim Ent Center

Raleigh NC
The Ritz

Baltimore MD

Atlantic City NJ
Harrah's - The Concert Venue

Cleveland OH
House of Blues


Danforth Music Hall

Detroit MI
St. Andrews Hall

Englewood CO
Gothic Theatre

Salt Lake City UT

Seattle WA

Portland OR
Roseland Theater

Reno, NV
Knitting Factory

Anaheim CA
House of Blues

Bad Boy Entertainment has inked an exclusive partnership with Epic Records, that includes distribution of two highly-anticipated upcoming albums from Grammy award-winning artist, producer, entrepreneur Sean "Diddy" Combs aka Puff Daddy. The deal was announced today by LA Reid, Chairman and CEO, Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment. In celebration of the signing, Puff Daddy will perform new music at this week's BET Hip-Hop Awards in Atlanta.

"Sean 'Diddy' Combs aka Puff Daddy and I have been musical collaborators since the 1990s," said Mr. Reid, "when we both ran independent record labels, myself with LaFace and soon after, Puffy with Bad Boy. Over the years, we not only enjoyed incredible success together, but we also became lifelong friends. Today, of course, Puffy is truly in a league all his own, continuing to influence culture and ignite musical revolutions time and time again. He's a true innovator and I could not be more excited to join forces once again."

The agreement also includes a new label deal with Bad Boy Entertainment and Epic Records which will bring a new generation of Bad Boy artists to Epic in an exclusive label partnership. The new label will include several new music projects, new artist signings and upcoming releases that will be announced in the weeks ahead. Epic will also provide customary label services for the Puff Daddy albums including promotion, marketing, sales and distribution.

"I have known LA Reid since the very beginning and together we have enjoyed countless successes over our long friendship," said Mr. Combs. "To now work with LA in this capacity feels more like a homecoming than a new beginning. Not only is he a fearless and smart businessman, he believes in artists and understands music better than anyone. He embodies hard work and true success, evident in all of his endeavors. To collaborate with LA Reid is to collaborate with the very best."

"It's a pleasure being in business with three major music labels as we approach our third decade of making music for our peers and fans," states Harve Pierre, President of Bad Boy Entertainment, who has been with the company since inception.

The deal reunites Mr. Combs and Mr. Reid and brings their musical collaboration full circle. Both enjoyed an incredible run with their respective record labels, Mr. Reid with his (and Babyface's) LaFace Records (starting 1989), and Mr. Combs with his Bad Boy Entertainment (starting 1993). The preeminence, power and cultural validity of their association underscores one of the most enduring and heartfelt relationships in all of popular music.

The B-Boy has returned. Legendary Boston MC Mr. Lif has signed a multi-album deal with Mello Music Group for 2016 & 2017. His first new project will be out by early next year, but to hold fans over, MMG will reissue his classic album I Phantom on November 27th.

For those new to this classic, I Phantom showcases production by El-P, Edan, Insight, DJ Fakts One, and NASA. Add to that guest features from Aesop Rock, Jean Grae, and Akrobatik.

“I’ve been very active musically for years but I haven’t been putting records out,” Lif says. “I’ve been touring the world with Thievery Corporation and otherwise living in the studio, constantly making songs.” Lif’s new slate of music is as progressive and searing as ever.

If you’re even vaguely familiar with post-millennium underground hip-hop, you know all about the MC born Jeffrey Haynes. Over the course of four solo EPs and albums, Lif established himself as one of hip-hop’s most brilliant thinkers and triumphantly defiant voices. He spoke truth to power like few others: indicting racism, the inequities of late Capitalism, and political corruption.

His new songs figure to define this new age, by highlighting what has changed and how much regrettably has stayed the same.

The partnership with Mello came out about organically. The link between the former Def Jux linchpin and Mello was obvious: they’re both known for uncompromised raw music with integrity, dedicated to both tradition and progression.

Set for release on November 27th, Lif’s classic debut album titled, I Phantom is the start to a long partnership. Lif promises his new work will be the most soul baring of his career — records that chronicle his ups and downs and the ebbs and flows of life.

"It was a very intentional decision to remain unsigned by any record label until I was absolutely ready. That personal journey spanned from 2007 to 2015. I needed to step back and gain perspective on a great many things", Lif says. "I waited the right amount of time. I grew. I recorded an abundance of new material over the years, found the right record label, and now it's time to come back and start round two of my career."

TIDAL The streaming service has announced TIDAL X: 1020 on Wednesday, a blockbuster concert that will include Beyoncé, Jay Z, Prince, Usher, Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, T.I., and many other performers. Proceeds from the show, scheduled for Oct. 20 at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, will go to charity.

The concert’s bill also features Damian Marley, Alessia Cara, Benjamin Booker, Jidenna, Hit-Boy, Flatbush Zombies, Indochine, Fabulous, Thomas Rhett, DJ Cipha Sounds, DJ Reflex, Bas, Justine Sky, and Raury. For those not in New York or unable to score a ticket, TIDAL will livestream the events on its website for subscribers and non-subscribers alike, and will offer an interface for remote viewers to donate to the charitable cause, which TIDAL outlines as benefitting “nonprofit organizations dedicated to advancing positive community relations and effecting systemic change for the development and sustainability of just societies.” Tickets, which will range from $74 to $244

Drake and Future’s surprise album What a Time to Be Alive charges in at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, giving Drake his second chart-topper of 2015. The set earned 375,000 equivalent album units in the week ending Sept. 24, according to Nielsen Music — of that sum, 334,000 were pure album sales.

The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week based on multi-metric consumption, which includes traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). The new Oct. 10-dated chart (where Drake and Future are No. 1) will be posted in full to Billboard’s websites on Tuesday, Sept. 29.

What a Time to Be Alive was released Sunday, Sept. 20 (through A-1/Freebandz/Young Money/Cash Money/Epic/Republic Records), and was initially exclusively available through Apple Music and the iTunes Store. The set was only announced one day earlier, and its release came on an off-cycle Sunday (as most albums are now released on a Friday each week, the first day of the Billboard 200's tracking week).

Third-Largest Week for an Album in 2015, by Units: The only larger weeks were racked by the debuts of The Weeknd’s Beauty Behind the Madness (412,000) and Drake’s other surprise album, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late (535,000).

Second Largest Sales Week for an Album in 2015: What a Time to Be Alive sold 334,000 in pure album sales, making it the second-biggest sales week this year. The only larger week was racked by Drake’s If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late (495,000).

Drake and Future Are the First Hip-Hop Acts Since 2004 to Score Two No. 1 Albums in a Calendar Year: With the arrival of What a Time to Be Alive, both Drake and Future tally their second leaders on the Billboard 200 in 2015.

Drake debuted at No. 1 earlier in 2015 with If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late. Future scored his first No. 1 nearly two months ago with DS2.

The last hip-hop act to earn multiple No. 1s within a calendar year was Jay Z back in 2004. He reached the top that year with Unfinished Business (with R. Kelly) and MTV Ultimate Mash-Ups Presents: Collision Course (with Linkin Park). The last act, regardless of genre, to notch more than one No. 1 album in a calendar year was Justin Timberlake, who saw both volumes of his The 20/20 Experience debut at No. 1 in 2013.

Drake and Future are also the first hip-hop acts to collect multiple No. 1 albums within a 12-month span of time since 2011, when Lil Wayne managed the feat with Tha Carter IV and I Am Not a Human Being. Source: Billboard

Billboard confirms that the R&B singer does have a deal with Vegas’ Drai's Beachclub & Nightclub -- although according to a rep for Brown, "the specifics being reported are incorrect. Correct details will be revealed soon."

Brown's first confirmed show at Drai is Oct. 3, according to Drai's website.

Brown recently finished his One Hell of a Nite summer tour of the 25 U.S. cities, which launched Aug. 12 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., and wrapped Sept. 19 in California. Support acts included Kid Ink, Omarion, Fetty Wap and Teyana Taylor.

After serving select clients for the last 18 months in beta, Black Box publicly launches today. Black Box focuses on developing artists and their audience through digital branding, strategy and partnerships.

Industry veteran and founder Livia Tortella created Black Box to allow managers and labels to grow artists brands while monetizing them through fan engagement.

"Our vision is to develop, attract and grow meaningful audiences for our clients," said Tortella. "The difficulty most people have is in knowing how to translate followers into fans who are going to deliver revenue. We know how to do that and make it a net positive investment."

Black Box can be retained monthly by music managers, labels, publishers and agents who want to compliment their existing resources with an additive marketing arm. Their innovative approach is built on proprietary tools, partnerships, streaming expertise and social monetization.

Leading the company’s marketing initiatives is digital executive, Brian Popowitz (WBR, Nettwerk). Through his new-age approach to the music business, Black Box pairs personalized marketing and the business of influence with modern services like data analysis, cross marketing and social revenue to help their clients succeed.

“The currency of the new music economy is fans,” said Popowitz, “and now that technology has caught up with the data, there is a bigger business to be had for artists.”

Black Box’s launch partners include Bill Silva Entertainment (Jason Mraz, Brooke Candy) and Zeitgeist Artist Management (Death Cab For Cutie, Best Coast).

"Black Box has been integral in driving value for our company and for our artists,” said Bill Silva of Bill Silva Entertainment. “They work with us on everything from strategy to execution, and have also been critical in our efforts to identify new opportunities that include A&R, film and TV, social and digital marketing, imaging & creative. They are a valuable collaborative extension to my team.”

“Black Box has been a huge asset for us,” said Jordan Kurland of Zeitgeist Artist Management. “Investing in their high level marketing strategy, content and branding expertise has helped us grow and perform at a higher level for our clients."

Livia Tortella was formerly co-president and COO of Warner Bros. Records and General Manager of Atlantic Records. She previously held executive positions at Island Def Jam and Universal.

Uncle Snoop returns as host and T.I., Fetty Wap, Rich Homie Quan, Dej Loaf, Kid Ink, Young Dro, DJ Mustard, DJ Premier as confirmed performers for this year’s BET “HIP HOP AWARDS”.

The “I Am Hip Hop” Award, recognizing legends in hip hop music, returns to honor legendary rapper Scarface. Scarface is undoubtedly one of the most prolific rappers of all time. Hailing from Houston, TX he sharpened his skills growing up listening to Public Enemy and NWA, groups that not only peaked his lyrical delivery but his social consciousness. In 1991, he recorded and released his first big hit, “Mind Playing Tricks On Me,” with the Geto Boys; a song that Rolling Stone rated as the #5 Best Hip Hop Song ever to be recorded. Scarface went on to deliver twelve stellar and critically acclaimed solo albums with the most recent, Deeply Rooted, debuting in the Top 10 of Soundscan’s Top Albums Sales chart (#8), Top 10 on four Billboard Charts (#2 Rap, #3 Indie, #3 R&B/Hip Hop, #8 Digital) and Top 20 on The Billboard 200 (#11). Scarface recently penned and released his memoirs, Diary of a Madman earlier this year.

Previous “I Am Hip Hop” Award honorees include Doug E. Fresh (2014), MC Lyte (2013), Rakim (2012), LL Cool J (2011), Salt-N-Pepa (2010), Ice Cube (2009), Russell Simmons (2008), KRS-One (2007) and Grandmaster Flash (2006).

Jesse Collins, CEO of Jesse Collins Entertainment will serve as Executive Producer of The BET Hip Hop Awards along with Stephen G. Hill, BET’s President of Programming, Connie Orlando, BET’s Senior Vice President of Music and Specials and Lynne Harris Taylor, BET’s Vice President of Specials.

Taping of the awards show will take place at Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center in Atlanta, GA on Friday, October 9, 2015 at 9:00 p.m. ET and will premiere on Tuesday, October 13, 2015 at 8:00 p.m. ET.

REVOLT Media & TV CEO Keith Clinkscales announced today that Derek Ferguson has joined the company as Chief Operating Officer. In this role, he will partner with Clinkscales on the day-to-day management of the enterprise.

Ferguson has nearly 30 years of strategy, operations and financial experience. He previously served as the Chief Growth Officer of Combs Enterprises - the umbrella organization over Sean "Diddy" Combs' brands and a major shareholder in REVOLT - where he advised Combs, the CEO and Chairman, on all new business and investment opportunities. He joined Bad Boy in 1998 as Chief Financial Officer.

"Derek has been one of my most trusted advisors for nearly 20 years and I know that he will bring the same leadership and expertise to REVOLT," says REVOLT Chairman Sean "Diddy" Combs. "He possesses a deep knowledge and understanding of my businesses that has resulted in some of my most successful deals across all of my brands. I believe alongside Keith they will continue to position REVOLT as a leading media company for the millennial generation."

Ferguson has worked with REVOLT since its inception. Prior to joining Combs Enterprises, Ferguson was the Vice President of Finance and Operations for BMG Special Products, a division of BMG Entertainment. He also was the Chief Operating Officer of Urban Profile Communications Inc., a startup magazine he co-founded with Clinkscales. After being sold in 1991, Ferguson then joined Bain and Company. His career began at Coopers and Lybrand (C&L) as an auditor, and mergers and acquisitions analyst.

"Derek Ferguson's familiarity with building global brands from their inception extends decades and we are thrilled to have him join the REVOLT family," says Clinkscales. "I look forward to working hand in hand with Derek to continue to cultivate the REVOLT brand and its visibility as the number one name in music."

"I am truly excited and grateful to Mr. Combs for this opportunity and am excited to work with Keith and the talented team at REVOLT to develop winning partnerships and provide engaging content that will continue its growth and success," says Ferguson.

Ferguson's role as Chief Operating Officer at REVOLT was effective Monday, September 14.

Led by streaming revenues, which accounted for a third of the total, U.S. recorded music revenue was basically flat in the first half of 2015. According to figures released by the RIAA Monday, total revenue was down 0.5 percent to $3.17 billion while wholesale revenues -- what distributors and labels actually receive -- rose 0.8 percent to $2.32 billion.

Digital revenues grew 6.3 percent to $2.32 billion as streaming gains outpaced download losses. Streaming revenues grew 23.2 percent, or $193.7 million, to $1.03 billion. The sting from the 9.4 percent drop in digital track revenues was lessened by a 4.2 percent gain in digital album revenues.

Physical sales declined 17.3 percent to $748 million. CD sales fell the furthest, dropping 31.5 percent to $494.8 million. Vinyl sales grew 51.3 percent to $226 million. Synchronization royalties rose 3.9 percent to $94.5 million.

Access models, represented by services like Spotify and SiriusXM, showed strong growth. Paid subscriptions and streaming royalties rose 23.2 percent to $1.03 billion. Digital subscription revenue grew 24.9 percent to $477.9 million, an increase of $95.2 million, when measured in retail dollars. Distributions from SoundExchange, which collects digital performance royalties from services such as Pandora and SiriusXM, grew 19.7 percent, or $63.8 million, to $387.2 million. Royalties from ad-supported streaming services grew 27.1 percent, or $34.7 million, to $162.7 million.

A better analysis of streaming royalties requires subscription revenue to be converted into wholesale dollars. Unlike revenues from subscription services, SoundExchange distributions and ad-supported royalties have no corresponding retail figure. Both amounts exist entirely as trade revenue that arose from business-to-business transactions rather than business-to-consumer transactions of subscription services. As such, subscription revenues should be converted from retail to trade value.

This alternate, apples-to-apples analysis reshapes the digital pecking order. Under this approach, subscription services accounted for about $286.7 million in wholesale revenue to record labels, an amount $100 million below SoundExchange distributions. Total wholesale subscription and streaming revenue grew $155.6 million to $836.6 million in this different accounting (is grew $193.7 million in the original accounting).

Growth in the number of paid subscribers was a disappointing 200,000, putting total paid subscriptions at 8.1 million during the period. (The RIAA provides the average number of subscribers for the six-month period. The subscriber count at the end of June was undoubtedly larger.) This gain is even more disappointing considering Spotify had offered three-month subscriptions for $1 in both November and May. But the improvement would have been better without the closing of Muve Music, to low-cost subscription service Deezer acquired from Cricket Wireless in January. But considering subscription revenue grew 24.9 while subscribers rose just 2.5 percent — meaning the average subscriber paid more — it appears many low-value Muve subscribers failed to migrate to Deezer

It should be noted that Apple Music did not impact these first-half digital numbers. Apple Music launched on June 30, the last day of this report's time period. And because Apple offered three-month free trials, people that signed up on the first day wouldn't have been counted anyway. But the free trials for these early adopters will lapse at the end of September. Source: Billboard

With just under 25,000 units sold in its first week of release, SCARFACE's new album Deeply Rooted is a Top Twenty (#11) selling CD in the country on Billboard's 200 Album Chart dated September 26, 2015. The album, released on Friday, September 4, garnered over one million streams via various digital outlets, contributing to its strong opening week.

Deeply Rooted, which marks SCARFACE's first new full-length project since 2008, also came into the top ten position on four separate charts. It currently sits at #2 on the Top Rap Albums chart; #3 on the Independent Albums chart; #3 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart; and #8 on the Digital Albums chart

The Hip Hop Hall of Fame Museum has formed a partnership with LiveNation to co-produce The Legends of The Fall 2 Hip Hop Hall of Fame Concert on October 2, 2015 at the Westbury Theater in Long Island, NY. The Concert will feature Legendary Hip Hop Artists EPMD, Rakim, Doug E. Fresh, Biz Markie, Onyx, Rob Base, Mr. Cheeks, Black Sheep and special guests.

As part of the Hip Hop Hall of Fame Museum's Educational Mission Hip Hop Legends will also participate in pre-show community outreach activities that will include visiting local schools and youth programs to speak with kids and young people encouraging them about the importance of getting a good education, and perfecting their crafts and skills by working hard to overcome the odds to achieve success in any chosen field or profession because #HipHopCares.

'These type of classic hip hop events are the very essence of the Hip Hop Hall of Fame + Museum, a beneficiary of the concert, to celebrate peace, love, unity, and having fun - the fundamental principles of Hip Hop Music & Culture,' stated co-producer JT Thompson, creator of the Hip Hop Hall of Fame Awards TV Show that aired on BET in the 1990s, and founder/chairman of the Hip Hop Hall of Fame Museum. Its Hip Hop Museum has pivoted to Harlem and will announce its location later this fall during Hall of Fame Awards Week in November, and plans to open its facility in 2016. It will feature a Hall of Fame, museum, restaurant, retail gift shop, arcade, TV studio, and concert lounge producing over 100 live events, concerts, and other various multi-media celebrity driven content per year for a hungry national and international audience.

The Hip Hop Hall of Fame and LiveNation have also entered discussions about expansion of these positive and highly entertaining concerts mixed with community outreach efforts nationally and internationally utilizing the Official Hip Hop Hall of Fame brand for a 20 City National Tour. Mayors have already expressed interest in the concert tour coming to their respective cities, as Classic Hip Hop Music now has its own formatted radio stations around the country. This tour would reach and entertain tens of thousands of loyal fans of all ages, and also serve thousands of local kids in disadvantaged communities with positive and uplifting education messages while also generating tens of millions of impressions from the events, press, national media, and the community & educational outreach activities for our corporate partners and sponsors.

In every tour city we will have Hip Hop Legends visit schools, youth organizations, and colleges & universities sitting on panel discussions talking about education, entrepreneurship, healthy lifestyles, fashion, urban community socio-economic empowerment, and hip hop music & culture history. The Hip Hop Hall of Fame would also have a traveling Hip Hop History Exhibit on display and also collect memorabilia from local hip hop artists & celebrities for its museum. The events will also provide some financial benefits for the local youth organizations in the cities on the tour.

Tyler, The Creator's 4th Annual Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival returns to Los Angeles on Saturday, November 14, 2015 at the The Park @ LA Coliseum. Tickets will go on sale Tuesday, September 15th at 12PM PST. The Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival is proud to announce headliner Snoop Dogg + Tha Dogg Pound, along with Tyler, The Creator, A$AP Rocky, Flosstradamus, Atmosphere, OFWGKTA, Mac Miller and Living Legends. Other artist performing include Jhene Aiko, YG, Danny Brown, TOKiMONSTA, Mr. Carmack, Trash Talk, The Internet, Low End Theory Residents, Willow Smith and more. This year's carnival will include custom rides, games, prizes, and food trucks, as well as multiple stages and a skatepark with live performances.

BET Networks announces its new original, one-hour docu-series featuring the careers and evolution of Beyonce, Chris Brown, Janet Jackson, Nicki Minaj and Trey Songz through BET’s camera lens including exclusive on-air interviews, phenomenal televised performances and unforgettable moments only captured by BET. Each episode also features commentary and one-on-one interviews with some of the industry’s most influential entertainers, television and movie stars, former BET hosts, music executives and the people who worked behind the scenes to create the featured artists best and most memorable on-air moments. “THE BET LIFE OF…” premieres Tuesday, September 8th at 9:00 P.M.

The premiere episode features international superstar Chris Brown and the evolution of the artist and performer we know him as today. From his humble beginnings as a young man from Virginia with hit song “Run It” to an international superstar performing a once-in-a-lifetime tribute to the late Michael Jackson to facing his fans in an exclusive 106&Park sit-down interview where he discussed his personal challenges, trials, and path to retribution as well as Chris Brown the “street art” artist, skilled basketball player and all-around extraordinary performer.

“BET is so fortunate to have been there since the beginning with these amazing artists. It’s been fun looking back at the early years of these superstars; many of whom have their very first look on BET. Through this show you’ll get nostalgic, but also realize the work, dedication and growth to today of your favorite performers.” - Stephen G. Hill, President of Programming.

The full season of “THE BET LIFE OF…” will feature the following (Schedule subject to change):

Chris Brown (Tuesday, September 8th at 9pm)
Trey Songz (Tuesday, September 15th at 9pm)
Nicki Minaj (Tuesday, September 22nd at 9pm)
Janet Jackson (Tuesday, September 29th at 9pm)
Beyonce (Tuesday, October 6th at 9pm)

The 19th Annual Urbanworld Film Festival, presented by BET Networks (BET) with founding sponsor HBO, today announced all of the films that will be showcased. The nation’s largest competitive multicultural film festival will screen over 80 films and will take place September 23-27, 2015 at Manhattan's AMC Empire 25 on 234 West 42nd Street.

ET’s Muhammad Ali: The People’s Champ will serve as the opening night film at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 23. The biographical tribute to the former heavyweight champion, directed and executive produced by Clarence “Coodie” Simmons and Chike Ozah, will connect the fighter’s boxing prowess as well as his social media activism, to the millennial audience to reveal Ali’s meaning in the world today. Premiering on BET Wednesday, September 23 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT, the special features exclusive interviews with family, friends and admirers including Muhammad Ali’s daughter and niece Laila Ali and Shaya Ali, LL Cool J, Ludacris, T.I., Nas, Mike Tyson, Sugar Ray Leonard, Ray Lewis, Tyrese, Rosie Perez, David Banner, Michael Eric Dyson, Billie Jean King, Walt Frazier, Jim Brown, Ronnie Essett, Sway Calloway, Wood Harris, Jeffrey T. Sammons, Godfrey C. Danchimah, Richard Sherman, J. Ivy and Common. A Q&A with filmmakers will follow.

"BET is honored to return as presenting sponsor of the 2015 Urbanworld Film Festival, an important platform for diverse content makers and film lovers alike," said Constance Orlando, Senior Vice President of Music, Specials and News for BET Networks. "We are also excited to launch BET's original news documentary series with the film, Muhammad Ali: The People’s Champ, during the festival's opening night."

A Ballerina's Tale will close the festival on Saturday, September 26 at 8:30pm. The film is an intimate look at a crucial period in the career of principal dancer Misty Copeland of American Ballet Theatre (ABT). It follows Misty from her triumphant lead performance in Igor Stravinsky's Firebird at New York's Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center through her painful injury and recovery that followed, to her return to ABT and subsequent pop cultural icon status. The documentary, directed by Nelson George, also examines issues of race and body image in the elite ballet world. Sundance Selects will release the film theatrically and on VOD on October 14. After the screening, there will be a Q&A with Copeland and George.

“With BET and HBO as our returning partners for the festival, we continue to highlight important stories that the world needs to see,” said Gabrielle Glore, Festival Director for Urbanworld Film Festival. “This year’s festival slate features a diverse collection of films representing culture from across the globe, allowing us to deliver Urbanworld's most internationally curated content to date. We are proud that Urbanworld continues to be 'THE' destination for both filmmakers, studios and networks to connect with multicultural audiences.”

In addition to BET Networks and HBO, the festival proudly partners with brands who are committed to Urbanworld’s mission. Comcast NBC Universal Telemundo and Time Warner serve as Premiere sponsors. Industry Circle sponsors include Fox Audience Strategy, Fox Global Directors Initiative, Interactive One, VH1, UMC, The Swirl Group, MoviePass, The Directors Guild of America, and AMC. Uptown, Hello Beautiful, Global Grind, NewsOne, TheUrbanDaily and Power 105 are media sponsors.


Muhammad Ali: The People’s Champ – Directed by Clarence “Coodie” Simmons & Chike Ozah (USA) - Presented by BET Networks

A Ballerina’s Tale – Directed by Nelson George (USA) - Presented by Sundance Selects

3 ½ Minutes, 10 Bullets – Directed by Marc Silver (USA) - Presented by HBO
Stretch & Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives - Directed by Bobbito Garcia (USA)
The Man In 3B - Directed by Trey Haley (USA) - East Coast Premiere

After School – Directed by Carlos Melendez & Mauricio Mendoza (USA) - New York Premiere
A Girl Like Grace – Directed by Ty Hodges (USA) - New York Premiere
Breaking Through – Directed by John Swetnam (USA) - US Premiere
Carmin Tropical – Directed by Rigoberto Perezcano (Mexico) - New York Premiere - Presented by NewFest in Partnership with Outfest
Chapter & Verse – Directed by Jamal Joseph (USA) - World Premiere
Flow – Directed by Fenar Ahmad (Denmark) - US Premiere
Honeytrap – Directed Rebecca Johnson (UK) - New York Premiere
Knucklehead – Directed by Ben Bowman (USA)
Last Night – Directed by Harold Jackson III (USA)
Pocha – Directed by Michael Dwyer (USA) - New York Premiere
Primero De Enero (January 1st) - Directed by Erika Bagnarello (Dominican Republic) - New York Premiere
Riding 79 – Directed by Karola Hawk Gonzalez (Puerto Rico) - New York Premiere
Somewhere In The Middle – Directed by Lanre Olabisi (USA) - New York Premiere
The Stockroom – Directed by Victor Cruz (USA) - World Premiere
The Two Of Us – Directed by Ernest Nkosi (South Africa) - New York Premiere

Anatomy of a Dress – Directed by Flora Pérez-Garay (Puerto Rico) - New York Premiere
Can You Dig This – Directed by Delila Vallot (USA) - New York Premiere
Dramatic Escape – Directed by Nick Quested (USA) - World Premiere
Hate Crimes in the Heartland – Directed by Rachel Lyon (USA)
In Football We Trust – Co-Directed by Tony Vainuku and Erika Cohn (USA) - New York Premiere
Romeo is Bleeding – Directed by Jason Zeldes (USA)
Tap World – Directed by Dean Hargrove (USA)
We Like It Like That – Directed by Mathew Ramirez Warren (USA) - New York Premiere

By Jamal Joseph: A Life Transformed by the Arts – Directed by Mike De Caro (USA) - World Premiere
Looking at the Stars – Directed by Alexandre Peralta (Brazil) - New York Premiere
Quest for Cuba: Questlove Brings the Funk to Havana – Directed by Jauretsi & Daniel Petruzzi (USA) - Presented by Okayplayer Films & Jill Newman Productions

#American – Directed by Nate Parker (USA) - New York Premiere
1440 & Counting – Directed by Tony Gapastione (USA) - New York Premiere
2nd Life – Directed by Jake Alexander McAfee (USA) - New York Premiere
Ackee & Saltfish – Directed by Cecile Meke (UK)
About That… – Directed by Damien Smith (USA) - New York Premiere
Amishi – Directed by Malinda Kaur (UK)
Ana – Directed by Renee Marie Petropoulos (USA) - New York Premiere
Bad Hunter – Directed by Sahim Omar Kalifa (Belgium) - New York Premiere
Beyond The Passage – Directed by Terrence Jones (USA) - New York Premiere
Blackcard – Directed by Pete Chatmon (USA)
Boxed In – Directed by Tasha Smith (USA) - New York Premiere
Charlotte – Directed by Angel Kristi Williams (USA) - New York Premiere
Clean – Directed by Gabriel Wilson (USA) - World Premiere
Debt to Society – Directed by Tristan Daley (USA) - New York Premiere
Dream – Directed by Nijla Mu’min (USA) - New York Premiere
Dubois – Directed by Kaz Ové (Trinidad & Tobago) - New York Premiere
Fanta Face – Directed by Yaa Boaa Aning (USA) - World Premiere
Forgiving Chris Brown – Directed by Marquette Jones (USA) - World Premiere
Gang – Directed by Clayton Vomero (USA) - US Premiere
Human Behavior – Directed by Carey Williams - New York Premiere
In the Clouds – Directed by Marcelo Mitnik (Argentina) - New York Premiere
King of Guangzhou – Directed by Quester Hannah (China)
Late Expectations – Directed by Laurie Arakaki (USA) - World Premiere
Lia – Directed by Ethosheia Hylton (UK) - World Premiere
Love for Passion – Directed by Nathan Hale Williams (USA)
Mandala – Directed by Guan Xi (China) - New York Premiere
Marianne – Directed by Tomisin Adepeju (UK) - New York Premiere
Only Light – Directed by Evita Castine (USA)
Roubado – Directed by Erica A. Watson (USA) - New York Premiere
Since I Laid Eyes – Directed by Adel Morales
South Arcadia Street – Directed by Melanie D'Andrea (USA) - New York Premiere
Standing8 – Directed by Michael Molina Minard (USA)
Stanhope – Directed by Solvan Naim (USA) - New York Premiere
Stomach – Directed by Javier Kühn (UK/Spain) - World Premiere
Taking Chance – Directed by Jerry Lamothe (USA) - World Premiere
Tap Shoes & Violins – Directed by Dax Brooks (USA) - New York Premiere
The Call – Directed by Zamo Mkhwanazi (USA) - New York Premiere
The Cycle – Directed by Michael Marantz (USA) - New York Premiere
The Loyalist – Directed by Minji Kang (South Korea)
The Reunion – Directed by Carmen Elly Wilkerson (USA) - New York Premiere
The Trade – Directed by Michael A. Pinckney (USA) - World Premiere
The Trophy Thief – Directed by Dave Edwardz (USA) - New York Premiere
The Walk – Directed by Alonso Alvarez Barreda (Mexico) - New York Premiere
The Waltz – Directed by Trevor Zhou (USA) - World Premiere
Times of Competition – Directed by Toti Loureiro & Ruy Prado (Brazil) - New York Premiere
Tough – Directed by Alfonso Johnson (USA) - New York Premiere
Wait Till the Wolves Make Nice – Directed by Jess dela Merced (USA) - New York Premiere
Wayward – Directed by Kira Richards Hansen (Denmark) - New York Premiere
Welcoming Arms – Directed by Roseanne Ma (USA) - New York Premiere
When Fragile Things Break – Directed by Shanika Warren-Markland (USA) - New York Premiere

British Walker presents its first celebrity birthday bash for Hip Hop Legend Dana Dane September 1, 2015 at a private location in the downtown area. The Hip Hop alumnus will celebrate his 50th birthday and 30-year anniversary as a pioneer who has made groundbreaking music in Hip Hop. Hosted by comedian/actor Tony Rock of Russell Simmon's weekly All Def Digital Comedy Live Show and The Big Leaf (a new TV One series), with music provided by EPMD's own, the world-renowned DJ Scratch, ensures the night will be a memorable experience for partygoers. The star-studded birthday soiree expects attendance from Neyo, Faith Evans, Slick Rick, Keith Robinson, Kwame, Special Ed, Kool Moe Dee and more close friends to usher in the special occasion being touted as simply, Dana Dane's 50/30.

"I'm excited to celebrate two great milestones on this special night," Dana said. "I'll be among family and friends who have loved and supported me over the years in this thing called Hip Hop."

Dana Dane emerged on the scene during The Golden Era of Hip Hop, solidifying his career as a rapper with his classic debut album the RIAA-certified gold "Dana Dane with Fame" in 1987. The Brooklyn-native, with his diverse style, has also rapped in tandem with Slick Rick in a group they called the Kango Crew. In the world of beats and rhymes, Dana Dane is regarded as the quintessential storyteller and a fashion influencer. In his signature Kangol cap and Bally shoes, Dana singlehandedly brought awareness to luxury brands during one of the most innovative epochs in the genre.

"I have always mixed high-end fashion with thrifty attire to create what I call my GQ B-Boy fashion sense," Dana added.

Dana, a recognizable voice for six years on Sirius XM's Backspin, has continued to stay fresh in the entertainment business with his creativity and flexibility. The newest business venture carrying Dana Dane into the new millennium includes Def Beat Entertainment, launched in 2003 as a multi-media company specializing in publishing, screenwriting, film producing and of course, music. Dana currently lives in Los Angeles where he continues to spearhead and collaborate on new projects with his son, Young Dane, a promising new artist who combines Hip Hop with R&B. Additionally, Dana Dane can be seen partnering with his wife, Tana, on their new web-based relationship show, affectionately known as "Dana Says/Tana Says," with episodes showing on his YouTube channel: youtube.com/danadanemedia. "This is the real love and Hip Hop," stated Dana Dane. "We discuss life issues as a couple in our unique and entertaining manner."

Kanye West has created some of the most memorable and spectacular moments in MTV VMAs history, and at the 2015 show, he will be presented with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award.

In a statement, MTV said of the decision to award West, “Throughout his career, West has blended musical and visual artistry to powerful effect. From his trilogy of videos for “Jesus Walks,” to the mind-bending animation of “Heartless,” to the arresting imagery of “Bound 2,” he’s pushed boundaries and delivered something new with every successive video.”

Yeezus has more than earned this honor, after years of releasing groundbreaking music and accompanying videos that have always pushed the envelope. From “Through the Wire,” to “Runaway” and “Bound 2,” his creative depths have never ceased to amaze us, and some could argue that his videos are complete masterpieces in their own right.

He’s even brought several of his creations to life at the VMAs over the past decade, with seven visually dazzling performances to date.

From his 2004 performance of “Jesus Walks/All Falls Down/Through The Wire,” to “Otis” with Jay Z in 2011 and 2013’s blacked-out rendition of “Blood on the Leaves,” the multi-talented rapper/producer always has a few tricks up his sleeve.

West joins the likes of past winners like Beyonce, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Peter Gabriel, Britney Spears, and Justin Timberlake in accepting the award. Source: Mtv


On the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart dated Sept. 5, N.W.A notches its first top 40 hit, as “Straight Outta Compton” debuts at No. 38 (the survey's highest debut of the week). It’s not only the first top 40 hit for the act, but its first Hot 100 entry ever. Although first released in 1988, “Compton” is allowed to enter this week's Hot 100, as older songs are eligible to chart if ranking in the top 50 and showing notable gains in sales, streaming and/or airplay.

The bow is spurred by publicity generated by the hit film of the same name, which bowed in theaters on Aug. 14 and has earned $111.1 million at the U.S. and Canada box office through Aug. 23. The song sold 35,000 downloads in the week ending Aug. 20 (up 127 percent compared to the previous week) and tallied 5.7 million domestic streams (up 123 percent), according to Nielsen Music.

The track also debuts at No. 7 on Rap Streaming Songs, No. 9 on Hot Rap Songs, No. 11 on R&B/Hip-Hop Streaming Songs, No. 13 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and No. 20 on the overall Streaming Songs chart.

On Hot Rap Songs and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, N.W.A also collects a debut with “F**k Tha Police” (also released in 1988), which bows at Nos. 20 and 25 on the lists, respectively.

N.W.A member Eazy-E also scores his third Hot 100 hit, as “Boyz-N-The-Hood” (from 1987) debuts at No. 50. It also launches at No. 14 on Hot Rap Songs and No. 18 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. It immediately becomes Eazy’s highest-charting single on the latter tally, surpassing the No. 30 peak of “Just Tah Let U Know” in 1995.

In terms of albums, N.W.A-related titles occupy 10 slots on the Billboard 200 chart, led by the group’s Dr. Dre at No. 3 with his new set Compton. Right behind him at No. 4 is N.W.A’s own Straight Outta Compton, which flies 30-4 (a new peak).

Eazy-E’s Eazy-Duz-It reenters at No. 32, Dr. Dre’s The Chronic rises 75-38, Dre’s Dr. Dre — 2001 moves 62-55, N.W.A’s Greatest Hits returns at No. 93, the group’s Ice Cube reenters at No. 99 with Death Certificate and at No. 118 with Greatest Hits, N.W.A’s The Best of N.W.A: The Strength of Street Knowledge also climbs back on at No. 119. Ice Cube’s 1990 album Amerikkka’s Most Wanted rounds out the N.W.A parade at No. 150, as it returns to the tally.

In total for the week ending Aug. 20, N.W.A’s album sales grew 234 percent to 47,000, while its song downloads soared 208 percent to 95,000. In terms of streams, the group collected 14.6 million clicks for the week (up 114 percent). Source: Billboard

Following the recent announcement of his new album GO:OD AM, Mac Miller is back today to announce The GO:OD AM Tour. The tour commences immediately after the close of his run of record release shows, seeing Mac play 55 cities across North America from early October through the close of 2015.

The tour features a handful of exciting openers along the way; Tory Lanez, Goldlink, Domo Genesis, EarthGang, Michael Christmas and Alexander Spit

Tour Dates:
10/06 @ Water Street Music Hall – Rochester, NY
10/07 @ Town Ballroom – Buffalo, NY
10/09 @ House Of Blues – Cleveland, OH
10/10 @ Bogart’s – Cincinnati, OH
10/11 @ The LC Indoor Pavilion – Columbus, OH
10/13 @ The Intersection – Grand Rapids, MI
10/14 @ The Fillmore – Detroit, MI
10/15 @ Marathon Music Works – Nashville, TN
10/17 @ Orpheum Theater – Madison, WI
10/18 @ Mill City Nights – Minneapolis, MN
10/20 @ The Pageant – St. Lous, MO
10/21 @ Egyptian Room – Indianapolis, IN
10/23 @ Minglewood Hall – Memphis, TN
10/24 @ Mercury Ballroom – Louisville, KY
10/26 @ The Lyric Oxford – Oxford, MS
10/27 @ Cain’s Ballroom – Tulsa, OK
10/28 @ Diamond Ballroom – Oklahoma City, OK
10/30 @ The Cotillion Ballroom – Wichita, KS
10/31 @ Red Rocks Amphitheater – Morrison, CO
11/1 @ Freaky Deaky – Chicago, IL
11/2 @ The Complex – Salt Lake City, UT
11/4 @ Revolution Center – Boise, ID
11/6 @ McDonald Theater – Eugene, OR
11/7 @ Knitting Factory – Spokane, WA
11/8 @ Vogue Theater – Vancouver, BC
11/9 @ Showbox Sodo – Seattle, WA
11/11 @ Roseland Theater – Portland, OR
11/12 @ Knitting Factory – Reno, NV
11/13 @ The Catalyst – Santa Cruz, CA
11/14 @ Odd Future Carnival – Los Angeles, CA
11/17 @ Brooklyn Bowl – Las Vegas, NV
11/18 @ House Of Blues – San Diego, CA
11/20 @ Rialto Theater – Tucson, AZ
11/21 @ The Marquee – Tempe, AZ
11/23 @ Emo’s – Austin, TX
11/24 @ Alamo City Music Hall – San Antonio, TX
11/25 @ Bomb Factory – Dallas, TX
11/27 @ Warehouse Live Ballroom – Houston, TX
11/28 @ Joy Theater – New Orleans, LA
11/29 @ Tabernacle – Atlanta, GA
12/1 @ The Ritz – Tampa FL
12/2 @ Florida Theater – Jacksonville, FL
12/4 @ The Fillmore Miami Beach – Miami, FL
12/5 @ Hard Rock Live – Orlando, FL
12/7 @ The Orange Peel – Asheville, NC
12/8 @ The Fillmore – Charlotte, NC
12/10 @ The National – Richmond, VA
12/11 @ NORVA – Norfolk, VA
12/12 @ The Fillmore – Philadelphia, PA
12/13 @ The Fillmore – Silver Spring, MD
12/15 @ The Paramount – Huntington, NY
12/16 @ Terminal 5 – New York, NY
12/17 @ House Of Blues – Boston, MA
12/18 @ Sherman Theater – Stroudsburg, PA
12/20 @ Sound Academy – Toronto, ON

Lil Wayne and chart-topping singer/songwriter/producer Charlie Puth have teamed up to release their official video for "Nothing But Trouble," the first single found on the 808 film soundtrack. The soundtrack accompanies a forthcoming acclaimed documentary chronicling the secret history of the Roland TR-808 drum machine from You Know Films, in association with Atlantic Films.

In the video, Charlie Puth croons from a piano while lamenting his troubles with Instagram models while Lil Wayne trades verses. But what you see in the video isn't always what it appears, with the models turning into cardboard cut-outs, or maybe even a figment of their imagination? The video explores the notion of people putting up a facade on social media, and manages to do so with style.
"Nothing But Trouble" marks the first single from Big Beat Records' hugely anticipated soundtrack for 808, the landmark documentary chronicling the incredible story of the influential Roland TR-808 drum machine. The comprehensive soundtrack companion, slated to arrive later this year in conjunction with the film's official release, gathers an array of era-spanning tracks born of and inspired by the 808, including 1982's world-changing "Planet Rock" by Afrika Bambaataa & The Soulsonic Force, which will be accompanied by a brand-new remix package featuring interpretations by some of today's brightest and most forward-thinking producers.

Chief Keef's salute to his late cousin, 'Ain't Missing You', is climbing charts and positioned at #4 on iTunes' Hip Hop singles list. The John Waite-interpolating track is the first single from the rapper's long-delayed 'Bang 3' mixtape featuring Jenn Em on vocals and was co-produced by the Animaniacs (Guido + B. Howard).

In a tribute to Keef's cousin Mario "Big Glo" Hess, who was shot and killed in 2014, the single uses the opportunity to criticize Chicago's violence. Howard, who spent a significant part of his childhood in Chicago and considers the city his 2nd home, stated, "Working with Chief Keef on this particular song was an interesting process because this man (formerly known for violence) seems to be making a change in himself and for others around him and that's something anyone can respect. That's what I am about. A new positivity radiated from him in this song through the message and I'm glad to have been a part of that process."

Howard is set to release a new single "DSYLM," off his highly-anticipated sophomore album later this month.

Universal has yet to officially report, but early morning estimates show that Straight Outta Compton had more platinum in it this weekend than we originally thought with close to $60.5M. That now means the F. Gary Gray film is the fifth-Straight Outta Compton highest August opener, slotting above M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs ($60.1M). Compton‘s weekend also outstrips the first weekends of such summer tentpoles Ant-Man ($57.2M) and Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation ($55.5M) which were playing in close to 1,200 fewer venues than the N.W.A. biopic’s 2,757 theater count. Industry estimates originally figured that Compton would be off 20% from its Saturday B.O. of $19.4M, however it only slipped 13% yesterday, raking in $16.8M. As reported yesterday, Compton reps record openings for F. Gary Gray and producers Ice Cube, Will Packer and Scott Bernstein. Legendary co-financed Compton which carries an estimated cost of $29M before distribution and marketing expenses. UTA packaged Compton with its clients Gray, Ice Cube, Packer, producer Matt Alvarez; thesps Paul Giamatti, Jason Mitchell, O’Shea Jackson Jr. and DP Matthew Libatique. Disney Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy owns the title as the biggest August opener of all-time with $94.3M.

Compton’s first weekend is also the best ever for a musical biopic. Many are saying Compton‘s opening beats Fox’s Johnny Cash bio Walk the Line which made $22.3M. I’m of the mindset that Compton bested the first frame of Universal’s 2002 Eminem hip hop headliner 8 Mile ($51.2M). As pointed out by critics at the time, 8 Mile was arguably a semi-biopic as Eminem played a white Detroit rapper with a similar storyline to his own. Compton also marked record openings for director F. Gary Gray, and producers Ice Cube, Scott Bernstein and Will Packer.

Compton’s success can be attributed to, among other things, a synergistic marketing campaign driven by social media (where Universal has just been kicking ass this year) and the recording industry, with producer Dr. Dre’s Beats, Interscope music, Apple and Uni as big players. Heading into the weekend, Dr. Dre’s companion album “Compton” sold 258K copies, the second highest on the charts last week.

Beams Universal domestic distribution chief Nicholas Carpou about Compton’s success, “F. Gary Gray, Ice Cube and Dr. Dre have delivered an extraordinary film that records an important piece of American culture. It stands on its own from a historical standpoint. As the summer box office heads into August, and a fatigue sets in for certain types of tentpole films, audiences look for thought-provoking titles like Straight Outta Compton.”

It’s no surprise to hear that Compton played big on the west coast, particularly in Los Angeles where that market owns nine out of the top 10 grossing engagements for the film. Compton also overindexed in a slew of cities including, but not limited to Jackson, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Fresno, Atlanta, Baltimore, Palm Springs, and Detroit.

Both males (59%) and females (41%) gave Compton an A. 68% were 25 and up and they gave the film an A. The following demos gave Compton an A+: under 25 (32%), 18-24 (19%) and under 18 (13%). The demo breakdown for Compton’s audience was as follows: 46% African American, 23% Caucasian, 21% Hispanic and 4% Asian.

Compton’s premium large-format screens numbering 323 grossed $5.1 million, which repped close to 9% of the pic’s weekend. Cinemark XD led all exhibitors with a chart topping $1.8 million in 94 runs representing a sensational 35% of the total PLF gross. Source: Deadline

Welcome to Death Row" Scheduled for Re-Release on Movies On Demand on Cable, Through Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, Bright House Networks, RCN, Midcontinent Communications and Many More, on August 11th

"Welcome to Death Row," which originally premiered in September 2001, was the first to tell the story of N.W.A., Ruthless Records and the birth of Death Row Records. This film is a gritty insider's look into the lives of the gang members who took street music to the mainstream – and brought violence, sex and money with it.

Directed by S. Leigh Savidge and produced by Steve Housden & Jeff Scheftel, "Welcome to Death Row" details the rise and the fall of the original gangster rap label Death Row Records. The movie begins with the story of the founding members and artists including Suge Knight, Eazy E., Ice Cube and Dr. Dre, and their involvement with the creation of Death Row Records in the wake of Suge Knight's coercive removal of Dr. Dre from NWA. Combining old school street mentality and keen business sense, Death Row Records strong-armed their way to success.

"Welcome to Death Row" covers musical milestones including Dr. Dre's The Chronic and Snoop Dogg's Doggystyle albums, Tupac Shakur's triumphant involvement and lesser-known relationships with artists like MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice.

The story and life of Death Row comes to an end as personal rivalries, greed, violence, government scrutiny and ultimately the murder of Tupac, cause the company to implode faster than its unprecedented rise.

"Much of the core urban music demographic was barely out of grade school when 'Welcome to Death Row' was released. By making this iconic movie available to watch on demand on cable, we're enabling rap fans to see the unbiased documentary revealing the real story, before heading to the theaters to see 'Straight Outta Compton," said Steve Karel, president of Stonecutter Media, Ltd., the VOD distributor of "Welcome to Death Row."

The start of the highly-anticipated Call of Duty®: Black Ops III multiplayer beta is quickly approaching. Fans can gear up to head into battle starting next week on PS4, Treyarch and Activision will release new information regarding the content that will be available in the beta, including maps, modes, Specialists and more. For a detailed breakdown, please visit https://community.treyarch.com

The beta will begin on August 19 for PlayStation 4 owners and on August 26 for Xbox One and PC owners.

BET Networks and AEG have slated June 23-26 as the dates for the 2016 BET Experience at L.A. Live presented by Coca-Cola. Earlier this summer, the parties extended their partnership for three years with the BET Experience now running through 2018.

Marking the festival’s third year, the 2015 BET Experience (June 25-28) drew 152,500 visitors -- a 36 percent increase from 2014. The four-day event featured Staples Center concerts headlined by Kevin Hart, Nicki Minaj, Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube and N.W.A, in addition to late-night shows at Club Nokia, seminars and a celebrity basketball game. Capping the weekend: the 15th annual BET Awards at the Microsoft Theater. Highlights included special tributes honoring Janet Jackson, Smokey Robinson and Bad Boy Records’ 20th anniversary. Source: Billboard

Dr. Dre's first new album in 16 years will make its debut on Apple Music's Beats 1 radio, the company announced Tuesday afternoon (Aug. 4).

Compton: A Soundtrack will stream exclusively on Apple Music from 6 to 9 p.m. PT on Thursday prior to the album's wide release on Friday. The legendary producer said on his Beats 1 show last week: "The album is going to be my grand finale."

Track list :
1. “Intro”
2. “Talk About It” (Feat. King Mez & Justus)
3. “Genocide” (Feat. Kendrick Lamar, Marsha Ambrosius & Candice Pillay)
4. “It’s All On Me” (Feat. Justus & BJ the Chicago Kid)
5. “All In a Day’s Work” (Feat. Anderson Paak & Marsha Ambrosius)
6. “Darkside/Gone” (Feat. King Mez, Marsha Ambrosius & Kendrick Lamar)
7. “Loose Cannons” (Feat. Xzibit & COLD 187um)
8. “Issues” (Feat. Ice Cube & Anderson Paak)
9. “Deep Water” (Feat. Kendrick Lamar & Justus)
10. “One Shot One Kill” – Jon Connor (Feat. Snoop Dogg)
11. “Just Another Day” – The Game (Feat. Asia Bryant)
12. “For the Love of Money” (Feat. Jill Scott & Jon Connor)
13. “Satisfiction” (Feat. Snoop Dogg, Marsha Ambrosius & King Mez)
14. “Animals” (Feat. Anderson Paak)
15. “Medicine Man” (Feat. Eminem, Candice Pillay & Anderson Paak)
16. “Talking to My Diary”

AfterMaster Audio Labs, Inc., a subsidiary of Studio One Media Inc. (OTCQB: SOMD), an industry leading audio technology company based in Hollywood, CA, announces today that renowned entrepreneur, music mogul and multiple Grammy Award winning producer, Rodney Jerkins has joined the company as Co-Owner and senior member of the executive team. With the addition of Jerkins to their executive roster, AfterMaster has truly created an industry dream team alongside Co-Owners and music industry's elite--multi-platinum recording artist Justin Timberlake and world-class producers and sound veterans Larry Ryckman and Shelly Yakus. With his vast rolodex and incredible detail to sound, Jerkins brings a wealth of experience to the AfterMaster team.

Known around the globe as one of the most influential producers, songwriters and musicians in the history of popular music, Jerkins has worked with the likes of Sam Smith, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, and many more. Recognizing AfterMaster's unique technology and impact on audio, Jerkins was the first music producer to use AfterMaster in a major music production with Janet Jackson's single "Make Me". A true entrepreneur, Jerkins' executive role and ownership stake in the company is a testament to AfterMaster's groundbreaking sound quality and mission to change the listening experience for the next generation of listeners and artists alike.

"I have worked with the AfterMaster team since its inception as a member on the advisory board," explains Rodney Jerkins. "When Larry Ryckman (AfterMaster, CEO) introduced me to AfterMaster and its unparalleled sound quality, I knew I had to be a part of such a groundbreaking company. I'm looking forward to taking on a much bigger role and working alongside an elite group of talented individuals as we redefine sound for the masses."

Made for real-time mastering, re-mastering and audio processing, AfterMaster offers an unrivaled state of the art technology, which dramatically enhances the quality of any audio event and delivers an experience that eclipses studio-produced sound. AfterMaster audio technology offers a significant increase in loudness, clarity, depth and fullness, producing a caliber of audio never before available to consumers.

"We are thrilled to officially have Rodney join our executive team and become a Co-Owner," says Larry Ryckman, Co-Founder and CEO of AfterMaster. "Rodney has been an instrumental part of the AfterMaster team from its early stages. His knowledge and understanding to sound and how it relates to consumers is beyond exceptional and is a huge asset to AfterMaster's dream team of sound professionals."

AfterMaster recently announced a multi-year partnership agreement with ON Semiconductor (NASDAQ: ONNN), a global designer and manufacturer of semiconductor chips. ON Semiconductor will rollout its first AfterMaster encoded consumer electronic semiconductor chip in Spring 2016. Together, AfterMaster and ON have created the new BelaSigna 300 AM Digital Signal Processing (DSP) chip embedded with AfterMaster technology, a ground-breaking audio solution that will dramatically enhance the listening experience on any consumer device.

ole, the world's fastest growing independent rights management company, has expanded its deal with renowned GRAMMY Award-winning super-producer, songwriter, and solo artist Timbaland from administration to a worldwide co-publishing agreement. Timbaland and ole began working together in 2012, and the relationship has progressively expanded to include not only Tim's ever-growing catalog of hits but also an expanding roster of new songwriting talent through the ole-Bluestone publishing co-venture.

The co-venture was launched in 2013 to discover and develop new songwriters. So far, the partnership has signed rapper and songwriter Garland "Sebastian" Mosley, who shares co-writing credits on Justin Timberlake's hit track "Mirrors," and David Bratton, the songwriter behind the 2014 gospel hit "Every Praise," as well as alternative rock band OK Mayday, hip-hop/R&B producer/songwriter Maurice "Velly" Conaway, and rapper Justin "Capo" Andrews.

Timbaland has three GRAMMY Awards to his credit, including Best R&B Song two years running for Beyoncé's "Drunk in Love" featuring Jay Z and Justin Timberlake's "Pusher Love Girl," as well as multiple recent ASCAP awards, including the 2015 ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Songwriter of the Year Award with co-writes on Beyoncé's smashes "Drunk in Love" and "Partition" as well as Jay Z featuring Beyoncé's "Part II (On the Run)," and Jay Z's "Tom Ford." While Timbaland has never been more in demand as a producer, writer, and artist with multiple collaborations and a new solo album about to pop, he has also expanded his focus in the past year to take on the role of Executive Music Producer of the hit FOX-TV show Empire.

"Timbaland has influenced and shaped an entire era of music, and we welcome this expansion of our successful relationship," said Robert Ott, Chairman and CEO of ole. "From both a music and business vantage point, we look forward to growing with him. We will work to bring Timbaland's music to an even wider audience while helping to develop the writers and artists he discovers via our ole-Bluestone venture."

"ole has been great to work with, and it only made sense to further our partnership," said Timbaland.

Timbaland first made his mark on the music industry in the 1990s, working on the massively successful and influential albums Ginuwine…The Bachelor by Ginuwine, One in a Million by Aaliyah, and Supa Dupa Fly by Missy Elliott. He has since produced a long line of A-List artists, including Beyoncé, Drake, Usher, Jay Z, Nas, Eminem, Ludacris, Snoop Dogg, Nelly Furtado, Fabolous, Petey Pablo, Limp Bizkit, No Doubt, Justin Timberlake, Alicia Keys, Cee Lo Green, Jennifer Lopez, The Black Eyed Peas, The Pussycat Dolls, Jamie Foxx, Diddy, Rihanna, 50 Cent, Kanye West, OneRepublic, Flo Rida, Madonna, New Kids on the Block, Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, and Lil Wayne, among many others. He currently serves as Executive Music Producer for the hit FOX television series Empire.

As a solo artist, Timbaland reached the Top 5 of the Billboard 200 chart with his Platinum-selling album Shock Value, which included the Billboard Hot 100 chart-topper "Give It to Me" featuring Nelly Furtado and Justin Timberlake as well as "Apologize (Remix)" featuring OneRepublic and "The Way I Are" featuring Keri Hilson, which reached #2 and #3 on the chart, respectively. His followup, Shock Value II, featured three Top 40 singles. His next album, Opera Noir, is slated for release in 2015.

Over a year ago, RED Distribution teamed up with some of its premiere label partners and artists to create and launch Ten Bands One Cause, a program that involved the creation of limited pink vinyl for ten different releases.

The program coincided with National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October). It raised nearly $30,000 for Gilda's Club NYC, an innovative cancer support organization founded in 1995 by psychotherapist Joanna Bull, Gene Wilder, Mandy Patinkin, Joel Siegel, and other generous individuals, in memory of SNL vet/actor/comedienne, Gilda Radner, who passed away in 1989 from cancer.

On September 29th, RED is set to release its second annual run of limited edition copies of pink vinyl from Run The Jewels, Sturgill Simpson, Ingrid Michaelson, Joey Bada$$, Between The Burried and Me, Chet Faker, Clutch, Al Green, Pierce The Veil, and Primus. The releases will be available for purchase at retailers nationwide wherever vinyl is sold, and proceeds will sponsor Gilda's Club NYC.

Says Ingrid Michaelson of the project, "I lost my mother to cancer last year and want to do all I can do to help those affected by this cruel disease. I am honored to be a part of 10 bands One Cause benefiting Gilda's Club NYC."

Adds JP from Clutch,"Breast cancer is something that effects each one of us. We are honored to lend our support to Gilda's Club NYC and their mission to support, empower, educate cancer patients and their families."

Gilda's Club NYC's mission is to provide welcoming communities for women and men who are diagnosed with cancer, their caregivers or for those who have lost someone to cancer. Their innovative program is an essential complement to medical care, providing networking and support groups, educational lectures, workshops and social activities, all free of charge. A cancer diagnosis can be an extremely isolating experience, which triggers many emotions including fear, anger, depression and an overwhelming sense of helplessness. Gilda's Club NYC believes no one should face cancer alone.

Quote from Lily Safani, CEO, Gilda's Club NYC

"When someone gets diagnosed with cancer it impacts everyone who is close to them - in many different ways. The daily routine of life now includes doctors' visits, weekly treatments and unprecedented medical expenses. The new "routine" is difficult to manage and navigate alone. But at Gilda's Club NYC, we help cancer patients and their families learn how to live with a cancer diagnosis - through our support groups, educational lectures, and classes. It's important to know you aren't alone and at Gilda's Club, you never are."

One of the world’s leading multi-platform networks BroadbandTV (BBTV) and BMG, the world’s biggest integrated music publishing and recordings company, today announced a comprehensive and technologically-advanced alliance designed to accelerate the careers of emerging music artists.

This joint venture, branded Windfall, is a model set for the digital age, providing an end-to-end solution to find, develop, and service artists across all platforms. Artists will benefit from BMG’s expertise, spanning music publishing, rights management, promotion and distribution along with BBTV’s full suite of online video services and solutions including production, premium channel and fan uploaded content management, technology, distribution, and monetization.

BBTV is one of the leading music players in the space, reaching billions of monthly views and its music network has grown by 62% in the last quarter. BBTV operates two of the largest music networks on YouTube: Opposition, the number one hip-hop music network in the world with major artists such as Logic, Father and Yung Simmie; and WIMSIC, the number one Electronic Dance Music (EDM) network backed by artists such as Major Lazer, Dillon Francis and Will Sparks.

“This deal is another shining example of our commitment in advancing the online video ecosystem, and is an exciting addition to our growing portfolio of services,” said Shahrzad Rafati, Founder & CEO, BroadbandTV. “The launch of Windfall supports our goal to more than double the size of our music network over the next 12 months. Not only does this partnership with BMG break new ground in expanding the relationship between artists and labels, it’s a big step forward in the music industry as a whole where online video has become such a massive strategic component to engage with fans. With Windfall, we’re not just creating music stars, but media stars.”

BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch said, “For many artists and music fans, music is now an audio-visual art-form. With online video emerging as a breeding ground for new talent, our partnership with BroadbandTV brings an innovative new offering to the market, creating an artist-friendly suite of online video services which we believe will be a game-changer.”

In addition to operating two highly successful music brands and communities, BBTV also operates a suite of premium brands including: TGN, the most engaged gaming network on YouTube; HooplaKidz, the leading kids and family network; and Outspeak, the next-generation citizen journalism network in partnership with The Huffington Post.

BBTV remains the fastest growing multi-platform network in the world. Since September 2013, BBTV network views have grown by more than 430 percent to over 5 billion and the number of partners on its network has more than tripled to 36,000, across a variety of verticals including gaming, music, lifestyle, entertainment, kids & family and news. Artists of Windfall will benefit from BBTV’s suite of technology including VISO NOVI for rights management and VISO Catalyst, BBTV’s audience development platform.

Laurent Hubert, President, Creative & Marketing of BMG US, said, “The combined expertise and innovative technology of BroadbandTV and BMG offers a dream team for artists to help them achieve their full potential."

The inaugural Bay Area Vibez music festival announced more artists for its multi-stage, 2-day music, arts and urban lifestyle festival being held at Middle Harbor Shoreline Park in Oakland, California on Saturday, September 26 and Sunday, September 27, with more than 25 artists to represent the line-up. The festival was created in celebration of music, art, diversity and the rich culture that mirrors the Bay Area and its unique characteristics.

New artists added to the existing lineup include, multi-platinum selling producer and DJ, Bassnectar, DJ/Producer Paper Diamond, hip-hop legends - The Grouch & Eligh, Cut Chemist, Z Trip, Mod Sun, Jemere Morgan, Skip Marley and Alex Kane. The first round announcement included; Grammy© winning artist, Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley, Nas, who has a #1 album on American Billboard top 200, eight time Grammy© winning artist/producer, Stephen "Ragga" Marley, Meshell Ndegeocello, Morgan Heritage, Tarrus Riley, Fishbone, Richie Spice, Fiji, I-Wayne, Jo Mersa, Krooked Treez, Black Am-I, The Courtney John Project, Forrest Day, I-Live and Queen Omega. The complete lineup will embody a melting pot of diverse talent that will emulate the Bay Area vibe. More artists will be announced in mid August.

Additional features of the festival are a silent disco; lead by respected DJ's, on-stage live art, VIP experience availability, local artisans, authentic eats reflective of the area, as well as regional craft brew and wine gardens. The producers, Tourn Entertainment look forward to boosting the local economy, while benefiting various youth music charities.

Public Enemy will release an all-new album, Man Plans, God Laughs, on July 15th via its own digital music store at RCS Music and exclusively through Spotify (through July 27th).

The long-awaited new record from hip-hop icons and champions of change will also be available in CD and vinyl formats and on digital from all other major retailers on July 27th. In an interview with Maxim, PE frontman Chuck D called Man Plans, God Laughs a "commentary on the 21st century in this technological - yet highly political - world” and revealed that the sounds on the album’s title track were inspired by the recent work of Run The Jewels, Kendrick Lamar and Kanye West. He later described to Ebony how seriously he took his role as a hip hop pioneer when recording MPGL by saying, “If I’m going to be looked upon as somebody that is an elder, I got to say things that stick and count. Make sure your words drop like cinder blocks.” Thousands of fans throughout the world will be the first to hear several new songs from MPGL when they make their debut during Public Enemy’s summer festival tour.

Man Plans, God Laughs was created as a reminder that, according to Chuck D, “once we win one victory, another battle develops.” The album is driven by anthems that echo Public Enemy’s longstanding calls to break down institutional blockades and stand up for the rights of the oppressed, imploring listeners to “Give Peace A Damn” while name checking Charles Mingus, work together as one in “Earthizen” (with a bit of brilliant wordplay, declaring “The earth without art is just, eh”) and see each other as one on “Me To We” (featuring turntable scratching from the group’s original DJ, Terminator X). Chuck D’s lyrics blend powerfully with the raw poetry of longtime S1W James Bomb who recounts the group’s emotional journey to South Africa on “Mine Again, one of the most moving tracks on MPGL.

Fueled by Chuck D’s fierce vocals and Flavor Flav’s euphoric delivery set to unrelenting beats and ingenious use of samples, Public Enemy burst on the music scene in 1987 as hip-hop heroes and sonic revolutionaries. Their debut record, Yo! Bum Rush The Show, “heralded hip-hop’s great leap forward” according to The New York Times. Their sophomore effort, 1988’s It Takes a Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back, was added it to The New York Times’ list of 25 Most Significant Albums of the Last Century. 1990’s Fear of a Black Planet featured Public Enemy’s signature song, “Fight The Power,” used by Spike Lee in his film Do The Right Thing. 1991’s Apocalypse 91…The Enemy Strikes Black went platinum. By 1999, Public Enemy’s stance in the controversial Napster debate made Chuck D the voice of the digital music cause. In 2013, Public Enemy joined Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Run DMC, and The Beastie Boys in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The group’s global popularity and impact remains strong to this day. Public Enemy’s “Say It Like It Really Is,” from their 2012 album The Evil Empire of Everything, provided a fitting backdrop to the trailer for the film Selma that chronicled the months leading to the Selma-to-Montgomery civil rights marches. Their song, “Harder Than You Think,” was selected for NBC’s official Super Bowl XLIX Commercial and was featured in the UK’s stirring “Meet The Superhumans” 2012 Paralympics campaign. The track went on to reach #4 on The Official UK Singles Chart and #1 on the Indie Singles Top 20 Chart that year.

Public Enemy are now in the midst of a lengthy world tour. Kicking off with “the world’s largest music festival,” Milwaukee’s Summerfest, PE will spend the summer at a dozen major European festivals, including the Wireless Festival in London and the Benicassim Festival in Barcelona before embarking on a European arena tour with EDM trailblazers The Prodigy this fall.

Following up their first European tour in nearly a decade, Cannibal Ox is preparing for a North American run in support of their critically acclaimed sophomore album, Blade of the Ronin. The esteemed Harlemites known as Vast Aire and Vordul Mega will reach all coasts of the United States as well as Canada on the Blade of the Ronin North American Tour, as they perform news cuts along with classics from their seminal debut The Cold Vein. Cannibal Ox will be joined on tour by special guest Liam Tracy, whose unique effusion of lyricism and melody has garnered the New Rochelle native a substantial grass roots following.

The tour begins on September 17th at Tattoo Queen West in Toronto, Ontario.

Tour Dates:

9/17/15 - Tattoo Queen West | Toronto, ON
9/18/15 - POP Montreal @ Club Soda | Montreal, QC
9/19/15 - Signal Kitchen | Burlington, VT
9/20/15 - The Middle East Upstairs | Boston, MA
9/22/15 - Grog Shop | Cleveland, OH
9/23/15 - Blind Pig | Ann Arbor, MI
9/25/15 - Abbey Pub | Chicago, IL
9/28/15 - Cervantes’ Other Side | Denver, CO
9/29/15 - The Urban Lounge | Salt Lake City, UT
10/1/15 - Dante’s | Portland, OR
10/2/15 - Fortune | Vancouver, BC
10/3/15 - Barboza | Seattle, WA
10/5/15 - The New Parish | Oakland, CA
10/6/15 - The Catalyst Atrium | Santa Cruz, CA
10/8/15 - Los Globos | Los Angeles, CA
10/9/15 - Soda Bar | San Diego, CA
10/10/15 - The Rebel Lounge | Phoenix, AZ
10/12/15 - Red 7 | Austin, TX
10/13/15 - Club Dada | Dallas, TX
10/15/15 - Gasa Gasa | New Orleans, LA
10/16/15 - The Masquerade - Hell | Atlanta, GA
10/17/15 - Local 662 | St. Petersburg, FL
10/18/15 - The Backbooth | Orlando, FL
10/20/15 - Cats Cradle Back Room | Carrboro, NC
10/21/15 - Metro Gallery | Baltimore, MD
10/22/15 - The Studio @ Webster Hall | New York, NY
10/23/15 - Johnny Brenda’s | Philadelphia, PA

The Weeknd, Skrillex, Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne will headline the first-ever Billboard Hot 100 Music Festival. The festival, produced by Billboard & in partnership with Live Nation will bring together some of the biggest chart-topping artists on August 22 and 23 at New York's Nikon at Jones Beach Theater and surrounding beach areas for a weekend of epic music performances. More than 40 of today's hottest hitmakers, including Kygo, Jason Derulo, American Authors, Betty Who, The Chainsmokers, Cold War Kids, Fetty Wap, Halsey, Holy Ghost!, Kiesza, Little Mix, Santigold and ZZ Ward, along with exciting breakthrough artists will perform on one of the festival's three stages throughout the weekend. A full line-up is below.

Collectively, the festival headliners have 197 entries on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and have sold a combined 116.3 million albums and songs in the U.S., according to Nielsen Music. They also represent some of this generation's biggest social media influencers, with a massive fan following across Twitter, Facebook and other platforms. Joining them will be dozens of Billboard-charting artists spanning multiple genres, from pop and rock to R&B and dance, representing one of the most electrifying and diverse festival line-ups this summer. Fans will see some of their favorite artists at one of the festival's three stages, including the famed amphitheater Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, as well as two additional stages with one located on the beach.

"It's an honor to be able to extend the Billboard brand into the festival space, and we feel that Jones Beach is the perfect location to create something truly unique and unforgettable," said Billboard co-president John Amato.

"The Hot 100 Music Festival will be one of those truly memorable summer concert events. We are very excited to bring fans some of summer 2015's chart toppers in a venue that will showcase the best these artists have to offer," said Live Nation President and CEO, Michael Rapino.

Billboard Hot 100 Music Festival Line-Up

The Weeknd, Skrillex, Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, Very Special Guest Justin Bieber
Kygo, Jason Derulo, American Authors, Betty Who, The Chainsmokers, Cold War Kids, The Faint, Fetty Wap, CRUISR, Halsey, Holy Ghost!, ILoveMakonnen, Justin Baron, Kiesza, Lights, Lindsey Stirling, Little Mix, Main Attrakionz, The Maine, Markam, Matoma, Michael Brun, Michael Woods, Misterwives, MKTO, Natalie La Rose, New Politics, Party Thieves, Ryn Weaver, Santigold, X Ambassadors, ZZ Ward and more!

BET Networks in partnership with the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) announces Tuesday, July 21st as the premiere date for the 1st Annual “Players’ Awards”. The first inaugural show will tape at the historic Penn & Teller Theater in the Rio Las Vegas Hotel and Casino on Sunday, July 19th.

The star-studded event will feature appearances by top NBA players including members on the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) Executive Committee - Chris Paul, LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Andre Iguodala and Anthony Tolliver. Not only will the show have NBA star power, but will also feature performances by the hottest musical artists including Lil Wayne.

The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) decided to launch the 1st Annual “Players’ Awards” due to the overwhelming response from its members and all categories have been voted by the NBA’s active players.

The complete list of the “Top Voted Players” for the “Players’ Awards” are (names are listed in alphabetical order):

Best Rookie
Jordan Clarkson
Zach LaVine
Elfrid Payton
Andrew Wiggins

Best Defender
Tony Allen
Jimmy Butler
Anthony Davis
DeAndre Jordan

Global Impact Player
Pau Gasol
Kyrie Irving
Dirk Nowitzki
Tony Parker

Clutch Performer:
Stephen Curry
James Harden
LeBron James
Russell Westbrook

Coach You Most Want to Play For
Mike Budenholzer
Rick Carlisle
Steve Kerr
Greg Popovich

Hardest to Guard
Stephen Curry
James Harden
LeBron James
Russell Westbrook

Best Home Court Advantage
AT&T Center (San Antonio)
Chesapeake Energy Arena (Oklahoma City)
Moda Center (Portland)
Oracle Arena (Golden State)

Player You Secretly Wish was On Your Team:
Stephen Curry
Anthony Davis
Tim Duncan
LeBron James

Most Valuable Player:
Stephen Curry
James Harden
LeBron James
Russell Westbrook

Stephen G. Hill, BET’s President of Programming, Connie Orlando, BET’s Senior Vice President of Music and Specials, and Don Mischer Productions will serve as Executive Producers for the “Players’ Awards”. Serving as Executive Producers from the National Basketball Players Association are Chris Paul, NBPA President, Roger Mason Jr., NBPA Deputy Executive Director, and Jordan Schlachter, NBPA Chief Marketing Officer along with Prospect Park.

The internationally recognized five-day festival and conference will feature hip-hop icons: De La Soul, Rakim, Cam’ron, Dame Dash, Just Blaze, Curren$y & Jet Life, Jean Grae, Cyhi the Prynce Pharoahe Monch, Soulection Executive Team, PNB Rock, The Difference Machine and Kool Keith.

Hundreds more performers and speakers will be announced over the next 3 months. A3C will have three featured artist/speaker installments before the event kicks off. The next announcement will be made in August, and the last announcement will drop in September.

2015 A3C will take place October 7-11, 2015, in Atlanta’s eclectic Old 4th Ward, along Edgewood Ave, and East Atlanta Village. A3C has moved the Conference Center to The Loudermilk Center, and the host hotel to the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel.

The A3C Festival features 500+ performances over 5 days, while the Hip-Hop community ascends on Atlanta to experience, celebrate and discover the most legendary, talented and promising artists from across the US, and abroad. Artists are continuously added to A3C Festival line-up and every night features surprise performances. In other words, the A3C Festival is an amazing Hip-Hop experience like no other. "I love the team at A3C for giving artists a platform to be heard and build their craft!”, states Sean “Diddy” Combs.”

Warner Music Group, rapper Nas and a private equity fund operated by four famous DJs are among the new backers in cloud-based mastering service LANDR. Additional participants in the $6.2-million funding round were prior investor YUL Ventures, Real Ventures and Cirque Du Soleil founders Guy Laliberté and Daniel Gauthier.

The funding indicates further interest by music creators in cloud-based services made for their type of work. Plus Eight Equity Fund, an investor in LANDR as well as cloud-based collaboration service Splice, includes DJs Pete Tong, Richie Hawtin, Tiga and John Acquaviva. Tiësto, Steve Angello (ex-Swedish House Mafia) and WME also invested in Splice.

LANDR calls its simplified process of mastering recording "nearly foolproof." The user chooses a monthly or annual fee based on level of service and file type. The process requires a file upload and tweaking controls to get the desired sound. In a statement, Nas, an avid investor in startups, called LANDR "an affordable" technology that can turn out music with "a quality finish like any major label artist with a budget," Nas said in a statement.

“In a live show, everyone goes to great lengths make the music sound as good as possible,” says John Acquaviva, DJ and LANDR investor. “Internet streaming is clearly the weakest link.”

“We’ve analyzed tens of thousands of files and songs that have been made across the last 50 years to understand the types of decisions that mastering engineers have performed, and to be able to recreate those decisions on the fly,” says Pascal Pilon.

Even though mastering is the most technical stage of music production, there is still a creative component. An acoustic cover, for instance, would be mastered much differently than an EDM track.

That’s why LANDR isn’t claiming to outperform a human engineer — at least not yet. The company has brought on 50 audio and mastering professionals to refine its technology, but for the time being many of LANDR’s 250,000 users are amateur artists who wouldn’t otherwise pay to hire a mastering engineer.

“Most musicians and producers craft their songs using GarageBand or some software, but in the end, because they don’t want to spend the money to get it mastered, they never do that post production step,” says Pascal Pilon. “So that music stays somewhat out of focus, and unfinished.”

That being said, LANDR is increasingly being used by professional recording artists who want a quick and dirty master to listen to at different stages of the mixing process before spending the time and money on a final version, according to Pilon.

Electric Adventure, one of the Northeast's premier outdoor music festivals, is pleased to announce the lineup for phase 2 of Electric Adventure, their fourth and biggest ever annual festival, on August 1st and 2nd at the Atlantic City oceanfront.

Ranking as the East Coast's largest oceanfront festival, Electric Adventure's Bloom is adding, Big Gigantic, Cosmic Gate, Ilan Bluestone, Juicy J, and Mark Knight to the festival lineup. With more than 100 top performers on five stages, they will join the lineup of Pretty Lights, Dillon Francis, G-Eazy, 3Lau and Machine Gun Kelly, running the full gamut of genres from mainstream EDM, trance, house and hip-hop. Electric Adventure will also be bringing Kygo to their line up, as this will be the young tastemaker's first ever performance on the beach, lending his tropical house vibes to the Jersey shoreline, guaranteed to make for a memorable summer weekend in Atlantic City. Electric Adventure will give audience members a full beach experience including cabanas, beach volleyball, ocean swimming and VIP packages.

"Electric Adventure 2015 shows the ongoing evolution of Electric Adventure in look, talent and scope to appeal to an older, more sophisticated demographic that fits Atlantic City perfectly," says co-producer John Dimatteo. "Atlantic City provides a super appealing oceanfront destination that's easy to get to by car, train or air." Co-producer John D'Esposito adds, "The support we're getting from local civic leaders and businesses is over-the-top. With Bloom's fast-growing fan base, we can give a boost to the Atlantic City economy, utilize local vendors, employ 200 people within the market and also deliver an amazing oceanfront festival experience to music fans. Parking is located just a short walk away at Bader Field."

Over the first five weeks of Billboard's Songs of the Summer chart, Wiz Khalifa's "See You Again," featuring Charlie Puth, has ranked at No. 1 in each frame.

So, roughly a third of the way through summer, the rap collab, which debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 back in March and reached No. 1 on the weekly chart dated April 25, continues to set the pace among summer's biggest hits so far. (The track has led the Hot 100 for 11 weeks running, leaving it a week away from tying the mark for the longest-reigning No. 1 by a rap hit all-time.)

The 20-position Songs of the Summer running tally (up from 10 in years past) tracks the most popular titles based on cumulative performance on the weekly Hot 100 chart from Memorial Day through Labor Day. At the end of the season, the top song of the summer will be crowned. Source: Billboard

Nearly a half million attendees converged upon New Orleans this Fourth of July weekend for the 2015 ESSENCE Festival, one of the country's largest live events. The annual 4-day Festival, which took place July 2-5, features entertainment, empowerment, and cultural experiences during the day and the world's best performers each night. In addition, for the first time this year, the ESSENCE Festival touched tens of thousands of fans around the world via 100 hours of produced live-stream content. Highlights of the 2015 ESSENCE Festival include:

More than 80 performing artists--including some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry such as Kevin Hart, Usher, Mary J. Blige, Missy Elliott, Common and Kendrick Lamar---performed at the event's nighttime concerts.

Over 120 speakers, authors, leaders and celebrities ---including Deepak Chopra, Iyanla Vanzant, Steve Harvey, Keke Palmer, Kelly Rowland, Jussie Smollett and Rev. Al Sharpton---participated in the Festival's free daytime experience.

Inaugural ESSENCE Festival 'Day of Service' commemorated the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina by refurbishing schools citywide and staging a first-time community Health & Wellness Fair.

100 hours of programming including 24 hours daily of streaming video garnering more than 200,000 Live Stream views covering select performances and daily talk show ESSENCE Live.
Over 100,000 social media posts driving over 1.5 billion impressions with trending status on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as well as first-time Twitter Periscope celebrity guest segments.

Explosive growth in Festival fan mobile usage, with page views up by 80% and unique visitors growing 132% year over year---largely due to 80% increase in video consumption year over year.

Will Smith has apparently added Drake to the list of collaborators for his new album. As reported by Complex, the actor revealed that he'd been working on something with the rapper as he gave an update on his upcoming music in a recent interview on his son Jaden Smith's Beats 1 radio show MSFTS Frequency.

Will has been hinting at new music since earlier this year, when he said he'd hit the studio with Kanye West. "I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet but I'm exploring. I'm in a creative ceiling," he told a reporter during a premiere of his film "Focus" last February.

He said at that time that Jaden also helped him, "My son tells me I have to write out the things I don't like. I can't write and stop, I have to keep going and going and write them out. I've never worked like that before but I think I might give that a shot."

ole writer Timbaland earned the prestigious "Songwriter of the Year" award at last week's 28th annual ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Music Awards in Los Angeles, with co-writes on four of the most performed ASCAP songs of 2014 from the R&B, hip-hop, rap, and gospel charts. They included Beyoncé's smashes "Drunk in Love" and "Partition" as well as Jay Z featuring Beyoncé's "Part II (On the Run)," and Jay Z's "Tom Ford," the latter two co-written by Timbaland and ole-bluestone's Garland "Sebastian" Mosley.
In addition, ole writer David Bratton took home an ASCAP Rhythm & Soul honor for "Every Praise," performed by the great gospel artist Hezekiah Walker.

"ole congratulates Timbaland on his ASCAP Rhythm & Soul 'Songwriter of the Year' honor," says Robert Ott, ole Chairman and CEO. "ole is very proud to work with and support Timbaland as he continues to shape the music of a generation."

About ole:
ole is one of the world's foremost rights management companies with investments of over $400M in music intellectual property (IP). Founded in 2004, with operations in Toronto, Nashville, New York, and Los Angeles, ole is engaged in IP acquisitions, creative development, and worldwide rights management. The ole catalog includes over 45,000 songs and 60,000 hours of TV and film music across all genres. Copyrights under ole's control include songs recorded by artists such as the Backstreet Boys, Beyoncé, Blake Shelton, Britney Spears, Carrie Underwood, Eric Church, Jay Z, Justin Timberlake, Kelly Clarkson, Madonna, Michael Jackson, One Direction, Rihanna, Rush, Taylor Swift, and Timbaland. ole controls substantial A/V music and secondary rights including catalogs from Sony Pictures Entertainment, DHX, MGM, Miramax, Nelvana, and Nu Image/Millennium. MusicBox, the Production Music division of ole, provides quality content and service to creators in all media with over 150,000 tracks in its library.

ole is committed to the creative development of its 100+ staff songwriters, legacy writers, and composers and adding value to our catalogs and client catalogs. Current ole writers include Rush, Timbaland, Tyler Farr, Josh Dorr, Gord Bamford, Brett Jones, Dave Turnbull, Jeremy Stover, and Marty Dodson. ole has ongoing Ventures with Last Gang Publishing, Roots Three Music, Jackoby Publishing, and most recently, ole-bluestone Publishing, ole's venture with global hitmaker Timbaland.

iHeartRadio, iHeartMedia’s all-in-one digital music and live streaming radio service, has announced it has joined forces with Virgin America to bring a new music selection to 35,000 feet – curated for the airline by iHeartRadio and Virgin Produced (Virgin Group’s entertainment arm). The partnership will integrate iHeartRadio-branded music stations into Virgin America’s award-winning Red® in-flight entertainment system at every seatback and will also be available through iHeartRadio, allowing travelers to continue listening everywhere they go after landing via their own computer, tablet or mobile devices.

We’re excited to partner with one of the most innovative and popular airlines to bring quality music and entertainment to consumers – even at 35,000 feet,” said Michele Laven, President of Business Development and Partnerships at iHeartMedia. “This is the first step in a robust partnership between Virgin and iHeartMedia and it paves the way for more exciting integrations in the near future.”

Kendrick Lamar opened the 2015 BET Awards with a powerful performance of "Alright."

British singer Sam Smith continued his hot streak at music awards shows, picking up the night's first prize for best new artist, beating out the likes of Fetty Wap and Bobby Shmurda.

Nicki Minaj brought her mom on stage as she picked up the award for best female hip-hop artist. The Weeknd picked up the Centric award for "Earned It" from the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack.

Notable performances included Diddy bringing the Bad Boy family back together by performing with Lil' Kim, Faith Evans, 112 and Mase.

Janet Jackson, the recipient of the Ultimate Icon: Music Dance Visual award, also performed.

The ceremony was hosted by Black-ish stars Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross, who took part in an Empire sketch that was interrupted by Terrence Howard. Source: Hollywood Reporter

Full list of winners.

Coca-Cola Viewers’ Choice Award

Nicki Minaj feat. Drake, Lil Wayne, & Chris Brown — “Only” (WINNER)
Beyonce — “7/11?
DeJ Loaf — “Try Me”
Kendrick Lamar — “i”
Rae Sremmurd feat. Nicki Minaj & Young Thug — “Throw Sum Mo”
The Weeknd — “Earned It” (From the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack)

Best Male R&B/Pop Artist

Chris Brown (WINNER)
August Alsina
John Legend
The Weeknd
Trey Songz

Centric Award

The Weeknd — “Earned It” (From the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack) (WINNER)
Avery Sunshine — “Call My Name”
Jazmine Sullivan feat. Meek Mill — “Dumb”
Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars — “Uptown Funk”
Sam Smith feat. Mary J. Blige — “Stay With Me”

Best New Artist

Sam Smith (WINNER)
Bobby Shmurda
DeJ Loaf
Fetty Wap
Rae Sremmurd

Best Female Hip-Hop Artist

Nicki Minaj (WINNER)
Azealia Banks
DeJ Loaf
Iggy Azalea

Best Male Hip-Hop Artist

Kendrick Lamar (WINNER)
Big Sean
J. Cole

Best Female R&B/Pop Artist

Beyonce (WINNER)
Janelle Monae
Jhene Aiko
K. Michelle

Best Group

Rae Sremmurd (WINNER)
A$AP Mob
Rich Gang
Young Money

Best Collaboration

Common & John Legend – “Glory” (From the motion picture Selma) (WINNER)
August Alsina feat. Nicki Minaj – “No Love (Remix)”
Big Sean Feat. E-40 – “IDFWU”
Chris Brown Feat. Lil Wayne and Tyga – “Loyal”
Chris Brown Feat. Usher and Rick Ross – “New Flame”
Mark Ronson Feat. Bruno Mars – “Uptown Funk”

Video of the Year

Beyonce – “7/11? (WINNER)
Big Sean feat. E-40 – “IDFWU”
Chris Brown feat. Lil Wayne and Tyga – “Loyal”
Chris Brown feat. Usher and Rick Ross – “New Flame”
Common & John Legend – “Glory” (From the motion picture Selma)
Nicki Minaj – “Anaconda”

Video Director of the Year

Beyonce, Ed Burke, & Todd Tourso (WINNER)
Chris Robinson
Fatima Robinson
Hype Williams
Benny Boom

Best Gospel Artist

Lecrae (WINNER)
Deitrick Haddon
Erica Campbell
Fred Hammond
Mali Music
Michelle Williams

Best International Act: Africa

Stonebwoy (Ghana) (WINNER)
AKA (South Africa)
Fally Ipupa (DR Congo)
Sarkodie (Ghana)
Sauti Sol (Kenya)
The Soil (South Africa)
Wizkid (Nigeria)
Yemi Alade (Nigeria)

Best International Act: U.K.

Stormzy (WINNER)
fka Twigs
Fuse ODG
Lethal Bizzle
Little Simz

With Apple Music preparing to launch its subscription service next week and Taylor Swift criticizing its royalty payment plans, forcing that tech giant to change course, it's a busy time for the music industry. On Tuesday, Google is going in the opposite direction of Apple's $10-a-month service, launching a free, ad-supported version of its $9.99-a-month Google Play Music in the U.S. The company says it's designed to give artists another way to earn revenue and that the goal is ultimately to bring more people into its subscription service.

It's a direct challenge to Pandora, Spotify, smaller start-up Rdio and Apple's iTunes radio, its free streaming service. Google has the advantage of being able to direct people searching for songs to its service; we'll see how much it drives users to its new service as it launches this week on Android and iOS devices, though it is available on the Web as of Monday.

It features the technology of Songza, the playlist start-up Google acquired nearly a year ago. Songza's key focus is playlists customized to your mood and different times of day. In the blog announcing the news it says its team of music experts "craft each station song by song so you don't have to ... with whatever you need music for—from working, to working out, to working it on the dance floor." As with Apple Music's new radio stations, Sonzga used human curators as well as algorithms, an approach implemented in this new service.

In a dig at Apple, Google stresses that while the service will be free to users, it's absolutely paying artists. This is in reference to the criticism Apple has drawn from Swift and others for originally opting not to pay independent artists for its three-month free trial period for consumers.

Google will allow advertisers in its display ad and video ad systems to target users of Google Music. That gives it access to a massive advertiser base. The question is how many users the new service will draw. (Google won't reveal how many paying subscribers its Google Play Music currently has.) Source: CNBC

"It's in really rough shape. The ecosystem is messed up," says Jimmy Iovine. So Iovine believes he and other Apple execs simply are reordering that ecosystem with Apple Music, the subscription streaming service unveiled June 8 in San Francisco that will launch June 30.

Apple Music isn't quite the revolution, say, that iTunes was when it launched in 2003. Competitor Spotify, for example, already has more than 15 million paying subscribers, while Pandora has more than 76 million free users and about 4 million who pay for premium service. Rhapsody, Google Play, the Jay Z-backed Tidal and others are in the mix, which begs the question: Who really needs Apple Music?

Plenty of people, say analysts, who believe that the growth in the category, along with Apple's massive imprint with consumers (and support of all the major music labels), make the success of the service (and a global radio station Apple is launching) practically a given. Music streaming in the U.S. is expected to be a $1.8 billion industry by 2018, bigger than downloads, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty figures that Apple Music could account for 5 percent of Apple's revenue and 2 percent of its earnings per share by fiscal 2016.

"Consumers will absolutely pay for this service," says Nick Petrillo, an IBISWorld analyst. "With Apple's dominant share of the market for smartphones, it's difficult to imagine a scenario in which Apple Music doesn't pose a significant competitive threat to pre-existing streaming music services."

Almost 1 billion people worldwide will have access to Apple Music via their iPhones, iPads, Macs, etc., and Eddy Cue, senior vp Internet software and services, says Apple has about 800 million registered users that already have handed over their credit card numbers.

"People are willing to pay more for Apple products. It's always been that way," says Peter Csathy, CEO of Manatt Digital Media Ventures.

Cue also figures Apple Music's $14.99 family plan makes a difference. "You have a spouse, a boyfriend or girlfriend, kids … the concept of signing up for these individual plans multiple times is just not going to happen," he tells THR.

But analyst Ben Bajarin of Creative Strategies is less bullish. "The overwhelming majority of people want whatever is free," he says, adding “What it’s really going to come down to is how Apple sets themselves apart. The way they set themselves apart is with the artists. The artist will be what helps them differentiate. If it’s just the same thing as everyone else, they probably won’t get the masses to subscribe because right now the masses don’t subscribe, they just listen to free radio.”

He also notes that not everything Apple does is a slam dunk.

"The common wisdom is that the default app that just ships on your operating system has an advantage over the other players," Bajarin says. "That wasn't true with iTunes Radio. It didn't take off. When they released iTunes Radio, people were concerned that Pandora was dead, and it didn't kill Pandora."

Cue, though, has confidence that the subscription music industry is big enough for multiple players.

"It's not, in order for us to win, everybody else has to lose," he says. "We want make the best product on the planet, … but that doesn't mean it has to be the only product." Source: Hollywood Reporter

Snoop Dogg sued Pabst Brewing Co. on Monday, claiming the beer-maker owes him a portion of its proceeds from the company's sale last year.

The breach-of-contract lawsuit seeks 10 percent of the net sales price paid to Pabst for its Colt 45 malt beer line, which was included in last year's sale to beer entrepreneur Eugene Kashper and an investment firm.

Snoop Dogg signed a three-year agreement in 2011 to endorse Colt 45's fruit-flavored beer called Blast by Colt 45. The lawsuit states his contract called for him to receive a portion of the sale price if Pabst sold its Colt 45 operations before January 2016.

His contract also called on the rapper to consult with Colt 45's marketing team at least once a year on how he could integrate Blast by Colt 45 into his concerts, interviews and social media posts. Snoop Dogg received an upfront payment of $250,000 and an additional $20,000 for every 10th mention of the beer on social media, TV or during a concert.

The contract also called for the rapper to receive a royalty on each case of Blast by Colt 45 that was sold.

Pabst did not immediately return an email message seeking comment.

The lawsuit states Pabst told the rapper that the sale didn't trigger the clause entitling him to sale proceeds.

The deal to sell Pabst to Kashper and San Francisco-based TSG Consumer Partners LLC was finalized in November. No purchase price was announced, but the lawsuit filed by the rapper's attorney, Alex Weingarten, states Pabst was reportedly sold for $700 million. It is unclear how much of the sale price was for the Colt 45 line of beers.

In addition to Colt 45 and its namesake beer, Pabst Brewing Co. makes Old Milwaukee and Schlitz.

Boombotix, a leader in portable audio technology, announces that music producer and artist, Robert Diggs—professionally known as RZA—will join the company. As a new member and partner with Boombotix, RZA will guide Boombotix’s content strategy as the company seeks to create new mediums for artists to release content. He will also work firsthand on new products in development at Boombotix.

Most recently, RZA added a personal touch to a new speaker Boombotix plans to release this summer. The speaker contains exclusive content from RZA and a handful of other musicians.

Initially in 2014, RZA collaborated with Boombotix to release selections of Wu-Tang Clan’s Album, “A Better Tomorrow,” on a Boombot REX. Compared to other portable Bluetooth speakers, RZA chose to approach Boombotix because of the stunning quality of its speakers. With dual 36mm drivers that guarantee full fidelity across every genre, the Boombot REX provides an acoustically clear sound usually reserved for speakers much larger.

In the wake of the speaker’s success, the company moved to create the “Chambers Collection.” The Chambers Collection will feature a series of ultraportable Bluetooth speakers with artist collaborations embedded on flash storage for listening whenever and wherever. As ‘Head Abbot,’ a take on his Wu-Tang Clan nickname, ‘The Abbot,” RZA will facilitate more relationships in the music industry for future collaborations.

“We’re forming this partnership to connect musicians and fans in new ways,” said RZA. “Through the technology that we create, we’ll be able to reach fans in a more intimate way. This speaker can go anywhere, and I love that. We’re putting music back in your hands.”

The Boombot REX — 20th Anniversary Wu-Tang Edition was designed to spark conversation regarding the economics of music in a climate of Internet piracy and streaming services. Instead of buying records and lining up outside stores for new releases, music fans can access music from the cloud or download it illegally. According to RZA, this new methodology degrades the artistic value of music and the immense amount of time devoted to creating it. Boombotix’s new content strategy creates a special moment for the artist and brick and mortar retailers to drive excitement around music.

“We’re excited to welcome RZA onboard in a role where he’ll have a meaningful impact on the future of our brand,” said Mustafa Shaikh, head of marketing for Boombotix. “Under his guidance, we’ll be working with a wide range of artists to create new and exciting product releases.”

Ms. Lauryn Hill will be presented with the prestigious Golden Note Award at ASCAP’s 28th annual Rhythm & Soul Music Awards. The invitation-only event will take place on June 25 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles.

Hill, who will also perform during the evening, joins such past Golden Note recipients as Pharrell Williams, Dr. Dre, Alicia Keys and Stevie Wonder. In a statement announcing the news, ASCAP president Paul Williams cited the eight-time Grammy Award winner’s “ability to push boundaries and capture the humanity that surrounds us,” adding, “Ms. Hill’s talent as a songwriter is undeniable and reflects her singular take on the world we live in.”

Jazmine Sullivan will also perform at the Rhythm & Soul Music Awards, which will honor the songwriters and publishers of the most-performed ASCAP songs on the 2014 R&B, hip-hop, rap and gospel charts.

Chris Brown and Nicki Minaj are the top contenders at the upcoming BET Awards with six nominations each.

BET has announced that Chris Brown will compete twice for video of the year with the hits "Loyal" and "New Flame" at the June 28 show in Los Angeles. Nicki Minaj is up for the top prize with her eye-popping "Anaconda" music video.

Beyonce and Lil Wayne follow with four nominations each. Beyonce's "7/11" also will compete for video of the year, along with Big Sean's "IDFWU" and Common and John Legend's Oscar-winning "Glory."

Other nominees include Sam Smith, The Weeknd, Fetty Wap and FKA twigs. "Empire" stars Taraji P. Henson and Jussie Smollett are nominated for acting awards

The BET Awards will air live from the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live.

In honor of what remains one of the most critically-acclaimed debuts in Hip-Hop history, Sirius XM Satellite Radio proudly presents the Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... 20th Anniversary Tour starring Raekwon and Ghostface Killah. The 32-city run kicks off Tuesday, July 7, 2015 in Philadelphia and will travel across the country before wrapping in Los Angeles on August 18.Tickets go on sale Friday, May 15, 2015 and will be available via Live Nation.

Released on August 1, 1995, ONLY BUILT 4 CUBAN LINX received instant critical praise, with reviewers taking special note of RAEKWON's unique style.

Cuban Linx was made for the drug dealers," says Raekwon. "That was my lifestyle at one point and we named it Only Built for Cuban Linx because it was built for the strongest people, the strongest crews. The strongest mentality of men. I was telling a story from a street peddlers' point of view, which a lot of people don't understand, and this album was dedicated to them. It's been a blessing that the album surpassed my expectations and millions can relate to the story telling." In the 20 years since its release, OB4CL continues to receive accolades, appearing on dozens of "Best of" lists including Rolling Stones' "500 Greatest Albums Of All Times." The album's "mafioso rap" style remains a great influence in Hip-Hop.

As he readies the Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... 20th Anniversary Tour, Raekwon continues on a promotional push of his latest solo effort, Fly International Luxurious Arts (F.I.L.A.), which, according to The A.V. Club, goes a long way to remind everyone of why Raekwon remains one of the best to ever yield a microphone.

Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... 20th Annivesary Tour Dates:

July 7 Philadelphia, PA Theater of The Living Arts
July 8 Silver Springs, MD The Fillmore
July 9 Columbus, OH Park Street Saloon
July 10 Joliet, IL Mojoes
July 11 St. Louis, MO Ready Room
July 12 Minneapolis, MN The Cabooze
July 14 Chicago, IL House Of Blues
July 15 Cincinnati, OH Bogarts
July 16 Cleveland, OH House of Blues
July 17 Boston, MA Paradise Theater
July 19 Providence, RI Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel
July 20 New York, NY Irving Plaza
July 23 Norfolk, VA The Norva
July 24 Raleigh, NC The Ritz
July 25 Charlotte, NC The Fillmore
July 26 Asheville, NC The Orange Peel
July 28 Nashville, TN Marathon Music Works
July 30 Louisville, KY Mercury Ballroom
July 31 Memphis, TN Minglewood Hall
Aug 1 Chattanooga, TN Track 29
Aug 2 Columbia, SC Music Farm
Aug 5 Pensacola, FL Vinyl Music Hall
Aug 6 New Orleans, LA House of Blues
Aug 7 Dallas, TX House of Blues
Aug 8 Houston, TX House of Blues
Aug 9 Austin, TX Emo's
Aug 11 El Paso, TX Tricky Falls
Aug 12 Tempe, AZ Marquee Theatre
Aug 13 Tucson, AZ Rialto Theatre
Aug 15 Riverside, CA Riverside Municipal Auditorium
Aug 16 San Diego, CA House of Blues
Aug 18 Los Angeles, CA Belasco Theater

Waka Flocka Flame was forced to cancel his tour Down Under. Tour promoter Robin Fernando has just announced the news, saying that Australian government denied the rapper entry because of his recent drugs and gun-related arrest.

"Unfortunately Waka Flocka's entry into Australia was denied by the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection, due to his recent arrest(s) on both firearms and drug charges," he stated in a message posted on Facebook.

Waka Flocka, who was arrested back in October at an airport in Atlanta after he was found to have a loaded handgun in his luggage, was scheduled to play four shows in Australia and two in New Zealand later this month. According to Fernando, the rapper's visa for New Zealand had been approved, but he ended up deciding to scrap the concerts there as well.

"While a VISA into New Zealand had been approved, the Australian situation means that Waka Flocka's tour to this part of the world will no longer take place at this time," he said and added that all the dates would be rescheduled for "later in the year."

"We apologize for the inconvenience this causes, as hip hop fans ourselves we are gutted to not be seeing Waka Flocka play in New Zealand as planned, however we are committed to bringing the world's best hip hop acts to our shores, and will continue to do so," he concluded his post.

This isn't Waka Flocka's first time to have canceled a tour. In 2013, he "postponed" a string of shows which have never been rescheduled.

50 Cent's entourage was accused of assaulting a jeweler named Robert Marin before robbing his jewelry and fleeing in Las Vegas on Saturday night, May 2. The jeweler claimed that the apparent defendants stole a golden watch and chain which were worth $250K.

According to TMZ, the owner of LAX Jewelry co. planned to sell the jewelry to the rapper. The two met at Drai's nightclub to show the bling and negotiate the price. They stayed and had fun at the club until late.

Robert then claimed that 50 Cent and his entourage invited him to see Floyd Mayweather's gym. When they arrived at the gym, 50 Cent was not seen anywhere and the condition started heating up. He stated that the crew pistol-whipped him before they stole the jewelry and ran away from the site. Robert later reported the incident to the Las Vegas police department and now the police are investigating the case.

50 Cent's lawyer Scott Leemon has said in a statement to deny the allegations. "On behalf of I can adamantly deny that he or his security had anything to do with these baseless and false allegations," so the statement read.

Some speculated that the allegation might be wrong as the rapper reportedly won $1.6 million betting on the fight between Floyd Mayweather, Jr. against Manny Pacquiao. Moreover, 50 Cent's net wealth was $155 million, as Forbes magazine claime

Love Story- The second full-length major-label album from Yelawolf, enters the Billboard Top 200 album chart this week at No. 3 and also debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard R&b/Hip-hop albums chart. Released April 21st by Slumerican/Shady Records/Interscope, Love Story earns the Alabama-born rapper his highest album chart position and best-selling album to date, with over 58,000 units sold in its first week. Yelawolf's previous album, 2011's Radioactive, debuted at No. 27 on the same chart.

Yelawolf will hit the road on May 1st for The Love Story tour, which kicks off at The Fillmore in Detroit, MI, and continues through June 27th at Knoxville, TN's The International. Dates are scheduled for Rock On The Range (Columbus, OH, May 15th) and The Soundset Festival (Minneapolis, MN, May 24th).

A Texas trooper has sued his bosses after being reprimanded over his photo with rapper Snoop Dogg at South by Southwest.

Department of Public Safety Trooper Billy Spears filed the civil lawsuit Wednesday, alleging retaliation by DPS, Director Steven McCraw and several executives.

The lawsuit says Spears was working off-duty security when an assistant for Snoop Dogg took the photo in March and posted it on Instagram. Spears was reprimanded because the rapper has several drug-possession convictions.

Spears is seeking unspecified damages and a jury trial.

Spears also alleges retaliation for his complaint against a Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission officer. Spears was detained in 2014 while off-duty and carrying an alcoholic beverage at a concert.

DPS declined to discuss pending litigation. TABC was reviewing the lawsuit Wednesday and declined further comment.

Resource Ventures, Inc. Interim President Michael Cipolla is pleased to announce that the company has signed a definitive agreement with internationally known recording artist David "Young Buck" Brown to print his upcoming memoire. "We are pleased that multi-platinum selling recording artist Young Buck will entrust us to print his upcoming novel," says Cipolla. "He will be announcing the title and further details of his book soon."

Young Buck, a Nashville, TN native and multi-platinum selling recording artist is signed to G-Unit Records and also artist and founder of his own label, Cashville Records. Most known for his hit songs including "Shawty Wanna Ride", "Let Me In", "I Know You Want Me", and "Get Buck", as well as standout appearances on records such as G-Unit's "Stunt 101", "I Like The Way She Do It", and most recently "Bring My Bottles" and '"I'm Grown", Buck is looking forward to telling the story behind the music. "I'm excited about teaming up with Resource Ventures for this printing of my book," he explains. "I know I have a lot to share with my fans and I can offer an interesting story that has different parts many people can relate to and parts that some folks won't understand at all but will hopefully find fascinating. I think the quality of Resource Ventures' past work speaks volumes. Stay tuned, we're on our way to a New York Times Best Seller."

Cipolla also added, "This agreement is a great display of the growth and increase in quality of our business. We are headed in the right direction and aim to become leaders in our industry. Our company has created quality-printing products for 28 years and we are very excited at the opportunity to begin collaborating on works of this caliber. We are working diligently to expand this segment of our business and anticipate updating our shareholders on the progress of this project and others shortly."

Joey Bada$$ is announcing a new globe-trotting tour, the World Domination tour, that will see him playing shows across the US, Europe and Asia. After kicking off on the West Coast in June, Joey will hit the European festival circuit (including a stop at Wireless Festival), Fuji Rock in Japan and return to the US for a run of dates to be announced shortly.

World Domination will see Joey joined by Cinematic label mate Mick Jenkins as well as Carol City, Florida's Denzel Curry on the upcoming dates. This will be Joey's first time hitting the road since releasing his highly anticipated debut album to acclaim. B4.DA.$$ is now available everywhere via Pro Era / Cinematic Music Group.

5/09 - Canadian Music Week, Toronto, ON
5/14 - Hangout Festival - Gulf Shores, AL
5/16 - Powerhouse Summer Jam - Los Angeles, CA
5/30 - Forbidden Fruit - Dublin, Ireland
5/31 - We Love Green Fest - Paris, France
6/01 - Club Show - Lyon, France
6/02 - Check The Rhyme Fest - Nice, France
6/07 - Hot 97 Summer Jam - New York, NY
6/10 - Club Red - Phoenix, AZ
6/11 - Observatory - San Diego, CA *
6/12 - Observatory - Santa Ana, CA *
6/13 - Fonda - Los Angeles, CA *
6/14 - Ventura Theatre - Ventura, CA ^
6/16 - Catalyst - Santa Cruz, CA *
6/17 - Regency - San Francisco, CA *
6/18 - WOW Hall - Eugene, OR *
6/19 - Wonder - Portland, OR ^
6/20 - KUBE Radio Show - Seattle, WA *
6/25 - Bravalla Festival - Sweden
6/26 - Provinnsrock Festival - Finland
6/27 - Tinderbox Festival - Denmark
7/03 - Wireless Festival - London, UK
7/04 - Woo Ha! Hip Hop Festival - Tilburg, Holland
7/05 - Coloeur Café Festival - Belgium
7/09 - Balaton Sound Festival - Hungary
7/10 - Uebel & Gefaehrlich - Hamburg, Germany
7/11 - Splash Festival - Berlin, Germany
7/15 - Fresh Island Festival - Croatia
7/17 - Slottsfjell - Tonsberg, Norway
7/18 - Hip Hop Open - Stutgart, Germany
7/25 - Fuji Rock - Tokyo, Japan

* w/ Mick Jenkins & Denzel Curry
^ w/ Denzel Curry

BET Networks is pleased to announce that it is stepping into the ring with Roc Nation Sports as their exclusive broadcast partner to air live throne boxing events on the network. The partnership between BET Networks and Roc Nation Sports is the first of its kind for the network and includes airing up to nine live, two-hour telecasts of Roc Nation Sports throne boxing events over the next 18 months. The first main event fight to air on BET Networks will feature WBA Super Middleweight World Champion Andre Ward (27-0, 14 KO’s) facing former World Title Challenger Paul Smith (35-5, 20 KO’s) of England on Saturday, June 20, 2015 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. In addition to the great action inside the ring, the telecast will feature several notable Roc Nation touches that offer an unprecedented fan experience, including a live musical performance and a name DJ to keep the energy at a high level throughout the night. Fans can catch the action live on BET in the United States.

“BET is constantly searching for ways to expand its portfolio of content with the sole goal of satisfying our audiences,” said Stephen G. Hill, President of Programming, BET Networks. “Roc Nation is doing very exciting things in the entertainment space and we are excited to partner with them on this groundbreaking deal positioning BET Networks as a go-to destination for premier live boxing events. Together, we’ll provide unique entertainment.”

“We’re thrilled to not only be introducing our newest broadcast partnership with BET Networks, but also to use this new platform to telecast Andre Ward’s highly anticipated return to the ring,” said David Itskowitch, COO - Boxing of Roc Nation Sports. “On June 20, we will once again provide fans a night of exciting throne boxing fights, live musical entertainment and an unprecedented fan experience.”

“I’m very excited to be coming back on June 20 at Oracle Arena in my hometown of Oakland which has been a long time coming,” said Ward. “I’m equally excited to be fighting on BET in front of a potential viewership of over 90 million homes. As a fighter, this diversifies my portfolio and puts me in front of a whole different audience. I have an extremely tough fighter in front of me in Paul Smith who’s looking to pull the upset, but I can’t let that happen. I have to be on my best game to turn Smith away and beat him the way I want to beat him. As always, I’m ready to put on a tremendous performance in front of my hometown fans and those watching on BET. This is a fight you don’t want to miss.”

“I cannot wait to get back in the ring and test myself against a class act like Andre Ward. I proved that I belong at the top level with my performances against Arthur Abraham and this is a challenge that I am relishing,” said Smith. “Andre is a top pound-for-pound fighter and someone I respect a lot, but he has only boxed once in almost three years and I will give it everything I have got. I am fresh and confident going into this fight. It’s a massive opportunity for me and one that I took with both hands when it was offered. I have spent a lot of time boxing in the United States and I look forward to returning for this fight.”

Known for his strong character and integrity outside the ring and his killer instinct inside it, Andre Ward’s skill and talent were apparent early in his outstanding amateur career. He racked up every title in the books, culminating with a gold medal in the light heavyweight division at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. As the only male American boxer to claim Olympic gold since 1996, Ward joined the likes of Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard and Oscar De La Hoya. He turned professional on December 18, 2004, scoring a second round technical knockout victory over Chris Molina at Staples Center in a fight that was televised live on HBO. He has gone on to rack up 26 more victories since then, building an ever-growing legion of fans in the process. After becoming the Ring Magazine and WBA Super Middleweight World Champion, rising to the number two spot on the pound-for-pound list and winning the 2011 Fighter of the Year Award (ESPN, Sports Illustrated, Ring Magazine and the Boxing Writers Association of America), it was announced that Ward signed an exclusive promotional agreement with Roc Nation Sports in January 2015, opening a new chapter in his storied boxing career. Now the Bay Area product is ready to return to the ring on June 20 at the Oracle Arena in front of his hometown fans in Oakland, California.

Paul “Real Gone Kid” Smith enters his fight against pound-for-pound star Ward coming off of two heroic performances against WBO Super Middleweight World Champion Arthur Abraham. Smith challenged the Armenian-German for his title in Kiel, Germany in September 2014 and put on the performance of his career in his world title first shot. The 32-year-old native of Liverpool was the clear winner of large parts of the fight and celebrated at the bell in front of a hushed partisan crowd that thought that Abraham had been dethroned. Smith was not expecting the wide scorecards that were read out in favor of the hometown fighter and, judging by the far-reaching outrage at the lopsided numbers, neither were the majority of the boxing world and beyond, with Smith receiving support from some of Britain’s biggest sports stars on social media. A rematch was the only possible scenario and, like a true champion, Abraham duly obliged. Smith returned to Germany in February of this year to face Abraham again, this time in Berlin, but Abraham was a different fighter the night of their second fight, successfully defending his belt against a brave challenge from Smith. Once again the judges’ were forced to give a verdict and this time a decision win by Abraham was met with no outcry of controversy. On June 20, “Real Gone Kid” will return to the ring and once again venture into hostile territory to take on one of boxing’s best, looking to silence the crowd.

Ward vs. Smith, presented by Roc Nation Sports, takes place Saturday, June 20 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California, will be televised live on BET at 10:00 PM ET/7:00 PM PT and is presented in association with Matchroom Sport.

Yelawolf has once again tapped his friend and longtime producer, WLPWR, to produce 10 out of the 18 tracks on his new album, Love Story,which is currently #1 on iTunes. Pronounced "will power," one of Atlanta's hardest working producers, WLPWR, is proud of the work he's done with Yelawolf since the beginning of his career. Responsible for producing Yelawolf's Trunk Muzik mixtape in its entirety, nine songs from Trunk Muzik 0-60, nine songs from Radioactive, and the entire Trunk Muzik Returns mixtape, as well as "Middle of You" for Wiz Khalifa, "2.0 Boyz" for Slaughterhouse, "Delusional" for Tech N9ne, and more, WLPWR's production skills have been heard by millions. As the founder of SupaHotBeats, one of the industry's most influential music recording and production companies. WLPWR is an artist to watch.

Speaking on WLPWR and his creative process Yelawolf explains, "As long as I've known him .. 10 plus years now. From the very hour we met, we had a record done. It was kinda like, 'Oh there you are,' like I had found the dude I had been waiting to meet. He's got some of that most interesting sounds in ever heard. We may not speak for 4-6 months but when I call him he shows up like I seen him yesterday. I'm really hard on him in the studio - I'm a very very picky producer myself - but he just rolls with it and I appreciate that. We're honest in the studio. The music comes out honest. That's how I work. And thats how he works with me."

Speaking on his approach to working with artists, WLPWR says, "It's pretty organic. I normally just kick it with the artist to see if they have a vision in mind and I start from there. Its mostly vibe from that point. People keep coming back to me because I'm really good at making the artist feel relaxed and in charge of the direction of a song or project. I'm also very professional about taking charge to produce the best product. I don't have a signature style, but I do have a certain style to my drum programing and sound selection. My aim is to not have a signature style, actually. I've produced the most street, to the prettiest, to the most dramatic music. I'm very versatile. 'Pop the Trunk' is very different from 'Till Its Gone.'"

WLPWR is currently working with Travis Barker for his next album and will be releasing a mixtape called Free Game featuring Big K.R.I.T., Trinidad James, Bubba Sparxxx, Dizzy Wright, Yelawolf, and more on June 9th. Watch Yelawolf on working with WLPWR and his creative process -- WATCH HERE

Evolve Music Group Chairman/CEO Rodney Jerkins announces his first formal venture into the gospel and Christian music industry with the launch of Lifestyle Music Group (LMG). The multi-Grammy® Award-winning producer, songwriter and executive has appointed industry veteran Demmette Guidry as General Manager of LMG, which will be distributed through Motown Gospel/Capitol Christian Music Group.

Joining Jerkins in making today’s announcement, Bill Hearn, President/CEO of Capitol Christian Music Group, comments, “Rodney Jerkins’ entrance into the Christian and gospel music genres is long overdue. His track record speaks for itself, and I have no doubt our industry will benefit greatly from the artists and music he develops. All of us at Capitol Christian Music Group are honored to work with Rodney and the Lifestyle team and will do everything possible to contribute to their success.”

Adds Larry Blackwell, VP/GM at Motown Gospel, “Motown Gospel and Capitol Christian Music Group are thrilled to partner with Rodney’s Lifestyle Music Group. His consistent excellence in delivering hits over the past 20 years places him in a class by himself. We can’t be more pleased to work with Rodney and his seasoned team to develop his faith-based artists and their music.”

Music with a purpose is the operating mandate at LMG, underscoring the philosophy that lifestyle is a ministry and ministry is a lifestyle. “Lifestyle Music Group is not a label,” emphasizes Jerkins. He earned his fourth Grammy® in February when Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me (Darkchild Version)” won as Record of the Year. “It’s a destination where a community of artists can exist and just be themselves, authentically expressing their God-given gifts without judgment.”

Adds Guidry, “Music isn’t only a commodity. It’s the very soundtrack for the way we live our lives as individuals. At LMG, we will consciously utilize a more psychographic or lifestyle approach to the creation and marketing of our music versus being constrained by genre and demographics alone.” Guidry, who has held senior executive posts at Columbia and Warner Bros. Records, has helped shape careers for a diverse array of artists including Beyoncé, Lauryn Hill, Mary Mary, Maxwell and Alicia Keys.

Killer Mike of Run The Jewels will present a lecture to MIT students on April 24, 2015. The lecture is part 2 in MIT's new "Hip Hop Speaker Series"; the first was with Young Guru. The series is presented by the Arts at MIT and TapTape, an MIT-based music startup (winner of the MIT Creative Arts Competition in 2014), and brings together leaders in hip hop with leading faculty and students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Killer Mike: Race Relations In The US: Killer Mike will speak about race relations in the US in his April lecture at MIT and address how current and future technologies impact race relation issues. Topics such as Ferguson, to the SAE incident in Oklahoma, to white privilege and black empowerment will be included. As a social activist and hip hop artist, his music is full of socially conscious lyrics as heard in his album R.A.P. Music (R.A.P. stands for rebellious African people) to his duo Run The Jewels, who just released a new music video showing the futility of police brutality in "Close Your Eyes". An introduction will be made by Christopher Nolte. Nolte is an MIT graduate student and is the CEO and Co-Founder of TapTape which was the winner of the 2014 MIT $10K Creative Arts Competition. The moderator of the talk will be MIT professor Ian Condry.

iHeartMedia has announced its annual iHeartRadio Summer Pool Party on Saturday, May 30 – and for the first time ever, the summer's hottest party will be at Caesars Palace Las Vegas. The 2015 iHeartRadio Summer Pool Party will feature live performances by Nick Jonas, Chris Brown, Kelly Clarkson, Nicki Minaj, Shaggy and Echosmith, with more performers and special presenters to be announced.

“These are the artists and songs you're going to be blasting at the beaches and at your BBQs, and we can't wait to kickoff the summer celebrating with our listeners to the soundtrack of the season.”

The iHeartRadio Summer Pool Party will kick off Saturday afternoon with an all-day pool party featuring sets by iHeartRadio's house DJs, including Prostyle. The ultimate party weekend will continue on Saturday evening with a live concert event featuring Nick Jonas, Chris Brown, Kelly Clarkson, Nicki Minaj, Shaggy and Echosmith.

For the third consecutive year, the iHeartRadio Summer Pool Party will air as an exclusive television broadcast nationally on The CW Network on Thursday, June 11 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. To promote the event, iHeartMedia is launching a national on-air and online promotion across its mainstream and rhythmic Contemporary Hit Radio (CHR), HOT-AC and Electronic Dance Music (EDM) stations. Beginning Monday, April 27, hundreds of iHeartRadio Summer Pool Party packages, which include round-trip airfare, two-night luxury hotel accommodations at Caesars Palace for two and access to all the weekend's events, will be given away through May 22. One Grand Prize Winner will be chosen to receive a fantasy all-access experience which will include being flown to Las Vegas on a private luxury jet, a suite at Caesars Palace, spa treatments at Qua Baths & Spa, a VIP dinner at Nobu Restaurant & Lounge, a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon, exclusive once-in-a-lifetime artist experiences and more.

"iHeartRadio is always looking to party with our listeners, and what better way than the iHeartRadio Summer Pool Party in Sin City," said Tom Poleman, President of National Programming Platforms, iHeartMedia. "These are the artists and songs you're going to be blasting at the beaches and at your BBQs, and we can't wait to kickoff the summer celebrating with our listeners to the soundtrack of the season."

With his newest studio album,The Art Of Hustle, around the corner, Memphis representative,Yo Gotti, is bringing his unique brand of "hustlenomics" to Canada for the first time. The CMG/Epic recording artist will kick off a ten-day run in Victoria, BC on May 5, 2015 that will take him cross country before wrapping in Windsor on May 15. He will be joined by newcomer, Wave Chapelle, who is signed to Gotti's CMG imprint. (See full dates below).

Still riding the success of his last album, 2013's I Am, Yo Gotti delivered "Errrbody," the first song from "The Art Of Hustle" in early 2014. The song would go on to become the biggest hit of his career, bringing the regional superstar to the global stage in a major way. The success of the single also landed Gotti a role on the Drake vs. Lil' Wayne tour. While touring the country, promoting his CMG imprint with the release of the mixtape, Chapter One, and managing his Memphis restaurant Prive, Yo Gotti still found time to record The Art Of Hustle. In fact, Gotti recently revealed to AllHipHop.com that the album is being delayed by his attempt to narrow down which songs will make the cut. That didn't stop him from offering fans the surprise mixtape Concealed, this past January.

Known as much for his business acumen as his skills on the mic, Yo Gotti aims to offer the same type of guidelines through The Art Of Hustle as Sun Tzu's The Art Of War. "I think there are rules, strategies and laws to being a successful hustler," he explains in a recent Noisey.com interview. "If it was so simple, everybody would be great at doing it. Everybody would be financially successful, that's not true. 50 to 60 percent of entertainers you see today don't have money, he adds. It's ultimately the Art Of Hustle."

Tour Dates
May 5 Victoria, BC Sugar
May 6 Vancouver, BC Harbour Event Centre
May 7 Kelowna, BC Sapphire
May 8 Edmonton, AB Union Hall
May 9 Saskatoon, SK O'Brian's
May 10 Winnepeg, MG Stereo
May 12 Ottawa, ON Ritual
May 13 Hamilton, ON Club 77
May 14 Toronto, ON Luxy
May 15 Windsor,ON Boom Boom Room

VH1 has given the greenlight to "She's Got Game," a one-hour weekly series starring Jayceon Taylor, better known as platinum-selling rap artist "The Game," as he sets out on tour this summer ready to find love - with a little help from his celeb friends.

We all know The Game from his hit VH1 series "Marrying The Game" as an amazing father as well as family man, that goes without saying. But what we don't know is if there is a woman out there that would satisfy him enough to slow him down. In the past we've seen him give being a family man his all, but sometimes in life and love other cards come into play. Now, in the new series "She's Got Game," The Game sets out in pursuit of his perfect love match while he embarks on a national tour. The 10-episode series is slated to premiere summer 2015.

Tired of picking the wrong women, in "She's Got Game," Taylor turns to his celebrity friends to see who can help him most when it comes to matters of the heart. Each celebrity will select a young woman to accompany Game on his national tour. But which women will succumb to the not-so-innocent rock star lifestyle, and which will have his back and ultimately win his heart?

"Relationships are hard. And The Game knows that working in the entertainment business makes it even harder," said Susan Levison, EVP, Original Programming & Production, VH1. "In this series, he gets to try a different strategy, taking the advice and suggestions of the friends who know him best. We can't wait to go on this adventure with the Game as he searches for the woman that could ultimately be his match."

"She's Got Game" is executive produced by 51 Minds' Christian Sarabia and Angela Aguilera. Jayceon Taylor serves as an executive producer. For VH1, the series is executive produced by Susan Levison, Jill Holmes, Kristen Kelly, Fernando Mills and Tricia Biggio.

Wrapping up the first half of North American dates on his Play Like Hell Tour, critically-acclaimed rapper and producer Black Milk will be hitting Europe this spring. Featuring his live band Nat Turner (keyboardist/vocalist Aaron "Ab" Abernathy, bassist Malik Hunter and drummer Z Horton), the first leg of North American dates began in Dallas and will wrap up on the west coast next week before detouring through Europe. Europe dates include stops in Switzerland, France, Germany, Holland, UK, Austria, Poland, and Sweden. The second half of North American dates will resume this June in Washington, DC and hit his hometown of Detroit. The Detroit rapper celebrated the beginning of his tour by releasing the first single since his If There's A Hell Below album dropped last October with "I Guess," a lyrical onslaught with multi-layered samples with oscillating percussion. He will also release If There's A Hell Below Instrumentals on vinyl this Record Store Day, April 18.

Respected as an accomplished musician with more than a decade of industry experience and a rich catalog of recordings, Black Milk has transitioned from one of hip-hop's young rising stars to a veteran with a uniquely well-rounded pedigree. Aside from releasing his latest solo album, If There's A Hell Below in October of last year via his own Computer Ugly label, he has been keeping busy working on collaborations with Bun B, Danny Brown, Black Thought, Robert Glasper, Adrian Younge, Pete Rock, BadBadNotGood, and Blu. Known for producing meticulous live shows, Black Milk and his band will perform songs from If There's a Hell Below as well as his previous albums.

As one of the most celebrated producers and rappers of his generation of hip-hop artists, Black Milk has conditioned fans and critics to expect the unexpected with each release. Few producers have earned the notoriety and respect he has as a musician, and when that is coupled with commanding talent as an emcee, it's no surprise that his solo releases are met with exalted anticipation. His new full-length album, If There's A Hell Below, continues Black's trend of releasing material that maintains his signature sound while pushing it into new territory.

With more than a decade of industry experience and a rich catalog of recordings, Black Milk has transitioned from one of hip-hop's young rising stars to a veteran with a uniquely well-rounded pedigree. After scoring his first production credit for Slum Village as a teenager in 2002, he eventually worked closely with the group and co-produced much of their two following albums. His self-released, full-length project Sound of the City (2005) led to his first record deal, and he began to gain international attention for the soul-sample driven style on his proper solo debut Popular Demand (2007). With five solo rap albums (Popular Demand, Tronic, Album of the Year, No Poison No Paradise and Glitches In The Break), an instrumental album (Synth or Soul), numerous collaboration albums (Caltroit with Bishop Lamont, The Set Up with Fat Ray, Black and Brown with Danny Brown, Random Axe with Sean Price and Guilty Simpson and Burning Stones with Mel), and 2 singles with Jack White behind him, Black Milk remains one of hip-hop's most consistent artists.

Apr 10 - Los Angeles, CA - Los Globos
Apr 11 - San Francisco, CA - Brick & Mortar Music Hall
Apr 12 - Sacramento, CA - Harlow's
Apr 14 - Salt Lake City, UT - Urban Lounge
Apr 16 - Portland, OR - Alhambra Theatre (Soul'd Out Music Festival)
Apr 24 - Basel, Switzerland - Kaserne
Apr 25 - Vevey, Switzerland - Rocking Chair
Apr 28 - Feyzin, France - L'Epicerie Moderne
Apr 30 - Mannheim, Germany - Feuerwache
May 02 - Bristol, United Kingdom - Start The Bus
May 03 - Groningen, Holland - Simplon
May 04 - Amsterdam, Holland - Melkweg
May 06 - Saint-Ètienne, France - Musitecture
May 07 - Rotterdam, Holland - Bird
May 08 - Stockholm, Sweden - Fasching
May 09 - Münster, Germany - Skaters Palace
May 10 - Warsaw, Poland - Warsaw Challenge
May 13 - Wien, Austria - Leopold
May 14 - Zürich, Switzerland - Exil
Jun 16 - Washington, DC at DC9
Jun 17 - Philadelphia, PA at Johnny Brenda's
Jun 18 - New York, NY at The Studio at Webster Hall
Jun 20 - Detroit, MI at TBA
Jun 21 - Chicago, IL at Subterranean
Jun 22 - Minneapolis, MN at 7th St Entry
Jun 25 - Calgary, Canada at Sled Island Festival
Jun 27 - Vancouver, Canada at Fortune Sound Club
Jun 28 - Seattle, WA at Nectar Lounge

In a slight turnaround from a year ago, digital album sales in the U.S. are up 2.8 percent to 28.26 million in the first quarter, while overall albums are only down 1.8 percent to 60.6 million, according to Nielsen Music. That digital tally wrapped up 2014 down 9.4 percent to 106.5 million, while overall sales dipped 11.2 percent.

While some may point to Drake's digital-only If You're Reading This It's Too Late for this reversal in fortune, digital album sales were actually only down slightly at 1.8 percent on Feb. 8, the last SoundScan week before the rapper's album came out.

In addition to an uptick on the digital side, vinyl sales have continued to climb and are now big enough to have an impact on the overall market. According to the data, vinyl sales are up 52.5 percent this year in the U.S. with 2.77 million units (quite the jump over the 1.82 million scanned in the first quarter of 2014).

Last year's best-selling title, Taylor Swift's 1989, topped the first quarter with 949,000 scans and was also the biggest vinyl album with nearly 19,000 units. Swift is followed by Drake with 793,000 all-digital units, easily making it the quarter's best-selling album in that format. The top digital song was Mark Ronson's "Uptown Funk!," featuring Bruno Mars, which scanned 3.7 million units.

Universal Music Group remains the top U.S. distributor with a 39.4 percent market share in albums, plus track equivalent albums.

In our chart, indie market share is listed at only 13.1 percent, owing to the fact that market shares of major-owned indie distributors have been included within their major label parents. Billboard calculates market share by label ownership twice per year; in that view, the indie sector accounts for roughly 35 percent of the market. Source: Billboard

Having earned a reputation as a wildlife advocate and lover of nature, it should come as no surprise that Sir Michael Rocks has announced his retirement from rap after landing his own reality series, The Rocks Report, on National Geographic. Upon moving to Miami in 2013, the Cool Kids rapper adopted a baby monkey, and a few months ago advised Buzzfeed of "13 Beasties That Would Make Great Besties." Sir Michael Rocks also teamed up with PETA in their protests of SeaWorld, as MTV reported he "was serious about going to war for the whales."

In the pilot episode of The Rocks Report, National Geographic follows Sir Michael Rocks as he navigates some of Florida's most populated wildlife reserves. Venturing into a monkey jungle to "hang out with some of the locals," Sir Michael Rocks asserts himself into the monkey hierarchy, getting up close and personal as he displays his expertise in handling. "I would just like to thank Nat Geo for helping create this experience," Rocks expressed with full enthusiasm for a new chapter in his career. "As a long time animal lover and researcher I am honored to have an institution such as National Geographic believe in me and help push this portion of my career forward. This will be a fun ride and I can't wait for the world to watch."

Growing up as the youngest of three in his family outside of Chicago, Sir Michael Rocks developed a lifelong interest in the outdoors. Nature looms as an influence in his music, as Rocks infused the creativity, strength, and beauty he found in settings like the beach, the deep sea, and the woods into his art. Rocks' 2014 album, Banco, saw a quick rise to the #1 spot on iTunes' hip-hop charts, also reaching the top spot on Billboard's HeatSeekers chart. The album evokes Rocks' wealth of creativity, passion, intellect, and style, all elements of his unmistakable persona soon to hit television screens.

Variety Entertainment announces the 2015 Funk Fest tour, concert series known for featuring chart-topping entertainers like Outkast, LL Cool J and Jill Scott. The 2015 Funk Fest Presented by Pepsi will kick-off in Orlando, Fla., on Saturday, April 18, 2015 at Central Florida Fairgrounds with an all-star line-up that includes: R. Kelly, Mint Condition, SWV, Whodini and more.

For more than 10 years, Funk Fest has attracted music enthusiasts from across the globe who enjoy partying with a purpose while celebrating the rich cultural heritage of different musical genres. The 2014 tour was attended by more than 120,000 patrons and was named as one of the "Best Fests" by Creative Loafing Magazine.

"Funk Fest enthusiasts should be excited about the 2015 season, because we intend to give them an amazing show that celebrates ten years of great music and a fantastic time," said Variety Entertainment CEO, Leo Bennett. "We are thrilled about our partnership with Pepsi, which will help provide scholarships and awards to local area students to further their education."

This year, Funk Fest will bring together several R&B and Hip –Hop groups that have not performed together in years. Blackstreet (ft. Teddy Riley and Dave Hollister), Jodeci (all original members), Floetry and 2 Live Crew (featuring Brother Marquis, Fresh Kid Ice and Uncle Luke) will all reunite on Funk Fest stages during this year's tour.

Funk Fest community partner, Lifting As We Climb and Pepsi have pledged to award up to $50,000 in scholarships to students in tour markets and will also provide 40 students with career immersion experiences in Public Relations, Marketing, Operations and Production during the tour. Additional community investments will occur in Birmingham, Ala. through a partnership with the City of Birmingham's Department of Recreation and in Columbia, S.C. in partnership with Benedict College.

The following dates are for 2015 Funk Fest.

Orlando, Fla. – April 18
Birmingham, Ala. – May 2
Jacksonville, Fla. – May 8 & 9
Atlanta – May 15 & 16
Mobile, Ala. – June 6
Columbia, S.C. – June 20

Additional tour dates will be announced for Charlotte, N.C., Miami, and Tampa, Fla. in the fall of 2015.

Grammy award winner, Ciara will embark on a U.S. tour in May. This marks her first live concert tour in over six years. The first leg of the tour will make stops in 18 major cities beginning May 3 in Chicago and continuing to May 31 in San Francisco. A second leg of the tour is pending announcement. Ciara's is set to release of her 6th album, Jackie on Epic/Sony Music Entertainment in May.


May 3 Chicago IL
House of Blues
May 5 New York NY
Best Buy Theatre
May 7 Boston MA
House of Blues
May 9 Silver Spring MD
The Fillmore
May 10 Glenside PA
Kenswick Theatre
May 12 Charlotte NC
May 13 Atlanta GA
Center Stage
May 15 Miami FL
May 16 Tampa FL
The Ritz Ybor
May 19 New Orleans LA
Joy Theatre
May 20 Houston TX
House of Blues
May 22 Dallas TX
House of Blues
May 23 San Antonio TX
The Aztec Theatre
May 24 Corpus Christi TX
Brewester Street Ice House
May 27 San Diego CA
House of Blues
May 29 Riverside CA
Riverside Municipal Auditorium
May 30 Los Angeles CA
Club Nokia
May 31 San Francisco CA

Dick Clark Productions announced Monday that the rapper and model will host the show May 17 from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. It will air on ABC. Nominees will be announced April 7.

“If my extensive collection of all 53 Now That’s What I Call Music compilations is any indication, I am both qualified and honored to join Ludacris in hosting this amazing show that spotlights the best music and artists of the year,” said Teigen.

“I had so much fun hosting the Billboard Music Awards last year and I can’t wait to be back!” said Ludacris, whose Ludaversal album drops this week.

Teigen is married to singer-songwriter and actor John Legend. Ludacris hosted the awards show last year.

Billboard has confirmed that the rapper parted ways with the agency and longtime representative Cara Lewis to sign with UTA for full representation across his varied business interests. West's digital business and music will be handled by a cross-departmental team of agents at UTA.

"Kanye West has the utmost respect for Cara Lewis, and has had a close working relationship with her for many years," a spokesperson for West tells Billboard. "The decision to change agencies is based on Kanye's continuing desire to diversify and search for new opportunities."

The New York-based Lewis has made a name for herself as the agent of note when it comes to hip-hop artists, having represented such hitmakers as Eminem, 50 Cent and Common, among others. She left William Morris Endeavor in 2012 after a 23-year tenure to join CAA.

"Jimmy the Henchman" Rosemond was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison plus 20 years for a murder-for-hire plot that a judge described as "heinous" and "vile."

The federal judge imposed the sentence on James "Jimmy the Henchman" Rosemond, who was found guilty at a December trial in Manhattan.

Rosemond was convicted for his role in ordering a crew of men to kill an associate of G-Unit. The charges stemmed from the 2009 shooting death of Lowell Fletcher. Prosecutors had said the killing was payback for an assault on Rosemond's son by Fletcher and other G-Unit associates. They said the son was not seriously injured in the assault and Fletcher served prison time for his involvement in it. Upon Fletcher's release from prison, though, he was killed.

Rosemond, who has represented artists such as The Game and Sean Kingston, already was serving a life sentence for smuggling cocaine in music equipment cases between studios in New York and Los Angeles.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said Rosemond bragged to an associate after the killing that he would never be caught because Fletcher was merely a "gangbanger" who died in the Bronx.

"This prosecution has proven Rosemond wrong," Bharara said in a news release.

In announcing the sentence, U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon called Rosemond's conduct "heinous," ''vile" and "disgusting."

Evidence at trial revealed Rosemond to be head of Czar Entertainment, a rap music management company, and also the boss of a large-scale cocaine trafficking organization, prosecutors said.

Rosemond's lawyer had argued the witnesses against him were unreliable.

WWE has announced that Skylar Grey, Kid Ink and Travis Barker, will take the stage at WrestleMania 31, on Sunday, March 29 at 7 pm ET/ 4 pm PT, from Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA.

A medley of the WrestleMania 31 theme songs, “Rise” by David Guetta featuring Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Skylar Grey and “Money and the Power” by multi-platinum rapper, Kid Ink, will be performed by Skylar Grey and Kid Ink, both joined by legendary drummer, Travis Barker.

Skylar Grey has co-written countless hits for power-house artists including Eminem, Dr. Dre and Diddy. Most recently, she can be found on the best-selling 50 Shades of Grey soundtrack with “I Know You” and on the just-released Furious 7 soundtrack with “I Will Return.”

Kid Ink is a rising star in his own right. His most recent album, Full Speed, debuted in the top 10 and features collaborations with Usher and Chris Brown. Like Skylar, he is also featured on the Furious 7 soundtrack with his song “Ride Out.”

Musician and producer, Travis Barker, is most noted as the drummer for the rock band Blink-182. Known as the go-to drummer he has performed with artists of all genres, collaborating with Eminem, Yelawolf, Lil Wayne, Rihanna as well as pop stars Pink and Demi Lovato. Currently he is producing the new duo Prayers, and working on a book, Can I Say that will come out this spring.

This year, more than 70,000 fans from all 50 states and more than 40 countries will descend upon the San Francisco Bay Area for a week-long lineup of festivities in celebration of WrestleMania 31.

Chris Brown has finally put his 2009 attack on Rihanna behind him, at least legally.

Superior Court Judge James R. Brandlin ended Brown's felony probation on Friday, more than six years after the R&B singer brutally attacked his then-girlfriend hours before the Grammy Awards.

The attack erased Brown's squeaky clean image, which he has failed to regain in the ensuing years after incidents such as throwing a chair through a window after a contentious "Good Morning America" interview and a parking lot brawl with singer Frank Ocean. Brown's career has partially rebounded, with the singer performing at the 2012 Grammy Awards and winning a trophy for best R&B album.

Brandlin's decision marks the first time since mid-2009 that Brown will not be under the supervision of court or probation officials. The singer initially avoided problems with the case, but since 2013 has struggled to complete his community service obligations and had his probation revoked in January after he performed a show in Northern California without permission.

Brown and his attorney Mark Geragos hugged in the courtroom and again in a courthouse elevator. After the hearing, he tweeted, "IM OFF PROBATION!!!!!!!! Thank the Lord!!!!!!"

The case forced Brown, 25, to confront some deep personal issues: he says he witnessed domestic violence as a child and while in rehab, he was diagnosed as bipolar, a condition exacerbated by his frequent marijuana use.

The singer has alternated between appearing contrite and polite in court to defiant and angry on social media and in public appearances. Although he maintains a sizable and supportive fan base, known as team breezy, the case has stunted his career.

In February, Canadian immigration officials refused to allow him into the country, forcing him to cancel two shows, and British officials blocked his entry in 2010 forcing the cancellation of four performances.

The singer lost several months of his touring schedule last year dealing with repercussion from a fight in Washington, D.C., and issues he encountered in rehab.

"I couldn't be more delighted," Geragos said after the hearing.

"He is in a spot right now and a place right now that I couldn't be prouder of him," Geragos said of Brown. He said Friday's hearing was "a monumental feat for him."

Problems began in 2013 after prosecutors questioned whether he had complied with the terms of his community labor sentence and Brandlin briefly revoked his probation in a hit-and-run case filed against the singer over a fender bender.

Later that year, Brown struck a man outside a Washington hotel and was charged with misdemeanor assault. Brown was ordered into rehab but was dismissed from the facility for violating its rules and spent two-and-a-half months in custody, with U.S. marshals shuttling him between Los Angeles and the nation's capital for court hearings.

In another incident while in treatment, Brown threw a brick at his mother's car following a counseling session. The incidents occurred after Brown had completed court-ordered anger management sessions.

Brown missed the January deadline to complete his community labor sentence, which required him to perform manual labor such as roadside cleanup or graffiti removal.

Brown was 19 years old when he attacked Rihanna in a rented sports car after leaving a pre-Grammy Awards party. Brown fled the scene but turned himself in to police hours later and was subsequently charged with felony assault.

Celebrity website TMZ posted a photo of Rihanna's battered face, showing extensive injuries that a detective described in detail in a search warrant affidavit seeking phone records from both singers. Brown repeatedly punched Rihanna, bit her ear and choked her to the point that she nearly lost consciousness, according to the affidavit.

Brown pleaded guilty to felony assault in June 2009 and was ordered to stay away from Rihanna, although the order was later lifted and the pair rekindled their romance. They've since broken up.

The singers have collaborated on at least three songs together since the 2009 altercation, including the aptly titled "Nobody's Business" from Rihanna's last album, 2012's Grammy-winning "Unapologetic."

As part of his sentence, Brown was required to undergo domestic violence counseling. Brandlin also ordered Brown into rehab, which resulted in the singer being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and complications from substance abuse.

Snoop Dogg has evolved from gangster rapper to multi-format entertainer, but he's looking to the past in a new series he's developing for HBO.

Snoop announced Friday — when he was giving the keynote address at South by Southwest — that he's working with Allen Hughes on the show about 1980s Los Angeles. Hughes' credits include "Dead Presidents," ''Menace II Society" and "The Book of Eli."

"HBO is the number one network in the world as far as developing and having these types of shows come to life," he said. "This is a dream come true to be able to tell a story that's going to be told the right way on the right network."

In a wide-ranging interview Friday with his manager Ted Chung in Austin, Texas, 43-year-old Snoop discussed topics from getting high with Willie Nelson to meeting Dr. Dre.

Here's a breakdown:


The chicken was fried, but Snoop and Willie Nelson were baked.

Snoop and Nelson collaborated on the song "My Medicine" and he said "it was love at first sight."

"We went in the green room, had a conversation and from there the conversation sparked up the idea of — yeah sparked up the idea of — me and Willie wanting to collaborate," he said as the audience at the Austin Convention Center burst into laughter.

Snoop went to Amsterdam, where Nelson was on tour, and worked on the track. After smoking so much marijuana, they decided to get food.

"They give us the bucket of chicken, we open it up, boom, and me and Willie stuck our hands in at the same time and we grabbed the same piece of chicken," he said, as the audience laughed again. "And I look at Willie, I was like, 'That's you dog, my bad.'

"That was one of the greatest moments in my life."


Though Snoop has had platinum-plus albums and hit songs, he's never won a Grammy.

But he says he's not worried about winning awards, thanks to his youth football league. He said he's proud he has been able to send young men to Division I schools to play sports and gain an education.

"That's better than a Grammy right there," he said.

He also said his proudest moment was seeing his son, who earned a football scholarship to UCLA, go to college.

"He's first person in my family to actually go to college, so how do you think I feel?" he asked.


Snoop admits he hung up on Dr. Dre when the rapper-producer reached out to him.

Snoop said Dre heard some of his music at a party and then called the young rapper to collaborate.

"Dr. Dre was like, 'Who was that rapping?" he recalled. "From that day he called me and I didn't believe it, I was like, 'Man, quit playing.' I hung up on him."

Dre called Snoop back and they went on to produce rap classics, from "Gin and Juice" to "What's My Name?"

"It was like magic," Snoop said. "We built a bond. It was a brotherhood."


Snoop said when he burst on the music scene, he had many enemies.

"They went to Congress, Dionne Warwick and a bunch of people had my record on display talking about, 'He's the worst thing in the world,' and they were really out to get me," he recalled.

"And I had to get past that because you have to understand, a lot of these people I looked up to as kids and they were hating on me and didn't know me."

Snoop said he didn't let the backlash derail him and his mission as an artist.

"It rubbed me the wrong way and I was young and ambitious and gangster ... but as a man now, I don't do that. I look at what they did, how they rubbed me the wrong way and I try not to rub my young homies the wrong way. I try to be for them and about them, and understand them and talk to them and communicate with them."

Marion "Suge" Knight's collapsed in a courtroom Friday shortly after a judge ordered him held on $25 million bail in a murder case.

Knight's attorney Matthew Fletcher said his client, who is diabetic and has a blood clot, told him that he hadn't received any medication since Thursday.

Fletcher said Knight hit his head on a chair when he fell after the bail hearing.

Bailiffs cleared the courtroom after Knight's medical episode and paramedics were seen going into the courtroom a few minutes later.

Fletcher said Knight was unconscious when the lawyer left the courtroom and an update on his condition was not immediately available.

Knight fell while deputies were bringing him back into the courtroom after Fletcher asked a judge to reconvene a hearing and issue an order that Knight be given his medication.

The attorney said Knight is being kept in solitary confinement without proper access to medication.

"He's being treated worse than Charles Manson," Fletcher said.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ronald S. Coen set bail for Knight, who is accused of running down and killing a man with his truck.

Coen ordered the amount after Deputy District Attorney Cynthia Barnes noted that Knight was on bail in a robbery case when he struck two men in a parking lot in Compton.

Knight's attorney Matthew Fletcher argued that Knight's bail should be set at $2 million.

The 49-year-old co-founder of Death Row Records has pleaded not guilty to murder, attempted murder and hit-and-run charges.

With a standard-setting finale to its first season reaching 17.6 million viewers, Fox's music business drama "Empire" has proven that it's still possible for broadcast television to create big hits.

That's how many people watched the second of two one-hour episodes on Wednesday night. The first hour was seen by 15.8 million people, the Nielsen company said.

When "Empire" debuted in January, its first-night audience was a healthy but not remarkable 9.9 million. It proceeded to gain viewers for every single succeeding episode through the 12th and final one Wednesday night, a feat Nielsen said is unmatched in two dozen years of estimating viewership through electronic people meters.

On the final episode, music family patriarch Lucious Lyon, played by actor Terrence Howard, learns that he doesn't actually have ALS as he had thought. He also anoints middle son Jamal as the heir to the family business, angering his other sons Andre and Hakeem in the process.

Not since "Grey's Anatomy" in 2005 has a television drama reached so many people for the last episode of its premiere season, Nielsen said.

The viewership estimate doesn't take into account the number of people who will see the show via Internet streams, video on demand and on DVR in the coming days and weeks. Based on viewership gains seen by past "Empire" episodes, Fox estimates that in a month's time more than 27 million people will have watched Wednesday's last episode.

Facebook said some 4.2 million people accounted for 15.8 million posts, shares and comments on the finale.

The "Empire" success puts the rookie show among CBS' "NCIS" and AMC's "The Walking Dead" in drama popularity this season. It's a boon for Fox, which has seen former juggernaut "American Idol" continue to recede in popularity and few other shows connecting with viewers. It's heartening for television programmers in general to see a program become a hit at a time most new programs fail.

"Empire" will be back for a second season, although Fox hasn't said whether it will be in the fall or winter.

Hip-hop pioneer, Tony Award-winning producer and multi-hyphenate entrepreneur Russell Simmons has announced the development of The Scenario, a new stage musical that will be driven by the music that defined a generation: the greatest hits from a two-decade span of hip-hop – from the "golden age" of the mid-80s to mid-90s "when it seemed that every new single reinvented the genre" (Rolling Stone), to the chart-topping artists at the turn of the millennium. Simmons, who is widely credited with ushering in a hip-hop cultural revolution with the launch of Def Jam Recordings in 1984, and creating the trailblazing Def Comedy franchise in 1989, will produce through his Los Angeles-based production company Def Pictures, alongside Tony Award-winning Broadway producer Big Block/Scott Prisand (Rock of Ages, Heathers, Gentleman's Guide To Love And Murder). The Scenario will feature an original story written by acclaimed author and hip-hop historian Dan Charnas (The Big Payback), and aims to premiere in New York City in late 2016.

"Hip hop's explosion was fueled by a generation with an incredible hunger to discover new ways of expression," said Simmons. "These artists were always breaking the mold with new rhythms and new ideas, while at the same time telling so many important and timeless stories that over the decades have continued to remain just as relevant. This is why the music continues to strike a chord with fans worldwide. It felt like such a natural fit to weave the best of these sounds and stories into an energetic and thrilling musical that would transport audiences through one of the most innovative artistic movements of our time."

"Part of what made the Rock of Ages experience so incredible for theatregoers was the joy of hearing the most beloved songs of an era serve as the storyteller," said Scott Prisand. "Russell is the catalyst of all this extraordinary music that has already touched generations to the core around the world; we're taking those beats everyone knows and loves, and setting them into a fun original story."

Added Jake Stein, who is shepherding the project on behalf of Def Pictures and will also produce with Simmons, "These classic songs, stories and rhythms will find a new audience on the theater stage. We believe this show will be an entirely new entry point for appreciating hip hop as a transformative art that has shaped culture, fashion, music and entertainment of all forms, and we hope it will help open the door for other live theatrical experiences."

Entrepreneur, author, activist and philanthropist Russell Simmons has launched scores of groundbreaking careers and innovative enterprises in arenas as varied as music, film, television, fashion, comedy, poetry, digital platforms, theater and finance. His lifelong mission has been giving a voice to extraordinary talent and empowering underserved communities as they in turn shape the mainstream of culture.

After having produced or managed artists such as Kurtis Blow, Run DMC, Houdini and Jimmy Spicer, Simmons joined forces with producer Rick Rubin to found Def Jam Recordings. Under Simmons' leadership as Chairman, Def Jam signed acts including the Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, LL Cool J, Jay Z and Kanye West. Simmons' long-running HBO series "Def Comedy Jam" helped make household names of comics including Jamie Foxx, Chris Tucker, Martin Lawrence, Bernie Mac, Dave Chappelle, Kevin Hart and JB Smoove. "Def Poetry Jam," also on HBO, won a Peabody Award and a Broadway version netted Simmons a Tony® Award. Simmons' numerous big-screen hits include The Nutty Professor, which grossed more than $273 million.

Simmons has written three New York Times best-selling books, including Success Through Stillness: Meditation Made Simple, which was published by Morrow in 2014. He has also launched a multitude of diverse business ventures including pop-culture website Global Grind, UniRush Financial Services, Simmons Jewelry, shoemaker Run Athletics and clothing subsidiaries Phat Farm, Argyleculture and American Classics. Most recently, he unveiled All Def Digital, a premium, multi-platform digital media company and entertainment hub, curating, developing and connecting a new generation of content creators to global fans. He also co-founded the digital marketing firm Narrative.

Alabama-born recording artist Yelawolf is scheduled to hit the road on The Love Story tour starting May 1 at The Fillmore in Detroit, MI, and running through June 27 at Knoxville, TN's The International, with dates scheduled for Rock On The Range (Columbus, OH, May 15) and The Soundset Festival (Minneapolis, MN, May 24). The complete list of dates can be found below.

The tour will run in support of Yelawolf's second full length major label album release, Love Story, available April 21 on Slumerican/Shady Records/Interscope, which Yelawolf describes as "more passionate" than his past projects. A number of tracks have already been released from the album including "Till It's Gone," which premiered on the season premiere for the final season of Sons Of Anarchy to rave response with the video already reaching over 8.5 million views. Yelawolf followed the success of "Till Its Gone" with the single "Whiskey In A Bottle." Love Story was recorded mostly in Nashville with executive producer Eminem and various other producers including Malay, WLPWR and DJ Paul.

"I'm telling the truth about a lot of things," Yelawolf's said in describing the new album, which follows the release of his mixtape Trunk Muzik Returns in March, 2013. "I try to be as honest as I can with everything I do."

Here is the complete list of tour dates:

Friday, May 1
Detroit, MI
The Fillmore

Tuesday, May 5
Chattanooga, TN
Track 29

Wednesday, May 6
Columbia, SC
Music Farm

Thursday, May 7
Ashville, NC
Orange Peel

Friday, May 8
Norfolk, VA
Norva Theatre

Saturday, May 9
Baltimore, MD
Sound Stage

Sunday, May 10
Philadelphia, PA

Tuesday, May 12
Brooklyn, NY
Brooklyn Bowl

Wednesday, May 13
Lancaster, PA
Chameleon Club

Thursday, May 14
Buffalo, NY
Town Ballroom

Friday, May 15
Columbus, OH
Rock On The Range

Sunday, May 17
Indianapolis, IN

Tuesday, May 19
Chicago, IL
The Metro

Wednesday, May 20
Milwaukee, WI
The Rave

Thursday, May 21
Des Moines, IA

Friday, May 22
Iowa City, IA
Blue Moose

Saturday, May 23
St. Louis, MO
Verizon Wireless Amphitheater

Sunday, May 24
Minneapolis, MN
Soundset Festival

Tuesday, May 26
Lawrence, KS
Granada Theater

Wednesday, May 27
Denver, CO
Gothic Theatre

Thursday, May 28
Dencver, CO
Gothic Theatre

Friday, May 29
Salt Lake City, UT
The Complex

Saturday, May 30
Boise, ID
Knitting Factory

Sunday, May 31
Missoula, MT
Wilma Theater

Tuesday, June 2
Spokane, WA
Knitting Factory

Wednesday, June 3
Seattle, WA
Showbox Sodu

Thursday, June 4
Portland, OR

Friday, June 5
Eugene, Or
McDonald Theatre

Saturday, June 6
San Francisco, CA
Live 105 Radio Show

Sunday, June 7
San Diego, CA
Xfest/91X – Sleep Train Amphitheater

Monday, June 8
Ventura, CA
Ventura Theatre

Wednesday, June 10
Los Angeles, CA
Fonda Theatre

Thursday, June 11
Riverside, CA
Riverside Municipal Auditorium

Friday, June 12
Las Vegas, NV
Brooklyn Bowl

Saturday, June 13
Phoenix, AZ
Club Red

Sunday, June 14
Tucson, AZ
Rialto Theatre

Monday, June 15
Albuquerque, NM
Sunshine Theatre

Wednesday, June 17
San Antonio, TX
Alamo City Music Hall

Thursday, June 18
Austin, TX
Emo's East

Friday, June 19
Dallas, TX
Southside Music Hall

Saturday, June 20
Houston, TX

Sunday, June 21
New Orleans, LA
House Of Blues

Tuesday, June 23
Mobile, AL
Midnight Rodeo

Wednesday, June 24
Birmingham, AL
Iron City

Thursday, June 25
Memphis, TN
Minglewood Hall

Friday, June 26
Nashville, TN
Maraton Music Workds

Saturday, June 27
Knoxville, TN
The International

Nicki Minaj, today announced the North American dates for THE PINKPRINT TOUR. Set to kick off on July 17 in Dallas, Texas at the Gexa Energy Pavilion, the tour will visit cities throughout the U.S. and Canada with stops planned in Brooklyn, Atlanta, Toronto, Vancouver, Chicago and San Diego. Meek Mill, Rae Sremmurd, Tinashe and Dej Loaf are lined up to join the tour as special guests. The European leg of THE PINKPRINT TOUR is set to kick off on March 16 in Stockholm, Sweden. The North American leg of the THE PINKPRINT TOUR is an Al Haymon/Live Nation Production.

Citi® cardmembers will have access to pre-sale tickets beginning Wednesday, March 18 at Noon local time through Citi's Private Pass® Program.

All dates, cities and venues below subject to change.
* - Meek Mill, Tinashe and Dej Loaf only on these dates.

Friday, July 17
Dallas, TX
Gexa Energy Pavilion

Monday, July 20
Miami, FL
Bayfront Park Amphitheare*

Wednesday, July 22
Bristow, VA
Jiffy Lube Live

Friday, July 24
Holmdel, NJ
PNC Bank Arts Center

Sunday, July 26
Brooklyn, NY
Barclays Center

Tuesday, July 28
Toronto, ON
Molson Canadian Amphitheatre*

Wednesday, July 29
Montreal, QC
Bell Centre

Friday, July 31
Clarkston, MI
DTE Energy Music Theatre

Sunday, August 2
Atlanta, GA
Aaron's Amphitheatre at Lakewood

Tuesday, August 4
Charlotte, NC
PNC Music Pavilion

Thursday, August 6
Camden, NJ
Susquehanna Bank Center

Saturday, August 8
Burgettstown, PA
First Niagara Pavilion

Sunday, August 9
Tinley Park, IL
First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre

Tuesday, August 11
Denver, CO
Pepsi Center

Thursday, August 13
Chula Vista, CA
Sleep Train Amphitheatre

Friday, August 14
Concord, CA
Concord Pavilion*

Sunday, August 16
Vancouver, BC
Pepsi Live at Rogers Arena

Tuesday, August 18
Calgary, AB
Scotiabank Saddledome

Wednesday, August 19
Edmonton, AB
Rexall Place

Earl Sweatshirt is back to surprise fans with the announcement of his new record I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside. Fans don't need to wait long because the album will be released digitally on March 23 and will see physical releases on CD and vinyl soon after.

Earl Sweatshirt SXSW performance schedule:
3/19 - Pandora - The Gatsby - 708 E 6th Street - 10:00pm
3/19 - ICM Partners Hip-Hop - Austin Music Hall - 208 Nueces Street
3/20 - Spin - Stubb's BBQ - 801 Red River - 2:00pm
3/20 - Thrasher x Converse - The Gypsy - 1504 E 6th Street - 3:45pm
3/20 - Pigeons & Planes - Hype Hotel - 1100 E 5th Street - 1:00am

Me Against The World is considered one of the most influential rap albums of all-time and serves as an artistic milestone in Tupac Shakur's career. It was his most introspective and emotionally deep release to date, giving a raw and honest insight into one of the greatest hip-hop artists of all-time.

March 14th, 2015 marked the 20th anniversary of Tupac Shakur's critically acclaimed, GRAMMY® nominated, double-platinum release Me Against The World. Originally released in 1995, this landmark album debuted at No. 1 on both the Billboard 200 and Billboard's R&B Albums charts and was Shakur's first album to go to No. 1 on both charts where it stayed for four weeks straight.

Me Against The World features the GRAMMY® nominated single "Dear Mama," a song paying tribute to his mom, Afeni Shakur, that reached No. 1 on the Hot Rap Singles and Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales charts concurrently, and "So Many Tears," which hit No. 6 on the Hot Rap Singles chart and Top 50 on The Billboard Hot 100. Other classics include the single "Temptations," which hit No. 13 on the Hot Rap Singles chart, "Lord Knows," "Death Around the Corner" and "Outlaw."

Tupac Shakur leaves a legacy of honesty and passion. With sales of over 75 million albums worldwide, his unapologetic lyrics are as relevant today as they were 20 years ago. Tupac's music has earned attention and respect through a poetic style that allowed his message of hope to come through as he diagnosed issues our society struggles with to this day. Considered by many to be one of the biggest influences on modern hip-hop, Tupac's thought provoking lyrics continue to be a catalyst for change.

Chance the Rapper and Ludacris joined Internet Essentials and city and school leaders at Alcott College Prep on Tuesday afternoon to kick off the popular Get Schooled, Get Connected Spring Challenge, which is designed to help thousands of Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students prepare for college.

Throughout the spring challenge, more than 112,000 CPS students will have access to free educational tools, resources and games – or "quests" – to engage with even when the school day ends. The quests include information about topics ranging from how to succeed in school and plan for your education to how to apply for college and financial aid resources. This content is delivered through an online technology platform on getschooledgetconnected.com, and it features a series of pop culture references and localized information that maintains students' interest.

"Data from the Get Schooled, Get Connected Fall Challenge shows the content not only holds students' interest, but the platform also engages and educates them about college opportunities," Alcott College Prep assistant principal Grace Moody said. "The challenge is a great tool for CPS students who want to go to college and for educators who want to help them advance."

Students may become eligible for prizes depending on the number of quests they complete and points they earn. Individual prizes include special celebrity VIP meet-and-greets, $1,000 Get Schooled scholarships, concert and sports tickets, laptops, athletic wear and gaming systems. The schools with the most student points will receive support from Internet Essentials and the CPS-affiliated Children's First Fund to enhance their classrooms and school technology.

In January, Internet Essentials provided $100,000 in support for school foundations and community-based organizations, whose participants earned the most points during the inaugural three-month challenge. Over the past 18 months, Internet Essentials has provided more than $200,000 in support throughout the Chicago region.

"Having home Internet access can transform a young person's life, because it opens an entire world to special programs like the Get Schooled, Get Connected Challenge," said Chance the Rapper, a graduate of Jones College Prep and recipient of Chicago's 2014 Outstanding Youth of the Year award for his community service work. "One student and one family at a time, this program will help close the digital divide by engaging and educating students throughout Chicago."

Chance the Rapper was just one of the celebrities who helped motivate and celebrate student success during the hip fall challenge. Actress and singer-songwriter Christina Milian, singer-songwriter B.o.B, MTV's Sway Calloway, White Sox executive vice president Ken Williams, Chicago Bears safety Ryan Mundy and offensive lineman Jordan Mills, Chicago Fire forward Harry Shipp, former Chicago Bears offensive lineman James "Big Cat" Williams and former Chicago Bulls forward Sidney Green also personally engaged with thousands of students during the fall initiative.

"Students need Internet access to succeed in school, and families need it to succeed economically," said Ludacris, who has gone on to become a movie and rap sensation after attending Oak Park-River Forest High School. "I went to high school in this area, so I know first-hand how important it is for students and families to have Internet access at home."

Internet Essentials is a major resource for students participating in the spring challenge. Eligible students and their families may receive affordable Internet service at home for $9.95 per month plus tax, along with an Internet-ready computer for $150 and access to free digital literacy training.

Since launching in August 2011, Internet Essentials has engaged and helped more Chicago families connect to the power of the Internet than any other city in the country. For the fourth year in a row, the Chicago metro area leads the way with more than 50,000 families benefitting, more than 200,000 low-income Chicagoans.

That is nearly 25 percent of the eligible population in Chicago that has signed up.

Overall in Illinois, 60,000 families or 240,000 individuals benefit from Internet Essentials. Nationally, Internet Essentials has connected more than 450,000 low-income families or more than 1.8 million people in just three and a half years. To put that in perspective, 1.8 million equals two-thirds of the population of the entire city of Chicago.

"It is vital for CPS students and families to stay connected beyond school hours to ensure they remain life-long learners," said Dr. Shawn Jackson, CPS Deputy Chief of Teaching and Learning.

In conjunction with Internet Essentials and the Chicago City of Learning, CPS also has launched CPS Connects, which provides students free virtual learning opportunities as well as live activities across Chicago at locations like the Museum of Science and Industry, Adler Planetarium and Lincoln Park Zoo. CPS Connects provides students with connected learning environments by linking learning in school, home and community.

Snoop Dogg will be the keynote speaker during the music portion of the South By Southwest music festival.

The organization announced Tuesday that the conversation with the 43-year-old music veteran will take place March 20 at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas. The fest runs from March 13 through March 22.

Last year's keynote speaker was Lady Gaga.

Snoop Dogg is planning the release of a new album called "Bush" this spring. It will be produced by Pharrell.

Tyler, the Creator is heading out on a world tour after Coachella. He's playing dates across North America in the South and Midwest before hitting Europe, where he will be playing Primavera Sound in Barcelona, before coming back to play many more US dates.

Tour Dates
4/6 - Tempe, AZ - The Marquee
4/11 - Indio, CA - Coachella
4/18 - Indio, CA - Coachella
4/20 - New Orleans, LA - House of Blues
4/21 - Oxford, MS - The Lyric Oxford
4/22 - Athens, GA - Georgia Theatre
4/24 - Jacksonville, FL - Mavericks at the Landing
4/25 - Saint Petersburg, FL - Jannus Live
4/26 - Miami, FL - The Fillmore
4/28 - Orlando, FL - The Plaza Live
4/29 - Charlotte, NC - The Fillmore Charlotte
5/1 - North Myrtle Beach, SC - House of Blues
5/2 - Raleigh, NC - The Ritz
5/3 - Norfolk, VA - Norva
5/5 - Richmond, VA - The National
5/6 - Columbus, OH - Newport Music Hall
5/8 - Cincinnati, OH - Bogart's
5/9 - Detroit, MI - The Fillmore Detroit
5/10 - Grand Rapids, MI - The Intersection
5/12 - Glasgow, UK - Barrowland
5/13 - Manchester, UK - Academy
5/14 - London, UK - Roundhouse
5/15 - Bristol, UK - O2 Academy
5/17 - Utrecht, Netherlands - Ronda
5/19 - Hamburg, Germany - Mojo
5/20 - Copenhagen, Denmark - Vega
5/21 - Berlin, Germany - C-Club
5/23 - Zurich, Switzerland - Volkhaus
5/24 - Munich, Germany - Theaterfabrik
5/25 - Cologne, Germany - Kantine
5/26 - Paris, France - Le Bataclan
5/28 - Barcelona, Spain - Primavera Sound
6/1 - Albuquerque, NM - Sunshine Theater
6/2 - El Paso, TX - Tricky Falls
6/4 - Oklahoma City, OK - Diamond Ballroom
6/5 - Dallas, TX - Bomb Factory
6/6 - Austin, TX - Emo's
6/7 - Tulsa, OK - Cain's Ballroom
6/9 - Winston-Salem, NC - Ziggy's
6/10 - Baltimore, MD - Rams Head Live
6/12 - New York, NY - Irving Plaza
6/13 - Wallingford, CT - The Dome at Oakdale Theatre
6/14 - Buffalo, NY - Town Ballroom
6/16 - Louisville, KY - Mercury Ballroom
6/17 - Cleveland, OH - House of Blues
6/19 - Indianapolis, IN - Egyptian Room
6/20 - Saint Louis, MO - The Pageant
6/21 - Columbia, MO - The Blue Notes
6/23 - Kansas City, MO - Arvest Bank Theatre at The Midland
6/24 - Boulder, CO - Fox Theatre
6/26 - Fort Collins, CO - Aggie Theatre
6/27 - Salt Lake City, UT - The Complex
6/28 - Missoula, MT - Top Hat Lounge
6/30 - Spokane, WA - Knitting Factory Concert House
7/1 - Seattle, WA - Showbox SoDo
7/2 - Portland, OR - Roseland Theater

A jury awarded Marvin Gaye's children nearly $7.4 million Tuesday after determining singers Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams copied their father's music to create "Blurred Lines," the biggest hit song of 2013.

Marvin Gaye's daughter Nona Gaye wept as the verdict was being read and was hugged by her attorney, Richard Busch.

"Right now, I feel free," Nona Gaye said after the verdict. "Free from ... Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke's chains and what they tried to keep on us and the lies that were told."

The verdict could tarnish the legacy of Williams, a reliable hit-maker who has won Grammy Awards and appears on NBC's music competition show "The Voice."

An attorney for Thicke and Williams has said a decision in favor of Gaye's heirs could have a chilling effect on musicians who try to emulate an era or another artist's sound.

The Gayes' lawyer branded Williams and Thicke liars who went beyond trying to emulate the sound of Gaye's late-1970s music and copied the R&B legend's hit "Got to Give It Up" outright.

"They fought this fight despite every odd being against them," Busch said of the Gaye family outside court.

Thicke told jurors he didn't write "Blurred Lines," which Williams testified he crafted in about an hour in mid-2012.

Williams told jurors that Gaye's music was part of the soundtrack of his youth. But the seven-time Grammy winner said he didn't use any of it to create "Blurred Lines."

Gaye's children — Nona, Frankie and Marvin Gaye III — sued the singers in 2013 and were present when the verdict was read.

The verdict may face years of appeals.

"Blurred Lines" has sold more than 7.3 million copies in the U.S. alone, according to Nielsen SoundScan figures. It earned a Grammy Awards nomination and netted Williams and Thicke millions of dollars.

The case was a struggle between two of music's biggest names: Williams has sold more than 100 million records worldwide during his career as a singer-producer, and Gaye performed hits such as "Sexual Healing" and "How Sweet It Is (To be Loved by You)" remain popular.

During closing arguments, Busch accused Thicke and Williams of lying about how the song was created. He told jurors they could award Gaye's children millions of dollars if they determined the copyright to "Got to Give It Up" was infringed.

Howard King, lead attorney for Williams and Thicke, told the panel that a verdict in favor of the Gaye family would have a chilling effect on musicians who were trying to recreate a genre or homage to another artist's sound.

King denied there were any substantial similarities between "Blurred Lines" and the sheet music Gaye submitted to obtain copyright protection.

Williams has become a household name — known simply as Pharrell — thanks to his hit song "Happy" and his work as a judge on the "The Voice." He wrote the majority of "Blurred Lines" and recorded it in one night with Thicke. A segment by rapper T.I. was added later.

Williams, 41, also signed a document stating he didn't use any other artists' work in the music and would be responsible if a successful copyright claim was raised.

Thicke testified he wasn't present when the song was written, despite receiving credit.

The trial focused on detailed analyses of chords and notes in both "Blurred Lines" and "Got to Give It Up."

Jurors repeatedly heard the upbeat song "Blurred Lines" and saw snippets of its music video, but Gaye's music was represented during the trial in a less polished form. Jurors did not hear "Got to Give It Up" as Gaye recorded it, but rather a version created based solely on sheet music submitted to gain copyright protection.

That version lacked many of the elements — including Gaye's voice — that helped make the song a hit in 1977. Busch derisively called the version used in court a "Frankenstein-like monster" that didn't accurately represent Gaye's work.

An expert for the Gaye family said there were eight distinct elements from "Got to Give It Up" that were used in "Blurred Lines," but an expert for Williams and Thicke denied those similarities existed.

Gaye died in April 1984, leaving his children the copyrights to his music.

Platinum Recording Artist, Katrina "Trina" Taylor, known to many as Miami's own "Diamond Princess" has recently signed a new imprint venture with Penalty Entertainment (Sony Red Distribution) /The Executive Club Worldwide. Under the new deal, Trina is currently prepping her sixth anticipated studio album (untitled at this time) which is scheduled to release worldwide mid-2015. The album features executive production credits from the renowned songwriter/producer, Rico Love, whose credits include hits with Beyoncé, Usher, Trey Songz, T.I., and Future amongst other talent. Upon securing the imprint deal, the female emcee released a new single featuring Grammy Award winner, Rico Love, entitled “The Real One.”

Along with the release of her sixth studio album in 2015, the platinum recording female emcee is in the developmental stages of starring in her very own docudrama series with a popular production umbrella slated for release.

When asked about the new venture, Trina was quoted saying, “This is the beginning of a new direction and stage within my career, and now my own imprint—Rockstarr Music Group. I have collaborated with so many different talents during my career thus far, and I am beyond excited to share this phase with the world as I continue to evolve.”

Neil Levine expressed “I am honored to welcome Trina and The Executive Club Worldwide to the growing Penalty family. The Trina brand is one of the most prevalent brands within the Hip Hop industry, and Penalty is pleased to continue the trajectory of such an A-list artist.”

The biggest names in entertainment will bring the music of the iHeartRadio app to life on Sunday, March 29 for the second edition of the iHeartRadio Music Awards hosted by Oscar and Grammy award winning actor and musician Jamie Foxx. The event will air live on NBC from 8-11 p.m. ET/PT from the historic Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles and will be broadcast simultaneously on iHeartMedia stations nationwide and across the iHeartRadio digital music platform.

The three hour telecast will truly reflect America’s favorite music and will showcase the year’s most popular artists and songs determined by the iHeartRadio Chart and fan voting through iHeartRadio stations nationwide. The evening will include performances by Rihanna, Iggy Azalea, Sam Smith, Madonna, Jason Aldean, Jamie Foxx, Meghan Trainor, Jason Derulo, Jennifer Hudson, Kelly Clarkson, Snoop Dogg, Nate Ruess, Alesso and Florida Georgia Line along with appearances from Taylor Swift and more. This year’s iHeartRadio Music Awards will also feature unexpected collaborations from some of the top names in music.

“This is the night we celebrate the biggest songs and artists we played for fans on our iHeartRadio stations across America and on the iHeartRadio app over the past year, along with a look at what's coming in 2015,” said John Sykes, President of Entertainment Enterprises for iHeartMedia, Inc. “And who better to host than both a Grammy winning musician and Oscar winning performer Jamie Foxx? This is going to be an amazing star packed Sunday night of music on NBC."

“I’m so excited that Jamie Foxx is taking the reins at this year’s iHeart awards. He is the perfect choice to lead this extraordinary night of music and celebrity artists!" said Paul Telegdy, President, Alternative and Late Night Programming, NBC Entertainment.

"2014 was such an incredible year for so many artists across different genres, so it's great to see them get the recognition they deserve," said Tom Poleman, President of National Programming Platforms for iHeartMedia. "Whether they're new to the scene or industry veterans, each artist's journey is exciting to follow, from their first radio spin to their first iHeartRadio Music Award nomination."

"The iHeartRadio Music Awards is the night in music where the industry’s top artists get to shine, in a relaxed and fun atmosphere, and celebrate their own achievements as well as those of their peers,” said Ian Stewart, President of Done + Dusted Inc.

Category finalists for the iHeartRadio Music Awards were announced on February 4, with 2014 iHeartRadio Innovator Award winner Pharrell Williams making a special appearance on NBC’s TODAY show to reveal this year’s Artist of the Year nominees. Social voting through iHeartRadio stations nationwide for the Best Lyrics, Best Fan Army and Renegade categories will run through Friday, March 20.

Category finalists (by alphabetical order) are:

Artist of the Year:

Ariana Grande
Iggy Azalea
Luke Bryan
Sam Smith
Taylor Swift

Song of the Year:

"All About That Bass" - Meghan Trainor
"All of Me" - John Legend
"Happy" - Pharrell Williams
"Shake It Off" - Taylor Swift
"Stay With Me" - Sam Smith

Best Collaboration:

"Bang Bang" - Jessie J + Ariana Grande + Nicki Minaj
"Dark Horse" - Katy Perry featuring Juicy J
"Fancy" - Iggy Azalea featuring Charli XCX
"Problem" - Ariana Grande featuring Iggy Azalea
"Talk Dirty" - Jason Derulo featuring 2 Chainz

Best New Artist:

Cole Swindell
Iggy Azalea
Meghan Trainor
Sam Smith

Country Song of the Year:

"Bartender" - Lady Antebellum
"Burnin' It Down" - Jason Aldean
"Dirt" - Florida Georgia Line
"Give Me Back My Hometown" - Eric Church
"Play It Again" - Luke Bryan

Hip Hop/R&B Song of the Year:

"Don't Tell 'Em" - Jeremih featuring YG
"Drunk in Love" - Beyoncé featuring Jay Z
"Flawless" - Beyoncé
"Loyal" - Chris Brown featuring Lil Wayne and Tyga
"New Flame" - Chris Brown featuring Usher and Rick Ross

Dance Song of the Year:

"Animals" - Martin Garrix
"Blame" - Calvin Harris featuring John Newman
"La La La" - Naughty Boy featuring Sam Smith
"Summer" - Calvin Harris
"Waves" - Mr. Probz

Alternative Rock Song of the Year:

"Come With Me Now" - KONGOS
"Do I Wanna Know?" - Arctic Monkeys
"Fever" - The Black Keys
"Something From Nothing" - Foo Fighters
"Take Me to Church" - Hozier

Best Lyrics:

"All of Me" - John Legend
"Blank Space" - Taylor Swift
"Counting Stars" - OneRepublic
"Habits (Stay High)" - Tove Lo
"Stay With Me" - Sam Smith
"Thinking Out Loud" - Ed Sheeran

Best Fan Army:

5SOSFAM - 5 Seconds of Summer
Arianators - Ariana Grande
Bey Hive - Beyoncé
Team Breezy - Chris Brown
Sheerios - Ed Sheeran
Church Choir - Eric Church
Directioners - One Direction
Selenators - Selena Gomez
Mendes Army - Shawn Mendes
Swifties - Taylor Swift

Pharrell Williams told a jury Wednesday that he was trying to evoke the feel of Marvin Gaye's music but did not copy the late singer's work when he crafted the 2013 hit "Blurred Lines."

Williams said he grew up listening to Gaye's music and was familiar with his song "Got to Give It Up," but did not use it as a basis for "Blurred Lines," which was a hit for him and collaborators Robin Thicke and T.I.

"He's one of the ones we look up to," Williams said. "This is the last place I want to be."

Williams, Thicke and T.I. are being sued by Gaye's children who claim "Blurred Lines" infringes their father's copyrights for 1977's "Got to Give It Up," but Williams' testimony is crucial because he wrote the song's music and most of its lyrics. Although Thicke received a songwriting credit on the song, he acknowledged earlier in the trial that he didn't do much work on the song.

T.I.'s rap track was added later, and Williams said he wasn't involved in its inclusion in "Blurred Lines," which was nominated for a Grammy Award. T.I., whose real name is Clifford Harris, is expected to be among the case's final witnesses on Thursday.

Williams spent more than an hour describing his musical process and he how he crafted "Blurred Lines" in mid-2012 in between working on tracks with Miley Cyrus and rapper Earl Sweatshirt. Thicke arrived after the music and lyrics had been written, Williams recalled. He quickly brought the singer up to speed and they began recording what would become 2013's biggest hit song.

"We were bopping and dancing," Williams recalled. "It was a cool night."

His answers were sometimes too lengthy for U.S. District Judge John A. Kronstadt, who cut off Williams several times mid-sentence and didn't allow him to elaborate on some of his answers.

"Blurred Lines" has earned more than $16 million in profits and more than $5 million apiece for Thicke and Williams, according to testimony offered earlier in the trial.

Williams said after the song was released, he saw similarities between "Blurred Lines" and Gaye's work but said that wasn't a conscious part of his creative process.

Richard S. Busch, who represents the Gaye family, asked Williams whether he felt "Blurred Lines" captured the feel of the era in which Gaye recorded.

"Feel," Williams responded. "Not infringed."

The case opened last week and featured testimony from Thicke, who told jurors that he took a songwriting credit on "Blurred Lines" despite Pharrell doing most of the work.

Thicke brought a bit of showmanship to a trial that has focused on minute details of chords and sheet music. He performed elements of "Blurred Lines" and hits by U2 and The Beatles to show how different songs can include similar-sounding musical elements.

Williams did not perform any music during his more than hour of testimony, and complained that audio comparisons of "Blurred Lines" and "Got to Give It Up" had been created in a way that made them sound similar.

Despite the lack of vocals on the tracks, Thicke bobbed his head while his hit was played.

The trial has included detailed analysis of snippets of chords and notes from both songs, all created in the same key. Jurors have heard "Blurred Lines" and lawyers for Gaye's family wanted the panel to hear "Got to Give It Up," but Kronstadt has limited how the song can be presented in court. Rulings state Gaye's song can only be played as it appears in a sheet music submitted to get the song copyright protection.

Snoop Dogg raised the pulse at Paris Fashion Week with a surprise concert and DJ set at Etam's bikini-themed lingerie pool collection that went on into the early hours of Wednesday — heralding competition for the famed, celebrity-filled Victoria's Secret shows.

Set in a famed, drained-out Art Deco swimming pool, the U.S. rapper had crowds — including model Natalia Vodianova , in glee when he made a surprise cameo at the fall collection of the Etam lingerie house.

The 43-year-old performed hits such as "Drop It Like It's Hot," against a projection of the Union Jack as gorgeous models showcased an eclectic array of underwear and red, blue and white bikinis adorned with chainmail, bubbles, feather headdress and even an inflatable dolphin.


Big Sean lands his first ever #1 album on the Billboard 200 this week, with his newest release Dark Sky Paradise topping the chart. The rapper's third album totaled 173,000 units in its first week, with 139,000 copies sold (the rest of the "units" include streaming data and digital sales).

Chris Brown & Tyga's new collaboration Fan Of A Fan debuts at #7. Sam Smith lands at #8 with In The Lonely Hour.

ASCAP announced today the appointment of music industry veteran Brian Roberts as the organization’s Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, reporting to ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews. Roberts was most recently Executive Vice President, Corporate Strategy & Operations at Warner Music Group. In his new post at ASCAP, Roberts will be responsible for the royalty payment system for over 525,000 ASCAP members and will oversee ASCAP’s worldwide infrastructure including Distribution and Repertory, Information Systems, Facilities and the Economist’s Office. Roberts will assume his new position on March 30th.

Commented Matthews, "ASCAP is embarking upon a new era of technology and transformation in order to continue to provide first in class services at the lowest possible cost to all of our members and licensing partners.

Brian’s extensive experience in the music sector and his impressive accomplishments in leading innovative infrastructure changes to support new strategic initiatives make him the perfect candidate to run ASCAP’s operations today. Brian also shares my passion for music and the need to protect the value of the creative works of our members. We look forward to having his expertise as part of ASCAP’s new executive management team."

Added Roberts, "ASCAP is an innovative organization focused on strategic data initiatives that will make a difference to the lives of music creators and licensees worldwide. I am excited to join Beth and her team at ASCAP. I believe that ASCAP is at the center of driving core change in the music industry which will benefit songwriters, composers, music publishers, licensees and music fans alike."

Kanye West visited Oxford University on Monday, and students live blogged some of the crazy things the US rapper came out with. Yeezus spoke at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History at a function hosted by the Oxford Guild Business Society, which dates back to 1897.
The society announced the news on Facebook on Sunday after "a great deal of hard work and extensive negotiations." Naturally, when the man himself actually took to the stage, there was much excitement. More than 1,600 people said they were attending on Facebook.

Students kept the public updated about their special guest on a standalone publication called "Versa" and tweeted about the goings on using hash tags such as #YesWeKanye. The Tab, the country's cross-uni student newspaper, also did a live blog on Twitter.

Kanye got going at 3 p.m. and talked for about half an hour. Versa noted initial doubts that the whole project could have been a "monumental troll," but just before the hour mark confirmed that he was in the building.

We all know about Kanye's antics, odd thoughts, and love of Steve Jobs — and his university "lecture" didn't disappoint. It follows a very different setting to his Nando's exploits last month, and his most recent moment of absurdity at the Grammys, of course.

Some of the things he said during his speech at Oxford University, documented by Versa in full, have to be among the most memorable.

And here are some more from Versa:

Kanye: "Now I understand that I’m just serving, and with my voice and my ability to build relationships, and call Elon Musk or Obama out of the blue, with that I have a responsibility to serve. Why I say the Matrix is like the Bible and what is my definition of the Matrix?"

K: "You're looking for this moment where you sit in your BMW and you look at all of the work that you've done and how big your house is, and somehow you think you're gonna get that level of joy that my daughter had when she was seeing those wolves."

We spoke to Versa's editor, Ruth Maclean, about the visit. She said students heard about the event only the night before and "everyone went crazy staying up all night to get tickets. Not every lecturer at Oxford is as exciting as Kanye." Source: Business Insider

Ice-T spoke as part of Bunker Hill Community College's Compelling Conversations speaker series on February 26, delivering a lively talk that drew laughs and applause from an overflow audience. Before his presentation, Ice-T enjoyed a lunch prepared by Culinary Arts students and interacted with students in two Learning Community Seminars, "Connecting to Your Inner Orange Line: Next Stop, Community College" and "Do the Right Thing."

Ice-T described losing both of his parents at an early age and finding a substitute family as an affiliate of the Rollin' 60's Crip Gang in Los Angeles, California. He enlisted as a U.S. Army Ranger and served four years, he said, but when a sergeant told him he wouldn't make it in real life, Ice-T decided to "stop being a chess piece on a board." Eventually he transformed what he called crime rhymes into a rap career as the self-proclaimed original gangster, and paid his dues in a handful of low-budget films before winning better roles.

Offering encouragement to the largely student audience, Ice-T said, "You are starting from a better place than I did. You're right where you should be." He advised students to choose their own path, stay focused and be willing to work hard. After Ice-T's talk, BHCC English major and veteran Robert Harrigan rapped a rhyme he wrote about suicide and PTSD that won sustained applause from Ice-T and the audience.

Born Tracy Marrow in Newark, New Jersey, Ice-T launched his rap music career in 1984 in the film Breakin' and went on to record a string of groundbreaking rap records. He subsequently formed the thrash metal band Body Count. His acting career includes roles in the films New Jack City, Ricochet, Trespass, Johnny Mnemonic, Surviving the Game, Tank Girl, and on NBC-TV's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, where he plays Detective Fin Tutuola. At 17 years his is the longest running stint for a television cop. He serves as a mentor for at-risk youth.

For more than a decade, Compelling Conversations has brought high-profile speakers to Bunker Hill Community College to discuss their professional experience and provide inspiration for students—from actor Giancarlo Esposito to boxer Laila Ali, filmmaker Ken Burns, author and political commentator Bob Woodward and former president of Ireland Mary Robinson.

Will.i.am has started moonlighting as a technology entrepreneur. Now he has an experienced technology executive to help him run his new wearable start-up, i.am+.

The company on Thursday announced that Phil Molyneux, who most recently was president and chief operating officer of Sony Electronics in the United States, will take on the same role at i.am+, a 60-person start-up based in Los Angeles. Mr. Molyneux will report to Will.i.am, the company’s co-founder and chief executive.

The company has released one product, a $399 wristband device called Puls, for which it has done a limited rollout. Unlike most of the smart bracelets on the market, which are primarily fitness trackers, Puls has a built-in cellphone and does not require a conventional handset to make calls and access the Internet.

In an interview, Mr. Molyneux said the company envisioned a family of wearable products merging fashion and technology, all based on a common operating system that it developed, AneedA, which uses Google’s Android software. Unlike the smartphone business, the wearables market is young and full of smaller companies like Fitbit that are garnering meaningful sales.

They dynamics of the business could change soon with the arrival of the Apple Watch. Apple is expected to share further details about the product at an event on March 9. Mr. Molyneux predicted that Apple’s product and marketing would be like the rising tide that lifts others’ boats.

“It’s significant, of course,” he said. “The launch of the Apple Watch will bring a whole new consumer focus to the wearables area and tethered devices.”

Mr. Molyneux, who worked for Sony for 28 years in a variety of roles, said there was no comparison between the agility of his new and old employers. “Their ability too innovate and pivot in microseconds is something bigger companies can’t do,” he said. Source: NY Times

For three consecutive years, BET Networks and AEG partner to bring the heat to Los Angeles when BET Experience takes over L.A. LIVE June 25 – 28, 2015. A four day event, there’s something for everyone as attendees will have the opportunity to experience a plethora of music and comedy concerts, entertaining and interactive activations at the FREE Fan Festival, “106 & PARK” tapings, seminars and various social events and celebrity appearances. The roster is already making waves as the headliners at STAPLES Center include Kevin Hart, Nicki Minaj, Ice Cube and Snoop. Keeping things hot are new additions to the STAPLES Center show lineup - Kendrick Lamar, who will be headlining with Snoop and Ice Cube, and Jay Rock and Ab-Soul. The music keeps playing during the late night concerts at Club Nokia, headlined by Bell Biv DeVoe, Miguel and The Roots. There’s nobody better to get a party started than Doug E. Fresh, who is also set to take the Club Nokia stage.


THURSDAY, June 25, 2015
STAPLES Center – 8pm: Kevin Hart
Club Nokia – 11pm: Bell Biv DeVoe and Doug E. Fresh

FRIDAY, June 26, 2015
STAPLES Center – 7pm: Nicki Minaj
Club Nokia – 11pm: Miguel

SATURDAY, June 27, 2015
STAPLES Center – 7pm: Kendrick Lamar, Ice Cube and Snoop with Jay Rock and Ab-Soul
Club Nokia – 11pm: The Roots and Friends
LA Convention Center: FREE Fan Fest

SUNDAY, June 28, 2015
LA Convention Center: FREE Fan Fest
* All times PST

Rapper and producer Black Milk will be touring the U.S. this spring and summer on his Play Like Hell Tour. The tour, which features live band Nat Turner (keyboardist/vocalist Aaron "Ab" Abernathy, bassist Malik Hunter and drummer Z Horton), stops in multiple U.S. cities with more dates to be announced. Select shows will include performances by Mos Def, Fashawn and Lyrics Born.

With more than a decade of industry experience and a rich catalog of recordings, Black Milk has transitioned from one of hip-hop's young rising stars to a veteran with a uniquely well-rounded pedigree. His most recent works include collaborations with Bun B, Danny Brown, Black Thought, Robert Glasper, Adrian Younge, Pete Rock, BadBadNotGood, and Blu. He released his fifth and latest solo album, If There's A Hell Below in October 2014 via his own record label Computer Ugly. "I'm never one to say which album of mine is the best, that's for the fans to decide," says Black Milk, "but at this point I feel like I'm making the best music of my career on a creative level and on a technical level. I think you'll hear that in this new album." Black will perform songs from If There's a Hell Below and previous albums.

Tour Dates:
3/19 Dallas at Three Links
3/20 Austin at SXSW
3/22 New Orleans at Gasa Gasa
3/23 Atlanta at The Basement
3/24 Charlotte at Snug Harbor
3/25 Asheville at Asheville Music Hall
3/26 Little Rock at Stickyz
3/28 Boise at Knitting Factory (Treefort Music Fest)
3/30 Denver at Cervantes' Other Side*
4/01 Phoenix at Monarch Theatre
4/03 Las Vegas at Beauty Bar
4/04 Fresno at Catacomb Party
4/09 Albuquerque at El Rey Theater**
4/10 Los Angeles at Los Globos
4/11 San Francisco at Brick & Mortar Music Hall
4/12 Sacramento at Harlow's
4/14 Salt Lake City at Urban Lounge
4/16 Portland at Alhambra Theatre (Soul'd Out Music Festival)***
4/18 Detroit at Hello Records^
6/16 Washington, DC at Rock & Roll Hotel
6/17 Philadelphia at Johnny Brenda's
6/18 New York at The Studio at Webster Hall
6/19 Boston at Church of Boston^
6/20 Detroit at TBA
6/21 Chicago at TBA
6/22 Minneapolis at 7th St Entry
6/24 Missoula at Urban Lounge
6/25 Calgary at TBA
6/27 Vancouver at Fortune Sound Club
6/28 Seattle at TBA

* with Fashawn
** with Mos Def
*** with Lyrics Born
^ Black Milk Solo Beat Set

As one of the most celebrated producers and rappers of his generation of hip-hop artists, Black Milk has conditioned fans and critics to expect the unexpected with each release. Few producers have earned the notoriety and respect he has as a musician, and when that is coupled with commanding talent as an emcee, it's no surprise that his solo releases are met with exalted anticipation. His new full-length album, If There's A Hell Below, continues Black's trend of releasing material that maintains his signature sound while pushing it into new territory.

Few legal disputes in the entertainment industry are older than Osama Ahmed Fahmy's eight-year war over "Big Pimpin'." Jay Z himself as well as MTV, Paramount Pictures, Warner Music and others are still involved in an eight-year-old case examining allegations that the song's unmistakably catchy hook illicitly derives from "Khosara, Khosara" from the 1960 Egyption film Fata Ahlami. As that case proceeds, a new lawsuit was launched yesterday that aims to hold Live Nation responsible for its part.

According to the complaint, "Big Pimpin'" has been mentioned regularly in Jay Z concert previews and a "substantial percentage of people who purchased tickets to Jay Z's shows hoped he would perform Big Pimpin', expected he would perform Big Pimpin', and would have been disappointed if he had not performed Big Pimpin'. On information and belief, Live Nation has profited substantially from Jay Z's performance of Big Pimpin', including, but not limited to, profits from ticket sales, merchandise, parking, concessions, and other revenue streams."

The latest legal action attempts to lay direct and contributory copyright liability on the concert promotion giant. "Live Nation knew that Big Pimpin' infringed upon the Khosara, Khosara copyright, but it nevertheless continued to sponsor, promote, and facilitate Jay-Z's performances of the infringing work," states the lawsuit.

The epic litigation over "Big Pimpin'," which originally came out in 2000, has refused to settle and has explored some interesting legal issues.

In the early days of the prior, still-ongoing lawsuit, a California federal judge was forced to examine the "moral rights" of authors under Egyptian law upon Fahmy's allegation that Jay Z had mutilated "Khosara, Khosara" through sampling. More recently, there's been the issue of laches — or an unreasonable delay in pursuing a right or claim — and thanks to a Supreme Court opinion involving Raging Bull, the judge in the case reconsidered an opinion that barred Fahmy from pursuing damages during certain years.

Then there's the issue of how "Big Pimpin" producers executed in 2001 a settlement with EMI, which once asserted rights to "Khosara, Khosara" based on an agreement with the Egyptian outfit Sout El Phan. The agreement expired in 2006, and Fahmy argues it's void because the real owners of "Khosara, Khosara" never consented to it. Earlier this month, Fahmy brought a summary judgment motion arguing that Jay Z was not conveyed a valid license to make the sample. A hearing is scheduled on the matter in late March.

The newest lawsuit against Live Nation, filed by attorneys at Browne George Ross, seeks actual damages and profits as well as an injunction restraining Live Nation from promoting, producing or facilitating any live performance of "Big Pimpin'." Source: Hollywood Reporter

The latest high has Empire passing the lofty 5.0 rating and averaging a 5.1 rating among adults 18-49. That's up up three-tenths of a point from the previous high last week, and it could easily still go up even more in final returns this afternoon. Viewership was also up a solid million to 12.94 million viewers.

Empire nearly doubled the demo haul of lead-in American Idol, steady with a 2.7 rating with adults 18-49 and something of a footnote in Fox's easy win for the night. As far as competition goes, The Mentalist went out on CBS up just a hair to a 1.4 rating with adults 18-49. It was partnered an extra hour of the show (1.3 adults) at 8 p.m. and a steady Stalker (1.3 adults) at 10 p.m.

On ABC, The Middle and The Goldbergs were each steady with a 2.2 rating in the key demo. Modern Family (3.0 adults) fell two-tenths of a point before steady episodes of Black-ish (2.2 adults) and Nashville (1.3 adults). The Mysteries of Laura (1.1 adults) held last week's score before Law & Order: SVU (1.6 adults) and Chicago PD (1.7 adults) jumped a respective two- and three-tenths of a point. Source: Hollywood Reporter

The annual ESSENCE Festival, now among the largest consumer live events in the country with more than 550,000 attendees, today revealed the first round of its all-star line-up of performers for the nighttime concerts at the 21st annual celebration, taking place in New Orleans, LA, from July 2-5.

"On the heels of the ESSENCE Festival's epic 20th anniversary celebration in 2014, we're delighted to announce a selection of the best artists and biggest names in entertainment who will take the stage at the Superdome this summer,' said Essence President Michelle Ebanks. "From first-time Festival performer Kendrick Lamar to return appearances from fan favorites like Kevin Hart, Common and Mary J. Blige, the ESSENCE Festival offers the definitive entertainment and cultural experience for our passionate ESSENCE community every Fourth of July weekend."

Artists confirmed to perform at the 2015 ESSENCE Festival nighttime concerts at the Superdome include:

Kendrick Lamar, Mary J Blige, India.Arie, Trombone Shorty, Floetry, Common, Erykah Badu, Kool Moe Dee, Doug E. Fresh, Mystikal, Slick Rick, Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk, Nico & Vinz, Lianne La Havas, Elle Varner, Esperanza Spalding, SZA, Dee-1, Tonya Bond Cannon, Leon Bridges, Andra Day, Kelly Price, Raheem DeVaughn, Mali Music, Eric Roberson, Teedra Moses, Avery*Sunshine, Kindred The Family Soul, Goapele, Robert Glasper, Tweet, Jeff Bradshaw, Bilal, Tank & The Bangas and more to be announced soon. Plus Kevin Hart to headline Essence 'Now Playing' Concert, Thursday, July 2.

Wondaland Records, a new movement and recording label created by Janelle Monáe, has teamed with Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment, to announce the launch of a landmark joint venture partnership. Featuring an electrifying roster of artists — Jidenna, Roman GianArthur, Deep Cotton, and St. Beauty — the news of this partnership signals a seismic shift in music and culture that will be felt for years to come.

Wondaland Records is launching with the release of its dynamic first single, "Classic Man" by Jidenna featuring Roman GianArthur. "Classic Man," will serve as the lead track on the Wondaland Records compilation arriving in May. The compilation will also contain the new single "Yoga" by Janelle Monáe featuring Jidenna.

"The collective talent of the Wondaland artists is awe-inspiring," said LA Reid, Chairman and CEO, Epic Records. "I haven't personally witnessed a collective that sounds and looks this special in quite a while. I've been a longtime supporter and friend of Janelle and it is an honor to now work with her as a visionary businesswoman who brings an all-star group of talented performers to the table."

The multi-faceted collective of Wondaland Records artists— all of whom write and produce, a rarity in music today—features a breadth of voices, styles, and figures coming together with a shared mission for revolutionizing the future of music, arts, and culture that is creatively unmatched.

"I'm so thrilled to share Wondaland Records with the world. Each artist under Wondaland Records has unparalleled talent, incredible vision, and brings something unique to the music industry," said Janelle Monáe. "Together, we're creating a new movement and space for the future of music and pop culture. I'm honored to be partnering with Epic Records and my friend LA Reid to present such extraordinary talent."

The son of a Nigerian chief and an American anthropologist, Jidenna is an East Flatbush, Brooklyn-based lyrical wizard, a thought leader with charisma to spare. His worldly origins inform the groundbreaking genre Swank, an elegant and funky take on hip-hop that transforms ordinary parties into sweaty soirées.

Musical iconoclasts Nate 'Rocket' Wonder and Chuck Lightning are the mad geniuses behind Deep Cotton. They are thinkers and tinkerers whose approach to sound creates a rollercoaster ride, taking the listener through a world of falsetto-filled funk, rule-breaking ideas baked in rock 'n' roll, and served up in hip-hop, all in the span of a single song. Their sole mission: give you the license to freak out.

A curious and brilliant composer, arranger, and producer, Roman GianArthur's music is courageous, feisty, and consistently touches the soul. His live show is a revelation—wild, heroic guitar playing, outstanding vocals, intoxicatingly original movement, and a rare charisma possessed only by the greats.

Featuring Alex Belle and Isis Valentino, the enchanting sound of St. Beauty feels timeless. Thoughtful musicians and songwriters, they weave together melodies that are impossible to forget and evocative lyrics that paint richly textured emotional stories, casting a spell over the listener that cannot be broken.

The inter-disciplinary approach to creativity that the brilliant members of the Wondaland Records roster possess has far-reaching implications for pop culture beyond music— a range of paradigm-shifting art of all kinds is slated for release throughout the remainder of 2015 and beyond.

This spring, the iconic rap group The Diplomats (Dipset) will be heading out on tour along with Funk Flex, who will be hosting and spinning a set. Today, they announced a string of dates including NYC, New Jersey, Brooklyn, New Haven, Providence, and Miami. The group will also be hitting Austin, TX for SXSW this year. Many more dates and cities are set to be announced. This announcement follows The Diplomats release of new material from the 4 principle members (Cam'Ron, Jim Jones, Juelz Santana, and Freeky Zekey) with their track "Have My Money." That song will be on a forthcoming Dipset EP that is expected to be released during the tour. Listen to "Have My Money" HERE

Dipset tour:
02-24 New York, NY - B.B. King Blues Club
02-27 Elizabeth, NJ - Club Allstar
02-28 Brooklyn, NY - CPAC
03-13 New Haven, CT - Toad's Place
03-19 Austin, TX - SXSW
03-20 Providence, RI - Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel
03-29 Miami, FL - LIV

The tour kicks off on Mar. 2nd in Oregon and then heads through Idaho, Utah, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Alabama, Louisiana and ends in Rhode Island on Apr. 7th.

Tour Dates
March 2 – Eugene, OR
March 4 – Boise, ID
March 5 – Salt Lake City, UT
March 8 – Santa Ana, CA
March 10 – Tucson, AZ
March 13 – Lincoln, NE
March 14 – Springfield, MO
March 15 – Wichita, KS
March 17 – Oklahoma City, OK
March 19 – San Antonio, TX
March 23 – New Orleans, LA
March 24 – Baton Rouge, LA
March 25 – Mobile, AL
March 28 – Tallahassee, FL
March 29 – Birmingham, AL
March 31 – Columbus, OH
April 1 – Nashville, TN
April 3 – Richmond, VA
April 4 – Rochester, NY
April 7 – Providence, RI


Best Rap Performance
Kendrick Lamar – "I"

Best Rap/Sung Collaboration
Eminem Featuring Rihanna – "The Monster"

Best Rap Song
Kendrick Lamar - "I"
K. Duckworth & C. Smith, songwriters

Best Rap Album
Eminem - The Marshall Mathers LP2

Best Traditional R&B Performance
"Jesus Children"
Robert Glasper Experiment Featuring Lalah Hathaway & Malcolm-Jamal Warner

Best R&B Song
Beyoncé Featuring Jay Z - "Drunk In Love"
Shawn Carter, Rasool Diaz, Noel Fisher, Jerome Harmon, Beyoncé Knowles, Timothy Mosely, Andre Eric Proctor & Brian Soko, songwriters

Best Urban Contemporary Album
Pharrell Williams – Girl

Best R&B Album
Toni Braxton & Babyface - Love, Marriage & Divorce

Best Music Video
Pharrell Williams – "Happy"

Following her much-talked-about performance at the Super Bowl XLIX earlier this month, Missy Elliott has revealed her plan to go back to the studio. In a recent phone interview with SiriusXM's "Sway in the Morning", the raptress said that she'd be working on her new music with rapper/producer Timbaland.

"I'm actually going down to be with Tim, and so we're gonna get in and get some work done," she said. Asked if she'd be making a comeback album, Elliott refused to give more details. "I don't want to say too much because in this day and time, boy, you say something, they will come back two weeks later like, 'Where your album at?' "

Elliott came out as a surprise guest at Katy Perry's headlining set during the halftime show at last week's Super Bowl. In the interview, the "Work It" hitmaker expressed her gratitude to the pop diva for asking her to be a part of the event.

"I thank Katy because she could have picked any artist, and it was big for her," she said. "She said that she was a fan of mine." Elliott first thought Perry would ask her to perform the remix to "Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)", but the 30-year-old star wanted her to play her own songs.

"She said to me, 'God got you here for a reason.' I'm humbly grateful. I've cried and cried and cried tears of joy," she recalled.

Universal Music Group, the world's leading music company, announced that Billboard magazine named its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Lucian Grainge as No. 1 on its list of the 100 most powerful people in the music industry.

Grainge is the first person to twice appear at No. 1 on the Billboard ranking. The first time was in 2013, after Universal Music Group completed its acquisition of EMI.

"It has been nothing less than a privilege to be able to spend my life working with and on behalf of great artists and the music they create," Grainge said. "For if power is to be found anywhere, that power is found, and exclusively resides, in the music of our artists. I'm so proud of our many executives who were recognized for their contributions."

Universal Music Group had more executives than any other company on Billboard's 2015 power ranking, accounting for 13.7% of the list.

During 2014, Universal Music distributed 7 of the top 10 albums, finishing the year with an industry-leading 38.7% share of the market, Billboard reported, citing Nielsen Music data. Additionally, Universal Music Group broke the only new global stars of the year with Sam Smith, Iggy Azalea, Ariana Grande and 5 Seconds of Summer.

Like a trip through pop music history that ended on the cutting edge, covers from the past five decades of Rolling Stone magazine beamed across the walls of the El Rey Theatre before R&B singer The Weeknd and rapper Childish Gambino took the stage.

The magazine celebrated its partnership with Google Play at a pre-Grammy party Thursday in Los Angeles.

The Weeknd (real name: Abel Tesfaye) plied his silky voice to a cover of Beyonce's "Drunk in Love." The 24-year-old Canadian crooner closed his set with his steamy new single, "Earned It," from the "Fifty Shades of Grey" soundtrack.

Actor Donald Glover, also known as Grammy-nominated rapper Childish Gambino, showed his range of skills, from falsetto singing to slick raps.

Backed by a five-piece band, he slinked through "3005," his single nominated for best rap performance, and rocked other tracks from his 2013 release, "Because the Internet," up for best rap album at Sunday's Grammy Awards.

"This album is blowing up," he said, "so thank you for listening to it."

Cordell Broadus has pulled a double move on his father Snoop Dogg.

Broadus, a wide receiver from Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, signed with UCLA instead of his father's favorite team. Snoop Dogg had hoped his son would play for Southern California, but was still thrilled for him.

"Channel 21 comin to @UCLAFootball !! Proud of u @C_Broadus21 ! LA's team!!" Snoop tweeted. Twenty-one is a reference to the number his son will wear for the team.

UCLA coach Jim Mora says he had offered a scholarship to Broadus when he was just 15 years old.

The 6-foot-3, 190-pound Broadus was ranked the 27th best receiver in the nation by Rivals.com, a leading recruiting news site.

NE-YO’s Non-Fiction (Motown Records/Compound Entertainment) is No. 1 on Billboard’s R&B Albums chart in its first week of release and bows in the Top 5 of the Billboard 200. The superstar hitmaker – hailed by Entertainment Weekly as “one of the most gifted male R&B singers working today – launched Non-Fiction with a series of U.S. television appearances that included this “CBS Sunday Morning” feature. NE-YO will pay a post-GRAMMY visit to “Fashion Police,” airing on E! on Monday, February 9, and will perform on The BET Honors on February 23.

“She Knows” feat. Juicy J, the first single from Non-Fiction, is currently No. 2 at Rhythm radio, in the Top 10 at the Urban format and approaching Top 20 at Pop radio.

T.I., Jeezy, Schoolboy Q, Charisse Mills and Candice are among the other artists featured on Non-Fiction. “Time of Our Lives,” NE-YO’s new collaboration with Pitbull, appears on both Non-Fiction and Pitbull’s new album. Non-Fiction will be released in international markets on February 16.

NE-YO is a three-time GRAMMY® winner and a two-time winner at the BET, MOBO and Soul Train Music awards.

Iggy Azalea and Sam Smith led the finalists for the 2015 iHeartRadio Music Awards with five nominations apiece, with Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande each receiving four nominations.

iHeartMedia and NBC announced the nominations Wednesday. The awards will be presented March 29 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. The event will be televised live on NBC and air simultaneously on iHeartMedia stations and across the network's digital music platform.

Swift, Azalea, Grande, Smith and Luke Bryan are nominated for artist of the year. Best new artist nominees include Azalea, Smith, Bastille, Cole Swindell and Meghan Trainor. Other categories include song of the year and best collaboration.

Suge Knight pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to murder, attempted murder and other charges filed after he struck two men with his truck last week.

The former rap music mogul is accused of intentionally running down two men, including a friend, in Compton on Thursday after an argument on a movie set.

Knight remains in custody and appeared in court wearing orange jail attire.

However, his attorney James Blatt has said the collision was an accident that occurred as Knight was trying to flee an altercation in which he was assaulted.

The 49-year-old Knight could face life in prison if convicted. After pleading not guilty in court today, TMZ is reporting that Suge was rushed to the hospital for suffering a panic attack.

On Monday, prosecutors charged Knight with killing 55-year-old Terry Carter and attempting to kill 51-year-old Cle "Bone" Sloan. Knight also faces two charges of hit-and-run.

In addition, Knight's $2 million bail was revoked after a court commissioner agreed with authorities that he was a potential flight risk and could intimidate witnesses.

The ruling came after homicide detectives told the bail commissioner that Knight could face a lengthy prison sentence because of a violent criminal past, said Los Angeles County sheriff's spokeswoman Nicole Nishida.

Knight was out on bail in a separate robbery case when the men were hit.

In the current case, Knight struck two men with his pickup in a Compton burger stand parking lot. The collision killed his friend Carter, a founder and owner of Heavyweight Records who was viewed as a local father figure and tried to help mentor young men in the community, said Doug Young, a friend and hip-hop music promoter. Also injured in the collision was Sloan, an actor and film consultant.

Authorities said Knight visited the set for "Straight Outta Compton," a film about the rise of the rap group N.W.A., and argued with Sloan, who was working at the location on Thursday. Sheriff's deputies providing security asked Knight to leave.

A short time afterward, the argument resumed in a parking lot a few miles away where Knight and Sloan exchanged punches through a window of the pickup before the two men were run down, authorities said.

Blatt has said Knight was attacked by four people, including Sloan, as he pulled into the parking lot after Carter requested he show up for a meeting. Blatt said Knight hit the gas and fled in fear.

Friends and fans Tuesday night are mourning the sudden loss of the well-known Oakland rapper The Jacka.

"The Jacka," real name Dominic Newton was shot in the head Monday night and died in the hospital just as his career was taking off.

Prashant Kumar is the longtime manager of The Jacka, the well-known Bay Area rapper. The artist spent many hours in the Emeryville studio over the past decade recording music that was heard all over the world.

"He was one of those guys who was just so honest in his music, so even if you didn't know him," Kumar said. "You might even know. He was just the most humble, caring person."
Neighbor Eileen Freeman said she heard six distinct shots just after 8 p.m. Monday and it sounded like it was close.

"It's sad that people are just shooting, shooting, shooting, especially when you have someone who is so good to the community and has given to the community," Freeman said.

Newton got his start in the music business in the early 1990s as a member of the group Mob Figaz. He became a solo artist about 10 years later.

He self-published his solo album in 2001 and released more than a dozen albums and mixtapes since. Throughout his career, he has collaborated with numerous influential Bay Area artists, including E-40, Andre Nickatina, Yukmouth, Messy Marv and Keak Da Sneak.

"He always was smiling always willing to give you something. So many rappers got verses from him. He was just a fair, good, honest man," said his friend Sellassie Blackwell.

Dozens of people stopped by to pay their respects to Newton at a sidewalk memorial created in his memory.

"Look at all his fans and family and friends out here that supported him as well," Jason Leopoldo said. "He was a great guy."

"He put a lot of us together, and put a lot of us in position," Kumar said. "He set up a lot of things and he started a lot of careers and I know he would like to see that just carry on and see it become about something bigger than it is today."

Investigators would not comment on Newton's murder, except to say they are asking for witnesses, or anyone with tips to contact the Oakland police homicide department. Source: ABC 7

Kevin Hart and Nicki Minaj will headline the events leading to the BET Awards.

The network announced Tuesday that Hart will perform at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on June 25 as part of the three-day "BET Experience."

Minaj will headline on June 26 and Snoop Dogg and Ice Cube, with "special guests," will perform on June 27.

The 2015 BET Awards will take place June 28 at the Staples Center. Tickets for "BET Experience" go on sale Feb. 20.

Beyoncé has partnered with her trainer Marco Borges to launch a new vegan meal delivery service.

The company is called 22 Days Nutrition after the belief that it takes 21 days to break a bad habit.

All meals will be 100% plant-based and delivered once a week. All ingredients will be non-GMO, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free and organic.

Prices will range from $9.76 to $16.50 each.

Beyonce herself has dabbled in veganism before. She and her husband Jay-Z famously adopted the diet for 22 days in the winter of 2013 and she has since made an effort to include more plant-based foods in her diet.

"All you have to do is try. If I can do it, anyone can," Beyonce said in a press release.

"We all know the importance and value of eating plant-based foods but often times find ourselves trapped in a series of bad habits that sabotage optimum wellness," says co-founder Borges. "The Vegan Meal Delivery program makes it easier to reset your habits with healthy and delicious plant-based foods."

22 Days Nutrition dishes include a sesame cabbage lentil bowl, ratatouille pasta with pesto, curried fried rice with vegetables, and an almond blueberry breakfast loaf. Source: Business Insider

Café Serendipity Holdings, Inc. (OTC PINK: FOFU) (the "Company"), fka Force Fuels, Inc., a national brand builder focused on the build out of a national brand in recreational and medical marijuana business, is pleased to announce the company will be highlighting its brand and business opportunity to the industry. The company's Brand Ambassador, Rick Ross, will be performing on Feb. 7th at the opening night event for show attendees.

In addition the company will be branding alongside mCig Inc. OTCBB:MCIG to market the company's best-selling 3.0, new 4.0, and Rick Ross BO$S models of portable vaporizers, mCig, Inc. will be highlighting a number of new breakthrough Cannabis-related consumer products in a large 20x20 booth at the weekend Cannabis Cup. Some of the products being unveiled will carry the "Made in America" distinction and are considered to be industry game changers.

Alfred Haber, President of Alfred Haber, Inc. (AHI), announced today the company has secured record sales and a stellar list of international broadcasters from around the globe for the upcoming 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards®, the 3 1/2-hour extravaganza billed as "Music's Biggest Night®." Taking place at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, the GRAMMY Awards will be broadcast live in the U.S. on the CBS Television Network, Sunday, Feb. 8, 2015. Some of the superstars set to perform include AC/DC, Eric Church, Common, Ariana Grande, Miranda Lambert, John Legend, Madonna, Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, Usher, and Pharrell Williams, with LL COOL J serving as host for the fourth consecutive year.

Additionally, this year's series of unique musical pairings includes Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, Hozier and Annie Lennox, Jessie J and Tom Jones, and Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine with singer/songwriter Gwen Stefani in a never-before-seen performance.

Broadcasters set to air the GRAMMY Awards, the world's most popular televised music event, include: Rogers Media (Canada), CCTV (China), Channel 4 (UK), ProSieben (Germany), WOWOW (Japan), Channel One (Russia), Turner (Latin America), Fox International Channel (Asia), Viacom 18 Media (India), M-Net (Africa), D17/Canal Plus (France), Televisa (Mexico), Cignal TV (Philippines), Denmark Radio (Denmark), Foxtel (Australia), and TVNZ (New Zealand), among many others.

"The GRAMMY Award is the ultimate accolade recognizing outstanding achievement in the field of music," commented Haber. "It is evident given the exceptional list of broadcasters that they, too, acknowledge the extraordinary, worldwide impact of the GRAMMY Awards and are very much looking forward to sharing 'Music's Biggest Night' with their viewers."

Jay-Z is on the verge of buying Swedish company Aspiro AB, the firm that owns the recently-launched Tidal music-streaming service as well as Norway-based WiMP Music.

Launched in 2010, WiMP is only available in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, and Poland, though you may well know the service under its other name in the U.S. and U.K., Tidal.

Tidal launched in just the two markets last year, with a focus on high-quality streams — a factor it hopes will lead people to pay $20/month for the service as opposed to the usual $10/month you’ve come to expect from the likes of Rdio or Deezer.

The acquisition bid was made under the “Project Panther Bidco Ltd” moniker, according to the press release, which is “indirectly” owned by S. Carter Enterprises (SCE). You’ll note that there’s no mention of Jay-Z in there, but that’s because Jay-Z’s real name is … Shawn Carter.

According to the release, Aspiro’s board of directors has “unanimously recommended” that all Aspiro shareholders accept the offer.

The offer tabled by “Panther” values each Aspiro share at SEK 1.05 ($0.13), and the total value of the deal at SEK 464 million ($56 million).

Aspiro says it first received a notice of interest from SCE on December 3, and on December 13 Aspiro and SCE entered into an agreement that prevented Aspiro from actively soliciting offers from other potential buyers.

While the deal is yet to be signed and sealed, it looks certain to be given the go-ahead, with the acceptance period running between February 19 and March 11. The main stipulation from Panther is that, whatever the outcome of any bartering or negotiations, Jay-Z wants to own at least 90 percent of the company.

So in effect, this is Jay-Z making a big play for the music-streaming market and aligning himself with fellow rapper Dr. Dre, who cofounded the now Apple-owned Beats Electronics, which also offers the Beats Music streaming service in the U.S.

It’s an interesting move for sure, one that gives Jay-Z direct entry into the on-demand U.S. music-streaming market. But it’s also an incredibly competitive space, with the likes of Spotify, Rdio, and Beats also offering their wares. Can Jay-Z help Tidal conquer?

Just as Dr. Dre made a monumental success of his premium Beats headphones brand, a major celebrity such as Jay-Z aligning himself with a premium music-streaming service might just work.

Tidal streams at around CD-quality — 44.1 kHz / 16-bit FLAC and ALAC music files at 1411 kbps. This includes mobile. It’s around four times higher than most of its direct competitors, so it will be interesting to see whether Jay-Z can “sex up” the brand in the right demographics and tempt people to pay around double what Spotify and Beats charge.

In an interview with VentureBeat back in November, Tidal CEO Andy Chen said there are enough people willing to spend a little bit more for better sound. Particularly when you consider millions are willing to dig deep to buy top-notch speakers and headphones. Indeed, what’s the point of having good hardware if the quality of the sound lets you down?

It’s also worth noting that this deal isn’t just about the U.S. market. While Beats is only available in the U.S. at the moment, Tidal is in the U.K. too, and its sister brand, WiMP, has a head start in Scandinavia and elsewhere in Europe.

2015 is shaping up to be an interesting year in the music-streaming realm for sure. Source: Venture Beat

Authorities say Death Row Records founder Marion "Suge" Knight turned himself in early Friday in connection with a hit-and-run incident that left one man dead and another injured.

The rap mogul's attorney said earlier that Knight ran over and killed a friend and injured another man on Thursday as he fled attackers.

Authorities said Knight was a person of interest in the incident, which was being investigated as a homicide.

In a brief statement released early Friday, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said Knight was at the West Hollywood station with his attorney and was being interviewed by homicide detectives.

Sgt. Diane Hecht of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's information office said Knight was arrested at about 3 a.m. and is being held on $2 million bail.

Hecht says Knight is being held at the West Hollywood sheriff's station.

No other information was released and there was no mention if Knight was being held.

Officials say that a red pickup truck struck the men at around 3 p.m. PST in the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant in the Los Angeles-area city of Compton and then took off.

A 55-year-old man died at a hospital and a 51-year-old man was injured but Corina did not immediately know his condition.

Sources tell TMZ Suge's lawyer is arranging for his client's surrender to the Sheriff's Dept. It is unclear if law enforcement will arrest Suge for hit and run or manslaughter. It's possible the cops could conclude Suge is not legally on the hook because he fled out of fear for his life.
Suge Knight got into a fight on the set of a film project in Compton, ran over a man who later died, and then fled the scene.

Multiple witnesses say a video shoot involving Ice Cube and Dr. Dre was going down when Suge pulled up in his car...security told Suge to leave and that's when trouble began.

A fight broke out between Suge and 2 men. Suge got back into his car, took the wheel and threw the vehicle in reverse ... and ran over a man who suffered fatal injuries.

It's unclear at this point if the victim was connected to the movie. A source close to Cube tells us production had wrapped when the fight went down and he and Dre were not on set.

Sources connected with Suge tell TMZ the 2 men who fought Suge were the instigators. Our sources say Suge was scared because he's in frail health in addition to being shot 6 times last summer, he recently almost died from a blood clot.

The victim is Terry Carter, who we're told is a friend of Suge's who arrived with him at the scene. Our sources say Carter was in the process of walking to the passenger door of Suge's vehicle, but happened to be in the rear when Suge gunned it.

Two other men were also hit ... including Cle "Bone" Sloane -- who's appeared in "Training Day" and "End of Watch" -- and suffered non-life threatening injuries. Both men are in the hospital. Source: TMZ

Brooklyn-based rapper Joey Bada$$ enters at No. 1 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums with his first studio set, B4.Da.$$, with 54,000 copies sold in its first week (ending Jan. 25), according to Nielsen Music. It's the second showing on the list for Bada$$, following his Summer Knights EP, which spent a week at No. 48 in 2013. The 20-year-old MC leads the New York hip-hop collective Pro Era, which also includes fellow rappers CJ Fly and Kirk Knight among other musical and multimedia artists. (Among Pro Era's supporters: Malia Obama, the eldest daughter of President Obama.)

Lupe Fiasco Arrives: Lupe Fiasco earns the No. 2 debut on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums with Tetsuo & Youth (39,000 units). The set marks the rapper's fifth charting title and fifth consecutive top-five debut following Food & Liquor ll: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1, which spent a week at No. 1 upon its debut in 2012. Buzz surrounding the latest release helps to boost him onto the Billboard Artist 100, where he enters at No. 34.

'Slow Motion', Fast Start: Over on Hot R&B Songs, Trey Songz debuts at No. 12 with his latest single, "Slow Motion." With 34,000 digital downloads sold, it also enters R&B Digital Songs at No. 4, his highest debut yet. The track enters the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 99, while he also hops 95-91 as a featured act on B.o.B's "Not For Long." Source: Billboard

Lil Wayne has had it with his record label. He's suing Cash Money Records for $51 million after claiming that it stiffed him for $8 million on a record he delivered last month.

In the federal lawsuit filed Wednesday, the Grammy Award-winning performer asked a Manhattan judge to nullify contracts he has held with the company since November 1998.

Born in New Orleans as Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., the 32-year-old rapper said in the lawsuit that his relationship with the label has been deteriorating over the last four years, with Cash Money failing to live up to contractual promises regarding monthly accounting statements and the timely payment of profits owed to Lil Wayne.

The lawsuit said the problems worsened since 2012 as Cash Money failed to pay Lil Wayne a 49 percent share of net income derived from the sale of solo recordings by rapper Drake for Lil Wayne's partial ownership of the Young Money label, despite Drake's rise as one of the best-selling recording artists in recent years. Nicki Minaj is also signed to the label.

It said Cash Money also is claiming millions of dollars in marketing expenses for the Young Money label even though it is required to obtain approval from Lil Wayne for expenses greater than $300,000. And it said the company is preventing artists recommended by Lil Wayne from being added to the Young Money label and is failing to pay third parties involved with the Young Money label, leading to lawsuits and additional costs.

A New York lawyer for Cash Money did not immediately return a message seeking comment. The label was co-founded by Lil Wayne's mentor, Bryan "Birdman" Williams. A spokeswoman for Birdman and Cash Money did not return a message seeking comment.

A rapper since childhood, Lil Wayne released his first solo album, "Tha Block Is Hot," in 1999. He lives in Florida now. The Young Money label is based in Miami.

The Cash Money website is promoting the upcoming release of the record Lil Wayne finished last month, "Tha Carter V," one of the most anticipated records of the past year.

Lil Wayne said last year it was likely to be his last solo album. "Tha Carter IV," released in 2011, sold nearly 1 million albums the first week of its release.

The new series logged more than 11 million viewers last week, and has achieved the rare feat of growing its audience for each of its three weeks on the air, the Nielsen company said. The numbers don't include people who watched on a time-shifted basis after the first night.

Among the youthful 18-to-49-year-old viewers that Fox cares most about, "Empire" was the most-watched show of the week, Nielsen said. The previous week, it was beaten only by the Indianapolis-New England "Deflategate" football game.

The news couldn't be better timed for hit-starved Fox, which won the week among youthful viewers, helped also by more auditions on "American Idol." Fox's drama "Backstrom," starring Rainn Wilson as a crotchety detective, had a strong showing with just under 8 million viewers sampling its debut.

After only two weeks on the air, Fox ordered a second season for "Empire."

The CBS show "Scorpion" was the most-watched program among all viewers for the first time ever, taking advantage of a slow week where the normally popular "NCIS" and "The Big Bang Theory" aired reruns.

The "Miss Universe" pageant on NBC had its highest viewership since 2006. A big factor was its first placement on a Sunday night in six years; Sunday is normally the most-watched TV night of the week.

CBS won the week in prime time, averaging 8.5 million viewers. Fox had 5.4 million, NBC had 5.2 million, ABC had 4.5 million, Univision had 2.9 million, the CW had 1.9 million, Telemundo had 1.5 million and ION Television had 1.4 million.

ESPN was the week's most popular cable network, averaging 2.3 million viewers in prime time. Fox News Channel had 1.9 million, TBS had 1.85 million, the Disney Channel had 1.84 million and History had 1.79 million.

NBC's "Nightly News" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 9.4 million viewers. ABC's "World News Tonight" was second with 9.1 million and the "CBS Evening News" had 7.7 million viewers.

For the week of Jan. 19-25, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: "Scorpion," CBS, 12.08 million; "NCIS," CBS, 11.98 million; "American Idol" (Wednesday), Fox, 11.76 million; "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 11.52 million; "Empire," Fox, 11.07 million; "Mom," CBS, 11.05 million; "American Idol" (Thursday), Fox, 10.65 million; "Criminal Minds," CBS, 10.29 million; "NCIS: Los Angeles," CBS, 9.65 million; "The Mentalist," CBS, 9.6 million.

Doug Morris, CEO of Sony Music Entertainment and industry icon, is to deliver a keynote interview at Midem 2015.

Organised by Reed MIDEM, Midem is the key industry event that unites the entire music ecosystem. It takes place in Cannes from 5-8 June, 2015.

Morris will talk about the "Lessons Learned," sharing his decades of experience in music, creativity, management and business, together with stories that changed the music industry, and how they can now be applied to better understand the challenges that it faces today. The keynote will take the form of an interview with Rupert Younger, Director of the Oxford University Centre for Corporate Reputation, part of Oxford University's Said Business School. It forms part of Midem Talks, Midem's plenary conference programme, and will take place on Saturday, 6 June.

With a career spanning five decades, Morris currently heads the world's second largest music company, and was the founder of Vevo, the world's leading premium music video and entertainment platform. Prior to joining Sony Music Entertainment in 2011, he spent 14 years as Chairman and CEO of the Universal Music Group, and previously served as head of MCA Music Entertainment, Rising Tide Entertainment, Warner Music US, and the Atlantic Recording Group. Before that, he was President of ATCO Records and Founder and Owner of Big Tree Records. Morris began his career as a songwriter and producer, his credits include the Chiffons' "Sweet Talkin' Guy" and Brownsville Station's "Smokin' in the Boys Room."

"I knew very early that I wanted to spend my life in the music business and be part of the rock culture of that time. And that is the life I had, managing talent and creativity, leading change in the music business. It is now the right time to talk about the lessons I learned along the way. And I can't think of a better occasion than Midem to share such learning with the global music community," said Doug Morris.

"Doug Morris is an iconic executive within the music ecosystem represented at Midem. Over the past decades, he has actively contributed to supporting the industry and shaping solutions to the various challenges that our music business has been going through. We're thrilled that in addition to sharing the insights gained from his successful career and his broad vision of the music industry, Doug will inspire the Midem audience on how to face change and how to create the business opportunities for tomorrow," said Bruno Crolot, Director of Music Markets, Reed MIDEM.


“THE BET HONORSThe Washington Post says, “The annual BET Honors have just about perfected the ideal mix of glamour, inspiration, humor and sex appeal.” We could not have said it better! “THE BET HONORS” shows the world ‘what extraordinary looks like’ by saluting luminaries whose lives and revolutionary work contribute to and elevate the culture. Airing during Black History Month, “THE BET HONORS” is a shimmering night of dynamic performances and tributes that cross genres and generations.

Phylicia Rashad (Theatrical Arts Award); Usher Raymond (Musical Arts Award); Kanye West (Visionary Award); John W. Thompson (Technology and Business Award) and Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole (Education Award) are “The BET Honors” 2015 honorees.

TAPE DATE: January 24, 2015 PREMIERE: February 23, 2015
LOCATION: Warner Theater, Washington, D.C.

“BLACK GIRLS ROCK!™is the tribute show that has become a movement. This NAACP Image Award-nominated special is both elegant and impactful, saluting dynamic leaders in entertainment, business, philanthropy, and beyond. Past award honorees include Ruby Dee, Susan L. Taylor, Missy Elliott, Kerry Washington, Taraji P. Henson, Queen Latifah, and Venus Williams. “BLACK GIRLS ROCK!™” celebrates the brilliance and beauty of women who shape our world and uplift our girls.

TAPE DATE: March 28, 2015 PREMIERE: April 5, 2015

“BET AWARDS” is celebrating its 15th anniversary this summer! The “BET AWARDS” franchise is the #1 Program in Cable Television history among the Black audience, and is still a top 10 awards show on television (Broadcast & Cable) among total viewers. It continues to hold the leadership position because it gathers the biggest stars in music, sports, Hollywood, and philanthropy all on one stage for one incredible night.

PREMIERE: June 28, 2015
LOCATION: Nokia Theatre, Los Angeles, CA

BET Networks makes its yearly return to Los Angeles for the City of Angels’ biggest music festival, the BET Experience at L.A. LIVE, June 26 – 28, 2014. Teaming up with AEG, one of the leading entertainment companies in the world and developer/operator of L.A. LIVE and STAPLES Center, the BET Experience at L.A. LIVE will feature three days of music and comedy concerts, BET Fan Fest, seminars, GRAMMY® Museum exhibits, a signature food festival, various celebrity meet & greets and other special appearances.

PREMIERE: June 26 – 28, 2015
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA

“BET HIP HOP AWARDSreturns for its ninth year to highlight hip hop music, with bold performances and breakthrough freestyle cyphers that set social media on fire. This is the one show where the hottest rap stars of today share the stage with the hip-hop icons of tomorrow.

TAPE DATE: October 2015 PREMIERE: October 13, 2015

“SOUL TRAIN AWARDS the hippest trip in America keeps grooving forward. The iconic brand that defined a generation returns in 2015 with its signature awards show. Featuring never-before-seen musical collaborations and powerful tributes from world-class performers, the “SOUL TRAIN AWARDS” brings you the most revered and promising voices in soul and R&B. Since airing on both networks is always better, the “Soul Train Awards” is simulcast on Centric and BET.

TAPE DATE: November 2015 PREMIERE: November 2015
LOCATION: Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, NV

“CELEBRATION OF GOSPEL” features spirited performances and moving renditions by some of today’s hottest and most talented artists from the worlds of gospel and R&B.

TAPE DATE: December 5, 2015 PREMIERE: January 2016


Thump Records/Universal Music Group artist Battle Ax (Dr. Robert Ornelas) from The S.O.G. Crew hosts the Anaheim Mixtape Vol. 2. Bishop Ornelas is a national youth advocate and former American Vice Presidential candidate. Anaheim Mixtape Vol. 2 features artists from around the United States and Canada.

"This Mixtape consists of people with whom we have built relationships throughout the years. We have local, regional, national and international artists on Vol. 2. There is a mixture of legendary, seasonal and upcoming artists on this project." Anaheim Mixtape is sponsored in part by Club Judah in Los Angeles.

"We want to share the meaning of our Anaheim Mixtape cover. Our mixtape features artists from every corner of The United States, including the Virgin Islands, and Canada. It will soon feature artists from all over the world. The crown over the title of the cover reminds us to always put God first and to be welcoming to other artists who share our beliefs, or who identify with Gospel Hip-Hop."

The city of Anaheim was founded by Germanic Jewish families in 1857 and was incorporated as the second city in Los Angeles County on March 18, 1876. The name Anaheim means "home by the river" or just "home." We want to pay our respects to the founding fathers of our city of Anaheim, CA. Our vision for the mixtape is to give those who are in union with the Gospel Hip-Hop genre the blessing to feel at home in our area of the West Coast. This mixtape is a peace treaty with other artists from around the country, letting them know that they are not alone.

The Anaheim Mixtape will be on tour throughout Oahu, HI January 9th-18th. The S.O.G. Crew and Hapizzez will be joined by Martin Cantu. Martin is the former lead singer for the legendary Latin Rock Band Malo, which is known for their hit song, Suavecito. We have agreed to visit the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Hickam Air Force Base, Praise Chapel, Victory Outreach, Next Step Shelter, Hope Chapel, Honolulu International Christian Church, Power House Church and many others. The 2015 Hawaii Tour will consist of Hip-Hop concerts, workshops, interviews, revivals, feeding the homeless, and building up those who have lost everything. The plan is to give out the Anaheim Mixtape Vol. 2 for free to those who are down and out. It is time to reach out to the people of Hawaii.

Anaheim Mixtape update: Anaheim Mixtape, Vol. 1 was dedicated to Michael Martinez, Jr. who was killed Saturday, Aug. 30, 2013, and to all the families who have lost loved ones to gang violence. In December of last year, San Bernardino police arrested more than 30 gang members and confiscated dozens of weapons in a month-long operation to crack down on gang violence. As a result, authorities believe they arrested the murderer of Michael Martinez, Jr., a man named Cory Thomas, 20, an alleged gang member. We want to take this time to thank all those who have supported our Vol. 1 Mixtape. Thank you so much for your prayers.

Pharrell Williams says he'll have all of humanity singing together at a worldwide concert June 18 to fight global warming.

The hat wearing phenom is teaming up with Nobel Peace Prize-winner Al Gore and producer Kevin Wall to pull off a "Live Earth" concert on seven continents to build support for a U.N. climate pact in Paris among more than 190 nations in December.

"I think you guys know how serious the global warming thing is, and so for us we're taking it very seriously, and we wanted to do something very different this time," Williams said.

"Instead of just having people perform, we literally - and I can't go into it now because some interesting surprises are coming out soon - but we literally are going to have humanity harmonize all at once."

After giving a trademark slide show, in which he linked rising temperatures to the Arab Spring and the catastrophic Syrian war, Gore said the concert will engage "a billion voices with one message - to demand climate action now."

The U.N.-brokered climate negotiations have been simmering for years. Nations have agreed on the goal of stabilizing greenhouse gases at a level that keeps global warming below 2 degrees C (3.6 F), compared with pre-industrial times, but a legally binding agreement that puts that into action has remained elusive.

A key sticking point is how to pay for it. Another is how much historical responsibility nations must bear for polluting to industrialize versus developing countries that are polluting more now to grow their markets.

The world's two largest emitters of heat-trapping gases, China and the U.S., negotiated secretly for months in 2014 to reach a non-binding climate change agreement.

However, momentum from that deal dissipated in Lima, Peru, where a round of climate talks salvaged a compromise in December to try to set up a Paris deal.

Gore said that along with putting a price on carbon to speed up the transition to renewable energies, "we need to put a price on denial in politics. People need to stop financing denial."

IN OTHER PHARRELL NEWS: Pharrell and Usher will perform at the Grammys next month- Feb. 8 in Los Angeles. Common and John Legend will also perform their Golden Globe-winning, Oscar-nominated song, "Glory," from the movie "Selma."

Sam Smith, Pharrell and Beyonce are the Grammy leaders with six nominations apiece. They will battle Beck and Ed Sheeran for the top prize, album of the year.

Previously announced performers include Madonna, AC/DC, Ariana Grande, Eric Church and Ed Sheeran. The 57th annual Grammy Awards will air live on CBS from the Staples Center.

The Beastie Boys want to force the maker of Monster Energy drink to pay nearly $2.4 million in legal fees and costs so the rappers' $1.7 million jury award is not dwarfed by expenses in a copyright violation case, lawyers say.

A Manhattan federal court jury awarded the group most of the $2 million it requested at a June trial, but that was not enough to cover costs that lawyers said were worsened by the actions of the Corona, California-based Monster Energy Co., the musicians' lawyers said in papers filed in Manhattan federal court.

They said more than two years of litigation punctuated by Monster's failure to engage in good-faith negotiations, an eight-day trial and Monster's effort to overturn the verdict ran up the legal bill.

"Monster's tactics significantly increased the costs for Beastie Boys to vindicate their intellectual property rights, such that, absent an award of attorney's fees and costs, plaintiff's success at trial would become a Pyrrhic victory," they wrote in a filing Saturday.

Monster had admitted wrongly using the group's songs in a video that was online for five weeks. But the beverage maker said at trial it should owe no more than $125,000. The company's lawyers did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment Monday.

The Beastie Boys, inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012, have turned out four No. 1 albums and sold more than 40 million records as they helped bring hip-hop to the mainstream over the last three decades. In 1986, they topped the charts with their debut, "Licensed to Ill," which include the anthem "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)"

Beastie Boys' band members Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz and Michael "Mike D" Diamond both testified at trial, with Horovitz waiting throughout several hours of jury deliberations to be in court for the outcome. Another member of the band, the gravelly-voiced rapper Adam "MCA" Yauch, died of cancer in May 2012 at age 47.

Horovitz had testified the legendary hip-hop group would never license songs to endorse commercial products.

In a December ruling upholding the verdict and award, Judge Paul A. Engelmayer said that five Beastie Boys songs used by Monster in a video made it easy to conclude that the Beastie Boys were endorsing Monster products. He also said the jury's finding that Monster acted in bad faith would be relevant to an award of attorney's fees.

The group's lawyers said Monster had offered as much as $250,000 to settle before trial but had demanded the Beastie Boys drop their demands to below $1 million. The lawyers said the group had agreed to reduce its demands to $1.65 million.

They said the Beastie Boys even offered to negotiate a deal post-trial to curb additional litigation costs, but Monster did not respond to the offer. As a result, they added, they should be awarded attorney's fees of $2.38 million, including $895,926 spent prior to trial, $1.28 million during trial and the $200,438 post-trial cost through December.

D’Angelo will make his return to the spotlight on “Saturday Night Live.” D’Angelo and his band The Vanguard will serve as musical guest on the Jan. 31 episode with host J.K. Simmons, it was announced today.

Saturday Night Live posted on twitter: "Excited to announce J.K. Simmons will host January 31 with musical guest @TheDangelo"

D’Angelo's latest album Black Messiah debuted at #5 on the Billboard 200. “SNL” marks his first public appearance since the record’s release. He will also play a show at the Apollo Theater in Harlem on Feb. 7 before launching his “Second Coming Tour” throughout Europe this spring.

A$AP Yams, founder of the New York-based rap collective that includes A$AP Rocky and A$AP Ferg has died.

RCA Records and Polo Grounds Music confirmed the death of A$AP Yams, whose real name is Steven Rodriguez. Circumstances of his death were unavailable.

RCA Records said Yams would be remembered for his "vision, humor and dedication" to the members of the A$AP Mob collective. Polo Grounds Music said Yams was "a driving force" in the group and would be missed.

In a statement, RCA Records wrote, "All of us at RCA Records are shocked and saddened to hear of the death of A$AP Yams. As one of the creative forces behind A$AP Worldwide, Yams' vision, humor and dedication to the members of A$AP Mob will always be remembered. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends."

"You will be missed Bro. We done touched a lot of ground together, landed on a lot of different soil," A$AP Ferg wrote on Tumblr. "You will always be loved & your spirit will live on!"

Fox hads announced that it has renewed 'Empire' after only two episodes. Empire has become Fox's breakout hit after only two episodes. The 20th Century Fox Television drama from Lee Daniels and Danny Strong has emerged as the No. 1 new series of the season. Following its second episode, it is the only new broadcast drama this season to grow from week one to week two. In live-plus-same-day returns, it tied ABC's How to Get Away With Murder as the No. 1 new broadcast series premiere among adults 18-49. Starring Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson, the hip-hop Dynasty has more VOD viewing than any other Fox show this season, earning more than 1.1 million total viewers.

D'Angelo's first ever headlining gig at New York City's legendary Apollo Theater is happening next month on February 7. In the press release detailing the show, the Apollo mentions that in 1991 D'Angelo performed at the venue's "Amateur Night at the Apollo" weekly competition series, and went on to win three nights in a row and a cash prize. This show will also mark D'Angelo's first since releasing his surprise album, Black Messiah, back in December.

Billboard announced Winterfest, the inaugural festival that will take place from January 22 to 25 at Park City, Utah’s premier music venue, Park City Live. Iggy Azalea will headline the event on Saturday, January 24 with opening act Hoodie Allen. Rounding out the weekend are chart-topping artists B.o.B., headlining Thursday; Skrillex, taking the stage on Friday; and Diplo, closing the weekend with a Sunday night performance.

“Each year, Park City becomes a bigger destination for artists, filmmakers, musicians and fans,” said Janice Min, co-president and chief creative officer of Guggenheim Media’s Entertainment Group, which consists of Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter. “Billboard is joining the party with Winterfest, and we look forward to celebrating with some of the season’s hottest acts.”

Title sponsor Citi presents Billboard Winterfest and gives the stage to 2014’s heavy hitter, Azalea. With major career milestones on Billboard’s music charts, Azalea was honored with the Chart-Topper Award at December 2014’s Women in Music. Her latest album, The New Classic, debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 chart in April 2014, marking the highest bow for a female rapper's first album since 2010.

“Park City Live historically creates the greatest parties and concerts at the film festival and our partnership with Billboard Winterfest raises that bar even higher for 2015," said Kathryn Burns, CEO, Park City Live. "We are honored to have such great partners help Park City Live provide the most exclusive and sought after nightlife experience in town."

As supporting partner of Saturday night, YouTube has provided New York-based hip-hop artist Hoodie Allen who jump-started his career through the video platform, amassing close to half a million global fans who tune in to watch his music videos and vlogs. Allen arrived in the No. 2 slot on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart in October 2014 with his first full-length album, People Keep Talking. With a nod to his social media roots, 83 percent of the album’s first-week was download sales.

“Billboard has curated a terrific lineup, bringing some of the hottest artists to Park City,” said Jennifer Breithaupt, SVP of Entertainment Marketing for title sponsor Citi. “We know our cardmembers love having access to the best in entertainment, and this merging of film and music is sure will be an exciting and memorable weekend."

Hitting 10.7 million monthly unique visitors to its website in November 2014 Billboard has seen 50 percent year-over-year growth of its online readership.* Billboard has scored major news-generating covers recently, including Taylor Swift, Kendrick Lamar, Sam Smith, Idina Menzel, Iggy Azalea and Pharrell Williams.

First album, first week, first smash hit. SremmLife, the highly anticipated debut album from hip-hop duo Rae Sremmurd, with over 49,000 album equivalent units, lands at number 1 on both the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and the Rap Albums chart while also cracking the Top 5 of the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart in its premiere week. Following "No Flex Zone" and "No Type," their platinum debut singles also released on Mike WiLL Made-It's Ear Drummer Records imprint on Interscope Records, SremmLife has kicked off what promises to be a great new year for Rae Sremmurd. On Thursday, January 22, the duo will perform on "Conan" on TBS.

The duo of brothers Swae Lee and Slim Jxmmi (pronounced Jimmy) grew up in Tupelo, Mississippi, but are now based in Atlanta. Rae Sremmurd is the first signing for Ear Drummer, which in 2014 released "No Flex Zone," which hit #36 on the Hot 100 (#11 R&B and #8 Rap), and then "No Type," went to #1 at Urban radio and #16 Hot 100 (#6 R&B and #4 Rap). The third single from SremmLife, "Throw Sum Mo" featuring Nicki Minaj and Young Thug, is currently Top 30 R&B and Top 20 Rap.

SremmLife (Ear Drummer/Interscope Records), released January 6th, executive produced by Mike WiLL Made-It, Producer of the Year at the 2013 BET Hip Hop Awards and executive producer of Miley Cyrus' #1 Bangerz and Future's Honest, which debuted atop the Hip-hop and R&B charts.

Fall Out Boy and Wiz Khalifa announced today their 40+ city Boys of Zummer co-headlining tour in support of their respective hit albums American Beauty/American Psycho and Blacc Hollywood. The 2015 summer tour, promoted exclusively by Live Nation, will kick off on Wednesday, June 10 at the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, N.J., before continuing through cities like Chicago, Toronto, Nashville, St. Louis, Atlanta, Dallas and Las Vegas before concluding at Los Angeles' famed Hollywood Bowl on Monday, Aug. 10. American rapper, singer and hip hop artist Hoodie Allen will serve as special guest on the tour.

Citi® cardmembers will have access to pre-sale tickets beginning Wednesday, Jan. 21 at 10 a.m. local time through Citi's Private Pass® Program. General tickets for select cities will be available at www.livenation.com beginning Friday, Jan. 23 at 10 a.m. local.

Wiz Khalifa burst on the scene with mainstream success with the release of his first major label debut, Rolling Papers, in March 2011, which spawned the hugely successful hits "Black and Yellow," "Roll Up" and "No Sleep." He has earned a career total of seven Grammy nominations, including this year's nods for Best Rap Song ("We Dem Boyz") and Best Rap Album (Blacc Hollywood). Other nominated tracks include the chart-topping "Black and Yellow," 2012's RIAA platinum-certified "Remember You (Feat. The Weeknd)," 2011's "Young, Wild & Free (Feat. Bruno Mars)," Wiz's 3x platinum-certified, top 10 smash partnership with Snoop Dogg (featured on their 2011 collaborative soundtrack, Mac & Devin Go To High School) and Maroon 5's 2012 worldwide hit, "Payphone (Feat. Wiz Khalifa)." Wiz Khalifa recently released his newest album, Blacc Hollywood, which debuted at #1 on Billboard's Top 200 album chart.

More than just a music powerhouse, Wiz is also a fashion-forward icon and entrepreneur. His Taylor Gang Ent. label and brand recently united with leading active lifestyle brand Neff for a 26-piece apparel collection. They also launched Freshko, a new lifestyle brand co-created by Sketch, a well-known graphic artist from San Francisco.

Wednesday, June 10
Camden, NJ
Susquehanna Bank Center

Saturday, June 13
Holmdel, NJ
PNC Bank Arts Center

Sunday, June 14
Mansfield, MA
Xfinity Center

Tuesday, June 16
Cuyahoga Falls, OH
Blossom Music Center

Wednesday, June 17
Toronto, ON
Molson Canadian Amphitheatre

Thursday, June 18
Darien Center, NY
Darien Lake Performing Arts Center

Saturday, June 20**
Bangor, ME
Darling's Waterfront Pavilion

Tuesday, June 23
Saratoga Springs, NY
Saratoga Performing Arts Center

Wednesday, June 24
Wantagh, NY
Nikon at Jones Beach Theater

Friday, June 26
Hartford, CT

Saturday, June 27
Columbia, MD
Merriweather Post Pavilion

Sunday, June 28
Virginia Beach, VA
Farm Bureau Live at Virginia Beach

Tuesday, June 30
Cincinnati, OH
Riverbend Music Center

Wednesday, July 1
Noblesville, IN
Klipsch Music Center

Thursday, July 2
Burgettstown, PA
First Niagara Pavilion

Friday, July 3
Hershey, PA
Giant Center

Saturday, July 4
Scranton, PA
The Pavilion at Montage Mountain

Friday, July 10
Clarkston, MI
DTE Energy Music Theatre

Saturday, July 11
Tinley Park, IL
First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre

Sunday, July 12
Nashville, TN
Bridgestone Arena


Tuesday, July 14
St. Louis, MO
Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre

Wednesday, July 15
Columbus, OH
LC Pavilion

Friday, July 17
Atlanta, GA
Aaron's Amphitheatre at Lakewood

Saturday, July 18
Raleigh, NC
Walnut Creek Amphitheatre

Sunday, July 19
Charlotte, NC
PNC Music Pavilion

Tuesday, July 21
Bonner Springs, KS
Cricket Wireless Amphitheater

Wednesday, July 22
Tulsa, OK
BOK Center

Saturday, July 25
Dallas, TX
Gexa Energy Pavilion

Sunday, July 26
Austin, TX
Austin360 Amphitheater

Tuesday, July 28
Albuquerque, NM
Isleta Amphitheater

Wednesday, July 29
Denver, CO
Fiddler's Green Amphitheatre

Thursday, July 30
Salt Lake City, UT
USANA Amphitheatre

Saturday, August 1
Ridgefield, WA
Amphitheater Northwest

Sunday, August 2
Auburn, WA
White River Amphitheater

Tuesday, August 4
San Francisco Bay Area
Venue TBD

Wednesday, August 5
Sacramento, CA
Sleep Train Amphitheater

Friday, August 7
Las Vegas, NV
Mandalay Bay Events Center

Saturday, August 8
Chula Vista, CA
Sleep Train Amphitheatre

Monday, August 10
Los Angeles, CA
Hollywood Bowl
**Fall Out Boy & Hoodie Allen only

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has accused President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle of parenting by double-standard, in an interview published Tuesday, saying they shelter their daughters from some things but allow them to listen to the music of Beyoncé.

While promoting his new book, Huckabee told People magazine, "I don't understand how on one hand they can be such doting parents and so careful about the intake of everything — how much broccoli they eat and where they go to school ... and yet they don't see anything that might not be suitable" in the lyrics and a Beyoncé choreography "best left for the privacy of her bedroom."

Huckabee described the Grammy Award-winning Beyoncé in his book as "mental poison."

The first lady's office declined to comment on Huckabee's comments.

During a 2012, $40,000-per-ticket fundraiser in New York, the president thanked Beyoncé and Jay-Z for their friendship.

"Beyoncé could not be a better role model for my girls," Obama said.

Beyoncé sang at Barack Obama's second inauguration, as well at Mrs. Obama's 50th birthday party at the White House.

Huckabee's latest book, titled "God, Guns, Grits and Gravy," is full of criticism of Washington, New York and Hollywood and serves as a direct appeal to cultural conservatives, long part of his political base. Huckabee's rhetoric is likely to win him more fans among conservative activists who have tremendous sway in picking the GOP's presidential nominees in early nominating states such as Iowa and South Carolina.

Huckabee recently stepped down from his role as host of a weekend program on Fox News Channel. He ran for president in 2008, considered running in 2012, and has said he's weighing whether to seek the GOP nomination in 2016.

If he enters the contest, he has a strong network of pastors in the early states who can help mobilize their faithful. That network helped him win the lead-off Iowa caucuses in 2008, as well as earn victories in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Tennessee and West Virginia.

Huckabee is no stranger to such pointed statements. At a Republican National Committee meeting last year in Washington, he suggested Democrats wanted women to believe they were helpless without government-financed birth control.

"If the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without 'Uncle Sugar' coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control, because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it," Huckabee said. "Let us take that discussion all across America."

Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) today announced the appointment of Marc Cimino to the newly created global position of Chief Operating Officer (COO), effective immediately. Cimino will report to Jody Gerson, UMPG's Chairman and CEO, and will be based at the company's headquarters in Santa Monica.

Cimino joins UMPG from Warner Bros. Records, where he was Executive Vice President & Head of Business & Legal Affairs and a member of the company's core executive team.

In this newly created role at UMPG, Cimino will focus on the company's global business strategy, including playing a key role in guiding public policy and business development.

In making the announcement, Gerson said, "At this time in our business, it's important we work with a global perspective and more closely with our record label partners. Marc's broad experience in recorded music will help bolster our organization and bring a broader industry approach to everything we do, and to the ultimate benefit of our artists and writers."

Cimino said: "I'm grateful and excited to be working for such a dynamic visionary like Jody and for Universal Music Publishing Group. I look forward to working with the entire team around the world, and with our labels and tech partners as we face a rapidly changing business environment with many new opportunities and challenges."

During his ten years at Warner Bros. Records, Cimino rose from Vice President to Executive Vice President, heading up the Business and Legal Affairs and A&R Administration departments, and playing an integral part of the company's strategy in both traditional and new business initiatives. As part of his role at Warner Bros. Records, he participated in the company's government affairs initiatives and spearheaded the structuring and negotiation of agreements with the label's major recording artists.

Prior to Warner Bros. Records, from 1998 to 2004, Cimino held business affairs and business development roles at Sony Music Entertainment.

Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) is part of the Universal Music Group and one of the world's leading music publishing companies, representing music in every genre from some of the most important songwriters and catalogs. These include ABBA, Adele, A Great Big World, Jhene Aiko, Alex Da Kid, Bastille, Beach Boys, Beastie Boys, Irving Berlin, Leonard Bernstein, Justin Bieber, Ruben Blades, Chris Brown, Mariah Carey, Desmond Child, The Clash, Coldplay, J. Cole, Elvis Costello, Miley Cyrus, Neil Diamond, Disclosure, Danny Elfman, Eminem, Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Al Green, Haim, Jimi Hendrix, Hit-Boy, Hunter Hayes, Imagine Dragons, Billy Joel, Elton John/Bernie Taupin, B.B. King, Luke Laird, Linkin Park, the Mamas and Papas, Miguel, Ne-Yo, Nicki Minaj, Mumford & Sons, James Napier, Randy Newman, Rudy Perez, Steve Perry, Otis Redding, Darius Rucker, Carole Bayer Sager, Gustavo Santaolalla, Sex Pistols, Paul Simon, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, T-Pain, U2, Keith Urban, Troy Verges, Diane Warren, Andrew Lloyd Webber and more.

Rapper Flavor Flav is due in a Long Island courtroom later this month after being indicted on charges stemming from a traffic stop while driving to his mother's funeral.

Court documents show the rapper, whose real name is William Drayton, was indicted last month on a felony charge of driving with a suspended license. He also faces a speeding violation and two misdemeanors for aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.

A spokesman for Nassau County acting District Attorney Madeline Singas (SIHNG'-uhs) declined to comment. The spokesman confirmed that Drayton has a Jan. 21 court appearance. Drayton's attorney, who has been seeking to reach a plea agreement, declined to comment.

The rapper-reality TV star from Roosevelt, New York, was arrested Jan. 9, 2014, on the Meadowbrook Parkway.

Bonnaroo has rolled out the lineup for its 2015 event. Kendrick Lamar will hold down the headline spot with Mumford & Sons, Billy Joel, and deadmau5.

In addition, Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival lineup includes hip-hop and R&B acts such as Childish Gambino, Run the Jewels, DeJ Loaf, G-Eazy, and SZA.

Bonnaroo will be held on June 11-14 in Manchester, Tenn. Tickets go on sale Jan. 17.

A terminally ill Detroit-area teenager who was surprised by a visit from rapper Eminem has died.

Rainbow Connection Executive Director Mary Grace McCarter said Tuesday that the parents of 17-year-old Gage Garmo told her that he died Monday in their Rochester Hills home.

Gage had a wish fulfilled when Detroit native Eminem stopped by Sunday evening. The Detroit Free Press says the pair sat in the family's living room talking about hip-hop and football.

Gage was diagnosed with bone cancer three years ago, when he was a freshman at Rochester High School.

Friends and classmates used social media to spread Gage's wish to meet Eminem, his musical hero, after he learned last week that he had just days left to live. Michigan-based charity Rainbow Connection set up the meeting.

This Black History Month BET launches its first-ever event miniseries “THE BOOK OF NEGROES,” a six-part historical drama in the tradition of Roots, based on Lawrence Hill’s award-winning, Oprah Winfrey-listed novel (known in the United States as Someone Knows My Name). The highly anticipated television event will run over the course of three consecutive nights in two-hour installments starting Monday, February 16, 2015 at 8 PM ET/PT.

The Book of Negroes depicts the extraordinary life journey of Aminata Diallo (Aunjanue Ellis) – an indomitable African woman who cuts a swath through a world that is pre-disposed to underestimate her. Kidnapped by slave traders in West Africa and subsequently enslaved in South Carolina, Aminata must navigate her way through the American Revolution in New York, the isolated refuge of Nova Scotia and the treacherous jungles of Sierra Leone before ultimately securing her freedom in England at the dawn of the 19th century. Produced by Conquering Lion Pictures, Out of Africa Entertainment, Entertainment One (eOne) and Idelwild Films, the star-studded cast features lead actress Aunjanue Ellis (Ray, The Help), Oscar winner Cuba Gooding Jr. (Jerry Maguire, A Few Good Men), Oscar and Emmy winner Louis Gossett Jr. (An Officer and a Gentleman, Roots, Boardwalk Empire), Lyriq Bent (Rookie Blue), Oscar nominee Jane Alexander (The Cider House Rules), Ben Chaplin (The Thin Red Line) and Allan Hawco (Republic of Doyle). The highly anticipated event miniseries of from Conquering Lion Pictures, Out of Africa Entertainment, Entertainment One (eOne), and Idlewild Films is executive produced by Damon D'Oliveira (What We Have), Clement Virgo ("The Wire") who also served as co-writer & director, Carrie Stein and Margaret O'Brien.

The Book of Negroes is a historical document which records names and descriptions of 3,000 African-American slaves who had to work for the British army during the American Revolution in order to qualify for their freedom and were evacuated by the British by ship to points in Nova Scotia. The book was assembled by Samuel Birch under the direction of Guy Carleton, 1st Baron Dorchester. African Americans who escaped to the British during the American Revolutionary War became the first settlement of Black Canadians. Other Black Loyalists were transported to settlements in several islands in the West Indies and some to London. Recorded in 1783, this 150-page document is the only one to have ever recorded Black Americans in a large, detailed scope of work.

As DJ Premier finishes all the last minute tasks, taking down the soundproofing, in-wall speakers and moving the last bit of his equipment, furniture and hundreds of vinyl records, it’s certainly a hectic time in his life---but it does not mean there isn’t time to reflect on one of the cornerstones of his legacy.

On January 7th, 2015, after nearly twenty-five years, the iconic D&D Studios on the fourth floor of 320 West 37th Street shut its doors. Premier first set up shop at D&D in 1991 to record Gang Starr’s third album, Daily Operation, and ever since it has been both a home and a conduit for artists of all genre’s to attach their lyrics to Preemo’s complex rhythm of the streets.

There have been innumerable sessions with hundreds of established and emerging artists, a veritable slew of classic recordings and even more stories created at D&D Studios, as Premier set up camp to put his stamp on timeless music from Gang Starr, Rakim, KRS-One, Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z, Nas, Christina Aguilera, D’Angelo, Janet Jackson, Mos Def, Common, Jeru The Damaja, Bumpy Knuckles, The Game, M.O.P., Snoop Dogg, Cee-Lo, Mac Miller, Kanye West, Slaughterhouse, Mack Wilds and many more, to his recently released collaborative project, PRhyme, with Royce Da 5’9", to still unheard and recent recordings with Miguel, Wale, Scarface, De La Soul, Busta Rhymes and Joey Bada$$; all of which were birthed at the legendary Studio.

Twelve years after Premier first set foot in D&D, he bought the studio from its founders, Douglas Grama and David Lotwin, in 2003 and renamed it ‘HeadQcourterz’ after his late friend Kenneth “HeadQcourterz” Walker. While Premier knows the end of D&D closes the book on a major chapter of Hip-Hop history, he also realizes it’s the start of a new phase of his career. "The building was sold in order to change it from commercial business to residential and our leases would not be renewed, so basically that means Everybody Out! It is tough to accept after so many years making that much history there, but life is good and I will continue to make hot music. Passion never leaves your soul and I have a lot of it so I'm ready to continue on." says Premier.

With Premier’s relocation of the “HeadQcourterz” to KAS Music And Sound at Kaufman Astoria Studios in Astoria complete, the three-time Grammy Award winner pushes ahead with an active label (Year Round Records), which Premier will release his debut album, Last Session @320, on in 2015 (a debut album that includes major guest stars) his independent album projects (NYGz, MC Eiht, Lady Of Rage, Khaleel) and begin to heavily focus on stepping into the film and television scoring worlds and use the new “HeadQcourterz” live space to work on a large live show, replete with his own band to tour and play his greatest hits—with so many hits to choose from, the hard part will be coming up with a set list!

The Canadian R&B artist known as The Weeknd was arrested in Las Vegas after police say he hit an officer in the head.

Las Vegas Police Officer Laura Meltzer says 24-year-old Abel Tesfaye was arrested early Saturday in a Las Vegas Strip hotel on suspicion of misdemeanor battery of a protected person. He was taken to the Clark County Detention Center, but wasn't listed on the jail roster on Monday.

Meltzer says police were trying to break up a fight on one of the floors when Tesfaye hit an officer on the side of the head with a closed fist.

She says it doesn't appear that the officer was seriously hurt.

The Weeknd was scheduled for a concert Friday at Drai's Nightclub. He is featured on Ariana Grande's "Love Me Harder."

REVOLT CEO Keith Clinkscales announced a new distribution partnership agreement with the National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC), the not-for-profit cooperative representing independent cable system providers with nearly 1,000 member companies throughout the U.S. and its territories. The multi-platform carriage deal provides that REVOLT, the multi-platform, multi-genre music network founded by Sean "Diddy" Combs, will be available to participating NCTC members' subscribers across televisions, computers, smartphones, tablets and other Web-connected devices.

"As a minority-owned, independent network, we are particularly proud to grow this partnership with NCTC, who represents independent operators of all sizes across all demographics," said REVOLT TV SVP, Head of Content Distribution James Brown. "Coupled with other recent deals, this agreement reinforces the strength of our programming and commitment to continued growth across rural, suburban and urban markets alike."

"We are pleased to have reached an agreement with REVOLT on behalf of NCTC members. We look forward to a beneficial partnership for our member companies," said NCTC Executive Vice President of Programming Judy Meyka.

"REVOLT started as a small independent network that now attracts over 50 million young adults through television, digital, social and mobile – anytime, anywhere across America," touts REVOLT Chairman Sean "Diddy" Combs. "This partnership with NCTC allows us to extend our reach and further our goal to be the number one new name in music for fans across every genre."

REVOLT is available in 46 of the 50 top U.S. markets on Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Verizon FiOS, CenturyLink and Suddenlink, including New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Boston, Atlanta, and DC, with more traditional and non-traditional carriage deals to be announced.

Atlantic recording artist K. Michelle has announced details of her upcoming, headlining tour, dubbed "My Twisted Mind Tour." The first leg (Part One) kicks off February 5th at San Francisco's Mezzanine and then travels through the month (see itinerary below). Additional dates will be unveiled soon.

"My Twisted Mind Tour" celebrates K. Michelle's blockbuster new album, "ANYBODY WANNA BUY A HEART?," which made a historic chart debut upon release last month, entering at #6 on the SoundScan/Billboard 200 -- the year's highest charting debut from a female R&B artist. What's even more exciting, the album -- which includes the hit singles, "Love Em All," "Maybe I Should Call," and "Something About The Night" -- debuted at #2 on Billboard's "Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums" chart as well as at #1 on the iTunes Store's "Top R&B/Soul Albums" ranking.

In addition to its immediate success, the album is among last year's most critically acclaimed releases, named to both Billboard's "10 Best R&B Albums of 2014" and Rolling Stone's "20 Best R&B Albums of 2014." "An excellent album," declared Complex, adding, "It cannot be denied any longer: K. Michelle is leaps and bounds ahead of many of her peers."

In other news, the R&B superstar's 2014 VH1 series, K. Michelle: My Life, recently wrapped its impressive first season, pulling in as many as 2.2 million viewers, with a stronghold of the key 18-49 demographic, during the highly competitive Monday night primetime television timeframe. Known to millions as a cast member on the hit VH1 series, Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta, K. Michelle proved an true star as her Atlantic Records debut album, "REBELLIOUS SOUL," made a stunning #1 entry atop Billboard's "Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums" chart upon its 2013 release. Furthermore, the album entered the overall SoundScan/Billboard 200 at #2 -- the highest debut on the main chart for a female R&B singer's first album since March 2001.



5 San Francisco, CA Mezzanine
6 Los Angeles, CA Saban Theatre
13 Orlando, FL Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre
16 Baltimore, MD Rams Head
20 Shreveport, LA The Strand (On sale soon)
22 Greensboro, NC Cone Denim Center
25 Raleigh, NC The Ritz
26 Charlotte, NC The Fillmore
27 Myrtle Beach, SC HOB


7 Rochester, NY Auditorium Theatre
8 Seattle, WA The Showbox SoDo (On sale soon)
12 Atlanta, GA Fox Theatre (On sale soon)

On Tuesday, Universal Music filed a lawsuit against a group of companies including the Centric Group and Keefe Group alleged to be selling "care packages" that family members and friends can send to inmates who are incarcerated in correctional facilities.

Among the items being sent to prisoners, according to a complaint filed in California federal court, are mixtapes featuring performances by artists like James Brown, Eminem, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder.

"Defendants boast on their website that their business 'was developed to eliminate contraband,' yet the infringing copies of Plaintiffs’ sound recordings and musical compositions, in which Defendants unlawfully transact and from which they unjustly profit, are contraband personified," states the lawsuit.

A few months ago, Universal put DJ music up for legal examination, and now the company is doing the same for mixtapes.

As the complaint explains, "Mixtapes are a form of recorded music in which DJs combine (or 'mix') tracks, often recorded by different artists, onto a single CD, sometimes creating overlaps and fades between songs, and/or reflecting a common theme or mood. Such so-called 'mixtapes,' unless authorized by the copyright owner or owner of corresponding state law rights, are nothing more than collections of infringing, piratical compilations of copyrighted or otherwise legally protected sound recordings and copyrighted musical composition."

Universal says the "mixtape" is "frequently a cover for piracy," but acknowledges there are authorized distributors out there.

The defendants are alleged not to be in that authorized category, that they are infringing the copyrights of Universal's records and publishing divisions as a "door opener to solicit customers." Indeed, Universal says that the defendants sometimes sell the music at a financial loss, using items like a hip-hop mixtape as a "loss leader to boost sales of their other goods and services." Presumably, Universal doesn't believe the mixtapes fall as a fair use.

For allegedly reproducing, distributing and preparing derivative works based on their compositions, Universal is demanding maximum statutory damages in the amount of $150,000 to each copyrighted work infringed. The plaintiff also is asserting state unfair competition claims and seeking the imposition of a constructive trust, restitution of unlawful proceeds, punitive damages and more. The lawsuit is being handled by Jeffrey Goldman at Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell.Source: Hollywood reporter

Drake is on the festival circuit: He's headlining Coachella in April and will also perform at New York's Governors Ball in June.

He will be joined by the Black Keys, "Weird Al" Yankovic and Lana Del Rey in the Big Apple from June 5 to June 7 on Randall's Island.

Tickets for the fifth annual three-day Governors Ball Music Festival go on sale Wednesday. Other performers include Bjork, Deadmau5, Florence + the Machine, Charli XCX, My Morning Jacket and Ryan Adams.

Monster, which co-designed the original Beats By Dr. Dre headphones, is filing suit against Beats Electronics, the firm acquired by Apple in May and co-founded by musician Dr. Dre and producer Jimmy Iovine.

The audio tech company and its CEO, Noel Lee, say in the suit that he and Monster invented the technology behind the Beats By Dr. Dre headphones. The suit claims that Iovine and Dre (Andre Young) committed fraud in pirating the headphones away from Lee and Monster.

The suit, filed in San Mateo (Calif.) County Superior Court, charges that the Beats co-founders concealed the role of Monster and Lee in designing and engineering the headphone line, as well as educating them about engineering, manufacturing, distributing and selling the headphones that Monster and Lee invented.

After severing ties with Monster, Beats was purchased by Apple for $3 billion. But as the Beats co-founders made millions, Monster lost millions from its investment in the rise of Beats, the suit charges. Had Lee retained his original 5% interest in Beats, his total stake in the Beats-Apple deal would have been worth over $100 million, the suit alleges.

When contacted, Apple said that it did not have comment on the suit.

Founded in Nevada in 1979 as Monster Cable, Monster assisted in the design of the popular Beats By Dr. Dre headphones. In a previous interview, Lee, who at one time had been a laser-fusion design engineer at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, said that Monster made 150 samples before Dre and Iovine saw any prototypes. "They went through 20 before it felt right," Lee said.

After hitting the market in 2008, the headphones virtually created a high-end styles category of $300-plus headphones. High-end headphones became a $1 billion market in wholesale revenue in 2013, and Iovine has said Beats itself had revenue surpassing $1 billion last year.

Even before Beats and Monster's five-year manufacturing and distribution deal ended, HTC invested $300 million in Beats in 2011.

Iovine and Dre bought back the entirety of Beats in 2013, a year before Apple acquired the company for $3 billion. Monster lists HTC and Beats board member Paul Wachter among the defendants.

Those transactions were a "sham" that Beats used to exercise its "change of control rights" to fraudulently get the headphones away from Monster, said Joseph Cotchett, an attorney with the California-based law firm of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, which is representing Monster. "Had the partnership expired on its own terms, there would have been no transfer of Monster's years of work on Beats By Dr. Dre."

After conspiring to get rid of Monster, Beats also damaged Monster's reputation for developing products, the suit says.

Monster and Lee are asking for punitive damages.

In an exclusive story published last year by Gizmodo, Monster founder Noel Lee and son Kevin Lee shed light on how they were outmaneuvered by the might of Dre, Iovine and Interscope and suggested that they weren't properly compensated for the development of the original headphones. Source: USA TODAY

After releasing two successful records with his Ugly Heroes brethren, touring 12+ countries in Europe, and honing his craft to a precision point, Detroit writer & emcee Red Pill has signed a multi-album solo artist deal with Mello Music Group for 2015 & 2016. Fans can expect a solo record each of the next two years, along with an EP, compilation contributions, and guest features. More details in the coming weeks.

"(Red Pill) is a writer first and that comes through with his every verse. It's apparent he's commited to the craft of emceeing - able to command a crowd - but at the same time he is committed to all the same things Raymond Carver, James Baldwin, or any writer would be - verisimiltude, having a political soul, and creating art that moves people."

"(Red Pill) is a writer first and that comes through with his every verse. It's apparent he's commited to the craft of emceeing - able to command a crowd - but at the same time he is committed to all the same things Raymond Carver, James Baldwin, or any writer would be - verisimiltude, having a political soul, and creating art that moves people."

Red Pill On Signing:
"I've been a fan of Mello Music Group since 2009 when I first heard Diamond District's "In The Ruff" and then yU's "Before Taxes". I was drawn to the music and what appeared to be a dedication to quality from an independent record label that was just getting going. I've looked up to Apollo Brown, Oddisee, Quelle Chris and most of Mello's roster. After releasing Ugly Heroes, I was approached by the label head and Mello Music himself, Mike Tolle, and offered a deal to put out my own solo material with the label. Starting first as a fan, then as part of an incredible Apollo Brown project and now being able to say that I'm officially part of the Mello Music Group roster is amazing. You grow up wanting to find a record label. Wanting to have your music exposed to a loyal, supportive and incredible fanbase. It takes years and years of hard work, patience and a little bit of delusion to think it can ever happen. I'm happy for the opportunity that I've been given from Mello Music Group and excited to start releasing new music with them."

Nearly a month after he was shot outside his brother-in-law's southern New Jersey home, rapper Beanie Sigel has been released from a hospital.

Pleasantville police say the 40-year-old musician, whose real name is Dwight Grant, left the AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center in Atlantic City last weekend.

Sigel was shot in the abdomen Dec. 5 at the Pleasantville home, where he had been staying after being released from a federal prison for tax evasion. The shooting occurred shortly after Sigel had dropped his children off at school.

Authorities say Sigel gave investigators a statement about the shooting before he left the hospital, but further details were not disclosed.

No arrests have been made.

An official and media say Joey Bada$$ has been charged in Australia with assaulting a security guard before a performance last week.

Australian Broadcasting Corp. and Australian Associated Press reported Monday that the 19-year-old Brooklyn performer was headed for the stage of a music festival near Byron Bay in New South Wales state Friday when he was asked by a security guard to prove his identity.

Bada$$ allegedly punched the guard, breaking his nose, before continuing to the stage.

Court official Melissa Everson says Bada$$ appeared in the Lismore Local Court on Saturday and was released on bail. She would not confirm media reports that he was charged with assault causing bodily harm.

Nielsen has released some initial data from its upcoming, comprehensive 2014 year-end music report. Overall on-demand streaming of music (both audio and video) grew by 54 percent last year, from 106 billion streams in 2013 to 164 billion in 2014.
"Digital music consumption continues its robust growth, with On-Demand streaming up 54 percent over last year and 164 billion song streams being played in 2014," says David Bakula, SVP Industry Insights, Nielsen Entertainment. "Although overall music sales are showing declines, Vinyl album sales were up 52 percent in 2014, shattering last year’s record-setting total by more than 3 million LPs. In 2014, Vinyl album sales accounted for more than six percent of all physical albums sales."

Vinyl album sales grew by an impressive 52 percent in 2014, from 6.1 million records in 2013 to 9.2 million last year. This is the highest year for vinyl sales since 1991, when Nielsen SoundScan first began tracking music sales. Vinyl album sales have increased (year-over-year) for the past nine consecutive years.
However, overall album sales were down by 11 percent in 2014, from 289.4 million in 2013 to 257 million last year. Digital album sales dropped nine percent to 106.5 million (from 117.6 million in 2013) and digital song sales dipped 12 percent to 1.1 billion from 1.26 billion the year before. According to Nielsen, 41 percent of all albums sold in 2014 were digital downloads, the same number as 2013.

Taylor Swift's 1989 was the top-selling album of 2014, with over 3.66 million copies sold, which is even more impressive considering the album was only released in late October. The 2013 release of the Frozen soundtrack was the second-biggest seller last year, followed by Sam Smith's In The Lonely Hour, That's Christmas To Me from Pentatonix and the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack.

"Happy" from Pharrell Williams was the top-selling digital single of 2014, with over 6.45 million sales. John Legend's "All Of Me" was #2, followed by "Dark Horse" by Katy Perry, Meghan Trainor's breakthrough hit "All About That Bass" and "Fancy" from Iggy Azalea f/Charli XCX.

Producer Easy Mo Bee will celebrate 25 years as one of the most innovative forces in hip hop with the release of a new album, “…And You Don’t Stop!”, available at iTunes on January 10 via Chuck D’s SLAMJamz Record Label. Chuck D, along with SLAMJamz President and COO Janol “Mecca” Holmes, joins Easy Mo Bee as the album’s Executive Producer.

A fixture since the early days of New York rap, Easy Mo Bee started his career with Big Daddy Kane on his groundbreaking “It’s A Big Daddy Thing” album. He helped guide GZA, RZA and the Notorious B.I.G as they developed their sounds and worked with 2Pac, DasEFX, Busta Rhymes, Kurupt, Mos Def. LL Cool J, Slick Rick, Public Enemy and the Wu-Tang Clan. The producer also built a bridge between the music of Miles Davis and hip hop for his final “Doo-Bop” project, which won a GRAMMY Award, and has worked with Alicia Keys and jazz superstar Candy Dulfer. Known for his inventive sampling technique, Easy Mo Bee is revered for his body of work and influence on young producers.

“…And You Don’t Stop!” is the latest release from Chuck D’s SLAMJamz Record label, dedicated to giving independent and underground hip hop artists a platform for their music.

One of the most impactful artists of the 1990's has returned after an 18-year hiatus. The super group responsible for unforgettable records such as "Come and Talk to Me," "Forever My Lady," and "Feenin" gave fans a sneak peek at their newest record "Nobody Wins" with a performance at the Soul Train Awards last month on Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014. Jodeci performed a snippet of the record as part of a medley performance of the group's most popular hit songs.

In fact, Jodeci has continued to record records over the past 18 years. However, the group didn't feel a cohesive creative direction until now. "We've recorded hundreds of songs, even if it's bits and pieces and fragments of songs that we could probably live off of for the rest of our lives," Mr. Dalvin explained to RollingStone Magazine. "But when creating this album, we chose a body of work that really represents us as a group and represents what people are expecting to hear from Jodeci as a group. People will be pleasantly surprised."

Jodeci feels that now is the time to return with new music. But the group feels that their return comes with a responsibility. As an important group that has always had a voice in culture, Jodeci wants to return with great music that also serves to entertain and inspire. "Nobody Wins" is a record that discourages domestic violence and violence in general and is a message personal to each member of Jodeci.

"We aren't immune to issues that are important in our community. Domestic violence has always been an issue in relationships, but lately it's been brought to the front of our community consciousness," K-Ci explains.

Jodeci is scheduling the release of their new album in the first quarter of 2015, which will officially celebrate the powerhouse group's triumphant return to music.

Alicia Keys gave birth to son Genesis Ali Dean early on Saturday morning (Dec.27). It's baby number two for the Grammy-winner and her husband, producer-rapper Swizz Beatz, who are also parents to 4-year-old Egypt Daoud.

The 33-year-old singer shared the news on her Instagram account Sunday with a photo of Genesis's footprints. The image also details that the baby was born at 1:52 a.m. and weighs 6 pounds, 5 ounces.

Keys expressed excitement in her social media captions, saying that "the joy of joy is joy" and that she is grateful.

Coming off the smash season finale of her hit VH1 show "K. Michelle: My Life," singer/songwriter K. Michelle debuts at the #1 spot on the iTunes' Top R&B/Soul Album chart, #2 spot on the Billboard R&B/Hip Hop Chart with her sophomore album Anybody Wanna Buy A Heart?. The album, released last week on December 9th, debuted #6 on the Billboard Top 200, making this the top debut of 2014 for a female R&B artist.

Following the release of singles "Maybe I Should Call," "Love 'Em All," and "Something About The Night," the album garnered countless reviews across the country.

On top of releasing her second solo album in just a year's time, K. Michelle's show "K. Michelle: My Life" just wrapped an impressive first season on VH1. Airing on Mondays at 9PM EST, during the highly competitive Monday night primetime television timeframe, the show has pulled in as many as 2.2 million viewers, with a stronghold of the key 18-49 demographic.

Known to millions as a cast member on the hit VH1 series, "Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta," K. Michelle earned acclaim for this summer's full-length "hip-hopera," "K. Michelle: Rebellious Soul - The Musical." The VH1 film -- directed by Golden Globe winner Idris Elba (The Wire, Luther) -- includes explosive, theatrical, and deeply moving renditions of such hit singles as "V.S.O.P.," "Damn," and "Can't Raise A Man" alongside other "REBELLIOUS SOUL" favorites.

"REBELLIOUS SOUL" made a stunning #1 debut atop Billboard's "Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums" chart upon its release earlier last summer. Furthermore, the album entered the overall SoundScan/Billboard 200 at #2 -- the highest debut on the main chart for a female R&B singer's first album since March 2001. In addition to its massive popular success, "REBELLIOUS SOUL" has also received widespread critical applause, with the New York Times hailing it as a "milestone... it has the confidence of survival." Vibe praised Michelle's "triumphant vocals," singling out "V.S.O.P." as "energetic and infectious... (the album's) shining star." "REBELLIOUS SOUL" further proved an international sensation, with the UK's The Guardian awarding it four-out-of-five stars, calling it "dramatic and raw... the emergence of a vital voice."

K. Michelle was also among 2013's most honored artists, including such prestigious prizes as Soul Train Awards' "Best New Artist" and the NAACP Image Awards' "Outstanding New Artist." An electrifying and charismatic live performer, K. spent much of the past year on the road, highlighted by "BET Music Matters Presents The Rebellious Soul Tour with K. Michelle," presented by BET's "Music Matters," the network's influential campaign highlighting the next generation of superstars. In addition, the gifted R&B star accompanied Robin Thicke as special guest on 2014's blockbuster "Blurred Lines Tour."

Bobby Shmurda (Ackquille Pollard) will face gun and drug trafficking charges when an arraignment is unsealed in court.

Ackquille Pollard was taken into custody shortly after he left a recording studio near Radio City Music Hall in midtown Manhattan on Wednesday. His indictment will be made public on Thursday.

The arrest stems from an investigation into a series of gang-related shootings and drug trafficking in the city.

Pollard, 20, is named with other defendants in the indictment, said Kati Cornell, a spokeswoman for the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor. She declined to detail the charges.

Chad Marshal, another aspiring hip-hop artist known as Rowdy Rebel, was arrested inside the recording studio where police also recovered handguns, authorities said.

The Brooklyn-born Pollard is best known for the hit song "Hot Boy" and for a music video that popularized a dance move called the "Shmoney dance."

A "Hot Boy" video posted on YouTube in August has been viewed tens of millions of times, and Pollard performed the song for a national television audience this month on "Jimmy Kimmel Live."

"My music is straight facts," Pollard recently told New York Magazine. "There are a lot of gangsters in my 'hood.'"

Pollard's criminal history included two arrests for gun and drug possession, authorities said.

The names of attorneys for Pollard and Marshal weren't immediately available.

BET Networks today announced that it has appointed Stephen Hill as President of Programming. In this newly created position, Hill will lead the Original Programming, Music Programming & Specials, and the BET News teams responsible for creating, developing, and producing programming across BET. He will report to Debra L. Lee, the Chairman and CEO of BET Networks, and will continue to be based in New York.

As the head of Programming, Hill will be responsible for all aspects of Programming and direct programming and production across BET. BET is a top 20 cable network and the #1 network for the African American audience.

Hill was most recently President of Music Programming & Specials at BET. In this role he was responsible for BET’s music shows and specials including the “BET Awards,” “BET Honors,” “Black Girls Rock,” “The Hip Hop Awards,” and “Celebration of Gospel.” He also served as a member of the team that successfully launched “Real Husbands of Hollywood” starring Kevin Hart, Boris Kodjoe, Duane Martin, Nick Cannon, Nelly and Cynthia Kaye McWilliams. Hill served as Executive Vice President of Entertainment and Music Programming before being promoted to President of Music Programming & Specials.

“I have worked with Stephen for over 15 years, and his passion for the BET Brand has been apparent from the very beginning. He has grown our music shows and specials into iconic and highly-rated programs beloved by our audience,” said Debra L. Lee, Chairman and CEO, BET Networks. “Over the past several years, he has expanded his role into scripted programming, launching our hit series ‘Real Husbands of Hollywood.’ He is well-qualified and ready for this new challenge and I am excited to have him in this new role.”

Prior to joining BET Networks, Hill was the Director of Music Programming at MTV. While there, he was responsible for selecting and programming all genres of videos, working with talent, and supervising the network’s standards processes. Prior to that, he served as the executive producer for the Tom Joyner Morning Show.

“BET has always been a trailblazer and it’s a privilege to be at the helm of programming for a brand that has delivered shows that have, literally, changed the face of television. We will develop and produce fresh, audience-thrilling programming to complement our strong slate of new original content, returning hits and mega-specials,” said Stephen Hill. “I look forward to continuing to link arms with our massively talented team as we work together, marching towards BET's next successes.”

Hill is a graduate of Brown University and a proud native of Washington, D.C.

50 Cent has inked a $78 million deal with new underwear brand RevolutionWear Frigo. Curtis Jackson, took to Instagram to share the news about his big-money contract for the luxury line, which boasts high-tech design with "superior athletic support".

In the post, he wrote, "I just did a deal for $78 million for underwear. What did you muthaf****s do today? Lllllllllooooolllllllllll (laugh out loud) Boom FRIGO (sic)".

50 Cent was recently reported to have become a stakeholder in the undergarment firm, which was founded in 2012, alongside superproducer Timbaland, retired baseball icon Derek Jeter and basketball player Carmelo Anthony.

Hours after his announcement, the rapper tried to convince U.S. talk show host Seth Meyers why customers should pay the $100 price tag for a pair of the Frigo boxer briefs. He joked, "This $100 underwear were actually hand-created and actually hand-stitched."

Getting serious, he added, "They have a technology in 'em where you can put your man apples... For you to place your sack in another sack that has been ergonomically-designed for comfort. But you know, women spend so much money on lingerie, it's the right project for men."

50 Cent is no stranger to multi-million dollar deals - he famously banked $100 million (£62.5 million) after taxes in 2007 when Coca-Cola purchased his Vitamin Water brand, created in partnership with Glaceau beverage bosses, for $4 billion.

Just 2 months ago under doctor’s orders, August Alsina was forced to cancel his first headlining performance in London which was part of Kevin Hart’s HartBeat Weekend UK. Eager fans were pleased to find out last week that Alsina would bring his ‘Testimony Live’ to London this coming February, so eager that when tickets went on sale last Friday, the event sold out in just 12 hours. The concert, presented by Live Nation, will take place February 24th at Koko’s, with a Paris date on the 22nd at Bataclan, and additional dates forthcoming...

Also, Last night in Tampa Florida, R&B Superstar Usher and openers, August Alsina & DJ Cassidy, wrapped ‘The UR Experience’ tour. The trio hit 27 cities in just over 6 weeks spanning North America. For Alsina, it was his 3rd tour this year following his opening for 2 Chianz on the ‘2 Good to Be T.R.U.’ tour in the spring and his own ‘Testimony Live’ tour this past summer. Now, Alsina prepares for the 3-city ‘X’ tour with “Hold You Down” collaborator and friend Chris Brown which kicks off this Friday in Jacksonville, FL and continues on to hit Columbia, SC and Birmingham, AL.

NE-YO returns with his first album in two years, Non-Fiction, which will be released in the U.S. on January 27, 2015 by Motown Records/Compound Entertainment. The international release will follow on February 16.

Non-Fiction finds NE-YO collaborating with some of the most talented names in music today. Juicy J is featured on the new single, “She Knows,” which was produced by powerhouse pop guru Dr. Luke (Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus). Billboard hailed the track as “spare and hard-hitting” while Complex praised its “traditional R&B style.”

“This track is dedicated to the kind of strong, confident woman who demands attention when she walks in the room. All you can think of is, ‘yeah she knows.’ She knows she is beautiful. She knows all eyes are on her. She knows how to command the room,” explains NE-YO. “Dr. Luke’s production is incredible and J brings his club swag to the track. No matter what the song is about, he can always take the subject matter home.”

Other featured artists include Candice, David Guetta, Jeezy, Charisse Mills, Schoolboy Q and T.I. “Time of Our Lives,” NE-YO’s new collaboration with Pitbull, appears on both Non-Fiction and Pitbull’s new album.

The pre-order for Non-Fiction launches today. Fans who pre-order Non-Fiction on iTunes, Google Play, or Amazon will instantly receive “She Knows” feat. Juicy J, “Money Can’t Buy” feat. Jeezy and “Religious.” Non-Fiction will be available in standard and deluxe configurations. The iTunes and Target editions of the deluxe album will each contain two additional tracks exclusive to those retailers.

As its title suggests, every song on Non-Fiction is derived from a true story. Some are NE-YO’s own personal tales while others were submitted by fans on social-media platforms like Twitter and Instagram.

“I didn’t just want to tell my story. I like letting people try to guess which is which!” explains NE-YO. “I’m a storyteller: with this album, I wanted to put a magnifying glass on that. I wanted Non-Fiction to feel cinematic: each track gives listeners something entertaining, yet if they take their time with it, they’ll discover different dimensions and subplots.”

NE-YO was joined in the studio by production mainstays from throughout his career such as Shae Taylor and Stargate plus new associates Key Wayne and Glass John and members of his own Compound Music production team, including Corporal. DJ Camper (JAY Z, Kanye West, John Legend) also worked on many tracks.

The new songs are the kind of ultra-relevant narratives blended with powerful hooks that NE-YO became renowned for – both on his own hits like “So Sick,” “Closer” and “Miss Independent” and tracks he’s helped craft for Rihanna, Beyoncé, Celine Dion, Carrie Underwood, Whitney Houston, Pitbull, Ciara and many others. Non-Fiction follows his late 2012 release, R.E.D. (Realizing Every Dream), which received stellar reviews. USA Today noted, "There isn't a more natural singer/songwriter in contemporary R&B than NE-YO" and The Washington Post hailed him as an “extremely gifted and versatile songwriter." NE-YO's first three studio albums debuted at No. 1 on the SoundScan chart and were all certified RIAA Platinum. He is a three-time GRAMMY® winner and a two-time winner at the BET, MOBO and Soul Train Music awards.

The superstar rapper will receive the Visionary Award next month at the BET Honors. West — who has called himself a visionary and more — will be one of five luminaries honored at the eighth annual event, to be hosted by Wayne Brady.

Usher will receive the Musical Arts Award for his two-decade career, while Phylicia Rashad will receive the Theatrical Arts Award. Johnneta Betsch Cole, director of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of African Art and former president of Spelman College, will receive the Education Award. Former Microsoft Chairman John W. Thompson will receive the Technology and Business Award.

The BET Honors will be taped Jan. 24 in Washington and will air Feb. 23. Ticket sales will benefit the National CARES Mentoring Program. Past honorees include Maya Angelou and Whitney Houston.

2014 has marked a successful touring year for the ’Testimony’ singer and New Orleans native August Alsina, with 3 national tours in one calendar year. From winning over hip-hop crowds while opening for ATL’s own 2 Chainz, to selling out 18 consecutive shows on his first headlining tour ‘Testimony Live’, and capping off the year opening for veteran R&B superstar Usher on ‘The UR Experience’ tour, playing for 20,000 plus at historic arenas like Madison Square Garden and Staples Center. The breakout star is now set to take his ‘Testimony Live’ brand to select international cities in 2015, announcing the first 2 Live Nation dates, Paris on February 22nd at Bataclan, and London on February 24th at Koko. Having toured the UK and Germany previously on club tours, ‘Testimony Live’ will mark Alsina’s first live headlining shows in Europe.

First introduced to the world in 1984 as one of Def Jam Records’ flagship artists, LL COOL J helped develop the genre into the musical and cultural phenomenon that is today’s hip-hop. All the while, LL COOL J has remained a musical and cultural force, a living icon and a significant, relevant artist still churning out the hits. Now, to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of his classic album Mama Said Knock You Out, Universal Music Enterprises (UMe) will release a two-CD Deluxe Edition and a vinyl reissue on December 9 as part of the year-long celebration of Def Jam’s own landmark 30th year in operation.

The two-CD version will include the original album, an extra 14-track disc of remixes of the release’s five singles; including the title cut, “Around the Way Girl,” “The Boomin’ System,” “6 Minutes of Pleasure” and the classic diss record “To Da Break Of Dawn,” as well as bonus entries “Eat Em Up L Chill” and the main title track from the 1991 film Strictly Business. The original vinyl will also be reissued with an updated treatment showcasing LL’s new, eye-popping 3D cover featuring a color version of the original’s black and white gold jewelry.

Released on August 27, 1990, the Marley Marl-produced album (with a front cover inspired by a Vogue Italy magazine shoot) went on to sell more than two million copies. The title track from Mama Said Knock You Out reached No. 17 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was certified gold by the RIAA, while LL COOL J won Best Rap Solo Performance at the 1992 Grammy® Awards.

Grenco Science proudly welcomes Wiz Khalifa's record label and management company, Taylor Gang Ent., as an official partner of the industry's leading vaporizer company. In celebration of this revolutionary collaboration, Grenco Science unveils the first two releases in the Taylor Gang collection, the Taylor Gang | microG and Taylor Gang | G Slim Vaporizer.

The partnership embodies the essence of Taylor Gang's next-level presence and style, showcasing the microG in its most advanced form to date. This particular microG carries the theme of a top-secret mission to space, which is befitting because the Taylor Gang | microG took flight to a height of 114,343 feet becoming the first vaporizer in space.

The preferred technology of Taylor Gang, the microG possesses an industry-leading functionality Grenco Science products are known for, and a sleekness and style that are second to none.
"It's an honor for Taylor Gang to join the Grenco family," says Wiz Khalifa. "After using G Pens for years, it only made sense to collaborate."

Approved by Wiz Khalifa, Ty Dolla $ign, Berner, Sledgren, Chevy Woods, Tuki Carter, J.R. Donato and Courtney Noelle, the Taylor Gang collection is available now.

Universal Music Group (UMG) has named Mike Tunnicliffe, the former Chief Growth & Marketing Officer for GroupM, to the newly created role of Executive Vice President, Business Development & Partnerships, U.S., effective January 1, 2015. Tunnicliffe, who will be based in New York and report to UMG's Executive Vice President, U.S. Recorded Music, Michele Anthony, will oversee new business activity for UMG related to brand partnerships, strategic marketing alliances and marketing programs for advertisers. In his new position, Tunnicliffe will work closely with Olivier Robert-Murphy, Global Head of New Business, and his team, the strategic marketing groups at the company's labels and UMG's digital, commercial and marketing departments in creating new revenue opportunities for artists, labels and artists' brands.

In making the announcement, Anthony said, "As the industry continues to evolve, we're seeing an increasing number of opportunities to create value for our artists and labels by scaling and leveraging UMG's incredible roster and forming dynamic partnerships with brands. With an executive of Mike's caliber leading our efforts in the U.S. combined with Universal Music's unparalleled talent and iconic labels, we are taking another important step in redefining the role of the music company in our rapidly transforming business."

Tunnicliffe said, "As content continues to drive the growth of platforms and the development of new consumption models, I can't think of a better time to join the progressive team at Universal Music which is leading the transformation of the music industry. I look forward to bringing my years of experience working with brands and content companies and creators in developing new revenue streams for UMG and its artists."

Tunnicliffe joined GroupM, the world's largest media investment management company, in 2010. At GroupM, he led major business development and revenue growth activities across the company's agencies, including Mediacom, Mindshare, MEC and Maxus, along with U.S.-based specialist businesses in digital, content, analytics and trading spaces. He was instrumental in winning clients such as NBC Universal, NBCU Digital and Nestle USA and was responsible for leading the agencies client facing teams to generate three-fold growth in revenues from GroupM's specialist businesses.

Prior to GroupM, Tunnicliffe was a partner at Tuna Music and SAS Digital Inc., where he focused on creating new revenue streams in both the brands and entertainment worlds through partnerships, strategic alliances and the creation of intellectual property along with a variety of alternative marketing ideas. Prior positions included Global Chief Client Officer, Initiative Media Worldwide for the Interpublic Group, overseeing clients in their UK and New York offices and Group Managing Director of the four main UK business units of CIA Group plc/TEMPUS Group plc (now part of WPP plc).

Universal Music Group's labels include A&M Records, Angel, Astralwerks, Blue Note Records, Capitol Christian Music Group, Capitol Records, Capitol Records Nashville, Caroline, Decca, Def Jam Recordings, Deutsche Grammophon, Disa, Emarcy, EMI Records Nashville, Fonovisa, Geffen Records, Harvest, Interscope Records, Island Records, Machete Music, Manhattan, MCA Nashville, Mercury Nashville, Mercury Records, Motown Records, Polydor Records, Republic Records, Universal Music Latino, Verve Music Group, Virgin Records, Virgin EMI Records, as well as a multitude of record labels owned or distributed by its record company subsidiaries around the world. The Universal Music Group owns the most extensive catalogue of music in the industry, which includes the last 100 years of the world's most popular artists and their recordings. UMG's catalogue is marketed through two distinct divisions, Universal Music Enterprises (in the U.S.) and Universal Strategic Marketing (outside the U.S.). Universal Music Group also includes Global Digital Business, its new media and technologies division and Bravado, its merchandising company.

Tyga has invested in Shine Papers, inventors of 24K gold rolling papers and tattooed blunts, in a deal worth $5MM.

The multi-platinum recording artist will serve as the face of the brand as well as Creative Director for new projects.

"I recognize Shine as innovators and tastemakers in their industry. These are the same qualities I try to embody as an artist so it was a natural fit." Says Tyga. "When people want to celebrate and go big, they order bottles when they are drinking. Shine is the ONLY company bringing that premium experience to the smoking industry. Why burn regular paper when you can burn 24kt Gold?"

Tyga has sold over 10 million records worldwide, garnering awards and recognition from The Grammys, Video Music Awards, American Music Awards, Soul Train awards, Billboard and so on. His brand Last Kings is one of the hottest names in apparel outselling major brands in retail stores all over the world.

Shine Papers has experienced significant growth and notoriety since it came into the marketplace last year, with the invention of tattooed blunts and 24K gold rolling papers, which were used as tour merchandise by Miley Cyrus.

"We're bringing innovation and luxury to the world of smoking in a way that's never been done before. Tyga's brand fits perfectly with the lifestyle our products are about, and gold is a major part of what we both do. This partnership gives us an unparalleled platform in our industry to develop new products and launch them on a global scale. He's releasing the Gold Album and we invented 24K gold rolling papers. It's a perfect fit," says Shine Papers spokesperson Dave B.

Arriba! Brands and Snoop Dogg have announced their business collaboration. Snoop Dogg has invested in Arriba Brands, the maker of Arriba Horchata, Arriba Horchata + Energy, and Arriba Horchata + Coffee - a product portfolio in the hot Horchata beverage segment. Arriba is a dairy based Horchata product made with real dairy and infused with cinnamon,and Arriba Horchata Plus Energy is also infused with B vitamins and energy.

"We are fired up about having Snoop Dogg as a creative partner in our business” said Arriba Co-Founder Dino Sarti. “We think Snoop is an incredible advocate for our brand. He is an Icon. He has his finger on the pulse of popular culture, exactly where the Arriba brand lives.

Arriba has shown impressive growth and tremendous mass appeal since its launch in early 2014 with an exclusive 7-Eleven national distribution deal. The brand is now rolling out across the nation with significant retailers such as Walmart, Kroger, Costco and Safeway. The beverage is a gluten free, All Natural option that will be available to consumers across the country with Snoop Dogg’s investment.

“Horchata is a feel good, comfort drink. Arriba took this household recipe and flipped it with Energy and Coffee. This is a game changer in the beverage industry. I’m always looking for businesses that take it to the next level, which is why I'm looking forward to consulting with the brand” said Snoop Dogg.

Snoop’s role will be to consult with Arriba in creative marketing, which includes product packaging and expansion of additional flavors. Arriba will have a presence at BevNET in Santa Monica on December 7-8, 2014.

SremmLife, the upcoming debut album from hip-hop duo Rae Sremmurd, will be available for digital pre-order beginning Tuesday, December 9, with the album officially released on January 6, 2015. Executive Produced by Mike WiLL Made-It (Producer of the Year at the 2013 BET Hip Hop Awards and executive producer of Miley Cyrus' #1 Bangerz and Future's Honest, which debuted atop the Billboard Hip-hop and R&B charts), SremmLife marks the first release from his Ear Drummer Records/Interscope Records imprint.

"It's dope to see these guys work hard and stay humble, to come from nothing and become a part of the Ear Drummer movement - our family - working sun up to sun down, recording, coming up with new ideas. The impact is so strong now. It's amazing to see "No Flex Zone" and "No Type," two songs that we did last year, become two of the biggest singles this year, to have the cultural impact that they're having.

"The album came together so easily and organically - it was really a fun album to make. I'm just as excited about this album as I was about Miley Cyrus's album, as I was about Future's album. This album is as special to me as any project I've ever been involved with. People are learning now that these guys are superstars, they're here to stay. SremmLife is just round one."

Celebrating the announcements, Rae Sremmurd will perform their new hit, "No Type," on NBC's "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" on Tuesday, December 2. "No Type" has hit the Top 5 at Urban radio and #16 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart as well as #6 R&B and #4 Rap. The next single from SremmLife will be "Throw Sum Mo" featuring Nicki Minaj and Young Thug.

Rae Sremmurd, the duo of real-life brothers Swae Lee and Slim Jimmy were born and raised in Tupelo, Mississippi. They were signed to Ear Drummer Records, and in May released their debut single "No Flex Zone," a Top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 (#11 R&B and #8 Rap).

Mike WiLL Made-It has scored a dozen gold, platinum or double platinum hits since just 2012, including for Future, Kanye West, 2 Chainz, Rihanna, Lil Wayne, and Drake, plus Miley Cyrus' massive pop hit "We Can't Stop" and his own 2013 debut single "23," featuring Cyrus, Wiz Khalifa, and Juicy J

More than twenty years has passed since one of hip-hop's most seminal groups Wu-Tang Clan dropped their debut album. Seven years after their last album and in the face of a myriad of challenges, RZA, GZA, Method Man, Inspectah Deck, Raekwon, U-God, Masta Killa, Ghostface Killah, Cappadonna and a posthumous Ol' Dirty Bastard return for their highly-anticipated new album, A Better Tomorrow, which is available on Itunes now.

Emerging in 1993, the Staten Island, NY-based Wu-Tang Clan proved to be the most revolutionary rap group of the mid-'90s releasing five group and 19 compliation albums totaling over 6 platinum records and over 40 million sold. Turning the standard concept of a hip-hop crew inside out, the Wu-Tang Clan were assembled as a loose congregation of nine MCs who harnessed a group dynamic as a set-up for a number of solo albums now considered classics.

Rapper Meek Mill will be released from prison early today, according to FOX news. Mill whose real name is Robert Williams was sentenced to three to six months in prison for probation violation in July. That same month, a judge denied his request for early parole.

The incarceration has also delayed his sophomore album, Dreams Worth More Than Money.

Reports say the rapper must do community service and treatment. He will also not be allowed to travel outside of Philadelphia. Source: Fox Philly

Soul Train Awards 2014 celebrated and honored soul music’s brightest new stars as well as R&B’s greatest legends during the star-studded show, which aired on CENTRIC and BET on November 30, 2014. Chris Brown was the big winner of the night, walking away with three awards, while Pharrell Williams and Beyonce both took home two. SOUL TRAIN AWARDS 2014 was hosted by talk show queen Wendy Williams and featured show-stopping performances by Chris Brown, Jodeci, Nico & Vinz, Tinashe, Lil’ Kim, Missy Elliott and Da Brat, and also honored funk music icons Kool & The Gang with the Legend Award.

Soul Train Awards 2014 kicked off with Chris Brown performing a medley of his hits, including “Yo (Excuse Me Miss),” “New Flame,” and “Loyal,” bringing the crowd to their feet. Moments later, Wendy Williams lit up the stage with a glitzy toast to Las Vegas as she waltzed alongside Boris Kodjoe in the opening number. Breakout performers Nico & Vinz took the stage next and belted out their smash hit "Am I Wrong" before wowing the crowd with their new single, “In Your Arms." After this performance, audience members joined We Are Toonz and their troop of dancers in a lively rendition of this year’s dance craze, the Nae Nae. Later in the show, Jodeci reunited onstage to perform classic fan favorites “Freek'n You,” “Come and Talk to Me,” “Stay” and “Forever My Lady,” in addition to debuting their new single, "Nobody Wins." To close out the show, a group of artists honored Kool & The Gang by performing some of the group’s greatest hits; artists included Tamar Braxton, MC Lyte, Ma$e, Doug E. Fresh, and hip hop emcees Lil’ Kim, Missy Elliott and Da Brat, who reunited and closed out the night with a crowd-pleasing performance of their 1996 platinum single “Not Tonight” (a remix of Kool & The Gang’s hit “Ladies Night”).

Soul Train Awards 2014 2014 honored artists in 12 different categories. Winners included Nico & Vinz (Best New Artist), Beyoncé (Best R&B/Soul Female Artist), Trey Songz (Best R&B/Soul Male Artist), “Beyoncé” by Beyoncé (Album of the Year), and “Happy” by Pharrell Williams (Song of the Year). The full list of winners is below.

Best New Artist - Nico & Vinz
Centric Certified Award - Leela James
Best Gospel and/or Inspirational Song - Erica Campbell feat. Lecrae - “Help”
Best Hip-Hop Song of the Year - Chris Brown feat. Lil Wayne and Tyga - “Loyal”
The Chaka Khan Award for Best R&B/Soul Female Artist - Beyoncé
Best R&B/Soul Male Artist - Trey Songz
Album of the Year - Beyoncé - “Beyoncé”
Song of the Year - Pharrell Williams - “Happy”
The Ashford and Simpson Songwriter’s Award - John Legend (Toby Gad, John Legend) - “All Of Me”
Best Dance Performance - Chris Brown feat. Lil Wayne and Tyga - “Loyal”
Best Collaboration - Chris Brown feat. Lil Wayne and Tyga - “Loyal”
Video of the Year – “Happy” (Pharrell Williams) – We are from L.A.

Melanie L. Campbell, president and CEO, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP) and convener, Black Women's Roundtable, released the following statement regarding the Ferguson grand jury's decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson in the unjust killing of Michael Brown:

The decision by the grand jury in Ferguson, MO not to indict officer Darren Wilson in the shooting and killing of unarmed Michael Brown is a travesty of justice. We believe the St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch's gross mishandling of this case is inexcusable.

The prosecutor appeared to serve as a defense attorney instead of prosecuting attorney seeking justice for an unarmed 18-year-old teenager. Further, the prosecutor's reckless decision to release the grand jury decision at 9 pm is a critical example of his mishandling of this case.

We urge the U. S. Justice Department to continue its full federal investigation in the wrongful death of Michael Brown, as well as its investigation of excessive police misconduct in the Ferguson Police Department and hope they bring civil rights charges against Officer Wilson

The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, Black Women's Roundtable and Black Youth Vote joins the civil rights and social justice community in a call for an end to racial profiling of our young Black men and women who are losing their lives across the country at alarming rates at the hands of police officers who are sworn to protect and serve.

Further, we continue to pray that justice will prevail for the Brown family and stand with them in solidarity in their call for peaceful protest and justice for their son Michael.

A grand jury composed of one black man, two black women, three white women and six white men; have finally revealed their verdict, choosing not to indict Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting of unarmed teen Michael Brown.

Following the announcement, the Brown family has released a statement via their lawyer:

“We are profoundly disappointed that the killer of our child will not face the consequence of his actions. While we understand that many others share our pain, we ask that you channel your frustration in ways that will make a positive change. We need to work together to fix the system that allowed this to happen. Join with us in our campaign to ensure that every police officer working the streets in this country wears a body camera. We respectfully ask that you please keep your protests peaceful. Answering violence with violence is not the appropriate reaction. Let’s not just make noise, let’s make a difference.”

Though Quincy Jones and LL Cool J never collaborated musically, the rapper-actor says Jones has played a major role in his life.

"You just really taught me to be a man," LL Cool J said Wednesday in a heartfelt introduction of his mentor and friend at Ebony magazine's annual Power 100 gala, where Jones was the guest of honor.

He received a lifetime achievement award at the event, which recognizes black Americans who are wielding considerable power, such as TV producer Shonda Rhimes, New York Times editor Dean Baquet, physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and Little League star Mo'Ne Davis.

LL Cool J said Jones is like a father to him and called him "the greatest producer in the history of music." Fittingly, the 81-year-old producer, composer and philanthropist was celebrated in song.

Chaka Khan also said Jones feels like family. He's "like an uncle, even a father," she said as she dedicated her performance of "Sweet Thing" to him.

James Ingram sang two hits that Jones produced: "Just Once" and "One Hundred Ways." Ingram also shared a duet with Patti Austin.

Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick got attendees dancing and singing with their original 1980s hits "The Show" and "La Di Da Di." Savion Glover performed a dance of his own.

Jones was recognized for his philanthropic efforts and six-decade career. He's worked with the greats, from Frank Sinatra to Michael Jackson. He's scored feature films — 38 of them — and earned seven Academy Award nominations. He brought Oprah Winfrey and Will Smith to broader audiences.

"We're not, any of us, above being a groupie when it comes to Quincy Jones," Colin Powell said in a video about the honoree.

Jones said he was especially humbled by the Ebony award because he considered the magazine's founder a mentor.

"Ebony and Jet were part of the glue that bonded us together as a people," he said. "Black men and women in this country saw for the very first time that they were not alone in a vast wilderness; that their loves, dreams and sorrows were shared by people who looked just like them all over this country."

The music industry tracker says it's transforming the Billboard 200 chart from a sales-based ranking to one that better measures music consumption.

The chart currently tracks each week's top 200 albums by sales. The updated ranking will include streaming and digital track sales beginning Dec. 3.

It marks the biggest update since 1991, when Nielsen's point-of-sale data was added to measure album sales.

Billboard says the new methodology aims to provide a more comprehensive sense of an album's popularity, and acts like Ariana Grande and Maroon 5 are likely to benefit because their streaming and digital song sales have been outperforming their album sales.

This move comes after music acts like Taylor Swift and Jason Aldean pulled their tunes from the streaming service Spotify.

Today Privateer Holdings announced the creation of Marley Natural, the world’s first global cannabis brand. Privateer Holdings is the world’s first private equity firm investing exclusively in the legal cannabis industry. Marley Natural will offer premium cannabis products that honor the life and legacy of Bob Marley as well as his belief in the benefits of cannabis.

“We are joining with Privateer Holdings because they understand and respect our father’s legacy,” said Rohan Marley, Bob’s son.

Starting in late 2015 in certain jurisdictions where regulations permit, Marley Natural will begin offering heirloom Jamaican cannabis strains inspired by those Bob Marley enjoyed. In addition to cannabis, Marley Natural will offer cannabis- and hemp-infused topicals, including sun repair creams and lotions containing Jamaican botanicals such as aloe and coconut, as well as accessories, including limited edition products based on those that Bob preferred. As a brand with a strong social conscience, Marley Natural’s business model and philanthropic initiatives will be built to ensure that families and communities who have been harmed by prohibition have the opportunity to benefit from the new, legal cannabis economy.

Bob Marley, a Jamaican-born musician, became a global superstar and advocated for peace, unity, social justice and personal freedom through his music. His greatest hits compilation, Legend, is the world’s best-selling reggae album, with more than 27 million copies sold worldwide. Marley was also a well-known advocate for “the herb,” as he called cannabis, which he said brought him inner peace and furthered his creativity. “When you smoke the herb it reveals you to yourself,” Marley said.

Privateer Holdings and the Marley family began discussing the possibility of working together in early 2013 and quickly realized their common values – social change, environmental sustainability and building a professional, responsible and legal cannabis industry. Privateer Holdings is committed to ending the social harms caused by prohibition, just as the Marley family carries on Bob’s vision of social justice through their charitable and business ventures. The Marley family’s strong commitment to sustainability will be carried forward by Marley Natural’s use of organic growing mediums and fertilizers.

“My dad would be so happy to see people understanding the healing power of the herb,” said Cedella Marley, Bob’s daughter. “He viewed the herb as something spiritual that could awaken our well-being, deepen our reflection, connect us to nature and liberate our creativity. Marley Natural is an authentic way to honor his legacy by adding his voice to the conversation about cannabis and helping end the social harms caused by prohibition.”

“Marley Natural is a partnership between two cannabis pioneers,” said Brendan Kennedy, CEO of Privateer Holdings. “The Marley family has been an admired voice in the cannabis movement for more than 50 years and Privateer Holdings is the leader in building professional, mainstream cannabis brands. We’ve learned a lot over the past year about Bob’s views towards cannabis and how he viewed the herb differently. We are honored to work with the Marley family to bring his voice to a professional, authentic and modern brand that will be a defining first in the cannabis industry.”

“My husband believed ‘the herb’ was a natural and positive part of life,” said Rita Marley, Bob’s wife, “and he felt it was important to the world. He looked forward to this day.”

Trill Entertainment and Atlantic Records have announced the long awaited release of the new album from legendary Baton Rouge rapper Boosie BadAzz. "TOUCH DOWN 2 CAUSE HELL" drops everywhere in February 2015. The album is preceded by the new single, "Like A Man (Feat. Rich Homie Quan)," available at all DSPs.

Boosie BadAzz -- until recently known worldwide as Lil' Boosie -- is among the most celebrated rappers of his generation. The Baton Rouge native first lit up the hip hop underground at just 17 and soon teamed with the renowned label Trill Entertainment to unleash a series of undisputed classics, including 2003's "GHETTO STORIES" and 2004's "GANGSTA MUSIK" (both with longtime collaborator Webbie), and 2009's top 10 breakthrough, "SUPERBAD: THE RETURN OF BOOSIE BADAZZ." His fifth and most recent solo album, 2010's "INCARCERATED," was recorded and released while serving a 96-month prison sentence at Angola Louisiana State Penitentiary. The album earned widespread acclaim, with SPIN hailing it as "an enormously heartfelt album that makes his legal plight even more of a feel-bad story."

Released in March 2014 after serving a reduced sentence of 52 months, Boosie made his first public statements at the #BOOSIESPEAKS press conference, streamed live from New Orleans to his global fan following. The event proved one of the largest urban streams in Atlantic Records history with 40K people logged on and 177K overall viewers.

Since then, Boosie has been among this year's most active and in demand rappers, with appearances on such tracks as 2 Chainz "Wuda Cuda Shuda (Feat. Lil Boosie)," Dorrough Music's "Beat Up The Block (Feat. Lil Boosie)," DJ Mustard's "Face Down (Feat. Lil Wayne, Big Sean, YG & Lil Boosie)," Jeezy's "Beez Like (Feat. Lil Boosie)," and T.I.'s "Jet Fuel (Feat. Boosie Badazz)."

The legendary artist D'Angelo is proud to announce The Second Coming Tour. Combining 17 performances across Europe, The Second Coming Tour is a brand new show sure to introduce audiences to a new side of D'Angelo. Known for frequently changing his set lists, D'Angelo and his band The Vanguard combine many popular hits with new songs and fresh interpretations of covers. Taking on the role of band leader, singer, guitarist, and keyboardist, D'Angelo surrounds himself with award-winning groups of musicians. This edition of The Vanguard includes bassist Pino Palladino, guitarists Jesse Johnson and Isaiah Sharkey, keyboardist Cleo "Pookie" Sample and drummer John Blackwell. Despite the increasing popularity of sequencers, auto-tune, backing tracks, and lip synching, D'Angelo and his band The Vanguard perform every note live.

The Second Coming Tour Dates:
February 11th 2015- Zurich, Switzerland @ Kaufleuten
February 12th 2015- Neu-Isenburg, Germany @ Hugenottenhalle
February 14th 2015- Berlin, Germany @ Columbiahalle
February 16th 2015- Paris, France @ Palais Des Congres
February 17th 2015- Birmingham, UK @ Academy
February 18th 2015- Manchester, UK @ Apollo

February 20th - London, UK @ Apollo
February 24th - Hamburg, Germany @ Docks
February 27th - Oslo, Norway @ Sentrum Scene
February 28th - Stockholm, Sweden @ Annex

March 2nd - Amsterdam, Holland @ Paradiso
March 6th - Cologne, Germany @ Tanzbrunnen
March 7th - Brussels, Belgium @ Forest National

About D'Angelo:
Michael D'Angelo Archer was born in Richmond, VA to the son of a Pentecostal minister. He began teaching himself piano as a very young child, and at age 18, he won the amateur talent competition at Harlem's Apollo Theater three weeks in a row. In 1991, he signed a publishing deal with EMI.

D'Angelo's first major success came in 1994 as a writer/producer, helming the single "U Will Know" on the Jason Lyric soundtrack; That helped lead to the success of his debut solo album, 1995's Brown Sugar, which went on to sell over 2 million copies. With the title track "Lady" the album continued to soar on the charts. Defining D'Angelo as one of the founding fathers and leading lights of the neo-soul movement of the mid-to-late '90s; along with artists like Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill and Maxwell.

In early 2000, D'Angelo released his sophomore album, Voodoo which debuted at number one, an indication of just how large and devoted his fan base was. The lead single "Untitled (How Does It Feel)" was a smash on the R&B charts and won a Grammy for Best Male R&B Vocal; likewise, Voodoo won for Best R&B album.

After nearly a decade, D'Angelo is back and is proud to announce The Second Coming Tour which encompasses 17 dates across Europe.

R&B singer Keyshia Cole attacked Birdman's personal assistant in a jealous rage that injured her hands, face and mouth, the assistant claims in a $1 million lawsuit.

In her Tuesday lawsuit in Superior Court, Sabrina Mercadel says she has been "platonic friends" since childhood with Birdman, whose real name is Bryan Williams, and has been his personal assistant for several years.

Mercadel claims she was the victim of Cole's unprovoked attack when she visited the rapper at his Westwood home on Sept. 19 to listen to his new album "Rich Gang," and offer feedback. Mercadel says Cole confronted her as she walked out of the bathroom and was getting ready to leave, screaming: "'Who the fuck are you! What are you doin' with my man!?'"

Though rumors were swirling about a romantic relationship between Birdman and Cole, Mercadel maintains that she could care less who her old friend was dating. "Given the fact that Mercadel's relationship with Williams was strictly platonic, it was of no consequence to her who Williams was dating," the 9-page lawsuit states.

After suggesting that Mercadel was a prostitute by telling her in a "belligerent and condescending manner, 'You can get your money later,'" Cole attacked Mercadel, following her all the way out of the house to the elevators, according to the lawsuit.

Mercadel claims that by the time she made it to the lobby, Cole had hit her on the butt and in the face, pulled her hair, clawed her "nails against Mercadel's face and inside her mouth," and threw several "hard objects" at her.

According to the complaint, Cole was arrested for the assault while Mercadel went to hospital to treat her injuries. Mercadel also sued Active Property Management, and Carlyle Residences Home Owners Association for letting Cole into Birdman's home.

She seeks $1 million in damages for battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence and premises liability. She is represented by James A. Bryan with the Cochran Firm California. Source: Courthouse News

Omarion Finally Reveals His "SEX PLAYLIST"; Long Awaited MMG/Atlantic Debut Album Set for Exclusive Digital Release; New Single "Post to Be (Feat. Chris Brown & Jhene Aiko)" GRAB IT HERE

Maybach Music Group/Atlantic recording artist Omarion has announced the digital release of his anticipated new album. "SEX PLAYLIST" arrives at all DSPs on December 2nd.

Omarion's MMG/Atlantic debut and first full-length release in more than four years, "SEX PLAYLIST" is highlighted by the new single, "Post To Be (Feat. Chris Brown & Jhene Aiko)" http://youtu.be/FK_wiPiVZV8. The track is produced by DJ Mustard (Wiz Khalifa, Trey Songz, Ty Dolla $ign).

A multi-platinum certified and GRAMMY® Award-nominated singer, actor, author, and producer, Omarion is a 21st century superstar of the first order. "O," his 2005 solo debut, was a chart-topping phenomenon, entering the Billboard 200 at #1 on its way to RIAA platinum certification. The album's 2006 follow-up, "21," also arrived atop the SoundScan/Billboard 200, fueled in part by the gold certified smash single, "Ice Box." In 2012, Omarion joined forces with Maybach Music Group CEO Rick Ross for the blockbuster single, "Let's Talk," featured on MMG's hugely successful "SELF MADE VOL. 2" compilation. The "CARE PACKAGE" and "CARE PACKAGE 2" EPs soon followed, as did additional tracks on 2013's "SELF MADE VOL. 3."

Currently starring on VH1's hit series, Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood, Omarion has made a range of promotional appearances in recent weeks, including a visit to FOX's The Real. Omarion credits his Los Angeles based management/production firm, Art Club Intl, for helping him navigate and maintain success in this tumultuous climate of the entertainment industry.

Taxpayers may wind up paying about $170,000 to cover expenses associated with Made in America, the two-day music festival promoted by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and held outside City Hall.

Garcetti aides expect the city's tab for the commercial event, held over Labor Day weekend, will reach nearly $670,000. The company that staged the event, Live Nation, was required to provide $500,000 to pay for police patrols, street closures, trash removal and other city services.

Garcetti played a major role in bringing the festival to L.A. for the first time. Held in downtown's Grand Park, it drew tens of thousands of people and was restricted to those who bought tickets or received complimentary passes. On Monday, the mayor argued the event provided a benefit to the city that exceeded any unreimbursed expenses.

"We will absolutely net more as a city than we would" if it hadn't happened, he said. "I'm confident of that."

One neighborhood activist said Garcetti and other city officials should have driven a harder bargain with Live Nation.

"I just don't think the city should pay a penny," said James O'Sullivan, president of the Miracle Mile Residential Assn. "How many sidewalks can that pay for? How many pipes can it fix? That crucial infrastructure is crumbling, or deteriorating, under our feet."

Initially, single-day tickets for the festival sold for just under $100, with weekend passes costing $185. Prices were discounted in the final days before the event.

A comprehensive analysis of the festival's costs and economic benefits will be provided later this year, said City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana, the city's top budget official.

Garcetti has argued that the festival, which featured such acts as Kanye West, Iggy Azalea and Imagine Dragons, showed L.A. is capable of hosting a huge outdoor music event. Carol Schatz, who heads the downtown-based Central City Assn., said businesses there viewed the festival — and the customers it generated for nearby hotels and restaurants — as "a big plus for downtown."

"It's not just a dollar-for-dollar comparison. It's about the perception that it generates … that L.A. is really the place to do this and the place to do this in L.A. is downtown," Schatz said. That kind of publicity, she added, "is worth millions."

Garcetti said Philadelphia, which has hosted three Made in America festivals, offers an example of the gains cities can realize from such events. A 2012 report released by Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter estimated the two-day festival generated at least $10 million for the city's economy.

In Los Angeles, the city's Board of Police Commissioners received a report last week showing Made in America required more than $475,000 in police overtime pay. Services provided by the Department of Transportation, which handled street closures and other services, totaled more than $122,000, Garcetti spokesman Yusef Robb said. And the city Fire Department provided more than $35,000 in services, Robb said.

Scores of free tickets to the event were distributed by Garcetti aides to city officials, commissioners and staffers, including 12 of the 15 City Council members.

Los Angeles County negotiated a separate agreement that required Live Nation to provide $600,000 for use of Grand Park plus reimbursement for any damage to the park and its surroundings. County officials are seeking $83,000 in repairs from Live Nation. Source: LA Times

Chris Brown and Trey Songz are celebrating their 10-year anniversary. The longtime friends and Virginia natives announced their upcoming "Between the Sheets" tour Monday, nearly a decade after performing together during a 2005 college tour.

"We always had a bond regardless as friends and as brothers. We trust each other," Brown said during an interview with Trey Songz and rapper Tyga, who will also perform on the tour.

Brown and Trey Songz made the announcement at the House of Blues in Los Angeles after performing their remix "Tuesday" and Brown's hit single "Loyal." Tyga did not perform.

"It took awhile for something like this to happen because you do grow a friendship over years and I'm excited about it, more excited about it than any (other) tour," said Trey Songz.

The 25-city trek, which kicks off Jan. 28 in Hampton, Virginia, isn't Brown's only collaboration making headlines.

He's featured along with Drake and Lil Wayne on Nicki Minaj's new single "Only." The militaristic music video has stirred some controversy with critics accusing Minaj of using Nazi imagery. Brown, however, said he has not seen it.

"I haven't had a chance to see the whole video. I know I shot my part maybe a couple weeks ago, so I'm waiting to see the final edit of the actual video. So it's going to be dope," he said.

Grammy award winning singer/songwriter Chris Brown recently made his sixth #1 album entry on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop chart with his latest release X (RCAS Records). The album also debuted at #2 on Billboard's Top Albums chart, marking his sixth album debut within the Top Ten. X sold over 140,000 units in its first week while Spotify streams of the album continue to rise. With his incredible national television debut performance of the album's title track on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and recent much-buzzed about performance of "New Flame" with Usher at the iHeart Music Festival, combined with the ongoing chart-topping success of "Loyal," there's no question why the talented Chris remains a mainstay at top of the charts.

His latest album, Trigga, debuted at #1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 album chart and is the sixth studio album by the Grammy-nominated entertainer/artist known as Trey Songz. The album was released on July 1, 2014, by Songbook and Atlantic Records. Following the release of his fifth studio album Chapter V (2012), which also debuted #1, Songz made his acting debut in Texas Chainsaw 3D and Baggage Claim in (2013). The same year Songz began work on his sixth studio album collaborating with artists including Nicki Minaj, Mila J, Ty Dolla $ign, Justin Bieber and Juicy J.

Big Bank Hank, the Sugarhill Gang rapper best known as "the grandmaster with 3 MCs that shock the house for the young ladies" died early Tuesday morning according to TMZ.

Hank, born Henry Jackson had been suffering from cancer. We're told he passed away in the greater NYC area around 2 AM. Hank was one third of the famous Sugarhill Gang which had the first mainstream rap hit "Rappers Delight" in 1979.

His group members Wonder Mike and Master Gee told TMZ ... "So sad to hear of our brother's passing. Rest in peace Big Bank." Hank was 57 years old. Source: TMZ

The Global Spin Awards (GSA), an award show that honors the most dynamic and talented DJ’s around the world, both past and present, and this year’s presenting sponsor, McDonald's Flavor Battle®, is honored to announce that LaLa Anthony, will be the official host of this year’s prestige event. GSA is also thrilled to announce the introduction of their unique 3-day music experience for die-hard fans across New York City. The 3-day experience will lead into the Awards show on November 18, 2014, airing on REVOLT TV on November 25, 2015 at 8pm ET.

“The Global Spin Awards is all about giving back to the fans that love and support these artists and more importantly, to the artists themselves that have provided so much joy and entertainment to millions around the world for over the decades,” says GSA founder, Shawn Prez. “LaLa Anthony always has finger on the pulse of entertainment and music community and McDonald’s is always in the forefront of consumer engagement. I’m personally honored to have such an influential figure serve as the official host and one of the most influential global brands onboard for this year’s event and festivities.”

Kicking off November 15th, the weekend festivities will include various events such as an industry panel for future music influencers, a never before seen DJ battle and a technology demonstration that allows the audience to learn and interact with celebrity DJs, music tastemakers and industry executives. These events will give music enthusiasts and future industry leaders a platform to discuss issues that affect their society, a closer glimpse inside the industry and a DJ experience of a lifetime.

GSA’s sponsor list consists of an eclectic group of notable brands and industry leaders. REVOLT TV, a multi-genre music network for young adults, will serve as this year’s official media sponsor and broadcast the award show on November 25, 2014 at 8pm ET. CIROC Ultra Premium will feature specialty vodka cocktails and Sean John, an innovative full lifestyle brand, will also sponsor the award show. Hennessy, the world leader of cognac, has partnered with GSA to sponsor its private honoree dinner.

McDonald’s Flavor Battle, the nation’s premier DJ competition, is teaming up with the Global Spin Awards to create access and opportunity for those who have the potential to influence future trends in the music industry. Flavor Battle launched in 2009 as an extension of McDonald's 365Black initiative. McDonald's 365Black platform was created to celebrate the pride, heritage and achievements of African-Americans year round.

“Connecting with the music and entertainment community, as well as its extremely loyal fan base is always an opportunity we want to be involved with – and the Global Spin Awards is the perfect mix of that for us,” says Rob Jackson, U.S. Marketing Director, at McDonald's. “Knowing that music is a strong and compelling force in our consumers’ lives, we’re excited to see the Global Spin Awards grow and collaborate with them as a sponsor.”

The Global Spin Awards recognizes and pays tribute to the world’s most dynamic and talented DJs and honors their contribution to the culture of music and entertainment. The GSAs are considered to be the Quality Standard of DJ Recognition by music industry heavyweights. The official award show will be held on Tuesday November 18th, at the New World Stages in New York City, where the nominees will join each other in celebrating their work and the growth of the industry. This year’s nominees include Kid Capri, Funk Master Flex, DJ Premier, along with DJ Mustard, DJ Envy, DJ Khaled and Clinton Sparks.

Rihanna will host her first Diamond Ball on Dec. 11 to benefit her foundation that promotes education and arts globally. Rihanna announced Thursday that she would hold the black tie event at The Vineyard in Beverly Hills, California.

The Barbadian-born singer founded the Clara Lionel Foundation in 2012, named after her grandparents, Clara and Lionel Braithwaite. Says Rihanna: "There is truly nothing I'm more proud of and we've just gotten started."

The Diamond Ball will host around 600 guests, including celebrities. Attendees will be announced at a later date. Rihanna says the first annual event will be "elegant and inspirational."

Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) today announced it has entered into an agreement with Richard Conlon, former Senior Vice President - Corporate Strategy, Communications & New Media for Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI), for his services as a Special Advisor on Performing Rights.

Reporting to Michael J. Sammis, UMPG EVP Operations and CFO, and David Kokakis, SVP/Head of Business & Legal Affairs and Business Development, Mr. Conlon will be counseling the company on matters related to advocating, protecting and maximizing the value of performing rights on behalf of UMPG and its songwriters.

"It is, indeed, an interesting time in the evolution of the performing rights business and Richard's expertise in developing systems and strategy will be extremely valuable towards maximizing the value of performing rights for UMPG and its songwriters," said Sammis.

A well-respected and accomplished music industry executive, Conlon spearheaded BMI's digital new media licensing divisions and directed global communications efforts. During his more than 20 years with the performing rights organization, he launched both the corporate strategy and digital business units, licensing the rights to more than 8.5 million musical works and generating hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. Conlon also managed negotiations with industry leading digital properties ranging from YouTube to Spotify, Yahoo, MSN, AOL and MP3.com, to Apple's iRadio and Pandora. Under his management, licensed properties grew to more than 10,000 sites and digital income consistently drove corporate revenue growth.

Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter has long been an advocate of the brand, produced by Champagne Cattier, stretching back to the Champagne’s launch in 2006 when bottles of it appeared in his music video for the single Show Me What You Got.

Two years ago the rapper commissioned a 350-bottle tower of Armand de Brignac to serve as the centrepiece at a fundraiser for President Obama at his 40/40 nightclub in New York.

In a statement released today by New York-based Sovereign Brands said: “We are proud to announce that Sovereign Brands, a New York-based wine & spirits company owned by the Berish family, has sold its interest in Armand de Brignac (“Ace of Spades”) Champagne brand to a new company led by the globally-renowned Shawn “JAY Z” Carter.”

The details of the deal were not disclosed with the name of Jay Z’s upcoming company yet to be announced.

Yvonne Lardner, global PR and marketing spokesperson for Sovereign Brands added: “We are extremely proud of what we built with Armand de Brignac. In less than eight years since it was first released, the brand became a must-have item at every top nightclub in the world and scored better among wine critics than some of the world’s most famous luxury Champagne marques. To establish an iconic, credible high-end Champagne in such a short period of time is something truly remarkable.

“We have had a wonderful relationship with Jay Z throughout the years since he first discovered Armand de Brignac. He became interested in owning the brand and made us an offer we simply couldn’t refuse. With the incredible things happening with the rest of our portfolio, especially the Luc Belaire line, we felt the timing was right as well.

“We’re sure that Armand de Brignac will continue to grow and thrive, and we’re looking forward to developing our current and future brands. We are truly passionate about what we do, and we love nothing more than the challenge of spreading our vision of unique, high-quality brands that stand apart from the crowd in the ultra-competitive wine & spirits industry.”

Earlier this year the brand launched its Dynastie Collection comprising nine varying bottle sizes including a 4.5L Rehoboam, 9L Salmanazar, 12L Balthazar, 1.5L magnum, 3L Jeroboam, 6L Methuselah and 15L Nebuchadnezzar carrying a combined price tag of $500,000.

About Armand de Brignac Champagne: Armand de Brignac Champagne, instantly identifiable by the distinctive pewter Ace of Spades insignias on its unique, paperless bottle, exemplifies unmatched winemaking expertise and a true passion for the art of Champagne. A staff of just eight people crafts each bottle of Armand de Brignac by hand at the Cattier family house, established in 1763 in Chigny-les-Roses, France.

After much speculation, Wiz Khalifa is pleased to officially announce the newest signee to his Taylor Gang empire, Chicago's up-and-coming rap star, J.R. Donato.

Khalifa states, "We have worked with J.R. for a while now and are happy to finally have him join Taylor Gang. I kind of scooped him up and put the Taylor Gang stamp on his as soon as I met him. J.R. is young energetic and self-sufficient. He is very in touch with his fans and what's going on in the world around him. He looks good with us and we need his energy on the label."

To celebrate the release, J.R. Donato is releasing the video for "COULDN'T WAIT," WATCH HERE

Hailing from Chicago's North Side, 20-year-old J.R. Donato is the newest phenom to make noise out of the city. He first came to the attention of Wiz Khalifa in 2013. Soon after meeting, Wiz quickly added him to his song, "I'm Feelin'," that also featured Problem and Juicy J off of Khalifa's highly acclaimed, Cabin Fever 2 mixtape.

Before J.R. Donato reached his teenage years, he was already penning lyrics for himself and others. By the time he was 13, his regional hit, "500 Degrees," lead to his sizable buzz in Chicago. Later J.R. found himself immersed in the Atlanta Hip Hop scene and began opening shows for the likes of Lil Boosie, T.I., Lil Wayne and more. He recently toured with Wiz and Taylor Gang on the last two "Under The Influence" tours in 2013 and 2014.

SoundCloud’s 175 million users dwarf Pandora’s 76 million and Spotify’s 40 million. But unlike those digital music rivals, SoundCloud had done practically nothing to turn those legions of users into a real business. Now that’s starting to change with its first-ever major label deal, announced on Tuesday, with Warner Music Group.

The agreement doesn’t follow the pattern of previous licensing pacts between a label and a streaming service. Warner will get to place ads on some of its songs and then share the revenue with SoundCloud. About 40 bands and smaller labels are already doing this through a program SoundCloud launched in August, with brands like Sonos, Jaguar, and Red Bull advertising on the site.

Warner is likely to leave many songs up on SoundCloud without expecting anything in return. SoundCloud already has lots of music from major and independent labels, and entertainment lawyers haven’t been showing up at its headquarters with pitchforks even though no one is making money from the site. Digital music is valuable for the music industry even if it doesn’t directly lead to revenue. Getting compensated in hype and exposure instead of cash has been controversial inside the industry, but record executives have tended to accept this logic when it comes to SoundCloud. Many users of the service are looking for obscure or unreleased music rather than hit songs or a single place to find a comprehensive catalog.

SoundCloud Chief Executive Alex Ljung insists any future deals will maintain the flexibility to make money from some songs while leaving many others without ads. “They can start to monetize the things that are there, and they can start letting their artist put more things up,” he says. “It’s not a deal where we say you have to put up your whole catalog.”

SoundCloud still claims it isn’t aiming to create a comprehensive collection of the world’s music and may never strike deals with all the major labels. Ljung declined to discuss the state of negotiations with Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment, which had stalled last month, according to the Financial Times.

Warner is under more pressure than those labels to find innovative ways to make money from digital music because it is smaller. It has been talking to SoundCloud for some time, but a key reason for the breakthrough was SoundCloud’s commitment to develop a paid subscription service early next year. This service could provide ad-free music, songs that aren’t available to free customers, and the ability to store some music on mobile devices for offline listening. Record labels like paid subscription services because they make more from royalties when customers actually pay for the music they’re listening to.
Source: Bloomberg

Next year, 2015, Digital Underground (D.U.), will celebrate the 25th anniversary of their debut, earth shattering, multi-platinum album "Sex Packets" which featured the runaway hit single "The Humpty Dance." In preparation for the occasion, original founder and D.U. member Chopmaster J has joined forces with filmmaker and director Abdul Malik Abbott ("Streets is Watching," "State Property") to produce the documentary ""D.U. Days: Adventures in Digital Underground the Apprenticeship of Tupac Shakur"." The celebratory effort will be supported via a rewards-based Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign that fans can get involved with.

Along with a series of orchestrated music releases planned to commemorate as well as revive the group's positioning in hip hop, Chopmaster J will be releasing "Sex Packets II" featuring new versions of D.U. classics written and produced by S.O.T.U. (Sun Of The Underground) and featuring an all new D.U. lineup; and unveiling the "D.U. Days'" soundtrack which features, from Chopmaster J's archive collection, exclusive never before heard tracks of the late Tupac Shakur.

Recognized as one of the first hip hop bands, Digital Underground included Chopmaster J, Shock G, Money B, DJ Fuze and the then 18-year-old Tupac Amaru Shakur. The group's meteoric rise to fame in the early '90's was accentuated with chart topping hits like "Doowutchyalike," "Freaks of the Industry," "Same Song" and "Kiss You Back." The band made waves with their colorful and costumed attire, animated stage antics and innovative dance styling and moves.

Digital Underground is best remembered for turning hip hop on its proverbial head and invading the realm of pop with their 1990 pivotal Grammy nominated release "The Humpty Dance." "The Humpty Dance" climbed all the way to #11 on the pop charts, #7 on the R&B charts, and #1 on the Billboard Rap Singles chart. In 2008, "The Humpty Dance" was ranked #30 on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of Hip Hop and #65 on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of the 90's in 2007. The song was selected in the musical reference book, 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die: And 10,001 You Must Download and nominated for Best Rap Video at the 1990 MTV Video Music Awards. "The Humpty Dance" is one of the most sampled songs recorded by a hip hop/rap artist. Shock G and Money B performed as "Digital Underground" at the BET Hip Hop Awards in 2010.

The group's contribution to history has tentacles that reach even further though. From their 12 inch drop, "Doowutchyalike" to their debut album "Sex Packets," D.U.'s music unfastened a door in hip hop that was previously non-existent, mixing mad merriment, mayhem and sex with rhyme, rhythm and rap. Factor in the detail that rap music's biggest legend, Tupuc Shakur, started his music career with the group as their roadie, dancer and emcee and the D.U. legacy is all but cemented in the annals of pop music history.

The crux of the anniversary celebration, the feature length documentary film, "D.U. Days: Adventures in Digital Underground the Apprenticeship of Tupac Shakur," will chronicle the turbulent times of the hip hop super group. Chopmaster J and Abbott plan to take the viewer on a historic tour recounting D.U.'s rise and fall. The film will recount a time when the mega rap tour was in its heyday. From sold out US tours, to Tokyo sex clubs, to the fall of the Berlin Wall, the young irreverent hip hop band from the San Francisco Bay Area traveled to every corner of the world entertaining millions of eager pop and hip hop music fans.

Abbott, who directed, co-wrote and edited the platinum-selling, short film / music video "Streets is Watching," and directed the underground hip hop cult classic, "State Property," both starring hip hop icon Jay Z, believes the documentary will play a crucial role in music history. "The movie is about the rise and fall of a would-be hip hop dynasty during the 'Golden Age of Hip Hop,'" he explains. "But more importantly, the film features the birth of the career of music giant, Tupac Shakur. Fans who contribute to the Indiegogo crowdfunding effort will play an important part in helping to document this significant time in pop culture."

"This project will be a must have for any true hip hop head," adds Chopmaster J. "The inclusion of some of Tupac's never before released first recordings are alone worth the price of admission!"

Crowdfunding participants can donate $5.00 and become a part of hip hop history while collecting unique D.U. memorabilia! Monies raised will support the completion of the documentary for a 2015 release.

The Roots are tapping into their resources to help raise funds for their alma mater in Philadelphia.

The Grammy-winning hip-hop band created the CAPA Foundation after learning that $1.1 million had been cut from the budget of the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts.

Budget cuts resulted in the loss of 19 teachers and staff members since 2012. Funding for clubs and extracurricular activities has been eliminated, and the school's annual theater production was canceled.

"I'm taking this as a state of emergency," said Roots drummer Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson. He and band member Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter formed the band in 1987 after meeting at CAPA, regarded as Philadelphia's premiere performing arts high school.

The Roots are the house band for NBC's "Tonight" show. Other musical artists including Boyz II Men and Jazmine Sullivan attended the high school.

"It cultivated us. It educated us," Thompson said of CAPA. "This is more than just pay it forward or celeb guilt. This is necessary. ... It keeps you out of trouble. It helps develop your personality. If you take that away, you're just a machine."

Thompson considered donating $1 million, but his manager persuaded him to use his relationship with corporate sponsors. The drummer said there are a few companies willing to help, and a "substantial" amount has been donated, with "seed money" from Thompson and Trotter.

The nonprofit organization aims to raise $500,000 annually for the first five years and then $1 million annually after that, Thompson said.

CAPA plans to provide funding for purchasing books and classroom supplies, restoring clubs and after-school activities and renovating CAPA's theater.

"We're lending our celebrity to a school where we began," Trotter said. "In essence, it's literally a back-to-the-roots situation for us."

Marion "Suge" Knight has been hospitalized in Las Vegas after falling in his jail cell. Attorney Richard Schonfeld said Monday that Knight was being checked after complaining of dizziness and chest pain.

Schonfeld said he didn't know exactly when Knight was hospitalized. The development came to light during an extradition hearing at which Knight's lawyer had planned to seek bail pending Knight's return to California to face a felony robbery charge.

The 49-year-old founder of Death Row Records was arrested Wednesday in Las Vegas and comedian Katt Williams was arrested in the Los Angeles area on a celebrity photographer's complaint that they stole her camera Sept. 5 in Beverly Hills.

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant has parted ways with agent Eugene Parker and joined JAY Z’s Roc Nation sports management team. Bryant was represented by Parker when he was drafted by the Cowboys in 2010, however, the two parted ways and Bryant joined Drew Rosenhaus in Dec. 2011.

Bryant then left Rosenhaus and rejoined Parker in Aug. 2012. Bryant, who is in the final year of his rookie contract, is coming off his first Pro Bowl appearance. Bryant said before the season started that he would table negotiations if the two sides couldn’t reach a long-term agreement by Week 1.

When asked last month about getting contract extensions done with Bryant and Pro Bowl running back DeMarco Murray during the season, Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones said he wouldn’t rule it out. “I think it’s very difficult,” Jones said on 105.3 The Fan [KRLD-FM]. “Everybody’s focused on the season at hand. You try to get some of those things done early on. I would never rule it out. We would certainly sit down with anybody at any time and see if something made sense. Our goal is to keep good football players in our organization.”

Roc Nation’s official twitter account posted the following Sunday morning: “A warm welcome to the newest member of the #RocNationSports family, @DezBryant! #ThrowUpTheX” Roc Nation’s client list includes: Robinson Cano, CC Sabathia, Kevin Durant and Ndamukong Suh. Source: Dallas morning News

Bad Boy/Interscope recording artist French Montana announces dates for the upcoming Set It Off Tour. French will be co-headlining with Def Jam recording artist Jeremih, for ten* of the sixteen stops. The national tour will start in Fort Lauderdale on December 1, and wraps on December 22, in San Francisco, CA.

While French Montana is currently in the studio putting the finishing touches on his sophomore project, Mac & Cheese, which will be released on December 16. The Moroccan born, Bronx bred rapper blesses his fans with a taste of what's to come on his new single "Don't Panic." The DJ Mustard produced track is accompanied by an intense, hard hitting video directed by Eif Rivera. With a slew of chart topping singles and a top 10 debut record, Montana proves to be one of hip-hops most talented artists.

Monday, December 1*
Fort Lauderdale, FL

Tuesday, December 2*
Orlando, FL
Firestone Live

Wednesday, December 3*
Charlotte, NC
The Fillmore

Thursday, December 4*
Sayreville, NJ
Starland Ballroom

Friday, December 5
Providence, RI
Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel

Saturday, December 6
Clifton Park, NY
Upstate Concert Hall

Sunday, December 7
Baltimore, MD
Sound Stage

Monday, December 8*
Boston, MA
House Of Blues

Tuesday, December 9*
New York, NY
Best Buy Theater

Wednesday, December 10*
Washington, DC
The Fillmore
Thursday, December 11
Norfolk, VA
The Norva

Friday, December 12
Stroudsburg, PA
Sherman Theater

Saturday, December 13
New Orleans, LA
Lakefront Arena

Sunday, December 14
Chicago, IL
Double Door

Friday, December 19
Phoenix, AZ
The Press Room

Saturday, December 20*
Las Vegas, AZ
Brooklyn Bowl

Sunday, December 21*
Los Angeles, CA
Club Nokia

Monday, December 22*
San Francisco, CA
The Regency

ggy Azalea is hitting the American Music Awards stage, it was announced Friday morning. In addition to being the night's newest performer, Azalea is also the AMA's most-nominated artist, with six chances to win. Azalea's nods include Artist of the Year, Single of the Year, New Artist of the Year and Favorite Female Artist. After Azalea are Pharrell, John Legend and Katy Perry with five noms each. Lorde received four nominations.

On last weekend's Saturday Night Live, Azalea performed her new single, "Beg For It," featuring Denmark's MØ, and a medley of "Fancy" and "Black Widow." The appearance gave Azalea a notable boost on Billboard's Social 50.

For the second straight year, Pitbull is the American Music Awards host, with additional performances coming from Mary J. Blige, Sam Smith, Charli XCX and 5 Seconds of Summer. The AMAs will broadcast at 8 p.m. on Nov. 23 on ABC, courtesy of Dick Clark Productions.

When Public Enemy’s second album, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, was released in 1988, “it completely upended the way records are made. It challenged the concept of reinvention in recorded music,” writes The Roots’ Amir “Questlove” Thompson in the booklet that is included in the deluxe two-CD/DVD reissue of the album on Def Jam/Universal Music Enterprises (UMe), which will be released on November 25, 2014, along with its well-regarded follow-up, Fear of a Black Planet, which came out just two years later. In his liner notes, Wax Poetics magazine editor-in-chief Andre Torres calls that album “the brilliant bookend to a classic hip-hop trilogy… Though Millions is the more critically acclaimed and well-known, an argument could be made for Fear’s triumph as the strongest album of the three.”

The Deluxe Edition of It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back includes the original album, executive produced by Rick Rubin and Bill Stephney, and produced by Hank Shocklee, Keith Shocklee, Eric “Vietnam” Sadler and Carl Ryder (aka Chuck D), better known as the Bomb Squad. It features the classic tracks “Bring the Noise,” “Don’t Believe the Hype,” “Louder Than a Bomb” and “Rebel Without a Pause.” The second disc includes 13 rare bonus mixes, among them the original “No Noise” version of “Bring the Noise,” instrumental versions of “Rebel Without a Pause,” “Night of the Living Baseheads” and “Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos,” as well as the soundtrack version of “Fight the Power” from Spike Lee’s groundbreaking Do the Right Thing movie. The third disc is a DVD of the 1989 VHS release Fight the Power… Live, directed by Hart Perry and long unavailable for sale. It includes the original videos for “Fight the Power,” “Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos” and “Night of the Living Baseheads” along with several live performances. The platinum-selling album was named one of the top 100 of all time by Time magazine, and was ranked #48 on Rolling Stone’s list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time.”

The Deluxe Edition of Fear of a Black Planet includes the original album, also produced by the Bomb Squad and featuring the hit singles “Fight the Power,” “Welcome to the Terrordome” and Flavor Flav’s “911 Is a Joke.” The second disc includes 18 rare bonus mixes, among them, the almost 10 minute-long “Enemy Assault Vehicle Mixx (Medley),” three separate remixes of “Can’t Do Nuttin’ For Ya Man!;” an uncensored and extended version of “Anti-Ni***r Machine;” instrumental takes on “911 Is a Joke,” “Power to the People,” “Revolutionary Generation” and “War at 33 1/3,” plus three separate mixes of “Fight the Power,” including the “Flavor Flav Meets Spike Lee” take, featuring Branford Marsalis on sax.

The original LP version of Fear of a Black Planet will also be released in a collector’s vinyl edition for the first time in 15 years, with a special “fade to black” 3D cover that, when turned to the left or right, turns black, with just the band’s iconic cross-hairs visible.

Fear of a Black Planet, which celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2015, finished #300 on Rolling Stone’s list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” and was added to the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry in 2005. The album is certified platinum by the RIAA for more than one million shipped, peaking at No. 10 on the Billboard 200. Writes Wax Poetics editor-in-chief Torres in the liner notes, “Though it sits in the shadow of It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold us Back, Fear of a Black Planet is a formidable contender for one of the finest hip-hop albums ever recorded.”

These Deluxe Editions are part of a yearlong, ongoing celebration marking the 30th Anniversary of the iconic record label founded in 1984 by Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons. Its influence and impact on modern music, culture, and lifestyle is unparalleled.

Maybach Music Group/Atlantic recording artist Stalley has officially announced the release of his hugely anticipated debut album. "OHIO" -- which includes the breakout single, "One More Shot (Feat. Rick Ross & August Alsina.)"

The new album sees Stalley paying homage to his beloved Buckeye State. The Massillon-based MC reached out to a number of his fellow Ohioans, including producer Rashad (of the Columbus-based Elev8tor Music), with whom he previously collaborated on 2011's breakthrough mixtape, "LINCOLN WAY NIGHTS." Stalley also enlisted legendary Cleveland-born photographer Jonathan Mannion -- known for his iconic work with such superstars as Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Cleveland's own LeBron James -- to shoot the "OHIO" cover art.

The new album also includes featured appearances from Atlantic recording artist Ty Dolla $ign, Nipsey Hussle, Rashad, and the one and only De La Soul alongside the new single, "One More Shot (Feat. Rick Ross & August Alsina)."

Stalley burst onto the Midwest hip-hop scene with a number of distinctive mixtapes before breaking out with 2011's "LINCOLN WAY NIGHTS." He signed with Maybach Music Group after a major bidding war, leading to high profile appearances on such label releases as MMG founder Rick Ross' 2012 blockbuster mixtape, "RICH FOREVER," and the RIAA gold certified, GRAMMY®-nominated "GOD FORGIVE, I DON'T," as well as all three volumes of the massively popular "MMG PRESENTS: SELF MADE" series.

Missy Elliott, Lil Kim and Da Brat will reunite at next month's Soul Train Awards. BET and Centric announced Monday that the female rappers will take the stage Nov. 7 when the show tapes at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. They all co-starred on the 90's hit, "Not Tonight," alongside Angie Martinez and the late Left Eye of TLC.

Chris Brown, who is the lead nominee with seven, will also hit the stage. Beyoncé has six nominations and Pharrell Williams follows with five.

Other performers include Mase, Tamar Braxton, Tank, Aloe Blacc, Nico & Vinz and Sevyn Streeter.

Kool & the Gang will be honored with the legend award. Wendy Williams will host the Soul Train Awards, to air on BET and Centric on Nov. 30.

Lil’ Kim, Missy Elliott and Da Brat will perform their 1996 platinum single, “Not Tonight,” the remix from Kool & the Gang’s first platinum album and same-titled single, “Ladies Night.” The tribute also includes a performance by soulful singer Joe.

“We are keeping the momentum going with hit-making musical acts from different decades and are thrilled Missy Elliott, Lil Kim and DaBrat chose SOUL TRAIN AWARDS 2014 for their reunion,” said Paxton Baker, General Manager and Executive Vice President, CENTRIC. “We are humbled to honor Kool & the Gang with the Legend Award this year. They’ve set music trends that are sampled still today, and I know they, along with the other performers, will bring the Celebration to Vegas throughout the weekend!”

This year’s theme will celebrate the history of dance, from the classic Soul Train line and the electric slide, to the Dougie and this year’s breakout, the Nae Nae. To keep the party going throughout the show, international DJ and King of Crunk, Lil Jon, has been tapped as the house DJ. His voice has been heard over radio waves for decades, so it only makes sense to have Big Tigger as this year’s official celebrity announcer.

Run The Jewels, the duo of El-P and Killer Mike, have recently released their sophomore album RTJ2, available as a free mp3 download LISTEN HERE (powered by CASH Music) as well as in CD, LP, and digital formats (including a deluxe iTunes edition featuring exclusive bonus track "Blockbuster Night Part 2") from Mass Appeal Records. The album racked up almost 200K free downloads in its first 3 days while simultaneously cracking the iTunes Top 10 album charts.

In conjunction with the album release Run the Jewels have shared Tag The Jewels, a worldwide street art initiative in which over 30 artists across 6 continents were invited to remix the group's iconic album artwork on walls in Los Angeles, Jakarta, Chicago, Paris, Sao Paolo, Lagos, Aukland, Warsaw, New Delhi, and many more. The project was curated & managed by the FatCap Agency.

10/31 - Philadelphia, PA - Theatre of Living Arts *
11/1 - Washington, DC - 9:30 Club *
11/2 - Charlottesville, VA - Jefferson Theater *
11/3 - Carrboro, NC - Cat's Cradle *
11/4 - Atlanta, GA - Masquerade *
11/6 - Dallas, TX - Trees *
11/7 - Austin, TX - Fun Fun Fun Fest
11/8 - Houston, TX - Fitzgerald's *
11/10 - Phoenix, AZ - Crescent Ballroom *
11/11 - La Jolla, CA - Porters Pub *
11/12 - Pomona, CA - Glass House *
11/14 - San Francisco, CA - Mezzanine +
11/15 - Portland, OR - Hawthorne Theater *
11/17 - Salt Lake City, UT - Urban Lounge *
11/18 - Englewood, CO - Gothic Theatre *
11/20 - Minneapolis, MN - First Line Music Café *
11/21 - Madison, WI - Majestic Theatre *
11/22 - Chicago, IL - Metro *
11/25 - Detroit, MI - St Andrews Hall *
11/26 - Toronto, ON - Danforth Music Hall *
11/27 - Montreal, QC - Club Soda *
11/28 - Boston, MA - Paradise *
11/29 - New York, NY - Stage 48 *
12/30 - Lorne, AU - Falls Festival
12/31 - Marion Bay, AU - Falls Festival
1/1 - Sydney, AU - Field Day
1/2 - Byron Bay, AU - Falls Festival
1/4 - Busselton, AU - Southbound Festival
1/7 - Sydney, AU - Enmore Theatre ^
1/8 - Melbourne, AU - The Forum ^
1/9 - Brisbane, AU - Hi Fi ^
1/10 - Auckland, NZ - Town Hall ^

% Red Bull Sound Select show
* with Rat King & Despot
+ with Despot
^ with Joey Bada$$

The music a person listens to is related to their intelligence, according to a study. For the past few years, software application writer Virgil Griffith has been tracking musical tastes based on the average SAT scores of several colleges throughout the country. Griffith compares students' scores with the artists they "liked" on Facebook.

The result shows that students who achieved above-average scores prefer music by Beethoven or Radiohead. Sufjan Stevens, Bob Dylan, The Shins, Counting Crows and U2 are other acts favorited by smart people.

Meanwhile, folks with lower scores will prefer Beyonce Knowles, Lil Wayne, T.I., The Used and gospel music.

There are plenty of other interesting revelations from Griffith's findings, including smarter people will choose John Mayer over Pink Floyd and the music of huge rock bands like Tool, System of a Down or Pearl Jam is for people with average intelligence.

Centric announced a lineup of hit-making performers and presenters for SOUL TRAIN AWARDS 2014. Leading the charge for his first Soul Train Awards performance is the multi-talented Chris Brown, who leads the show with seven nominations. In addition, the reunion we've all been waiting for is going down as the platinum selling group Jodeci is scheduled to sing a medley of hits before ending with a sneak peek of their new single, "Nobody Wins." Chart-topping international fan favorites Aloe Blacc and Nico & Vinz will keep the audience entertained with upbeat performances of their catchy sing-a-long hits. Jeremih, Lisa Stansfield, Kem and Liv Warfield round out the list of rhythm and soul singers set to captivate viewers during this year's show. Presenters Trey Songz, Boris Kodjoe, Laila Ali and Wolf Blitzer will join host Wendy Williams on stage at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas on November 7, 2014. The show airs on Centric and BET Networks on November 30, 2014 at 8PM ET/PT.

"This slate of performances is another example that Soul Train Awards 2014 is the only place where soul music lovers can find the diverse combination of current chart-topping performers and reunions from their favorite hit-making groups," said Paxton Baker, General Manager and Executive Vice President, Centric. "We are pulling out all the stops this year and are thrilled to have Chris Brown and Jodeci lead the big surprises we have in store."

This year's theme will celebrate the history of dance, from the classic Soul Train line and the electric slide, to the Dougie and this year's breakout, the Nae Nae. To bring the dance theme to life, Soul Train has brought in award-winning choreographer Fatima Robinson and her 12 seasoned dancers to lead the show.

Additionally, Grammy Award-winning producers 1500 or Nothin' are back again as music directors for the show and will keep the party rolling throughout the night.

After releasing this spring's acclaimed Faces mixtape, Mac Miller is back today to announce that he and his Remember Music imprint have signed with Warner Bros Records. To celebrate the signing he's sharing new track "Just Some Raps, Nothing To See Here, Move Along," produced by SAP.

Speaking on the reasoning behind aligning Remember and himself with Warner Bros, Mac said, "they have Prince." All future Mac Miller and Remember artist releases will come via Remember/Warner Bros.

REVOLT TV heralded the overwhelming success of its inaugural REVOLT Music Conference held this past weekend in Miami Beach, Florida. With nearly one thousand attendees, double the expected amount, RMC took over Fontainebleau Miami Beach Hotel and celebrated the multi-genre, multi-platform music network's one-year anniversary. Here guests got a chance to experience five live music showcases with performances from Jhene Aiko, SZA, G-Eazy, ASTR and Travis Scott, five hours of "REVOLT Live" broadcast on location, ten panels featuring over 70 speakers, keynote addresses from Guy Oseary, Bob Pittman, Russell Simmons and Sean Combs, networking seminars and an evening gala honoring Jimmy Iovine where over 700 revelers enjoyed a special performance from Ne-Yo.

Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine welcomed REVOLT to Miami on Thursday and later presented CEO Keith Clinkscales with a key to the city. Friday morning Clinkscales officially kicked off the conference followed by rousing keynote addresses from Guy Oseary (Manager and Founder of Maverick) and Bob Pittman (Chairman and CEO of IHeartMedia). REVOLT Chairman Sean Combs sat in the audience for a few of the afternoon's panels, including the "Disruptors: The Future of Business" discussion where he engaged panelists Rio Caraeff (President & CEO of Vevo), Kevin McGurn (Chief Revenue Officer of Shazam), Britt Morgan-Saks (Artist Services at Spotify), Alex Ljung (CEO of SoundCloud), Lars Murray (VP of Music Industry Relations at Pandora) and moderator Kenna about the future of the record business. Music industry titans such as LA Reid, DJ Khaled and Craig Kallman determined that A&R is not dead after all.

Russell Simmons received a standing ovation at the start of an inspirational keynote address to kick off Day Two before leading a packed house in a group meditation. The day's panels featured some of the biggest titans of their perspective industries including Frank Cooper (CMO of Pepsico) and Marc Ecko (Founder & Chief Brand Officer of Complex Media) discussing "The New Deal: Brands and Artists" and legendary music producers Dallas Austin and Rodney Jerkins debating "The Business of Music Publishing" with singer-songwriter James Fauntleroy and Jessica Rivera (SVP, Head of East Coast Operations of Universal Music Publishing). REVOLT founder Sean "Diddy" Combs led a rousing keynote address entitled "#AskDiddy" in front of a packed house, offering invaluable career insight and advice to the standing-room-only crowd. Following a classic performance by Ne-Yo, Combs presented his good friend, industry icon Jimmy Iovine, with an award and spoke at length about his illustrious forty year career. The award was created by artist Glenn Kaino using Olympian Tommie Smith's famous forearm and fist. Iovine then gave a rousing speech about the current state of music and industry's ever-changing landscape.

"In your own way, reflecting your own musical passions, I do call upon all of you to find your way to innovate and be a part of music's future," said Jimmy Iovine to the audience of over 700 as he accepted his award. "We are no longer in the music business, but in the business of music."

Additional speakers at the REVOLT Music Conference included executives from Apple (Larry Jackson, BOH Specialist), Facebook & Instagram (Jonathan Hull, Music Partnerships); Def Jam (Sickamore, A&R) and Epic (Sylvia Rhone, President); Atlantic (Julie Greenwald, Chairman and COO); and Glassnotes Records (Daniel Glass, CEO) among many more.

Diddy will host Alicia Keys' annual charity event that raises awareness about HIV and AIDS.

The piano-playing singer announced Tuesday that her husband, producer-rapper Swizz Beatz, will co-host the 11th annual Black Ball on Oct. 30 at New York City's Hammerstein Ballroom.

Keys, Nas, David Byrne and Angel Haze will perform.

Keep a Child Alive, Keys' charity launched in 2003, assists people affected by HIV and AIDS in Africa and India.

Keep a Child Alive’s Black Ball is a star-studded event where celebrity and philanthropy join hand in hand. The evening celebrates the work of Keep a Child Alive (KCA) and raises millions for children and families affected by HIV in Africa and India. The Black Ball hosts never-before-seen musical collaborations with KCA co-founder Alicia Keys, and other leading artists. This event is sure to take you on a unique and inspiring journey.

Last year's Black Ball raised $4 million and featured Carole King and Pharrell.

Snoop's next project will be released via Pharrell’s I Am Other and Columbia Records according to Billboard. Snoop is the latest signing to I Am Other, which is headed up by Pharrell and co-manager Caron Veazey. I Am Other’s Instagram account teased the news earlier this week, revealing that Pharrell will be producing the entire set, which will feature guest appearances from music legends Stevie Wonder and Charlie Wilson.

Snoop Dogg’s last album was 2013’s reggae-heavy, Diplo-produced Reincarnated, for which he temporarily took the name Snoop Lion . The set debuted at No. 16 on the Billboard 200 and No. 1 on Billboard’s Reggae Albums chart.

Snoop has also been flexing his tech muscles as of late, investing alongside Jared Leto in news-aggergator Reddit as well as free stock-trade app Robinhood.

Musician, philanthropist, entrepreneur, and Founder of i.am+™ will.i.am unveiled his new smartband wearable device, i.amPULS, at the i.am+ keynote presentation during Dreamforce 2014.

The industry-first PULS wearable is untethered and has the ability to make/receive calls and operates independently of any smartphone, whereas most wearables use Bluetooth and require close proximity to a smartphone.

In an interactive showcase that featured music, video, imagery, poetry, and a fashion runway show, will.i.am demonstrated the i.amPULS smartband is truly the industry's first standalone communications device.

A host of CEOs and industry icons in the worlds of fashion, entertainment, technology and enterprise joined will.i.am on stage to lend their support including:

Jeff Bradley - AT&T
Nina Bibby – O2
Jack Dangermond – ESRI
Ankur Jain – Humin
Paul Ricci – Nuance
Marc Benioff – Salesforce
Yuval Mor – Beyond Verbal
André Leon Talley - Former American editor-at-large for Vogue magazine
DB (Dondriall Brooks) - Donamatrix
Cynthia Erenas, AP student, i.am College Track after-school tutoring program Roosevelt High School, Los Angeles, CA

"First off this is not a watch, by any means," Will.i.am said, showing off the bulky, curved black band, and pointing out its various attributes. "The battery is all around here, right next to the battery very tightly packed is the speaker, and then the radio is here and here, SIM card is there, the chip set is there, and it's all tightly packed under this curve screen."

"i.amPULS represents digital freedom, individuality, intelligence and the intersection where fashion and technical innovation meet," said will.i.am. "I'm honored to share my vision for the PULS with this global audience."

PULS features an intelligent personal assistant "AneedA" powered by Nuance Communications. Developed with a "voice first, touch second" functionality, AneedA is an intuitive personal assistant that takes dictation for texts and emails, plays music, posts to social media, queues maps and a fitness app, schedules appointments, make calls, and more.

Founded by musician and entrepreneur will.i.am, i.am+ is a entrepreneurial entity nurturing powerful and developing technology into products and ideas driven by innovation. i.am+ is positioned at the intersection of pop-tech and fashionology. i.am+ is a way of life, a culture that empowers and inspires.

Warner Chappell Music has signed a global administration deal to handle hip-hop producer Mike Dean's catalog and future songwriting.

“Few producers have the talent to sustain a career as long, diverse and prolific as Mike’s," Warner/Chappell North America president Jon Platt said in a statement. "From 2Pac to Kanye and everyone in between, Mike has helped great artists define new sounds. He’s always innovating, not only within hip hop, but across pop music in general. We’re thrilled to be on his team.”

Besides 2Pac and West, Dean has also produced tracks or written for Beyoncé, Jay-Z, E-40, and Kid Cudi, Scarface, Tha Dogg Pound, Nate Dogg, Tech N9ne, and Devin the Dude, among others.

Dean added in a statement, “I am excited to work with Warner/Chappell and Big Jon on expanding my musical palate, and be able to continue to innovate and push music forward." Source: Billboard

Journalist and OZONE Magazine founder Julia Beverly previously announced that she is writing a biography on the late Chad “Pimp C” Butler. While Pimp C’s widow Chinara Butler recently released a statement distancing herself from the project, other family members are speaking out to clarify that her statement does not represent them.

“Chad’s widow Chinara… does not speak on behalf of Chad’s sons Chad Jr., Corey, the rest of the family, the late Mama Wes, or the UGK Records family. She is only speaking for her and her daughter,” Angela Crooks, the mother of Chad’s son Corey, said in a recent interview, adding, “Julia Beverly has our full support with the Pimp C biography.”

Beverly says the book began with nearly 40 hours of interviews conducted with Pimp C’s mother and manager, Weslyn “Mama Wes” Monroe, prior to her sudden passing in 2013. “I initially intended to do this project with his ‘estate’ through his wife,” Beverly explains. “However, after I learned that his wife does not have custody of any of his children, and his sons do not benefit financially from his estate, I made alternate arrangements with his mother.”

“Mama Wes entrusted me with telling her son’s story accurately and honestly; it’s a responsibility I take very seriously,” Beverly adds. “Sometimes the truth hurts, so I can understand why some people don’t want the story to be told.”

The book will be released in early 2015.

Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter, and founder of the LoveLife Foundation, Raheem DeVaughn, told the audience he was attempting to lead by example with his music and foundation as he accepted the Ruby Campbell Pulliam "Love You More" Servant Leadership and Community ServiceAward during the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation's (NCBCP) 17th Annual Spirit of Democracy Awards Red Carpet Affair held in DC last week.

Hosted by actor/comedian, Jonathan Slocumb, and sponsored by Verizon and Comcast NBC Universal, the event also honored: Charles Ogletree Jr., Harvard University Law School professor; Elsie Scott, PhD, founding director, Ron Walters Leadership and Public Policy Center, Howard University; Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, executive director, CEO, MomsRising.org; Mayor William Bell, Birmingham, Alabama; Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science; Councilwoman Sheila Tyson, convener, Alabama Coalition on Black Civic Participation; and Helen Butler, executive director, Georgia Coalition for the Peoples Agenda.

Relatives of the late Campbell Pulliam were on hand to present the award. Pictured above (L-R): Richard G. Womack, Sr, chair, NCBCP; Melanie Campbell, president and CEO, NCBCP; Isaac Campbell Jr., relative; DeVaughn; Karma Cottman, executive director, DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence; Savannah Campbell, relative; and Rev. Judith C. Moore.

Rihanna will launch her first-ever fragrance for men, ROGUE MAN by Rihanna. From first contact, ROGUE MAN by Rihanna intoxicates men with a choreographed clash of fragrance notes that are both masculine and ultra-sexy.

ROGUE MAN by Rihanna has top notes comprised of fresh citrus, herbs, and spicy black pepper which offer a clean opening impression, the velvet floral blends, strong undertones of cedar wood, and the primal sensation of labdanum ignite the senses and linger warmly on skin.

Shot by legendary fashion photographer Mario Sorrenti, the ROGUE MAN by Rihanna ad campaign explores the rebellious and complex juxtaposition of attraction, sexuality and power. Rihanna was immediately attracted to feature model Daniel Ness for his raw sensuality and knew at first sight that he is the embodiment of the ROGUE MAN

"Building upon the marked success of her women's fragrance line, we are thrilled to join Rihanna on her venture into the men's fragrance category," said Donald Loftus, President of Parlux, Ltd. "ROGUE MAN by Rihanna offers a new constituency of male consumers entrance into the bold world of Rihanna's growing lifestyle brand."

ROGUE MAN by Rihanna is available at select Macy's nationwide.

Rihanna has taken the music, entertainment and fashion industry by storm. As an accomplished performer, she has sold 50 million albums and 180 million digital tracks worldwide making her the top-selling digital artist of all time. She's put out 7 albums in 7 years, achieved 12 number-one singles and won 7 Grammy Awards. With over 4 billion views and 16 Vevo certified videos she is the most viewed artist on Vevo/YouTube and the biggest artist on Facebook with over 80 million friends. In addition, she's successfully launched four fragrances, two capsule collections with Armani, as well as four River Island collections and is currently the spokesperson for Viva Glam.

The American Music Awards has announced the 2014 American Music Awards nominees.

Iggy Azalea leads this year with six nominations. John Legend, Katy Perry and Pharrell Williams follow with five nominations each, while Lorde earns four nominations. Additionally, Beyoncé, Eminem, Imagine Dragons, OneRepublic and One Direction were nominated for three awards. Bastille, Drake, Luke Bryan and Sam Smith each receive two nominations.

The Artist of the Year category increases from 5 to 10 nominees in 2014. This year’s nominees are Iggy Azalea, Beyoncé, Luke Bryan, Eminem, Imagine Dragons, John Legend, Lorde, One Direction, Katy Perry and Pharrell Williams. The ten nominees will be narrowed to five based on the votes received through 11/13 and the winner will be determined by the total votes received throughout the entire voting period.

The Single of The Year category, increasing from 3 to 5 nominees in 2014, includes nominees Iggy Azalea Featuring Charli XCX, “Fancy,” John Legend, “All of Me,” MAGIC!, “Rude,” Katy Perry Featuring Juicy J, “Dark Horse” and Pharrell Williams, “Happy.”

As always at the American Music Awards, artists will be honored in the genres of Pop/Rock, Country, Rap/Hip-Hop, Soul/R&B, Alternative Rock, Adult Contemporary, Latin, Contemporary Inspirational, Electronic Dance Music, as well as categories for Top Soundtrack, New Artist of the Year Presented by Kohl’s, Artist of the Year and Single of the Year.

The 2014 American Music Awards® are produced by dick clark productions. Allen Shapiro and Mike Mahan are Executive Producers. Larry Klein, Barry Adelman and Mark Bracco are Producers.

Iggy Azalea
Luke Bryan
Imagine Dragons
John Legend
One Direction
Katy Perry
Pharrell Williams

5 Seconds of Summer
Iggy Azalea
Sam Smith
Meghan Trainor

Iggy Azalea Featuring Charli XCX “Fancy”
John Legend “All of Me”
MAGIC! “Rude”
Katy Perry Featuring Juicy J “Dark Horse”
Pharrell Williams “Happy”

John Legend
Sam Smith
Pharrell Williams

Iggy Azalea
Katy Perry

Imagine Dragons
One Direction

Lorde “Pure Heroine”
One Direction “Midnight Memories”
Katy Perry “Prism”

Jason Aldean
Luke Bryan
Blake Shelton

Miranda Lambert
Kacey Musgraves
Carrie Underwood

Eli Young Band
Florida Georgia Line
Lady Antebellum

Garth Brooks “Blame It On My Roots: Five Decades of Influences”
Eric Church “The Outsiders”
Brantley Gilbert “Just As I Am”

Iggy Azalea

Iggy Azalea “The New Classic”
Drake “Nothing Was The Same”
Eminem “The Marshall Mathers LP 2”

Chris Brown
John Legend
Pharrell Williams

Jhene Aiko
Mary J. Blige

Beyoncé “Beyoncé”
John Legend “Love in the Future”
Pharrell Williams “G I R L”

Imagine Dragons

Sara Bareilles
Katy Perry

Marc Anthony
Enrique Iglesias
Romeo Santos

Casting Crowns
Hillsong United

Calvin Harris

Chris Brown is the top nominee for the Soul Train Awards. The R&B singer racked up seven nominations, including best R&B/soul male artist and song of the year for "Loyal." Beyonce earned six nominations and Pharrell Williams followed with five.

Williams and Beyonce will be competing against each other for album of the year, along with John Legend, Drake, Janelle Monae and Michael Jackson.

Hosted by Wendy Williams, the Soul Train Awards will be presented on Nov. 7 in Las Vegas. The awards will air on Nov. 30 on Centric and BET.

Beyonce's empire keeps expanding its reach: first Rutgers started a course devoted to the singer; then Harvard Business School began to study her; now, a radio station in Houston has rebranded itself as a Beyonce-only radio station.

The station's website posted a statement announcing its closure: "News92, Houston’s first FM all-news radio station aired its last broadcast Wednesday, October 8, 2014... This difficult decision is a result of sustained poor ratings performance and significant financial losses over the past three years despite the substantial financial and human resources we invested."

Radio One owns the station-formerly-known-as-News92. Yashima Azilove, who works for Radio One, discussed the station's reincarnation as Beyonce radio with local news. "In looking to make a transition, we go back to what we know," Azilove told ABC13. "We know urban radio. We're in Houston, the combination seemed like a winning one." Well, it's a win for Radio One and Beyonce at least -- 47 employees of the station were laid off.

If the new station only plays Beyonce's solo catalog, it will have five albums to choose from. Not including various bonus tracks, remixes, live versions or tracks from other artists featuring Beyonce, those records contain 63 songs, adding up to roughly 4 hours and 15 minutes of music. Of course, if the station is willing to dig into Beyonce's work with Destiny's Child, that will expand their pool of possible tunes to draw from -- Destiny's Child recorded 5 albums (if you count their Christmas album), containing 67 songs and around 4.5 hours of music. Source: Billboard

Warner Bros. Records (WBR) has announced that it has signed a global recording contract with legendary rap group Wu-Tang Clan, including RZA, GZA, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, U-God, Masta Killa, and Cappadonna. As a group, Wu-Tang has sold over 6.5 million records in the US, while they've sold nearly 40 million records worldwide, including individual members' album sales as well as group sales collectively. The group's first release on the label will be the highly-anticipated 20th anniversary album, A Better Tomorrow, which will be available December 2nd.

Wu-Tang Clan said, "Wu-Tang Clan is excited to join the Warner family of esteemed artists. After 20 years in the business with different label outlets, we are delighted to be amongst a team of industry professionals who understand our unique artistry and will help spread it to the masses unadulterated. RZA and his brother Divine CEO of Wu-Tang felt synergy with executive/producer Rob Cavallo and Cameron Strang, and decided Warner Bros. would be a suitable home for their brand and band, and a great place to carry on the Wu-Tang saga. In the words of Ghostface, when it comes to being signed to Warner Bros., 'we're getting Bugs Bunny money.'"

Cameron Strang, Chairman & CEO, Warner Bros. Records, told Billboard, "Wu-Tang Clan is responsible for creating a deep discography of iconic rap music, spawning incredibly successful careers for each of the group's individual members, and launching Wu-Tang into a full-fledged brand beyond their music. Two decades on, they remain a major force in hip hop. I speak for everyone on our team when I say how thrilled we are to be the new home for one of hip hop's most influential groups. This is an exciting day in the history of Warner Bros. Records, and we can't wait to contribute to the next phase of their careers."

Over the course of their career, the group has released five studio albums and 19 compilation albums. Each of their first three albums-- Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), Wu-Tang Forever and The W-have been certified platinum by the RIAA, with Wu-Tang Forever having debuted at the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200.

Emerging in 1993, the Staten Island, NY-based Wu-Tang Clan proved to be the most revolutionary rap group of the mid-'90s. Turning the standard concept of a hip-hop crew inside out, the Wu-Tang Clan were assembled as a loose congregation of nine MCs. Instead of releasing one album after another, the idea was to establish the Wu-Tang as a force with their debut album and then spin off into as many side projects as possible. In the process, the members all became individual stars.

Meruelo Media, Southern California's leading minority