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Hip Hop News
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2014 BET Hip-Hop Awards Announces Lineup for Cyphers Segment


Atlantic Records/Darren AnkenmanIn case you needed another reason to watch the 2014 BET Hip-Hop Awards, the lineup of rappers tapped for the infamous cyphers has been revealed.

The network has announced a lengthy list of rappers participating in the popular segment, including Wiz Khalifa, Juicy J, Ty Dolla SignDavid BannerTroy Ave, Kevin Gates and Papoose.  Among the male-dominated lineup, Remy Ma and Lil' Mama serve as the only female rappers, but somehow Nicki Minaj is not mentioned.

This year's BET Hip-Hop Awards will be recorded September 20 at the Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center in Atlanta.  Viewers can expect the ninth-annual ceremony to air October 14 at 8 p.m. ET.

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Janet Jackson's "Rhythm Nation 1814" Turns 25


Image Courtesy A&M Records/UniversalJanet Jackson's political album Rhythm Nation 1814 officially turns 25 years old today, September 19.  To commemorate the anniversary, Jackson's songwriting and production team James "Jimmy Jam" Harris III and Terry Lewis recalls the recording process of the critically acclaimed project.

In an interview with Billboard, Jimmy Jam reveals how the political elements all throughout the album emerged as they watched CNN while recording in the studio.

"We felt like we had … not a responsibility to say something, but growing up in the '60s, whether it was the Vietnam War or whatever, it seemed like there was always someone commenting on it," Jam says.  "And that was a good thing.  Why not use the powers we have as songwriters to bring some of those messages across?  Rap music was doing it in a very strong way."

The superproducer also revealed that the disc was recorded during the winter in Minneapolis, adding that Janet was in a good place emotionally.  "She was in a very creatively fruitful place.  She had just discovered her writing chops," Jam says before describing her as "hungry" and "excited."

The album spawned seven Top 10 singles, including "Rhythm Nation," "Miss You Much," "Escapade" and "Love Will Never Do (Without You)."

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Nicki Minaj Reportedly Wins Wig Lawsuit


ABC/Fred LeeA hairy situation has come to an end for Nicki Minaj.  The rapper just won a lawsuit filed against her by her former hairstylist, Terrence Davidson, reports GossipCop.com.  He alleged that Minaj stole his wig designs, and that it ultimately cost him millions.

Davidson claimed in court papers he provided the wigs that helped get Minaj discovered in 2010 and that they had discussed working together in the future in the wig business.  He alleged that Minaj didn’t follow through on their planned business venture, and he now sells his wig designs online without her assistance.

The judge ruled for Minaj, stating in her decision that everyone has the right to make colored wigs.  In addition, the judge ruled that Minaj and Davidson never had a firm plan in place to go into business together.

Davidson was asking for at least $30 million in damages. 

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Aaliyah's Lifetime Biopic Premiering in November


Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImageAfter swapping Disney actress Zendaya Coleman with Nickelodeon star Alexandra Shipp, Lifetime has announced the release date for the much-discussed Aaliyah biopic, which will chronicle the late singer's rise to fame.

The network confirmed via Twitter that the film, titled Aaliyah: Princess of R&B, will air on November 15.  In an accompanying image, Shipp channels the singer by wearing her signature bandana while posing in a recording booth.

The made-for-TV movie will be executive produced by Wendy Williams, who promised to deliver on the controversial film, which is being made without the approval or involvement of the late singer's family.

"You can count on us to get this movie right," said Williams on her daytime talk show.  "I want to know the things you wanna know.  What happened with R. Kelly, what was going on with Dame Dash, what was Aaliyah's personal life really like?"

The upcoming project is based on Christopher Farley's bestselling biography Aaliyah: More Than a Woman.

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Report: DNA Test Suggests Mathew Knowles Fathered Three-Year-Old Daughter


Nick Farrell/Sony MusicLast July, Beyonce's 63-year-old father, Mathew Knowles, was hit with another paternity suit by a woman named TaQoya Branscomb -- and it appears as though Knowles is the father.

According to a copy of a paternity test that was obtained by TMZ, there's a 99.998 percent certainty that Knowles is the biological father of Branscomb's three-year old daughter.  She previously revealed in court documents that Bey's dad got her pregnant in 2010 -- the same year that Mathew's wife, Tina Knowles, filed for divorce after nearly 30 years of marriage.

Branscomb is seeking child support.  Mathew is already paying another baby mama, Alexsandra Wright, who was initially receiving $12,000 a month but now gets $2,485 after Knowles claimed his income had declined substantially.

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Lil Wayne Releases Trailer for Upcoming Video "Grindin'"


Image Courtesy Jonathon Mannion/Universal

Lil Wayne has fallen behind on his weekly viral series, Weezy Wednesday, but he's made up for it by releasing the trailer for his Drake-assisted single, "Grindin.'"

In the clip, posted on YouTube, Wayne can be heard rapping along to the bass-heavy track: "I would rather stack it up and put it in the safe/ Than peek inside the safe and say I’m running out of space/ Believe that," he spits.

Directed by DJ Scoob Doo, the video for "Grindin'" will be released in full on Friday at noon ET.  The song is his second single off Tha Carter V, due out October 28.

In related news, Weezy will continue his Drake vs Lil Wayne nationwide tour, which concludes September 27 in Woodlands, Texas.

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K. Michelle Finally Meets Her Idol, Mary J. Blige


Image Courtesy Atlantic RecordsEvery new celebrity seems to have that one moment when they've been star-struck.  For K. Michelle, she was overwhelmed after finally meeting her idol: Mary J. Blige.

The singer captured their recent encounter on Instagram, in which Michelle is pictured embracing MJB.

"I just met my idol Mary J Blige.  I cried like a baby.  You will never understand how special this moment was for me," she wrote in the caption.

She continued, "Mary J changed my entire life as an artist.  I learned to sing through the pain.  This is one of the biggest moments of my career.  Wow, I'm in shock."

Both R&B powerhouses were on a promo tour for their new material: Michelle is crafting the follow-up to last year's Rebellious Soul, and Mary is preparing her next album, Mary J. Blige: The London Sessions.

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Mariah Carey to Tour Australia for First Time Since 1998


ABC/Donna SvennevikMariah Carey isn't letting relationship woes stop her from bringing her music to her fans.  The diva has announced dates in Australia and New Zealand, as part of her Elusive Chanteuse Show world tour.

The tour officially launches in Japan in October, but will arrive in Australia for a series of dates starting November 2.  Mariah will perform in Perth, Adelaide and Sydney, as well as dates in Victoria's Yarra Valley and in Brisbane. She'll also perform her first-ever live concert in New Zealand on November 13.  Tickets go on sale Friday, September 26 for the Aussie shows, and September 30 for the New Zealand show.

While Mariah performed three shows in Australia in 2013, Billboard reports that this will be her first national tour of Australia since her Butterfly tour visited in 1998.  Her latest album debuted in the top five on the Australian chart earlier this year.

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Producer No I.D. Praises Jhene Aiko's "Souled Out"


Image Courtesy Artium Records/Def JamJhené Aiko’s critically acclaimed album Souled Out has not only won over fans, the singer's set has gained the approval of famed hitmaker No I.D., who served as the executive producer.

“The first time I heard Jhené’s voice,” said No I.D. in a statement, “I knew that we were looking at an exceptional artist. The immediate success of Souled Out confirms our belief in Jhené as the flagship artist of ARTium/Def Jam.”

As previously reported, the disc bowed at #1 R&B Albums chart debut and #3 on Billboard's 200 chart.

Fans can expect Jhene to perform new material from the album when she takes stage on the Today show Friday morning, September 19. She will then serve as a supporting act on The Weeknd's fall tour, beginning that same day at Barclays in Brooklyn, NY and concluding October 10th at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco.

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John Legend Tapes "CMT Crossroads"


ABC/Randy HolmesJohn Legend teamed up with country singer Lee Ann Womack to tape a new episode of CMT Crossroads Wednesday night in Franklin, TN.

The eight-song set included the two singers swapping vocals on their biggest hits, including John's pop hits "All of Me" and "Green Light," as well as Lee Ann's "I Hope You Dance" and "I May Hate Myself in the Morning." John's new offering, "You and I (Nobody in the World)," also made the set list.

CMT Crossroads: Lee Ann Womack and John Legend premieres Friday, September 26 at 10 p.m. ET on CMT.

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Chris Brown Confirms Relationship Status, Gives Advice to Karrueche Tran


Image Courtesy Eliot Lee Hazel/RCA RecordsChris Brown has set the record straight and confirmed that he's currently dating Karrueche Tran.  Although their relationship status is often plagued by breakup rumors, the singer revealed why he doesn't get caught up in the chatter.

"[When] you read [things in] the media, you'll see 'this happened' and 'that happened,' but I just let them talk," he told MTV News.  "Because, at the end of the day, that's what their job is."

Breezy adds that he likely wouldn't have been as passive about the ongoing speculation two years ago.  "You've gotta mature at some point and not give them that attention…when it comes to all the extra hoopla, that just gets lost in translation with me," he says.

Despite all the whispers, Brown and Tran seem to support one another -- the singer recently gave her advice after she was heavily criticized for reading a negative message about Blue Ivy from a teleprompter during BET’s 106 & Park.

"We had a conversation about that, too, but she's good,” Breezy said.  "I know the comment on the prompter was kinda left field -- I don't know who wrote it up, or [why] it was done -- but I told her, next time, because I know it's your first time doing this, just look at it and say, 'Hey, hey, I don't know about this.'"

He continues, "But that comes with show business.  At the end of the day, it has to be something left, or most of the time, negative.  I felt it was unnecessary."

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Aretha Franklin Releasing New Album at the End of the Month


Matthew Jordan SmithThe release of Aretha Franklin's new album is just around the corner.

Showbiz411.com reported the Queen of Soul will debut the album -- a collection of covers tentatively titled Aretha Franklin Sings Songs of the Great Divas -- on September 30. Producer Clive Davis subsequently confirmed the date to Billboard.

Showbiz411.com says Aretha will appear on Late Show with David Letterman the night before the release to discuss the project and perform one of the tracks: her version of Adele's "Rolling in the Deep." She'll also stop by the Today show on October 3.

The website notes Davis set the late-September deadline for the album so it can qualify for next year's Grammys ceremony.

In addition to Adele, Aretha Franklin Sings Songs of the Great Divas features Aretha covering classics by Whitney Houston, Barbra Streisand and Alicia Keys, among others.

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Report: Trey Songz and Mila J Are Dating


Jimmy Fontaine/Atlantic RecordsHas Trey Songz found a new girlfriend?  According to E! News, the singer is currently dating Mila J.

The duo made their relationship public after they were spotted together at Ne-Yo's benefit last week for his charitable organization, the Compound Foundation.  Sources tell E! the pair was kissing and posing for selfies together during the third annual Fostering a Legacy event in NYC on September 12.

The crooner later posted a picture of himself embracing Mila on Instagram, for which he captioned: "She so fine..."

A source close to the couple told E! News that they have "so much in common."

Trey and Mila recently collaborated on a song called "Disrespectful" on his latest album, Trigga.

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Report: Beyonce and Jay Z Eyeing $85 Million Mansion


Image Courtesy Cliff Lipson/CBSBeyonce and Jay Z's marriage seems to be intact as the pair is reportedly in the market for a new pad. 

Real estate sources tell TMZ the duo visited a pricey $85 million Beverly Hills estate.  The Carters are said to have checked out the 23,000-square-foot cliffside twice over the summer.

The eight-bedroom, 15-bathroom home boasts panoramic views of Malibu and downtown L.A., and it has an attached 16-car garage, infinity pool, wine cellar and a 24-seat movie theater.

The couple recently leased a mansion in exclusive Holmby Hills for a staggering $200,000 per month.

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John Legend and Chrissy Teigan Make People's Style Hall of Fame


ABC/Rick PowellIt's been 365 days of love and great fashion for John Legend and Chrissy Teigan. The couple, who recently celebrated their one year wedding anniversary, have been inducted into People magazine's Style Hall of Fame.

John and his supermodel wife are listed among the "Best Dressed Couples" in People's Best-Dressed issue. They join celebrity couples Blake Shelton and Miranda LambertGabrielle Union and Dwayne Wade, and Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Justin Mikita on the list.

In addition to Taylor Swift being crowned as People's Best Dressed of the Year for 2014, the list also included RihannaJennifer Lopez, actress Lupita Nyong’o, among others.

People's Style Special issue is out Friday.

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Iggy Azalea Suing Ex Who Claimed He Co-Stars in Her Sex Tape


Grand Hustle/Def Jam RecordingsThe ongoing story about whether or not Iggy Azalea actually made a sex tape with her ex-boyfriend just got a whole lot more complicated.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Iggy has now filed suit against her ex Maurice Williams, who raps under the name Jefe Wine, accusing him not of releasing a sex tape, but of releasing her early music, and forging a contract he claims gives him the right to do so. 

The publication reports that, according to the complaint, Iggy met Williams in 2008 in Houston, and they began a relationship, even though, unbeknownst to Iggy, he was married with children. 

Williams then followed Iggy to Atlanta when she moved there in 2009, the complaint continues.  He moved into her house and then "downloaded the entire contents of Azalea's personal computer," including her unreleased music.  Then this past July, a company with which Williams was involved announced that it was releasing an EP by Iggy called Inizio, and songs from it started popping up on digital-service providers. 

Iggy says that EP contains the music that Williams stole from her, and constitutes a violation of her copyright, trademark, name and likeness.  She sent out cease-and-desist letters, and the DSPs removed the songs.  But then, as part of its coverage of the sex tape story, TMZ quoted Williams as saying that he had an agreement with Iggy that gave him the exclusive rights to her music and "visual images" of her.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Iggy's complaint maintains that this so-called agreement is a forgery.  What happened, according to her complaint, is that when the couple was living in Atlanta, Williams introduced Iggy to a guy named Kareem Chapman.  She signed an artist-management agreement with Chapman's company, and Williams took her copy of it and illegally altered it to turn it into a "music recording and composition agreement."

If what Iggy says is true, Williams has no rights to her music.  That's why she's suing him for copyright violation and wants a declaration that he has no right to use her name or her likeness.  The complaint doesn't mention a sex tape, but it does refer to the defendants coming out with "promotional videos featuring an impersonator of Azalea."

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Jhene Aiko Debuts High on Billboard 200 Chart


Image Courtesy Artium Records/Def JamJhene Aiko's full-length debut album, Souled Out, has debuted at #3 on the Billboard 200 chart.

According to the publication, the singer's set opened with 70,000 units sold.  Her disc also occupies the top spot on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and R&B Albums charts.  The disc includes contributions from Common and Cocaine 80s as well as production from No I.D.,Key WaneFisticuffsJames Fauntleroy and Dot Da Genius.

Christian rapper Lecrae's album, Anomaly, opened in the #1 spot on the Billboard 200, with 88,000 units sold.

Jhene's Souled Out outperformed her previous offering, last year's Sail Out EP, which debuted at number eight and sold 34,000 copies in its first week. 

Elsewhere, Jeezy's Seen It All: The Autobiography slipped from #2 to #6 in its second week, selling an additional 33,000 copies.

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Kendrick Lamar Reveals Artwork for New Single, "I"


Image Courtesy Interscope Records/TDEKendrick Lamar is preparing to release his first single, "I."

The rapper announced the news via Twitter and shared the official artwork for his highly anticipated track; the image shows two men forming the shape of their heart with their hands.  The song reportedly includes a guest feature spot from the Isley Brothers, according to Rap-Up.com.

The whispers aren't too far-fetched since Lamar previously revealed his admiration for the legendary R&B group.  "There's some music I've been listening to that I haven't really been talking about," he told Flaunt magazine last year.  "I haven’t been listening to any rap for the last six months.  I bought the whole Isley Brothers collection."

Kendrick's new single is said to premiere on Tuesday, September 23, according to reports stemming from a dinner that Interscope Records and iHeartMedia/Clear Channel hosted last week.

The rapper's sophomore album is slated to arrive this fall, marking his first since 2012's Good Kid, M.A.A.D City.

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Rick Ross Announces Release Date for New Album, "Hood Billionaire"


UMG/Jonathan MannionRick Ross has a new project on the way. The rapper announced plans to release his new album, Hood Billionaire, on Black Friday, November 28.

Following his buzz track"Elvis Presley Blvd," featuring Memphis native Project Pat, Ross is scheduled to issue his first official single, "Keep Doing That (Rich Chick), featuring R Kelly in coming weeks. The duo last teamed together on the revamped version of Lady Gaga's "Do What U Want." 

Rozay's upcoming seventh album will serve as the follow-up to this year's Mastermind, which spawned his Jeezy-assisted hit "War Ready," and "Nobody," featuring French Montana.

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Jennifer Hudson Previews Upcoming Album, "JHUD"


Image Courtesy Renato Sampaio/ RCA RecordsJennifer Hudson is giving fans a chance to stream her upcoming album, JHUD, ahead of its official release.

The singer has teamed up with VH1 to allow her loyal following to listen to her 10-track effort in its entirety. The set includes contributions from Iggy Azalea and R. Kelly as well as her Pharrell-produced single “I Can’t Describe (The Way I Feel)” featuring T.I. and “Walk It Out,” which was produced by Timbaland.

"With this album, I feel as though you get a sense of my energy and that’s why we named it JHUD because you’re getting to know the girl and not just the public persona of Jennifer Hudson," said Hudson of her first album in three years. "I want you to know the person."

JHUD will be released on September 23.

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