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Beyonce and Nelly Hitmaker Rico Love Seeking Solo Success

Division 1/Interscope RecordsAfter writing the hits “Sweet Dreams" for Beyonce and “Just a Dream” for Nelly, composer/producer Rico Love is now dreaming of achieving similar success as a solo artist. Love, who also composed for Chris Brown, Trey Songz, and Mary J. Blige, has released the single “Somebody Else" from his debut solo album Turn the Lights On due out May 19. Monica, Raekwon, and Action Bronson are among the guest stars on the project.

Love tells Billboard his songwriting success began when he was signed as rapper to Usher’s US records label, and the star encouraged him to work for him as a composer. “It's just a gift that I didn't realize that I had," he says. "It's like a guy who's seven feet tall and he doesn't realize he can dunk. Someone shows him, 'Look, just put the ball up there and jump a little bit.'"

The singer/rapper says his blueprint is to avoid just following the popular trends. "It's up to us to make songs of substance [and] to connect to the listeners in a way that isn't so typical,” he says. “So many artists are just stuck in this little BPM thing, and they're trying to keep up with what's going on at radio instead of connecting to people."

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Rihanna Releases New Song with Paul McCartney and Kanye West

Westbury Road Entertainment/Roc Nation RecordsEarlier this month, Kanye West and Paul McCartney teamed up to release a new single called "Only One."  It was promised as the first of several collaborations between the two artists.  Now, a new collaboration has been released -- with Rihanna added to the mix.

The melodic acoustic track, featuring Rihanna, Kanye and McCartney, is called "FourFiveSeconds," and you can hear it at Rihanna's official website and via iTunes now.

Rihanna described the song on Twitter as "FIRST GLIMPSE AT MY NEW MUSIC!" The singer hasn't released a new album since 2012'S Unapologetic, but has been teasing the imminent release of new music for quite some time now.

"Now I'm four, five seconds from wildin'/And we got three more days 'til Friday," Rihanna sings.  "I'm just tryna make it back home by Monday, mornin'/I swear I wish somebody would try me/ Ooh, that's all I want/And I know that you're home tonight, thinkin' how could I be so selfish/but you called 'bout a thousand times wondering where I've been." 

Kanye also sings on the track; we assume that McCartney is the one playing acoustic guitar.

No word on when Rihanna's new album will actually be released.

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Jill Scott Talks "With This Ring," Explains Why She Only Dates Guys for Six Months

Bob Mahoney/Lifetime(NEW YORK) -- Jill Scott co-stars alongside Regina Hall and rapper Eve in Lifetime's original movie, With This Ring.

"The film is about three women, who are of a certain age. They've accomplished much in life, but they just haven't found the ideal love," the R&B singer tells ABC News Radio of the romantic comedy. "There's a lot of pressure in society to be I guess complete -- quote unquote complete. So these three women are making every effort to get married within the next year."

Jill stars as a single mother who, like the other ladies, vows to be married in 12 months. But Jill's character, Viviane, has her eyes already set on one man, the father of her child, Sean, portrayed by Jason George. Not to give too much away, but the two have a rather steamy love scene in the film. The Philadelphia singer says she didn't have much time to prepare.

"We had that scene the first day we met, so it really wasn't much time to figure it out. You know, I just work with the script," Jill explains. "My character was in love with this man, and that's all to it! You know, there's nothing for me to figure out. So it's go time. It's time for me to be in love with this man."

Jill says the cast filmed for one month in Cleveland, Ohio. It gave the stars time to get to know each other, and even discuss what With This Ring taught them about their own love lives.

"The movie made us all think about what we're doing. You know, what are we doing? For the married girls, it made them question and decide for certain that they made the right decision on who they married. They thought about it -- not to say they hadn't before -- but we talked about that: why they chose to marry these guys," she says. "And for Regina and I, the two single girls, we really thought about what it is that we want."

If Jill decides to walk down the aisle again, it would make her second time. She divorced graphic artist Lyzel Williams in 2007, and even broke off an engagement from her one-time drummer, Li'l John Roberts, a few months after giving birth to their son, Jett, in 2009.

The Grammy Award-winning singer says she knows why those relationships didn't work.

"You can hold your stomach in for four hours, but you can't hold it in forever," she explains in a metaphor. "You have to be who you are and you have to genuinely love who you love in order to have a lasting marriage. Getting married is one thing; staying married is something else."

Now, Jill says she's very focused when it comes to finding the one.

"I'm older now so I see a little bit better than I did before. My longest relationships now are about nine months. Actually, now it's grown to six months," she tells ABC News Radio. "There's no need for me to waste my time or anybody else's. I know by then. If you make it over the six month hump, you have done something. I must really like you." 

Lifetime's With This Ring premieres Saturday at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

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Chris Brown and Tyga Reveal Album Release Date and Artwork

Image Courtesy Pamela Littky/UniversalThe long awaited follow-up to Chris Brown and Tyga’s 2010 mixtape Fan of a Fan is coming this year.

Tyga announced on Twitter that Fan of a Fan: The Album will arrive February 24. He also posted the cover art which was inspired by Kris Kross. Tyga and Brown recently shot a video for the first single “Ayo," and they will join Trey Songz on the Between the Sheets tour kicking off January 28 in Hampton, Virginia.

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#FanofAFan The Album in stores and on iTunes on feb 24th @chrisbrown @Tyga pic.twitter.com/voZZSdXLUw

— T-Raww (@Tyga) January 23, 2015


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Chris Brown Posts "Violent" Mug Shot Caricature

Eliot Lee Hazel/RCA RecordsChris Brown has obviously had a violent past, and now it appears he’s admitting it, or maybe having fun with his reputation.

Breezy posted a cartoon caricature of himself on Instagram -- a mug shot with the words “Chris Brown…Violent…Police Department.” Perhaps this is his response to having his probation being revoked for leaving Los Angeles County to perform in San Jose, California without court permission.   

Brown also has his tender moments, as he displays in his new “Autumn Leaves” video in which he portrays a samurai warrior in love with a woman played by his real life girlfriend, Karrueche Tran.  The singer is now preparing for his Between the Sheets tour with Trey Songz and Tyga which kicks off January 27 in Hampton, Virginia.

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A photo posted by BREEZY (@chrisbrownofficial) on Jan 22, 2015 at 5:45pm PST



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Beyoncé Shuts Down Sales of “Feyoncé” Mugs

Eric McCandless/CBSBeyoncé does not like companies playing with her name, especially if they are making money from her fame.

A seller on the Etsy online marketplace was offering "Feyoncé" mugs -- as in "fiancée" -- which apparently had became popular gifts for engagements, according to TMZ. In an seeming referencing to Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies,” the mug design featured the word Feyoncé with the letter  “o” stylized as an engagement ring.  

According to TMZ, Queen Bey objected to the similarity in names and threatened to sue. Etsy removed the mugs, however as of Friday afternoon various sellers on the site continue to sell other products featuring the word "Feyoncé," including sweatshirts and wines glasses.

Beyonce is preparing for the Grammys on February 8 where she’s up for awards in six categories including Album of the Year. But it's possible that her lawyers may be preparing other threatening letters in response to those other Feyoncé items.

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B.o.B Has X-Rated Response to Iggy Azalea’s Critics

Jimmy Fontaine/Atlantic RecordsB.o.B has harsh words for Iggy Azalea's detractors.

“It comes with success. F**k 'em," B.o.B tells Billboard. "It’s all you can do. Keep being successful.”

The Southern rapper performed Thursday at the opening of the Billboard Winterfest at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. Iggy will   perform there Saturday night. They are both mentored by T.I., and they’ve recorded several songs together including “Million Dollar Misfits" and "Best Friend.”

B.o.B recently released his mixtape No Genre: The Label, and after recording with numerous stars including Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne and Trey Songz, he says there is one hip-hop heavyweight collaboration on his wish list.

“I want do something with DMX,” he declares, “because he’s the only artist that I grew up listening to that I haven’t gotten a chance to work with yet.”

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John Legend Performs Three-Song Tribute to Nina Simone at Sundance

ABC/Randy HolmesAfter marching in Selma, Alabama, on Sunday to celebrate Martin Luther King Day, John Legend was in Park City, Utah Thursday night to perform at the opening of the Sundance Film Festival.

According to Billboard, the nine-time Grammy Award winner took the stage following the screening of the Nina Simone documentary, What Happened, Miss Simone? He sang three of her most popular songs, "Lilac Wine,” "I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free," and "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood."

In paying tribute to the late Simone, the multi-genre singer and songwriter famous for her civil rights stances in the 1960s, John said, "She's been an inspiration to me for a long time. I find myself studying her versions of all kinds of songs, thinking about her wiseness, thinking about her boldness, thinking about her commitment to justice." He added “I'm truly humbled by this opportunity to be here tonight to honor her legacy."

As previously reported, Legend and Common will perform their Golden Globe-winning and Oscar-nominated song “Glory” at the Grammy Awards on February 8 in Los Angeles. Legend is nominated for a Grammy for Best Pop Solo Performance for "All of Me."

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Eminem Issues "Detroit vs. Everybody" Video featuring Big Sean

Aftermath RecordsEminem premiered his new video “Detroit Vs. Everybody” online Friday.

Slim Shady stars in the black-and-white clip with Big Sean, Royce da 5'9", Danny Brown, Trick Trick and Dej Loaf. They appear in various settings throughout Detroit rhyming about growing up in the Motor City. Em performs inside the Masonic Temple, Royce and Dej on rooftops, and Brown and Sean rap in dilapidated buildings. Detroit’s entertainment and sports venues are also showcased including Ford Field, Joe Louis Arena and Comerica Park.

The song is named after Detroit designer Tommey Walker's clothing line and appears on the Shady XV compilation album that was released in November 2014. “Detroit Vs. Everybody” was directed by Syndrome whose credits include Eminem's clips for "Berzerk," "Rap God" and "Guts over Fear."

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Kanye Explains Why He Does Not Like to Smile

Image Courtesy Peter Kramer/NBCKanye West rarely looks happy, and now he’s gone on record with a reason.

The rapper attended The Daily Front Row Fashion Los Angeles Awards Thursday night, and in presenting an award to Milk Studios founder Mazdack Rossi, he explained why he does not like to smile.

According to E! Online, he recalled seeing a book from the 1800s while he was recording his Yeezus CD. He said, "I looked at all these people's photos and they look so real and their outfits were incredible and they weren't smiling and people, you know the paparazzi, always come up to me, ‘Why you not smiling?' and I think, not smiling makes me smile...When you see paintings in an old castle, people are not smiling 'cause it just wouldn't look as cool."

West, who has enjoyed success as a designer, continued about the importance of fashion. "We have the power to change the world,“ he said. “I believe that through design, because design is the closest to truth, problem solving truth is the closest to love, and love is the closest thing to God, and God is love."

Rihanna, Ciara and Kerry Washington from Scandal were among the celebrities attending the show at the Sunset Tower Hotel.

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Usher Hits No. 1 on "Billboard" Hot R&B Songs Chart

Image Courtesy RCA/Saccenti

Usher can add another hit song to his extensive resume. The singer's latest single, "I Don't Mind" featuring Juicy J, sits atop Billboard's Hot R&B Songs chart this week.

According to the publication, the stripper anthem climbed from #3 to #1 this week, which marks both entertainer's first chart-topping title on the chart, which was launched in 2012. Without having an official music video, the song also enjoyed a 15-percent increase in streams on top of digital sales of 57,000 downloads. 

The track, which also sits atop the R&B Digital Songs chart, is the buzz track from Usher's highly anticipated eighth album, tentatively titled UR.

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TLC Surpasses Kickstarter Goal for Funding New Album

Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagicWell, that didn’t take long.  Just four days after TLC launched a Kickstarter campaign with a goal of raising $150,000 to fund a new album, remaining members Rozonda “Chili” Thomas and Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins say they have reached and surpassed that mark.

As of Thursday night, the girl group had raised more than $197,000 from 1,868 backers.  And there’s still 27 days to go in the campaign.  The backers include Katy Perry, who made a $5,000 donation.

In a statement posted on their Kickstarter page, T-Boz and Chili wrote, “Y'all are beyond amazing. We are happy and proud to say that this project is officially the MOST SUCCESSFUL POP PROJECT ON KICKSTARTER!!! You made this happen and we are so blessed!!”

The duo added, “Some of y'all are asking what we plan to do with the funds we are raising. Every dollar is going into making the album, together with you. The Kickstarter does not stop now that we hit our minimum goal $150,000!! The more funds that we raise means more access to the best producers, writers and talent in the business!!! We want this album to have our authentic TLC SOUND and work with the best of the best.”

The fundraising effort includes a number of fan rewards such as a TLC digital scrapbook, autographed lyrics, slumber party, photo shoot, and listening party.

T-Boz and Chili also released a statement to People magazine after reaching their goal, saying “Our hearts are overflowing with gratitude for our fans for all of their amazing support. We feel so blessed to know that not only do our fans love us, but they believe in us.”

"We have received support from longtime listeners that attended our first concerts, plus new fans who have only just started listening. We were also so humbled by the outpour of support from other artists like Katy Perry, New Kids on the Block, Dev Hynes, Russell Simmons, Soulja Boy, Bette Midler and more,” the statement concluded.

The project, which is due out later this year, will be TLC's first studio album since the death of founding member Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes in 2002.

TLC is going on tour this summer with New Kids on the Block and Nelly.

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Estelle Streams Album Sampler for "True Romance"

Image Courtesy Sophy Holland

Estelle is giving fans the chance to preview her upcoming album, True Romance, before it arrives next month.

A two-minute sampler of the singer's 12-song project, which includes the singles "Make Her Say (Beat It Up)" and "Conqueror," can be streamed now via her official YouTube page.

The sampler makes it clear that Estelle aimed to deal with a wide range of topics on the album. The singer recently revealed to ABC News that her song content is why fans appreciate her music.

"I think people that like my music, they appreciate that I'm never going to be one type of artist. The only type of artist that I'm going to be is the artist that does a lot of different styles of music," she says. "So it's not weird to me to sing a record like 'Conqueror,' because I can relate a thousand percent to that record and then sing a song like 'Make Her Say,' because I've been there too."

She continued, "A lot of people that listen to my music have been in equal spaces, have had the feeling of being an underdog and have the feeling of being super bossed up and empowered as a woman or as a guy. So, you know, I think they get it, they understand."

Fans can expect the singer's fourth studio effort to focus on four themes: "passion, courage, true romance and the bullsh**."  The set will arrive February 17, marking the first on her indie label, Est. 1980 Records.

The album is available for pre-order now.

Here's the track list for True Romance:

"Time After Time"
"Something Good / Devotion"
"Make Her Say (Beat It Up)"
"Time Share (Suite 509)"
"The Same"
"Fight for It"
"Silly Girls"
"Gotcha Love"
"She Will Love"
"All That Matters"
"Not Sure" (Bonus Track)

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Lupe Fiasco's "Tetsuo & Youth" Set for Modest First-Week Sales

Image Courtesy Atlantic RecordsThis week saw the release of Lupe Fiasco's Tetsuo & Youth, which is projected to have a modest sales start, based on first-day forecasts.

According to Hits Daily Double, industry insiders estimate that the rapper's album will sell approximately 35,000 to 40,000 copies in its first week, which includes on-demand streaming and digital track sales.

His final album for Atlantic Records features contributions from Ab-Soul, Trae Tha Truth, Fam-Lay, Guy Sebastian, Glasses Malone and more.

Elsewhere, Joey Bada$$B4.DA.$$ is expected to move approximately 50,000 to 55,000 units in its opening week.

The official sales tallys will be released next Wednesday.

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Pharrell Gets Animated for "The Simpsons"

Trae Patton/NBCPharrell Williams is getting animated. The “Happy” singer will be making a cameo appearance on The Simpsons next month, according to Entertainment Weekly.

In the February 8 episode of the Fox animated comedy, titled “Walking Big & Tall,” the city of Springfield learns their official city song is actually a carbon copy of many other cities’ official song.

“Pharrell offers to write a new anthem for the town,” said The Simpsons executive producer Al Jean.

Pharrell’s animated self will be wearing his infamous Vivienne Westwood-designed brown hat. The Simpsons is currently in its 26th season.

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TLC Recalls J. Cole Reaching Out for "Crooked I" Duet

Michael Becker/FOX

Back in 2013, J. Cole enlisted the vocal talents of TLC for one of his biggest hits, "Crooked Smile." Now, members Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins and Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas are recalling how their collaboration came together.

"He reached out to us and he wanted to work with TLC and when we heard the song,"  Chili explained to VladTV while promoting their Kickstarter campaign. "We definitely wanted to be apart of it, because the lyrical content was amazing -- almost like another version of 'Unpretty,' it was a great fit."

T-Boz adds of J. Cole, "He's a very talented producer and rapper." Both singers revealed that they enjoyed his latest album, 2014 Forest Hills Drive.  "Every song is talking about something relevant," says Chili of Cole's new material. "Pretty much every song on his alum was amazing."

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Jazmine Sullivan Confirms Sam Smith Concert; "Reality Show" Debuts Atop Billboard R&B Chart

Image Courtesy Shane McCauley/RCA Records

Looks like Sam Smith's wish to work with Jazmine Sullivan has just been granted. The songbird confirmed via Instagram that she will open his concert tonight at Detroit's Masonic Temple.

"I have a surprise guys," Jazmine wrote late Wednesday. "Any Sam smith fans that will be in Detroit tomorrow... I'll be opening up for him w a lil acoustic set! Very grateful! See u there"

The news comes on the heels of her latest album, Reality Show landing atop Billboard's R&B Albums chart. Her first album in four years also cracked the top 15 on the Billboard 200 chart, coming in at #12.

Reality Show, which features appearances from Meek Mill and Mona Lisa, was executive produced by the singer and boasts production from Salaam Remi, Anthony Bell and Key Wane.

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Iggy Azalea Wants to Be "Gyrating In a Leotard at 35"

Image Group LA/ABCIggy Azalea is fully aware that her career could be short-lived, but she hopes to still be “gyrating in a leotard at 35.”

In an interview with GQ, the 24-year-old Australian hip-hop star discussed everything from career longevity, to her tour aesthetic, to how she deals with haters. When asked what she wants her legacy to be at the end of her career she said, “You never know how long you'll be in people's good graces, especially in this business. So I hope it's long -- but I could be here for three or four years and then be out, like most artists. So it depends. I might be here for a long time.”

She added, “At the very worst, if I have a short-lived career, at least I could say I sparked a change -- that I inspired some leniency in what people accept in hip-hop. And if I have a very long career and can be gyrating in a leotard at 35, that would be great.”

Despite people’s criticisms, Iggy said she finds ways to take it all in stride. “Awards season helps,” she said. "Anytime where people get to choose who they want to have a voice and they choose me, I just think that makes it worth it. And that gives me the patience to just bite my tongue.”

Iggy is nominated for four Grammys this year, including Best New Artist, Record of the Year and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for "Fancy," and Best Rap Album, for The New Classic. She’s currently gearing up for her first arena tour, The Great Escape, which she said will be “trippy, cool, colorful.” She’s involved in everything from designing the tour posters to picking the right dancers.

Iggy is featured in GQ's February issue along with 18 other musicians for the magazine's "Legacy Project," which examines music makers who made a lasting impact over the past year. The issue comes out January 27.

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Michelle Williams Defends Beyonce Against Mike Huckabee's Disparaging Comments

ABC/Ida Mae AstuteMike Huckabee was in the hot seat on Thursday's The View when he appeared on the daytime talk show. It just so happened that former Destiny's Child singer Michelle Williams was guest co-hosting and took the former Arkansas governor to task about his recent comments about Beyonce.

In his book, God, Guns, Grits and Gravy, Huckabee called the pop superstar talented, but said songs such as "Drunk in Love" and "Partition" were a bad influence, especially on young girls. The politician even criticized President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama for letting their daughters, Sasha and Malia, listen to Beyonce's music.

"As someone who has definitely come up in a group with her, has seen her hard work and who she is, I just feel like that album and those songs, it was that one moment where she decided to probably do some songs she's always wanted to do to shed that 'I'm a good girl [image,]'" Williams said on The View. "She had some freedom and she owned it and she took it, so I was definitely offended."

"I'm not the Carter spokesperson, but to hear some of those comments that you said, I thought were very, very, very low," she added. "I respect you and this is not to throw mud and tomatoes."

Huckabee defended himself Thursday saying that the outrage was caused by inciting headlines, not necessarily what he wrote about the singer in his book. "Read it and if you're still offended, so be it. But I don't think people will be as offended," he said.

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Chris Brown & Tyga Release Lyric Video for "Ayo"

Image Courtesy Eliot Lee Hazel/RCA Records

After teasing fans earlier this week, Chris Brown has announced the lyric video release of his new single, "Ayo," featuring Tyga, their first offering from their joint album, Fan of a Fan 2.

The colorful clip, posted on YouTube, hints at what fans can expect of their upcoming Colin Tiley-directed clip. Tyga recently gave fans a glimpse into their Fast and Furious-inspired visual, which will see the duo racing their luxury cars throughout downtown Los Angeles.

Fan of a Fan 2, the follow-up to Brown and Tyga's 2010 mixtape, is due early this year.

Meanwhile, Breezy and Tyga will hit the road together on the "Between the Sheets Tour" with Trey Songz beginning January 28.

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