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In Case You Haven’t Heard …

Posted by ThatsMyJamRadio on June 16, 2008

A Quick Serving of News and Gossip from the Music Biz

Fourteen counts, two words: “not guilty.” That’s what R. Kelly heard on Friday when he was acquitted in his child pornography trial, in which he was accused of videotaping sexual acts between himself and girl who prosecutors said was as young as 13 in the video. Now free of the charges, Kelly should have plenty of creative ammo for forthcoming chapters of the Trapped in the Closet saga. (Avoid pulling an Ashanti, though, who caused plenty of drama with her video and accompanying Web site for “The Way That I Love You,” which depicts the songstress murdering her cheating boyfriend. The clip was met with protests last week in L.A.)

Janet Jackson is facing a saga of another sort with her record label, Island Def Jam. After airing her frustration with the label for not promoting her album, Discipline, Jackson has cancelled the European leg of her Rock Witchu Tour, saying she’s unable to make the trek due to the poor promotion and, basically, a lack of funds. Though Jackson’s issues are now well-known, that didn’t stop Amerie from flocking to IDJ after terminating her deal with Columbia Records. Amerie’s last album, Because I Love It, was released internationally last year, but it’s not known if the effort will be her label debut.

Debuting at the age of 50 is Prince. His Purpleness reportedly held a low-key birthday celebration, the type not expected from a man who sang about “partying like it’s 1999,” but surely redeems himself with a forthcoming book called 21 Nights, a pictorial chronicling concert performances from last summer.

Speculation continues as to whether or not Michael Jackson (who, along with Madonna ― whose brother is apparently writing a tell-all book on the Material Girl ― will also turn 50 this year) will become a Vegas headliner, though its far more likely than Diddy (excuse please, Puff Daddy) picking an identity. But Jacko is apparently interested in following some of Mr. Combs ambitions and wants to add clothing designer to his résumé. The King of Pop has supposedly been in talks with Ed Hardy and Christian Audigier regarding the endeavor.

While Aretha Franklin is set to headline the Newport Jazz Festival in August, Natasha Bedingfield will take on opening act chores for the recently reunited New Kids on the Block, whose tour begins in September. Don’t expect any further performances from Portishead this calendar year or George Michael ever (at least in arenas), as the former Wham! frontman says he’s through after his current tour wraps up. Do, however, expect performances from Rihanna, Ne-Yo and Jennifer Hudson at next week’s BET Awards. The trio will join (Mashonda and Swizz Beatz homewrecker?) Alicia Keys, Chris Brown (remember his performance at last year’s MTV Video Music Awards?), Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Jill Scott, Nelly and Usher on the show’s roster. Will Terrence Howard perform? The Iron Man actor is slated to appear at the awards, and is the studio working on material, some of which has already been endorsed by power couple Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez. After conquering Hollywood, perhaps it’s not so hard for this acting pimp to make the transition into music.

Speaking of movies, rumor has it Amy Winehouse has officially been passed over for theme song duty on the next James Bond flick. Instead, Leona Lewis is apparently being offered the task for the flick with a planned fall release. Hopefully the film will be more entertaining than the upcoming train wreck Outsiders Inn, a spin-off to CMT’s Gone Country, that features Bobby Brown, Carnie Wilson and Maureen McCormick. And Britney Spears’ producers from How I Met Your Mother are campaigning for the pop princess to get an Emmy for her appearance on the show. A win there could make up for her cameo being cut from Pussycat Dolls’ latest video, “When I Grow Up.”

In “white boys who love hip-hop” news, Everlast is set to make a return in September with Love, War and the Ghost of Whitey Ford; Scott Storch is in it deep for not paying child support; Mark Wahlberg says, “No f*cking way” to a reunion of Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch in light of his brother, Donnie’s, recent regrouping with NKOTB; and Eminem is apparently in the studio, announcing this during a prank call to LL Cool J on a radio show. (Maybe Peter Buffett should be included here, too. He is, after all, collaborating with Akon.)

Who has a new album or single coming out? Missy Elliott will deliver her first full-length in three years in August, called Block Party, as will Danny Tenaglia, whose new disc is titled Futurism. Girls Aloud’s Sarah Harding has announced plans to go solo, and solo act and New Edition frontman Ralph Tresvant recently dropped his latest single, “It Must Be You,” via Be on the lookout for Pretty Ricky’s next effort, ’80s Babies, in August. Along with new music, fans will meet new member 4Play, a replacement for Pleasure P, who parted ways with the group last year and has a solo effort in the works with collaborators such as Ne-Yo. Fatboy Slim also has a new project called Brighton Port Authority, a fictional group whose word-of-mouth “following” lasted (and was likely influenced by) the 1970s up to the 1990s.

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