Sunday December 16th 2001


Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles and R&B Album Chart December 22


New CD's this week:

R&B vocalist Joe is back this week with "Better Days," his third Jive album
and the follow-up to 2000's "My Name Is Joe". The first single "Let's Stay
Home Tonight" is already No. 25 on Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop Singles &


Short  news stories this week:

Mary J. Blige Planning To Launch February Tour

The queen of hip-hop soul, Mary J. Blige, is planning to embark on a national tour
in early 2002. The singer has yet to name any potential opening acts or an exact
start date.
We recently spoke to the singer about her upcoming performance run: "I'll be on
tour in February. I don't have the dates yet, but it's just going to be an evening with
Mary. So everybody come out and see an evening with Mary."
Blige's single, "No More Drama," reached Number 31 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-
Hop Singles & Tracks chart last week. The Dr. Dre-produced first single, "Family
Affair," hit Number 12. Her album, also titled No More Drama, is certified platinum
and recently reached Number 15 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.

Destiny's Child Members Say They Are 'Very Much Together'

Destiny's Child is not breaking up, the group announced Thursday, December 13
in a statement issued to quell the flurry of rumors about the group's demise
recently circulating in the media. Destiny's Child's upcoming plans include new
albums, television appearances in both the United States and Europe, and much
more in the future, according to the group's Columbia Records label.
Singer Michelle Williams recently explained backstage at the Billboard Music
Awards that Destiny's Child will also embark on a world tour in the spring of 2002:
"We are going to resume our world tour, which was postponed. We will be
everywhere from April to June--Europe, Australia, Japan, everywhere--so if you
look at you will be able to find those wonderful tour
In yesterday's statement, Destiny's Child singers Beyonce Knowles, Kelly Rowland,
and Williams said: "We are very much a group, very much together, and plan to be
for many years. Destiny's Child. We've worked really hard to get to where we are
and have been blessed with success and the incredible support of our fans. We're
like sisters, we really love and understand each other and have such a great time
that we can't even think about breaking up Destiny's Child."
The statement continued: "We just want to take a little time to work on some things
that reflect our individual personalities and we're going to help and support each
other with everything we do. We're going to see our fans on our spring world tour
and start working on a new group album right after that."
In the meantime, each member of the group is working on her own individual
projects. Knowles appears as Foxy Cleopatra in Austin Powers In Goldmember,
due in theaters July 26. Williams has been recording an album of inspirational music,
and Rowland is recording material for an album showcasing her own combination
of R&B, rock, and soul.
The new Destiny's Child holiday album, titled 8 Days Of Christmas, is currently
climbing the Billboard 200 albums chart, and the group is scheduled to perform
its "Christmas Medley" on CBS's The Early Show on December 24. The Early
Show airs weekdays from 7 to 9 a.m. ET.

Musiq Soulchild Wants Fans To 'Just Listen'

Musiq Soulchild is currently mixing and putting the finishing touches on his
sophomore set, titled Just Listen. The singer hopes to have the album out by
March but has not yet decided on a lead single. Aijuswanaseing, the singer's 2000
debut album, has been certified platinum for sales of 1 million copies and features
the hits "Love," "Just Friends," and "Girl Next Door."
Musiq Soulchild was recently nominated for an American Music Award for
favorite new soul/R&B artist. He will be compete against Blu Cantrell and
Alicia Keys for the coveted award, which will be presented in a ceremony at
Los Angeles's Shrine Auditorium that will air live on ABC beginning at 8 p.m.
ET on January 9.

Unreleased Live Album From Earth, Wind & Fire Due In March

A never-before-released live album from Earth, Wind & Fire is set for release on
March 5 via Columbia/Legacy. Titled That's The Way Of The World: Alive In '75!,
it's a collection of unheard performances from various stops on the band's 1975 U.S.
tour. A spokesperson said the set is still being finalized, so a tracklist was unavailable
at press time.
Drummer Ralph Johnson told LAUNCH there's one thing that hasn't changed for
Earth, Wind & Fire's core members throughout the band's history: "For myself,
Philip (Bailey), and Verdine (White), it's still fun. We thoroughly enjoy what we
do on stage--we enjoy the camaraderie, we have a great band, we still enjoy it. We
still enjoy the travel all over the world."


News 2001