Sunday December 9th 2001


Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles and R&B Album Chart December 15


New CD's this week:

Well would you believe, no new releases on the soul/RnB front, but be prepared
for the new Joe album in the coming week.


Short  news stories this week:

Jones Girl Dead at 45

Valerie Jones, one-third of the sister group The Jones Girls, has passed away. Along with her
sisters Brenda and Shirley, Valerie Jones sang backup for various Motown artists before signing
to Philadelphia International Records, according to the Detroit News. The trio also sang background
for Lou Rawls, Teddy Pendergrass and Aretha Franklin. They were with Diana Ross for three years
in the mid-1970s. While on Philadelphia International, they recorded four albums resulting in seven
charted singles. The most successful of those were "You Gonna Make Me Love Somebody Else"
in 1979 and, in 1980, "I Just Love The Man." A native of Detroit, Ms. Jones died on Sunday,
December 2nd at Sinai Grace Hospital. The cause of death was not known at presstime. She is
survived by her mother, Mary Frazier Jones; a son, Felton; and her sisters Shirley and Brenda Jones.
Valerie Jones was 45.


Janet Sets Early 2002 Tour Dates

Fresh from receiving the Artist Achievement honor at the 2001 Billboard Music
Awards, Janet Jackson has scheduled a handful of 2002 tour dates. The shows,
which begin Jan. 25 in Louisville, Ky., will presumably keep the diva in top
performing shape for her Feb. 17 live HBO concert special from Honolulu's
Aloha Stadium.
Tickets for the newly added stops in Louisville, Champaign, Ill., Atlantic City,
N.J., Wilkes Barre, Pa., and Hampton, Va., will go on sale Saturday (Dec. 8)
via Ticketmaster. The Honolulu performance is not yet on sale, and a few more
dates are expected to be added to the itinerary.
Jackson is touring in support of her Virgin set "All for You," which in April debuted
on top of The Billboard 200. The set spawned the No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 single
"All for You" and also includes "Doesn't Really Matter," which hit No. 1 on the
chart in an earlier release from the "Nutty Professor II: The Klumps" soundtrack.
The album's latest single, "Son of a Gun" featuring Missy Elliott, P. Diddy, and
Carly Simon jumps 33-29 on the latest chart. A commercial single release of the
track is due Tuesday (Dec. 11).


Alicia Keys's Debut Album Hits 4 Million Mark

Singer-songwriter Alicia Keys's Cinderella ride to superstardom doesn't appear to
be coming to an end anytime soon. The singer's debut set, "Songs In A Minor", was
recently certified quadruple-platinum for sales of 4 million copies. Keys also landed
two awards on Tuesday night (December 4) at the 2001 Billboard Music Awards,
taking home honors for new female artist and new R&B/hip-hop artist.
Keys hopes to maintain her winning ways at the American Music Awards (AMAs)
in January. The singer has been nominated in five AMA categories, including pop/
rock favorite female artist and favorite new artist, as well as soul/R&B favorite
female artist, favorite new artist, and favorite album for "Songs In A Minor".
Keys's success has been fueled by her lead single, "Fallin'," and the follow-up,
"A Woman's Worth." The talented singer-songwriter shared the essence of "A
Woman's Worth": "Basically just about cherishing your woman and cherishing
your partner, you know what I'm sayin', 'cause a real woman will cherish her man
and a real man will cherish his woman. So that's basically what that's about, but
it's ill."

Prince Single Going Online For Free

The new Prince single, "She Loves Me 4 Me," will been made available for free
download from the singer's album website ( beginning
December 10. Earlier this fall, Prince put his new album "The Rainbow Children"
online for download via his NPG Music Club, but to access the album one had to be
a paying member of the website. Beginning Monday (December 9), however, members
and non-members alike will be able to download "She Loves Me 4 Me" to their
computers. Prince has been a leader in the online marketing and distribution of music
since his decade-old falling out with traditional record labels.


Ladies Of Destiny's Child Going Solo?

Recent Billboard Music Awards winners Beyonce Knowles, Kelly Rowland, and
Michelle Williams of Destiny's Child are planning to put the group's career on hold
temporarily as they pursue their own respective solo careers.
In February, the Texas-based trio took home two Grammy Awards: best R&B song
and best R&B performance by a duo or group, both for the track "Say My Name."
Earlier this week, the trio snagged five Billboard Music Awards, including artist,
artist duo/group, Hot 100 singles group artist, Hot 100 singles artist, and soundtrack
single for "Independent Woman Part I" from the "Charlie's Angels" soundtrack.
Destiny's Child is currently one of the best-selling female groups in the world, moving
more than 15 million albums and singles worldwide to date. In 1998 the group released
its self-titled debut album, and it hasn't stopped working since then. Knowles told E!
News Daily's Jules Asner of the ride, "Destiny's Child put out four albums in four years,
which is unbelievable. That doesn't happen a lot. We've been working, Kelly and I,
since we were 9, nonstop. So I think Destiny's Child is gonna take a little break."
"I think the great thing about us doing this is we will all have to develop individually,"
added Knowles. "You're in a group and it's kind of like your girls are like your security
blanket. Even doing interviews is real scary. But hopefully we'll be able to do a tour
and do our own songs and Destiny's Child songs."
The group will most likely part ways shortly after its rescheduled European tour wraps
in mid-June. Rowland noted that once the ladies separate they are not really sure when
they will regroup, but she reflected, "You know how the Beatles broke off, they all
did their solo projects, and they came back together and they were even stronger."

Ja Rule And Christina Milian 'Get Away' To Paris This Weekend

Ja Rule and Christina Milian are scheduled to head to Paris this weekend to tape the
video for "Get Away," the new song from her self-titled debut, due during the first
quarter of next year. "Get Away" was written by Milian, Ja Rule, and Irv Gotti, who
also produced the song. The video will be directed by Little X.
The song is the follow up to "AM To PM" which peaked at Number 58 on Billboard's
Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart.
Ja Rule and Milian first hooked up to record "Between Me & You" for Ja Rule's "Rule
3:36" album. "Between Me & You" reached Number Five on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop
Singles & Tracks chart. Milian co-wrote Jennifer Lopez's "Play," and toured with
*NSYNC this past summer.

Alicia Keys Embarking On Her First Solo North American Tour In January

Alicia Keys will launch her first solo North American tour on January 22 at the
Oakdale Theater in Boston. The singer-songwriter, who produced and arranged her
entire J Records debut album, "Songs In A Minor", is currently nominated for eight
Billboard Music Awards.
Keys's Billboard Music Awards nominations include female artist of the year, new
artist, female album, Hot 100 single, female Hot 100 singles artist, female R&B/hip-
hop artist, new R&B/hip-hop artist, and R&B/hip-hop album. In addition to her five
nods, Keys is scheduled to perform at the ceremony, which will air live from the
MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Fox Television Network tonight
(December 4) from 8 to10 p.m. ET/PT (tape delayed on the West Coast).
"This year has been incredible," said Keys. "I am so looking forward to getting out
and playing live around the country. It gives me an opportunity to be intimate with
the people that have supported my music and I can't wait." In addition, when we
spoke with Keys, the singer shared that the live performance is really what it is all
about: "Absolutely. When it comes to music, I definitely intend to be doing this for
a long time: performing. The closest thing is going to definitely be millions and
millions and trillions of shows. The live show is definitely hot and it's definitely
what I'm mostly about."
Keys is also in the running for five American Music Awards (AMA). The AMAs
will be presented during a live three-hour special on ABC on January 9 starting at
8 p.m. ET/PT (tape delayed on the West Coast).
"Songs In A Minor" was recently certified quadruple-platinum by the Recording
Industry Association Of America. New York native Keys spent much of November
in Europe promoting the her album release, and she is currently rehearsing for her
solo tour.

Toni Braxton Gives Birth To Baby Boy

R&B songbird Toni Braxton gave birth to Denim Cole Braxton Lewis on Sunday
(December 2) in Atlanta. The baby boy weighed in at five pounds, 12 ounces.
The child was the first for Braxton and her husband, keyboardist Keri Lewis of Mint
Condition. Braxton's spokesman David Brokaw told AP, "Mom and baby are doing
Braxton and Lewis married in Atlanta in April at a wedding attended by some 250
guests, including musicians Monica, Usher, Mack 10, Donell Jones, and T-Boz and
Chilli of TLC. The couple met while touring four years ago, when Mint Condition
served as Braxton's accompaniment when she opened for Kenny G.
In related news, Braxton released a Christmas album, Snowflakes, on October 23. The
set is currently Number 15 on the Billboard Top Holiday Albums chart and Number
156 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. "Snowflakes" was produced by Braxton,
Lewis, L.A. Reid, and Daryl Simmons, and features a guest appearance by reggae
superstar Shaggy on "Christmas In Jamaica." Braxton's younger sister Tamar Braxton
sang backup on the set and also contributed her writing talents to "Holiday Celebrate."

Babyface Denies Rumors About Wife Cheating

Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds is livid about a rumor regarding his wife, Tracey,
having an affair with L.A. Laker Derrick Fisher. The accusation was made Tuesday,
December 27 by comedian Huggy Low Down during the gossip report segment of
The Donnie Simpson Show on Washington D.C.'s 95.5 WPGC-FM.
"Tracey doesn't even know who Derrick Fisher is. She doesn't follow sports,"
Babyface told The Steve Harvey Morning Show Monday (December 3). "This is totally
a lie. It bothers me for my wife to get hurt. Her reputation is spotless, and still is."
The Edmonds add that their family has also been affected by the erroneous gossip.
"This false allegation has not only caused us hurt and pain, but has caused pain to
our families," the Edmonds added in a statement. "As parents, and out of respect
for our families, we are asking that members of the media please use restraint from
further dissemination of this false and baseless rumor. Thank you."
Simpson, a former BET VJ, has reportedly issued his own statement, apologizing
and condemning Huggy. We were unable to reach Simpson by press time.
Babyface's song "What If," is Number 41 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles
& Tracks chart.


News 2001