Sunday July 14th, 2002


New CD's this week:

None to report this week


Short news stories this week:

Whitney Houston's New Single Leaked To N.Y.C. Radio Stations

Whitney Houston's new single, "Whatcha Lookin' At," aired on New York City radio
stations on Wednesday (July 10). The song was co-written by Andre Lewis and Jerry
Mohammed, and will appear on her as-yet-untitled new release, tentatively due out
September 17. Other producers collaborating with Houston on the new collection include
Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds and Dallas Austin. Calls to Houston's Arista Records label
to find out who might have leaked the track were not returned by press time.
Although Houston has enjoyed a very successful recording career, industry insiders
believe she needs a hit record to recapture her past glory. Her rocky marriage to Bobby
Brown has made the cover of many tabloids, and her appearance at last year's Michael
Jackson tribute concert had many asking whether or not she was suffering from an
addiction to drugs.
Despite all the controversy surrounding her, Houston told us that she doesn't feel the
pressures of having to top her past efforts when she works on new material: "I suppose it
could put a lot if I try to outrun it, if I tried to outdo it, like, each time I did
something and my next project, 'I gotta out do this.' And then I did my next project,
'I gotta out do that,' and then I did my next project, 'I gotta out do that.' I don't
think that way--I think about doing quality work."

Earth, Wind & Fire Has Two Songs In Upcoming Eddie Murphy Movie

Two Earth, Wind and Fire (EWF) songs will be featured in the forthcoming Eddie
Murphy movie, The Adventures Of Pluto Nash. The songs are both new and, according to
an executive involved with the music for the film, one was written especially for the
Set in space in the year 2087, The Adventures Of Pluto Nash centers on a nightclub
owner who gets into trouble when he refuses to sell his club to gangsters who are plotting
to take over the moon. The movie, which also stars Pam Grier and Rosario Dawson,
opens August 16.
EWF leader Maurice White recently talked where the songs featured in the movie came
from: "They're things from the live stuff, like from Oakland Coliseum, that I heard the
other night, and the tempos were so fast, you know what I mean? Those ill be the two
tunes, you know, from live, things in the can that we hadn't put out."



Eric Benet In Rehab

The National Enquirer reports that Eric Benet is being treated for sexual addiction at a
rehab center in Arizona. The Enquirer says that Benet checked into The Meadows clinic
in Wickenburg, Arizona after his wife, Halle Berry, caught him cheating. The tabloid ran
a picture of Halle supposedly visiting Benet at the clinic with Benet's daughter, India.

Whitney Houston 'Back To Goose-Bump Time' On New LP

Aside from the ice grill she gives the camera in Murder Inc.'s "Down 4 U" video,
Whitney Houston (the woman whom Irv Gotti calls the quintessential "down ass chick")
is giving people those old familiar chills, according to one of her collaborators.
"She's singing better than I've heard her sing in years," boasted Kenneth "Babyface"
Edmonds over the weekend at the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans. "Her voice is
in tip-top shape and it's back to goose-bump time. When she's in the studio, I'm really
excited about how she's going at it. She's going at it hard. She's very focused.
"There are some classic Whitney things and some things that have a pop flavor as well,"
added 'Face, who's writing and producing for the project. "The main thing I can say about
her is that she is singing her butt off right now."
Irv Gotti, Rodney Jerkins, Platinum Status (IMX) and Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis have all
come forth in the past several months and said that they, too, were producing on the
Tweet has also said she's written a song for the LP.
Houston's spokesperson at Arista Records, who was unavailable for comment on
Wednesday, previously divulged that the singer's next album should be out this fall.
Exactly what music makes the cut has yet to be seen, though Houston does have obvious
favoritism toward one of the album's contributors: her husband, Bobby Brown.
Tuesday afternoon on New York radio station WBLS, on-air personality Wendy
Williams played "Whatcha Lookin' At," a track Williams said Brown produced. A voice
similar to his can also be heard singing some background parts and adlibbing.
"My following is real strong/ You got the heart to show the world what I do/ Now I'm
turnin' the cameras back on you/ Same spotlights, the ones who gave me fame/ Tryin' to
dirty up Whitney's name," Houston scoffs on the track.
She then laments about people who've been "messing with [her] reputation" and
"concentration" and don't "even have no education" on the chorus, singing, "I feel your
eyes on me/ You been telling lies on me."


Angie Stone Exploring Acting And Theology School

Respected R&B singer Angie Stone expands her resume to include more than just music-
related career moves. The artist, who released her sophomore solo album Mahogany Soul
last fall on J Records, adds acting and an interest in theology to her list of endeavors.
Stone recently discussed her theatrical works in progress, including the movie The Hot
Chicks, starring two top comedians: ["Well I just completed my first feature film with
Rob Schneider and Adam Sandler. I'm doing some work with the Girlfriends television
show right now. I'm also doing the new movie Fighting Temptations with Cuba Gooding
Jr. and Beyonce (Knowles). So I would say, you know, that acting is in my path."]
But film and television projects aren't the only new ventures maintaining Stone's interest:
["But I'd really like to go to ministry school and get my preach on, eventually. That's
what I want to do, eventually."]

Boyz II Men Serenade Hoops Star At Wedding

When Miami Heat player Jimmy Jackson married entertainment manager Shawnee
Simms in Atlanta on Saturday (July 6), members of Boyz II Men were on hand to
serenade the newlyweds. The group sang during the wedding, and R&B singer-model
Tyrese performed during the reception, AP reports. Simms was escorted down the aisle
by former heavyweight boxing champ Mike Tyson.
The members of Boyz II Men credit "being real" for their ability to perform at various
charity events and occasions during the past 10 years. As member Michael McCary tells
LAUNCH: ["We do our best to try to just give people what we are, and we don't try to
give anybody anything different, or try to hold up a torch or something to say, 'Well, OK,
we're gonna do this 'cause we're the good guys.' We do this because this is what we do-
this is who we are. It's not a facade, and this is just what it is."]

TLC's Chilli And T-Boz Hard At Work Finishing New Album

Chilli (Rozonda Thomas) and T-Boz (Tionne Watkins), the surviving members of TLC,
are hard at work trying to complete the group's fourth, as-yet-untitled album. It has been
hard for the pair to focus following the tragic death of groupmember Lisa "Left Eye"
Lopes. who was killed on April 25 in Jutiapa, Honduras, when her SUV flipped over-
while others in the vehicle sustained non-life-threatening injuries, Lopes died after
sustaining severe head trauma.
Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, who signed the group to his LaFace Records in the early
'90s and produced several of their hits, is currently in the studio with Chilli and T-Boz.
Edmonds told AP, "There will be ups and downs throughout. There will be times when
they feel it more than others."
Some of the other producers working on the new set include Rodney Jerkins, Dallas
Austin, and Raphael Saadiq. Fortunately, Lopes was able to record some vocals that will
be included on the new set, which was scheduled for release in the fall before her untimely death.


112 And P. Diddy Dispute Label Deal, Publishing Deal, And Last Words

After offering politically correct comments regarding their future with Sean "P. Diddy"
Combs's Bad Boy Records, Combs's protege group 112 said they are parting ways with
Combs, and have signed a recording deal with the Island Def Jam music group.
The Atlanta-based quartet that includes members Daron Jones, Quinnes "Q" Parker,
Michael Keith, and Marvin "Slim" Scandrick released its 1996 self-titled debut on
Combs's label that also featured the late Notorious B.I.G., Faith Evans, and Craig Mack
112 signed with Def Jam after it was relieved of its commitment to Bad Boy, Scandrick
told us: "Oh yeah, we're already signed to Def Jam. I'm not sure of the date. But we
signed the deal once we found out that we fulfilled all our obligations for the
production deal which was, we turned in more than enough masters. I guess that
severed ties from the label Bad Boy, and after, it was a strong bidding war. And
after that bidding war, Def Jam just made sense for the careers of 112."
A spokesperson for Combs said Scandrick's claims are false. "They are signed to Bad
Boy, and there is a preliminary injunction in Atlanta and New York that prevents 112
from releasing an album with Island Def Jam," Combs's spokesperson said about the
court order filed in February. "This is an extraordinary remedy from court to do this. The
court only grants such an injunction if they are convinced that there is substantial
likelihood that the plaintiff (Bad Boy) will prevail at trial."
A spokesperson for Island Def Jam said she could not discuss whether 112 was signed to
the label due to the injunction.
Both Combs and 112 agree, however, that there is a standstill agreement in place that
prevents the group from recording. The group meets daily to discuss song ideas and
concepts while awaiting a decision, Scandrick said. "As soon as the judge rules and gives
us point of direction, then we'll proceed," 112's manager, Marcus Grant of The Firm told
us. "But right now, like Slim said, they are just being creative and just getting their
chemistry ready for this amazing fourth album they're going to put out."
The dispute between Combs and 112 stems from the group's charges that Bad Boy did
not compensate or promote them according to their worth. Scandrick said that while the
group handled the majority of the writing and or producing on many of its hit songs
("Anywhere," "It's Over Now," "Peaches & Cream"), Combs received 100 percent of the
group's publishing for six years, and often neglected to feature the group on award shows,
saving the limelight for himself. Scandrick added that the group's former attorney begged
them not to sign their first contract with Bad Boy, but the group signed the contract
anyway, believing Combs's promises to treat them fairly.
Scandrick's allegations that Combs previously owned 100 percent of 112's publishing is
incorrect, according to Comb's spokesperson. "They had a traditional co-publishing deal
for which they were paid substantial advances commensurate with the then prevailing
market rate," the spokesperson said. "And the advances have been renegotiated to pay
112 even greater advances on several occasions."
Combs successfully renegotiated 112's contract twice, and recently made a "substantial"
offer for what would have been the third contractual revision for the group, Combs's
spokesperson said.
But according to Scandrick, Combs's recent offer was not up to par with the other label
bids: "What he offered wasn't close to the last deal. Like, the deal that was the less.
It wasn't close. It wasn't the money, the points, percentage, everything. It was
nothing. So for him to say we're letting outside influences, you know, people talk to
us to influence our decisions, we're looking at our record deal."
Scandrick and the other members of 112 love Combs like a brother and just want to be
signed to a record label willing to give them what they are worth, Scandrick said: "We
don't want all this problems, you know what I'm saying? We don't condone all the
fighting and all the wild stuff. If anything, you know, once we pursued our
production agreement, you notice that we're not bashing him or nothing like that. I
mean, we just want what we deserve. It's him that took it to the Federal courts. I
mean, we're very confident in our squad, our lawyer, and our management team,
our new management team, The Firm. We never complained once. Now that we
fulfilled it. Leave us alone."
Combs's spokesperson, who added that Combs anticipates working with the group on
future Bad Boy projects, said that Combs deserves credit for developing the group. "Mr.
Combs signed 112, created their image and hitmaking sound, establishing 112 as one of
the hottest R&B groups," the spokesperson said. "As he has done with so many others,
Sean Combs made 112 into the successful group they are today."
As a result of the squabbling, Combs has a vendetta against the group, Scandrick said.
When Scandrick last spoke to Combs while in an Atlanta club, Combs expressed harsh
words, Scandrick said. "He handed me a bottle of Cristal like, 'There's no love lost,'"
Scandrick said, quoting Combs. "'But I'm going to teach ya'll a lesson in business.'"
According to Combs's spokesperson, Combs never made such a charge. Combs did tell that he would get past his differences with the group after allowing the courts
to intervene. "We'll take them back in, cradle them," Combs said. "We'll get their minds
right, and put out a new hot album and let bygones be bygones."



News 2002

News 2001