Sunday June 23rd, 2002


New CD's this week:

-  Brenda Hillman - Paper boat: debut album by thi singer, a mix of fusioned R&B and Jazz
   (UK release)


Short news stories this week:

P. Diddy Keeps Artist Roster In Amicable Split With Arista

Bad Boy Records head Sean "P. Diddy" Combs and Arista Records CEO and President
Antonio "L.A." Reid announced Thursday (June 20) that the record labels are parting
ways amicably, effective immediately.
As part of the split, Combs acquires his company, Bad Boy Records, as well as the entire
artist roster and catalog, dismissing rumors that Faith Evans would leave Bad Boy for
Arista and 112 for Island Def Jam.
In a statement released by spokespersons for Reid and Combs, Combs discussed his
tenure with Arista that began in 1993. "I have enjoyed my successful partnership with
Arista and most recently working with L.A. Reid," Combs said. "I decided it was time to
move my company to a new home, and I wish L.A. the best and look forward to working
with him in the future."
Reid added, "The history of Bad Boy and Arista over the past 10 years resulted in a
revolutionary shift in the music business. P. Diddy and his Bad Boy Records remain at
the forefront of the rap and hip-hop movement, whose culture and climate continue to
influence today's musical scene. I value my relationship with Sean, and I wish him well
in his future endeavors."
According to the release, active Bad Boy projects including P. Diddy and Evans will
continue to receive sales, promotion, and marketing support from Arista on an interim
basis, as well as distribution from BMG, Arista's parent company.
Sources close to LAUNCH speculate that Combs and Bad Boy Records will join the
Sony Music family.
Combs addressed his intention to part with Arista at the 2002 American Music Awards in
January: ["I'm finishing my deal with Arista, and I'm about to be a free agent. It's about to
be as if Michael Jordan was, you know, available. You know, and we are really going to
see how that thing goes down."]
The Bad Boy Roster includes P. Diddy, Evans, 112, Carl Thomas, Notorious B.I.G., and
Dream, among others.
P. Diddy's most recent album, We Invented The Remix, debuted at Number One on
Billboard, and includes the single "I Need A Girl."

R. Kelly Speaks Out In New Song, 'Heaven, I Need A Hug'

A week before his arraignment, R. Kelly has already entered a plea - an emotional plea
for the support of his fans.
His latest song, "Heaven, I Need a Hug," finds the R&B singer - currently facing 21
counts of child pornography-related - reaching out to his hometown of Chicago, where
the song debuted Tuesday night on WGCI-FM.
"Heaven, I Need a Hug" is the only legit track from the Loveland sessions to be released,
as the rest have since been scrapped because of bootlegging .The song was written in
response to the current scandal, according to WGCI Program Director Elroy Smith, who
said he met with Kelly and waited until he got permission from Kelly's label before airing
the track.
In the mid-tempo ballad, Kelly accuses his detractors of rushing to judgement, criticizes
women for dependence on men, asks the media to give him a break, and begs for a little
human tenderness ("Heaven, I need a hug/ Would anyone out there like to hug a thug?"
goes the chorus).
Kelly sings, "I gave 13 years of my life to this industry/ Hit song or not, I've given all of
me/ You smile in my face and tell me you love me/ But then before you know the truth
you're so quick to judge me."
Kelly goes on to blame his current troubles on his celebrity, a belief he also put forth in
his May interview with MTV News He sings, "It's all because I'm famous/ You know
what I'm sayin'/ I mean if I wasn't famous/ Then all this wouldn't be happening/ I'm just
being real."
So far the song has been getting a good reaction in Chicago. WGCI reports that within 90
minutes of adding the song to the playlist Tuesday evening, "Heaven, I Need a Hug"
became one of the station's most requested songs.
Rival Chicago station WBBM-FM has banned Kelly's music because of the charges
against him. WGCI, which has been supportive of Kelly's career since his days in Public
Announcement and was the focal point of a community, takes the position that the station
won't condemn the singer unless the courts do, Smith said. However, WGCI has stopped
playing some of Kelly's more innuendo-laden songs, such as "Feelin' on Yo Booty."

Bobby Brown Hospitalized In Virginia

R&B singer Bobby Brown was hospitalized in Virginia after running a fever while
traveling from Atlanta to New Jersey on a tour bus with his wife, Whitney Houston.
Brown's publicist Nancy Seltzer told AP that Brown was given intravenous antibiotics at
a hospital in Fredericksburg, although the nature of the singer's infection was not
disclosed. Houston and Brown had been in Atlanta working on Houston's forthcoming
In related news, Brown recently decided not to join his former groupmates in New
Edition for a reunion tour. The group, minus Brown, is scheduled to kick off a tour with
En Vogue later this month. The members of New Edition plan to record a new album,
launch a new tour, and film an autobiographical movie next year to celebrate their 20th
anniversary in the music business.

New Edition/ En Vogue tour dates (subject to change):
June 28 - Las Vegas, NV - House Of Blues
June 29 - Universal City, CA - Universal Amphitheatre
June 30 - Oakland, CA - Paramount Theatre
July 4 - Atlanta, GA - Chastain Park Amphitheatre
July 5 - Baltimore, MD - Pier Six Concert Pavilion
July 12 - Washington, DC - DAR Constitution Hall
July 19 - Upper Darby, PA - Tower Theatre
July 21 - Boston, MA - FleetBoston Pavilion
July 26 - Detroit, MI - Fox Theatre
July 27 - Chicago, IL - Arie Crown Theater
July 31 - Miami, FL - James L. Knight Center

Brandy Gives Birth To Baby Girl On Father's Day

Brandy gave birth to her daughter Sy'rai on Father's Day, June 16. Sy'rai is the first child
for Brandy and her husband, producer Robert Smith, who were married last summer.
Brandy, Robert, and Sy'rai are "all there, are extremely happy at home, and are doing
very well," according to a statement posted Wednesday (June 19) on Brandy's website,
Prior to giving birth, Brandy told us why she decided to wait to reveal the baby's name to
the public: "I started to tell on the Steve Harvey Morning Show today the baby's name. He
said, 'Don't tell us the name because everybody will want you to change it, and tell you
why you shouldn't name the baby what you named her. And you never know what her
personality is gonna be when she gets here and the name could change when she gets
here.' So, I don't want to say anything until she actually gets here."

Tyrese's J Records Debut Due Out In November

R&B singer, actor, and model Tyrese plans to make his J Records debut on November
25. The singer, formerly signed to RCA, joined Clive Davis's label last year after RCA
Records folded its black music department.
The singer is currently in New York working on new music with the Underdogs (Damon
Thomas and Harvey Mason), Joe, Eddie F, and Trackmasters. The Underdogs produced
Tyrese's "I Like Them Girls," the first single from his most recent album, 2000 Watts.
In related news, Tyrese will team up with Paul Walker for the sequel to the film The Fast
And The Furious, directed by John Singleton. Singleton also directed Tyrese's big-screen
debut in Baby Boy.

Dr. Dre, Earth, Wind & Fire, Mary J. Blige Receive ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Awards

Dr. Dre, Earth, Wind & Fire, and Mary J. Blige were among the songwriters honored
Monday (June 17) at the ASCAP 15th Annual Rhythm & Soul Music Awards, held at the
Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California.
Earth, Wind & Fire received the Rhythm & Soul Heritage award. Dr. Dre and Neptunes
member Chad Hugo received the songwriters of the year award. Bob Marley was named
top reggae artist. Musiq's "Love" received the top R&B/hip-hop song honor. Lil'
Romeo's "My Baby" was deemed the top rap song. Destiny's Child's "Independent
Women Part 1" was ranked the top soundtrack song of the year, and Janet Jackson's "All
For You" was declared the top dance song. EMI Music Publishing/EMI Jobete Music
Publishing was bestowed with the publisher of the year award.
Stevie Wonder presented the Heritage award to Earth, Wind & Fire, and said the group's
recognition was long overdue. "It's wonderful. You know, I'm shocked that I was asked
to come to make the presentation, but I'm very thankful. It's great because they are really
one of the groups that have created a reflection, a picture of life itself in their songwriting
and their musicianship and their singing and their artistry," he said. "So it's great that they
are being honored. I think it's long overdue. But you know, I say, 'Better late than never.'"
Angela Winbush and Rene Moore of the '70s group Rene & Angela were also on hand
to be acknowledged for writing the song "My First Love," which was re-recorded by
Avant and KeKe Wyatt. Winbush, who originally wrote the song for Janet Jackson, told
LAUNCH that she was a fan of the remake. "I loved it," she said. "I knew it was coming
out before it came out 'cause Avant and I are very close."
Additionally, the awards ceremony featured a number of performances, including a
tribute to Earth, Wind & Fire by **Rachelle Farrell**, Ledisi, Mary Mary, Rahsaan
Pattterson and Phil Perry.
The event honored several songwriters for tracks performed by Mystikal, Ginuwine,
Alicia Keys, Sunshine Anderson, Jay-Z, Jennifer Lopez, Ja Rule, 112, Jaheim, Eve,
Gwen Stefani, Tank, Case, OutKast, Erick Sermon, Jagged Edge, Lil' Mo, Vita,
Ludacris, Tamia, Joe, Nelly, Snoop Dogg, Doggy's Angels, Lil' Bow Wow, Philly's Most
Wanted, Mr. Short Khop, Kokane, Shaggy, Coo Coo Cal, D12, Petey Pablo, City High,
Victor Calderone, Deborah Cooper, Madonna, Aubrey, Celeda, the Whailers, Beres
Hammond, Damian Marley, and Sizzla.


News 2002

News 2001