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Ice Cube as Iceberg Slim?
Ice Cube is in negotiations to star as Robert "Iceberg Slim" Beck in a film based on the infamous Harlem pimp's 1969 autobiography, "Pimp: The Story Of My Life." The movie is being produced by Fine Line Features and Bill Duke reportedly has been approached to direct. Despite his busy schedule, Cube would be able to squeeze "Pimp" in right after shooting John Carpenter's "Ghosts Of Mars." In addition to his film projects, Cube is developing a television series for HBO and plans to hit the road with Eminem, Xzibit, Kurupt, Warren G and a reunited N.W.A beginning June 15 in San Diego. Cube will be performing solo at three "Cinco De Mayo Bomb 2000" shows this week -- May 4 in San Jose, May 6 in Phoenix and May 7 in Bakersfield, Calif.

Dr. Dre responds to Lucasfilm lawsuit
At a press conference in London on Monday, Dr. Dre responded to allegations that he used Lucasfilm's trademark "THX Sound" at the beginning of his album, 2001, by revealing that he created the sound effect on his own. "I originally tried to use his sound and I tried to clear it and they said they wouldn't clear it," Dre said. "So I went back to the studio and created my own sound. They're saying it sounded similar, which it does. It sounds similar. But it is my sound. I created it in the studio. So that's what the lawsuit is about. I believe we're gonna end up settling and they're gonna get what I was offering in the first place." Dr. Dre was in London to promote Eminem's new album, The Marshall Mathers LP, which is due in stores May 23. The duo performed an hour-long set of hits from both of their albums at the Brixton Academy, including "Forgot About Dre," "What's The Difference" and "Role Model." Eminem pinch hit for Snoop on "Still Dre" and "Nuthin' But a 'G' Thang" before going solo with his current hit, "The Real Slim Shady." Dre returned for a performance of "Guilty Conscience" to close the show.

Chuck D sides with Napster
Public Enemy's Chuck D and his hip-hop web site,, are siding with Napster in the ongoing battle over the controversial service the software company provides. Rapstation is offering visitors a chance to voice their own opinions on the topic in a new contest. Aspiring MCs can download an instrumental based on Public Enemy's "Power To The People" and add their own Napster-themed lyrics. The track has to be uploaded back to Rapstation before May 14, and visitors to the site will vote on which one they think is the best during the week of May 15. The winning track will be posted as a free download on the site. "We want to draw attention to the positive aspects that Napster has to offer artists," Chuck D said in a statement. "They need to realize that they can benefit infinitely from what it has to offer." Metallica and Dr. Dre currently are suing Napster for copyright infringement, while Limp Bizkit and Cypress Hill are embarking on a free tour sponsored by Napster this summer.

Platinum after all these years
After 11 years, De La Soul's debut album, 3 Feet High and Rising, finally has gone platinum. The Record Industry Association of America announced last week that the 1989 album, which featured the hit "Me Myself and I" and universally is regarded as a hip-hop classic, achieved 1 million in sales. The album was certified gold in May 1989.

Common releases web-only video
Common is turning up the heat in the video world, having created a new internet-only video of his track "Heat," directed by Brian Meehan for Lock Down Entertainment. The video -- written, shot and edited specifically for the web -- will debut on on May 5 and on numerous music and lifestyle websites on May 8. "Heat" is featured on Common's fourth album, Like Water For Chocolate, named for Laura Esquivel's best-selling novel turned film. Like Water For Chocolate debuted at No. 16 last month on the Billboard 200 albums chart and sold more than 72,000 copies in its first week.

Blockbuster Awards announce nominations
The Blockbuster Entertainment Awards will be held May 9 in Los Angeles at the Shrine Auditorium. The event is to honor the year's best entertainers in music, video and film, although the nominations seem quite dated, at least in the hip-hop field. Two of the three nominees are being recognized for albums released in 1998. And the nominees for favorite rap artist are Dr. Dre for 2001, Jay-Z for Vol. 2...Hard Knock Life and Juvenile for 400 Degreez. Will Smith also got a nod for "Wild Wild West" for favorite song ffrom a movie and Lauryn Hill's The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill (also released in 1998) is nominated for favorite female R&B artist.

Mystikal makes wish come true
Mystikal spent a day at Universal Studios theme park in Orlando, Fla., with a 17-year-old girl named Nekia who is battling lymphoma, a life-threatening form of cancer. Mystikal's appearance was made possible by the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a program that has granted more than 73,000 wishes to children around the world. When asked by the foundation what her wish would be, Nekia simply said she wanted to meet her inspiration and rap music idol, Mystikal. According to a Make-A-Wish representative, Mystikal arrived at Universal Studios on April 19 carrying a dozen yellow roses. He spent the day going on rides with Nekia and he even held her hand when the two went on some of the "scary" rides. "He just made her feel so wonderful and was so humble and didn't want any of the publicity," a Make-A-Wish spokesperson said.

Rah Digga will play at Rikers Island
Rah Digga has agreed to perform a concert on May 2 for prisoners at New York City's Rikers Island Correctional Facility. Digga's prison show is being coordinated by the city's Department of Corrections as part of a continuing program that uses hip-hop music to help curb inmate violence. In June 1998, Fat Joe, Cormega, and the late Big Punisher participated in a similar show for Rikers Island inmates.

Troutman tribute planned
Several hip-hop artists will pay their respects to the late Roger Troutman on a new album that features some of his best-known collaborations as well as cuts that were inspired by or sampled the trademark Zapp sound. The album, titled Tribute To Roger Troutman, will feature classics like 2Pac and Dr. Dre's "California Love" and EPMD's "You Gots To Chill" as well as three new tracks, including "Cali4yey," which will feature Ant Banks and Too Short. "Players City," a new song from A.L.T. and JV, will be the first single from the album, which is scheduled to be released May 23. Troutman was gunned down by his brother and Zapp bandmate, Larry, outside of a studio in Dayton, Ohio last April. At the time of his death, it was estimated that his work had been sampled in over 500 different songs.

Eve poses nude for Allure
Eve is one of the six celebrities who agreed to pose nude for Allure magazine's special "skin" issue. "I have my own personal issues, but I like my body," Eve told Allure about posing nude for the May 2000 issue, which is on newsstands now. The shots are part of an article about how to look better naked and only six of the 562 women who were asked chose to do it. The others are TLC's Chilli, Jane Krakowski, Brittany Murphy, Bai Ling and Kim Cattrall.

Ice-T hosts L.A. Weekly Music Awards
Ice-T will host this year's L.A. Weekly Music Awards, which will take place June 29 at the Henry Fonda Theater on Hollywood Boulevard. Dr. Dre and Kool Keith are among the artists nominated for this year's awards, which will be held in conjunction with the L.A. Music 2000 conference scheduled for June 23-29. Ice-T is working on a greatest hits album that is scheduled to be released later this year on Atomic Pop, the Internet record label that released his last album, 7th Deadly Sin, and also has Public Enemy on its roster.

Sticky Fingaz prepares solo album
Sticky Fingaz is in the studio recording his first solo album, titled Black Trash. The album is the first for the former Onyx frontman since the group released "Shut 'Em Down" in 1998, and features Redman, Canibus, Rah Digga and Raekwon. In the meantime, Sticky Fingaz has branched out into movies, appearing in "Next Friday" with Ice Cube, "In Too Deep" with L.L. Cool J and "Black & White," which currently is in theaters. Black Trash is due in stores this summer.

Ice Cube develops series for HBO
Ice Cube recently signed a deal with HBO to develop and produce a series about the hip-hop music industry called "Be Careful What You Wish For." Cube also might direct the show's pilot, but won't star in the series. However, he might appear in a recurring role.

Cypress Hill returns to spotlight
Cypress Hill will open for Limp Bizkit on a free tour sponsored by Napster beginning July 4 in Chicago. In the meantime, the group has been busy pushing its latest album, Skull & Bones, with appearances on television and in record stores. The album, which was released April 25, has already been getting positive feedback from its first single, "Superstar." B-Real, Sen-Dog and DJ Muggs were at the Virgin Megastore in New York on Tuesday to celebrate the release and performed the single that night on ìLate Night With Conan OíBrien.î Then the group traveled across the country for an in-store appearance at Wherehouse Music in Los Angeles on Thursday. Cypress Hill also just finished shooting their first television special, titled So You Wanna Be A Superstar. The 30-minute special will be hosted by Cheo Coker and will focus on how Cypress has helped bridge the gap between rock and hip-hop.

Q-Tip pleads not guilty to assault charges
Q-Tip was arraigned on Monday, April 24, in New York after entering a plea of not guilty to two counts of assault in the third degree and one count of attempted assault. Tip is accused of punching Kenrick Miranda while in the Virgin Megastore in Times Square in March. The incident allegedly left Miranda with a broken jaw. Miranda also plans to file a civil suit against the Q-Tip, claiming that he has racked up $10,000 in medical expenses from the alleged assault. Q-Tip's next court date will be held on May 25 in Manhattan Criminal Court.

N.W.A announces summer tour dates
A reunited N.W.A will be the highlight of a summer tour that launches June 15 in San Diego. Besides combined and individual performances by Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, M.C. Ren and Snoop Dogg, the tour also is expected to feature Eminem, Warren G, Mack 10 and W.C. Only dates have been announced, with arenas and details to be worked out in the future. More dates are expected to be added to the 18 currently on the list. The schedule so far: 6/15 - San Diego, CA; 6/16 -- Anaheim, CA; 6/19 -- San Jose, CA; 6/21 -- Sacramento, CA; 6/24 -- Portland, OR; 6/26 -- Boise, ID; 6/30 -- Indianapolis, IN; 7/1 -- Columbus, OH; 7/2 -- Cleveland, OH; 7/3 -- Pittsburgh, PA; 7/4 -- Toronto, ON; 7/6 -- Detroit, MI; 7/8 -- Chicago, IL; 7/10 -- Minneapolis, MN; 7/13 -- Rochester, NY; 7/14 -- Albany, NY; 7/15 -- Boston, MA; 7/18 -- Philadelphia, PA; 7/20 -- Nassau, NY; 7/21 -- East Rutherford, NJ; 7/22 -- Hartford, CT; 7/25 -- Baltimore, MD; 7/26 -- Buffalo, NY; 7/27 -- Washington, DC.

Wu-Tang faces lawsuit
Entertainment lawyer Edwin McPherson has filed a lawsuit against members of the Wu-Tang Clan, claiming that the group owes him $35,000. The suit claims that the group approached McPherson in February 1999 to defend them in a case where a woman claimed that she was assaulted, verbally abused and defamed after appearing in one of their videos. The woman wanted $500,000 in damages, but the case was settled out of court for $15,000, but McPherson was never paid his attorney fees. McPherson and his firm McPherson & Kalmansohn are suing for breach of contract, fraud and unspecified punitive damages along with the owed $35,000.

Lil' Zane makes big screen debut
Lil' Zane has been selected to appear with Sean Connery in the Columbia Pictures film "Finding Forrester." The story revolves around a novelist (Connery) who befriends a high school athlete named Jamal after realizing the teenager is a talented writer. Zane will play Jamal's best friend.

Run DMC will perform at Essence Fest
Run DMC has joined an all-star list of performers at The Essence Music Festival 2000, which is slated for July 1-3 in New Orleans. Others scheduled to perform include D'Angelo, Mary J. Blige, Sisqo, Maxwell, Montell Jordan, Luther Vandross, Chaka Khan and Maze featuring Frankie Beverly.

Dr. Dre sues Napster
Dr. Dre and his record label, Aftermath Entertainment, filed suit against Napster on Tuesday, following through on the threats they made last week when they issued an ultimatum pressuring the company to remove all Dre's songs from its archive of available downloads by Friday, April 21. When Napster did not comply, Dre's lawyers filed a suit against Napster in U.S. Federal Court in Los Angeles. The suit is similar to one filed by Metallica earlier this month, which charged Napster with copyright infringement and unlawful use of a digital audio interface device. "I don't like people stealing my music," Dre simply said in a statement regarding the suit.

Spitkicker Tour boasts impressive lineup
While N.W.A's tour will get most of the publicity, another potent lineup is scheduled to hit the concert circuit this summer. The Spitkicker Tour will feature Common, De La Soul, Pharoahe Monch, Biz Markie and Reflection Eternal. The tour starts June 30 in San Francisco and ends Aug. 6 in Worcester, Mass. The complete schedule: June 30 -- San Francisco; Maritime Hall; July 1 -- Las Vegas; House of Blues; July 2 -- San Diego; 4th & B; July 3-4 -- Los Angeles; House of Blues; July 6 -- Las Vegas; The Joint; July 7 -- Phoenix, Ariz.; 2nd Celebrity Theater; July 9 -- Denver, Colo.; Fillmore; July 11 -- Minneapolis, Minn.; 1st Avenue; July 12 -- Milwaukee, Wis.; The Rave; July 13-14 -- Chicago; House of Blues; July 16 -- Detroit; State Theater; July 18 -- New York; Hammerstein; July 19 -- Philadelphia; Factory; July 20-21 -- Washington, D.C.; 9:30 Club; July 23 -- Atlanta; Tabernacle; July 24 -- New Orleans; House of Blues; July 27 -- Houston; TBA; July 28 -- Austin, Texas; TBA; July 29 -- Dallas; TBA; July 31 -- Kansas City, Mo.; TBA; Aug. 1 -- St. Louis, Mo.; TBA; Aug. 3 -- Cincinnati; TBA; Aug. 4 -- Cleveland; TBA; Aug. 5 -- Pittsburgh, Pa.; TBA; Aug. 6 -- Worcester, Mass.; TBA.

Puffy pays for party
Sean "Puffy" Combs pleaded guilty this week to violating a noise ordinance during a party at his Hamptons residence last summer on the Fourth of July. After agreeing to pay a $2,000 fine, the charge was dropped. At the hearing, which lasted less than five minutes, Puff admitted that his party had too many people, was too loud, and went on too long. Police broke up the party after it lasted more than 30 minutes longer than the town ordinance permitted. The music was reported to be at 79 decibels, 29 decibels greater than the noise law allows; the party had at least 500 more guests than the 200 allowed; and more than 500 cars were parked near the house even though the permit limited the number to 90.

Dr. Dre is sued by Lucasfilm
Dr. Dre has threatened his share of lawsuits in recent months. Now he faces a lawsuit of his own. Lucasfilm Ltd. has accused Dre and Aftermath Records of copyright infringement for the use of "THX Deep Note" on the intro to Dre's album, 2001. According to the suit, Dre asked permission to use the sound, was denied, but used it anyway. Brief commercials that play in theaters before the start of movies use "THX Deep Note" to display the capabilities of the theater's sound system. The suit alleges that Dre is guilty of "copyright infringement, federal trademark infringement, federal unfair competition, federal trademark dilution, state common law trademark infringement and unfair competition, state common law trademark dilution and state statutory trademark and/or trade name unfair competition." Some of those same terms recently were used by Dre and his lawyers in reference to after the web site cut a deal with Death Row Records to distribute the record company's entire catalog online. Earlier this week, Dre's lawyer also sent a letter to Napster seeking the removal of all Dre tracks from the online service.

N.W.A shoots new video, plans tour
The long-awaited reunion of N.W.A is closer than you might think. While the group's new album won't be in stores until Christmas at the earliest, Ice Cube is using his next single and video from War & Peace Vol. 2 as a preview of things to come. Dr. Dre and M.C. Ren will join Cube and director Philip Atwell to begin shooting the video for "Hello" on April 20. The group, which now includes Snoop Dogg as a sub for the late Eazy E, performed the track on USA Network's "" on March 27, N.W.A's first live performance together in more than 10 years. "Chin Check" off of the "Next Friday" soundtrack kicked off the reunion last December. N.W.A also will headline this summer's "California Love" tour, which will feature individual sets from Dr. Dre, Warren G, Eminem, Snoop Dogg and Westside Connection as well. N.W.A plans to hit the studio after the tour, and likely will be paid in full when the tentatively titled Not These N----- Again drops in late 2000.

Chuck D keeps his plate full
Public Enemy's Chuck D will be the keynote speaker at an academic conference dealing with hip-hop issues at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wis. The conference, "Hip Hop Generation: Hip Hop as a Movement," takes place from Friday, April 14, to Sunday, April 16, and will discuss topics such as "Hip Hop Culture vs. the Hip Hop Music Industry" and the "Political Empowerment and Hip Hop." Panelists include Afrika Bambaataa, Crazy Legs, Davey D, Professor Griff, Tash and Defari. Meanwhile, Public Enemy has announced a tour of Europe scheduled for May and June. Here are the dates: 5/26 -- Bristol, United Kingdom @ New Trinity; 5/27 -- Winchester, United Kingdom @ Homelands Festival; 5/28 -- Olbia, Italy @ Festival; 5/29 -- London @ BBC Live; 5/31 -- Prague, Czech Republic @ Sky Club; 6/1 -- Vienna, Austria @ Arena; 6/2 -- Dublin, Ireland @ Olympia Theatre; 6/3 -- New Cumnock, United Kingdom @ Homelands Festival; 6/4 -- Cork, Ireland @ Green Energy Festival; 6/5 -- Galway, Ireland @ Green Energy Festival.

Eminem stirs up more controversy
Eminem has targeted countless celebrities during his limited time in the spotlight, as well as his mother (who sued him) and his daughter's mother (who married him). But rumors of a derogatory lyric directed at teen pop star Christina Aguilera is causing controversy and has the Grammy Award-winning singer upset. On the first single from his new album, "The Real Slim Shady," Eminem reportedly imagines Aguilera performing a particular sex act. "It's disgusting and offensive and above all it's not true," Aguilera said in an interview with MTV on Thursday. However, her tone was much different in an earlier interview with Entertainment Weekly, shrugging off what she called "the Eminem drama" by saying, "They don't call him Slim Shady for nothing." Of course, it was a previous interview with MTV that started all of this. Before the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards, Aguilera told a reporter that Eminem was the person she most wanted to meet at the show. Maybe next time the "Genie in a Bottle" should be more careful what she wishes for. Eminem and his record company refused to comment, but it's likely that the lyric won't see the light of day. A similar comment about Brandy on Mase's second album, Double Up, was edited out before it was released in stores. However, Mase and Brandy actually dated prior to the comment.

DJ Magic Mike faces bootlegging
DJ Magic Mike is facing a problem that is all too familiar to the hip-hop community: bootlegging. Apparently, Mike's new album, which isn't due in stores until July, already has hit the streets in Florida. In fact, the DJ spotted his own album in the used CD section of his local record store recently. Mike confronted the store owner, but was unable to retrieve the CDs, even after offering to buy them. DJ Magic Mike has sold more than 2.5 million records independently.

The Lost Tapes of 2Pac
Digital Underground co-founder Chopmaster J is releasing vintage recordings of 2Pac that once were thought to be lost in a fire in 1991. The album, entitled The Lost Tapes, features tracks more than 10 years old, with a young 2Pac performing alongside his original group, Strictly Dope. The songs on the disc supposedly convinced Digital Underground to give 2Pac a spot on their concert tour, which of course led to his breakthrough appearance on Digital Underground's "Same Song." Meanwhile, 2Pac's partners the Outlawz filed a $4.5 million lawsuit last week against Suge Knight and their former label, Death Row Records, for refusing to release master recordings that the group made with 2Pac before he died. Apparently, the Outlawz' contract with Death Row expired on May 16, 1999, so the group was excluded from promotion, videos, and press for last year's 2Pac + Outlawz album, Still I Rise. The group also is seeking to stop the sale of the "Death Row Uncut" video, which the Outlawz claim features unauthorized footage of one of their performances.

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