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Keith Murray is released
Keith Murray was released from a halfway house on Monday after serving three years behind bars for hitting a man in the head with a barstool during a fight in 1995. Murray was convicted in 1996, but was released on bail while awaiting an appeal. He was sentenced to three years in prison in 1998, but he avoided capture for a month before turning himself in in October of that year. Murray struck a deal to have three months dropped from his sentence by dropping his lawsuit for a new trial. Murray was transferred to the Maple Street House facility in Bridgeport, Conn., earlier this year. Murray's last album, It's a Beautiful Thing, was released in 1999 while he was imprisoned. He next appears on "Wrong 4 Dat," a track off Redman's Malpractice, which will hit stores on May 22.

Suge Knight has "J. Lo Uncut"
A Superior Court judge in Los Angeles refused Friday to issue a temporary restraining order barring Suge Knight from marketing what Jennifer Lopez' representatives called a sex videotape. Lopez sued Knight and Death Row Records for invasion of privacy after the Star tabloid reported that Knight was planning to market a videotape titled "J. Lo Uncut: The Real Story" that featured Lopez and a former boyfriend engaging in sexual relations in the early '90s. However, Knight's lawyer denied the existence of any sex videotape. According to the packaging of "J. Lo Uncut," the "uncut, unauthorized, unbelievable, raw and uncensored" video uses reenactments and real footage to show Lopez and P. Diddy "like never before." So expect Knight to produce something along the lines of Dr. Dre's "Dre Day" video, but instead of poking fun at Eazy-E and Jerry Heller, Lopez and Puffy will be the targets.

"Murder Was The Case" arrives on DVD
Death Row Records will release
Snoop Dogg's 1994 short film, "Murder Was The Case," on DVD on May 15. The movie, which has been out of production for four years, was written and directed by Dr. Dre and is based on the song of the same name from Snoop's 1993 debut album, Doggystyle. The new version of "Murder Was The Case" also will include two new videos -- "Midnight Love" and "Head Doctor" -- from Death Row's collection of leftover Snoop tracks, Dead Man Walkin', which was released last year. It also contains behind-the-scenes footage of Snoop's appearances on "Saturday Night Live," "Soul Train," and "The American Music Awards" and the director's cut of Dr. Dre and Ice Cube's "Natural Born Killaz" video, which also was included in the original version.

P. Diddy headed to Death Row?
No, Sean "P. Diddy" Combs hasn't patched things up with longtime rival Suge Knight. And, no, the Miami police department didn't throw the book at him for
the scooter incident that led to his latest arrest. Instead, the artist formerly known as Puff Daddy is in negotiations to play the role of a convicted murderer in the upcoming movie, "Monster's Ball." Puff will play a prisoner who is put to death by electric chair. Billy Bob Thornton reportedly plays a racist who prepares Puff for the chair before falling in love with his widow, played by Halle Berry. Certainly the concept will play out much better on film, right? Well, even if this one goes straight to video Puff still will get some face time on the big screen this summer. He has a small role in Jon Favreau's "Made," which will arrive in theaters in July.

Kane & Abel plead guilty
Kane & Abel face up to three years in jail after pleading guilty in a federal cocaine case in New Orleans on Friday. It was the second time the twin brothers had been arraigned in the case. Kane & Abel, whose real names are Daniel and David Garcia, admitted to concealing knowledge of a felony that they did not participate in (officially known as misprision of a felony) as part of an agreement with prosecutors. Kane & Abel allegedly lied to federal agents about the activities of drug kingpin Richard Pena. Pena, who lawfully financed Kane & Abel's music career, was arrested in 1997 and pleaded guilty to eight murders. Prosecutors claim that Pena also put them to work in his drug ring. Kane & Abel reached an earlier plea agreement that carried a sentence of two years in jail, but the deal was rejected by a judge who deemed it too lenient. In it, the twins would have pleaded guilty to drug conspiracy charges, admitting that they received 10 kilograms of cocaine from Pena in 1996 and 1997. The deal would have required Kane & Abel to include anti-drug literature in future albums, film anti-drug television ads and give school lectures. Kane & Abel released their third full-length album, Most Wanted, last year.

Juvenile pleads not guilty
Juvenile filed a written plea of not guilty in Dade County, Florida, to charges of aggravated battery with a bottle, battery on a law enforcement officer, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest without violence. Juvenile, who chose not to appear in person at the arraignment, allegedly hit a 28-year-old man over the head with a champagne bottle and grabbed a police officer after a fight broke out earlier this year outside the Improv Comedy Club in Miami. His record company released a statement shortly after the plea was entered: "Juvenile is a young, hardworking, extremely talented and gifted artist who is beginning to enjoy the fruits of his hard work and talent. Juvenile regrets any incident that may have occurred on March 28, 2001. It is unfortunate that some people seek to cash in on celebrities in the hopes of gaining fame, fortune and notoriety. Because of the status that he enjoys, Juvenile is extremely vulnerable to this type of incident. Juvenile and his attorneys are confident that his innocence will be conclusively established in a court of law and he will be vindicated by a jury of Miami-Dade County citizens." Juvenile's next scheduled court appearance is June 8.

Shyne slapped with $5 million lawsuit
A man who was injured in a car accident with Shyne claims that the Bad Boy MC caused the wreck by running a red light and is suing him for $5 million. Mark MacKenzie claims that he suffered a serious head injury in the accident and required surgery. However, Shyne's lawyer, Murray Richman, told the Associated Press on Tuesday that the lawsuit was without merit and that a police investigation showed MacKenzie caused the accident. Jury selection in Puff Daddy and Shyne's trial was delayed by the incident, which took place Jan. 21. Shyne was arrested and charged with driving without a license. Shyne remains in New York's Rikers Island jail after being convicted of assault, gun possession and reckless endangerment earlier this year in connection with the December 1999 shooting at a New York nightclub. He will be sentenced June 1.

Bronx won't have Big Pun Place
A New York City Council committee voted against a proposal Wednesday that would have named a Bronx intersection after Christopher "Big Pun" Rios. The committee said it was uncomfortable with the profanity and the references to violence and drug dealing in some of his lyrics. Pun, who was 28 years old and weighed nearly 700 pounds when he died of a heart attack on Feb. 7, 2000, was the first Latino hip-hop artist to go platinum. Fans collected 7,000 signatures requesting that the intersection of 163rd Street and Rogers Place in the Morrisania section be renamed Big Pun Place.

Busta stars in "Halloween 8"
Busta Rhymes will follow L.L. Cool J's lead and take on Michael Myers in the next installment of the "Halloween" franchise. Filming for "Halloween 8," which will be distributed by Miramax through Dimension Films, is expected to begin May 9 in Vancouver. The bad news for Busta, whose resumé includes "Finding Forrester," "Shaft" and "Higher Learning," is that he hasn't been signed on for "Halloween 9," unlike co-star Bianca Kajlich. L.L. Cool J starred in 1998's "Halloween H2O" with the original "Halloween" scream queen, Jamie Lee Curtis. The original "Halloween" was produced in 1978 and grossed more than $47 million.

Dr. Dre, Snoop join "The Wash"
Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg will star in DJ Pooh's latest comedy, "The Wash." The film, which is scheduled to begin shooting next week, was written by Pooh, who also plans to direct it. Dre and Snoop play roommates who work at a car wash. The duo also will produce the movie's soundtrack, which will be released as a joint venture between Aftermath and Doggystyle Records. DJ Pooh co-wrote 1995's "Friday" with Ice Cube and released "3 Strikes," which featured Brian Hooks, David Alan Grier and E-40, last year.

DMX claims search was illegal
DMX's attorneys argued in court Tuesday that a police search that led to a five-count indictment for X and his wife was illegal. DMX and his wife, Tashera Simmons, were charged with child endangerment and weapons offenses after police searched their home June 27, 1999, while investigating the shooting of X's manager, Ray Copeland, who had been shot in the foot. Police obtained a warrant to search the home after finding Tashera Simmons' purse at the scene of the crime. Inside, police found a loaded 9mm gun, six used glass cocaine-smoking pipes, a bulletproof vest, hollowpoint bullets, an extra-capacity gun clip, 14 pit bulls, rotting garbage and marijuana. Based on allegations made by DMX's mother-in-law, Marcia Tate, police claim that X went on a drug binge in front of his two children, prompting the child endangerment charges. DMX and Tashera were indicted in August 1999.

Warren G gets help from old friends
Snoop Dogg, Kurupt, Daz and Nate Dogg are among the performers that will join Warren G on his upcoming album. All four appeared on G's last album, I Want It All, and of course they all made their big-league debuts on Dr. Dre's 1992 classic, The Chronic. Dre also is expected to appear on the yet-to-be-titled album, as is his most recent protege, Eminem, and p-funk pioneer George Clinton. Warren G's 1994 debut album, Regulate... G Funk Era, is still his most successful with triple-platinum sales. But both 1997's Take A Look Over Your Shoulder and 1999's I Want It All went gold, and the latter produced a No. 1 single on Billboard's R&B/Hip-hop chart.

Eminem pleads no contest
Eminem pleaded no contest Monday to a felony charge of carrying a concealed weapon and to a misdemeanor charge of brandishing a firearm in public in connection with a June 3 argument with a member of the Insane Clown Posse's entourage. The alleged altercation took place at a car audio store in Royal Oak, Mich., just hours before the well-publicized incident involving his wife and another man. A no contest plea is not an admission of guilt, but it is treated as a guilty plea for sentencing purposes. Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Denise Langford Morris said she was not now considering jail time, but said that could change after she reviews the case. Eminem will be sentenced on June 5. Eminem pleaded guilty on April 10 to the weapons charge stemming from the June 4 incident in which he was accused of pistol-whipping a man seen kissing his wife, Kim Mathers, outside a nightclub. He received two years probation.

Suge Knight released from prison
Death Row Records co-founder Suge Knight has been paroled five days earlier than expected. Knight left Mule Creek State Prison in Ione, Calif., on Friday morning after serving half of a nine-year term for violating probation on assault charges. In an interview with a television station in nearby Sacramento shortly before his parole, Knight said that prison has been a good experience for him and that he hopes to persuade young people not to follow in his path. "I had everything. I still do," Knight told KXTV. "But I had everything I could possibly have and I had six of the best lawyers and I still got nine years." Death Row's latest release, 2Pac's Until the End of Time, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart and still sits in the top spot of the R&B/Hip-hop albums chart after three weeks in release. Knight was sentenced to nine years in prison in 1997 for violating probation on the same night in September 1996 that gunmen pulled alongside his car and shot 2Pac, who died a few days later. Knight was on probation for assaulting two MCs at a Hollywood recording studio in 1992.

ODB pleads guilty to drug charges
ODB pleaded guilty to drug charges in Queens State Supreme Court on Thursday in exchange for a promised sentence of two to four years behind bars. Ol' Dirty, whose real name is Russell Jones, was arrested in July 1999 when police found cocaine and marijuana in his car after pulling him over for running a red light. In exchange for pleading guilty to criminal possession of a controlled substance, prosecutors agreed not to file bail-jumping charges against him for fleeing a court-ordered California drug treatment program last October while out on a Queens warrant. Formal sentencing has been set for June 13. Over the past few years, ODB has been arrested on a variety of charges, including drug possession, menacing security officers, illegally possessing body armor, driving with a suspended license, shoplifting, and threatening a former girlfriend.

Shyne's sentencing is pushed back
Shyne's sentencing on assault, reckless endangerment and gun possession charges has been pushed back to June 1 at the request of his lawyers. The sentencing had been scheduled for Monday, but instead Shyne's lawyers asked for more time to file a motion for the dismissal of some of his charges and other paperwork. Shyne attended the session and released a handwritten statement apologizing to the victims of the nightclub shooting on Dec. 27, 1999, that led to his arrest. "I apologize," Shyne said in the statement. "I apologize 4 da tears that have fallen from my mother's and grandmother's tired eyes. I apologize to the victims; I didn't cause your pain but you can place your blame on my shoulders. I apologize to all those who cry for me. All those who believe in me. All those who believe me when I say all I tried to do was defend myself. And finally I apologize to my generation for not being there to lead you. Not being there to help you — help you escape da harsh realities I sung about which you face everyday. I apologize. I thank God for life and hope. Hope I find in all of you who continue to support me and all of you who continue to believe in me and believe me. God bless you all."

P. Diddy is arrested in Miami
P. Diddy apparently isn't much different than Puff Daddy. Despite a name change that symbolized "a fresh start" after being acquitted of bribery and weapons charges last month, Sean "Puffy" Combs was arrested once again Saturday night -- this time for driving a scooter in Miami with a suspended license. Police pulled Puffy over in South Beach for making an illegal lane change, but when they checked his license, they found that it had been suspended and promptly arrested him. He was released 20 minutes later after signing a promise to appear in court. A spokesperson for P. Diddy told the Associated Press on Sunday that Puff's license was no longer suspended, but appeared that way to Miami police because of a paperwork delay. "Due to the holiday weekend, paperwork that was processed in New York regarding his license had yet to reach the national system," said Nathalie Moar, explaining that the suspension was the result of a parking fine. "It's as simple as that. He just found out about it last week and as soon as he heard about it, he took care of it." The charge is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $500 and possibly jail time.

Juvenile upsets neighbors
Juvenile is angering his neighbors in Mandeville, La., because he keeps his tour bus parked and running on the narrow streets of the neighborhood. Residents of the gated Woodville community claim that the bus, along with several sports cars and sport utility vehicles, violates the strict rules of the community, and they are seeking a court order to force him to comply. Last year, Juvenile, whose real name is Terius Gray, caused a stir in his neighborhood after chasing five strippers down a street with an ice pick after they let a bathtub overflow in his house. He was found guilty of several misdemeanors in connection with the incident.

Lil' Bow Wow delays Cincy tour date
The opening date of
Lil' Bow Wow's first nationwide tour was postponed after several days of violence in Cincinnati. The tour was scheduled to open in Cincy on Friday, but was postponed until May 15 because of a curfew that was enforced after the shooting of an unarmed black man by a white police officer. The fatal shooting last weekend of Timothy Thomas, 19, resulted in several days of rioting and unrest and a federal investigation. Bow Wow, a 14-year-old MC whose real name is Shad Moss, went double platinum with his debut album, Beware of Dog. His current single, "Bow Wow (That's My Name)," is No. 2 on Billboard's Hot Rap Singles chart.

Solé, Ginuwine welcome baby girl
Solé and Ginuwine are the proud parents of a new baby. Solé gave birth to the couple's first child -- a daughter named Story -- last week. Each has a child from a previous relationship. The two have been a couple for more than a year, and have appeared in each other's videos. Solé's sensual guest starring role in Ginuwine's video for "None of Ur Friends Business" first brought the relationship into the public eye. She returned the favor by bringing in Ginuwine on the hook and video for a remix of "It Wasn't Me." Ginuwine released his latest album, Life, earlier this month, while Solé's follow up to Skin Deep is due in June.

Jay-Z arrested for gun possession
The Associated Press is reporting that
Jay-Z was arrested for illegal gun possession near a Manhattan nightclub early Friday. According to police spokesperson Cheryl Cox, Jigga was arrested with three other men shortly after 3 a.m. when a loaded handgun was found in their car. Undercover officers say they saw a man armed with a gun getting into the 2001 Chevy Suburban outside Club Exit in the Hells Kitchen neighborhood on the West Side. Cox did not know which man was carrying the gun. Police stopped the car less than a block away and found the gun, and the four passengers were charged with third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, Cox said. Jay-Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter, is due in court Monday to face charges that he stabbed record executive Lance "Un" Rivera in December 1999.

Eminem gets 2 years probation
Eminem was sentenced to two years' probation Tuesday in Mount Clemens, Mich., for carrying a concealed weapon. "The judge treated me fair, like any other human being," Eminem told the Associated Press after sentencing. "I just want to get it behind me and get back to spending time with my little girl and making music." Eminem, whose real name is Marshall Mathers, was charged after a June 4 incident outside a Warren, Mich., nightclub. Police said that Eminem pistol-whipped a man he says he saw kissing his wife, Kim. In February, Em pleaded guilty in a deal with prosecutors, who dropped a charge of assault with a dangerous weapon. The charge carried a maximum of five years in prison, but Macomb County Prosecutor Carl Marlinga had said that he would seek no more than six months because "he has no record and there was no serious injury." Circuit Judge Antonio Viviano also fined Eminem $2,500 and ordered him to undergo counseling and submit to drug testing. Eminem also must ask the court for permission to travel overseas.

Tour, St. Lunatics on deck for Nelly
Nelly, whose Country Grammar album is six-times platinum and still sits at No. 12 after 40 weeks on the Billboard 200 albums chart, is just getting started. Although his most recent single, "Ride Wit Me," is still getting major airplay, the St. Louis native will drop a fourth single, "Batter Up," in the coming weeks. Nelly also is preparing for the release of the St. Lunatics' debut album, Free City on June 5, and will embark on a college tour later this month to help promote it. The St. Lunatics -- Nelly, Ali, Kyjuan, Murphy Lee, Slo Down and Nelly's brother, City Spud -- already are getting some love for their first single, "Midwest Swing." If it follows the trail blazed by Nelly's first single, "Country Grammar," then watch for this track to bubble under the surface before blowing up this summer.

The complete schedule: 4/18 -- Bloomington, Ind. (IU Auditorium); 4/19 -- West Lafayette, Ind. (Elliot Hall); 4/20 -- Nashville, Tenn. (Vanderbilt University); 4/21 -- Edwardsville, Ill. (Southern Illinois University); 4/22 -- Winona, Minn. (Winona St. University); 4/24 -- Cedar Falls, Iowa (University Of Northern Iowa); 4/26 -- St. Cloud, Minn. (St. Cloud St. University); 4/28 -- Storrs, Conn. (University Of Connecticut); 4/29 -- Shepherdstown, W.V. (Shepherds College).

De La Soul performs for free
De La Soul and the Beastie Boys' DJ, Mix Master Mike, are among the more than 70 acts that will be participating at the second annual Detroit Electronic Music Festival free of charge. Yes, you read it right. The festival, which is sponsored by Ford Motor Co., will take place on four stages in downtown Detroit's Hart Plaza on May 26-28 and admission is free. Some of the artists involved also are expected to stop by local schools to speak about music. For those of you who might make the trip from out of town, area hotels also are offering a special rate for fans attending the event.

2Pac debuts at No. 1
2Pac's Until The End Of Time will debut at No. 1 on next week's Billboard 200 albums chart after selling more than 426,800 copies in its first week. All five of 2Pac's posthumous albums have reached the top 10 and achieved platinum status, although his last two releases did not reach the top spot. Still I Rise, the 1999 2Pac & Outlawz collaboration, hit No. 6 and went platinum. 1998's Greatest Hits double album only reached No. 3 on the chart, but sold more than 9 million copies. A double album of tracks 2Pac recorded between 1991 and 1994, R U Still Down? (Remember Me), dropped in 1997 and went quadruple platinum, and Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, released under the name Makaveli just weeks after his death in 1996, went quadruple platinum.

Crown Royal finally hits stores
After being delayed for almost two years, Run DMC's long awaited comeback album, Crown Royal, finally arrived in stores on Tuesday, April 3. Of course, the album wasn't quite as eagerly anticipated after it was revealed that many of the hip-hop collaboartions, including appearances by Slick Rick, ODB and Ja Rule, were scrapped in favor of more rap-rock crossovers with the likes of Sugar Ray, Kid Rock, Everlast, Fred Durst and Third Eye Blind's Stephan Jenkins. Nas, Mobb Deep's Prodigy, Method Man, Jermaine Dupri and Fat Joe survived the final cut, but DMC, who revealed on VH1's "Behind the Music" that he wasn't really involved with Crown Royal, is not expected to appear much due to the loss of his voice and the desire to move in a different direction with his music. He will live on in samples and previously recorded material, though.

Ice-T drops by "The Ghetto"
Ice-T will join Special K and Teddy Tedd as they kick off their new show, "The Ghetto," on on Friday, April 6. Ice-T, one of the leading figures in hip-hop, released his first album, Rhyme Pays, in 1987 after landing a major label record deal with Sire Records. The record reached gold status. That same year, he recorded the theme song for Dennis Hopper's "Colors," a film about inner-city life in Los Angeles. Since that time, Ice-T has forged ahead, establishing himself as a respected actor, landing roles in major feature films and television programs, in addition to forming his own record label, Rhyme Syndicate, and continuing to release albums and tour the world.

Snoop, others perform at Reunion
Snoop Dogg was among the artists who toned down his performance in order to appear at the BET's Black College Reunion in Daytona Beach, Fla. this weekend. Ludacris and Missy Elliott also performed PG-rated sets at the request of the city's mayor, Bud Asher, but Eminem was banned from future appearances after violating the "no profanity or lewd behavior" policy with an expletive-filled performance. "As the mayor, I'm not going to tolerate anybody coming on to city-owned property and encouraging the use of drugs," Asher told the Associated Press. "Evidently this guy is a renegade and he does whatever he wants." Asher reportedly met with Snoop and others before the performances to explain the city's desire for a show free of drug references and swearing. "He's got a job to do, he's got a city to represent, so I respect that," Snoop said in an interview with AP. "And the way he did it, the way he came over here and acted, I respect that. He could've just shut us down."

Juvenile is arrested in Miami
Juvenile was arrested on battery and other charges early Wednesday for allegedly smashing a champagne bottle over a man's head and grabbing a police officer during a disturbance outside a comedy club in Miami. According to the Associated Press, several fights broke out after audience members were leaving the Improv Comedy Club shortly after midnight. Juvenile allegedly hit Jackson Saint Ange in the head with a bottle of Moet champagne. Ange, who was knocked unconscious by the hit, was taken to a hospital, where he was treated and released. Witnesses told police Ange had approached Juvenile during the show and was disrespectful. "As we were told, he dissed him," Miami police spokesman Delrish Moss told the AP. "The entire fight was about disrespect shown to the rap artist." Juvenile was caught after approaching officers, demanding to be arrested and then attempting to escape. "The rap artist walks over to one of our police officers, grabs him and starts yelling obscenities at him insisting he be taken to jail rather than the person we were in the process of arresting," Moss said. Juvenile was released on $17,000 bond.

Puff Daddy is now P. Diddy
Puff Daddy revealed in an exclusive post-trial interview with MTV that he has changed his name to P. Diddy, a nickname given to him by the late Notorious B.I.G. Puffy, whose real name is Sean Combs, said that the name change symbolizes a fresh start after being acqitted of weapons possession and bribery earlier this month. "The first week in June we're gonna have a name change ceremony," Combs, who suggested that former President Bill Clinton would be perfect to preside over the ceremony, told MTV. "I'm not doing it as serious as Prince. I'm not just going to be crazy with it... but I'm rockin' with P. Diddy now." Combs said he plans to take a couple of months off from recording and producing to reevaluate his life. Comedians didn't hesitate to jump on the name change as fodder for new material. On "The Late Show," David Letterman devoted one of his top 10 lists to potential Puff Daddy nicknames, which included "P. Blicity Stunt" and "J. Lonely."

2Pac: Until the End of Time
Until The End Of Time, a double CD of songs written and performed by 2Pac during the last year of his life, arrived in stores on Tuesday. The double album consists of more than 20 previously unreleased tracks that were recorded after his release from prison in late 1995 up until his death on Sept. 13, 1996. Until The End Of Time is the first of two double CDs scheduled to be released this year. All of 2Pac's posthumous albums have reached at least platinum status. Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory was released under the name Makaveli just weeks after his death and went quadruple platinum. A double album of tracks 2Pac recorded between 1991 and 1994, R U Still Down? (Remember Me), dropped in 1997 and went quadruple platinum. His Greatest Hits double album hit stores in 1998 and went platinum nine times over, and the 2Pac & Outlawz collaboration, Still I Rise, was released in 1999 and certified platinum.

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