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— by Gil Kaufman

In an era when just about every major artist has parallel movie and music careers alongside shoe deals, cosmetics and clothing lines, it's inevitable that a few projects will fall off the plate. Like that punk album from Beck, the rock-inspired solo debut from DMC (of Run-DMC), Joey Fatone's comedy album and "American Idol" reject Frenchie's debut, to name a few.

Then there are cases like Fiona Apple's third album, Extraordinary Machine, which is finished but in limbo because her label has reportedly refused to issue it. That project spawned a Web site (freefiona.com) dedicated to securing its release, which is still not scheduled. Fans haven't set up a site to push along the solo debut from former Rage Against the Machine frontman Zack de la Rocha, which has been more than three years in the making. A spokesperson said the untitled work, reportedly featuring contributions from DJ Shadow and Trent Reznor, does not have a release date.

Some projects, such as the long-rumored, mysterious Nine Inch Nails side band Tapeworm, attain a mythical quality, while others, like the decade-in-the-making Chinese Democracy from Guns N' Roses, are so long overdue that they've turned into punch lines.

On the heels of the recent release of what was the most legendary lost album of all time, Brian Wilson's Smile — which he finally completed, nearly 30 years after he and the Beach Boys started — we decided to check in on a few of the projects that haven't made it to the finish line ... yet.

Victoria Beckham
Project: Damon Dash-produced album
Status: Was it really just a year and a half ago that Roc-A-Fella boss Damon Dash was hyping the former Posh Spice as the new face of his music and fashion empire? Though tracks were laid down with such acts as M.O.P., the hip-hop-heavy album, executive produced by Dash, was shelved due to tensions between the Roc fella and Beckham's management, as well as a contractual disagreement with her U.K. label, according to sources

Beyoncé
Project: Dangerously in Love sequel
Status: In December 2003, Beyoncé told MTV News that she was planning to release the sequel to Dangerously in Love the following March. "I recorded about 45 songs for Dangerously in Love," the singer said at the time. "I love so many songs, and they are just kind of going to waste sitting there." With Destiny's Child currently promoting Destiny Fulfilled, a rep for Beyoncé said there is no update on when a second solo album might drop.

Dr. Dre, Timbaland
Project: Chairmen of the Boards
Status: More than three years ago, Timbaland spilled the beans that he and Dr. Dre were cooking up a supergroup called Chairmen of the Boards. "I want to do a Dr. Dre/ Timbaland album," he said. "We're trying to do something real crazy." The project was to feature artists from Tim's Beat Club roster and Dre's Aftermath posse. "We'll pick artists we feel like we should do the beats for and put it out and promote it," Tim said. A spokesperson from Dre's label, Interscope Records, said the company is focused on the rapper/producer's long-awaited Detox album, which leaves no time for other projects.

Jonathan Davis, Korn
Project: Book with horrormeister Clive Barker, video game
Status: According to Davis' manager, Peter Katsis, funding for an interactive DVD/coffee table book featuring Barker's paintings and Davis' music fell through. And as for Davis' "Pop Scars" video game, "as he was developing it, he saw a bunch of other fighting games and it seemed like the idea should have come together quicker," Katsis said. Davis is still at work on some other games, details of which have not yet been announced.

P. Diddy
Project: Techno and gospel albums
Status: Shortly after his 2002 acquittal on bribery and gun-possession charges, Diddy announced that he was going to release an album of gospel songs called Thank You. The collaboration with Hezekiah Walker was to feature Faith Evans, Brandy and Carl Thomas alongside such gospel acts as Fred Hammond and Mary Mary. The album was never released, but Bad Boy's Carla Guerrero said it is "still in the works," although no release date has been set. The rap impresario also announced in 2003 that he was working on a techno-inspired dance album called Divided Soul. He previewed a collaboration with Kelis titled "Let's Get Ill" on the beach at the American Dance Music Awards in March 2003, but then the heat came off the project. He played to sold-out crowds at clubs in Ibiza last summer and has hooked up with such techno producers as Deep Dish, Felix Da Housecat and Erick Morillo for the album. "He's still working on it and there's just a couple more songs to finish," Guerrero said. "He's just waiting for the right time to release it," which she expects will be this summer. Mark your calendars.

Limp Bizkit's Extracurricular Activities
Projects: Fred Durst's directorial debut and electronica album; Wes Borland's Eat the Day
Status: For a minute, it looked like Fred Durst was going to parlay his experience at lensing videos for bands like Puddle of Mudd into a movie-directing career. Just two years ago, the Limp Bizkit frontman was attached to as many as four films, including "The Lords of Dogtown," a fictionalized version of the 2001 documentary "Dogtown and Z-Boys." That one was assigned to Catherine Hardwicke ("Thirteen") when co-producer David Fincher ("Fight Club") decided the movie had become too big a project to assign to a first-time director. At last count, the Bizkit singer was still involved in "Runt," about a high-school outcast, and the thriller "Life Without Joe," though neither has gone into production. Those two are "still being talked about, but new ideas are gaining more steam," said Peter Katsis (who manages Durst as well as Korn), without elaborating. And whatever became of Durst's '80s-inspired electronica side project, Pacifica? "We're not sure what name it will take," Katsis said, "but he's postponed working on solo stuff because of the new Limp Bizkit album."

Meanwhile, past and current Bizkit guitarist Wes Borland spent more than a year searching for a singer for his band Eat the Day. But after listening to more than 1,000 demos and announcing Adam Yas of the Oakland, California, band Stalking Tom as his singer, Borland pulled the plug on the project shortly before rejoining Bizkit. He briefly toyed with doing an album with Filter's Richard Patrick, but that too went up in smoke. Borland has shelved Eat the Day for now to concentrate on the new Bizkit album.

William Hung
Project: Movie debut
Status: The "American Idol" whipping boy's Cantonese-language action comedy, "Where Is Mama's Boy?," was just released in Singapore, but the singer's personal assistant said a release date for the movie in the U.S. has not yet been nailed down. Hung is also working on his English-language film debut, which also has not yet been scheduled for release.

R. Kelly, Baby
Project: Album, movie
Status: Kelly and Baby both hyped a sequel to the Pied Piper's hookup with Jay-Z, The Best of Both Worlds, but the record isn't on anyone's release schedule just yet (and they probably won't be using that comparison if and when it does materialize). The pair also teamed up to write a script for a movie titled "Eye Contact" that they planned to shoot in October 2004, followed by a joint Cash Money/ Kelly tour. However, when asked recently if the album was coming out, Baby said, "I don't think so. Kelly has got his situation going on and I am doing my thing right now. The album is done, but right now I'm focusing on my album and my [Cash Money] acts." Baby's spokesperson said that "Eye Contact" hasn't been shot yet.

Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes
Project: N.I.N.A. album
Status: The late rapper's debut solo effort, Supernova, was released overseas in 2001 but never made it to American shelves. Frustrated, Lopes signed with Tha Row under the name N.I.N.A. and recorded an album for the label shortly before her death in April 2002, which a spokesperson for Tha Row boss Marion "Suge" Knight told MTV News was slated for release in September of that year. More recently, a spokesperson for Tha Row did not return repeated calls for comment about the album's release.

The Matrix
Project: Debut album
Status: The debut album from super-producer trio the Matrix (Avril Lavigne, Christina Aguilera) was slated for release in late 2004 but was quietly shelved, perhaps forever. "They finished it, did a video and it was amazing, but we decided not to go forward," said manager Sandy Roberton of the untitled album, for which the trio recruited a male and a female singer. "We realized that, because of all the activity they had as producers, trying to turn them into artists and touring and all that would be a nightmare." Singer Katy Perry has signed a solo deal with Columbia Records and is expected to use some of the songs on her upcoming debut; male singer Adam Longlands is signed to the Matrix's publishing company, but does not currently have an album slated for release. Meanwhile, the Matrix are working with Vanessa Carlton, Shakira, Ricky Martin and Barefoot, the first act signed to JT Records, the label recently formed by Jessica/ Ashlee manager/dad Joe Simpson.

Trent Reznor, Maynard James Keenan
Project: Tapeworm
Status: For more than four years, reports have circulated about this legendary hookup between Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor and Tool/ A Perfect Circle singer Maynard James Keenan. Fans got a sneak preview of one song when APC performed "Vacant" at a 1999 concert, a move that reportedly irritated the notoriously secretive Reznor. At different points, Tapeworm also featured NIN guitarist Danny Lohner, 12 Rounds bassist/drummer Atticus Ross and former NIN keyboardist Charles Clouser. The group had reportedly booked time in Atlanta's Southern Tracks Studios to record the album in August of 2002, but a spokesperson for Reznor said recently that the band is "not a functioning project," and the music is not likely to be released.

3LW
Project: Sitcom, reality show
Status: In December of 2003, 3LW were reported to be planning to turn their Disney movie, "The Cheetah Girls," into an ABC sitcom. The group was also planning on turning the recording process of their next album into a reality show. The trio are just now starting work on the album with Jermaine Dupri and plans for the shows are on permanent hold, according to a spokesperson.


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Photo: Getty Images/MTV News

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"I'm Not Okay (I Promise)"
Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge
(Reprise)


  Dr. Dre
"Bad Intentions"
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack The Wash
(Aftermath/Interscope)


  Timbaland
"All Y'All"
Indecent Proposal
(Blackground)


  Korn
"Word Up"
Greatest Hits Vol. 1
(Immortal/Epic Records)


  P.Diddy
"Best Friend"
Forever
(Bad Boy)


  Limp Bizkit
"Behind Blue Eyes"
Results May Vary
(Flip/Interscope Records)


  R. Kelly
"U Saved Me"
Happy People
(Jive Records)


  Baby
"Shine"
(Universal)


  Nine Inch Nails
"We're In This Together"
The Fragile
(nothing/Interscope)


  A Perfect Circle
"Imagine"
eMOTIVe
(Virgin)


  3LW
"I Do (Wanna Get Close to You)"
A Girl Can Mack
(Epic)




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