R&B Beat: Prince, Sisqó, Macy Gray...

R&B superstar, a critic of copyright abuse, posts song samples on Web site for comparison.

In the "Latest Posts" section of his npgonlineltd.com Web site, Prince — who's been an outspoken critic of copyright abuse — has posted a sample of Santana's 1999 song "The Calling" alongside a sample of Graham Central Station's 1973 song "People," with the text, "Would this b copyright infringement?" The two songs have virtually identical choruses; Santana's liner notes don't credit bassist Larry Graham or Freddie Stone, who wrote the earlier song. ...

R&B singer Sisqó shot the video for his current #1 single, "Incomplete," last week in Los Angeles, according to his publicist. He also appears in rapper DMX's "What They Want" video. ...

Singers Macy Gray and Madonna are judging poetry contests at the Web site alloy.com, part of the Alloy Books imprint, according to publicists for the artists. Alloy also is releasing a book called "Slam," which collects poetry and lyrics from such artists as Missy Elliott, Ani DiFranco and Tom Waits. ...

The members of Boyz II Men will appear in not one but four UPN comedy shows Sept. 25. The group, which will release its fifth album, Nathan Michael Shawn Wanya, in September, will show up on "Moesha," "The Hughleys," "The Parkers" and "Girlfriends," according to a label publicist. (Sonicnet.com's parent company, Viacom, also owns UPN.) ...

Producer/songwriter Warryn Campbell said he just finished a remake of Earth, Wind & Fire's "September" with Sisqó and Vitamin C for the "Getting Over Allison" movie soundtrack. Sisqó has a role in the Kirsten Dunst movie, which is set for release early next year. ...

The Rhythm & Blues Foundation has announced the list of presenters for its Pioneer Awards, to be held Sept. 6 at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York. Aretha Franklin, Isaac Hayes, Gerald Levert and former Supremes singer Mary Wilson are among those doing the honors at the awards, which will be hosted by Smokey Robinson. ...

Singer Teddy Pendergrass has formed the Teddy Pendergrass Alliance, a charitable organization to help people with spinal-cord injuries. Pendergrass has been in a wheelchair since a 1982 auto accident that injured his spinal cord. The organization will hold a gala Oct. 14 that will be co-chaired by Pendergrass and singer/songwriters Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson. ...

Lou Rawls will star in "Me & Mrs. Jones," a stage musical based on the true story and hit song about a woman's affair with a judge, according to the Associated Press. Rehearsals will start this month in Los Angeles, and the show will start a national tour in the spring, the wire service reported. ...

A person who can convincingly impersonate sexy R&B singer Ginuwine has swindled some radio stations by persuading them to pay him to perform at bogus concerts, according to MTV News Online. Epic Records and the crooner — who is busy prepping for a film role in "Juwanna Man" and recording his third LP — urge radio stations, venues and promoters to contact police if they are approached by the faux Ginuwine. ...

EMI division Virgin America has entered into a $15 million joint venture with Blackground Records to strengthen its urban music catalog, according to the Los Angeles Times. The label is home to recording artists Aaliyah and Timbaland. ...

Rhino Records will release the four-CD box set Rhapsodies in Black: Music and Words From the Harlem Renaissance on Nov. 7. The set compiles music from Bessie Smith, Cab Calloway, Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, among others, and it includes readings by several contemporary artists, including Quincy Jones, Joshua Redman, Ice-T and Coolio. ...

Jagged Edge's "Let's Get Married," Will Smith's "Freakin' It," Lauryn Hill's "Doo Wop (That Thing)" and Splender's "I Think God Can Explain" are a few of the 17 songs featured on Platinum Hits 2000, a collection due Sept. 5, according to Columbia Records. Other artists on the compilation disc are Destiny's Child, Ricky Martin, Marc Anthony, Son by Four and Savage Garden. ...

Friday's birthdays (Aug. 18): Maxine Brown, 61; Nona Hendryx, 55; and Marvin Isley (Isley Brothers), 47.

— sonicnet.com staff report