Pop Beat: Lox, Pearl Jam, John Mellencamp ...

Rap ensemble, including Lox and Drag-On, will perform at New York summer camp.

Ruff Ryders Entertainment, the hip-hop imprint whose roster includes DMX and Eve, will sponsor a youth summer camp Aug. 28–Sept. 2 in upstate New York. One hundred kids, ages 8 to 15, were chosen based on their academic achievements for the weeklong event, which will include educational and athletic activities. The Lox and Drag-On will perform at a concert for the attendees Sept. 1; other Ruff Ryders artists may turn up to participate in activities and perform, a spokesperson said. ...

Pearl Jam are looking for volunteers to register voters at their concerts, according to a note on their Web site (www.sonymusic.com/artists/PearlJam). The band is guaranteeing one ticket for each volunteer. ... John Mellencamp has been making surprise appearances in the downtown areas of several cities, including Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Cleveland, according to the singer's Web site (www.mellencamp.com). He plans to perform a short acoustic set Friday (Aug. 18) in Detroit. ...

Universal Music Group, whose labels are home to such artists as DMX, Shania Twain and Beck, will make thousands of tracks available for paid downloads in the fall, Reuters reported. The company will continue to sell its music online in its proprietary Bluematter format, the report said. ... The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland is planning a monthlong fifth birthday celebration beginning Sept. 5. Admission will be free every Monday and Wednesday evenings. ...

British pop band the Beautiful South are planning a brief fall tour, according to a band spokesperson. Beginning with an Oct. 18 performance in Washington, D.C., the band will play eight shows in North America before heading to Germany for six more concerts. ... Toy maker Mattel Inc. announced on Wednesday (Aug. 16) a Vitamin C doll, based on the appearance and style of the "Smile" singer. The doll, which retails for about $16, comes with a microphone, platform shoes and multicolor hair extensions. ...

Singers Macy Gray and Madonna are judging poetry contests at 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 artists including Missy Elliott, Ani DiFranco and Tom Waits. ... Eminem's mother, Debbie Mathers-Briggs, has filed a second defamation lawsuit against the rapper following an interview published in Shooting Star magazine, according to the office of his lawyer, Peter Peacock. Mathers-Briggs is seeking damages of $1 million in the new complaint, in addition to the $10 million demanded in the suit she filed against her son last year. Eminem recently rejected an offer to settle the original suit for $2 million. ...

Pop-rockers Barenaked Ladies have come on strong at radio with "Pinch Me," the lead single from their album Maroon, due Sept. 12. The song is the most-added track at several formats this week, including Pop and AAA, according to radio research reports. "Pinch Me" also appears on the soundtrack to the VH1 movie "At Any Cost," alongside tunes by Eagle-Eye Cherry and Beyond Gravity. (Sonicnet.com's parent company, Viacom, also owns VH1.) ... Prince has posted two audio clips on his Web site (www.npgonlineltd.com) and asks visitors, "would this b copyright infringement?" The samples are from "The Calling," the final song on Santana's blockbuster 1999 LP Supernatural and "People," from Graham Central Station's 1974 debut album. Both samples feature a chorus repeating the word "People" in similar fashion. ...

Monday's birthdays (Aug. 21): Kenny Rogers, 62; Jackie DeShannon, 56; Carl Giammarese (Buckinghams), 53; Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple), 48; Joe Strummer (Clash), 48; Steve Smith (Journey), 46; and Kim Sledge (Sister Sledge), 42.

— sonicnet.com staff report