R&B Beat: Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, Rodney Jerkins ...

Producers/songwriters sign with Arista; super producer working with UK girl group.

Producers and songwriters Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis have signed on with Arista Records for the corporation to handle distribution and promotion for their Flyte Tyme label. Jam and Lewis, who have worked with Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men, also will produce artists for Arista, according to a label press release. ...

Pop group the Spice Girls plan to release a double A-side as the first single from their upcoming album, Forever (Nov. 7), their publicist said. The single, which should surface in October, will feature the songs "Holler" and "Let Love Lead the Way," both co-written and produced by famed hip-hop/R&B producer Rodney Jerkins (Brandy, Michael Jackson). Forever, which follows 1997's Spiceworld, also features production work by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis (Janet Jackson). ...

Ja Rule, known for snarling street anthems such as "Holla Holla,' from his 1999 debut Venni, Vetti, Vecci, plans to release his follow-up Rule 3:36 on Oct. 3, according to Def Jam spokesperson Theda Sandiford-Waller. Ja Rule's second LP includes collaborations with new R&B singer Christina Milian, Vita, Black Child, Tah Murder, Case, Jayo Felony, and Lil' Mo. ...

Sisqó and Christina Aguilera will perform at the MTV Video Music Awards, which will be broadcast live Thursday (Sept. 7) from Radio City Music Hall in New York. (Sonicnet.com's parent company, Viacom, also owns MTV.) ...

Prince will begin rehearsals Sunday (Sept. 3) for a tour that will feature four distinct themes, including an acoustic set, and will allow select audience members to vote for the next song at various points during the concerts, according to the artist's official Web site, www.npgonlineltd.com. The itinerary hasn't been announced yet, but the tour will be preceded by several rehearsal shows in clubs and small theaters, the Web site said. ...

The Blues Foundation will honor Ray Charles with its lifetime achievement award at an Oct. 2 celebration at the House of Blues in Los Angeles. Past recipients include B.B. King, Bobby "Blue" Bland and Ruth Brown. ...

Destiny's Child will perform Sept. 21 at the MuchMusic Awards show in Toronto, according to the Canadian television network. Ben Harper and members of *NSync and Aqua will present awards at the ceremony. ...

TLC's Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins plans to take a two-year break from her group, but meanwhile she will be on the soundtrack for "Rugrats in Paris," according to Maverick Records. The album, due Nov. 7, also includes a track from former Devo frontman Mark Mothersbaugh, who composed the film's score. ...

Legendary music executive and producer Clive Davis, who was forced out of his position as president and chief executive officer of Arista Records earlier this year, has founded a new record label with Arista's parent company, BMG Entertainment. The new venture, to be known as J Records, will be an "instant major label," according to a statement released Thursday (Aug. 24) by BMG. Davis and BMG have not announced which artists will be part of J Records' roster. Davis, who signed such artists as Janis Joplin, Bruce Springsteen, Patti Smith and Whitney Houston during his nearly 40-year career, most recently spearheaded Santana's comeback with the blockbuster album Supernatural. ...

The men of Jodeci are talking about a reunion, according to a representative for bandmember Dalvin DeGrate. The group's most recent album as a foursome was 1996's The Show, the After Party, the Hotel. ...

R&B singer Mya will release "Free," the first single from the soundtrack to the Jamie Foxx film "Bait," this week. The soundtrack — which also features Missy Elliott, the Roots, Donell Jones and Nelly — hits stores Sept. 12; the movie comes out Sept. 15, according to the film's publicist. ...

The third installment of Guru's Jazzmatazz series features a host of R&B artists, including Macy Gray, Kelis, Isaac Hayes, Angie Stone and Amel Larrieux. Look for the album, Streetsoul, on Sept. 26. ...

Thursday's birthdays (Aug. 31): Wilton Felder (Crusaders), 60; Tamara (Trina and Tamara), 23.

— sonicnet.com staff report