For The Record: Quick News On Lil’ Mo And Ja Rule, Eminem, ‘American Idol,’ Luther Vandross, P.O.D. & More

Lil’ Mo has changed her mind and decided to respond to the musical barbs thrown at her by Ja Rule. On a new freestyle released to mixtapes, the singer raps over the beat to 50 Cent and Notorious B.I.G.‘s “The Realest N—as”: “Used to be homie, used to be my ace/ Now I wanna smack the taste out your mouth.” Meanwhile, Mo’s song “4 Ever” and her response record to 50′s “21 Questions,” “21 Answers,” are getting major burn on the airwaves. …

Artists Queen Latifah, Mya and Tyrese, and actors Adrien Brody, Josh Hartnett, Colin Farrell, Harrison Ford and Samuel L. Jackson are among the presenters for the 2003 MTV Movie Awards. The 12th annual show will be taped May 31 at Los Angeles’ Shrine Auditorium for broadcast June 5 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Justin Timberlake and Seann William Scott will host the show. …

P.O.D. have started to record their new album in a Los Angeles studio with Howard Benson, who also produced the band’s last album, 2001′s Satellite, and 1999′s breakthrough, The Fundamental Elements of Southtown. The LP, due in November, marks the first with new guitarist Jason Truby, who replaced founding member Marcos Curiel in February. … Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin will host a candlelight vigil and prayer service for Luther Vandross on May 19 in Detroit. Vandross, who suffered a stroke on April 16, has yet to regain consciousness and remains in critical condition. Franklin will be joined by the Four Tops, the Ebenezer Mass Choir and others. …

Videos by Christina Aguilera, Moby and No Doubt were big winners at the Music Video Production Association’s annual awards show Thursday in Los Angeles. Other winners included Joseph Kahn for Rap Video of the Year for Eminem‘s “Without Me”; Michel Gondry for Alternative Video of the Year for the White Stripes‘ “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground”; and Francis Lawrence for Pop Video of the Year for Justin Timberlake‘s “Cry Me a River.” … Renaissance rapper Wyclef Jean has started to record the follow-up to last year’s Masquerade in New York’s Platinum Sounds studio. Titled Preacher’s Son, the album, expected to drop this fall, will be Clef’s first LP for new label J Records, home to Alicia Keys and Busta Rhymes. …

Ruben Studdard, Clay Aiken and the other 10 “American Idol” finalists have been added to the lineup for KIIS-FM’s Wango Tango concert May 17 in Pasadena, California. Kiss, Nelly and Christina Aguilera are headlining the festival. … While there are no promises (yet) of a personal patchouli pack in every stateroom, there will be jam bands up the yin yang on the inaugural Jam Cruise, departing from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, on January 6. In addition to visiting ports of call in the Florida Keys and the Bahamas, travelers will get to noodle dance for four days and four nights to Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, the Disco Biscuits, Galactic, Mofro, Dirty Dozen Brass Band and others. More information is available at www.jamcruise.com. …

Thirteen old-school hip-hop videos are collected on the DVD “Lyricist Lounge: Hip-Hop Video Classics.” The DVD, which features Run-DMC‘S “Walk This Way,” Chubb Rock‘s “Treat ‘Em Right” and Biz Markie‘s “Just a Friend,” among others, is due July 7. … Mack 10 just released his “Mack 10 Ghetto, Gutter & Gangsta” DVD. Besides concert clips of the Mack and the members of the Westside Connection, the release contains behind-the-scenes footage of the West Coast MC and some of his friends, like E-40 and MC Eiht. Mack is currently working on the soundtrack to “Ghetto, Gutter and Gangsta,” and like the DVD, it is said to contain appearances by Ice Cube and WC. …  

Mars Volta, the band composed of ex-At the Drive-In members Cedric Bixler (vocals) and Omar Rodriguez (guitar), will release their debut full-length album, De-Loused in the Comatorium, on June 24. The disc will be an epic concept album about a friend of the band’s who took his own life. …

05.08.03

“Jackass” star Steve-O will “perform” on the second stage of Lollapalooza, joining Cave-In, the Music, Kings of Leon, Burning Brides, Pharoahe Monch, the Mooney Suzuki, 30 Seconds to Mars and the Bellydance Superstars. The Distillers and Cold are the latest acts to join the main stage, which will also feature Jane’s Addiction, Audioslave, Incubus, Queens of the Stone Age, A Perfect Circle, Jurassic 5 and the Donnas. …

Want to play with Christina Aguilera? She’s going to be more available to her fans than ever, starting Monday, when the “Sims Superstar” Expansion Pack hits stores. The singer is one of several celebrity likenesses with which gameplayers can interact. Other famous folks in the game include Marilyn Monroe and Andy Warhol. …

Beyoncé Knowles will go in front of the cameras on Tuesday and Wednesday in Los Angeles to shoot the video for her upcoming single “Crazy in Love.” There is no word yet on whether the track’s guest performer, Jay-Z, will also appear in the Jake Nava-directed clip. … Jay-Z will open a sports bar in New York called 40/40 on May 28. The name is a reference to baseball players who have hit 40 home runs and stolen 40 bases in a single season. The restaurant will be located at 6 W. 25th Street, and will feature big-screen TVs, video-game consoles and a cigar room. … Fat Joe has teamed up with New York restauranteur Jimmy Rodriguez to take over a seafood restaurant in the City Island area of the Bronx. The as-yet-unnamed restaurant will open up in early June with a celebrity-filled party. Rodriguez is the owner of famed Bronx Latin supper club Jimmy’s Bronx Cafe, as well as two successful offshoots, Jimmy’s Uptown and Jimmy’s Downtown. …

Fabolous has a couple of remixes ready to touch down. While he retooled his current single, “Can’t Let You Go,” with a new beat, lyrics and hook, the alterations to his Street Dreams album’s second single, “Into You,” weren’t as drastic: Tamia is now singing on the hook instead of Ashanti. … Brian Littrell will be in need of a good caddy next month. The Backstreet Boy will test his golfing skills June 30 in Lexington, Kentucky, in a charity tournament against University of Kentucky basketball coach Tubby Smith, among others, to raise money for Saint Joseph’s Hospital as well as his own Brian Littrell Healthy Heart Club for Kids. …

Seminal punk band the Buzzcocks are hitting the road to support their self-titled album, which dropped March 18. The trek kicks off May 29 in New Orleans and runs through June 20 in Chicago. A brief stint opening for Pearl Jam (June 21-July 9) immediately follows. … Paul Westerberg will follow up last year’s Stereo and Mono albums with two more releases. The blues album Dead Man Shake is due in the summer (like Mono, under the Grandpaboy alias), while Folker is due in the fall. …

Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, the Rev. Al Sharpton, Rev Run, Andrew Cuomo and a handful of state senators were among those who joined Russell Simmons at a press conference Thursday morning (May 8) in New York to give Governor George Pataki a June 4 deadline to repeal the Big Apple’s strict Rockefeller drug laws. Simmons promised to call upon the hip-hop community to do PSAs and utilize other media outlets to spread the message. … An 10′x11′ billboard promoting the Deftones‘ new, self-titled album (May 20) that was hanging outside Los Angeles’ famed Whisky a Go-Go on the Sunset Strip was stolen over the weekend. An overzealous fan is suspected of pilfering the poster, which was one of three murals commissioned by Maverick Records. West Hollywood police are investigating. …

Skid Row are experiencing the need for speed. No, they’re not turning into a death metal band, bassist Rachel Bolan is embarking on a side career as a race-car driver. Bolan is competing in races in the Legends Series, which is a part of a Charlotte, North Carolina, semi-pro organization called 600 Racing. Bolan’s racing will not interfere with Skid Row, who have a new album called Thickskin due this summer. … Producer Damon Elliott (Pink, Destiny’s Child) is developing the first artist to sign to his label, singer and rapper Keyshia Cole, whose debut is due in the fall. Elliott has also produced tracks for the upcoming Mya and Jessica Simpson albums. …