For The Record: Quick News On Ludacris, Ricky Martin, Brandy, Phish, Grafh, Ryan Cabrera, Bjork & More

The Latin Grammy nominations have been announced, and Rita, Spanish singer Alejandro Sanz and Cuban pianist Bebo Valdés were the most-nominated performers with four nods each. Former Menudo singer Robi Draco Rosa garnered a few nominations, while pop singer Paulina Rubio was nominated for Best Female Pop Album and Ricky Martin received a nod for Best Male Pop Album. The fifth annual Latin Grammy Awards ceremony will take place September 1 in Los Angeles. ...

Ludacris will appear on the season debut of Comedy Central's "Crank Yankers" on Tuesday. He'll help kick off the show's third season with a crank call to Def Jam's president. ... Shawnna, of Luda's Disturbing Tha Peace crew, finally has her debut album slated for release. Worth Tha Weight will hit stores on September 14. A video for her first single, "Shake That Sh--," will be shot in the coming weeks. ...

Hilary Duff's fella in "A Cinderella Story" is getting hitched. Chad Michael Murray and his "One Tree Hill" co-star Sophia Bush have gotten engaged. "She's perfect," he told USA Today. "She keeps me inspired, and she complements me very well." The pair apparently got engaged two months ago when Murray was in Australia shooting a remake of "House of Wax" with Paris Hilton. They plan to get married sometime next year. ... Filmmakers Quentin Tarantino and Sofia Coppola are officially dating now, according to their joint publicist. ...

PBS is offering Phish one last stand. The band's first feature-length television program, "IT: A Phish Concert Special," follows 60,000 fans who trekked to a weekend-long festival in Limestone, Maine, marking the end of the group's summer 2003 tour. The 90-minute special will air on August 2 at 10 p.m. ET. ... Björk is preparing to release her first studio album since 2001's Vespertine. Medulla, due August 31, sees the Icelandic chanteuse collaborating with the likes of Mike Patton and singing over beats provided by former Roots member Rahzel. ...

For Queens, New York, rapper Grafh, waiting turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Grafh was in the class of MCs that included 50 Cent, Joe Budden and Juelz Santana who had a strong buzz on the mixtapes in 2002 and dropped their debut LPs in 2003. Well, if you're wondering why you never heard Grafh's LP, that's because he was in class but didn't graduate. Although he recorded at least an album's worth of material, he could never see eye-to-eye with his label, Sony Music. In the wake of his release from Sony, Grafh has just inked a deal with Roc-A-Fella Records and will finally release an LP through Blackhand Entertainment/ Roc-A-Fella, maybe as early as January. He's already completed six new tracks with the Roc's in-house producers. ... Mo' money, no problems. Lil' Mo has inked a new recording deal with Cash Money Records and is already in the studio working. Her CMR debut, titled Syndicated, is set for release in October. ...

Queen Latifah has joined up with Cover Girl for the first-ever cosmetic record label, CG Vibes. Atlantic Records has signed on to distribute the label's first release, a collection of songs by Brandy, the Corrs, Sugar Ray, the Donnas and Ryan Cabrera. Latifah, who's on the disc as well and is acting as the label's spokesperson, is hosting a launch party for the imprint Thursday (July 15) at New York's Boulevard's Crash Mansion. The CD compilation will be available on Tuesday, with proceeds benefiting women engaged in public service. ... Jewel has signed on to perform at Summer Party, a philanthropic event held by AIDS Project Los Angeles, on July 24 at Paramount Studios. Limited VIP tickets are $150; general admission tickets are $85 at www.apla.org. ...

Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine has been hit with an $18.5 million suit filed by the band's former bassist David Ellefson. In his suit, filed in Manhattan Federal Court, Ellefson claims that Mustaine cheated him out of profits, withheld merchandise and publishing royalties and backed out of a deal to turn Megadeth Inc. over to the bassist when the band broke up in 2002. ... Blondie will release Blondie: Singles Box on August 10. The set will feature the new wave band's hits, B-sides and previously unreleased tracks. ...

"Ghost Rider," the book that Rush drummer Neil Peart wrote about his motorcycle trip across North America, may be made into a motion picture. Scabeba Entertainment, a company run by Cathy Rich, the daughter of late jazz drummer Buddy Rich, has bought the film and TV rights to the story and plans to work on the film after the completion of a movie about the life of her father. ... The Music have more music in them — the British rock group has been working with producer Brendan O'Brien for its next album, due October 19. An early taste of the new Music will be available on Monday, when a track called "Welcome to the North" will be posted for download on the band's Web site, www.themusic.uk.com. ...

07.14.04

Ashlee Simpson might not sit on the toilet like Jenny McCarthy did in her ad, but the reality show star is the next Candie's girl. "Candie's always does tongue-in-cheek, very funny advertising and they have a great sense of humor," Simpson said in a statement. "The ads are always sexy and this is actually the first sexy photo shoot I've done." Simpson is slated to appear in the company's fall advertising campaign, which starts in the September issues of fashion, entertainment and lifestyle magazines. She will also perform a live concert for Candie's customers and make two in-store personal appearances at select retailers in major markets, to be announced. Meanwhile, Simpson was just nominated for the Fresh New Face award at the Teen Choice Awards, to be broadcast August 11 on FOX. ...

Outkast's Andre 3000 was just voted the "World's Sexiest Vegetarian" in PETA's annual online poll — the first hip-hop star to make the list. Past winners have included Tobey Maguire, Shania Twain and Josh Hartnett. ... The hard-court dreams of Master P have once again clanked off the rim. The rapper and CEO of No Limit Records was cut from the summer league team of the NBA's Denver Nuggets on Tuesday, before the season even started. Master P has tried the b-ball thing before, having almost made it through training camps for the Charlotte Hornets and Toronto Raptors in 1999. He's played minor-league ball, too, most recently for the Las Vegas Rattlers of the ABA. ...

Hall of Fame-point-guard-turned-business-renaissance-man Magic Johnson has lined up the celebrities to join him at his annual charity event, A Midsummer Night's Magic. The two-day gala will feature New Edition and Carl Thomas performing on July 31 at the L.A. Center Studios and a celebrity b-ball game on August 1 at the Forum. Nick Cannon and Xzibit are among the stars who will hoop it up. ... There's nothing like seeing 10 35-year-old women chasing a limousine. That scenario came to pass Tuesday night in Brooklyn, New York, as New Edition finished their set at Wingate Park and tried to make an exit. For a solid hour, Ronnie, Ricky, Ralph, Mike and Johnny performed nothing but hits from their catalog, including "Popcorn Love," "Cool It Now," "Mr. Telephone Man," "Poison," "Sensitivity" and "My, My, My" as part of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Concert Series. One oddity at the show — the guys did not sing their current single, "Hot 2 Nite." The group was also given a New York City Proclamation from Brooklyn city council member Yvette Clarke for their years of performing. ...

ODB is readying the first single from his upcoming LP, Dirty. The track is called "Lift Your Skirt" and finds Dirt McGirt telling the ladies to do just that. ... Juvenile is moving in anything but "Slow Motion." He just signed a new deal with Atlantic Records and plans to release his next LP in early 2005. ... Two collections by the pioneering alternative rock band the Talking Heads will be issued on August 17. The first, The Name of This Band Is Talking Heads, will feature live material performed between 1977 and 1981. The recording was originally released in 1982 as a double album, but was previously unavailable on CD. The second, Best of the Talking Heads, features 18 of the band's biggest hits, including "Psycho Killer," "Once in a Lifetime" and "Burning Down the House." ...

A new album by the Used, In Love and Death, is set for release August 31. The John Feldmann-produced effort is the follow-up to the band's 2002 self-titled debut. ... A Duran Duran box set featuring the group's first three albums, Duran Duran, Rio and Seven and the Ragged Tiger, will be released on August 10. The package will include bonus music videos. ...