For The Record: Quick News On Notorious B.I.G., Lil’ Kim, Michael Jackson, U2, Stone Sour, Tommy And Pam & More

Biggie release party marred by violence; Lil' Kim donates toys; U2 most in-demand ticket in '05.

A Notorious B.I.G. duets album-release party advertised as being hosted by Diddy was marred by violence on Wednesday morning (December 21). At 3:10 a.m., police responded to a call of shots fired outside of New York’s Club Exit, where the
party was being held. Police found one person shot in the leg. A few minutes later, police responded to a fight inside the club, where two people were cut on the face and one man was stabbed in the stomach. At press time, the names of the victims had not been given out. Police have no suspects as of yet. …

On Thursday, Lil’ Kim‘s charity organization Lil’ Kim Cares — in partnership with the Fight for Life Foundation, Mitchell & Ness clothing and boxing champion Zab Judah‘s charity — will donate toys to underprivileged children in the Philadelphia area. Kim is serving a 366-day sentence in a Philly prison, following her conviction in March on federal perjury charges. Kids 13 and younger can swing by the Francis J. Myers Recreation Center between 4 and 6 p.m. to pick up a present. In addition, Kim has sent a handwritten letter to her fans from jail. “I thank all of you for your heartfelt, overwhelming, tremendous love and support,” the letter, which is now posted on her Web site, reads. “It has been your wonderful letters that has helped my time pass.” … U2 were the most in-demand ticket of the year, according to Ticketmaster, which has just tallied the country’s most-requested events and concerts for 2005. U2 topped both the events and concerts lists, with the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Dave Matthews Band, Coldplay, Bon Jovi, Kenny Chesney, the Eagles, Elton John and Nine Inch Nails rounding out the concerts list. …

While Michael Jackson‘s lawyers continue to try to sort out his overdue $270 million loan with Fortress Investment Group, which could cost him his Neverland Ranch as well as his stake in the Beatles catalog, the singer’s troubles seem to be mounting. First, his ex-wife Debbie Rowe is accusing Jackson of abducting their children, by taking Paris and Prince to live in Bahrain during the custody battle. In a hearing on Monday, Rowe filed a motion asking a judge to order Jackson to return the children to the U.S., claiming that the singer lied about having sole custody in order to get the children passports. Judge Stephen Lachs has yet to rule on the matter. Meanwhile, despite reports to the contrary, Jackson has not defaulted on a second, smaller loan of $2.2 million, for which he put up his parents’ $7 million house in Encino, California, as collateral. A Jackson family lawyer said that the Encino home is not in jeopardy, and that even if it were, Janet Jackson recently bought a house in Las Vegas that family members could use. That’s probably good news to those worried about Neverland being a back-up plan, since a second lien could be placed on that property. Former Jackson associate Marc Schaffel, who’s suing the singer for non-payment, has filed a motion for a writ of attachment on Neverland, so that in the event he wins his $3 million lawsuit, he will still be able to collect. A judge is scheduled to hear the matter on January 19. …

The Strokes, the Darkness and the Super Furry Animals are the first bands announced for the One Earth benefit concert scheduled for January 28 at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. The concert, which will be broadcast around the world in an effort to raise awareness about the problem of global warming, is being organized by the environmental group Climate Change Now. In an attempt to help cut down on the emission of dangerous greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the organization is hoping to convert 1 million European homes so that they can make use of clean, renewable energy sources. … Tommy Lee joined hair-metal cover band Metal Skool onstage Monday at the Key Club in West Hollywood, where the band has a weekly residency. Lee drummed on “Girls Girls Girls” while ex-wife Pamela Anderson, in a sexy Santa outfit, danced around the stripper pole and doused herself with water. …

Slipknot frontman Corey Taylor‘s side project Stone Sour will begin recording the follow-up to the band’s self-titled 2002 debut on January 25, and have enlisted the talents of producer Nick Rasculinecz (Foo Fighters, Velvet Revolver) for the effort. More than 30 demos were written for the LP, which is due in June. … During a recent visit to Nairobi, Kenya, Audioslave guitarist Tom Morello performed as his alter-ego the Nightwatchman in Cork, a local nightclub. Morello stopped into the club with no intention of playing, but was recognized by the house band and the members talked him into taking the stage. Morello borrowed an acoustic guitar and performed a bunch of his politically-tinged folk songs, including “House Gone Up in Flames” and “Flesh Shapes the Day.” …

Starting this month, Vice Records will issue an unreleased track every two weeks from an artist on the label (which includes Bloc Party, Death From Above 1979 and the Streets) on its official blog. The first offering is a remix of Bloc Party’s “Two More Years” by MSTRKRFT. … Pennywise frontman Jim Lindberg, a father of three, is planning to make good use of his experience. He’s just signed a book deal with Collins to write a post-punk fatherhood guide called “Punk Rock Dad.” …

12.20.2005

50 Cent‘s “Get Rich or Die Tryin’ ” will get the video game treatment next month — but owners of the various consoles won’t be able to bring the G-Unit captain’s character to life unless they pick up the phone. 50′s inked a deal with mobile entertainment firms Fathammer and Zingy to give gamers the chance to step into his “Get Rich” characters’ shoes, according to Interscope Records. The cell-phone game’s plot will follow the film’s story line of an aspiring rapper who works his way up from the streets to the top of the hip-hop game. The game will be available for download in mid-January. …

The reason Lauryn Hill had to step away from the spotlight, she told Essence magazine for its new issue, was that it was a “very toxic situation” for her, because she wasn’t able to be herself. “I discovered people could only acknowledge red and blue and I was somewhere between. I was purple,” she told the magazine. “And when I can’t be whole, I have a problem. I was like, ‘I’ve got to get out of here.’ ” So she spent two or three years “away from all social interaction,” with no music and no television. “It was a very introspective and complicated time because I had to really confront my fears,” she said. During her downtime, Hill also wrote a lot — music as well as screenplays — and even dabbled in fashion design, endeavors that helped her become “older, wiser, and clearer.” Still, she vetoed plans to do a clothing line, because it bothered her to see her look “exploited, appropriated, copied and reproduced” by others. “Fashion is something I breathe,” Hill said. “I wasn’t really trying to share my style, I was just trying to be me and exist.” Now that’s she back with the Fugees, Hill says her hope is that other artists don’t get “trapped in images that don’t really reflect who they are.” … Mary J. Blige isn’t about to turn down an opportunity to do a clothing line, though. The R&B singer recently revealed to MTV Europe that she’s hoping to do one in the vein of Catherine Malandrino, because the designer has a classic sensibility. “I can pull clothes of hers from five years ago, those are the kinds of things I want to make,” Blige said. “I definitely want to do a clothing line, and not just because everyone else is doing one. I want a clothing line which is around forever.” …

Pink‘s happy about her time away from the spotlight as well, “if you forget about stalkerazzi,” she joked to MTV Europe. Keeping a low profile helped her record her fourth album (I’m Not Dead, due in the spring) and film her first major film role (in the upcoming “Catacombs”). “I haven’t had any time off,” Pink said. “I just haven’t done any reality TV shows.” But now that she’s back, the tabloids, which usually “kind of skip” her and her fiance, Carey Hart, have shown a new interest, even if that means bringing back a few old rumors. “I’ve been pregnant for three years,” Pink laughed. “I’ve had the longest pregnancy in the history of mankind.” Mostly, though, the tabloids “don’t really target” them on a major scale, “which is good,” and is probably aided by the couple’s lack of clubbing. “We don’t go out much, we’re normal,” she said. “We make it a Blockbuster night.” Still, Pink’s not about to tip off the press when the wedding will be. Instead, she’ll just say that Hart said yes when she proposed “because he’s smart” and the engagement has been “an emotional time.” “But we’re happy and really excited and I love him a lot,” she said, before gushing, “I’m going to be a girl, and I’m going to wear a dress!” … Snoop Dogg was among the hundreds of mourners who congregated at the Bethel AME Church in Los Angeles on Tuesday for Stanley “Tookie” Williams‘ funeral, according to The Associated Press. A recording of Williams’ voice was played and the Reverend Jesse Jackson told the crowd the recently executed Crips co-founder was a “healer, not a predator.” Snoop recited a poem that read, in part, “It’s nine-fifteen on twelve-thirteen and another black king will be taken from the scene.” …

Michael Jackson is in dire financial peril — Tuesday (December 20) is the deadline for him to make good on a $270 million loan, which, if his creditors foreclose, could cost him his Neverland Ranch as well as his stake in the Beatles catalog. Fortress Investment Group bought and consolidated the singer’s loans in April from Bank of America, loans that Jackson had secured with his 50 percent stake in Sony/ATV publishing, a song catalog estimated to be worth $1 billion (the other 50 percent is held by Sony Corporation, which has the option to be the first to buy back Jackson’s share if he defaults on the loan). Sources close to the singer and to the situation, though, said that Jackson has painted himself into a corner, by refusing to participate in the talks and shutting out advisors, save for a sheik from Bahrain. “He’s not talking to anybody” was the common refrain from those who used to be in Jackson’s inner circle. They also described Jackson as being divorced from reality, paranoid and withdrawn, mostly because of his criminal trial earlier this year. “He’s fed up with the U.S. and its court system,” one associate said. “And he’s upset about the personal stuff that came out, how much porn he collects, how much he drinks.” Fortress and Sony had no comment. …

Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne, Elizabeth Hurley, Bryan Adams and Kid Rock were among the guests who attended Elton John‘s bachelor party Monday night inside a London nightclub, The Associated Press reports. John and his partner, David Furnish, will be united in a private civil ceremony on Wednesday. … Madonna‘s latest album, Confessions on a Dance Floor, has inspired an entire line of limited-edition, collectible wines from California’s Celebrity Cellars. For $29-$40, fans of the singer can own a bottle of either Barbera, Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Grigio sporting a label with Confessions‘ album art. There’s also a non-alcoholic version of the vino available. The manufacturers promise a wine “as complex and sophisticated as the artist herself.” …

As announced last month, “American Idol” will not shift its finals weeks from a Tuesday-Wednesday to a Wednesday-Thursday schedule as was considered, but FOX will air the semifinals once again on a Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday schedule. For three weeks beginning February 15, the male semifinalists will perform on Tuesdays, the females on Wednesdays and the results will be announced on Thursdays. … Diddy‘s lending his voice for a commercial advertising Biggie ring tones, which are being culled from the master recordings in the Notorious B.I.G. catalog, including his posthumous Duets: The Final Chapter album, in stores Tuesday. The spot will be shown on BET. …

Head Automatica, who’re working on the follow-up to 2004′s Decadence, will hit the road with Morningwood in tow on January 24. The 13-date trek kicks off in Seattle, with dates running through February 25 in Boston. … Staind have mapped out a 14-date North American tour with openers Theory of a Deadman. The outing launches in Philadelphia on January 29 and wraps up in Maplewood, Minnesota, on February 19. …