For The Record: Quick News On 50 Cent, R. Kelly, Heather Locklear And Richie Sambora, Jessica Simpson, Rakim & More

50 Cent might drop album this year; Kelly leads Soul Train nominees; Locklear, Sambora splitting.

It looks like 50 Cent might be dropping his next album this year. Fif just released a new dis single aimed at the Game called “Not Rich, Still Lyin’,” on which he actually imitates Game’s voice. Toward the end of the record, 50 says he has a new album coming out on July 18 because he “can’t stay away.” “Y’all thought I was gonna let y’all eat?” he laughs. 50′s reps at Interscope Records could not be reached for comment. …

R. Kelly received a leading three nominations for the 20th annual Soul Train Music Awards on Thursday (February 2), besting nine artists who nabbed two apiece: Mariah Carey, Kanye West, the Black Eyed Peas, Missy Elliott, Gwen Stefani, John Legend, Keyshia Cole, Charlie Wilson and Bobby Valentino. Kelly and Destiny’s Child will also receive lifetime achievement awards, and Legend will be presented with the Sammy Davis Jr. Entertainer of the Year award. The ceremony will be held March 4 at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. …

Heather Locklear is divorcing her second rocker husband, Bon Jovi‘s Richie Sambora, after 10 years of marriage, according to her rep. Locklear was previously married to Tommy Lee for seven years, while this was Sambora’s first marriage. The couple have an 8-year-old daughter, Ava Elizabeth. … Jennifer Lopez is nearing completion on her first all-Spanish album, according to her producer Estéfano. Como Ama Una Mujer, which will feature a lot of ballads, is due later this year. “It’s a very special project, a passion project,” Lopez told MTV Europe. “Nobody asked me to do it. I just started making Spanish music. I met Estéfano and he’s just a brilliant writer, and we started writing these songs, and Marc Anthony started producing them, trying to find the right sound for me. Marc kind of created the sound and found the music, Estéfano has come up with the songs, and I know when to step back and let two masters work, you know what I mean?” …

Nick Lachey‘s launched a new Web site to help teens have a safe place to chat. The pop star/actor co-founded the networking site yfly.com, which blocks uninvited guests, after a privacy lawyer told him that his name is often used by predators to lure kids online. “That was really disturbing,” he told People magazine. “I wasn’t aware of how big a problem this was. And when you are 17 you have no idea of who you are dealing with.” … Meanwhile, Lachey’s ex Jessica Simpson is being sued over her Dessert line. Mara Fox filed a multimillion-dollar federal lawsuit this week in Los Angeles accusing Simpson and her business partners of infringing on her copyright, since she had launched Love Potion beauty products back in 1989 (one of Simpson’s products is called Deliciously Kissable Love Potion). …

Paula Abdul, who once suffered from an eating disorder, is worried about Nicole Richie. “She has disappeared in front of our eyes,” Abdul told People magazine. “I’ve very worried.” But Richie’s trainer, Adam Ernster, insists his client is doing fine. “She’s working on building muscle,” he told the mag. “She’s healthy and upbeat as always.” … Juelz Santana is performing at a Rap Bowl pre-Super Bowl party at the Palace near Detroit on Friday (along with Young Jeezy, Ludacris, Juvenile and Twista). After supporting football, he’s switching to basketball, by hosting the CyberSports One-On-One Challenge at NBA All-Star weekend in Houston on February 19. Meanwhile, back home, he’s become a financial partner in the HipHopSodaShop in New York’s Harlem neighborhood. “We’re gonna rip 125th [Street] up,” he said. “It’s great to be able to enjoy all this in my own backyard with my own people.” …

RZA and Rakim are meeting New York fans and signing copies of “Marc Ecko’s Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure” game at the Times Square Virgin Megastore on February 16. Rakim performs “Getting Up Anthem: Part 1″ on the soundtrack, while the RZA voices the character Stake. (Talib Kweli lends his voice to the game’s lead character, Trane.) … Lil’ Flip and Sony BMG Music Entertainment were found guilty of willful copyright infringement in Houston this week for using three melodies on Flip’s 2002 album, Undaground Legend, that belonged to Shreveport, Louisiana, producer Tommy L. Granville. The jury awarded Granville maximum statutory damages of $150,000, according to Granville’s lawyer. …

Illegal file-swapping may not be to blame for the record industry’s troubles after all. According to a recent nationwide poll conducted by Rolling Stone magazine and The Associated Press, 92 percent of 1,000 individuals polled say they have never downloaded music for free and 80 percent consider it stealing. Instead, about 75 percent chalked up the decline in record sales to the too-high cost of CDs (about $20 a pop) and 58 percent said the quality of music today just isn’t cutting it. More people (71 percent) are opting to buy their music digitally, and prefer to shell out 99 cents per single track instead of splurging on an entire album. … No Doubt are auctioning off a pair of customized 1990 Yamaha WaveRunners for charity. The watercraft, ridden by the band in its 2001 “Hella Good” video, are now up for grabs on eBay, with all of the proceeds going toward the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund, which helps ill, injured or elderly musicians with their medical costs. The 10-day auction ends February 10. …

The National Rifle Association has named Columbus, Ohio, police officer James D. Niggemeyer — the officer who shot and killed Nathan Gale on December 8, 2004, and put an end to his shooting spree at the Alrosa Villa nightclub that left five people dead, including guitarist “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott — its 2005 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. The NRA is honoring the officer for his efforts to save the lives of others, while putting his own on the line. “It isn’t every day that an officer is faced with a decision like this,” said NRA First Vice President John Sigler. “[Niggemeyer] made the right decision under the most adverse conditions and relied on his training and experience to save the life of an innocent civilian victim.” … Godsmack‘s forthcoming album IV will hit stores on April 25, and the record’s first single, “Speak,” will be making its way onto rock radio next week, according to the band’s Web site. …

Former Rich Kids on LSD frontman Jason Sears, 38, died Tuesday in Tijuana, Mexico, where he was receiving treatment for a drug addiction at an alternative detox clinic, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. The cause of death was determined to be pulmonary thrombosis. As part of his treatment, Sears was provided with Ibogaine, a drug derived from a West African plant said to help overcome addiction and eliminate withdrawal. The drug, illegal in the United States, can also induce hallucinations. Sears fronted RKL from 1983 to 1989, and then reunited with the Santa Barbara, California-based punks from 1994 to 1996. He provided vocals for the group’s last studio LP, 1995′s Riches to Rags.

02.01.2006

Diddy will celebrate the launch of his first fragrance, Unforgivable, Wednesday night (February 1) at New York’s Core club. The rap mogul’s invited Jay-Z, Lindsay Lohan, Russell Simmons, Pam Anderson, Pete Doherty and Naomi Watts, among others, to join him. Unforgivable hits stores February 15. … Meanwhile, Diddy’s shilling for Diet Pepsi once again. After driving a Diet Pepsi truck for a Super Bowl commercial last year, he goes for round two in this year’s Super Bowl ad, by turning to the soda pop “star” to help him produce a new hit song. The resulting tune, “Brown & Bubbly” by D. Pepsi, races up the charts. …

Ashanti is suing the Georgia-based company T.E.A.M. Entertainment, producer Genard Parker, and several international record labels in Germany, Japan, Australia and England for putting out demos she recorded when she was only 16, without her consent. The Murder Inc. princess claims she never authorized the demos to be released after T.E.A.M. failed to snag her a record deal, yet they appeared as part of the compilation disc Can’t Stop in 2005, which also used her name and image on the cover to push sales of the album. Ashanti is asking for an injunction to stop sales of the demos, damages for lost profits and punitive damages in excess of $1 million. Her lawyer William Archer told MTV News, “It is not just Ashanti who has been wronged here, but Ashanti’s fans as well, and we see ourselves as fighting for them too.” Representatives for T.E.A.M. could not be reached for comment. … While Michael Jackson‘s out of the country, his revolving team of lawyers is trying to sort out the sticky issue of how he got to take his children with him, despite being in the middle of a custody battle. It looks like they found a way to at least delay the matter — by asking the judge in the case to recuse himself, saying that he was prejudiced against the singer since he made jokes about Jackson’s alleged anti-Semitism. Judge Stephen Lachs denied that he was prejudiced, pointing out in court papers that he has actually ruled many times in favor of Jackson, particularly about not forcing him to appear in court, but he has stepped down from the case nonetheless, because otherwise, he wrote, Jackson and ex-wife Debbie Rowe would be “waiting for some ruling that had nothing to do with the welfare of the children.” …

Courtney Love failed to get a civil case against her for assault dismissed on Wednesday, though her lawyers were successful in arguing to a Santa Monica, California, judge that the statute of limitations had passed for one of the causes of action. Love’s being sued for attacking Los Angeles musician Kristin King in April 2004, for which she pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault and paid $2,700 to the victim. King says that’s not enough and wants full restitution. King’s attorney, Gloria Allred, said that while a court date for the next hearing has yet to be set, the case is proceeding. … Scott Weiland‘s planning to come clean about his journey to get clean. The Velvet Revolver frontman just inked a publishing deal with Scribner to write his memoir, which will include stories about his rise to rock stardom in Stone Temple Pilots, his battles with drugs, and his life now that he’s sober. …

Thomas “Pig Champion” Roberts, a founding member of influential punk act Poison Idea, died in his Portland, Oregon, home on Monday at the age of 47, according to the Portland medical examiner’s office. The cause of death has not yet been determined. Roberts, who was dubbed the “Pig Champion” because of his impressive weight (allegedly more than 450 pounds), founded Poison Idea in 1980, and the band became legendary for its blistering onstage performances and incredible offstage excesses. The group released a string of albums on San Diego punk label Taang! Records and though Roberts left in 1993, Poison Idea continued on, and he would frequently appear at their shows. … Vanessa Carlton, Stephan Jenkins, Liz Phair, Jack Osbourne, Rufus Wainwright and Lucy Liu are among the celebs auctioning off the free swag they got at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, from cell phones to jeans to designer purses, to benefit the environment. The proceeds from the auction, which starts Wednesday (February 1) on eBay, will go to Global Green USA. …

Snoop Dogg and Tommy Lee are getting in the Super Bowl spirit with a Detroit party of their own, called Party Like a Rockstar. On Saturday, Snoop will hit the stage at the Vault, while Lee will perform after hours with DJ Aero. … On February 11, Staind will perform a set from the front stretch at Florida’s Daytona International Speedway. The band will perform “Right Here” and “Falling” at the race, which kicks off the NASCAR Nextel Cup season. Frontman Aaron Lewis will belt out the national anthem prior to the race. …

Morrissey will be interviewed by Rolling Stone‘s David Fricke and then perform at this year’s South by Southwest music conference on March 16, in what’s being billed as one of the singer’s first performances in support of his forthcoming album, Ringleader of the Tormentors, due April 4. Ringleader was recorded in Rome and includes a contribution from legendary film composer Ennio Morricone. … Attention Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks fans: There is no reason to watch Super Bowl XL this weekend. That’s because the good people at Electronic Arts have already simulated the matchup on “Madden NFL 2006,” which saw the Steelers grind out a 24-19 victory over the Seahawks. The Steelers’ virtual defense was unrelenting, limiting NFL MVP Shaun Alexander to just 70 yards rushing and sacking Seattle QB Matt Hasselbeck four times. …