For The Record: Quick News On Nelly, Jessica Simpson, Nick Lachey, Nas, 50 Cent, Britney Spears, Beyonce & More

Nelly hosts celebrity-softball tourney; Simpson, Lachey blogging; 50 helps children eat right.

Nelly will host a celebrity-softball tournament in Richmond, Virginia, on May 2 to raise money for his 4Sho4Kids Foundation. The game will take place at the Diamond, home of minor-league baseball team the Richmond Braves, and tickets cost start at $10. St. Lunatics rapper Murphy Lee, Goodie Mob's Big Gipp, actress Gabrielle Union and Green Bay Packer/ occasional fantasy-football demigod Ahman Green will join Nelly for the game. Head to ClearChannelRichmond.com/
celebsoftball.html for more info. ...

Ever wanted to read the innermost thoughts of Jessica Simpson, Nick Lachey, the Game and Bam Margera? Now you can. BlogStar has a new service that'll beam the blog stylings of all four — plus a host of other celebs — directly to your Sprint cell phone. The stars will document their day-to-day lives via camera-phone pics and text messages, and for a fee of $5 per blog, Sprint customers will be able to access the action. For more info check out BlogStar.com. ... Russell Simmons held another Hip-Hop Summit over the weekend, this time at New York's Hammerstein Ballroom. Panel contributors Nas, LL Cool J, Jim Jones, T.I., Papoose, manager Chris Lighty and Maino gave advice and spoke about economic empowerment in the urban community.

(See what went down at the event in these photos.") ...

Clothing designer Marc Ecko announced a First Amendment federal lawsuit against Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. and the City of New York on Monday (April 24), challenging the city's new anti-graffiti legislation. The case, centered around artists under the age of 21, asks a federal judge to issue an order preventing the city and New York Police Department from enforcing recent amendments to the city's anti-graffiti laws, which went into effect January 1. The laws criminalize simple possession of spray paint and broad-tipped markers for anyone under 21, regardless of the reason for their possession. They also prohibit anyone under 21 from purchasing spray paint. Ecko's move comes as a hoax video he shot promoting his StillFree.com Web site — in which it appears that his crew tags the president's plane, Air Force One — is gaining buzz online. ... In an unlikely pairing, 50 Cent will appear on daytime talk show "The View" to discuss what may be an even more unlikely topic: kids and nutrition. The rapper will join fitness guru Jorge Cruise on Friday's episode, which airs at 11 a.m. ET on ABC. In perhaps a better fit, Jewel is slated to appear on daytime drama "The Young and the Restless," where she will perform two songs ("Again and Again" and "Good Day") at a coffeehouse benefit concert. The episode airs May 31. ...

Beyoncé is already hard at work on her next solo album, pulling 12-hour days, reports producer Sean Garrett, who boasts that "the songs are sick." "She's in a place I've never seen her in before," Garrett told MTV Radio. "She's very vibrant, very happy, and her mindset is incredible. She's in a zone." Meanwhile, Garrett's already finished up three tracks for Britney Spears' upcoming album. They're "trying to do some real crazy-ass stuff that the world is going to love," he said. Garrett has also worked on a song called "London Bridge" for the upcoming solo album from the Black Eyed Peas' Fergie. "It's going to be stupid," Garrett said. "The beat is amazing. I think everyone will get to know Fergie's personality. It's crazy." ...

The Black Eyed Peas have announced a benefit concert, scheduled to take place May 28 at Johannesburg Stadium at Ellis Park in South Africa. The Peas' charity organization, the Peapod Foundation, will raise awareness and funds for the Shanduka Foundation's Adopt-A-School program in South Africa. "Two years ago we played to commemorate 10 years of freedom in South Africa, and I made a promise that we would return to give a free show to the people who may never have to chance to get down and celebrate with the Black Eyed Peas," Will.I.Am said in a statement. The Peas will perform alongside South African musicians and dancers. ...

The 15th anniversary of the death of French pop provocateur Serge Gainsbourg is celebrated on the upcoming tribute album Monsieur Gainsbourg Revisited (June 20), which features covers performed by Franz Ferdinand, R.E.M. singer Michael Stipe, Cat Power, Pulp's Jarvis Cocker, Portishead, Feist, Tricky, the Kills and the Rakes. ... After winning MTV's "Battle for Ozzfest" in January 2005, touring on that summer's version of the 'Fest and then releasing an album on Sanctuary Records, Texas screamers A Dozen Furies have called it quits. Drummer Mike Miller broke the news on the band's site, ADozenFuries.com, writing, "After two amazing, short years, A Dozen Furies has called it a day. We could go on and on about all of the reasons why, but when it comes down to it, it's because we've grown apart." Miller then wrote that ADF would play a farewell gig at the Ridglea Metal and Hardcore Fest on May 6 in Fort Worth, Texas, but according to another post on the site, the band has since canceled that appearance. ...

Starting Friday, you'll be able to hear Neil Young's brand-new protest album, Living With War, streaming in its entirety on NeilYoung.com. Since breaking news of the album on his site last week, Young has been revealing song titles and posting lyrics. At the moment you can read the words to seven of the album's 10 tracks, including "After the Garden," "The Restless Consumer" and "Flags of Freedom." The album will be available from digital retailers starting May 2 and will hit stores in early May. ... The self-titled LP by former Young collaborators Pearl Jam goes after the Bush administration head-on, frontman Eddie Vedder admits in the new issue of Newsweek. "It's just not the time to be cryptic," he told the magazine about the May 2 release. "I mean, our tax dollars for this [Iraq] war are being funneled through huge corporations — one of which, [Halliburton,] Dick Cheney used to be head; and there's an even greater disparity between rich or poor in this country. It offends me on a really deep level."

04.21.06

Two more Guns N' Roses dates have been added to the band's schedule — and like the two gigs announced last week, these additional bookings are in New York at the Hammerstein Ballroom. GN'R will be performing at the NYC venue May 12 and 14, followed by their previously announced concerts set for May 15 and 17. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are priced at $63. ...

Nelly reached a settlement with a photographer who was allegedly beaten up by the rapper's bodyguards last year, The Associated Press reported Friday (April 21). Nelly has agreed to pay Jerry Livingston $20,000 to settle the claim; the photographer had been taking photos of Nelly's concert on April 12, 2005, but was then allegedly dragged to the side of the stage and beaten multiple times after the bodyguards believed he had been videotaping the event. ...

Want to hear Kevin Federline's debut album, Playing With Fire? Well, if you plan to be in Las Vegas on Friday, you may just get your chance. There will be a listening party Friday night for K-Fed's LP at the posh Las Vegas nightclub Pure, according to the club's Web site. Federline will be hosting the event, but there's no word on whether wife Britney Spears will be attending. ...

Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl is a dad. Grohl and wife Jordyn Blum welcomed Violet Maye Grohl into the world on Saturday afternoon in Los Angeles, he announced on his band's Web site Friday. Violet weighed in at 6 pounds, 15 ounces and 21 inches tall — "just perfect" in the words of her father. ... Bro! 311 are hitting the road this summer on the totally sweet Unity Tour '06, which kicks off July 20 in Santa Cruz, California, and runs through a September 9 stop in Santa Barbara, California. (They will also play dates in cities with names that do not include the word "Santa," including Memphis, Cleveland and Boston). Joining 311 on the trek are reggae legends the Wailers and Hawaiian act Pepper. Tickets will go on sale at the end of April, according to 311.com. ...

It seems that Cold frontman Scooter Ward has had a change of heart about disbanding his group. In a posting to his MySpace page, Ward said that while he'd announced back in late February that the band was finished, "Cold will take a break" as he continues work on his latest project, the Witch, which also features Cold drummer Sam McCandless. "Cold will be back soon," Ward wrote. "This, for me, is the best of both worlds. The more music, the better." ... Murderdolls frontman Wednesday 13 will issue his third solo outing, Fang Bang, in late summer, through a new label deal he's forged with Rykodisc/ Restless Records. Wednesday 13 has also parted ways with his entire backing band, which toured with him in both 2004 and 2005 — bassist Kid Kid, guitarist Ghastly, and drummer Piggy D. Joining Wednesday 13 when he performs April 27 in Chicago and April 29 in Toledo, Ohio, will be Murderdolls guitarist Eric Griffin, drummer Racci Shay, and former Skrape bassist Brix.