For The Record: Quick News On Kanye West, Nas, Jessica Simpson, Pharrell, Constantine Maroulis, Jay-Z & More

West, Nas, John Legend jam at NYC benefit; Simpson streams new single; Pharrell fronting Louis Vuitton campaign.

Kanye West, Nas and John Legend jointly performed Nas’ “If I Ruled the World (Imagine That)” at a high-profile benefit in New York Thursday night, according to The Associated Press. West also performed “Jesus Walks,” “Gold Digger” and more in front of a crowd that included Diddy, Moby, Terrence Howard and Maroon 5‘s Adam Levine. The event was staged to benefit the nonprofit Foundation for AIDS Research. …

Jessica Simpson began streaming her new single, “A Public Affair,” on her Web site on Friday (June 23). The song is the title track from her new album, due August 29. … Pharrell will front Louis Vuitton’s fall/winter menswear ad campaign, the company announced Friday. Models Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell will also be participating. …

Constantine Maroulis has begun recording his debut solo album. “It’s rock and roll, but it’s not like the band,” the former “American Idol” finalist said, referring to his former group, Pray for the Soul of Betty. “It’s a bit more commercial, a bit more pop. I’m a little older now, and it’s got a mature sound, a bit of a Rob Thomas/ Santana thing. It’s got some great Bon Jovi elements, a little Ricky Martin in there. And I’m writing a lot of it too.” … Meanwhile, fellow fourth-season finalist Anthony Fedorov is also recording. “It’s gonna be Richard Marx meets Marc Anthony,” he said of his first effort. “It’s gonna be ballad-heavy, very powerful and strong.” … And in yet more “Idol” news, third-season finalist Jon Peter Lewis has released his debut single, “If I Go Away.” “I wrote it and I produced it and we’re getting ready to go on tour with it,” JPL said. “I’m working with some other great musicians right now. I have a drummer who’s done some work for Josh Groban and Vertical Horizon, and our piano player plays for Gnarls Barkley.” …

Jay-Z fans shut out of his sold-out show at New York’s Radio City Music Hall are getting a second chance to see the rapper perform Reasonable Doubt in its entirety. Hova has a “special preview rehearsal performance” scheduled for Saturday at the Nokia Theater in Times Square, and he’s releasing a limited number of tickets to the public. Tickets for the preview go on sale through Ticketmaster Friday at 5 p.m. … Exactly how cool can a kid be when he’s only four weeks old? Pretty cool, if you ask OK! magazine, which has named Kingston James McGregor Rossdale — son of Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale — “the coolest kid on the planet” on its June 26 cover. The baby, who “sat quietly and calmly in his parents’ arms, with only an occasional cry,” is pulling for dad’s home team in the World Cup matches with a “Come on England” bib, and has a collection of lambs in his crib — a nod to mom’s L.A.M.B. fashion line. (Check out OK!‘s photos of the happy family at home ). …

The Hollywood Walk of Fame committee has finalized the 2007 honorees, and Mariah Carey, Diddy and Jamie Foxx lead the list. More than 200 nominations were received and 23 stars in all will make the Walk next year, including the Doors, singers LeAnn Rimes and Shania Twain, director Robert Altman and actors Kiefer Sutherland, Matt Damon and Michael Caine. … A photographer was arrested Thursday in Malibu, California, after he was discovered hiding outside the daycare center attended by Angelina Jolie‘s son Maddox Jolie-Pitt, AP reports. Clint Brewer, 25, was trying to take pictures of the 4-year-old boy, according to Brad Pitt‘s publicist. Brewer was arrested on suspicion of trespassing and released on $1,000 bail. … Jason Mraz has announced a few intimate shows he’s calling Songs for Friends. The dates, which will feature rarely played album tracks and early material, begin July 17 in Chicago and end July 24 in Saratoga, California. …

Nick Hexum is hosting a live online chat on CourtTV.com Tuesday at 3 p.m. EST to discuss global warming. The 311 singer’s Liberal Hexum organization is making the issue its top priority. … Now that he’s put Grandaddy out to pasture, former band leader Jason Lytle is getting ready to go out on the road for an acoustic tour he’s calling the Look Who Drifted Into Town Tour – An Evening With Jason Lytle. The string of 13 intimate performances will kick off July 18 at the Sonar club in Baltimore and hit Philadelphia, New York, San Francisco and other major cities before winding down with a two-night stand at Los Angeles’ Hotel Cafe on August 11-12. Jackpot multi-instrumentalist Rusty Miller will accompany Lytle on the dates. …

School’s out, and that means it’s time for the School of Rock All-Stars to hit the road. The 13- to 17-year-olds will launch a 23-city trek July 28 at Hollywood’s Knitting Factory, but they’ll perform for a considerably larger crowd when they play Lollapalooza in Chicago on August 6. … Former Everclear drummer Greg Eklund has resurfaced as a singer and guitarist in the Oohlas. The band’s debut album, Best Stop Pop, is due September 26. … Kool & the Gang co-founder and lead guitarist Claydes Charles Smith died Tuesday following a long illness, AP reports. He was 57. Smith’s publicist did not disclose the cause of death. Born in Jersey City, New Jersey, Smith learned jazz guitar from his father and helped create Kool & the Gang’s R&B/funk/pop sound, writing the group’s 1984 hit “Joanna” and co-writing Kool classics including “Celebration” and “Jungle Boogie.” He was an active member of the band until January, when illness forced him to stop touring. …

Following complaints by children’s charities, the Who guitarist Pete Townshend removed from his Web site a story he’d written that included a teen-sex scene, the BBC reports. “I have to accept that even if I write fiction I do so as someone who is well-known and carry my past and controversy with me,” he wrote on his site after pulling down the story. Townshend was arrested in 2003 for paying to access a child-pornography site. The guitarist, who said he’d visited the site to research child sexual abuse while writing his autobiography, was cleared of the charges but is listed on a British sex-offender registry. … Vanessa Anne Hudgens, the actress who plays Gabrielle Montez in “High School Musical,” has signed with Hollywood Records. Her debut is due September 26. … Jeannie Ortega, who teamed up with Papoose for the summer anthem “Crowded,” has been added to Rihanna‘s summer tour, which kicks off Monday. Ortega will also make an appearance and perform “Crowded” on ABC’s “One Life to Live” on July 17. Her album, No Place Like Brooklyn, is due August 1. …

Richard Ashcroft was arrested at a youth club in Chippenham, England, on Monday, the BBC reports. The former Verve singer, who police say was drunk and disorderly at a preteen event, was fined and released. … British band JJ72 are calling it a day after 11 years. “Mark Greaney, Fergal Matthews and Sarah Fox wish to express their deepest and darkest gratitude to all of those with impeccable taste who helped and supported the band,” the group said in a statement. … Preliminary ratings show that Opie & Anthony are doing much better in Howard Stern‘s old radio slots than fired morning host David Lee Roth. At Stern’s former flagship station, 92.3 FM in New York, the number of 18-34 listeners tripled in May to 4.2 percent from DLR’s anemic 1.4 in April, according to a Reuters report. The numbers for that category also tripled in Boston and were up from 2.4 to 7.7 percent in Philadelphia.

06.22.2006

After several false starts, Outkast‘s long-awaited “Idlewild” looks like it just might make its latest release date. Not only has “Mighty O,” the first single from the film’s soundtrack, hit Billboard‘s Hot R&B/Hip Hop chart, the duo already have their follow-up single lined up. “Morris Brown,” a Big Boi solo track featuring Scar, Sleepy Brown and the Morris Brown College Band will be released next, Jive Records announced. Outkast’s “Idlewild” soundtrack album is due August 22, and the film is slated to hit theaters three days later (check out “Idlewild” photos here ). …

Eminem and Kimberly Mathers met in a private hearing on Thursday (June 22) as part of their divorce proceedings, The Associated Press reports. Details of the meeting were not made public, and Kimberly Mathers’ lawyer would not comment on it. …

DMX was cited last week outside a Scottsdale, Arizona, nightclub for carrying a concealed handgun, The Arizona Republic reports. It was his third run-in with the law in just three weeks. X was stopped Friday by police who claimed they’d seen him remove a gun from a holster and slide it beneath the front seat of his 1964 Chevrolet convertible. DMX was not arrested, but was cited for a misdemeanor weapons violation as he did not have a permit to conceal the gun beneath the automobile’s seat. …

Celebrity weeklies insist that Britney Spears and Kevin Federline are having marriage trouble, but the couple have nothing but nice things to say about one another. Spears called K-Fed an “amazing” husband with an “awesome heart” in an interview with Matt Lauer aired last week, and now Federline is returning the kind words. “I think she’s wonderful, man,” he told entertainment-news show “Extra” on Wednesday. While Britney and Kevin know just what to call each other, they haven’t decided what they will call the child they’re expecting. “We haven’t thought of a name,” Federline said. “We’re still in discussions. We don’t want to know what it is or anything like that.” …

Reese Witherspoon is the latest celebrity to take the tabloids to court. On Wednesday, the actress filed a lawsuit against Star, accusing the magazine of running a story that falsely claimed she was pregnant with her third child, AP reports. “The true facts are that plaintiff is not pregnant, does not have a baby bump and has not otherwise gained weight such that she has had to resort to wearing empire-waist dresses,” the lawsuit read. Mike Kahane, the general counsel to the tabloid’s parent company, called the suit “frivolous.” …

Jamie Foxx will perform July 2 at the Essence Music Festival, joining Chris Brown, Jaheim, New Edition, Bobby Brown and Doug E. Fresh‘s Pioneers of Hip-Hop (featuring Slick Rick, MC Lyte, Biz Markie, Dana Dane, the Sugar Hill Gang and Whodini) in the lineup for the event, which runs July 1-3 at Houston’s Reliant Park. … Harry Potter fans who prefer to see their hero stand six-stories tall usually have to wait a little longer than those satisfied with the regular big-screen experience, but Warner Bros. Pictures has announced that “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” will premiere on IMAX screens the same day it hits conventional theaters: July 13, 2007. Only 386 days to go. …

Last weekend in Paradise Cove, California, Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo and his longtime girlfriend Kyoko Ito were married in a small ceremony that was attended by a who’s-who of the Weezer universe, including all Cuomo’s current bandmates, former bassist Matt Sharp and guitarist Jason Cropper, along with Make Believe producer Rick Rubin. According to a post on Weezer.com, the ceremony featured “fine live string-quartet music and delicious vegan fare.” … “Snakes on a Brain” by Los Angeles pop band Captain Ahab beat out nearly 500 entries in a contest to have a song on the “Snakes on a Plane” soundtrack. New Line Cinema and social-networking site TagWorld selected Louden Swain as the runner-up and will also include their “Here Come the Snakes” on the soundtrack, due August 18. … Former Diddy protégé Loon is releasing his next album, No Friends, on his own label, Boss Up Entertainment. The record is due August 29. …

Pearl Jam will be the main attraction for a rare theater gig that’s scheduled for July 20 at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in Portland, Oregon. Tickets for the concert, a benefit for the Northwest Chapter of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, go on sale Saturday. Comedian David Cross will deliver a stand-up set before Pearl Jam take the stage. The band is in the midst of a U.S. tour that’s scheduled to conclude with a two-night stint at the Gorge in George, Washington, July 22 and 23. … Kylie Minogue, who postponed the Australian leg of her Showgirl Tour when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2005, plans to make it up to fans in November, Reuters reports. Concert promoter Michael Gudinski said the tour has been renamed the Showgirl Homecoming Tour, and will run a bit longer to allow Minogue more downtime between shows. He added that the singer is currently recording new music. …

Selma Blair and Ahmet Zappa are ending their two-year marriage, according to People magazine. The “Legally Blonde” actress cited irreconcilable difference with the son of Frank Zappa. … Pete Yorn is scheduling free afternoon concerts at local independent record stores during his summer tour. The brief in-store performances will be recorded for a limited-edition souvenir-CD series, Live From … , to be available exclusively at the local independent record store that hosts the show. … The Shout Out Louds have released a remix EP on iTunes and other digital retailers. Combines includes one new song, “I Meant to Call,” and a remix of “The Comeback.” … Lou Barlow and company are reissuing their Sebadoh III album on September 5. A bonus disc with rare tracks and B-sides will be included. …

If you want to be like the Hulkster, it will take years of training and dedication. But if you have $25 million at your disposal, there is a short cut to living like the legend. Hulk Hogan has put his Belleair, Florida, home — featured on VH1′s “Hogan Knows Best” — on the market, AP reports. The 17,000-square-foot mansion on 2.3 acres boasts seven fireplaces, a swimming pool, a waterfall and a guest house. The Hogans are leaving the Tampa area behind to head to Miami in an effort to support the careers of daughter Brooke and son Nick. … Tom Petty has signed with Rick Rubin‘s American Recordings. “Having Tom on American is a dream come true for me,” read a statement by Rubin, who has produced Petty in the past. …

The woman who claimed Michael Jackson molested her son — her married name is Janet Jackson, coincidentally — was ordered Wednesday to stand trial on a charge of welfare fraud. According to the AP, the 37-year-old woman entered a plea of not guilty and her lawyers hope the case can be resolved without trial. She is accused of accepting $8,000 in fraudulently obtained assistance and committing perjury four times on welfare applications by hiding the fact that she received a substantial settlement in a civil suit against department-store chain JC Penney before filing for benefits. She pleaded the Fifth to protect herself against self-incrimination on questions about the welfare issues during the musician’s trial, which ended in his acquittal on child-molestation charges. …

New York teenager Darren Samuel was convicted Tuesday of robbery and second-degree murder in connection with the stabbing of a 15-year-old over an iPod. Samuel, 17, faces up to 25 years in prison for his part in the attack of Christopher Rose, who was stabbed in the chest when he and friends resisted a group that accosted them in the street and demanded they give up an iPod one of them was carrying, according to the AP. Samuel admitted to being part of the group that robbed Rose during his trial, but said he “froze” during the attack and did not participate in the stabbing. His 20-year-old cousin will be tried on murder charges next month.