For The Record: Quick News On Jay-Z, Metallica, Bow Wow, John Legend, J Dilla, Sufjan Stevens & More

Jay-Z releases Katrina-response video; Metallica set recording date; Bow Wow seeks MySpace valentines.

In honor of Black History Month, Jay-Z has partnered with thinkMTV to present a two-minute video clip for “Minority Report,” the rapper’s somber response to the Hurricane Katrina aftermath. Visit “Minority Report: New Orleans Today” to see the clip, read Jay’s lyrics and find out how you can help the recovery efforts. …

According to a post on Metallica‘s Web site, the band is wrapping up preproduction on its forthcoming album and will begin recording the effort March 12. “We’re pretty f—in’ psyched about it and pretty f—in’ psyched to be sharing this experience with [producer Rick Rubin],” the post reads. Metallica plan to take a break from the studio with a European tour this summer. …

Like a young LL Cool J, Bow Wow is in need of love. So to help the teen rapper promote his new single, “Outta My System,” he’s looking for a virtual Valentine via his MySpace page, through which he’s asking fans to send him video V-Day messages. The winning entries will be broadcast on his site at a later date. …

The Grammy Awards received an 18 percent ratings boost Sunday night — and they might have Simon, Randy and Paula to thank, according to The Associated Press. After getting trounced by “American Idol” upon going head-to-head with the reality show last year, the Grammys attracted an estimated 20.1 million viewers this time around. The show also outdid its ratings from 2005, when 18.8 million people tuned in. … John Legend and Corinne Bailey Rae teamed up for a Sunday night Grammy performance, but that won’t be the last time the two join forces. Legend will kick off his North American spring tour — featuring Bailey Rae as the opener — on April 3 in Irvine, California. The tour will make stops in cities including Los Angeles; Denver; Minneapolis; Boston; New York; and Orlando, Florida, before wrapping up May 4 in Atlanta. Legend will perform the following day at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. …

Unsung hip-hop hero J Dilla continues to get accolades after his passing last year. The producer won two posthumous awards — for Artist of the Year and Record Producer of the Year — at the Plug Awards, held Saturday night in New York. Other winners included Sufjan Stevens (Male Artist of the Year), Arctic Monkeys (New Artist of the Year), Broken Social Scene (Live Act of the Year), Band of Horses (Album of the Year, Song of the Year), Yo La Tengo (Indie Rock Album of the Year), Wolf Parade (Music Video of the Year) and Thom Yorke (Electronic/Dance Album of the Year). … A coroner has determined that Gerald Levert‘s November death was due to a fatal combination of prescription narcotics and over-the-counter drugs, AP reports. The R&B singer had three prescription painkillers, an anti-anxiety drug and two over-the-counter antihistamines in his system. The death was ruled accidental. …

Modest Mouse are preparing to hit the road this spring in support of their next album, We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank, which is slated for a March 20 release. So far, the band has booked gigs in Mexico City, Mexico (March 10); Portland, Oregon (March 14-15); Missoula, Montana (March 16); Sioux Falls, South Dakota (March 18); and Fargo, North Dakota (March 19). … None More Black have called it quits. “We did all we could with this band,” the group said in a post on its MySpace page, “and you know what, we had a blast. We ended it on the highest note possible, like every band should.” The band’s final effort was the 2006 album This Is Satire.

“TRL” faves the Jonas Brothers have signed on with Hollywood Records and will drop a new, eponymous album in August. The pop group is also collaborating with Topps Confections for the company’s Baby Bottle Pop candy line, and the Brothers’ new single — “Kids of the Future” — will accompany the upcoming animated flick “Meet the Robinsons.” … Pop-punks MxPx have also signed a new deal — they’ve rejoined with former label Tooth & Nail. The band is working in Seattle with producer Aaron Sprinkle (Pedro the Lion, Eisley) on its first effort for the label in 10 years. Expect the LP this summer. …

MySpace is making it harder for users to post videos containing unauthorized copyrighted content on their profiles. The site recently announced that it will start using an Audible Magic digital-fingerprinting tool to filter video uploaded by users and block any video that shows a fingerprint in MySpace’s database. “MySpace is dedicated to ensuring that content owners, whether large or small, can both promote and protect their content in our community,” MySpace CEO and co-founder Chris DeWolfe said in a statement. “For MySpace, video filtering is about protecting artists and the work they create.” …

YouTube has reached an agreement with Digital Music Group Inc. — an online distributor of independent music, TV shows and film — that will allow the video-sharing host to post upward of 4,000 hours of content on its Web site, according to The Wall Street Journal. In exchange for the rights to air television shows such as the Bill Cosby 1960s comedy/adventure series “I Spy,” YouTube will pay Digital Music an undisclosed portion of advertisement revenue and use filtering technology to alert the company of content being used on the site without authorization. …

Former Murder Inc. associate Kenneth “Supreme” McGriff, 46, was sentenced to life in prison on Friday, one week after jurors found the convicted drug kingpin guilty of ordering a retaliatory hit on two men. Prosecutors pursued death by lethal injection for McGriff, who was originally arrested in 2003 on money-laundering charges as a part of the Murder Inc. federal raid, but jurors failed to reach a consensus. The Inc. CEO Irv Gotti and his brother Chris were previously acquitted of all charges in a separate trial. … Nidge Miller, founding guitarist of British punk band Blitz, has died, according to a note SOS Records posted on its MySpace page. Miller was struck by a car and killed following the band’s show in Austin, Texas, Friday night.

02.09.2007

50 Cent is at it again. After a heated exchange with Cam’ron last week on New York radio station Hot 97, the G-Unit general took aim at the Diplomats top dog on the track “Funeral Music,” which made its debut on DJ Kay Slay‘s MySpace page Thursday night. In the YouTube video clip, 50 poked fun at Cam being shot last year and mocked the Harlem, New York, rapper’s rhyme style before adding, “I’m not gonna destroy Dipset, just gotta make some changes.” He then proceeded to rearrange the Dipset ranking order to put Jim Jones and Juelz Santana over Cam in the hierarchy. “From now on, Jimmy’s the boss of Dipset and Juelz is the capo,” 50 says in the clip. “Cam’s demoted to soldier!” …

We’ve learned that Ozzfest will be free this summer — but how will one gain admission to the traveling metal monstrosity? Well, tickets will be paid for and distributed by the festival’s sponsors, including Jägermeister and Monster Energy Drink. Those signed up at Ozzfest.com will get info on how to score their free tickets first. Once you’ve landed one, you’ll need to print it out and bring it to Ozzfest the day of the show. The shows will be general admission and seats will be divvied out on a first-come, first-to-claim-a-seat-and-watch-the-show-from-there basis. The prices of merchandise, beer, soda, water and food will not be raised at all, according to organizers. A limit on tickets has yet to be determined, and more information on the free fest will be revealed in the coming weeks. …

Bloc Party are in need of a fill-in for drummer Matt Tong, who has a serious respiratory condition that caused his lung to collapse during the band’s last U.S. tour. Tong is likely to suffer complications from his condition during the band’s upcoming U.K. tour, and the temporary replacement should help Bloc Party avoid cancelling any gigs. … Tha Dogg Pound aren’t ready to be muzzled just yet. After reconciling in spring 2005, Snoop Dogg, Daz Dillinger and Kurupt dished up a reunion LP, Cali Iz Active, in June. Now they’re ready to issue that LP’s successor less than a year later: Dogg Ch–, due March 27. The album was completely produced by the group, but it features a veritable guest list to boot, including the Game, Jayo Felony and Too Short. …

Cartoon Network General Manager and Executive Vice President Jim Samples resigned Friday (February 9) in the wake of the network’s botched “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” publicity campaign, CNN reports. “I deeply regret the negative publicity and expense caused to our company as a result of this campaign,” Samples wrote in a letter to employees, referring to the stunt that led to a terrorism scare in Boston last week. “As general manager of Cartoon Network, I feel compelled to step down, effective immediately, in recognition of the gravity of the situation that occurred under my watch.” The Cartoon Network’s parent company, Turner Broadcasting System — along with marketing company Interference Inc. — agreed earlier this week to pay $2 million to reimburse local agencies and fund homeland-security programs. …

Weeks after bloggers began posting unofficial lists of artists they claimed would play this year’s South by Southwest music conference, organizers have confirmed an initial lineup for the annual fest, which will hit Austin, Texas, on March 14-18. The Stooges, Bloc Party, Mastodon, the StrokesAlbert Hammond Jr., Kings of Leon, Jack’s Mannequin, Chingo Bling, Dirty on Purpose, the Horrors, Spoon, Apples in Stereo, the Bravery and Amy Winehouse are among the acts on the fest’s current list of performers. For more information on the conference, visit SXSW.com …

The reunited Stooges — who will release The Weirdness, their first album in more than 30 years, March 20 — have announced several shows planned for the spring. The band will play its SXSW gig March 17, followed by concerts in Boston (April 7), New York (April 9), Detroit (April 13), Denver (April 17), San Francisco (April 19) and Seattle (April 27). … Gus Van Sant has agreed to an alcohol-diversion program after being arrested on drunken-driving charges in December, The Associated Press reports. The director appeared briefly in a Portland, Oregon, court Friday morning. Those who enter the program have to plead guilty or no contest, but a DUI conviction can be avoided if the participant successfully completes the program. …

Saves the Day‘s next album has a title, even though the band hasn’t started working on the LP just yet. Frontman Chris Conley revealed that the group’s next record will be called Under the Boards, in a statement posted on the band’s MySpace page. Saves the Day have demoed 13 tracks for the effort but have no plans to enter the studio anytime soon. Conley said he hopes the album will be in stores before the end of the year. … Gomez are chasing their recently released Five Men in a Hut (A’s, B’s & Rarities: 1998-2004) CD anthology with a similarly titled DVD: “Five Men in a Hut: Singles 1998-2004.” The career-spanning collection, due February 20, compiles 12 music videos along with six unreleased performance clips, two interviews and more. …

Maybe Steve Jobs is on to something. Just days after the Apple Inc. boss wrote an open letter saying he’d support removing copy protection from the iTunes store, one of the major labels, EMI Group PLC — home of the Rolling Stones, Beastie Boys, Beatles and Coldplay — has revealed that it is talking to online retailers about possibly selling its digital catalog without copy protection, according to The Wall Street Journal. Citing people familiar with the talks, the Journal reported that EMI asked retailers to submit proposals telling the company what size advance payments it would offer in exchange for the right to sell EMI’s music as unprotected MP3s. A decision on whether to go ahead with the plan could come soon. Over the past few months EMI has experimented with copy protection-free MP3 by Norah Jones, Lily Allen and Relient K, getting positive results from fans.