Game Pleads Not Guilty, Plus Hilary Duff, 50 Cent, Jermaine Dupri, Linkin Park, Benji Madden & More In For The Record

Duff goes back to school; 50 threatens to 'fire everybody' in G-Unit; Dupri involved in car accident.

The Game pleaded not guilty Thursday (June 7) to three felony counts stemming from a pickup basketball game in Los Angeles in February, The Associated Press reports. He is charged with three counts of making a criminal threat, possession of a firearm in a school zone and exhibiting a firearm in the presence of an officer. The Game, who is free on $50,000 bail, faces more than five years in state prison if convicted. …

Hilary Duff is heading back to school. The singer/actress will pay a visit to Normandie Elementary School in Los Angeles on June 14 to celebrate the success of USA Harvest’s “Blessings in a Backpack” program, which she financed. By the end of the month, the 12-week program will have provided more than 72,000 meals to the roughly 1,000 students who attend the school. …

50 Cent is a boss above all, and he talks G-Unit business in the July issue of Vibe, making it clear that some members of the crew should keep their résumés current. “I’ll fire everybody,” he said. “I don’t give a f—. They’re capable of all of their responsibilities, but when they start slacking, they gotta get the f— outta here.” Young Buck gets a good performance review — “He is the clean-up man because he’s actually selling” — with one caveat: “Sometimes he says things without being totally conscious of what he’s saying, so he’s gonna make mistakes.” And Tony Yayo, well, he’s set for life. “Yayo can’t be dropped, period,” 50 explained. “He doesn’t even need to sell records. As long as I’m breathing, he’s gonna be good. And if I’m not breathing, then he’s gonna be real good.” That’s right, 50 confirmed: Yayo’s in the will. For more on 50′s future plans — including his thoughts on retirement — check out the MTV News RAW interview. …

Jermaine Dupri was in a minor car collision around midnight Thursday in New York after a woman allegedly ran a red light and totaled his Escalade, his representative confirmed to MTV News. The megaproducer wasn’t injured, although his bodyguard did suffer a broken arm. … Richie Sambora checked into an undisclosed treatment facility on Wednesday, Reuters reports. No additional information has been made available regarding the Bon Jovi guitarist, who broke up recently with girlfriend Denise Richards, lost his father and finalized his divorce with Heather Locklear. …

Linkin Park‘s Music for Relief is partnering with Habitat for Humanity and American Forests for philanthropic projects, including the construction of houses for low-income families on the Gulf Coast. Music for Relief is donating $1 from every ticket purchased to the band’s Projekt Revolution tour with My Chemical Romance and Taking Back Sunday to American Forests — enabling a tree to be planted for each person who goes. … Benji Madden and Mandy Moore are among the unlikely guests Aussie indie-pop artist — and former Claire Danes fling — Ben Lee is welcoming on his new album. Rooney, Rachael Yamagata, Tom Petty collaborator Benmont Tench, Charlotte Martin and Nickel Creek‘s Sara Watkins fill out the colorful cast contributing to Ripe, due September 4. …

“American Idol” winner Jordin Sparks will perform the national anthem on Thursday night at the NBA Finals’ game-one matchup of the Cleveland Cavaliers and San Antonio Spurs. LeAnn Rimes is scheduled to sing the anthem before the game-two tipoff on Sunday. … Q-Tip is set to preview the first single from his long-delayed, yet-untitled third album, according to an announcement the rapper made on his MySpace page Wednesday. “Listen!!! It’s finally coming,” the post read. “It’s been a minute but it’s finally here. The first song that I’m gonna post is the snippet from my new single called ‘Work It Out.’ … Just in time for the summer. It will be up by Monday at the latest.” …

Yellowcard will open 15 Blue October shows after trekking with the Vans Warped Tour this summer. Yellowcard and Blue October embark on their tour September 20 in Atlanta and wrap it up with a November 10 gig in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. … The Nightwatchman — a.k.a. Tom Morello — performed at the Move Against G8 protest and rally in Germany over the weekend. His U.S. tour kicks off in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Thursday night. …

Another day, another “Borat” lawsuit. This time, according to TheSmokingGun.com, New York businessman Jeffrey Lemerond, 31, who is chased on the street by Sacha Baron Cohen in the movie, claims in a lawsuit that his civil rights were violated by the bit, that he has suffered public humiliation and ridicule as a result and that movie studio 20th Century Fox has unjustly enriched itself through the unauthorized use of his image. Lemerond says the comedy depicts him as “fleeing in apparent terror” from Borat and screaming “go away,” as Cohen sought a hug from him. Lemerond is listed as “John Doe” in the federal lawsuit, though he used his real name in a nearly identical state court lawsuit that was filed — and quickly withdrawn — in January. Lemerond’s face was obscured in a trailer for the film, but was not pixilated in the film itself. …

Franz Ferdinand will be playing a one-off intimate show at New York’s Bowery Ballroom on Wednesday. Tickets went on sale at noon ET and were gone within five minutes. The Bowery set will serve as a warm-up for the band’s slot at this year’s Bonnaroo festival in Manchester, Tennessee, June 15. … The Black Crowes will perform and Billy Bob Thornton will appear at Guitar Center’s “King of the Blues” finals at Hollywood’s Music Box @ Fonda on June 16. Kenny Wayne Shepherd will also play and Cheech Marin will host. … Grinderman, Nick Cave‘s hard-rock project with some of his Bad Seeds, will open for the White Stripes when they play New York’s Madison Square Garden on July 24. …

Slipknot and Stone Sour frontman Corey Taylor has confirmed that he’ll be working with Anthrax on material for their upcoming, yet-untitled studio album. In an interview with Germany’s Rock Hard magazine, Taylor said he may become the band’s next singer. “It’s been bandied about,” he was quoted as saying. “I’m not saying anything right now because all it’s been is just talked about. Obviously, I’m really good friends with those guys. It kind of started as a joke. And then the more we talked about it, the more serious it got. I’m [going to] at least help them out. It’s kind of a dream come true — Anthrax is one of my favorite bands.” … Bright Eyes mainman Conor Oberst will be teaming up with the Los Angeles Philharmonic for a gig set for September 29 at the Hollywood Bowl. The concert will showcase tracks from Bright Eyes’ latest release, Cassadaga.

06.06.2007

Last week, Diddy became just the second black person — the other was Michael Jordan — to win the prestigious Fragrance Foundation Award for his Unforgivable men’s cologne line, besting fragrances by the likes of Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein. To celebrate, Diddy hosted a bash Monday night at New York nightclub Marquee, where Bad Boy artists Cheri Dennis and Danity Kane partied alongside Miss USA Rachel Smith. …

The lineup for Norway’s Øyafestival has just been announced, and it’s smokin’. Amy Winehouse, Nine Inch Nails, Tool, Lily Allen, Devendra Banhart, Lady Sovereign, Eagles of Death Metal, Spoon, Low, the Hold Steady, Shout Out Louds, Primal Scream, Albert Hammond Jr. and the Jesus and Mary Chain will grace the Oslo event, set for August 7-11. …

Jay-Z joined a host of celebs — including Chris Tucker, Nicole Scherzingerof the Pussycat Dolls and Lauren London — on Sunday night at Rihanna‘s Good Girl Gone Bad album-release party at Sugar in Los Angeles. Giant and CoverGirl sponsored the event. … Fabolous, DJ Clue and NBA superstar Gilbert Arenas are set to take part in a block-party and VIP soiree at the grand opening of the Ed Hardy boutique in downtown Manhattan, New York, on Sunday. …

Where is Justin Timberlake searching for the next big star for his recently launched Tennman Records imprint? YouTube, of course. The singer announced on Tuesday that the first signing to his label is Dutch YouTube sensation Esmée Denters. According to a press release, 18-year-old Denters — who has gained fame, and 21 million views on her YouTube site, for her Alicia Keys, Beyoncé and, well, Timberlake covers — will be joining Timberlake on some of his European summer dates. He says the karaoke star is no joke. “Esmée is the real deal and I cannot wait for the world to hear her, but all of her fans on YouTube should not worry … we will keep you in the loop every step of the way,” Timberlake said. …

Marley Marl, 44, was hospitalized Tuesday in New York after suffering from a heart attack, a source close to the veteran hip-hop producer confirmed to MTV News. The former Juice Crew member and onetime foe KRS-One recently put aside past differences and collaborated on an album titled Hip Hop Lives. A spokesperson for their label, Koch Records, had no further comment as of press time. …

Bono‘s special Africa issue of Vanity Fair — he’s the magazine’s first guest editor — has hit newsstands with 20 different covers, featuring Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, Madonna, Brad Pitt, Chris Rock, George Clooney, Don Cheadle, Djimon Hounsou, Oprah Winfrey, George W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice, Barack Obama, Desmond Tutu, Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren Buffett, Muhammad Ali, Maya Angelou, Iman, Queen Rania of Jordan and Bono. “The covers are a kind of visual chain letter, spreading the message from person to person to person,” photographer Annie Leibovitz said in a statement. “These are incredible people of our time who all have a passion for and a connection to Africa. It was important to me to really show the humanity in their faces.” …

Is “Knocked Up” a knockoff? Canadian journalist Rebecca Eckler has filed a suit against Judd Apatow and Universal Studios, the respective writer/director and studio behind the film, saying she came up with the idea first, Reuters reports. Eckler wants credit and compensation in light of “Knocked Up: Confessions of a Hip Mother-to-Be,” a book she published in 2005 that — like the film — is the story of a young reporter who gets pregnant one drunken evening. “I don’t doubt, purely based on the screenplay, that [Apatow] had a copy in his office somehow of the book,” she said. “A lot of people, I’m sure, will say, ‘Well, getting drunk and knocked up, it could happen to everybody.’ Well, the fact is, it doesn’t happen to everybody, and no one had written about it before I did. And [Apatow] didn’t sell the screenplay until after I did.” …

A “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” mobile game, ringtones, voicetones and wallpaper will be available beginning June 26 on various wireless carriers. And the Potter Knight Bus tour, which kicked off Friday in New York on NBC’s “Today,” rolls on. Thirty-seven libraries in all (including those in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Chicago, St. Louis, Phoenix, San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco) will get a visit from the purple triple-decker bus, which a limited number of fans can board and share their thoughts on the Harry Potter books on video. The bus tour wraps up at Scholastic headquarters in New York on July 21 for the release of the series’ final book, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.” …

Saddle Creek Records — home to Bright Eyes, Cursive and other indie faves — will open a large multimillion-dollar complex in downtown Omaha, Nebraska, on Friday, according to the Omaha World-Herald. The main attraction is Slowdown, a 470-capacity club/bar named after Slowdown Virginia, a group that featured members of current Saddle Creek bands. But the complex will also feature an art-house theater, apartments, retail stores and a restaurant, with label execs Robb Nansel and Jason Kulbel essentially serving as landlords. … A Rolling Stones concert caused bedlam in Belgium on Tuesday, causing a 30-mile traffic jam as 33,000 fans showed up in the town of Werchter, according to The Associated Press. The show was the first gig on the band’s European tour. …

Elliott Yamin will welcome home Navy personnel returning from Iraq at the North Island Naval Base in San Diego on Friday, eating lunch with them and staging meet-and-greet and CD-signing sessions. … Bob Marley‘s Exodus is being reissued again — but this time, on a USB flash drive via BobMarley.com. Made available Monday, the album is the first to be released in the tiny computer storage format; the limited-edition reusable sticks also feature three videos of performances from London’s Rainbow Theatre in June 1977. More Exodus goodies just went up on the Marley site to commemorate the epic release’s 30th anniversary, including a limited CD/DVD edition, an LP version and a book. …

The follow-up to KT Tunstall‘s breakthrough Eye to the Telescope album will be called Drastic Fantastic and will hit stores in September, according to Capitol Records. Fantastic was produced by Steve Osbourne (who also helmed the sessions for Telescope) and will be powered by two “very sexy” guitars Tunstall acquired before recording the disc. Tunstall will appear at the NYC-area edition of the globe-spanning Live Earth Concerts, scheduled for July 7 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. … MxPx will release a new LP, Secret Weapon, July 17. The album will contain 16 tracks, including “Here’s to the Life,” “Never Better Than Now” and “Biting the Bullet.” … Converge are working on a new DVD they’ve titled “Thousands of Miles Between Us.” “As the title suggests, [it] will document the band’s travels across the world, showcasing the best live moments from their touring around the globe.” The DVD will also feature interviews with the band, its crew and some of Converge’s friends.