Ja Rule’s Arrest Was ‘Hip-Hop Targeting,’ Lawyer Says; Plus Tony Yayo, R. Kelly, Lindsay Lohan, Rage Against The Machine & More, In For The Record

Yayo rejects plea deal; Kelly stepping out with 10 more 'Closet' installments; Lohan wax statue gets an alteration.

Ja Rule‘s Sunday arrest in New York on a single felony weapon count was “another instance of hip-hop targeting,” according to the rapper’s attorney, Stacey Richman. She claims the .40-caliber Taurus pistol police recovered from inside the 2004 Maybach that Ja was riding in when he was arrested belonged to someone else. Ja; his driver, Mohamed Gamal; and his road manager, Dennis Cherry, were charged with criminal possession of a weapon and spent Sunday night in jail. The three were arraigned Monday afternoon, and Ja (born Jeffrey Atkins) was released on $150,000 bond. He’s expected back in Manhattan Criminal Court November 7. According to Richman, the car in question was a company vehicle owned by Gamal’s Maximum Transportation firm and is used by his clients. “If you get a car, and something’s left in the car, is that yours?” Richman wondered. “How you can ascribe that anybody knows what’s in a car?” She also contends that the car was stopped about a block away from the Beacon Theatre and that it had been “parked outside for two and a half hours, with the police department, and they ran the plates — they could have just handed out a ticket then, but they didn’t. They waited for [Ja Rule] to get into the car.” As for the speeding claims, Richman simply doesn’t believe them: “Why would he speed for one block? What, he’s going to speed to the next light on Broadway? Come on.” The prosecutor’s office would not comment on Ja Rule’s arrest. …

G-Unit‘s Tony Yayo was in court Tuesday morning (July 24) in connection with charges of harassment and endangering the welfare of a child, the 14-year-old son of Game manager Jimmy “Henchman” Rosemond. According to Yayo’s lawyer Scott Leemon, the rapper rejected a plea offer that would have him serve nine months in jail, and the case was adjourned until September 6. Leemon said the judge in the case asked for more time to make a decision on whether he will enforce subpoenas issued by Leemon to the public-relations firm for Rosemond’s Czar Entertainment record label. Leemon would not discuss what information he is seeking from the PR firm. …

R. Kelly is still feeding off his recent Double Up set, but he’s already got another treat in store for next month: Ten new episodes in his “Trapped in the Closet” series. In his latest go-’round, R. dresses as a preacher in a wig — and even more amusingly, from the sound of it, an old man with a fake belly and beard, Billboard.com reports. A DVD encompassing the 10 eps will hit stores August 21, but you can catch them prior to that on, oddly enough, the Independent Film Channel. … Lindsay Lohan‘s wax statue at Madame Tussauds in New York has a new addition: It’s now dressed in black and white prison stripes. The museum pulled the same move with Paris Hilton‘s statue when the heiress went to jail. …

Rage Against the Machine, Daft Punk, Iggy and the Stooges and Queens of the Stone Age are among the headliners of this year’s Vegoose Festival. The third annual installment of the Las Vegas event, to be held October 27-28 at Sam Boyd Stadium, will also feature sets from Muse, Cypress Hill, the Shins, Public Enemy, Ghostface Killah, Pharoahe Monch, Battles, Gogol Bordello and more artists to be announced soon. The Stooges will perform their classic Fun House album in its entirety for the first time ever in the U.S. …

Daughtry will hit the road next month for a spate of headlining gigs. Dates are scheduled from August 1 in Columbus, Ohio, through October 20 in Raleigh, North Carolina. … Mandy Moore will team up with Paula Cole for a co-headlining tour set to kick off August 18 in Portland, Oregon, and expire August 25 in San Diego. Moore’s also set to play some of her own headlining gigs, starting August 30 in Fort Worth, Texas. That trek runs through September 9 in Charlotte, North Carolina. … Tori Amos has mapped out the U.S. leg of her world tour, which will launch October 9 in Albany, New York, and run through December 17 in Los Angeles. …

Tupac Shakur‘s estate is trying to stop the late rapper’s former label, Death Row Records, from selling his unreleased recordings as part of a bankruptcy settlement. Shakur’s mother, Afeni, sought an injunction in federal bankruptcy court Friday, claiming the label was trying to sell Shakur material that belonged to the rapper’s estate and should have been turned over to it as part of a 1997 agreement with Death Row. Shakur’s lawyer Donald N. David said that during the label’s bankruptcy proceedings, “it was revealed that an album’s worth of unreleased Tupac material was being advertised to potential buyers as the jewel in the crown of the Death Row assets.” …

A Los Angeles judge has refused to dismiss Phil Spector‘s murder charge or reduce it to manslaughter on Tuesday, The Associated Press reports. Prosecutors rested their case Monday, and one of the attorneys said they might not even have to show the music producer pulled the trigger to the gun that killed actress Lana Clarkson in order for Spector to be convicted. “He had the gun in his home, loaded with his bullets,” said Alan Jackson, who added that prosecutors only need to show that Spector pointed the gun at Clarkson. “Whether he pulled the trigger, whether he sneezed or she slapped his hand away or there was an earthquake — it doesn’t matter. It’s implied malice.” The defense argued that implied malice wasn’t shown and that the prosecution didn’t support its second-degree-murder theory, so the charge should be dismissed or reduced. “It’s very clear to me … that there’s more than enough substantial evidence to support a conviction if there was one,” Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler said, refusing the motion. …

Static-X, Shadows Fall, 3 Inches of Blood and Divine Heresy are planning a U.S. run that will commence in September. Dates and venues have yet to be announced, but we’ll keep you posted. … There’s been some turmoil as of late in the world of Hopesfall. According to a statement from the band, it seems the only remaining member is singer Jay Forrest, meaning guitarists Joshua Brigham and Dustin Nadler, drummer Jason Trabue and bassist Mike Tyson have split. No explanation for the departures has been made public. … Coheed and Cambria‘s forthcoming album, Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Volume Two: No World for Tomorrow, will hit stores October 23. … The Bled‘s next effort, Silent Treatment, has been set for a September 25 release. The LP will contain 11 tracks, including “You Should Be Ashamed of Myself,” “Platonic Sleepover Massacre” and “Breathing Room Barricades.” …

English manager Don Arden, the father of Sharon Osbourne, died Saturday in a Los Angeles nursing home, according to a BBC News report. He was 81. The man born Harry Levy in Manchester, England, but known variously as the “Al Capone of Pop,” “The English Godfather” and “Mr. Big” for his uncompromising business practices was at one time the manager of acts ranging from ELO to the Small Faces and Black Sabbath. Sharon was famously estranged from Arden for nearly 20 years after she wrested control of husband Ozzy Osbourne‘s solo career and was forced to pay her dad a $1 million court settlement. The two reconciled in 2002. … In an attempt to smooth the pathway to a proposed merger, satellite-radio competitors XM and Sirius have said that if the $4.7 billion merger is approved, they would offer new a la carte pricing plans that would allow users to pay only for the stations they want. The Washington Post reports that the proposed plans would start at $6.99 for 50 stations, which is almost half of the current price of $12.95 for about 150 stations, and include a $14.99 price for 100 stations and the option to add stations one at a time for 25 cents each.

07.23.07

All eyes will be on Jennifer Lopez when she launches her first-ever concert tour September 29 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Husband Marc Anthony will co-headline the trek, which will take them through the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. Dates will be announced next week. Each set will include English- and Spanish-spoken songs, and $1 from every ticket sold will go toward financial-services company ING’s school-fitness program for kids, Run for Something Better …

Kelly Clarkson told Reader’s Digest for the magazine’s August issue that she got her way with her new album after a public battle with RCA, but the singer says in a new post on her Web site that she regrets feuding with label head Clive Davis over My December. “Contrary to recent characterizations in the press, I’m well aware that Clive is one of the great record men of all time,” reads the post. “He has been a key advisor and has been an important force in my success to date. I really regret how this has turned out and I apologize to those whom I have done disservice. I would never intentionally hurt anyone. I love music, and I love the people I am blessed to work with.” …

Who needs a clothing line when you can have an umbrella range — especially if you’re Rihanna? The singer has done the inevitable by partnering with British company Totes for a collection perfectly suited for her “Umbrella” single. Take your pick right here.Pink couldn’t stomach her planned gig at Athens’ recent Fly BEEyond Festival — she came down with a bout with gastroenteritis and had to bail hours before going onstage, according to the show’s promoter, Hot Beez. The show will not be made up, but ticket holders are being offered cash refunds. …

“Hallows” be thy name: The final installment of the Harry Potter series racked up some big numbers over the weekend (surprised?). Scholastic says roughly 8.3 million copies of the book sold in the first 24 hours upon its release Saturday, with Borders, Amazon and Barnes & Noble all reporting more than 1 million copies sold each. The sales were impressive in the U.K., where the book sold 2.7 million copies in the first 24 hours, and in Canada, where it moved about 812,000 in its first 48 hours. Daniel Radcliffe had his own reason to celebrate Monday (July 23): The actor turned 18, gaining access to a fortune that is the U.S. equivalent of roughly $40 million. …

Freestyle king Lil’ Flip turned himself in on a felony charge of credit-card abuse on Saturday after authorities said he tried to buy a $671 Southwest Airlines ticket to Baltimore from Houston in June using an American Express card held by someone else. Flip, 26 (born Wesley Eric Weston Jr.), was booked and released on $2,000 bond, according to the Houston Chronicle. Lil’ Flip’s attorney and manager addressed the allegations on Monday. “Flip had absolutely no involvement with any sort of credit card fraud,” Sandy Lal said in a statement. “He never personally handles any travel arrangements; that is left to promoters and travel agents.” His attorney Stanley Schneider added: “A complete investigation will easily show that Lil’ Flip is innocent of all charges and is actually a victim of a scam.” … Cops working the John Mayer concert at Hersheypark Stadium in Hershey, Pennsylvania, were busy on Saturday, arresting 63 fans, according to The Patriot-News. Among the arrests were 46 for underage drinking; 14 for disorderly conduct; and three each for public drunkenness, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. …

It’s all about “The Simpsons Movie” this week, as the much-anticipated flick opens Friday, but some people haven’t forgotten about the show’s upcoming 19th season — namely Jack Black, Lionel Richie, Topher Grace and MTV News’ own Kurt Loder, all of whom will be paying guest appearances. Black will voice the character of Milo, who scares Comic Book Guy by opening up a competing store. In other “Simpsons” news, Matt Groening has finally ‘fessed up to where he got the idea for Marge Simpson’s blue beehive. He told The New York Times Magazine in an interview published Sunday that her ‘do was inspired by “The Bride of Frankenstein” and his own mom’s hairstyle in the ’60s. …

The Arcade Fire aren’t burning out anytime soon — the indie-rockers have extended their tour with LCD Soundsystem with four additional dates: September 30 in St. Paul, Minnesota; October 3 in Louisville, Kentucky; October 5 in Columbus, Ohio; and October 6 at New York’s Randall’s Island. … The Shins are tacking a cover of Pink Floyd‘s “Breathe” onto their “Turn Me On” U.K. single. …

The Reverend Al Sharpton is supporting New York State Senator Antoine Thompson’s idea to penalize record companies that don’t crack down on denigrating lyrics by pulling the state’s public investments from them, The Associated Press reports. According to Thompson, about $3 billion of the state’s pension fund is invested in the entertainment industry. … Iconic indie label Sympathy for the Record Industry — which has issued albums by the White Stripes, Hole, Rocket From the Crypt and a slew of others over the years — is up on the block, according to Idolator.com. Owner Long Gone John is pricing the label and its “questionable/nebulous rights to nearly 750 releases by over 550 bands” at “$625,000, or $700,000 if I don’t like you.” …

There have been some lineup changes in Perry Farrell‘s Satellite Party project. Former Extreme guitarist Nuno Bettencourt jumped ship last week, saying, “I have always felt uncomfortable with the direction of the lineup and live show. I truly do believe in the songs and music on the album, and I wish Perry Farrell and any musician that remains on tour all the best.” Drummer Kevin Figg also opted to leave, but no reason was offered for his departure. In their place, Farrell has recruited Silvertide guitarist Nick Perri and drummer Jordan Plosky, who has worked with Ryan Cabrera in the past. …

Babyface, Queen Latifah, Garth Brooks and others will perform at a concert to raise funds for a Martin Luther King Jr. memorial at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on September 18. The event, set to take place at New York’s Radio City Music Hall, will also feature previously announced artists Stevie Wonder, Robin Thicke and more. … Jeff Beck‘s manager tells Billboard.com that, contrary to a report the site published Friday, the guitarist is not planning to tour with Jimmy Page and others as the Yardbirds this fall.