Hip-Hop Beat: Lil' Zane, Nas, Black Rob …

17-year-old rapper Lil' Zane has a supporting role in 'Finding Forrester.'

Lil' Zane, the 17-year-old rapper who contributed "Money Stretch" to the "Next Friday" soundtrack, is jumping into music and acting careers. His first album, Young World: The Future, is due June 6, and he has landed a supporting role in "Finding Forrester," a film starring Sean Connery, directed by Gus Van Sant. … Rapper Nas will perform at Atlanta's Music Midtown Festival on Friday (May 5). Also playing the festival this weekend are rockers Creed and Oasis and Robert Bradley's Blackwater Surprise. ...

A Rikers Island benefit concert slated for Tuesday (May 9), featuring Black Rob, has been canceled, according to the rapper's publicist, Juanita Stephens. Stephens said a new date for the "Reduce the Violence" benefit, which was to feature Rob as the headlining performer in front of 1,300 New York inmates, has not been set. … Hip-hop artist Common shot a video Wednesday (May 3) in Harlem with R&B singer Erykah Badu. The video, for the song "The Light," from Common's album Like Water for Chocolate, is slated to be released by May 15. ...

Rapper Q-Don was shot and killed April 25 outside the Philadelphia nightclub Evolution, said Judgement/RCA rapper Ced Sinatra. The MC had been signed recently to Elektra Records. ...

The How Can I Be Down? Urban Music Conference, scheduled for May 11–14 in London, has been postponed because conference organizer Vivian Scott Chew is ill. The four-day event, for which new dates are pending, will feature performances by MC Lyte, Common and Monie Love, with a keynote speech by The Source founder Dave Mays. … Rapper Large Professor, formerly of Main Source, will release two 12-inch singles for Matador in July. The releases will be the first in a series of singles for the label by various hip-hop artists, later to be compiled on a CD. …

Rage Against the Machine singer Zack de la Rocha and singer/songwriter Jackson Browne are among the possible performers at a rally Sunday (May 7) in New York for death row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal, according to organizers. But spokespersons for the artists said their attendance is not confirmed. Publicists for rappers Mos Def, Common and Black Star, who also are expected to perform, did not return calls for comment. …

Public Enemy are asking fans to write rhymes in support of the controversial Napster MP3-sharing software, and compete for a grand prize of $5,000. The band, led by digital activist Chuck D, released an instrumental MP3 called "Power to the People and the Beats" on www.rapstation.com, and invited fans to download the track, add vocals and send back to the Web site to be voted on by the site's visitors. ...

De la Soul's debut album, Three Feet High And Rising, has finally received platinum status after 11 years. This is the first time the innovative rap group from New York has sold more than one million album copies. The 1989 LP put De la Soul on the hip-hop map with the Billboard Top-40 song "Me, Myself and I," and gave early guest appearances to both A Tribe Called Quest and the Jungle Brothers. … Rapper Ice-T will release a greatest-hits collection this August, according to Amy Welch, a spokesperson at Atomic Pop. Information about title and songs is not yet available. Ice-T's career began in the mid-'80s, and he was the first major rapper to introduce gang-related themes to his lyrics. …

Rappers Lauryn Hill, Busta Rhymes and R&B singer Erykah Badu are among the artists on "One Love: The Bob Marley All Star Tribute," due on VHS and DVD on May 30. Filmed during a December concert in Jamaica, the video features 19 performances, some of which were not shown on the TNT broadcast of the event. ... More than 52,000 fans voted by phone and on the Internet to choose the final version of the video for Wyclef Jean 's new single, "Thug Angel." Two versions of the video were broadcast on The Box music TV station, and 61 percent of voters chose "Cut 2," which was released nationwide April 24. The new Wyclef album, The Ecleftic — Two Sides of a Book, is due in July. (Sonicnet.com's parent company, Viacom, also owns The Box.) ...

A federal judge in New York ruled Friday that MP3.com's My.MP3.com online music-storage service violates the copyrights of record labels. "We're pleased with the court's decision," said Hilary Rosen, president and chief executive officer of the Recording Industry Association of America, which sued MP3.com in January. ... Turntablists Craze and DJ Cash Money will appear along with rappers Planet Asia, People Under the Stairs and others on Deep Concentration 3, a compilation from OM Records due May 9. Many of the artists on the collection will kick off a tour Thursday in San Francisco. The 2000 Deep Concentration 3 tour will feature a rotating lineup as it hits 23 North American cities. ...

"The Real Slim Shady," the new single from Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP, was leaked and is being traded in MP3 format online with software such as Napster and Gnutella. The leak prompted Interscope Records to ship the song to radio one week early, MTV News reported. ...

— sonicnet.com staff report