R. Kelly is hooking up with Kanye West for his next album, the Chicago singer revealed in a bizarre six-minute phone message accessible by calling (312)278-3965 (that's a Chicago area code, by the way). Perhaps taking a tip from the Arcade Fire — who debuted a new song via a mysterious toll-free phone number earlier this year — the singer plays snippets from and spills more details about his next effort, which, according to the message, will be called Double Up. In the rambling message, Kelly also previews "Blow It Up" (featuring Young Jeezy and Young Dro), "Rock Star" (featuring Ludacris), "Freakin' in the Clubs" and "Hook It Up" (featuring Kanye West). ...

Lindsay Lohan's estranged father, who she sung openly about in her single "Confessions of a Broken Heart (Daughter to Father)," was released from a New York prison Tuesday (March 13), CBS reports. Michael Lohan was incarcerated in June 2005 after surviving a car crash for which he was charged with driving under the influence. ...

Carrie Underwood is returning to live TV later this month as the musical guest on "Saturday Night Live." Underwood will perform on the March 24 episode, hosted by Super Bowl MVP Peyton Manning, while Snow Patrol will play on Saturday's show, hosted by Julia Louis-Dreyfus. ...

Exit stage left for LL Cool J? The longtime Def Jam rapper appeared on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" Monday night and confirmed his upcoming 50 Cent-helmed project, Exit 13, will be his last for the storied hip-hop label. "It's my last record on Def Jam, it's my 13th album, and I'm leaving," he told Kimmel. "My contract is up and it's time to move on." Previously the rapper hinted at his desire to defect due to Jay-Z's conflict of being both a Def Jam artist and the label's president, saying, "How am I gonna re-sign with the competition?" When pressed by Kimmel if his departure was indeed due to differences with Jay-Z, LL responded: "I wouldn't go that far with it," he said. "But for the most part ... I'm gone."

Avril Lavigne is on the cover of the April issue of Seventeen — and comes clean inside about her past photo-shoot problems. "The record company let me do whatever I wanted," Lavigne said of her style choices, "which was unheard of. But I had to fight with people at every single photo shoot 'cause they wanted to put me in pink and lace and frills." The singer, who said she simply wanted to wear her own clothes in photo shoots, explained that she wasn't trying to be difficult. "I was just me being me. I guess my whole career has been about me fighting, like, 'I'm not gonna do that. I think it's cheesy.' " Avril told MTV Europe that her personal look hasn't been shelved, it's just evolved. "I still have my style," she told MTV Europe, "it's just not as maybe tomboy as before. ... I wear the same style but maybe a little sexier, so a little more rock and roll glam or whatever." ...

Diana Ross will work with the final 12 contestants on "American Idol" on Tuesday (March 13) for a performance episode spotlighting music from Ross and the Supremes. Ross will perform on Wednesday night's results show. ... Nelly Furtado has picked "All Good Things (Come to an End)," which she co-wrote with Coldplay's Chris Martin, as the fourth U.S. single from Loose. ... Nine Inch Nails were forced to cancel a concert in England this week after frontman Trent Reznor lost his voice. The band was supposed to perform in Birmingham on Monday night but pulled out of the show when Reznor's voice failed to recover in time for him to perform. The gig has been postponed to August 30. ...

The U.S. is loving "300" — the #1 film that plundered the box office for $70 million last weekend — but Iran feels a bit different about the film. Iranian newspapers and government officials say the movie portrays their ancestors as "savages," and the reformist paper Ayandeh-No recently ran the headline "Hollywood declares war on Iranians," according to Agence France Presse. A cultural adviser to Iran's president called the movie, which is unlikely to be released in the country, "American psychological warfare against Iran." ...

John Lennon tracks will be reinterpreted by various artists for Instant Karma: The Campaign to Save Darfur, due June 12. Proceeds from the sales of the LP will help support Amnesty International's campaign to focus attention and mobilize activism around the crisis in the Sudan, as well as other human-rights concerns. The set will feature U2's cover of "Instant Karma," Green Day's take on "Working Class Hero," Christina Aguilera's spin on "Mother," R.E.M.'s rendition of "#9 Dream," the Cure tackling "Love," Snow Patrol doing "Isolation" as well as "Power to the People" performed by the Black Eyed Peas. ... Cyndi Lauper, the Dresden Dolls, the Gossip, Erasure and Debbie Harry will anchor the True Colors Tour, which is being staged in support of the Human Rights Campaign. The 15-date trek, presented by LOGO and hosted by Margaret Cho, will christen Gay & Lesbian Pride Month when it begins June 8 in Las Vegas. Rufus Wainwright, Indigo Girls and Rosie O'Donnell and others will also be featured on select stops of the tour. ...

Sylvester Stallone was charged Tuesday with importing a banned substance after allegedly attempting to bring human growth hormone into Australia last month, The Associated Press reports. The actor, who described the incident as a "misunderstanding," was detained for several hours on February 16 at Sydney Airport, where authorities confiscated items from his bags. The actor was not required to appear in a Sydney court on Tuesday. The case was adjourned until April 24, at which time the actor's lawyers are expected to enter a plea on his behalf. ... Matchbook Romance have announced that they will be going on an "indefinite hiatus," one year after the release of their last album, Voices. "This is our chance to leave on a good note and forge ahead in the world to see what else is out there," the band said in a statement. "We hope you guys will understand, and we hope you will look forward to the next time you hear from us."

03.12.2007

Red Hot Chili Peppers are letting fans create the official video for "Charlie," the next single from 2006's Stadium Arcadium. Entries will be accepted until April 20 via YouTube. The winner will receive a $5,000 prize, along with a trip to meet the band during its July 6 tour stop in Paris. Check out Contest.WarnerBrosRecords.com/RHCP for full contest rules. ...

Paula Abdul will return to QVC to promote her jewelry line on Friday. The "American Idol" judge will sell her accessories collection — which features charms, earrings, pendants and bracelets with inspirational words and symbols — from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET. Beginning at 11 p.m. on QVC.com, fans can interact with Abdul during a one-hour live online chat. Her 18-track Greatest Hits: Straight Up! collection — including "Forever Your Girl," Cold Hearted" and "Rush, Rush" — will be released digitally and on CD on May 8. Six of Abdul's music videos will also make their digital release debuts that same day. ...

Daughtry, Three 6 Mafia, Taking Back Sunday, Hawthorne Heights, Hinder, Social Distortion, Chevelle, Gym Class Heroes, Godsmack, Papa Roach and Guster are on the lineup for the 2007 Beale Street Music Festival. The Memphis event will run from May 4-6. ...

Snoop Dogg was detained in Stockholm, Sweden, early Monday (March 12) — following a Sunday night performance with Diddy at the Globe Arena — when police pulled over the car he was riding in and determined that Snoop and a female companion showed signs of drug use. The Associated Press reports that authorities also found a small amount of narcotics in the car but said it was unclear whether the drugs belonged to the rapper. Drug tests were administered and Snoop Dogg was questioned before he was released Monday morning. Results are due in two to three weeks, according to a Swedish police spokesperson, and Snoop could face a fine if the test shows that he was using illegal drugs. A spokesperson for Snoop confirmed the rapper was not charged and will continue with his tour dates. ...

Mary J. Blige and Jamie Foxx took home the top awards Saturday at the 21st annual Soul Train Music Awards, with Foxx bagging best male album for Unpredictable and Blige winning best female album for The Breakthrough. (Click here to check out pictures from the show's red carpet.) Other winners included Jay-Z (Best R&B/Soul or Rap Music Video for "Show Me What You Got"), John Legend (best male single, "Save Room"), Beyoncé (best female single, "Irreplaceable"), Gnarls Barkley (best single by a group/duo for "Crazy"), Jennifer Hudson (Sammy Davis Jr. Award for Entertainer of the Year), Ne-Yo (Best R&B/Soul or Rap New Artist for "Sexy Love"), Webstar & Young B (Best R&B/Soul or Rap Dance Cut for "Chicken Noodle Soup") and Babyface (Career Achievement in Songwriting). The show will air in syndication between March 17-25. ...

The Hives are still hard at work on their forthcoming album, which doesn't have a title or release date yet. The Swedes are fine-tuning the material at their practice space and plan to hit a Mississippi studio soon to begin tracking. "Some of the stuff is bloody brilliant," the band said in a statement. "Leaving out the sh-- parts is the main plan. It will make for a killer record. We take our time only so you will have the best record possible. ... Our fingers are itching and we can't wait to record this chunk of songs and meet you again. We can't wait for you to hear it either." ... Daft Punk have announced the details of their first North American tour in nine years. The seven-show run kicks off in Los Angeles on July 21 and hits Berkeley, California (July 27); Seattle (July 29); Denver (July 31); Toronto (August 5), Montreal (August 7); and Brooklyn, New York (August 9). Sebastian and Kavinsky will open all dates on the tour, while the Rapture will perform at all but the L.A. show. In related news, French electronic masters Air are coming back to North America for the first time in more than three years. The duo land April 21 in Vancouver, British Columbia, and head home May 10 in New York. ...

More than two months after his death, soul icon James Brown's body is finally laid to rest ... for now. Following a family ceremony on Saturday, Brown's body was placed in a crypt at the Beech Island, South Carolina, home of one of his daughters, though it will likely be moved once a public mausoleum is completed, according to AP. ... The MTV Europe Music Awards will be held November 1 at Munich's OlympiaHalle, MTV Networks International announced Monday. ...

Sub Pop is offering a $5,750 college scholarship to a Washington or Oregon resident who is involved and/or interest in music or the creative arts. The record label requests that interested applicants submit a one-page essay to scholarship@subpop.com. More info is available on the label's Web site. ... The Pitchfork Music Festival is expanding to three days this year (July 13-15) with an initial lineup that will bring the Clipse, Cat Power, Of Montreal, Iron and Wine, Girl Talk, Grizzly Bear and Jamie Lidell to Union Park in Chicago. Opening night will feature the North American premiere of All Tomorrow's Parties' "Don't Look Back" series, in which acts are invited to perform one of their most important albums in their entirety. More artists are slated to be announced soon.