Kanye West's Graduation is proving to be quite the bear. The album leads with 781,000 copies sold over the 603,000 moved by 50 Cent's Curtis according to projections, Billboard reports. "It's just a few days out," Fiddy told the news outlet, qualifying the numbers. He said the music industry "would consider me to be a hip-hop favorite because of my sales history, and people like to root for the underdog." He also took some time Thursday to sound off about Sunday's VMAs on New York's Hot 97, saying he was shorted compared to 'Ye — even though West has also been complaining he didn't get enough airtime during the show. Fif also managed to take a swipe at his record label, Interscope, during the VMA rant: "As far as the VMAs were concerned, Kanye received the upper hand. I ain't going to front. He had four looks — his song 'Stronger,' his new record 'Good Life,' he had a performance with Soulja Boy, 'Crank [That],' and then he came out with me. So I feel like Def Jam is doing a better job of promoting the CD than Interscope. Interscope is just relying on my base and the actual music. I was on the VMAs for one minute and 20 seconds. I should've just stayed home." ...

Last weekend, Britney Spears had the VMAs to worry about — this weekend, it's her kids. On Friday (September 14), a Los Angeles Superior Court judge postponed making a ruling on whether court documents relating to the singer's divorce and custody case with ex-husband Kevin Federline should be sealed or open to the public. "Access Hollywood" and People magazine were among the media outlets representing the public's interests. Outside the courtroom, Spears' divorce attorney Laura Wasser spoke to reporters, telling them this is a frustrating time for the singer. "I think she just wants to be a mom," Wasser told reporters, "and both of her kids' birthdays are this week, and I think she would've liked to celebrate with them without having to worry about the entire nation — the entire world — being concerned about what's going on with her personally and her custody battle with Mr. Federline." On Monday, the judge will hear Federline's order to show cause for primary physical custody of the couple's two children: Sean Preston, who turned 2 on Friday; and Jayden James, who turned 1 on Wednesday. ...

Earlier this week, the "American Idol" judges had at Britney Spears' VMA performance — now "Dancing With the Stars" judge Carrie Ann Inaba is following suit. "When I watched it, I think they gave her a great place to make a comeback," she told Newsweek. "It was more mature than we've seen in the past. The thing that was unfortunate is that the center of the performance was Britney, and she was only giving about 30 percent. That's why it fell short. The backup dancers focused all the energy right to Britney, and she was the weakest link. ... I think fear got the best of her." ... Jamie Foxx got a place on Hollywood's Walk of Fame on Friday, and when he chatted with reporters at the induction ceremony, he inevitably gave his two cents on Spears' performance. "I think Britney's gonna be fine," he said. "I think that she was courageous to get up there and do her thing. I wish her well for that." ...

Common and Q-Tip will co-headline this year's 2K Sports Bounce Tour, which will kick off September 22 in Milwaukee and conclude October 14 in Los Angeles, according to Filter magazine. Q-Tip is featured in "NBA 2K8" as a playable character and is on the video game's soundtrack as well. ... Mark Ronson — who manned the ones and twos inside the Palms' Pearl Theatre during last weekend's Vegas VMAs — has slapped two U.S. tour dates onto his itinerary: October 3 (Los Angeles) and October 5 (New York). ...

A fire broke out at the Austin City Limits Music Festival on Friday afternoon, injuring four people, according to Austin360.com. The flames erupted inside a trailer located behind the beverage-vendor tents between two of the festival stages, and Pete Yorn's set was stopped as the fire was extinguished. All four people were transported to Brackenridge Hospital, and two are in critical condition. ...

Madonna, Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher attended a Kabbalah conference in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Friday to celebrate the Jewish New Year, according to The Associated Press. She reportedly didn't speak with the media, and the conference was closed to TV cameras. ... Master P visited Monroe Middle School in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Thursday and spoke to roughly 800 students about the importance of education, good financial management and a vision for success, AP reports. The rapper was approached by math teacher Bonnie Mwanda, who reportedly heard he would be in town and thought his success might be an inspiration for her students, many of whom come from similar backgrounds as the hip-hop mogul. "If the principal tells me y'all have a good year, I'm going to bring Romeo back to do a concert," he told the students, according to AP. ...

Fred Durst has been keeping a relatively low profile these days, but the Limp Bizkit frontman was given a 120-day suspended jail sentence after pleading no contest to seven misdemeanors way back on August 16, AP reports. He was also ordered to perform 20 hours of community service and fined $1,500 for assault, battery and reckless driving, for deliberately hitting two people with his car in Los Angeles in October 2006. Moreover, Durst was hit with a restraining order, is not allowed within 100 yards of the two victims — whose names have not been revealed — and cannot possess a firearm. ...

Elton John made a surprise appearance onstage during a Prince concert at London's O2 arena Thursday night. BBC News reports that John joined Prince for a cover of the Beatles' "The Long and Winding Road." After the two-hour-plus show, Prince ducked into the O2's smaller theater and played another two-hour gig, which included covers of Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" and another Beatles song, "Come Together." ... Led Zeppelin fans are getting more time for a chance at tickets to see the band perform a one-off reunion gig November 26 at London's O2 arena. Organizers behind the concert — a tribute to late music icon Ahmet Ertegun — are extending the lottery-application process to Wednesday, Billboard reports. The Web site set up to handle registrations received 89.5 million attempts in a 12-hour period on Thursday, according to the news outlet. ...

Members of underground-rock heroes Shudder to Think will reconvene for a one-off gig at New York's Mercury Lounge on Monday, Pitchfork reports. Frontman Craig Wedren and guitarist Nathan Larson — whose conflicts were part of the reason the band broke up in the late '90s — will get together with drummer Kevin March for the gig, although bassist Stuart Hill will not be accompanying them. ... Glassjaw have booked three California dates for next month. The reunited band will play October 28 in Hollywood; October 29 in San Diego; and October 30 in Pomona, California. ... Iconic punk band Operation Ivy's 1991 self-titled compilation LP will be reissued on November 6 on Hellcat. The classic release has been remastered and will also be available for download for the first time. ... PJ Harvey's White Chalk album has shifted from a September 25 release date to October 2. ...

AT&T's Blue Room, the site where political comments made by Pearl Jam during Lollapalooza were censored a month ago, has announced a new policy to avoid repeating that controversial practice during its webcast of this weekend's Austin City Limits Music Festival. According to AT&T spokesperson Steven Schwadron, "AT&T has developed an AT&T Blue Room policy to maintain integrity of the live performances featured on the site. AT&T will not edit any audio during the live webcast, of performances. We may edit visual content — either through camera angle changes or video blackouts — if there is strong sexual content. Also, we are going to have a clear viewer-discretion messaging both before and during the webcasts. The terms and conditions of the site, which users accept when they choose to view the webcast, requires users to be at least 13 years of age." ...

It's been 42 years since Johnny Cash's arrest in Starkville, Mississippi, for picking flowers from a resident's garden. But a judge who is reviewing the matter could potentially pardon the late musician, according to BBC News, and the city plans to instead honor him with the Johnny Cash Pickin' Festival from November 2-4. Cash wrote the track "Starkville City Jail" — which he performed at his legendary live At San Quentin prison LP — after spending a night in the city's prison.

09.13.07

50 Cent, Common, Nicole Scherzinger and others have all had their say about Britney Spears' VMA performance — now the "American Idol" judges are having at her. "We've decided that we're all going to collectively manage Britney," Simon Cowell remarked at a press conference earlier this week, according to "Access Hollywood." "We're going to manage Britney, take her career over," Randy Jackson added. Cowell snickered that he would "keep her away from the stupid friends, buy her some underwear," while Paula Abdul — as always — tried to put a positive spin on her VMA performance: "I never count her out." Spears' fellow former teen icon Joey Fatone has also chimed in on the performance, telling "Extra," "I felt bad but didn't. It looked like she was really lost. A lot of people ... really want her to seek help ... there's something not right here, something needs to obviously be done before anything tragic happens. She's a great girl ... I've known her for many years." ...

In other Brit news, she attended an unscheduled meeting with Kevin Federline and his attorney on Wednesday — five days before they were due to meet before a family court judge. The meeting was reportedly held at the Century City, California, offices of Spears attorney Laura Wasser. Federline has been trying to seek full custody of the former spouses' two sons, Jayden James and Sean Preston. ...

Lil' Kim — who took a swipe at 50 Cent on her 2005 LP, The Naked Truth — is finding herself right alongside him in a new lawsuit filed by a record producer, The Associated Press reports. Carlos Evans claims in papers recently filed in a New York court that he was contracted to produce, engineer and mix Kim's "Magic Stick" (featuring 50 Cent), a song that sold 2 million copies, but that he wasn't paid the royalties he was promised. He adds that while he was paid the $7,500 advance he was guaranteed for the song, his requests for a royalties audit have been ignored. His suit seeks $1 million in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages. Theodore Sedlmayr, a lawyer for Rotten Apple Records — which is also named in the suit — told AP the late-royalty problems stem from the fact that Evans put a lengthy sample, which had to be licensed and paid for, in the song. "Atlantic is trying to get it straightened out. If after the accounting Mr. Evans is entitled to anything, he'll get it then," Sedlmayr told the news service. ....

Snoop Dogg, Talib Kweli, Mobb Deep, DMC and others will come together November 29 at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York for the J.A.M. Awards, a Jam Master Jay- and Run-DMC-inspired event intended to reflect the positive aspects of rap. The event — being put on by Hot 97, the Jam Master Jay Foundation for Music and other organizations — will be co-hosted by DMC, who said in a statement that it "is not designed merely for music fans, but also for people who want to see hip-hop answer its critics with a resounding voice of hope and inspiration." Eminem has also donated money for the cause, and the shindig will also feature Raekwon, Papoose and other to-be-named artists. ...

Beyoncé, Gwen Stefani and Jennifer Lopez are this year's best-dressed women, according to People. Kirsten Dunst and Janet Jackson aren't so lucky, though — they're cited for wearing the worst red-carpet dresses of the year in the magazine's "Best & Worst Dressed" issue, out Friday. Angelina Jolie, Jessica Biel, Cameron Diaz, Avril Lavigne, Lily Allen and Reese Witherspoon are also noted in the issue, as are a handful of men: Terrence Howard, Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt and George Clooney among them. ... Shakira, teacher's pet? Perhaps: PeopleEnEspanol.com reports that the singer has been taking Western-civ classes at the University of California, Los Angeles, over the course of the summer. ...

The White Stripes, who announced earlier this week that their U.S. tour would be scrapped due to Meg White's acute anxiety, have tabled their U.K. tour as well, BBC News reports. The band's eight-date arena tour, which was slated for October 24-November 2, would have been its largest U.K. trek to date. ... Foo Fighters have drummed up four shows in addition to their scheduled Saturday performance at Southern California radio station KROQ's LA Invasion. The band — which drops its Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace on September 25 — will grace New York (September 20); New Orleans (October 2); Atlanta (October 4); and Atlantic City, New Jersey (October 6). The rock act will also tape a performance for the "Nissan Live Sets on Yahoo! Music" series on Tuesday and be the featured musical guest on "Saturday Night Live" on October 13. ...

Queens of the Stone Agewho performed with the Foos during the VMAs — apparently have an unlikely fan in "chef-at-large" Anthony Bourdain. They stopped by his "No Reservations" Travel Channel show last week to shoot an appearance for the program. In the episode, Bourdain is cooking a holiday meal in his Connecticut home while the band is performing in the basement. QOTSA emerge wearing cheesy Christmas sweaters, dine with Bourdain and perform the holiday jingle "Silver Bells," retitled "Turkey Bells." The ep also allegedly features karaoke, Christmas carols and a Japanese businessman, so stay tuned. ... System of a Down frontman Serj Tankianwho also performed with the Foos — has announced a bunch of tour dates in support of his solo debut, Elect the Dead, which hits stores October 23. His North American tour kicks off October 12 at the Vic Theatre in Chicago and will make stops in Toronto, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Dallas, Las Vegas and Los Angeles, before concluding October 28 in San Francisco. ...

Led Zeppelin are getting a whole lotta love from fans after announcing a one-off reunion gig on Wednesday. More than 20 million fans have attempted to get tickets for the November 26 concert at the O2 arena in London in honor of late music icon Ahmet Ertegun, according to Agence France Presse. The venue can hold up to 20,000 people, and a lottery is being held in which tickets will be drawn at random. ...

Prince is planning to sue eBay, YouTube and other Web sites as part of an effort to "reclaim the Internet," according to the MediaGuardian.co.uk. Lawsuits pertaining to his material will be launched in the U.S. and U.K. through the anti-piracy firm Web Sheriff, which represents Prince. Over the course of the past two weeks, the artist's legal reps have asked for the removal of more than 2,000 videos that are alleged to have been uploaded illegally online. Web Sheriff Managing Director John Giacobbi said Prince "wants to create a template for other artists" but that he "doesn't really want to go around suing people — he'd much rather people just respected his rights. He will be victorious." ...

A security guard who worked a Guns N' Roses concert nearly 11 years ago is suing Axl Rose for battery and negligence, according to court documents filed in Los Angeles Superior Court in late August and obtained by TMZ.com. Gary Armijo claims that he was positioned at the front of the stage at the GN'R show in Universal City, California, on December 20, 1996, and that the singer came to the front of the stage and intentionally kicked the guard in the head, causing injuries. Armijo says he has experienced pain and suffering, sleeplessness, headaches and loss of earnings, and has incurred medical expenses as well. ...

The Cure have rescheduled for next year 18 of the 19 gigs they had intended to play in North America this year. The band's 4Tour North America run will now take them from May 9 in Washington, D.C., through June 20 in New York. In between will be an additional performance at the Sasquatch! Music Festival in George, Washington, on May 25 — the band has been promised a show-closing 150-minute slot for the fest. Those who want refunds on their 2007 tickets can do so at the original point of purchase until November 1. ... "Spawn" creator and toy magnate Todd McFarlane told Reuters he's spawning plans to direct a feature flick. He said he's eyeing low-budget concepts: "You're going to have some young kid do those anyway, so let me have a crack at it." McFarlane was at the annual GameStop convention, showcasing a new lineup of toys based on "Halo 3." ...

Bobby Byrd, James Brown's longtime sideman and co-singer, died of cancer on Wednesday, according to The Augusta Chronicle of Georgia. Byrd sung the classic "get on up" refrain in "Get Up I Feel Like Being a Sex Machine." He was also the co-founder of the Famous Flames, which became Brown's first backing band.