Billboard Bits: Soulja Boy, Black Kids, Pioneer Awards, ACM Awards

Soulja Boy preps fall release; Black Kids sign to Columbia; Pioneer Awards honorees announced; ACM fan voting opens.

Soulja Boy is prepping his sophomore album, "iSouljaBoy," for a fall release, label Interscope confirmed to

As previously reported, Soulja Boy recently postponed his “21 & Under” tour with Lil Mama and rapper V.I.C. in favor of a back-to-school re-launch this fall in support of “iSouljaBoy.”

The MC is also putting the finishing touches on his new shoe line, Yums, a sunglasses line and an upcoming cartoon titled “Bad Little Homies,” chronicling the MC and his friends, with as-yet-announced distribution companies.

-- Hillary Crosley, N.Y.

Indie rock buzz band Black Kids have signed a deal with Columbia Records, which will release the group's debut full-length, “Partie Traumatic,” on July 22 in the U.S.

The album will be released July 7 on Almost Gold Records outside of the States. Bernard Butler, the former guitarist for Brit-pop group Suede, produced the album.

Black Kids rose to prominence after receiving favorable reviews of its debut EP from a number of notable music blogs. The Jacksonville, Florida-based band most recently toured in the U.K., where debut single “I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You” debuted at #11 on the U.K. singles chart.

The band will be on tour throughout the summer.

-- Cortney Harding, N.Y.

Chaka Khan, Bill Withers, Kool & the Gang and the Funk Brothers are among the legendary acts who will be honored at the Rhythm & Blues Foundation's 20th anniversary Pioneer Awards. The ceremony will take place Sept. 9 in Philadelphia at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts.

During a press conference today (April 30) at the Loews Hotel in Philadelphia, R&B Foundation board member Kenneth Gamble and Pioneer Awards ambassador Teddy Pendergrass announced the complete 2008 slate of honorees:

Lifetime Achievement Award: Chaka Khan
Individual Artists Awards: Teena Marie, Bill Withers, Sugar Pie DeSanto
Group Awards: Kool & the Gang, The Whispers
Sidemen Award: The Funk Brothers
Legacy Award: Donny Hathaway
Leadership Award: Al Bell of Stax Records

-- Gail Mitchell, L.A.

Voting for the Academy of Country Music entertainer of the year award starts today (May 1) at While it was previously reported that the academy would open voting for the prestigious award for the first time to fans, it has not until now been indicated how and where they would vote.

Nominees Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, George Strait, Keith Urban and Rascal Flatts will perform on the 43rd edition of the ACM Awards, which will be held May 18 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The show will air at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

Voting will run through the last hour of the show.

While video of the year is also voted on by fans, all other ACM awards are industry-voted.

-- Ken Tucker, Nashville