News on Suge Knight, Jerkins, Grant Lee Phillips

SugeRiverhead Books has pushed the release of hip-hop mogul Marion "Suge" Knight's autobiography to next year. Completion of the volume has been complicated by Knight's July imprisonment for assaulting a nightclub valet, but Riverhead co-editorial director Julie Grau tells Billboard.com, "I feel pretty confident it will be released in the first half of 2004."

"We had extremely limited visitation privileges and no phone privileges," she adds. "It really sort of stopped us cold in the eleventh hour of the production. But he has been moved to a different facility and we're now able to have more access to him. The whole machinery is starting up again, and now, of course, there is more for him to write about."

As exclusively revealed here today (Nov. 19), Riverhead is also working on a comprehensive book about hip-hop outfit the Wu-Tang Clan, "The Wu-Tang Manual," which is expected in May or June.


-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.







RodneyProducer Rodney Jerkins has written the new theme song to the UPN reality series "America's Next Top Model." Supermodel Tyra Banks, one of the show's executive producers and judges, sings the newly penned, "Shake Your Body." The show's first season was a hit for UPN this summer; the series' second season will premiere in early 2004.

Jerkins has also composed songs and film-score music for Universal Pictures' "Honey," which opens Dec. 5 in U.S. theaters. As previously reported, the film stars Jessica Alba as a choreographer determined to make it big in the entertainment business. Missy Elliott and Lil' Romeo have supporting roles in the film. The Elektra soundtrack, due Nov. 25, includes songs from Blaque, Yolanda Adams, Fabolous, Elliott and Tweet.


-- Carla Hay, N.Y.







GrantZoe/Rounder Records has set a Feb. 17 release date for "Virginia Creeper," the third studio album by former Grant Lee Buffalo leader Grant Lee Phillips. The set is the follow-up to 2001's "Mobilize," which debuted at No. 23 on Billboard's Top Internet Album Sales chart.

Singer/guitarist Phillips is joined on "Virginia Creeper" by the likes of multi-instrumentalist Jon Brion, violinist Eric Gorfain, pianist Zac Rae, bassists Sheldon Gomberg and Sebastian Steinberg, drummer Kevin Jarvis and vocalist Cindy Wasserman. Phillips will launch a spring U.S. tour in support of the disc, which was recorded and mixed by veteran engineer S. Husky Hoskulds. Songs include "Calamity Jane," "Far End of the Night" and the Gram Parsons cover "Hickory Wind."


-- Troy Carpenter, N.Y.