News on Ja Rule, CMC, MECCA Awards, Rosco Gordon
Ja Rule will go back to his roots with the Cash Money Click -- now known as the Cash Murda Click, or simply CMC -- to release a new album in the fall. Due Nov. 26 via Murder Inc./TVT, "Est. Since '93," will bring the chart-topping rapper together with his cohorts 01 and Chris Black aka Jody Mack.
"We've grown as a group, as individuals, and as artists, so it was natural for us to change our name," Ja Rule said in a statement, noting that he's had his pals by his side through his recent solo successes. "Really I never left home, if you listen to all my albums, CMC is represented. You'll either hear 01 or Chris Black on every album. The only difference with this album and my previous solo albums, is that it's not all my ideas. I'm part of CMC, so we each brought something different to each song."
"It's a beautiful thing that we're all finally doing what we set out to do," 01 added. "It's different for me now, because I have a lot more to say to the world."
The bulk of "Est. Since '93" was produced by Murder Inc.'s CEO Irv Gotti and Murder Inc.'s in-house producers, 7 Aurileus and Chink Santana. Guests on the set include Ashanti, Tah Murder, and the Murder Inc. Crew.
-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.
Ice Cube and Mos Def are among the entertainers who will be honored at the first Minority Entertainment for the Cinematic and Creative Arts (MECCA) Awards, to be presented Aug. 10 in New York as part of this year's Urbanworld Film Festival. Ice Cube will receive the actor award in recognition for his achievements in film. Mos Def and the rest of the cast of Broadway's "Topdog/Underdog" will receive the theatrical excellence award.
The MECCA Awards were created to honor the achievements of people of color in the entertainment industry. Others to be honored with the first MECCA Awards will be actress Kerry Washington ("Lift," "Bad Company"), who will receive the future of film award, while film producer Lee Daniels ("Monster's Ball") will receive the visionary award.
Among the films to be screened at the festival are "Barbershop," starring Ice Cube and Eve; "Drumline," featuring Nickelodeon star/recording artist Nick Cannon; and the controversial documentary "Biggie and Tupac." The Urbanworld Film Festival will be held Aug. 7-11 in New York. More information about can be found at the festival's official Web site.
-- Carla Hay, N.Y.
R&B pioneer Rosco Gordon died last Thursday after suffering a heart attack at his Queens, N.Y., home, Billboard Bulletin reports. He was 68. Gordon recorded during the '50s for Sun, Modern, and Vee-Jay, scoring hits with "Booted," "No More Doggin'," and the R&B evergreen "Just a Little Bit." His music was cited as a major influence on Jamaica's early ska musicians. He released his last album, "Memphis, Tennessee," in 2000 on Canada's Stony Plain Records.
-- Chris Morris, L.A.