Members of Congress urged the hip-hop industry yesterday (June 12) to better regulate the content of their records before Washington beats them to it. "We do not know the hip-hop generation. We do not know the hip-hop industry," said Rep. Earl Hilliard (D-Ala.) during the first day of the Russell Simmons-organized Hip-Hop Summit in New York. "We feel that those who know themselves and those that know the industry can regulate it better."
Ray Charles made a $1 million donation to Albany State University, and the legendary R&B singer has promised more help for the southwest Georgia school. The $1 million check from the Ray Charles Foundation is the first installment of a $2 million pledge made by the Albany native, said college president Portia H. Shields.
Veteran hard rock act the Rollins Band has signed with Sanctuary Records and set an Aug. 21 date for the release of its latest album, "Nice." In a statement, bandleader Henry Rollins compared the new material to his group's final album with DreamWorks, last year's "Get Some Go Again." "Real instruments, cut live, no drum beats fixed, no vocals pitched, just music played hard, good sounds going onto tape, very few takes." he said.
Originally slated for September, "Twisted Forever," a 16-track tribute to 1980s pop metal band Twisted Sister, has been bumped up to Aug. 14. As previously reported, the Koch Records set features covers of the Dee Snider-led act's songs by Lit, Public Enemy's Chuck D, and many others.
Jazz vocalists Patti LaBelle and Diana Krall will headline the 11th annual Janus Jazz Aspen festival, to be held June 21-24 in Snowmass Village, Colo., near Aspen. Labelle will anchor the four-day event with a Saturday evening performance, while Krall will preview material from her as-yet-untitled September release on Verve Records.
The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles will launch its Cars & Guitars of Rock 'n' Roll exhibit with a gala Thursday night (June 14). The show -- which features 30 cars and 75 custom guitars -- honors 50 years of rock music and the automobile's role in it.
Gorillaz, the animated band created by "Tank Girl" illustrator Jamie Hewlett and Blur frontman Damon Albarn, is readying its self-titled debut for North American release on Virgin a week from today (June 19). Albarn tells Billboard.com that the group -- which features himself, Dan The Automator, Cibo Matto's Miho Hatori, and Del Tha Funkee Homosapien performing for their animated alter egos -- hopes to play some North American dates before the end of the year.
Radiohead scored its second U.K. No. 1 album in eight months on Sunday, as "Amnesiac" (Parlophone) debuted at the the summit of the chart. The feat was achieved last October by "Kid A," and previously by 1997's "OK Computer." The arrival of "Amnesiac" ousted Shaggy's "Hotshot" (MCA) from the top, but the Jamaican native still rules the singles scene with "Angel" featuring Rayvon. That track spent a second week at the peak in the U.K. and goes straight to No. 1 on Music & Media's Eurochart Hot 100 Singles tally.
Eminem and Outkast lead the nominees for the third Source Hip-Hop Music Awards with five each and will go head-to-head for album, single, artist, and video of the year honors. LL Cool J will receive the lifetime achievement award at the ceremony, to be held Aug. 20 in Miami. Last year's ceremony in Los Angeles was cut short after a melee broke out in the audience.
The buzz of an industry crowd in Los Angles for a new artist showcase is a scene that first occurred in New York and has since been repeated in Atlanta, Detroit, Chicago, and other major markets, as word-of-mouth builds about J Records' neo-soul newcomer Alicia Keys. Her debut album, "Songs in A Minor," arrives in stores today (June 12).
A veritable gold mine of a bill for any devotee of '80s British pop will hit the U.K. arena circuit in November. Kim Wilde, Paul Young, Curiosity Killed the Cat, Nick Heyward, T'pau, Go West, and Heaven 17 will come together for a seven-date British tour beginning Nov. 8 in Newcastle. The trek will also hit Sheffield, Birmingham, Brighton, London, Manchester, and Cardiff.
Following the lead of several of his Ozzfest touring mates, Marilyn Manson has scheduled a handful of shows on off days from the tour. The often-controversial artist played his first of nine non-festival shows on Sunday in Omaha, Neb. Similar dates are planned in Birmingham, Ala.; Las Vegas; New Orleans; Norfolk, Va.; Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Montreal; Grand Rapids, Mich.; and Wantagh, N.Y.