Billboard Bits: Ne-Yo, Reba McEntire, KRS-One
Ne-Yo has retitled his sophomore Def Jam album "Because of You" and bumped its release back one week from April 24 to May 1. The set, formerly named "Know Me," now shares a title with its first singleNe-Yo has retitled his sophomore Def Jam album "Because of You" and bumped its release back one week from April 24 to May 1. The set, formerly named "Know Me," now shares a title with its first single, which moves 26-21 this week on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
"It makes the most sense," Ne-Yo says of the new album title. "It's because of the people that inspire me to make music. Because of the love of the music. Because of the fans. Because of you, that I do what I do."
"Because of You" includes a track with "Dreamgirls" star Jennifer Hudson, "Leaving," which found Ne-Yo being upstaged in the studio. "When I asked her to bring out a note, or change something, it was done," he tells Billboard. "She out-sung me on my own song. It's Jennifer Hudson featuring Ne-Yo."
-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.
Reba McEntire will return as host of the 42nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards, to be held May 15 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. It will be the ninth time she has hosted the show. McEntire, who has had 48 top 10s on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, including 20 No. 1s, has won 11 ACM awards and received 41 nominations.
As previously reported, George Strait leads all nominees with eight nominations, followed by Brooks & Dunn with seven and Rascal Flatts with six. The show will air live on CBS.
-- Ken Tucker, Nashville
Nas may have claimed "Hip-Hop Is Dead" on his latest album, but veteran rapper KRS-One apparently begs to differ. The artist has teamed with executive producer Marley Marl for the album "Hip-Hop Lives," due May 22 via Koch. The title track reflects on hip-hop's evolution, while "Kill a Rapper" explores why rap-related murders go perpetually unsolved.
KRS-One and Marley Marl met in 1986, soon after the former collaborated with the late DJ Scott La Rock on an answer record titled "South Bronx," aimed at MC Shan's "Queensbridge."
-- Mariel Concepcion, N.Y.