Billboard Bits: Jam Master Jay, Prince, Ying Yang Twins

News on Jam Master Jay, Prince; Ying Yang Twins

JayAdidas' 35th anniversary celebration of its Superstar sneaker will also serve as a tribute to slain Run-D.M.C. DJ Jam Master Jay. The Feb. 25 JMJ: Superstar gala at New York's Skylight nightclub will feature participation from the late artist's former bandmate DMC (Darryl McDaniels), Missy Elliott, Kid Rock, Doug E. Fresh and Public Enemy frontman Chuck D.

Along with musical performances, the event will offer multi-media installations, a live art performance by Lee Quinnones, and a basketball showcase by Project Playground. Tickets are $250 and $500, with VIP packages also available through the Jam Master Jay Foundation for Music, which will benefit from the evening's proceeds.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

Cabrince will be honored with the NAACP Vanguard Award, to be presented March 19 during the 36th annual NAACP Image Awards in Los Angeles. The award is given to those "whose groundbreaking work increases our understanding and awareness of racial and social issues." It has been presented only twice previously to filmmakers Stanley Kramer and Steven Spielberg.

Usher leads the field with five NAACP Image Awards nominations, including outstanding male artist and outstanding album for his LaFace set "Confessions." Other multiple nominees include Kanye West, Anthony Hamilton, Alicia Keys, Queen Latifah and Prince himself. The ceremony at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion will be taped for broadcast March 25 on Fox.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

TwinsHip-hop outfit Ying Yang Twins are eyeing a summer release for their second TVT album, "U.S.A. (United State of Atlanta)." First single "Wait.." was recently serviced to U.S. radio outlets after an early leak prompted the group to take action.

Among the guests penciled in for the new album are Anthony Hamilton, labelmates Lil Jon and the East Side Boyz and Floetry, while production will be supplied by the group's own DJ Smurf, Mannie Fresh, Timbaland, KLC and Three Six Mafia.

"U.S.A." comes quickly on the heels of last November's "My Brother & Me," which debuted at No. 12 on The Billboard 200 and has sold 252,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.