Billboard Bits: DMB, Hip-Hop Nation, MCA/Victory

News on Dave Matthews Band, Hip-Hop Nation, MCA/Victory

DMBDave Matthews' strained vocal chords have forced the postponement of Dave Matthews Band shows scheduled for last night (April 15) and tonight at New York's Madison Square Garden. Tickets for the postponed gigs will be honored for the May 28-29 make-up dates, and refunds are available at point of purchase through May 1. Matthews' tender pipes also caused him to skip a previously announced appearance at a Willie Nelson tribute on Sunday in Nashville.

DMB will be on tour in North America through early September. The group's as-yet-untitled new RCA album is due July 2 and will feature a number of songs from the aborted "Lillywhite Sessions," including "Bartender," "Grey Street," "Digging a Ditch," and "Grace Is Gone."

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

Rapper Master P and his son, rapper Lil' Romeo, will be guests on the opening episode of the second season of "Hip-Hop Nation: Notes From the Underground." Following last year's six-episode debut season on WNCN in Raleigh, N.C., the show will debut Saturday (April 20) in a late night time slot on NBC-owned and operated stations in four additional markets -- Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas (KXAS), Washington, D.C. (WRC), Miami (WTVJ), and Columbus, Ohio (WCMH). Other NBC stations may air the Zoom Culture-produced series during its 13-show run, depending on its ratings performance. Hosted by Kevin Thomas, D. Nakazi, and Larry Pickett, "Hip-Hop Nation" has already secured the commitment of Mobb Deep and tha Liks, as well as Universal-affiliated artists such as Ali from the St. Lunatics, Ludacris, Lil Wayne, and Juvenile to appear on upcoming episodes. Universal is a presenting sponsor of the show. Fans not in the five "Hip-Hop Nation" launch markets aren't left completely out of the loop, as the series' official Web site will feature streaming video of select segments from the show. The site will also host artist interviews and music played on weekly episodes.

MCA Records has acquired a non-controlling 25% interest in Victory Records from Tony Brummel, founder of the Chicago-based punk label, who holds the remainder, Billboard Bulletin reports. Founded in 1993, Victory has branded itself into one of the leading underground punk labels. It is believed that Columbia was also vying to acquire the label, which is currently working releases by Thursday, Snapcase, and Taking Back Sunday. "This deal is not about selling out; it is about selling in," Brummel tells Billboard Bulletin. "I have found a partner that only wants to help the company and its artists flourish." "MCA wants us to do what we do on our own terms but with better resources -- the added support and muscle of the MCA marketing, promotions, systems, and legal staff," Brummel adds. "They will not be involved in our day-to-day business, leaving control entirely in my hands." MCA did not return a call seeking comment.