Billboard Bits: Missy Elliot, Big Daddy Kane, Matthew Sweet

News on Missy Elliot, Big Daddy Kane, Matthew Sweet, Jay-Z, Method Man, Redman, Eve, Ludacris, Ginuwine, Timbaland, Nisan Stewart, Dante Nolan.

"Let's just say -- if there are any rules left to be broken... I'm breakin' 'em!" Missy Elliot says of her as-yet-untitled new album. Due May 15 from Elektra, the set features guest appearances by Jay-Z, Method Man, Redman, Eve, Ludacris, and Ginuwine. Timbaland, Nisan Stewart, and Dante Nolan each handled production. First single "Get Ur Freak On" debuts at No. 67 on Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart this week.

Rhino has set a March 6 release date for "The Very Best Of Big Daddy Kane," a 17-track compilation of hits from the veteran rapper. The set covers the four albums Kane released between 1988-1993, and sports such tracks as "Smooth Operator," "Cause I Can Do It Right," "I Get The Job Done," "Very Special," and "Raw."

Kane's most recent album, 1998's "Veteranz Day" (Mercury) featured the single "Uncut, Pure" which hit No. 9 on Billboard's Hot Rap Singles chart.

Singer/songwriter Matthew Sweet will on Feb. 19 kick off a still-growing U.S. tour in Omaha, Neb. The run comes in the wake of the compilation "Time Capsule: The Best Of Matthew Sweet," released last September and fulfilling his contractual obligation to Volcano, which acquired Sweet's original home, BMG-owned alternative label Zoo, in 1996.

Featuring such Sweet faves as "Girlfriend," "I've Been Waiting," "Sick Of Myself," and "Time Capsule," the 18-track album also includes the new songs "So Far" and "Ready."

Here are Matthew Sweet tour dates:
Feb. 19: Omaha, Neb. (Ranch Bowl)
Feb. 20: Minneapolis (First Avenue)
Feb. 21: Madison, Wisc. (The Annex)
Feb. 23-24: Chicago (Metro)
Feb. 26: Columbus, Ohio (Newport)
Feb. 27: Pittsburgh (Rosebud)
March 1: Rochester, N.Y. (Water St. Music Hall)
March 2: Philadelphia (Theatre Of Living Arts)
March 3-4: New York (Bowery Ballroom)
March 6: Asbury Park, N.J. (Stone Pony)
March 7: Washington D.C. (9:30 Club)
March 8: Carrboro, N.C. (Cat's Cradle)
March 9: Atlanta (Roxy)
March 10: Nashville (TBA)

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.