-Singer Sammie has parted ways with Dallas Austin’s Rowdy Records. Now with independent imprint Empire Entertainment, Sammie is working on a new album.

A first single from that yet-untitled project, “One Way Street,” was released this week. Managed by Malcolm Lee, CEO of Empire Entertainment/MEG Management, Sammie's two previous albums are “From the Bottom to the Top” (Capitol) and “Sammie” (Rowdy).

-Run-D.M.C. founding member Darryl “DMC” McDaniels has launched a positive rap lyrics contest in association with the social network sharenow.com. “The Kings of Rap” contest—aimed at inspiring young people to write an original rap song without glorifying violence or using profanity—will begin Sept. 4 and run through Nov. 4. Ten winners will be announced in December. They will get the chance to record their winning song for inclusion on a “The Kings of Rap” compilation CD that will be released through Next Era/Universal Music Group in 2009.

-Patti LaBelle and Keyshia Cole will be among the divas lifting their voices
at the 18th annual AIDS charity benefit, “Divas Simply Singing!” This year’s event will take place Oct. 11 at the Wilshire Theatre in Beverly Hills, Calif. Among the other ladies slated to join benefit founder Sheryl Lee Ralph are Siedah Garrett and Patti Austin. The evening’s special honorees will be Dionne Warwick and Nancy Wilson.