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Simply the Best: Tina Turner's Iconic Voice Silenced at 83

Tina Turner, the renowned singer and performer who rose to fame alongside her husband Ike Turner in the 1960s and '70s before achieving solo success with the iconic hit "What's Love Got to Do With It," has died at the age of 83.

According to a statement from her manager. Turner, a Swiss citizen for the past decade, passed away on Tuesday at her home in Küsnacht near Zurich after battling a long illness.

Born Anna Mae Bullock in segregated Tennessee, Turner overcame tremendous obstacles during her career. Despite enduring physical abuse, emotional devastation, and financial ruin throughout her tumultuous 20-year marriage to Ike Turner, she defied the odds by establishing herself as a solo superstar in her 40s and remained a highly sought-after live performer for many years.

Turner's repertoire spanned various genres, including pop, rock, and rhythm and blues. Her hits, such as "Proud Mary," "Nutbush City Limits," and "River Deep, Mountain High," as well as '80s chart-toppers like "What's Love Got to Do With It," "We Don't Need Another Hero," and her cover of Al Green's "Let's Stay Together," captivated audiences worldwide.

Known for her distinctive wigs and raspy contralto vocals, Turner sold over 150 million records worldwide, won 12 Grammy Awards, and received inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice—first as part of Ike and Tina Turner in 1991 and later as a solo artist in 2021.

In 2005, she was honored with a tribute at the Kennedy Center, with accolades pouring in from notable figures including Beyoncé and Oprah Winfrey.

Turner's indelible impact on music history, both as part of Ike and Tina Turner and as a solo artist, as well as her bravery in sharing her life story through various mediums, solidified her legacy as the Queen of Rock & Roll.

She also left her mark on the silver screen, making an iconic appearance as Aunty Entity in the 1985 film "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome," showcasing her talent as an actress alongside her musical prowess.

"In Memoriam: Two-time Inductee Tina Turner worked hard to reimagine the role of a Black woman in rock & roll—one that was firmly placed front and center. During her time in the duo Ike and Tina Turner (inducted in 1991), her electric onstage presence forever raised the bar for live performance," tweeted the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
"Their hits 'River Deep–Mountain High' and 'Proud Mary' endure to this day. But this Queen of Rock & Roll went on to make music history again with her solo career (for which she was inducted again in 2021) and with her bravery in sharing her life story as a book, film, and Broadway musical. There was nothing her deep, robust voice couldn't do, as displayed on her solo hits like 'What's Love Got to Do with It' and 'Private Dancer'."

Fetty Wap's Legal Battle Ends in Six-Year Prison Term for Drug Trafficking

Fetty Wap
Fetty Wap has been handed a six-year federal prison sentence for his involvement in a drug-trafficking scheme centered in New York.

The sentencing took place on Wednesday in federal court on Long Island, New York.

Maxwell, having pleaded guilty in August 2022 to a conspiracy drug charge, faced a mandatory minimum sentence of five years.

During the court proceedings, Maxwell expressed remorse for his actions, acknowledging, "My selfishness and pride have landed me in this position today."

His defense team attributed his involvement in drug sales to financial hardships arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In October 2021, Maxwell and five co-defendants were apprehended following allegations of participating in a drug-smuggling conspiracy that brought substantial amounts of heroin, fentanyl, and other narcotics into the New York City area. The charges involved the possession and distribution of over 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of illicit substances, including heroin, fentanyl, and crack cocaine, between June 2019 and June 2020.

Prosecutors revealed that the drug-trafficking operation relied on the use of the U.S. Postal Service and vehicles equipped with concealed compartments to transport drugs from the West Coast to Long Island. The drugs were subsequently stored for distribution among dealers in Long Island and New Jersey.

Maxwell's guilty plea specifically pertained to the conspiracy to distribute and possess controlled substances, the primary charge in the indictment. By avoiding conviction on all charges, Maxwell evaded the possibility of a life sentence. It is worth noting that his plea exclusively pertained to cocaine-related charges.

While Maxwell's defense attorneys advocated for a minimum five-year prison term, the prosecution sought a longer sentence. Defense attorney Elizabeth Macedonio expressed her regret, describing it as a "tragic day" for Maxwell, a native of Paterson, New Jersey. Macedonio emphasized Maxwell's acceptance of responsibility for his actions.

Assistant United States Attorney Christopher Caffarone made it clear that the prosecution's case remained impartial to Maxwell's celebrity status as a performer, stating firmly, "The defendant did, indeed, engage in drug sales. The defendant did, indeed, sell cocaine."

Addressing Maxwell directly, Judge Joanna Seybert acknowledged his potential and encouraged him to make the most of it, saying, "You possess immense opportunities. Endeavor to utilize them effectively."

Maxwell gained widespread recognition in 2015 with his debut single "Trap Queen," which reached the No. 2 position on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song's melodic yet gritty style explores themes of loyalty, even in the context of drug-related activities. In 2016, Maxwell earned two Grammy Award nominations for his notable contributions to the music industry.

Reggae Legend Calton Coffie, Voice Behind 'Bad Boys' Theme Song for 'COPS,' Dies at 68

Reggae singer Calton Coffie, renowned for his tenure as the lead vocalist of the legendary Jamaican reggae group Inner Circle, has died at the age of 68.

Coffie's daughter, Eruth Spencer, confirmed his death to the Caribbean-based site DancehallMag. She stated that he passed away on February 2, 2023, in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. The exact cause of his death was not disclosed, but Coffie had been battling diabetes for several years, according to Spencer.

"My dad always had diabetes... he started to get sick when he was with the band Inner Circle, which is what caused him to leave," she told the publication. Spencer added that Coffie had continued to struggle with diabetes, and despite efforts from family members to reach out to him, they had not received any response since January. They learned of his passing on February 2nd.

Coffie played a pivotal role in Inner Circle as the lead singer, percussionist and keyboard player from 1986 to 1994, contributing significantly to the band's success during his tenure.

Inner Circle's "Bad Boys," featuring Coffie's powerful vocals, became widely recognized as the theme song for the popular TV series COPS. The track was part of Inner Circle's album "Bad To The Bone," which was later re-issued as "Bad Boys" in the United States.

The album achieved notable success on the Billboard 200 chart, spending 49 weeks and peaking at No. 64. The song's popularity transcended television, finding its way into films such as "Bad Boys" (1995), starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, as well as Tom Cruise's "Minority Report" (2002).

The band received its first Grammy nomination for Best Reggae Album with "Bad Boys" in 1994. The following year, their album "Reggae Dancer," featuring Coffie as the lead singer, earned a second Grammy nomination in the same category.

Coffie's talent also shone on Inner Circle's hit song "Sweat (A La La La La Long)," which recently received Gold Certification in the United Kingdom, with over 400,000 copies sold, according to the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).

After leaving Inner Circle, Coffie pursued a solo career under the name Hot Cup of Coffie, gaining recognition in the United Kingdom music scene.

Rhino Records Unveils Exclusive Collection of Otis Redding's Posthumous Albums

Courtesy Rhino Records
Otis Redding, widely known as the King of Soul, continues to captivate fans even more than five decades after his tragic death in a plane crash at the age of 26. To honor his profound musical contributions, Rhino Records is set to unveil a special vinyl boxed set featuring all four of Redding's posthumous albums.

The company is releasing "Otis Forever: The Albums & Singles (1968-1970)," a vinyl boxed set that brings together Redding's four posthumous studio albums. The collection includes 24 singles in their original mono versions.

Limited to just 1,000 copies, the 6-LP set will be available on June 9. Each album is pressed on a different colored vinyl: "The Dock of the Bay" in yellow, "The Immortal Otis Redding" in silver, "Love Man" in green, "Tell the Truth" in blue and "The Singles 1968-1970" in yellow. A retail exclusive edition in classic black vinyl will also be offered.

The highlight of the collection is "The Singles 1968-1970," an exclusive double album housed in a gatefold sleeve adorned with the original 7" labels from all 24 singles. This release showcases Redding's timeless hits, including fan favorites like "The Happy Song (Dum-Dum)" and "Hard To Handle."

During his career from 1962 to 1967, Redding recorded prolifically at Stax Records alongside his bandmates, Booker T. & The MG's. His exceptional talent and chart-topping R&B and Top 40 hits, such as "These Arms Of Mine," "Respect" and "Try A Little Tenderness," helped elevate Stax Records to global recognition.

Following Redding's tragic demise, his posthumous albums ensured his music remained in the spotlight. "The Dock of the Bay" (1968), "The Immortal Otis Redding" (1968), "Love Man" (1969) and "Tell the Truth" (1970) featured Redding's powerful vocals and memorable songwriting, spawning hits like "Look At That Girl," "Love Man," "I've Got Dreams To Remember" and "Amen."

"Otis Forever: The Albums & Singles (1968-1970)" opens with the iconic album "The Dock of the Bay," which soared to number one on both the U.S. and U.K. charts. The title track, released shortly after Redding's passing, made history as the first posthumous song to top the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Over the years, this timeless anthem has sold over four million copies worldwide and secured its place at number 38 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Redding's significant contributions and influence have been widely acknowledged. He has been inducted into prestigious halls of fame, including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Rhythm and Blues Hall of Fame, the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. 

In 1999, Redding was honored with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Additionally, three of his timeless tracks, "Respect," "I've Been Loving You Too Long" and "Try A Little Tenderness," have been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

The set is available for pre-order, priced at $149.98 for the multi-color vinyl edition and $124.98 for the black vinyl edition here.

Vinyl Track Listing

The Dock of the Bay (1968)
Side One
1. “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay”
2. “I Love You More Than Words Can Say”
3. “Let Me Come On Home”
4. “Open The Door”
5. “Don’t Mess With Cupid”

Side Two
1. “The Glory Of Love”
2. “I’m Coming Home”
3. “Tramp” – Otis Redding & Carla Thomas
4. “The Huckle-Buck”
5. “Nobody Knows You (When You’re Down And Out)”
6. “Ole Man Trouble”

The Immortal Otis Redding (1968)
Side One
1. “I’ve Got Dreams To Remember”
2. “You Made A Man Out Of Me”
3. “Nobody’s Fault But Mine”
4. “Hard To Handle”
5. “Thousand Miles Away”
6. “The Happy Song (Dum-Dum-De-De-De-Dum-Dum)”

Side Two
1. “Think About It”
2. “A Waste Of Time”
3. “Champagne And Wine”
4. “Fool For You”
5. “Amen”

Love Man (1969)
Side One
1. “I’m A Changed Man”
2. “(Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher And Higher”
3. “That’s A Good Idea”
4. “I’ll Let Nothing Separate Us”
5. “Direct Me”
6. “Love Man”

Side Two
1. “Groovin’ Time”
2. “Your Feeling Is Mine”
3. “Got To Get Myself Together”
4. “Free Me”
5. “A Lover’s Question”
6. “Look At That Girl”

Tell The Truth (1970)
Side One
1. “Demonstration”
2. “Tell The Truth”
3. “Out Of Sight”
4. “Give Away None Of My Love”
5. “Wholesale Love”
6. “I Got The Will”

Side Two
1. “Johnny’s Heartbreak”
2. “Snatch A Little Piece”
3. “Slippin’ And Slidin’”
4. “The Match Game”
5. “A Little Time”
6. “Swingin’ On A String”

The Singles: 1968-1970
Side One
1. “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay”
2. “Sweet Lorene”
3. “The Happy Song (Dum-Dum)”
4. “Open The Door”
5. “Hard To Handle”
6. “Amen”

Side Two
1. “I’ve Got Dreams To Remember”
2. “Nobody’s Fault But Mine”
3. “White Christmas”
4. “Merry Christmas, Baby”
5. “Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag”
6. “Direct Me”

Side Three
1. “A Lover’s Question”
2. “You Made A Man Out Of Me”
3. “Love Man”
4. “Can’t Turn You Loose”
5. “Free Me”
6. “(Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher & Higher”

Side Four
1. “Look At That Girl”
2. “That’s A Good Idea”
3. “Demonstration”
4. “Johnny’s Heartbreak”
5. “Give Away None Of My Love”
6. “Snatch A Little Piece”
"Snatch A Little Piece"

Jamie Foxx's Daughter Provides Heartwarming Update on His Recovery, Unveils Future TV Venture

Courtesy FOX Entertainment
Jamie Foxx fans have been on an emotional rollercoaster in recent weeks as the Oscar and Grammy Award-winning actor, comedian, and singer was hospitalized due to an undisclosed medical issue while filming his latest movie, "Back in Action."

The news sparked an outpouring of concern, with friends and colleagues portraying a grave situation surrounding Foxx's hospitalization, leading to speculation about the condition of the "Ray" star.

However, on Friday, Foxx's daughter, Corinne Foxx, took to Instagram to provide an update, dispelling the rumors and offering reassurance. She confirmed that her father has made a steady recovery and is now back home.

"My Dad has been out of the hospital for weeks, recuperating. In fact, he was playing pickleball yesterday! Thanks for everyone's prayers and support!" she wrote, expressing gratitude for the well-wishes.

The positive news continued today as Foxx and Corinne, who previously worked together as host and house DJ respectively on "Beat Shazam," announced their latest project. The duo revealed their upcoming music-centric game show titled "We Are Family," which is scheduled to premiere on Fox in 2024.

"We are thrilled to be developing 'We Are Family' with Jeff Apploff and our friends at FOX Entertainment after the tremendous success of six seasons of 'Beat Shazam'," the duo said in a joint statement. "We hope this show brings as much fun to audiences at home as we've had creating it when it premieres next year."

"We Are Family" will feature non-famous relatives of celebrities performing duets with their hidden famous family members. The studio audience, consisting of 100 contestants, will have the opportunity to win up to $100,000 by correctly guessing the identities of the celebrity participants. The show will include a diverse range of celebrities from the music, sports and acting worlds. Foxx will also serve as an executive producer for the series.

An official release date for "We Are Family" has not yet been announced, but it is expected to debut sometime in 2024, promising an entertaining and engaging experience for audiences.

Beyoncé Kicks Off First Tour in Over Four Years With a Three-Hour Extravaganza

The iconic cover of Beyoncé's "Renaissance" album.

Beyoncé kicked off her first tour in over four years today at Stockholm's Friends Arena, delivering an unforgettable performance that included live debuts of several tracks from her Grammy-winning album, "Renaissance."The superstar took to the stage without an opening act, allowing fans to get straight to the main event, a three-hour extravaganza filled with high-energy dance routines and breathtaking visuals, as chronicled by the fans and media in attendance on the internet.
The setlist for the evening featured a mix of classics and new tracks, including "Dangerously in Love," "Flaws and All," "7/11," "Run the World (Girls)," "Black Parade" and "Summer Renaissance." Beyoncé also performed for the very first time on stage "Break My Soul," "Virgo's Groove," "Cuff It" and other tracks from the "Renaissance" album.

One of the most memorable moments of the show was the closing performance of "Summer Renaissance," when Beyoncé rode atop a flying disco horse.

The tour continues tomorrow with a second night in Stockholm before heading to North America, with the first stop in Toronto on July 8. It includes stops at more than 50 cities, including London, New York City, Atlanta and Los Angeles.According to Forbes, Beyoncé's latest global trek could out-earn Taylor Swift's ongoing Eras Tour by a whopping $500 million, with an estimated gross of nearly $2.1 billion, which would make it the most successful concert series of all time.

"Renaissance," which was released last July, won Beyoncé a record-breaking four Grammy Awards, including Best Dance/Electronic Recording, Best Traditional R&B Performance, Best R&B Song, and Best Dance/Electronic Music Album. With these accolades, Beyoncé is now the most decorated artist in Grammys history.

Check out the setlist from her opening night below:

  1. Dangerously in Love
  2. Flaws and All
  3. 1+1 / I'd Rather Go Blind / I'm Going Down
  4. I Care
  5. I'm That Girl
  6. Cozy
  7. Alien Superstar / Sweet Dreams
  8. Lift Off
  9. 7/11
  10. Cuff It
  11. Energy
  12. Break My Soul
  13. Formation
  14. Diva
  15. Run the World (Girls)
  16. My Power
  17. Black Parade
  18. Savage (Remix)
  19. Church Girl
  20. Get Me Bodied
  21. Before I Let Go
  22. Rather Die Young
  23. Love on Top
  24. Crazy in Love
  25. Green Light
  26. Freedom
  27. Plastic Off the Sofa
  28. Virgo's Groove
  29. Naughty Girl / Say My Name / Rocket
  30. Move
  31. Heated
  32. Thique
  33. All Up in Your Mind
  34. Drunk in Love
  35. America Has a Problem
  36. Pure/Honey
  37. Summer Renaissance

Minnesota Honors Pop Legend Prince With Dedicated Stretch of Highway

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed a bill on Tuesday dedicating a seven-mile stretch of highway that runs through the Minneapolis suburbs of Chanhassen and Eden Prairie to honor the late Minnesota icon Prince.

The Purple One passed away in 2016 at the age of 57 due to an accidental overdose of fentanyl, leaving behind a legacy that includes a staggering 100 million records sold worldwide, induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and hits like "Purple Rain," "Let's Go Crazy," "When Doves Cry" and "1999.""Prince transformed the music scene in Minnesota and across the world, and he continues to inspire to this day," said Walz, who used purple ink to sign the bill dedicating the roadway. "Prince was a proud Minnesotan through and through, and it is only fitting that we honor one of the greatest musical and creative icons in the community he called home."The roadway formerly known as Minnesota Highway 5 will now be called the Prince Rogers Nelson Memorial Highway, a fitting tribute to the legendary musician. The legislation was passed by both the House and Senate, with a requirement that the sign must be in purple. Four purple signs, paid for by Prince's friends and fans, will soon be placed along the highway.

Chanhassen is home to Paisley Park, Prince's 65,000-square-foot longtime home and recording complex, which is now a museum dedicated to the Purple One run by his estate. The new highway will run alongside Paisley Park Studios, where Prince would test out his new music with his engineers by riding up and down the highway, listening to how it sounded in the car.

"Prince gave us art, energy, beautiful poetry with his lyrics, and he was a constant symbol of peace, love, and unbridled joy in a world where we are often left standing alone in a world that is so cold," said Rep. Lucy Rehm (DFL-Chanhassen), the bill's author.

The legislation was passed on April 21, the seventh anniversary of Prince's death.

Ludacris Teams Up With Rice Krispies for Family Fun

Courtesy Photo
Rapper and proud "girl dad" Ludacris has teamed up with Kellogg's Rice Krispies Treats to cook up a "sweet" collaboration aimed at bringing families together.

The limited-edition game set, called "Treat. Eat. Compete," includes five "sweet and silly" games inspired by Ludacris's chart-topping hits and, of course, Rice Krispies Treats.

"As a girl dad and a busy parent, spending quality time with my kids is so important to me, so playing games is a huge part of how we bond," Ludacris said in a statement announcing the partnership. "The 'Treat. Eat. Compete.' collab was the perfect way for me to share our family traditions with the world and inspire more families to get creative, connect, and maybe even get a little competitive. Plus, I'm excited to give back to a cause close to my heart, Boys & Girls Clubs of America."

In addition to donating over $100,000 to the organization, Rice Krispies Treats and Ludacris will contribute proceeds from the game set sales to support Boys & Girls Clubs of America and help create safe places for kids to play and compete.

The limited-edition game set features custom score sheets, markers, instruction cards, a bucket hat "winner crown" inspired by Ludacris, and a pack of Rice Krispies Treats. It is available for purchase for $20 exclusively at

Ludacris, whose real name is Chris Bridges, has five daughters: Karma, Cai, Cadence, Chance, and his oldest, Shaila Scott. He is known for his hits such as "Stand Up," "Money Maker," and "Move B*tch," as well as his long-running role as Tej Parker in the "Fast and Furious" series of blockbuster movies.

Pop Star The Weeknd Shocks Fans with Plan to 'Kill' Famous Alter Ego

Brian Ziff, via Wikimedia Commons
Grammy-winning artist Abel Tesfaye, better known as The Weeknd, has shocked fans by announcing that he is leaving behind the persona that made him famous.

In a recent interview with W Magazine, Tesfaye explained that his decision was motivated by his desire to embark on a "cathartic path" and to "kill The Weeknd."

However, Tesfaye has stated that he plans to continue making music but under a new persona. "I’m definitely trying to shed that skin and be reborn," he said in the interview.

The news comes after Tesfaye played the role of Tedros, the ambitious Svengali in "The Idol," an upcoming HBO series about a pop icon and her relationship with a charismatic club owner. Tesfaye helped the protagonist, portrayed by Lily-Rose Depp, captivate the crowd.

During the final night of filming at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, Tesfaye had to switch back and forth between personas, a move that took a toll on him. After the concert, he lost his voice, attributing it to the difficulty of switching between the two characters.

“I had to take off the Weeknd outfit, put on Tedros’s wig, shoot with Jocelyn, then go back to being The Weeknd,” he told W Magazine. “It was tough to go from one head to another. Then, after the concert, I lost my voice. No voice came out at all. That’s never happened before. My theory is that I forgot how to sing because I was playing Tedros, a character who doesn’t know how to sing. I may be looking too deeply into this, but it was terrifying. As The Weeknd, I’ve never skipped a concert. I’ve performed with the flu. I’ll die on that stage. But there was something very complicated going on with my mind at that moment.”

The Weeknd's decision has left fans wondering what's next for the artist, who has been known for his unique sound and distinct visual aesthetic. Many have taken to social media to express their support for Tesfaye, while others are disappointed that they won't be able to see him perform as The Weeknd again.

Shaq Shows Off Music Chops in New Tracks: "Thotties Hit The Floor" and "King Talk"

Retired NBA star Shaquille O'Neal, also known as DJ Diesel, has released his latest music offerings to the world. His newest single, "Thotties Hit The Floor," is a mashup of the late Dave Williams' vocals, original lead singer of Texas-based rock group Drowning Pool, and the rhythms of the band's 2001 hit, "Bodies."

Lil Freestyle for y’all. Never would i have thought DJing would get me here!! But when it’s your time, it’s YOUR TIME. Im beyond grateful 🙏🏿 Thotties Hit The Floor (MONSTER MASHUP) ft. Me, Lex Bratcher, Scar Lip

♬ original sound - ShaqDieselONeal
Shaq's delivery on the bass-heavy track blends with Williams' vocals to create a raucous ride for listeners. In addition to "Thotties Hit The Floor," Shaq has collaborated with emerging hip-hop artist Blackway on his first rap track since the '90s. The new joint, "King Talk," features a full verse from Shaq and is perfect for the moment when LeBron James set the NBA scoring record, according to the former basketball star.

Shaq has always had a passion for music, having previously released four albums between 1993 and 1998. He is known for his love of hip-hop and rock music.

Check out the video for "King Talk" below:

Missy Elliott Joins Elite Company as First-Year Inductee Into Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Photo Courtesy Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 
Missy Elliott, the trailblazing songwriter and producer crucial in crafting the Virginia Beach sound, along with Pharrell Williams and Timothy “Timbaland” Mosley, that dominated airwaves in the late 1990s and 2000s, is at the head of this year's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame class.

Elliott was one of seven musicians announced Wednesday to have been voted into the hall during a one-hour special that was streamed on Apple Music 1, along with Willie Nelson, Kate Bush, Rage Against the Machine, Sheryl Crow, George Michael and the Spinners.

While freshly-minted nonagenarian Nelson might have the biggest name recognition, the two-time Grammy Award winner — who was also the first woman rapper inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame — accomplished something the country music legend could not by being the only artist in this crop to be inducted in her first year of eligibility, 25 years after her first commercial recording.

These seven performers were voted in via general balloting, while six more inductees were selected by a select Hall of Fame committee, including Chaka Khan, Al Kooper, Bernie Taupin, Link Wray, DJ Kool Herc, and Don Cornelius.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's chairman, John Sykes, stated that "we're on the road to recognizing all the artists of all genders and races that have impacted rock 'n' roll." With these inductees, the Hall of Fame is continuing its mission to honor artists who have made significant contributions to the world of music.

The 13 honorees will be celebrated in an induction ceremony and concert on November 3, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Kool Keith's Highly Anticipated 'Black Elvis 2' Drops in June

Elvis may have left the building, but "Black Elvis" is poised to make a comeback.

Independent rap legend Kool Keith, also known as Dr. Octagon, is preparing to release his highly anticipated album "Black Elvis 2" on June 16 via Mello Music Group. The album is the sequel to his 1999 cult classic "Black Elvis/Lost in Space."

A rapper and producer hailing from The Bronx, he is known for his multiple music aliases and obscure, abstract lyrics. The New York Times has dubbed him "one of the great non sequitur rappers of all time." Additionally, Kool Keith is also a co-founding member of Ultramagnetic MCs, whose debut album "Critical Beatdown" was released in 1988.

"Black Elvis 2" marks a reunion with Marc Live, who worked on the original's production. It features a star-studded lineup of guest appearances, including Ice-T, Raaddrr Van, Dynamite, L’Orange, J. Stylez and Agallah.

After the success of "Black Elvis/Lost in Space," his only major-label release, Kool Keith returned to independently releasing music. He has produced further efforts as a solo artist and collaborated with groups such as Jurassic 5, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Analog Brothers, Masters of Illusion and Peeping Tom.

The Prodigy's hit "Smack My Bitch Up" was based on a sample of Kool Keith's voice saying "Change my pitch up. Smack my bitch up" on Ultramagnetic MC's "Give The Drummer Some."

Fans can get a sneak peek of the album below.

"Black Elvis 2" is available for pre-order here.

Kendrick Lamar's Tour Smashes Records, Earns Over $110 Million

Kendrick Lamar's "Big Steppers Tour" has broken the record for the highest-grossing headline tour by a rap artist, according to Touring Data. The Live Nation-promoted tour, which covered 73 dates, generated $110,886,026 from 929,056 ticket sales.

Lamar's tour grossed $69,255,230 from 492,283 tickets sold for 40 North American shows, $31,593,834 from 26 European shows with 349,401 attendees, and $10,036,962 from seven Oceania gigs that drew in 87,372 fans.

The figures show Lamar surpassing previous record-holders Drake and Future's "Summer Sixteen Tour" from 2016, which grossed $84.3 million from 54 shows, and Drake and Migos' "Aubrey & The Three Migos" run from 2018, which grossed $79 million from 43 shows, according to Pollstar. It also topped Kanye West and Jay-Z's "Watch The Throne Tour" from 2011/12, which earned $75.4 million from 57 concerts, and Lamar's own "The Damn Tour" from 2017/18, which earned $62.7 million.
The tour, presented by Rotation, Amazon Music's hip-hop and R&B brand, and produced by Live Nation, concluded on December 16, 2022, at Auckland's Spark Arena in New Zealand.

Lamar's "Big Steppers Tour" supported his fifth album, "Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers," and took him to arenas worldwide after he headlined Glastonbury Festival 2022 with Billie Eilish and Paul McCartney.

This summer, Lamar is scheduled to headline a series of festival dates across Europe, North America, and Asia, including Denmark's Roskilde, Lollapalooza Paris, and Poland's Open'er. In the US, he is set to headline Outside Lands in San Francisco and Life Is Beautiful in Las Vegas, while also performing at Bonnaroo in Tennessee and New York City's Governors Ball.

Watch: Rock the Bells Festival Announces 2023 Lineup With Epic Trailer

The Rock the Bells Festival announced its lineup for 2023 on Thursday, and it features some of the most iconic and trailblazing performers in the hip-hop industry.

Queen Latifah, Ludacris, De La Soul, Method Man & Redman, Swizz Beatz, Salt-n-Pepa, Big Daddy Kane, Rakim and Fabolous are just a smattering of the rap icons that will be on hand to perform at the event, which also promises to offer an immersive experience for hip-hop enthusiasts, highlighting the genre's impact on fashion, art and food.

"We've made it a priority to honor hip-hop culture! This is a celebration for artists who paved the way and the legions of fans around the world throughout hip-hop's 50th-anniversary year," James Cuthbert, President of Rock The Bells, said. "The stage is set for the overdue acknowledgment and celebration of our culture and the fans who live and breathe it! This lineup represents icons and artists from various decades, cities, and styles, ensuring fans have the best hip-hop experience possible."

Along with the musical performances, the festival will also include a range of experiences, such as a tribute to the late Sean Price by Rock & Bernadette Price and a showcase of hip-hop pioneers' debut albums and hit singles, including the 35th anniversary of The Great Adventures of Slick Rick.

The festival takes place on August 11 at Forest Hills Stadium in New York City, marking the 50th anniversary of the birth of hip-hop. Fans can purchase presale VIP packages and general and reserved tickets for the festival through the festival's website.

To announce the lineup, Rock the Bells released a promotional trailer on Thursday featuring LL COOL J, Mike Epps, Salt-N-Pepa, Slick Rick, and Yo-Yo. The trailer is based on the seminal hip-hop-heist movie Set It Off and provides a sneak peek of what fans can expect from the festival.

Watch the full trailer below:

Former Fugees member Pras Michel Convicted in International Scandal

MiamiFilmFestival, via Wikimedia Commons
Grammy-winning rapper Pras Michel, a former member of the hip-hop supergroup Fugees, has been
convicted of 10 criminal counts related to an international conspiracy that reached the highest levels of the US government.

Michel was found guilty of charges that included conspiracy to defraud the US, witness tampering, and acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign government.

Prosecutors accused Michel of participating in a conspiracy to help Malaysian businessman Jho Low and the Chinese government gain access to US officials, including former Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump. They alleged that Michel funneled over $800,000 of Low's money to Obama's campaign through straw donors in 2012 in exchange for a photo of himself with Obama.

While Michel testified that he never used the money at Low's direction, in 2017, prosecutors claimed that Low again turned to Michel when investigations into Low's alleged role in embezzling billions of dollars from the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund began to ramp up. They alleged that Low directed over $100 million to Michel to help push the US government, including Trump, to drop its investigation into Low.

Prosecutors also accused Michel of advocating for the extradition of a Chinese dissident, Guo Wengui, on behalf of the Chinese government. Michel denied the allegations, claiming that he only tried to help Low find an attorney in the US and told authorities about Guo because he thought he was a criminal. He also claimed that the $100 million was for a media business he was starting and wasn't from Low.

Michel could face up to 20 years in prison, although no sentencing date has been set. During the trial, he sat stoically as each count came down on Wednesday and declined to comment to reporters outside the courthouse. His attorney, David Kenner, expressed disappointment about the verdicts but remained confident that their mistrial motions would work out in their favor.

"If we do move to a sentencing hearing, I remain very confident we will certainly appeal this case," Kenner said. "This is not over."

LL Cool J Announces First Arena Tour in 30 Years With All-Star Lineup

Call it a comeback: LL Cool J is headlining his first arena tour in 30 years, and he's bringing some of hip-hop's biggest and brightest stars with him.

The tour backed by Live Nation and dubbed The F.O.R.C.E Live (Frequencies of Real Creative Energy) will boast a rotating cast of some of hip-hop's most historic figures and groups.

Salt-N-Pepa, Queen Latifah, Rakim, Common, Method Man & Redman, Big Boi, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Ice T, Juvenile, Doug E. Fresh, Slick Rick, De La Soul, Goodie Mob, Jadakiss and Rick Ross, are just some of the acts expected to take the stage where they will be backed by iconic hip-hop group The Roots and legendary DJs Z-Trip and Jazzy Jeff.

The tour kicks off on June 25 at TD Garden in Boston, MA and will roll through arenas across the continent before closing out on September 3 in Los Angeles, CA at Kia Forum.

Fans can purchase tickets through the Live Nation presale, Ticketmaster presale, or local venue and radio presales on Thursday. General sales begin Friday. Click here for more information or to purchase tickets.

The F.O.R.C.E Live tour dates are as follows:
6/25 - Boston, MA - TD Garden
6/27 - Brooklyn, NY - Barclays Center
6/28 - Newark, NJ - Prudential Center
6/29 - Toronto, ON - Scotiabank Arena
7/1 - Baltimore, MD - CFG Bank Arena
7/2 - Washington, DC - Capital One Arena
7/4 - Atlanta, GA - State Farm Arena
7/6 - Hollywood, FL - Hard Rock Live
7/8 - Raleigh, NC - PNC Arena
7/9 - Charlotte, NC - Spectrum Center
8/12 - Cleveland, OH - Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse
8/13 - Chicago, IL - United Center
8/18 - Detroit, MI - Little Caesars Arena
8/19 - St. Louis, MO - Enterprise Center
8/20 - Indianapolis, IN - Gainbridge Fieldhouse
8/22 - Memphis, TN - FedEx Forum
8/23 - New Orleans, LA - Smoothie King Center
8/24 - Ft. Worth, TX - Dickies Arena
8/25 - Houston, TX - Toyota Center
8/27 - Albuquerque, NM - Sandia Casino Amphitheater
8/29 - Denver, CO - Ball Arena
9/1 - San Francisco, CA - Chase Center
9/2 - Las Vegas, NV - MGM Grand Garden Arena
9/3 - Los Angeles, CA - Kia Forum

Activist and Music Legend Harry Belafonte Passes Away at Age 96

Manfred Werner-Tsui, via Wikimedia Commons
Harry Belafonte, the iconic performer and civil rights activist, died on Tuesday at his New York home at the age of 96 due to congestive heart failure, according to his publicist Ken Sunshine. Belafonte's wife, Pamela, was reportedly with him at the time of his passing.

Belafonte was one of the first Black performers to achieve mainstream success in the entertainment industry, with chart-toppers such as "Banana Boat Song (Day-O)" that sold millions of records. However, his impact went beyond music. In the 1960s, he emerged as a leading activist and humanitarian, forging a unique bond between Hollywood, Washington and the civil rights movement.

Belafonte's commitment to social justice saw him go beyond participating in protests and benefit concerts. He organized and raised funds for them, working closely with his friend and peer, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. His activism continued throughout his life, and he appeared in Spike Lee's 2018 film "BlacKkKlansman," portraying an elder statesman schooling young activists about the country's past.

Belafonte was also a trailblazer in the entertainment industry, winning a Tony Award in 1954 and becoming the first Black performer to receive an Emmy five years later. He co-starred in the all-Black cast of "Carmen Jones" and starred in the banned-in-the-South film "Island in the Sun." Belafonte's album "Calypso" became the first million-selling album by a solo performer, sparking a national fascination with Caribbean rhythms. Though nicknamed "the King of Calypso," he shunned the title.

Belafonte was a force in politics as well. John F. Kennedy sought his support during the 1960 presidential campaign, and Belafonte later became an advocate for Kennedy's civil rights agenda. He challenged segregationists, liberals, and even President Barack Obama, who he famously recollected had asked him and fellow activist Cornel West to "cut him some slack" during the first Black president's first term. Belafonte replied, “What makes you think we haven’t?”

Beyond the entertainment industry and politics, Belafonte set high standards for younger Black celebrities, mentoring Usher, Common, Danny Glover, and many others. He also scolded Jay Z and Beyonce for failing to meet their "social responsibilities."

Otis Redding III, Musician and Son of Iconic Singer, Passes Away at 59

Photo Courtesy The Otis Redding Foundation  
Otis Redding III, the musician who shared a name with his iconic 1960s soul singer father, died of cancer on Tuesday. He was 59.

The youngest child of soul legend Otis Redding, Redding III's death was announced in a statement shared Wednesday by his sister, Karla Redding-Andrews, via The Otis Redding Foundation's Facebook page.

"It is with heavy hearts that the family of Otis Redding III confirms that he lost his battle with cancer last evening at Atrium Health Navicent in Macon, GA," Redding-Andrews wrote. "Otis was 59 years old. Please keep our family in your prayers at this time, and please respect our privacy as we consume this huge loss. Arrangements will be announced at a later date."

Redding III's father, nicknamed "The King of Soul," died at the age of 26 in a plane crash on December 10, 1967, when Redding III was just three years old. He and his three siblings, including brother and future bandmate Dexter, were raised by their mother Zelma on the 300-acre Big O Ranch where their dad was buried.

In the 1980s, Redding III formed the funk band The Reddings with Dexter and their cousin Mark Lockett. The trio released six albums together, with their biggest hit being "Remote Control."

Though The Reddings released their final album in 1988, Redding III continued to play music, performing his father's music at weddings and private parties. He also made a high-profile appearance at Carnegie Hall in 2018 for an Otis Redding tribute concert.

Redding III gave back to his community in Georgia, working with The Otis Redding Foundation to offer musical education to young people and serving as the board president for his local chapter of Meals on Wheels.

"Who can live up to Otis Redding? I mean, I had his name, I got a little bit of talent, but you know, nobody can really live up to the King of Soul," Redding III told The Telegraph in 2017. "We do his songs, my brother Dexter does a great job. We do our thing. But we know that we respect the game — he's the King of Soul."

Redding III noted in the same interview that he believed his father's legacy was "timeless," and hoped that younger artists would be inspired by all that he accomplished in his short life.

Berklee College of Music to Honor R&B Star Usher and Music Icon Roberta Flack with Honorary Doctorates

Photo Credit: Bellamy Brewster
Usher, the global music superstar who has sold more than 80 million records worldwide and won eight Grammy Awards, will be honored with an honorary Doctor of Music degree at Berklee College of Music's 2023 commencement ceremony.

Joining Usher in receiving honorary degrees will be R&B icon Roberta Flack and Gambian composer Sona Jobarteh. Flack is a legendary singer-songwriter known for hits like "Killing Me Softly With His Song" and "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face," while Jobarteh is a highly regarded kora player and vocalist who has been credited with revitalizing the centuries-old tradition of griot music in Gambia.

According to a release announcing the news, the three honorees will be celebrated and recognized for their invaluable contributions to the worlds of music and philanthropy.

They will be joining an elite club of past recipients of honorary degrees from the college, which includes legendary musicians such as Duke Ellington, Aretha Franklin, Quincy Jones, Celine Dion, B.B. King, Joni Mitchell, Chaka Khan, Missy Elliott, Ringo Starr, Gloria Estefan and John Legend.

The commencement festivities will feature over 200 graduating students from Berklee's vocal, instrumental, dance, arranging, and production programs, who will pay tribute to each of the honorees with a concert that showcases musical tributes to the work of each artist.

Megan Thee Stallion Shares Healing Journey After Being Shot by Tory Lanez in Elle Essay

Photography © Adrienne Raquel for ELLE Magazine
Megan Thee Stallion has opened up about her journey of healing after being shot by fellow rapper Tory Lanez in July 2020.

In an essay published Tuesday in Elle magazine, the three-time Grammy Award winner referred to herself as a survivor and reflected on the public humiliation she faced from Lanez.

“I don’t want to call myself a victim. As I reflect on the past three years, I view myself as a survivor because I have truly survived the unimaginable,” she wrote. “Not only did I survive being shot by someone I trusted and considered a close friend, but I overcame the public humiliation of having my name and reputation dragged through the mud by that individual for the entire world to see.”

Megan added that the physical and mental scars from the ordeal will always sting, but she is taking the appropriate steps to resume her life. She spent the last few months off social media and "taking time off for myself, spending time with my dogs, hanging out with my manager, Farris, and doing a lot of praying."

“I’m in a happier place, but I still have anxiety. Talking about being shot still makes me emotional,” she said. “I’ve started journaling as a way to better process my thoughts, hopes, and fears. Prayer has also played a therapeutic role in my healing because I can have honest and unfiltered conversations with God without any judgment.”

The rapper accused Lanez of shooting her after she exited a vehicle they had been riding in following an argument in the summer of 2020. He was charged with three counts of assault with a semiautomatic firearm, carrying a loaded and unregistered firearm in a vehicle, and discharge of a firearm with gross negligence, according to prosecutors.

In December, Megan testified during his trial, and a Los Angeles jury ultimately found Lanez guilty, convicting him on all three counts.

The guilty verdict was more than just vindication for her, she wrote – "it was a victory for every woman who has ever been shamed, dismissed, and blamed for a violent crime committed against them."

“My heart hurts for all the women around the world who are suffering in silence, especially if you’re a Black woman who doesn’t appear as if she needs help," she added.

In late March, Lanez filed a motion in Los Angeles County Superior Court requesting a new trial, but prosecutors opposed that motion. Lanez’s attorneys have also suggested that he may appeal the verdict if a new trial is not granted.

If he is given the maximum sentence on each charge, served consecutively, Lanez could face up to 22 years and eight months in prison, in addition to the possibility of being deported to his native Canada after serving his time.

Megan concluded by sharing a message for women who have faced similar situations, saying, "For anyone who has survived violence, please know your feelings are valid. You matter. You are not at fault. You are important. You are loved. You are not defined by your trauma. You can continue to write beautiful, new chapters to your life story. Just because you are in a bad situation doesn’t mean you are a bad person. Our value doesn’t come from the opinions of other people. As long as you stand your ground and live in your truth, nobody can take your power.”