R. Kelly Would Rather Skip Court Than Win An Underage Sex Lawsuit

Chicago, IL – R. Kelly was expected at Cook County Circuit Court this week but failed to show up. As a result, the embattled R&B singer lost the civil lawsuit by default, according to The Chicago Tribune. 

He was expected to address the allegations he’d sexually abused an underage girl in the late ’90s. The now-36-year-old woman filed the suit in February, alleging Kelly had participated in sexual acts with her multiple times in June 1998 when she was only 16.

Judge Moira Johnson granted the attorneys’ request to enter a judgment against Kelly on Tuesday (April 23), which could still be reversed if Kelly hires an attorney to handle the suit.

However, if Kelly doesn’t opt for legal counsel, he could be forced pay damages as soon as next month when the woman is expected to testify about her allegations against Kelly. The alleged victim’s attorney, Jeffrey Deutschman, said her testimony will likely take place in the judge’s chambers.

Kelly is currently facing 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse involving four different alleged victims, three of whom were underage when the alleged abuse occurred.

The woman, who is identified as H.W. in the court docs, is one of the 10 women in the middle of the pending charges.

In the suit, she talked about how she initially met the music superstar. H.W. says Kelly drove up to talk to her as she walked outside in May 1998. Later that day, H.W. says one of his entourage members met her at a restaurant and told her Kelly wanted to speak with her. She was then invited to his studio.

While the woman had then hoped to land a role in a music video, she says the two ended up having consistent sexual contact instead.

The suit explains it was only years later through therapy H.W. discovered her “great shame, guilt, self-blame, confusion, depression” and other emotional distress had resulted from Kelly’s alleged sexual abuse.

Kelly has pleaded not guilty to all 10 counts.

Sony Pictures Secures Screen Rights to Britney Spears Musical, 'Once Upon a One More Time'

Sony Pictures, through an auction, has acquired the film rights to Once Upon a One More Time.

The musical, which will open on Broadway next year, is fashioned as a fairy tale set to a number of Britney Spears hit songs.

According to the reports, John Davis’ Davis Entertainment will be the producer of the project, along with Spears herself and Larry Rudolph, who is her manager.  At the moment, though, no writer or director has been officially attached to the film. Creative Arts Agency (CAA) brokered the deal.

In the musical version of the story, a number of fairy tale princesses come together for their regular book club meeting, including Snow White and Cinderella. But the meeting is upturned when a rogue fairy godmother exposes the group to “The Feminine Mystique,” which is a classic feminist book written by Betty Friedan.

The musical features a collection of Britney Spears hit songs, such as:

  • “Oops I Did It Again”
  • “Lucky”
  • “Circus”
  • “Toxic”

Of course, all of this is continued success for Spears, who’s also extended her early-2000s brand into Vegas.

The musical’s original book was written by Jon Hartmere, and it will be directed on Broadway by Kristin Hanggi, who previously directed Rock of Ages.  The choreography for the musical will be handled by Mari and Keone Madrid, who appeared in the music video that accompanied Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself.”

Before heading to Broadway, Once Upon a One More Time will premiere this autumn in Chicago at the James M. Nederlander Theatre. It is expected to have its Broadway debut sometime in 2020.

This is the second time in the past few months that Sony Pictures and Davis Entertainment have won a high-profile rights auction. They also won an auction for the rights to Booker, which is an action film written by Derek Kolstad, who previously wrote the screenplay for John Wick. Gerard McMurray is set to direct the film.

Chris Brown & Tyga’s Collab With Marshmello Is Coming This Week

Marshmello’s become a staple artist in mainstream electronic music over the years but he’s expanded into other territories such as pop, hip-hop and wherever else the two genres cross. Migos, Khalid, Roddy Ricch, Juicy J. Logic, Lil Peep, and many other artists in recent times. Since October, Chris Brown and Tyga have been building the anticipation for their collaboration with the producer. Mello took to Instagram to announce that it’s set to arrive this week.

Marshmello announced that his upcoming collaboration with Tyga and Chris Brown, “Light It Up” would be dropping on Thursday along with the music video. The collab between the three seems to have been in the works for months. They first teased the collab in October on social media before photos surfaced in March the three artists shooting a video for the song.

The Fan Of A Fan collaborators seems to have more collaborative works on the way which could be a sign that a sequel to their 2015 project is in the works. Chris Brown recently took to Instagram to share photos himself, Tyga, and J Balvin on the set for a new music video, although there wasn’t any information on when we could expect it to drop.

Chris Brown recently announced that he and Nicki Minaj would be going on tour this summer while Tyga’s fresh f the release his cowboy-themed music video for “Goddamn.”

Ace Hood Puts A Ring On It & Proposes To His Bae Shelah Marie

Rapper Ace Hood proposed to his long-time girlfriend Shelah Marie last Tuesday. The proposal took place during Shelah’s birthday, a lively celebration with close friends and family at the Komodo Lounge in Miami. The food and drinks were even provided as a courtesy. Amidst the fun and laughter, the Florida rapper then proceeded to surprise everyone as he got on one knee and popped the question. And we’re happy to confirm, the lady did say yes. Hence, congratulations are in order.

Since the two got together, the lovely couple went viral on social media with their self-care practices meditation and intense yoga. The two can be found showing f their expert yogi moves blogger XONecole’s Instagram. The hashtag #RappersDoingYoga truly does the post justice. 

Latest in Ace Hood news consisted the March-release  a music video for the track “Practice.” The visuals were dropped shortly before the release his latest project Body Bag. Vol 5. The fifth installment the mixtape series was met with critical acclaim. Furthermore, the project reintroduced us to the rapper’s flow and lyrical abilities, as he flossed on a set numerous tracks and freestyled over the familiar beat to “ZEZE” by Kodak Black

British Piracy-Tracking Startup Muso Raises an Additional $4.5 Million in Funding

In its Global Piracy Report for 2017, Muso, British piracy-tracking startup, around 300 billion visits to piracy sites.

This number jumped 1.6% year-over-year.  In the UK alone, streaming music piracy increased 21%.

Then, last September, Muso a surprising fact.  Thanks to the rise of streaming platforms, people now pirate less.  Yet, while fewer people head to piracy sites – including The Pirate Bay – they head to web-based music download sites instead.

And, while fewer people use torrenting websites, more people love directly downloading music videos from YouTube.

Then, just last month, the piracy-tracking startup published another astounding fact.  Streaming music platforms stream ripping.

Muso found music piracy saw the largest overall decline – 34% year-over-year.

Breaking down music piracy, public torrent networks, once a favored piracy delivery method, now account for just 13% of all infringing activity.  Stream-ripping also fell 13% between 2017 and 2018 – from 8.9 billion visits to 7.7 billion.  This was primarily due to YouTube-MP3.org’s closure in 2017, leading to a 16% drop in overall stream-ripper visits.

Now, to continue tracking copyright infringement, the piracy-tracking startup has confirmed new funding.

Investing in anti-piracy.

In an extension to its £2.5 million ($3.4 million at the historic exchange rate) 2017 Series A funding round, Muso has raised an additional £3.5 million ($4.5 million).  Harwell Capital led both fundraising rounds.

According to the company, it will use the additional capital injection to “increase its foothold in the digital media, gaming, and live broadcast sectors.”

The startup focuses on removing unlicensed content on the internet.  In addition, Muso also provides data and insights from piracy audiences.  Last year, the company tracked 190 billion total visits to piracy sites throughout 2018.

The startup also focuses on pointing out to rightsholders and media distributors that piracy audiences remain untapped opportunities.  Rightsholders, broadcasters, sports organizations, and brand advertisers use the information to analyze total audience consumption, content demand, creation, and monetization opportunities.

Speaking about the latest funding round, Andy Chatterley, Co-Founder and CEO of Muso, explained,

Harwell has been a hugely supportive investment partner, who provide far more than cash alone to the company.

They understand our vision and objectives, and bring significant advice and acumen to ensure we can execute on our continued growth plans in a most exciting market.

Daniel O’Brien, Managing Director at Harwell Capital, added,

Since [our] first investment round nearly 2 years ago, Andy and the team have delivered significant value to existing and new clients including global leading corporate businesses and trade bodies, transformed the Board to include high-profile growth stage veterans, and expanded the product range and application to significantly ratchet their addressable market.

 


Featured image by Descrier (CC by 2.0).

Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’ Is Now Available to Stream on Apple Music and Spotify

Three years to the date since its release, Beyoncé’s Lemonade is finally available across all major streaming services, including Apple Music and Spotify.

The 13-track visual album, which coincided with the 65-minute film of the same name, features appearances from Kendrick Lamar, The Weeknd, Jack White, and James Blake. The critically-acclaimed set went on to sell 2.5 million copies worldwide and earn Grammys for Best Urban Contemporary Album and Best Music Video as well as a prestigious Peabody Award.

The project, originally available exclusively on TIDAL, also features the demo of “Sorry,” a more atmospheric version of the album cut, with new lyrics: “You’ve been running game on the wrong one / I’m running so fast for the long run / Running out the back door / We truly could have been / Living young, wild, and free.”

The Lemonade audio release comes less than a week after the premiere of Beyoncé’s Netflix documentary Homecoming, as well as an accompanying live album.

Stream Lemonade below.

Lil Dicky Calls Kanye His "Hero" Even Though He Couldn’t Land Him For "Earth" Video

Lil Dicky dropped f his latest music video dubbed “Earth” that has over 30 cameos from some the biggest acts in the game right now. We’re talking  Ariana Grande (zebra), Justin Bieber (baboon), Wiz Khalifa (skunk), Miley Cyrus (elephant), Miguel (squirrel), Halsey (lion cub), Adam Levine (vultures), and Lil Jon (clam), and many more. 

Kanye West happens to make a cameo as himself, but his voice is acted by Kevin Hart. TMZ recently caught up with Lil Dicky and asked him about that one tidbit in the video where Dicky explained how it was hard to get ahold Kanye. “I just couldn’t get in contact with Kanye,” Dicky said, as seen in the video below. When asked why Ye wasn’t an animal like everyone else, he said it’s because he “loves Kanye,” adding how he’s a “big hero” his. 

Dicky recently chopped it up with Zane Lowe and detailed how his album is two songs away from being done. “Every song is like an idea,” he said. “I can’t just go into the studio and pop out songs. Every song takes me weeks to write. I’m two songs away from it being the dream version my album. Whatever I do now has to last five years where I can listen to it and not be upset.”

Rising Detroit Rapper FMB DZ Drops "Loyalty" Video Off "The Gift 2"

Detroit, MI – FMB DZ is the latest buzzing rapper coming out of Detroit. His 2018 project The Gift 2 made a huge splash and today he’s delivering the music video for the project’s track “Loyalty,” directed by Hustleberry Fin and Keefer Khan.

DZ takes viewers inside his mind while he deals with some troubling relationship drama, as heard in the song.

The Motor City native performed at HipHopDX’s Detroit Invasion showcase at this years’ SXSW in Austin, Texas.

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Ima Keep My Foot On They Necks‼️🦍

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FMB DZ revealed in an interview with Hypbeast that The Gift 2 tracks “Windsor” and “Big Unk” have visuals coming real soon, as well. He’s also working on a project to be released on his birthday, July 13.

Watch FMB DZ’s music video for “Loyalty” up top.

John Singleton Hospitalized After Suffering Stroke

Boyz N Da Hood, Baby Boy, 2Fast 2Furious, Poetic Justice, Four Brothers, and Shaft are just a few the movies that legendary director John Singleton brought to life. His presence in Hollywood has helped launch several acting careers and he has a number hood classics under his belt. As reported by TMZthe veteran director has been hospitalized after suffering a stroke. A family member told the media site that Singleton checked himself in earlier this week after experiencing weakness in his leg. A plane flight back from Costa Rica appears to be what triggered the medical ailment. 

Doctors are currently performing tests and doing rehab for Singleton. Snoop Dogg took to Instagram to ask for prayers for Singleton, who was integral in introducing Black Los Angeles culture to mass media. The director most recently created the hit series Snowfall, and has been spending his time teaching at the USC Film School, instructing a course called Film and Culture. The stroke was considered to be mild, but doctors are still keeping a close eye on the veteran. Among his long list classics, Singleton also worked on The People vs. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story,  Michael Jackson’s music video, “Remember the Time”  Empire, and Billions. We wish the legend a speedy recovery. 

Tech N9ne Rhymes Like Crazy In "Like I Ain’t" Music Video

Los Angeles, CA – Tech N9ne is talking that crazy ish in the music video for his song “Like I Ain’t” off his recently released studio album N9NA.

In the video, Tech is confined in a psych ward and he lists off all his accomplishments with rapid fire to the non-believing mental patients surrounding him. This includes the fact that he really has a song with the late Tupac Shakur.

N9NA is a direct response to Tech’s fans asking for a project, no features — J. Cole style.

“Fans have been asking for an album centered around just Tech N9ne with minimal features, so I give them N9NA,” the most successful indie rapper in the game said in a press release. “This is me, wholeheartedly. It’s something for my die-hard fans and an introduction for all newcomers. I’m rapping like never before – like I’ve never sold a Gold or Platinum record.”

Last year, the Kansas City rhymer dropped his platinum-selling album Planet, which peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Rap, R&B/Hip Hop and Indie charts.

Catch Tech N9ne on his 55-city It Goes Up Tour and watch his “Like I Ain’t” video above.

Lil Durk Co-Stars In King Von & JusBlow600’s "Cousins" Video

Chicago, IL – Rising Chicago rapper King Von is searching for revenge in the music video for his latest slap “Cousins” featuring JusBlow600.

As the old adage goes: “It be your own people.”

Von and JusBlow600 narrate their own boastful, bloodthirsty tales to the visual of the track. Fellow OTF member Lil Durk and the rest of the mob make an honorable appearance.

“Cousins” is the follow-up to the Drill spitter’s storytelling breakout track “Crazy Story,” which currently possesses over 25 million YouTube plays.

Back in March, Von and Durk spoke with incarcerated “Murder On My Mind” rapper YNW Melly and gave him some words of encouragement back, assuring him that he’ll be out soon. The interaction between Melly and the two OTF members livestreamed on Instagram Live.

A debut mixtape from King Von is expected to land on all streaming platforms later this year, so stay tuned.

Peep King Von’s music video “Cousins” featuring JusBlow600 up top.

Amber Rose’s Boyfriend Perfects His Step-Dad Skills In Preparation For Baby Boy

Amber Rose and her partner Alexander “AE” Edwards announced they’re expecting a baby at the top the month and more recently, Amber showed f her growing baby bump to the world. We previously posted about reports that Amber is suffering from extreme nausea and vomiting but it looks as though she’s doing better since she made a visit to Tyga‘s music video set with her son Sebastian. 

As per the paparazzi photos, we can see that AE’s step-dad skills have been perfected leading us to believe he’s ready for the upcoming new-dad tasks he’ll have. The photos show Sebastian crying his eyes out and hugging AE where the six-year-old gets carried away by his step-dad with a big hug. 

Amber Rose's Boyfriend Perfects His Step-Dad Skills In Preparation For Baby Boy
gotpap/Bauer-Griffin/GC s

“A.E.] and I are SUPER excited to announce that we have a Sweet little Baby Boy on the way! P.S Sebastian is soooooo Happy to be a big brother!” Amber shared with her fans when announcing the exciting news. 

“Even when it’s dark.. my SON will shine,” A.E. shared to Instagram. “Thank u baby 4 my greatest gift. shit wild! I love you 💕 I can’t wait to thug it out w my baby boy. & baby boy, I promise I won’t get mad if ur first words r “where the bitches @?””

Baidu, a Former Chinese Piracy Search Hub, Prepares Music-Related Projects

Can Baidu win over the music industry?

Several years ago, in an attempt to cut down on piracy around the world, the US Trade Representative (USTR) placed Baidu, a top Chinese search engine and tech giant, on its annual “notorious markets” list.

According to the USTR, Baidu knowingly directed consumers to third-party pirated websites hosting infringing content.  In 2011, the search engine ranked as the most-visited website in China and among the top 10 in the world.

Despite mounting evidence proving it had directed users to piracy sites, the Chinese tech giant remained quiet.

Now, the company has attempted to win over the music industry with a brand new music business app.

Can Baidu undo its ugly history of directing users to illegal content?

In 2002, Baidu reached fame after launching its own music search service, Baidu MP3.

While the search engine blossomed – reaching a third of all music search traffic in China – the music industry quickly slammed the service.

According to music executives, the Chinese tech giant allowed users to download a huge number of MP3 tracks for free.

In order to win over the industry, Baidu then launched its first copyrighted online music website – Ting – eight years ago.

Admittedly, the service wasn’t as popular as its MP3 site.

Last year, for example, Ting had 29.5 million active users.  In contrast, Tencent’s QQ Music and Kugou’s apps had 329.6 million and 303.7 million users, respectively.  NetEase Cloud Music had around 156.5 million.

To stay alive in the music market, the Chinese tech giant partnered with NetEase last October.

Following the strategic partnership, Baidu has reportedly planned a major push back into the music market.

The Chinese tech giant will develop a mobile ‘music business’ app along with talent competition shows.  To that end, Baidu has formed a special product group.

The group had first built a music video app similar to TikTok’s popular Chinese counterpart, Douyin.  Yet, company executives later rejected the idea to “make something bigger.”

To achieve mainstream success, the tech giant will launch a reality TV competition to compete with Tencent’s talent show, ‘Produce 101’ and Hunan’s ‘Singer.’  As the company doesn’t have any experience in the entertainment industry, Baidu will likely outsource production work.

In addition, the company’s new music project will now include an online app as well as offline music events.

Speaking about the talent show, one source explained,

It’s still in a very early stage of preparation…these [projects] may change at any time.

 


Featured image by Baidu.

Watch Lil Dicky’s Star-Studded Video for ‘Earth’

One year after swapping lives with Chris Brown in the hilarious video for “Freaky Friday,” Lil Dicky is out to save the planet with his latest epic collaboration “Earth,” which arrives just in time for Earth Day on Monday (April 22).

The song was produced by Benny Blanco and Cashmere Cat, while the star-studded video features 32 of the biggest artists in the world including Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Ed Sheeran, Wiz Khalifa, Snoop Dogg, Sia, Rita Ora, and Katy Perry, along with Miguel, Lil Yachty, Tory Lanez, John Legend, Halsey, Shawn Mendes, and more.

“We love the Earth / It is our planet / We love the Earth / It is our home,” sings Dicky.

Each celebrity takes on a different role in the animated clip. Justin Bieber is a baboon, Ariana Grande is a zebra, Ed Sheeran is a koala, Snoop Dogg is a marijuana plant, and Kevin Hart plays Kanye West.

With the help of his famous friends, the rapper-comedian hopes to create awareness about the climate change crisis. “It’s all about saving the Earth. There’s an environmental crisis going on right now,” Dicky told Ellen DeGeneres. “We have 12 years to completely change the way we do so many things on Earth or the damage is irreversible.”

A portion of profits from the song, music video, and merchandise will be allocated to select nonprofits identified by the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation to ensure the long-term health and wellbeing of Earth’s inhabitants. “That guy cares so much about the planet. He gets really worked up talking about it,” said Dicky of the Oscar-winning actor, who also makes a cameo in the video.

Watch “Earth” below.

Teyana Taylor Gets Soulful & Groovy For "Hold On" Performance On "Ellen"

Teyana Taylor‘s G.O.O.D. Music album K.T.S.E. came out in June last year and we’re still getting pleasant reminders how great the tape is. From the many music videos for Gonna Love Me,” “WTP,” and more recently the short-film type video for “Issues/Hold On,” Teyana has now come through to deliver a lovely performance the last song during her Ellen Show visit. 

In the video below you can see the crafted set-up Teyana created for her visit, that had a group dancers do their thing on the dancefloor to create a true throwback vibe. Towards the end the video, Ellen calls Teyana over to present her with the ficial gold plaque for her album.

“IM STILL PINCHING MYSELF TO WAKE UP!!! 😩😆😆😆Omg did this really happen??!! Not only did I perform on @theellenshow with a custom set built out for me But ELLEN PERSONALLY HAND DELIVERED my gold plaque & danced with me down the soul train lineeeeee 😩😩😩 dis tewwwww much” Teyana captioned a photo the special moment. “Thank you so much Ellen. You are truly amazing! Thank you to all the crew and staff for putting this all together for me! I’m so appreciative you guys.”