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To say Lil Wayne is having a big year is an understatement. And to underscore how big a year he’s having, Wednesday evening the diminutive rapper from New Orleans was nominated for a whopping 8 Grammys, including album of he year for “Tha Carter III.” Rock band Cold Play was close behind, scoring seven nods.


     This year the announcements of the 51st Grammy nominations were made public within a new format. They were part of an hourlong live prime-time CBS concert special hosted by LL Cool J and Taylor Swift.


     While Lil Wayne’s “Tha Carter III” was not regarded by critics as his greatest CD, it was the album that made him a pop superstar, thanks to massive hits like “Lollipop” and “A Milli,” noted AP writer Sandy Cohen. it also got a lot of attention because it was the only record this year to sell 1 million copies in its first week.


     Meanwhile, artist and songwriter/producer Ne-Yo didn’t do too badly either. When all was said and done, he wound up with six nominations for his “Year of the Gentleman.”


     “When I was putting it together, I was trying to do something that everybody could get into, as opposed to just my pop and R&B core group,” Ne-Yo said after the ceremony. “I was trying to do something that the world could enjoy and I think that the Grammy people paid attention to that.”


     Also nominated was new singer-songwriter Jazmine Sullivan, who has drawn comparisons to Lauryn Hill with her hit “I Need You Bad.” She scored an impressive five nominations.

     Other multiple nominees included Jay-z and Kanye West, who had six each.


     For a complete list of nominees, visit the Grammy Awards website: www.grammy.com.


     Normally the nominations are announced during a morning news conference. But because award shows in general are losing their edge, NARAS, the organization behind the Grammys and CBS decided to put on the prime-time event.


     The show kicked off with past Grammy winner Mariah Carey singing a song from her classic Christmas album, decked out in a short red minidress to give some holiday cheer. Held at the Nokia Theatre, the show also celebrated the Saturday opening of the new Grammy Museum next door.


     The Grammy Awards telecast itself will be held on CBS on Feb 8 from the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles next door to the Nokia Theater.




LL Cool J, Mariah Carey and Taylor Swift will serve as co-hosts of the first-ever one-hour special to announce the 2008 nominations for Grammy Awards.


       The event, to be held in Los Angeles at the Nokia Theatre, LA Live, will also serve as a grand opening ceremony for the new Grammy Museum, located inside of the venue.       

      Performers confirmed for the still-growing lineup list include B.B. King, The Foo Fighters, Celine Dion and John Mayer.


       The “Grammy Nominations Concert: Countdown to Music’s Biggest Night” airs live Dec. 3 on CBS. Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster at www.ticketmaster.com. The 51st Grammy Awards will air on Feb. 9. 




Four days before Roy Jones Jr. stepped into the ring to face Welsh fighter Joe Calzaghe Saturday night, he was in tears as Barack Obama’s election night victory was being celebrated outside of his window and around the world.


      “I’m so happy we have a black president. No one can tell us anymore that we’re not equal,” Jones said Tuesday night as he looked out onto Times Square from his hotel room. The moment was captured on camera and aired on HBO’s “24-7.”


       “Now I can’t help but to knock out Joe Calzaghe,” Jones continued. “He’ll have to kill me to beat me now!”       

       Well, it wasn’t a killing Saturday night, but Calzaghe overcame a first-round knockdown to beat Jones in a one-sided unanimous decision, reports the AP.      

       All three judges scored the light heavyweight fight 118-109 for Calzaghe, as did The Associated Press, every round going to him after the first.      

       “The pitter-pats were harder than I thought,” said Jones, who couldn’t see out of his left eye in the later rounds. “I don’t know. He won the fight. He definitely won the fight.”      

       Jorge Posada, LL Cool J, Paul Rudd, Ricky Gervais, Brooke Shields, and ex-champs Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis were among the celebs on hand for the fight in Madison Square Garden.



Filed under: Uncategorized — Ryann Hayman @ 11:52 am
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RollingStone.com is reporting that Janet Jackson has ended her Rock Witchu Tour early following a number of issues, including a reported bout of vertigo that led to several cancelled dates.


      The pop star has decided to cancel all of her postponed dates instead of rescheduling them, bringing the tour to a sudden close. Jackson’s team blames the cancellations on “conflicts in the singer’s schedule.”


       News of the cancellation follows the announced departure of opening act LL Cool J, reportedly due to all of the postponed shows.


       In all, seven shows have been cancelled, including stops in Montreal, Boston and Philadelphia.


UPDATE: Details of Shakir Stewart’s Suicide Emerge November 3, 2008

Filed under: General News — Ryann Hayman @ 11:50 am
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Stewart’s family releases statement. Long-time friends Kenny Burns and Ian Burke baffled over executive’s demise.

Me and Shake, we’re men’s men. We had kids, we’re responsible fathers. And the man that I know wouldn’t take his life. That man was strong, it ain’t no street pressure, music business, L.A. Reid, these fake ass artists…that ain’t gon’ tear nobody like Shake down. It’s just something that I can’t see, nor accept. We wouldn’t do that.

More details into the recent tragic death of Def Jam Record’s Vice-President, Shakir Stewart, have emerged. On Sunday, Stewart’s family released a statement about the executive’s death.

 “We would like to thank Shakir’s friends for the tremendous outpouring of love and support we have received during this difficult time,” the statement from Stewart’s fiancée, Michelle Rivers, and family read.

“It has helped us to cope with our overwhelming grief and sadness. It is difficult to express or explain in words what led to the tragic occurrence on Saturday. Over the past several weeks, Shakir’s behavior was inconsistent with the man we all know and love. As much as we all tried to help him, Shakir was in deep pain and largely suffering in silence. Please remember Shakir for who he was … a wonderful father, partner, son and friend.” 

According to Georgia’s Cobb County police, 34-year-old Stewart— who died Saturday from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, reportedly shot himself with a handgun in the bathroom of his house on Lindsey Drive in Marietta, Georgia. Stewart was pronounced dead at Kennestone Hospital later that day. 

“Whatever happened over the past 24 hours is not a testament to who we all know,” Christopher Hicks, a music executive and longtime friend of Stewart, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Sunday. 

Police have not confirmed who found Stewart’s body, or any motives leading up to the suicide. 

Stewart is best known for signing rappers Young Jeezy and Rick Ross to Def Jam Records. On June 3, Stewart was promoted to VP of Def Jam, where he reported directly to his mentor, Island Def Jam’s chairman, Antonio “L.A.” Reid.

On Sunday night, Blog Talk Radio hosted a special online show called, “Celebrate Shakir ‘Shake’ Stewart.” Former college roommates, hometown buddies, and industry friends called in to share memories of Stewart. Many were left confused over Stewart’s exit. 

“It had to be something very very bad for him to even think about doing something of this nature,” Atlanta record executive Ian Burke, said. “And whatever it was, I guess it was something that… I guess he felt, at the time, he couldn’t turn back from.” 

Industry mogul Kenny Burns, Stewart’s friend of 17-years, recalled how he and Stewart dreamed of making it big in the industry.

“From that time and period, all of us were looking for something. The business was starting to bubble and we were all blessed to be there early. Looking back, we were like,  ‘Aww shit, we need to get in that, the women, the girls’… But it just became more important to make a mark and build a legacy.” 

Burns, clearly shaken, says he doesn’t believe Stewart killed himself. 

“Me and Shake, we’re men’s men. We had kids, we’re responsible fathers. And the man that I know wouldn’t take his life. That man was strong, it ain’t no street pressure, music business, L.A. Reid, these fake ass artists…that ain’t gon’ tear nobody like Shake down. It’s just something that I can’t see, nor accept. We wouldn’t do that.

“Like, [Stewart] wouldn’t leave his kids without insurance like that. We tried to rush to the hospital before they rushed him to the morgue yesterday…” Burns says, before breaking down in tears on the phone.

“I want to say something about this fake ass business that these young’ns are enthralled with: this business is not that. Educate these people. Money does not make you happy. I don’t believe he took his life. But it’s because of this fake ass business, and these niggas and bitches,” Burns said. “I’m personally setting up a college fund for his kids.”

For more on Shakir Stewart, go here. Stay tuned to ontherecordmagazine.com for further details regarding this tragedy. 



Filed under: Entertainment,Hip Hip — Ryann Hayman @ 11:34 am
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LL Cool J and Public Enemy were among a number of artists from Long Island who were inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame Thursday night during a star-studded gala at the Garden City Hotel.


       Recalling his Long Island roots, LL Cool J said: “When I was a little kid in North Babylon, on Lakeway Drive, just dreaming of being a part of hip hop – I never dreamed that I would be in a position to actually be looking at a wonderful room full of people who are actually honoring and celebrating the art that I created.”       

       Chuck D of Public Enemy pointed out that L.I. united musicians of all types.       

       “That this music can sit side-by-side with other great offerings of music is a true pleasure,” he said, later adding “Music is a universal language, and Long Island you are No. 1.”       

       The diverse group of inductees included Marvin Hamlisch, Blue öyster Cult, Jean Ritchie, The Tokens, and The Ramones.


Def Jam Records Vice-President, Shakir Stewart, Commits Suicide November 2, 2008

Filed under: General News — Ryann Hayman @ 1:14 pm
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Def Jam Record’s Vice-President, Shakir Stewart, died today from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. 

According to Def Jam, Stewart’s body was found in Atlanta. Some sources say Stewart shot himself in his home. No further details of the suicide, have emerged. 

“LA Reid and all of us at Island Def Jam Music Group are deeply saddened by the passing of our dear friend and colleague Shakir Stewart,” Def Jam said in a statement released to VIBE today. “Shakir was an amazing man, in every sense of the word.  A truly incredible friend and father who was an inspiration to not only our artists and employees, but to his family and the many people who had the privilege of counting him as a friend. Our hearts and prayers go out to his family at this very difficult time.” 

On June 3, Stewart was promoted to VP of Def Jam, where he reported directly to his mentor, Island Def Jam’s chairman, Antonio “L.A.” Reid. Shakir, who was mainly seen dressed sharp as a tac, was based in New York and Los Angeles. Prior to his newest position, Stewart served as the Senior Vice President of A&R at Def Jam, where he signed acts ranging from Rick Ross, to Young Jeezy. 

Stewart was always a hustler. An Oakland, California native, Stewart graduated from Morehouse College in 1996 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Marketing. He later began to work the promotions scene in Atlanta, while trying to figure out how to meet his idol, L.A. Reid.

In a twist of fate, he soon found himself working under Reid, as a young, hotshot, 20-something exec. In 1999, Stewart was hired as the Senior Vice President and General Manager at Reid’s publishing company, Hitco. 

In outtakes from a candid interview with me from VIBE’s August issue, Stewart said the Hitco position was great, but, “To be honest with you Linda, I didn’t know what the hell I was doing.” Yet, his track record proved otherwise. In 2000, Reid hired Stewart as an A&R consultant at LaFace Records, where he signed R&B starlet Ciara. 

By 2004, both Reid and Stewart moved on to Def Jam, where Stewart admitted both men felt like the odd men out, and as some coined them, the “R&B guys,” Stewart said. But what strengthened Stewart to stay was his fascination with the iconic brand that took hip hop from the streets to the boardroom. 

“I remember the first time I heard, ‘Rock The Bells’, ‘Paul Revere,’” Stewart reminisced. “Growing up, the first time I heard of the brand [Def Jam] was definitely LL Cool J and the Beastie Boys. So coming in and getting an opportunity to work with that label, like LL Cool J? That’s an honor. I’m working on his project right now. It’s not even like a job for me.” 

Stay tuned to ontherecordmagazin.com for further details regarding this tragedy. 


Def Jam releases statement

Shakir was an amazing man, in every sense of the word. A truly incredible friend and father who was an inspiration to not only our artists and employees, but to his family and the many people who had the privilege of counting him as a friend.