MTV Music News

We’ve just learned Usher has been added to the official line-up for the 2011 Essence Music Festival. The “OMG” singer will perform on the first night of the three-day concert event and will join Jennifer Hudson, Fantasia, Boyz II Men and many others. We recently asked the pop star if it’s ever difficult picking the set list for big shows like this (See Related Cut #1). This will be Usher’s first time ever performing at the annual Essence Music Festival. It’s not too late to score passes to the event, which takes place during July Fourth weekend in New Orleans. Be sure to visit to learn more.

Friday, July 1st: Usher, Jennifer Hudson, Fantasia, Boyz II Men, Macy Gray, Dwele, Alexander O’Neal and Cherrelle, Soul Rebels Brass Band, Tank, Miguel, Mavis Staples, Irma Thomas
Saturday, July 2nd: Kanye West, Jill Scott, Charlie Wilson, Chaka Khan, El Debarge, Eric Benet, Timothy Bloom, Mint Condition, Hot 8 Brass Band, Stephanie Mills, Charmaine Neville Band, Naughty by Nature, To Be Continued Brass BandSunday, July 3rd: Mary J Blige, New Edition, Trey Songz, Kem, Hal Linton, Kourtney Heart, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, Rebirth Brass Band, Kelly Price, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Trin-i-Tee 5:7, Brian Courtney Wilson, MC Lyte, Doug E. Fresh, Shamarr Allen and The Underdawgs.

According to Variety, 50 Cent will portray a blind DJ in the upcoming film, Odd Thomas. The mogul will join William Defoe, Anton Yelchin and Addison Timlin in the movie adaptation of Dean Koontz’s novel. 50’s character reportedly helps uncover a Satanic cult in the supernatural thriller.
·       TIDBIT: Curtis has a number of flicks coming up including Lives of the Saints, Fire with Fire, Freelancers, Vengeance and Setup.

The official track list for Alicia Keys’ upcoming deluxe and collector’s edition of her debut album, songs in A minor, has surfaced online. To celebrate the 10th anniversary since its release, the disc will include bonus tracks, demos, live performances and two previously unreleased songs. Visit her official website to learn more about the project and be sure to get passes for the Piano & I: A One Night Only Event with Alicia Keys on June 30th at New York’s Beacon Theatre.

During BET’s 106 & Park show on Tuesday night, the nominations for the 2011 BET Awards were announced. Chris Brown leads the pack with six nominations, including for Video of the Year for “Look at Me Now” and for Best Male R&B Artist. Lil Wayne scored five nods and Rihanna, Drake and Kanye West each received four. This year’s ceremony will be hosted by comedian Kevin Hart and airs live from Los Angeles on June 26th.
·       Willow Smith is up for Video of the Year with her smash single, “Whip My Hair.” This marks her first BET Award nomination.
·       Chris recently told us how he feels about the overall positive reception he’s gotten since releasing F.A.M.E.

Best Male R&B Artist
Chris Brown
Cee Lo Green
Bruno Mars
Trey Songz
Best Female R&B Artist
Marsha Ambrosius
Keri Hilson
Jennifer Hudson

Best Male Hip-Hop Artist
Lil Wayne
Rick Ross
Kanye West
Best Female Hip-Hop Artist
Nicki Minaj
LoLa Monroe
Best Group
Diddy-Dirty Money
Cali Swag District
New Boyz
Travis Porter
Best New Artist
J. Cole
Bruno Mars
Willow Smith
Wiz Khalifa
Best Collaboration
B.o.B f/ Hayley Williams – “Airplanes”
Chris Brown f/ Lil Wayne & Busta Rhymes – “Look at Me Now”
Chris Brown f/ Tyga & Kevin McCall – “Deuces”
Waka Flocka Flame f/ Roscoe Dash & Wale – “No Hands”
Rihanna f/ Drake – “What’s My Name?”
Kanye West f/ Rihanna – “All of the Lights”
Video of the Year
Marsha Ambrosius – “Far Away”
B.o.B f/ Hayley Williams of Paramore – “Airplanes”
Chris Brown f/ Lil Wayne & Busta Rhymes – “Look at Me Now”
Keri Hilson – “Pretty Girl Rock”
Willow Smith – “Whip My Hair”
Kanye West f/ Pusha T – “Runaway”

Ever wonder how artists feel when they aren’t nominated for music awards? Well, Keyshia Cole and Trina have tweeted their feelings about not receiving nods for the 2011 BET Awards:
·       Keyshia wrote, “It’s like this. Been on the scene seven years. I was 21 when I got signed. Seven # 1 records. No awards for none of them/still touring. It is What it is,” She adds, “These types of thing are the way they are. I’m not upset about any of it in any way. I hope everyone that goes has a wonderful time.”

·      After being left out of the Best Female Hip-Hop Artist category, which includes Nicki Minaj, Cymphonique, LoLa Monroe and Diamond, Trina simply wrote, “f**k BET…”

·      Do you think either deserves an award?

We’re happy to see Trey Songz being nominated on for Best Male R&B Artist for the 2011 BET Awards. Even after all of his success, the singer recently explained to us how much passion he still has for making music and why he’ll never get complacent with his artistry. Tremaine is also up for the Coca-Cola Viewer’s Choice Award! If you want to cast your vote, make sure you head over to today!

·       The crooner recently tweeted, “If you never follow your heart you’re sure to lose your mind.”

Following the BET Awards Nominations event, J. Cole spoke during the press conference about the status of his much talked about debut album. Cole revealed that he’s always “had the material for the album” but waited on releasing the effort because he had to pick “the right single.” The Roc Nation rapper explained, “I think we knew that there was so much on the line and the potential that I had so we were kind of hesitant…[Now,] there’s no more hold up.” He promised the disc will arrive soon and said “now it’s time.”

Facing a lawsuit is almost a rite of passage for most artists these days. So it comes as no surprise that Soulja Boy has been hit with a million dollar suit for allegedly cancelling a concert in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. A promoter from TrinCity Entertainment claims SB was supposed to take stage on December 10th and was given an advance fee of 16-thousand, only to leave the promoter hanging when the rapper bailed so he could play a show in Hawaii instead. reports TrinCity is seeking a million in damages for breach of contract.
·       Apparently Soulja never gave back the 16k advance.
·       How much would you pay to have Soulja Boy perform at your birthday party or wedding reception?

Jeezy just announced great news about his long-awaited album, Thug Motivation 103. The rapper recently tweeted that he’s completed his highly anticipated disc and wrote “the summer will be crazy.” There is still no confirmed launch date but we’ll keep you posted.

·       From Game to Lil Wayne, doesn’t it seem like a lot of oft-delayed albums are finally coming out this summer?

JENNIFER LOPEZ TALKS LOVE?Jennifer Lopez’s new album, Love?, debuted at number five on the Billboard album chart last week, selling over 83-thosuand copies.  The singer, actress and American Idol judge told us about the meaning behind the title.  
“All the thoughts and all the things that went into this album were questions and things that I had over the years, and that I know if I had other people have, love is a very complex topic and I’ve been singing about it since my first album, and this was kind of the culmination  of that, and I wanted to pose some questions and get the dialogue going about love and where we are in love right now.”J. Lo added that the album encompasses all of her styles. 
“I wanted to make a great dance, kind of rhythmic album as well, with my little hip hop side, and my little dance side, and we did that.”

You can see J. Lo on American Idol on FOX tonight.  The season 10 finale is next week. 

·       TV!  Lopez will perform at the Billboard Music Awards on Sunday. 

Wanna know what’s the lead single off Yelawolf’s debut album? The rapper, who is signed to Eminem’s Shady Records, announced that lead offering is a track called “Gangster of Love” and features G.O.O.D. Music’s CyHi Da Prynce. With Slim Shady contributing beats to the project, the rap rookie recently told us how great it feels to be working with Em (See Related Cut #6). Yela’s upcoming effort, Radioactive, will be released later this year.

It’s hard to believe Naughty by Nature have been in the game for two decades now and are looking to celebrate their 20th  anniversary by embarking on a global tour. The trek begins Friday in Rochester, New York and hit countries like Australia, France, England, Russia, Belgium, Germany before wrapping July 31st in Tullamore, Ireland. The rap crew, which consists of Vin Rock, Treach and Kay Gee, will also travel to big events like the Essence Music Festival and Montreux Jazz Festival.
·       Visit their official website to learn more!
·       What’s your favorite Naughty by Nature song?

Cee-Lo Green and Christina Aguilera have recorded a tune together.  In an interview with Jimmy Fallon on his late-night talk show, Cee-Lo said that The Voice co-stars “did a song” that was supposed to be on the Burlesque soundtrack but didn’t make the cut.  He said that he guessed it might be released sometime in the near future.
·       Aguilera starred in Burlesque with Cher.
·       Would you like to hear what the song sounds like?

HIGH EXPECTATIONS FOR LADY GAGA’S BORN THIS WAY Hits Daily Double is reporting reports that Lady Gaga’s label, Interscope Records, has shipped a whopping two-million copies of Born This Way to retail outlets.  Outside of normal record stores and online retailers, the CD – in both a standard and deluxe edition – will be available at 21-thousand non-traditional stores including CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens, Whole Foods, Costco, Nordstrom, Hot Topic, Radio Shack, Guitar Center, Starbucks and more.  Gaga will also perform at American Idol’s finale on May 26th and will be the musical guest on Saturday Night Live with host Justin Timberlake this weekend. 
·       Where do you plan on buying Born This Way?  Will you purchase an actual CD or will you download it from a digital retailer?

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