Music

Missy Elliott to be first female rapper to enter Songwriters Hall of Fame. This ain't gossip, folks. Missy Elliott will be the first female rapper to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Elliott, the mistress of hip-hop behind albums like Under Construction (2002), This Is Not a Test (2003), and The Cookbook (2005), joins 2019's class of inductees, which includes British singing legend Cat Stevens (a.k.a. Yusuf), John Prine, Tom T. Hall (Johnny Cash's "all-time favorite songwriter"), Dallas Austin, and Jack Tempchin. Jay-Z and Jermaine Dupri were previously inducted in 2017, which makes the "Work It" spitfire the third rapper to receive the honor. "The first thing you need to know is it's about the song, the second thing you need to know is it's about the song, the third thing you need to know is it's about the song," Songwriters Hall of Fame Chairman Nile Rodgers said. "That's true now more than ever but it has always been about the song so I'm very proud that in my first year as Chairman of the Songwriter's Hall of Fame that we are recognizing some of the culturally most important songwriters of all time. The 2019 slate of inductees represents diversity and unity across genres and gender, highlighting our dedicated mission to honor music creators who have enriched our lives. These are writers who in their time literally transformed music and helped make what's happening today possible." "I want to CONGRATULATE all the AMAZING songwriters who have been inducted into the 2019 'Song Writers Hall of Fame,'" Elliott tweeted of the honor, "also those who were nominated because their body of work is AMAZING I AM SO HUMBLY GRATEFUL to now be inducted also I [love] you all." The 2019 class will be formally inducted in a June 13th ceremony at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City. (Entertainment Weekly)

Rae Sremmurd is no more ... at least that's what one half of the hip-hop duo's suggesting. Slim Jxmmi dropped some disheartening Twitter bombs on fans of the "Black Beatles" rappers Saturday morning, including 3 he later deleted implying he's parting ways with his brother, Swae Lee. One said, "Y'all won it's a wrap," while another was even more telling, with Slim saying ... "I'm not Rae Sremmurd I'm slim jxmmi and ima sink or swim by myself." Jxm also boasted he'd bought his mom a home off the money he made from his own work ... which is a tweet he actually left up. The 2 have both done recent solo work but confirmed they have a new album coming out in early 2019 ... called "SremmLife4." This isn't the first time there have been rumors of a breakup, but they've denied them in the past and maintained all was well between the siblings. It seems like it could be different this time. Interesting note -- the last time we heard from the rappers was last week when they were in New Zealand, but only Jxmmi was seen ... getting involved in a bloody street brawl. Looks like Swae's avoiding this confrontation for now too. (TMZ)

Seal performs for tech power crowd in Las Vegas. Seal performed at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas for MediaLink's annual power Executive Dinner hosted with Xandr and Adobe. Also spotted at the celebration were Katie Couric, Arianna Huffington, Pamela Drucker Mann, Bob Pittman, Martin Sorrell, Gary Vaynerchuk, Michael Kassan and further top executives from AT&T, Samsung, Unilever, Hulu, Google and more. (PageSix)

Ariana Grande Hints at New Single Involving Engagement Ring Nearly 3 Months After Split From Fiance Pete Davidson. Thank u ... next! Ariana Grande dropped hints about an upcoming musical project on social media -- and from the looks of things, it could involve her engagement ring ... and Biggie Smalls? The Grammy nominee, 25, posted a photo of album artwork featuring a pink door with the words "7 Rings" spray-painted on it to her Instagram page on Thursday, January 10. She captioned the post with seven ring emojis and a date: "1.18." The Billboard 2018 Woman of the Year Award recipient also shared the image to her Instagram Stories, along with a countdown clock showing seven-plus days until its release. And that wasn't all: Fans speculated that Grande's new work may sample a track from Notorious B.I.G, as she simultaneously shared several clips of herself and her pet pig, Piggy Smallz, listening to several of the late rapper's tunes, including "Mo Money, Mo Problems" and "Big Papa." Additionally, she shared a screenshot of Biggie's "Gimme the Loot" with an added black heart and ring emoji bookending the title. "what's the connection between biggie & 7 rings? @ArianaGrande you sampling gimme the loot or?" one fan tweeted, as another wrote, "7 Rings samples gimme the loot doesn't it." "Sis did u sample gimme the loot by biggie?" a third inquired. As for the rings, the pop star explained on Twitter last month when a fan asked about the idea. "well ... .. .. .. 'twas a pretty rough day in nyc. my friends took me to tiffany's. we had too much champagne. i bought us all rings. it was very insane and funny," she tweeted on December 1. "& on the way back to the stu njomza was like 'bitch, this gotta be a song lol'. so we wrote it that afternoon." Grande received a massive pear-shaped Greg Yuna (a.k.a. Mr. Flawless)-designed diamond worth approximately $93,000 from ex-fiance Pete Davidson in June, but replaced it with a friendship ring in November one month after the former pair split in October. Her single "Thank U, Next," which was released in November, referenced her relationship with the Saturday Night Live comedian, as well as exes Ricky Alvarez, Big Sean and Mac Miller, who died on September 7 at age 26 of mixed drug toxicity. She also sang about lost love on "Imagine," which was released in December. (UsMagazine)

Mystikal is THIS close to getting the money he needs to post bail and get out of prison while he waits for his rape case trial to begin ... thanks to friends and a record deal. You may recall the rapper was booked in 2017 for first-degree rape and second-degree kidnapping after he turned himself in following a Louisiana woman who came forward. He's been behind bars ever since (almost a year and a half), but people around him have recently rallied and he could be set free soon, pending his trial in May. Mystikal's attorney, Joel Pearce, tells TMZ ... his client's friends and family have been raising money to help post the $3 million bail. But what really helped is a new music deal. Tim Yazbeck, another attorney for the rapper, tells TMZ ... Mystikal has a new record deal for 3 unreleased albums and he's hoping to get an advance within days. Mystikal's legal team tells us they're confident he'll be out on bail by the end of next week. (TMZ)

R. Kelly-hosted concert denied permit by Illinois officials. Illinois officials say a concert in Springfield that was to be hosted by R. Kelly cannot take place in the wake of new sexual misconduct allegations against the R&B star. Illinois Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Denise Albert told the Chicago Tribune that the application for the Spring Break Jam in April was denied Thursday because of security concerns following protests outside Kelly's Chicago studio this week. Kelly has been under fire since the recent airing of a Lifetime documentary "Surviving R. Kelly." He has denied all allegations of sexual misconduct involving women and underage girls. A tip that Kelly was holding two women against their will prompted Chicago police to visit his residence Friday in Chicago's Trump Tower. Officers interviewed Kelly and the women but found no evidence of wrongdoing. (PageSix)

Lady Gaga didn't write 'Do What U Want' with R. Kelly in mind. Following her apology and removal of her and R. Kelly's song, "Do What U Want," a source close to Lady Gaga told Page Six that her Kelly collaboration began as a project with Chicago-based DJ White Shadow. "The song existed before R. Kelly. She didn't write it with him in mind. She wrote it not having any idea about him working on it," the source said. "The decision for him to come on was after it had already been written, but it was not an intentional reference to his [alleged] behavior. I don't think she knew about the legitimacy, or the extent, of his behavior at the time." Gaga wrote of the song: "As a victim of sexual assault myself, I made both the song and the video at a dark time in my life .?.?. I'm sorry, both for my poor judgment when I was young, and for not speaking out sooner." Kelly's reportedly under criminal investigation in Atlanta and Chicago. (PageSix)

Normani Reveals That Being In Fifth Harmony Took a ''Toll'' On Her Mental Health. Normani Kordei is ready to speak her truth. The 22-year old singer opened up in a recent issue of Billboard about her struggles with race and identity as a part of the disbanded music group, Fifth Harmony. Normani detailed how her childhood prepared her for the adversity she would face when she joined the girl band. Her education at a predominately white elementary school was later paralleled when she found herself being one of the only people of color in Fifth Harmony. As the only black member of the group, Normani felt alone when she dealt with a lot of her experiences. She told Billboard that while the other girls of Fifth Harmony tried to be there to support her, it just wasn't the same. "I don't think they had the tools that they needed, because it's not their experience. I can give them credit for trying to be there for me, but at the same time... The girls don't experience things the way I did," explained the singer. At one time in 2016, Camila Cabello had to ask her fans to stop cyber-bullying Normani. The fans believed Kordei was shading Cabello in a Facebook Live interview and they began to attack her. She received death threats, messages with racial slurs and pictures of lynchings on her social media pages. She says the racism she dealt with had subconscious effects on her mental health. "You think, 'Why am I the least followed in the group?' Even if you don't recognize that you're paying close attention to it, it takes a toll on your confidence. You worry -- is it me? Is it because I'm black? Or am I just not talented?" said Normani. And Normani wasn't just targeted by Cabello fans and social media trolls, it happened behind studio doors as well. "So many sessions, I would cry like I've never cried before," revealed Normani. For example, she detailed the story of when she was the only one in the group restricted to just background vocals on the song "No Way." Despite insisting that all the women had a strong relationship, Cabello was the first member to leave the group for a solo career. This was quickly followed by an indefinite hiatus from Fifth Harmony back in March 2018. However, Normani made it clear at the 2018 American Music Awards that she was going to be making a comeback with a solo project. She previously told E! News that her time after the hiatus was going to be spent growing. "I've been able to start from the ground up. I've been able to wear many different hats," she shared with E!. Nonetheless, Kordei continues to feel the pressure to prove herself. "There's so much that I have to get off my chest," she told Billboard. "And there's a responsibility I have as a black woman -- one of the very few to have the power to kill it. Even in the mainstream, there's not many of us." Normani hopes that her new album is going to allow her to break out of that confinement that she once felt as a young star. Normani's new single with Sam Smith comes out Friday, January 11th. (Eonline)

The Game denied entry to Canada for tour. The Game's upcoming Canadian tour has hit a major snag: He's not allowed in the country. A five-date tour the rapper, whose real name is Jayceon Terrell Taylor, was set to make across America's neighbor to the north has been canceled after he was denied the Temporary Resident Permit needed to enter Canada, according to organizers. The permit is required for any artist with a past criminal record. Organizers wrote in a statement, "Due to circumstances beyond the artist, management, agency, and promoters' control, we regret to announce that 'The Game Canadian Tour 2019' is canceled to the Canadian Government denying the artist's TRP application to enter legally into our country. In regard to any false press you may see surfacing to be clear the artist the Game and management 'DID NOT CANCEL' the Canadian tour. He was very excited to come to Canada and looking forward to seeing his Canadian fans after so long." They added, "It is with great sadness and frustration that the Canadian government could not see the overwhelming desire and benefit, and no risk to Canadians to let artist the Game do his tour and to fulfill such a wanted need from the businesses, the promoters, and the fans it would have benefited in such a positive way. The Game's career has long been haunted by legal issues. In recent years, the 39-year-old has received three years of probation for threatening to kill a police officer and is still dealing with a $7.1 million sexual battery suit. There is no word if this will affect the rapper's planned tour of Europe that is set to begin in March. A rep for the rapper did not respond to a request for comment. (PageSix)

R. Kelly might have been creepy when Destiny's Child recorded with him in 1998, but Beyonce's dad says no one in the music biz cared about his personal life, because he was killing it professionally. Mathew Knowles tells TMZ ... every artist back then was judged by their talent and NOT their personal misdeeds. In Kelly's case, that meant giving him a pass for reportedly marrying 15-year-old Aaliyah in 1994 ... and settling a lawsuit with a woman claiming he had underage sex with her. Mathew says creative genius trumped all back then. If you didn't know ... Destiny's Child -- Bey, Kelly Rowland, LeToya Luckett and LaTavia Roberson at the time -- recorded a song with Kelly, but it never made the final cut for a DC album. Bey was 17 at the time, and Mathew makes it clear ... he and Tina Knowles never lost sight of the girls during the session. Despite the #MeToo era, Mathew thinks the music industry hasn't made much progress when it comes to artists working with dubious characters -- because, for many, it's still just business. Case in point, Lady Gaga recorded with Kelly in 2013 ... something for which she's now apologizing. She also said she's pulling their duet from streaming services. (TMZ)

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