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    Diddy's "Making the Band 3" Sensation, Danity Kane, Explodes at Retail, Is Industry's Newest Cinderella Story; Fan Frenzy Drives Unprecedented Sales Success; Debut Album Hits #1 on iTunes, in a Race for Top Soundscan Spot
    Wednesday. 8.30.06 9:53 am
    NEW YORK, NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- August 24, 2006 -- Bad Boy Records' red-hot girl group Danity Kane, stars of the hit MTV series "Making the Band 3," have exploded at retail outlets nationwide with their debut album, "DANITY KANE." The multi-talented quintet is the music industry's newest Cinderella story, as Danity Kane is now neck and neck with veterans OutKast and Christina Aguilera for the top spot on next week's national album chart. Danity Kane's first-week sales triumph is unprecedented for a new artist with little radio or video airplay. Bad Boy CEO Sean "Diddy" Combs commented: "Many people wrote off these girls as just a 'made-for-TV' group, but I believed in their talent from the beginning. The fans have spoken, and with their love and support, Danity Kane's dream is coming true. Sometimes word of mouth is better than radio and video play. This is the best kind of success, one that comes straight from the people." An out-of-the-box phenomenon at retail, "DANITY KANE," which hit stores just two days ago, sold nearly 90,000 units in its first day of release, selling out at most stores across the country. "The formula works like this: Diddy, Bad Boy Records, talented and beautiful artists, and the marketing strategy," said Steve Lerner, Circuit City's Senior National Buyer/Music. "It's the culmination of many factors, and Danity Kane actually brings back the excitement of what the music business is all about -- Artist Development!" "Danity 'Co-Kane'... people are fiendin' for it!" commented Violet Brown, Director of Urban Music for Trans World Entertainment. "It is great to have a new title of this magnitude!" "DANITY KANE" is already the #1 album on iTunes, with an average fan ranking of 4-and-a-half stars (out of 5). More than 300 fans have reviewed the album. The album's Jim Jonsin-produced first single, "Show Stopper," is #3 on iTunes, just behind singles from Justin Timberlake and Fergie, and debuted at #5 on SoundScan's Digital Song Chart, selling more than 55,000 units. Danity Kane is the #5 most searched artist on Yahoo! and ranks at #2 on MySpace with 12.5 million streams. The group has three additional songs on the iTunes Top 100 chart -- "Sleep on It," "Ride For You," and "One Shot." Executive Produced by Sean "Diddy" Combs, "DANITY KANE" sees the five-girl outfit -- Dawn, Aubrey, D. Woods, Shannon, and Aundrea -- teaming up with some of today's most successful and talented producers. Among the studio superstars bringing their skills to the album are such hip-hop and R&B icons as Timbaland, Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins, Mario Winans, Jim Jonsin, Bryan-Michael Cox, Rami, and Ryan Leslie. The album's Co-Executive Producer is Bad Boy Executive Vice President Harve Pierre. Dawn, Aubrey, D. Woods, Shannon, and Aundrea were the cream of the crop among hundreds of women competing for a spot in Diddy's new super group during the taping of the smash MTV reality show, "Making the Band 3." Though each of the five members of Danity Kane come from different backgrounds, all have a number of things in common that bond them as a full-fledged group -- extraordinary talent, looks, personality, business savvy, an ability to perform under intense pressure, and a lifelong dream of making music. The sound of Danity Kane meshes contributions from all five singers, resulting in a fluid and funky blend of voices that allows each member to assert her individuality while still uniting together as a whole. For more information, please visit www.danitykane.com. Contact: Cara Donatto Atlantic Records 212-707-3060 Email Contact Ashley White Atlantic Records 212-707-2050 Email Contact

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    Therapy Session: Ludacris Previews New LP, Shows Off Home Studio
    Wednesday. 8.30.06 9:48 am
    ATLANTA — No wonder Ludacris is one of the richest artists in rap. He's running "a racket" out of his mansion. "If you want to work in here, it's only about $50K an hour," he says with a straight face about his home studio, which "One of the pluses of having my own studio is I can wake up, [use the bathroom] and come right downstairs and record a verse. What more do you want out of life?" — Ludacris Photos, audio and video from this story Money Maker Ludacris "Money Maker" Release Therapy (Disturbing Tha Peace) is located in the basement of his home. "So if you really want to come to Ludacris' home studio and work — if you got that kind of cash, you can come on through." 'Cris — who will perform with Pharrell at the Video Music Awards on Thursday (see "Christina, All-American Rejects, Pharrell To Perform At VMAs") — isn't showing off à la "MTV Cribs," even though his pristine home and its miniature lake would be the envy of any MC. He's inviting MTV News to be the first media outlet to not only see his year-old studio, but also to hear his upcoming LP, Release Therapy, which is slated for release on September 26. "At first it was [called] the Red Light District, but I decided to call it the Luda-Plex — my own personal studio inside my home here in College Park, Georgia," he says, sitting down at the console. Among a collection of Smooth magazines covering a table, you can find several rhyme books with lyrics written in Luda's own handwriting, or as he calls it "chicken scratch." "I was able to record some of the Red Light District album in here, which is why I wanted to call it that," 'Cris says. "But as you can see, it's blue and gray in here, which kind of sets the mood for me. I just feel like certain colors motivate me to want to do certain things. So apart from black, those are my other two favorite colors and I didn't want to make the studio blacked out. So I just did it like that." 'Cris says he still records in different studios when he's out of town, especially if it's with a hot producer. But when he's in the A, he keeps it in the crib. "One of the pluses of having my own studio is I can wake up, [use the bathroom] and come right downstairs and record a verse," he says, losing his straight face. "I mean, what more do you want out of life? I'm good! The work ethic is crazy because once you get tired, it's not like you have to drive home or anything like that. We put in late nights, and what's really good about it is if I'm tired, all I need is the strength to walk my ass upstairs." At the top of the console is a picture, taken during the '80s, of a mischievous-looking Christopher Bridges wearing a T-shirt that says "No autographs, please." Back in the day, Luda was bad — straight B.A.D. Ludacris Invites MTV To His Home Studio Kanye West's Pre-VMA Concert In Times Square Hit The Pre-VMA Parties With Jay-Z, Beyonce, Diddy And More Famous New Yorkers Give Us Their VMA Picks The 2006 MTV Video Music Award Nominees "Man, nobody seems to want to believe [it's me in that photo] for some reason," he smiles. He picks up the picture and cradles it in his hands. "I don't have any idea why. People think I was born with braids or something. But this handsome young gentleman happens to be me. This was at a time when ..." he pauses. "I've always been a pretty humble person, but I had to have been 6 or 7 years old [in that photo], and I knew I was going to be a damn star. So I had to wear that T-shirt. I knew what I wanted to be. I knew what I wanted to do ever since that young, and I made my first song when I was like 8 or 9 years old. It's just something that I've been doing all my life, and that's a sign right there." The sign most prevalent in Luda's life since the release of his major-label debut, Back for the First Time, in 2000 has been that of the dollar. He's been one of the most consistently multiplatinum artists of this decade, with a catalog of hit records and show-stealing guest appearances alongside everyone from Nas and Usher to Jamie Foxx and Snoop Dogg. Still, Luda is looking for more. He doesn't have the street credibility of a Young Jeezy or T.I., and even when people talk about the top lyricists in the game, some critics rank Eminem, Jay-Z, Nas and even Lil Wayne above him. Ironically, the thing that's kept him out of many of those conversations is also one of his greatest strengths: 'Cris is a character. He's one of the few rappers that hasn't been afraid to show his comical side over the years, and he admits that it has caused some to label him a comic rapper. That's something he refuses to get boxed into. "They might have loved the music but they didn't really take me serious," he concedes. "With Release Therapy, you have no choice whatsoever. You're going to take me serious on this album, I guarantee it. "Sometimes its takes a little bit of time to really get your credit," he continues. "It takes longevity in the game, and I'm a person with patience. So I'm always with that mentality that if people are sleeping now, then eventually they're going to wake up. I got all the time in the world. I'm consistent and I will stay consistent, and honestly I feel like I'm the most well-rounded individual in this rap game. When I say well-rounded, it's about selling records, it's about lyrics, it's about all the guest appearances I've been on; it's about hit-making, it's about the number of albums. In all of these things, I don't feel like anybody's messing with me." Even the most sour hater can't deny that 'Cris has elevated himself to an elite level. He can flow on any beat, and he can bring commercial appeal to a track and still throw in sprinkles of ghettoness so the 'hood can feel it. "I'm coming for that number-one spot, and after this album I'mma get that number-one spot," he declares. "I feel like people are starting to realize it, and they're definitely going to give me the respect I deserve. I feel like this one is going to stamp it. It's going to absolutely stamp it. "I was a perfectionist to the third degree," he said about creating the 30-plus records that came out of Release Therapy's recording sessions. "To me it's my classic album. If anybody tells me anything different at this point, it doesn't even matter to me. I know it's my classic album. It's one of those albums that's so powerful to me that I feel like it's going to mark the moment in history. Five, 10 years from now, if you look back and be like, 'You remember that album Release Therapy?' You're going to think about what was going on in the world and what was going on in your personal life." After a quick trip to the vocal booth, where Luda lays down rhymes for a record tentatively titled "Grew Up a Screw Up," 'Cris gets back behind the console. He's itching to play some of the selections from his LP. There's the first single, "Money Maker" which features Pharrell Williams and seems very likely to be performed by the pair at the VMAs. The song marks his reunion with the Neptunes after the production duo crafted one of his early hits, "Southern Hospitality" (see "No Sexy Coeds Here: Ludacris Reunites With Neptunes On 'Girls Gone Wild' "). There's another record called "Slap" in which he playfully talks about laying five fingers to someone's face. And one of the most surprising records is a duet with Mary J. Blige called "Runaway Love." Luda calls the song a 2006 version of Tupac's "Brenda's Got a Baby." The album also features a host of other guest performers (see "Strip-Club Anthems, Cautionary Tales — Luda's Upcoming LP Has It All" and "Therapy Is In Session: Kanye, Pharrell, R. Kelly Hop On Luda's LP"). 'Cris gets an extra big-cheese smile when he plays a song that features his daughter Karma talking. "Every time she comes down to this studio — cause it's in my home — she's automatically trying to mimic her father," he smiles, getting that daddy gleam in his eye. "She's been waiting to get into the booth for the longest time, let alone hear herself on the radio. Now she's really bugging. When it came time and I was like, 'I'm going to put you on this record,' she was like, 'I'm ready. Let's do it!' She got in the booth and did what she had to do. She's a one-take woman. She knocked it out."

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    Record Company Shakeups,
    Wednesday. 8.30.06 9:37 am
    Just when Irv Gotti had a chance to strike a deal with any company in the industry (thanks to Universal severing ties with him during his 3-year money laundering trial), he's supposedly leaning back on the folks over at Universal...again. On Monday, the New York Times reported: "...[Irv] has found the road back full of twists, none more unexpected than his choice of partners: the same record conglomerate that severed its ties with him during the investigation and, as Mr. Lorenzo said at the time, “made a decision to destroy me.” He was expected to sign a deal early this week that would put him back in business with Universal Music Group, the world’s biggest record corporation, which had financed Murder Inc. and distributed its recordings. The deal would make him the chief of a new profit-sharing venture with the company’s Universal/Motown label. Under the three-year deal Universal will commit roughly $10 million to Mr. Lorenzo in an advance against future profits and payments to cover overhead, said people briefed on the arrangement, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The deal also includes a provision that could allow Mr. Lorenzo to buy ownership of Murder Inc.’s master recordings..." And what is Gotti saying about all this? “It feels exhilarating,” Mr. Lorenzo said in an interview. “It’s like a rebirth. It feels like God put me through hell, showed me a lot of things, showed me who the good people and bad people are around me, and lined me up to do what I’m put here to do.” We'll see if his ass really learned his lesson. trina.jpg I hear Ms. Trina is also going through a record company shakeup right now. Supposedly, she's leaving her distributing label Atlantic Records because they just weren't handling her and her "upcoming endeavors" right. Owner of Slip-N-Slide records Ted Lucas told media outlets: “We decided to look for another label that will be able to promote Trina more effectively, and turn her into an even larger selling artist.” Trina's my girl and all, but I think it may take a bit more than promotion fellas. In case you missed the world premiere of Game's new video for "One Blood":

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    Outkast Not Holding It Down?
    Wednesday. 8.30.06 9:33 am
    So it's official. Outkast has been beat out on the charts by an R&B t.v. girl group Danity Kane. I bet Diddy is the only one happy about this situation. Damn. And it looks like their box office opening weekend this past weekend didn't help. They came in at #9 for Idlewild. What does this mean for the 'Kast? What's really good in hip hop folks?

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    Hov Stepping Down From Def Jam?
    Wednesday. 8.30.06 9:31 am
    Is Hov chunkin' the duece to Def Jam? Rumors are flying this morning about Jay-Z leaving his Presidential post over at Def Jam. He signed a three-year contract two years ago, so he does have one more year to fulfill. But sources are saying there is no word about a contract renewal or even him negotiating a renewal. Some other folks are sayin that he wants to go ahead and let the contract run out so that he can leave and take the reins over at Atlantic Records. Others are saying that his main chick Beyonceprobably had something to do with him stepping down. A very unreliable source states that B told him to either leave Def Jam (since she's tired of his close working relationship with Rihanna) or find a new girlfriend. Yet another rumor is that the higher ups at Universal Records fired him because he's not doing much in the figurehead position, but they're allowing him to exit by saying he is "stepping down." Some high level exec sources over at Def Jam are sayin' all of this talk of him stepping down/leaving is just a rumor that has taken off to the masses, but I wouldn't be surprised if the rumor turns out true in part. He may not be leaving Def Jam completely, but he may just be giving up his Presidential Oval office. He might just want to focus on his own music and/or his proteges'. Regardless of the truth, is it really a good move for Hov to leave his post? Speak on it Fam...

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