Harlem native Mohandas “Kool Moe Dee” DeWese is best remembered for his ever-present hats and shades, but it’s his resistance to hip-hop clichés which fortifies his legacy. Anti-drugs and alcohol and pro-education, Moe was always willing to represent bold views in his music and in interviews.
“For me, I don’t play into that,” explained the rapper. “We let the nuance dictate to the essence [where] up is down; down is up. Who spread the memo around the ’hood that being dumb was cool? That’s part of the reason I named myself ‘Kool’ — how is it intelligence, doing your homework and knowing your lessons not be cool?”
DeWese demonstrated his lyrical complexity as a teen, when as a member of the groundbreaking Treacherous Three he created a new, fast-paced style of rhyming that was ultimately emulated by rap superstars like Twista and Busta Rhymes. As a solo artist, he ruled the charts and the clubs with hits like “Wild, Wild West” and “I Go to Work.” On the upcoming episode of TV One’s “Unsung,” and with help from friends and admirers, including Doug E. Fresh, Melle Mel and Teddy Riley, Kool Moe Dee tells his life story, but warns that there are vital portions on the cutting room floor.
“When you’re not in charge of telling your story, you get the version that whatever producers or network execs want to tell,” explained DeWese. “I finally saw the rough cut, and the angle that they are choosing to go is underwhelming, because I know what it is and I lived it. The unfortunate part is that the infrastructure, the capitalism and business is set up, it almost inadvertently (and sometimes maybe even overtly) pits the artist against the industry, or having a gripe with some form of media or something in that space. What they do, or what they have to do — or at least what we’re taught and told they have to do — is play to the lowest common denominator: sensationalize, titillate, exaggerate to get viewership ... So, we keep trading the content side off, just for the viewership. Of course, there is the humble side that is happy to be called, but I knew going in because it is one of my favorite shows. But I don’t smoke, drink or don’t have any drug issues, so there no ‘rise-and-fall’ stuff, so where are they going to get the drama they need to do the story.” Moe then imitates an announcer: “And then he lost it all!” To which he quickly responds: “No, I didn’t!”
In addition to being a groundbreaker in a new music genre (DeWase was one of the first rappers to earn a Grammy Award and was the first rapper to perform at the Grammys), a career standout was his lyrical assault on rival LL Cool J with “How Ya Like Me Now.”
“Some of his context was extremly jjuvenile and was counterproductive in terms of what I call social impact,” explained DeWese. “I thought it was socially irresponsible to say I am only 18 and I’m making more than your pop. You don’t tell a group of young Black boys that are idolizing you that you’re better than their fathers because you’re making more money than them; that is detrimental on more levels than you can’t even imagine. He was 16 when he started. Your wisdom comes at the state that it comes at, so everybody’s learning style is a little different. Some people need to learn by getting whipped on, so I just pull out my belt and do a little whipping — let me show you what mastery is if you’re going to talk that kind of stuff.”
DeWese (a lifelong bachelor) is currently working on a romantic tell-all entitled, “1,000 Kisses” and is the author of the critically acclaimed 2003 music guide, “There’s a God on the Mic: The 50 Greatest MCs.”
“(With) LL Cool J, like I said in the book, never underestimate the power of women,” observed DeWese. “He had an intangible in his equation that very few emcees/rappers have: a fan fare where ladies love what you look like, and the whole sexual chemistry, he had the whole ‘ladies’ man aspect. When you captivate women you are going to have success in this business. I thought that it wasn’t just that he was a ladies; man, he was one of the best lyricists of his era, without question. The book is called ‘The 50 Greatest,’ and he’s one of the greatest, without question.”
Kool Moe Dee premieres on TV One’s series “Unsung” on Monday, July 16 at 9 p.m. ET. The episode repeats at midnight.
NEW YORK — A hip-hop mogul who managed Sean "Diddy" Combs, 50 Cent and Mariah Carey was found dead in his New York City apartment Thursday in an apparent suicide, police said.
Chris Lighty, 44, was discovered at his home in the Bronx with a gunshot wound to the head, and was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
No note was recovered, but a 9 mm handgun was found at the scene and there was no sign of forced entry, said Paul Browne, chief spokesman for the New York Police Department.
The medical examiner's office will determine a cause of death, but authorities say the shooting appears to be self-inflicted.
Lighty was behind some of rap's leading figures, helping them not only attain hit records but also lucrative careers outside of music. He had been a part of the scene for decades, working with pioneers like LL Cool J before starting his own management company, Violator. But Lighty had been having recent financial and personal troubles.
Twitter was abuzz with condolences on his death just hours after the body was found at about 11:30 a.m.
"R.I.P. Chris Lighty," Fat Joe posted on his account. "The man that saved my life!"
Diddy wrote: "In shock."
Rihanna posted: "Rest peacefully Chris Lighty, my prayers go out to family and loved ones! Dear God please have mercy."
And Mary J. Blige wrote: "U never know what can send a person over the edge or make them want 2 keep living. take it easy on people."
50 Cent said in a statement issued through his publicist that he was deeply saddened by the loss:
"Chris has been an important part of my business and personal growth for a decade. He was a good friend and advisor who helped me develop as an artist and businessman. My prayers are with his family. He will be greatly missed."
Lighty was raised by his mother in the Bronx, one of six children. He ran with a group called The Violators, the inspiration for the name of his management company, according to the company website. He was a player in the hip-hop game since he was a kid DJ. He rose through the ranks at Rush Management (Simmons' first company) before eventually founding Violator Management in the late 1990s. (Mona Scott and James Cruz are partners).
"Today, we lost a hip-hop hero and one of its greatest architects," Simmons tweeted.
Lighty's roster ranged from Academy Award-winners Three 6 Mafia to maverick Missy Elliott to up-and-comer Papoose and perpetual star Carey. He made it his mission not so much to make musical superstars, but rather multifaceted entertainers who could be marketed in an array of ways: a sneaker deal here, a soft drink partnership there, a movie role down the road.
In a 2007 interview with The Associated Press, Lighty talked about creating opportunities for his stars — a Chapstick deal for LL Cool J, known for licking his lips, a vitamin supplement deal for 50 Cent.
"As music sales go down because kids are stealing it off the Internet and trading it and iPod sales continue to rise, you can't rely on just the income that you would make off of being an artist," he said at the time.
Lighty is survived by his two children. He and his wife, Veronica, had been in the process of divorcing. The case was still listed as active, but electronic records show an agreement to end it was filed in June.
He was also having financial trouble. City National Bank sued Lighty, whose given name is Darrell, in April, saying he had overdrawn his account by $53,584 and then refused to pay the balance. The case was still pending.
He also owed more than $330,000 in state and federal taxes, according to legal filings. His tax problems were much steeper a year ago, but he cleared away millions of dollars in earlier IRS liens last October, after selling his Manhattan apartment for $5.6 million. -- (AP)
Disco legend Donna Summer died Thursday morning May 17 in Naples, Fla., at age 63 after a battle with cancer, said her publicist Brian Edwards. Her family released a statement saying they “are at peace celebrating her extraordinary life and her continued legacy.” The five-time Grammy-winning singer had numerous hits in both the 1970s and 1980s, including “Last Dance,” “She Works Hard for the Money” and “Bad Girls.”
“The City of Philadelphia and the music world are deeply saddened by the passing of an incredibly talented musical artist, Donna Summer,” said Mayor Michael Nutter, who was once known as club DJ “Mix Master Mike.” “For people in my generation and many others, she was one of the greatest vocalists of the second half of the 20th century. An innovator of note, she had a wide range of musical capabilities. She was one of the leaders of the disco wave in America and Europe, and she broke new musical ground with songs like ‘Love to Love You Baby,’ ‘Bad Girls,’ ‘MacArthur Park Suite’ and ‘Hot Stuff.’”
Summer was the first artist to have three double albums reach No. 1 on Billboard’s album chart: “Live and More,” “Bad Girls,” “On the Radio: Greatest Hits Volumes I & II.” She became a cultural icon, not only as one of the defining voices of the era, but also as an influence on future pop divas from Madonna to Beyoncé.
Nutter recalled playing “the Queen of Disco” during her heyday while deejaying at the Impulse Disco at Broad Street and Germantown Avenue. “For a young guy working in a night club at the high point of disco, and for everyone who came together in those days of joyful music and dance, she represented a singular musical style and a towering artistry. We all carry fond memories of Donna Summer. Whether performing alone or in duets with talents like Barbara Streisand, Donna Summer was one of the very best. I loved her music, her beautiful voice, and her grand musical talent.”
Summer reportedly did not embrace the “Disco Queen” title and later became a born-again Christian, but many remembered her best for her early years, starting with the sinful “Love to Love You Baby.” Released in 1975, a breakthrough hit for Summer and for disco, it was a legend of studio ecstasy and the genre’s ultimate sexual anthem. She simulated climax so many times that the BBC kept count: 23, in 17 minutes.
“All other erotic tunes, like ‘Jungle Fever’ and Pillow Talk,’ were mere foreplay to ‘Love To Love You, Baby.’ In the first place, it took up the whole album side and it set the scene for the 12-inch single,” noted author and cultural critic Richard Torres.
What started as a scandal became a classic. The song was later sampled by LL Cool J, Timbaland, and Beyoncé, who interpolated the hit for her jam “Naughty Girl.” It was also Summer’s U.S. chart debut and the first of her 19 No. 1 dance hits between 1975 and 2008 — second only to Madonna.
“The funny thing about that track is that it really does warrant that length,” explained Torres. “There is no filler on that track. It’s hypnotic. ‘Love To Love You, Baby’ is the American ‘Ravel’s Bolero’ — it’s the beginning and middle, and,” Torres reflects with a chuckle, “it gave a man something to shoot for.”
Musically, Summer began to change in 1979 with “Hot Stuff,” which had a tough, rock ‘n’ roll beat. Her diverse sound helped her earn Grammy Awards in the dance, rock, R&B and inspirational categories.
“She’s the most underrated great singer of the last 35 years,” noted Torres. “People would have thought of her as a — and this is pun intended — one-trick-pony based on the orgasmic ‘Love to Love You, Baby.’ But even in that song she showed tremendous range. What people forget is that she also received a lot of scorn, because there was this racist movement to anti-disco, and because she was the ‘Queen of Disco,’ her vocal and artistic contributions were diminished in the mainstream press. This is a woman, who by the way, more than held her own in a duet with Barbara Streisand on ‘Enough Is Enough/No More Tears.’ What she had was this unfailing rhythmic ability — and disco was all about could you ride the rhythm — she wasn’t a shouter, a la Lolita Holloway, but she was a chanteuse. She created a mood with every song.”
Summer released her last album, “Crayons,” in 2008. It was her first full studio album in 17 years. She also performed on “American Idol” that year with its top female contestants. Summer is survived by her husband, Bruce Sudano, and three daughters, Brooklyn, Mimi and Amanda.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Comedian/actor Mike Epps, who recently received favorable reviews for his portrayal of “Satin” in the 2012 update of the classic feature film “Sparkle,” returns to host the 2012 BET Hip-Hop Awards, airing at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 9. Epps made his hosting debut at the annual hip-hop celebration in 2009.
Videotaped at the Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civie Center on Sept. 29, the BET Hip-Hop Awards pay homage to “a culture that changed the world while highlighting the year’s best in hip-hop music.” The ceremony recognizes artists in 19 categories including Best Hip-Hop Video, Best Live Performer, Lyricist of the Year, Video Director of the Year, Producer of the Year, Track of the Year and Rookie of the Year.
Performers at the annual hip-hop summit include Rick Ross, Wiz Khalifa, 50 Cent, Fat Joe, Missy Elliott, Omarion, Busta Rhymes, Funkmaster Flex, French Montana, T.I., Kirko Bangz, MGK, Kendrick Lamar, Diddy and Future.
The evening is highlighted by freestyle sessions featuring T.I., B.o.B, Snoop Dogg, E-40 and Cassidy, but the mood turns somber when rap icon LL Cool J pays homage to Chris Lighty, the revered hip-hop mogul who took his own life last August. Rappers Q-Tip, Fat Joe, Busta Rhymes, Missy Elliott and 50 Cent take the stage to perform in his memory. In addition, T.I. presents legendary rapper Rakim with the “I Am Hip-Hop Legend Award” honoring “for his contribution to the music industry as being one of the greatest lyricists of all time.”
“It’s going to be a great show,” said BET President Stephen Hill. “We got Meek Mill, 2 Chainz, Future and Diddy doing a great performance. We got a fantastic tribute to Chris Lighty, who a lot of people may not know because he wasn’t a performer, but he was a manager and a real force behind some of your favorite hip-hop acts. We have a great all-star tribute to Chris.”
Two-time Grammy Award winner LL Cool J returns as host of “The Grammy Nominations Concert Live! - Countdown to Music’s Biggest Night,” broadcasting from Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn. at 10 p.m., Dec. 5 on CBS.
Country superstar, Taylor Swift, a six-time Grammy winner, will co-host.
Since its inception in 2008, LL Cool J, co-star of the CBS drama, "NCIS: Los Angeles," has hosted the one-hour live broadcast which announces Grammy nominations in several categories as well as featuring performances by Grammy Award winners and/or nominees.
Performing live at the highly anticipated broadcast will be three-time Grammy winner Ne-Yo, musical group FUN, and Luke Bryan, as well as Maroon 5, which will also present an exclusive one-hour concert immediately following the show.
“We are excited for the opportunity to bring ‘The GRAMMY Nominations Concert Live!’ to Nashville this year as we recognize our nominees for the 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards,” said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy. “Nashville's rich musical and cultural history is so important and vital to our industry, and indeed to the world - a fact The Academy has recognized for decades by locating one of our most thriving and active Chapters there. We look forward to celebrating the year in music in such a passionate, vibrant and flourishing city.”
“Having 'The GRAMMY Nominations Concert Live!' in Music City is a perfect fit,” said Nashville Mayor Karl Dean. “This announcement further validates that Nashville is a destination on the rise, and our rich musical heritage has once again put us on the national stage. This is tremendous news for Nashville, and we look forward to working with The Recording Academy to ensure the show's success.”
According to the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, commonly known as The Recording Academy, this concert marks the fifth time nominations for the annual Grammy Awards will be announced live on primetime television.
Last year's airing of the nominations special helped lead to increased rating for the 54th Grammy Awards, which attracted 39.9 million viewers, the largest Grammy audience since 1984 and the second largest in history.
In addition, the 54th Grammy Awards telecast has received six Emmy nominations, including in the Outstanding Special Class Programs category.
The 55th Annual Grammy Awards will be broadcast live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles at 8 p.m., Feb. 10 on CBS.
Cool, charismatic and completely comfortable with a microphone in his hand, LL Cool J is perhaps the perfect choice to host the 54th Annual Grammy Awards,” airing live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles at 8 p.m. Sunday on CBS.
“I’m thrilled to be a part of music’s biggest night,” says LL Cool J, co-star of the CBS drama “NCIS: Los Angeles.” “I will always have fond memories of my first Grammy Awards and to now be hosting the Grammy show, in the company of so many other incredible artists, is a dream come true. Great performances and great music — it’s going to be a great night,” he added.
LL Cool J has hosted “The Grammy Nominations Concert Live! — Countdown to Music’s Biggest Night” since its inception in December 2008, and this is his first time hosting the annual Grammy Awards broadcast. Past hosts include Queen Latifah at “The 47th Annual Grammy Awards” and Jon Stewart for “The 43rd Annual Grammy Awards” and “The 44th Annual Grammy Awards” broadcasts. Over the years, other Grammy hosts have included Billy Crystal, Ellen DeGeneres and Rosie O’Donnell.
Adele, Jason Aldean, The Beach Boys, Glen Campbell with The Band Perry and Blake Shelton, Coldplay and Rihanna, Kelly Clarkson, Diana Krall, Foo Fighters, Foster the People, Maroon 5, Bruno Mars, Paul McCartney, Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Taylor Swift, Tony Bennett, The Civil Wars, Carrie Underwood, Alicia Keys, Maceo Parker, Bonnie Raitt and Joe Walsh are all scheduled to perform, as well as Chris Brown, who has three nominations, including Best R&B Album for “F.A.M.E., Best Rap Performance (with Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes) and Best Rap Song for “Look At Me Now.”
Nicki Minaj has four nominations, including Best New Artist, Best Rap Performance for “Moment 4 Life,” (with Drake), Best Rap Album for “Pink Friday,” and Album of the Year (as a featured artist on Rihanna’s “Loud”).
Highlights of the evening include a tribute to the late Etta James, performed by 14-time Grammy winner Alicia Keys and nine-time Grammy winner Bonnie Raitt. In addition, Grammy nominees Chris Brown, Deadmaus, Foo Fighters, David Guetta and Lil Wayne will perform together as part of a special segment spotlighting Dance/Electronica music for the first time ever.
Presenters include Diana Ross, Taraji P. Henson, Marc Anthony, Common, Lady Antebellum, Reba McEntire, Ryan Seacrest, Dierks Bentley, Jack Black, Drake, Fergie, Miranda Lambert, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson and Ringo Starr.
CBS and the Recording Academy recently announced the launch of Grammy Live on Grammy.com, beginning Friday, February 10 at 5 p.m. ET. The Grammy Live Mobile App (http://itunes.app.com/us/app/grammy-live-/id494727531?mt=8), available now for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch users, provides a complete backstage pass to “Music Biggest Night.” For the third year in a row, music fans worldwide will have “unprecedented access” to all the VIP and backstage events leading up to and throughout the 54th Annual Grammy Awards.
“We’re giving music fans the ultimate Grammy experience this year through Grammy Live,” said Evan Greene, chief marketing officer for the Recording Academy. “We connect with music in very personal ways, and through shared, social experiences, fans are more eager than ever to support and follow their favorite artists in new and exciting ways.”
Gayle King of “CBS This Morning” will broadcast live Friday from the Staples Center, joined by industry notables previewing the upcoming awards. On Monday she will broadcast live from the Four Seasons Los Angeles with a Grammy wrap-up, including backstage interviews with the winners.
Two-time Grammy Award winner LL Cool J, also the recent recipient of the NAACP Image Award for Best Actor in a Drama Series for his portrayal of Sam Hanna on "NCIS: Los Angeles," returns to host the 55th Annual Grammy Awards. All of the glamour and excitement of "Music's Biggest Night" will air live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 10, 8 p.m. on CBS.
"I'm thrilled to be a part of music's biggest night," says LL Cool J. "I will always have fond memories of my first Grammy Awards and to now be hosting the Grammy show, in the company of so many other incredible artists, is a dream come true. Great performances and great music - it's going to be a great night," he added.
According to the network, LL Cool J (born James Todd Smith) has hosted "The Grammys Concert Live! - Countdown to Music's Biggest Night" since its inception in December 2008, and this is his second time hosting the annual Grammy Awards broadcast. He also joins the impressive list of performers including current Grammy nominees Miguel, Wiz Khalifa, Jason Aldean, Kelly Clarkson, Foo Fighters, Nicki Minaj, Dirks Bentley, Miranda Lambert, The Black Keys, FUN, the Lumineers, Zac Brown, Brittany Howard, Mumford & Sons, Mavis Staples, Carrie Underwood, Jack White, Maroon 5 , Justin Timberlake and Taylor Swift, as well as Bruno Mars, Rihanna and Sting, who will join together for a special performance.
Alicia Keys will also take the stage, as well as Elton John and Ed Sheeran will perform live together for the first time. Frank Ocean, one of this year's leading nominees, is also slated to perform. Ocean is up for six awards: Record of the Year for "Thinkin Bout You"; Album of the Year and Best Urban Contemporary Album for "Channel Orange"; Best New Artist: and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (with Jay-Z, Kanye West and The-Dream) and Best Short Form Music Video (with Kanye West, The-Dream, Romain Garvis and Mourad Belkeddan) for "No Church in the Wild."
Appearing as presenters will be Beyonce', Ne-Yo, Ryan Seacrest, Dave Grohl, Hunter Hayes, Jennifer Lopez, Pauley Perrette, Prince, Carly Rae Jepsen, Katy Perry, Kaley Cuoco, Neil Patrick Harris, Faith Hill, Tim McGraw and Keith Urban.
In addition to the Grammy Awards, The Recording Academy presents Special Merit Awards recognizing contributions of significance to the recording field, including the Lifetime Achievement Award, Trustees Award and Technical Grammy Award. In the days leading up to the 55th Grammy Awards, Grammy.com will present the tributes to the 2013 Special Merit Awards recipients.
Motown legends, the Temptations will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by vote of The Recording Academy's National Trustees to "performers who, during their lifetimes, have made creative contributions of outstanding significance to the field of recording." Past recipients include James Brown, Nat "King" Cole, Ray Charles, Marian Anderson and Sammy Davis, Jr.
Motown icon Stevie Wonder and hip-hop pioneer-turned-actor LL Cool J will be on hand for the 48th Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards airing live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas at 8 p.m. Sunday on CBS. The ceremony will be co-hosted by Luke Bryan, along with Blake Shelton of the hit talent competition “The Voice.”
Produced for television by Dick Clark Productions, the “48th Academy of Country Awards” is “dedicated to honoring and showcssing the biggest names and emerging talent in the country music industry.” A highlight of this year’s ceremony will be the joint appearance of George Strait and Garth Brooks, the two most recent ACM Artist of the Decade Award recipients, who will perform together for the first time in history to pay tribute to Dick Clark. The ACM Artist of the Decade Award will be renamed the ACM Dick Clark Artist of the Decade Award in honor of the “iconic figure” and longtime producer of the “Academy of Country Awards.”
Clark, who rose to prominence as host of the wildly popular Philadelphia-based teen dance show “American Bandstand,” passed away last year. He began producing the Academy of Country Music Awards in 1979 and helped introduce audiences all over America to the most talented artists in country music. According to the network, Clark had long been an ambassador for a wide range of musical genres and with his guidance, ushered the Academy of Country Music Awards through the decade to become one of the industry’s biggest events.
“It is truly appropriate that we pay tribute to my father, longtime ACM Awards executive producer Dick Clark. As one of the current executive producers and Dick’s son, I’m honored that George and Garth graciously accepted my personal request to pay tribute to a man we all loved,” said R.A. Clark.
“He was a friend to all of us and helped shape our organization. There’s no doubt the Academy of Country Music wouldn’t be one of the highest-rated and watched shows without Dick’s vision and commitment,” commented Bob Romeo, CEO of the Academy of Country Music.
Highlight of the three-hour broadcast include:
Hunter Hayes will present the world premiere of his new single “I Want Crazy,” then later be joined by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Stevie Wonder.
Tim McGraw will perform “Highway Don’t Care” with Taylor Swift and “American Idol” judge, Keith Urban.
Inaugural “American Idol” champion Kelly Clarkson will perform “Don’Rush.”
The dazzling list of presenters includes recent Grammy Awards host LL Cool J, star of “NCIS Los Angeles” and “omg! Insider” co-host Kevin Frazier, along with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, “Entertainment Tonight” co-host Nancy O’Dell, Tori Kelly, “Duck Dynasty” stars Willie and Korie Robertson, Beth Behrs, Michael Ciklis, Sheryl Crow, Kaley Cuoco and John Fogerty, along with country music artists Miranda Lambert, Scotty McCreey, Kacey Musgraves, Jake Owen, Reba McEntire and Keith Urban.
Performers at the celebrtion of country music include Jason Aldean, Garth Brooks, Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Eric Church, Jewel, Kelly Clarkson, Miranda Lambert, Tim McGraw, Blake Shelton, Geroge Strait, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town and The Band Perry.
LOS ANGELES — Don't call it a comeback. It's a tribute.
"NCIS: Los Angeles" star and rapper LL Cool J is nervously excited to pause from his duties as host of the Grammy nominations concert special Wednesday to perform with a multigenerational group of rappers.
"We're doing a special dedication to 'The Message,' which is one of the seminal hip-hop records," a sweaty LL Cool J said during a break from rehearsals Tuesday afternoon. "It launched the genre. I'm getting to perform with Grandmaster Flash, Scorpio, Melle Mel and then we brought in Common and Lupe Fiasco. It's this really cool version of 'The Message.'"
The group practiced their rendition of the Grandmaster Flash and Furious Five 1982 classic in the Nokia Theatre lobby Tuesday before taking the stage to rehearse. Under flashing red and white lights, Grandmaster Flash manned the tables, while Furious Five members Melle Mel and Scorpio shared verses with Common, Lupe Fiasco and LL Cool J.
Other musicians set to perform during the concert special include such possible nominees as Lady Gaga, Jason Aldean, The Band Perry, Sugarland and Rihanna.
Despite hosting and performing at each of the previous three Grammy nominations concerts, LL Cool J said he still feels pressure commanding the show, which is scheduled to air live Wednesday on CBS.
"It's live TV," he said. "I never take it for granted. You gotta be ready for it." -- (AP)
As the hype leading up to the Floyd “Money” Mayweather vs. Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero pay-per-view (PPV) special on May 4 intensifies, CBS will broadcast a special one-hour documentary titled “Mayweather,” airing at 8 p.m. on April 27.
Executive produced by Ross Greenburg, recipient of 51 Emmy Awards, and narrated by “NCIS: Los Angeles” star LL COOL J, “Mayweather” reveals the life story of the charismatic character that is Floyd “Money” Mayweather. The program also examines the hard-working, humble approach taken by Guerrero, who has endured incredible challenges on the road to to the May 4 matchup. According to Showtime Sports, Greenburg is “uniquely qualified” to guide the editorial on Mayweather, having executive produced multiple documentary series on the fighter since 2007.
In addition to LL COOL J narrating “Mayweather,” the documentary features his new song “We’re the Greatest,’ featuring Eddie Van Halen, from LL COOL J’s highly-anticipated new album, “Authentic,” to be released on April 30.
“LL COOL J’s passion for boxing and his keen performing acumen combine to create the perfect voice to tell the complete life story of Floyd Mayweather,” said executive producer Ross Greenburg.
According to Forbes.com, Mayweather has become the highest paid athlete in the world and one of the biggest stars in all of sports. He has been featured on “Danciong with the Stars,” partnering with Karina Smirnoff, and a half dozen versions of the HBO reality series “24/7. “
“The Mayweather appeal is unmistakable and warrants this type of unprecedented exposure. What viewers will find during this promotion however, is that Robert Guerrero is one of the most compelling, interesting and talented fighters ever to step into the ring opposite Mayweather,” said Stephen Espinoza, executive vice president and general manager of Showtime Sports.
“Floyd has been subject to numerous previous shows over the years that have shown one facet of Floyd and it is a cariacature in many ways. What comes across in the film are the parts of Floyd you haven’t seen.”
Showtime Sports has scheduled more than 100 hours of diverse boxing and documentary programming across broadcast television, cable television, premium television and digital portals in advance of the upcoming PPV presentation 0f “May Day,” - the mega-event headlined by “boxing’s No, 1 pound-for-pound titlist Floyd Mayweather’s welterweight world championship defense against Four-Division World Champion Robert Guerrero at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.