Mariah, Pharrell Hit Paris For Romantic Getaway In New Clip
Mariah Carey's got a new man on her arm — and leg — in her latest music video, which she shot last week in Paris. For "Say Somethin'," Pharrell Williams plays Carey's oh-so-patient boyfriend who takes the singer sightseeing and shopping

"You know what was so great about being in Paris? Usually I'm inside a hotel room and I don't get to see anything. This time, I finally got to drive around the city, walk around the city and hang out," Carey said. "I love Paris; I love the electricity this city has. And it gave me a new perspective on this song, which is one of the first songs I recorded for [The Emancipation of Mimi]. It's got a hot vibe to it, when you're driving around in the car on a normal, rainy day in Paris, driving around in circles in a Maserati — who doesn't do that every day?"

Well, just about everyone else — but then again, Carey's not playing just anyone in her new clip. Carey and Williams are a superstar couple, trying to find romantic interludes when they're not being chased by the paparazzi in his Maserati — at least, that's what the video's treatment called for. But on the first day of the shoot, director Paul Hunter had to contend not just with his fake paparazzi, hired for the scene, but real ones as well, who chased after the pair on scooters.

"That's just a regular day in the life for Mariah, probably," Williams said. "I'm a low-key guy, so there's no paparazzi under the studio console, or in my apartment, or jumping out of my pool. I'm just not into it. So it's weird when you have these people running up, especially in Paris — they're on Vespas, doing wheelies, and it's wild."

The chase being real, it made it that much easier for Carey and Williams to get into character as a couple looking to get away from it all. For one of their escapes, the two frolic on the Le Pont de Paris bridge overlooking the river Seine.

The next destination point required clearing out Louis Vuitton's flagship store on the Champs-Elysées, so they could have some private shopping with Carey modeling her favorite outfits while Williams watches and waits. She also tries on a massive amount of shoes, while Williams plays piano on her legs to entertain himself.

"Obviously, being able to take your pick of anything in the store and have the whole store shut down for you is every girl's dream," Carey said. "You know, just a pretty standard day in the life of anybody. No, just joking. There was a time in my life I only had one pair of shoes, so that's my justification for having that little perk on the job."

Because Vogue fashion guru Andre Leon Talley popped by the store during those scenes, he ended up making a cameo as a shop assistant. "We love him," Carey said. "He saw me walking around in a bodysuit and he was like, 'Darling, you have to wear that!' So he convinced me that's the outfit I should wear [later on], so if anybody's got a problem with it, call him up."

After the shopping spree, Williams takes Carey home to his "bachelor pad" (really her hotel suite), where they kick back with a few Dalmatian puppies. "I thought the puppies would add cuteness to it," she said. "But Paul was like, 'Make it more hot, make it more hot!' And someone else was going, 'Sit on his lap,' and I'm like, 'Ask me nicely! Produce a diamond ring or something, for me to sit on a lap!' No, it was fun. I don't have a problem sitting on anybody's lap. I just wanted a better invitation, for the sentiment of the song."

If Carey needed a better invitation, so did Snoop, who's featured on the song but not in the Paris scenes. His part in the clip was shot separately on Sunday in Los Angeles.

"If you guys think I'm a diva and I have requirements, Snoop is the next level," Carey said. "He's the hip-hop king! So his requirements to get to Paris are, like, beyond platinum editions; they're, like, beyond ultra-platinum editions; they're like diamond editions. So we love Snoop and we wish he had been here, but I think shooting him in L.A. will be good because we'll have more time, more control. He probably would have gotten really mobbed in the streets here anyway."

While "Say Somethin' " will be Carey's next single for top 40 radio, she's sending out "Fly Like a Bird" to urban radio at the same time, with both hitting the dial the first week of April. A video for the song will be shot in New York later this month.
50 Cent Says Eminem Wants Him To Hold Off On Summer LP
The rapper revealed Monday he was planning to release another album July 18 until higher powers stepped in.

"Em didn't agree with me," 50 said of his Shady Records boss while on the set of Mary J. Blige's "Enough Cryin' " video. "My motivation wasn't really right. I get a little frustrated from time to time and I got so much material that I make that isn't being heard that I was like, 'Yo, I just wanna release an album again.' And he was like, 'Nah, you gotta wait.' I don't care about none of that [timing], I just want the record to go out, but it just makes better sense to take our time and re-create the new album."

50's got an album's worth of material in the can but expects none of it will make his next record when it's finally released.

"By the time the summer passes, the music that I planned to release will be dated to me and I'll have so many new ideas that I wanna write something else," he explained. "I don't ever receive the credit I'm supposed to receive for my music. I receive all the checks I'm supposed to receive, I just don't receive all the trophies. But I'm cool with it. I just look at it like I should continue to dominate with it more. I'll get lifetime-achievement awards opposed to best-new-artist awards, so it's cool."

If it were up to 50, he'd also be awarded as a label boss, as running G-Unit takes a massive amount of his time.

"I've sacrificed a lot for my actual camp," he explained. "I'll have an album and do three videos ... and the album will be over. Even though I put together 21 cuts [for 2005's The Massacre], which is a double album, and there's easily another three records on there that I could be shooting visuals for, I stopped shooting in order to move to the next project, to make sure that everybody around me is in a great space creatively and financially. So for me it's a definite sacrifice."

If he were selfish, 50 added, he would have made videos for "Build You Up" with Jamie Foxx, "God Gave Me Style" and "Get in My Car."

"There's so many records that were there that had full potential to go to radio and be a single," he said. "When I go out to perform them I feel the energy, so I know people enjoyed it as much as I anticipated them enjoying it."

That's not to say, though, that 50's not enjoying his role as a mogul, especially being able to sign some of his favorite artists, like Mobb Deep (see "50 Cent Wants To Sign Mobb Deep, M.O.P. To G-Unit Records").

"Their project is incredible for me," he said. "It was an opportunity to work with a group that I was a fan of for a long period of time and now it's exciting. I had influences on some of their musical choices overall and I think the project is a classic."

Mobb's album Blood Money is scheduled for an April 11 release (see "Mobb Deep, 50 Cent Get Tattoos To Prove Their Loyalty"), although 50 anticipates it being pushed back a few weeks in order to clear all the samples.

Lloyd Banks' next album will follow shortly after, and Young Buck has also finished his next release.

50 says he feels hip-hop needs the new G-Unit releases, as the genre seems to be stuck in a creative rut.

"A lot of the music that comes out of the South is kind of simplified and I think it's kinda 'cause they just wanna have a good time," he explained. "They don't wanna think about what [they] just said. ... They really didn't make sense, but they made sense in a way and they just wanna hear something while they're actually partying and it works for them. But when they don't take the time to make it the highest quality possible, it hurts the actual hip-hop [genre]. People wanna make music they can get away with as opposed to the best possible music they can make.

"They'll lower the grade of music," he continued. "It changes the range you can go and then it causes confusion amongst artists that don't have their own direction at that point and they all start making music that is similar. Like if the record comes out and it's a hit and it's the simplest thing on the planet, all of a sudden the new artists start writing records that are similar to that hit. Their motivation is to have a project that's successful and that will allow them to move out of the financial situations that they're in when you're in the 'hood or in the ghetto. They make it sound like the record that they hear playin' on the radio as opposed to just creating their own lane."
Michael Jackson Ordered To Shut Down Neverland Ranch
Authorities ordered Michael Jackson to shut down his Neverland Valley Ranch on Thursday (March 9), alleging he failed to pay his employees and maintain workers'-compensation insurance, Reuters reports.

The state's Department of Industrial Relations also fined Jackson $69,000 ($1,000 per employee) for letting his insurance policy lapse two months ago. The 2,800-acre central California ranch must remain closed until back wages are paid and insurance issues are taken care of, a spokesperson for the department told Reuters.

Just a few days ago Jackson was cited for allegedly failing to pay at least 30 employees since December and now must not only cough up $306,000 in back wages but also pay a $100,000 fine.

Jackson was not at the ranch when a state agent delivered the shut-down order, according to Reuters, and is assumed to be in Bahrain, where he has been spending much of his time since being cleared of child-molestation charges last summer (see "Michael Jackson Not Guilty On All Charges").

State officials have arranged with local authorities for the care of the animals in Neverland's zoo.

The spokesperson said the Department of Industrial Relations was tipped off when a Neverland worker made an unpaid-wage claim and reported that a fellow employee had been injured there and was hesitant to file a claim because of Jackson's lapsed insurance.
Jay-Z Calls Ne-Yo's #1 Debut 'A Wonderful Thing'; R&B Newcomer Dancing Up A Storm
NEW YORK — Jay-Z and the Carter administration are lighting up cigars again: Def Jam has another #1 album in its catalog with Ne-Yo's In My Own Words.

"A nice tre [three] piece," Hova said of the 301,000 copies his signee

Ne-Yo sold to land atop the Billboard albums chart. "It's a great look, a wonderful thing. [With] certain people, you're happy that something good happens to them. When talent wins, it's good for everybody. But on top of being a talented writer, [Ne-Yo's] a good guy."

Ne-Yo says going #1 doesn't seem real at all. He was in Atlanta on Tuesday filming a new movie called "Step Show" when some of the Def Jam staff stopped the production of the flick to deliver the good news.

"It is surreal," he said about his journey to the top. "I feel like at any moment I'm going to wake up in the living room at my mom's house on the couch, with her telling me to get my ass up. 'It's one o'clock in the afternoon.' It's a dream, man."

During the past few months Ne-Yo has had show-stealing guest appearances on records by Ghostface Killah and Remy Ma (see "Ghostface Killah Spins Tales From The 'Hood On Fishscale"), plus he's garnered strong buzz with his blockbuster ballad "So Sick" (see "How Ne-Yo Turned Getting Dumped Into A Top-10 Single").

"I knew the song was going to do good," he said of "So Sick," "but for it to do what it did so fast, I was like, 'Whoa.' I guess it really is something cats could relate to. I knew that girls would like it — R&B is predominantly for women. But it's been dudes, thugs, coming up to me and saying, 'Yo, that "So Sick" record is my joint. I'm going through this little thing with this girl ...' Dudes really like it."

None more, probably, than President Carter. Even better, Jay says he didn't have to put too much work into In My Own Words, even though he is credited with executive producing the LP.

"It depends on different artists," Jay-Z said about how Def Jam artists' albums come together. "Kanye will present his whole album at one time. With Ne-Yo, him and [A&R rep] Ty-Ty would go in and present songs one by one. It's a bunch of songs at the end of the day. You know how new artists are, they want 21 songs on their first album. I took a couple of songs off the album and kept it short and sweet. [Ne-Yo] was good with it. That was that. As far as the creative process — the arranging, the songwriting — that's all [Ne-Yo] and the producers he worked with."

Ne-Yo's next single is "When You're Mad," a record that describes how sexy he thinks his girl looks when she's upset with him. But there's another song on the album that makes Ne-Yo really blush when he performs it in concert: "Mirror."

" 'Mirror' is the freakier side of Ne-Yo," he said. "OK, my girl left. I'm in playa mode. 'OK, you wanna leave, fine. I'll call somebody else.' So I call up another chick and go to her house, and the song is basically expressing how I love making love in front of the mirror. It's one of those Jodeci-ish, freaky type of joints."

Ne-Yo is in talks to go on a major tour later this year, but in the meantime he's doing promo dates for his album and occasionally appearing at Ghostface shows as a surprise guest.

In "Step Show," the Las Vegas native plays Rich, the best friend of lead character DJ, who is played by up-and-coming actor Columbus Short. DJ moves from L.A. to Atlanta after one of his buddies is killed, and while in the ATL, Rich and DJ battle a rival fraternity in "step dancing" — the style associated with frats and sororities at black colleges, not to be confused with the Chicago stepping that R. Kelly has showcased in his videos.

"I saw the first pieces of [the film] yesterday," Ne-Yo said. "Anybody that enjoys dancing — no corny stuff, but real dancing — is going to get into this movie. There's a lot of professional dancers in the movie, and the choreographer was telling me I was picking up stuff in hours that it took days for [the pro dancers] to pick up. Stepping is more about rhythm than it is counting 'five, six, seven, eight.' Me being a music dude, I guess it came pretty easy to me."

Ne-Yo and Short actually co-star in the sequel to "Save the Last Dance," as well. That movie has been wrapped for quite some time, but as the singer explains, the producers of "Step Show" liked the duo's chemistry so much in the "Save" sequel that they wanted to cast them together a second time.
News Archive: April 2006