AHH Stray News: Ice-T, Eminem & The Source, TrakStarz

Ice T's political

lobbying has apparently paid off. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed

a tax break law Monday (Jan. 3) in favor of film and television production companies

that work in Manhattan. Ice T testified before the New York City Council last

month to support the tax credit on TV and movie production expenses. The companies

will receive a 5 percent tax credit of up to $12.5 million a year under the new

law. Film production companies working in the city can also claim both the city

and state tax credit. Bloomberg expects the $5 billion-a-year film industry to

help boost the city's employment and economy.

The ongoing feud between Eminem and The Source magazine has

officially entered the legal realm. New York federal judge Gerald E. Lynch ruled

Monday (Jan. 3) that Eminem's copyright infringement lawsuit against The Source

will go to trial. The case was filed when The Source released two early recordings

of Eminem as a teenager, lyrically insulting black women. Judge Lynch initially

banned the Hip-Hop publication from putting out an album that would include

Eminem's freestyle. But the judge later revoked the ban and allowed The Source

to release snippets of the track. Eminem's lawyers appealed Lynch's decision.

The conflict between Eminem and The Source owners Ray Benzino and Dave Mays

has been highly publicized, but both parties have recently promoted squashing



The St. Louis-based production duo TrakStarz, who discovered

St. Louis rapper Chingy, has inked a joint venture record deal with Blackground

Records. In addition to releasing a solo disc of their own this year under the

contract, TrakStarz will sign artists to their label TrakStarz Records. "For

a long time, producers weren't given credit for breaking artists and setting

the tone for their careers," says Zo of The TrakStarz. "It's exciting

for us as producers to officially step in as label executives." The TrakStarz

still have song deals with Interscope and Chingy's home label, Capitol Records.

The pair has worked with Twista, Juvenile, David Banner and Janet Jackson, among


2004 turned out

to be a stellar year for R&B and Hip-Hop as far as radio spins. R&B

and Hip-Hop songs overwhelmingly controlled national airwaves last year, comprising

61% of radio's top 100 songs, according to a chart compiled by Nielsen BDS.

Usher claimed the No. 1 song, "Yeah," a collaboration with Atlanta

rappers Ludacris and Lil Jon. Pop songs had 36% fewer songs in the top 100 than

in 2003. Rankings are assembled based on audience impressions, and the amount

of times a song is played on radio stations multiplied by the projected number

of listeners each time the song is played. Larger markets typically receive

higher scores because big city radio stations have audiences that usually support

R&B and Hip-Hop.