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.