Over 1,000 people are expected to attend memorial services today (Oct. 26) for South African Kwaito star Lebo Mathosa. The 29-year-old artist was killed in a high-speed car accident Monday (Oct. 23) in South Africa. Mathosa debuted in 1994 with the group Boom Shaka and launched her solo career with her 2000 debut album Dreams. "Mathosa's untimely death constitutes a profound loss to the nation as she was one of the pathfinders in post-apartheid cultural expression," said South African President Thabo Mbeki. "Mathosa's vibrant and positive spirit, illustrated by her work, is an example of how young people can use their diverse skills and abilities to contribute to the development of South Africa." Funeral services will be held Saturday (Oct. 28) at Benoni City Hall. Police are investigating Mathosa's death.
AllHipHop.com Breeding Ground alumni Damani has inked a deal with My Block/Sony Urban Music. The rapper, who hails from Inglewood, Calif., is preparing his first full-length album. "Damani brings a new perspective to West Coast Hip-Hop," said Kawan "KP" Prather, executive vice president/A&R for Sony Urban Music. "As much as he was born and raised in Inglewood and has the respect of the streets, he has also seen other parts of the world. And he's able to let people know, through his music, that it's ok to represent your hood, but it's also great to experience as much life as possible. To
me, that's gangsta, for real."
Rap icon and reality TV star Flavor Flav was asked to show off his picture-taking skills as Playboy.com's latest Celebrity Guest Photographer. Flavor Flav photographed February 2006 Cyber Girl Mary Jane for the exclusive nude pictorial. During the photo shoot, Flavor Flav composed an impromptu rap about being a Playboy.com photographer for a day and participated in a "Dirty Dozen" interview, Playboy.com's 12-question "sexamination," where he talked about everything from five-somes to his aspiration to join the "80-mile high club." The photo shoot and video from the session are available now on Playboy.com.
U.K. rapper Hydro may face criminal charges over a marketing tactic that featured the rapper's face on fake Bank of England 10-pound notes hyping his new single. Thousands of the phony bills were handed out last weekend to promote his single "All Y'all," which features N.O.R.E. Police received over 20 reports of the funny money being used as real cash and are urging shopkeepers in Edinburgh and Glasgow to be on the lookout for more of the counterfeit money. A police spokesman said officials are pondering charges against Hydro and his record label Underdogg Records. Both denied any knowledge of the fliers or involvement in passing them out. Reps for Underdogg said they never approved the fliers and called the situation "a PR stunt gone wrong."
A judge ruled Tuesday (Oct. 24) that prosecutors could not charge Busta Rhymes with possession of a weapon following his Aug. 12 arrest on an assault charge. Born Trevor Smith, Rhymes, 34, appeared at the brief hearing before Criminal Court Judge Shawndya Simpson, who rejected a prosecution request for the additional charge against the rapper. According to prosecutor Harrison Schweiloch, a machete was found in the rear seat pocket of an SUV Rhymes was riding in when he was arrested following a performance at the AmsterJam Music Festival on Randall's Island. The rapper was charged with assault after he allegedly attacked a man for spitting on his car. He said nothing during the hearing, but told the courtroom sketch artists, "I love it when you make me look good." Rhymes is due back in court on Dec. 11.