Here's the latest skinny on rapper 50 Cent. Literally. The normally well-muscled rapper — a former GRAMMY Best New Artist nominee and GRAMMY winner last year with Eminem and Dr. Dre in the Best Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group category — has shed about 50 pounds (or roughly a pound per Cent) to play a dying cancer patient in the film Things Fall Apart (gird yourself for the shocking skinny fiddy photos). Losing the weight is nothing new to the Get Rich Or Die Tryin' rapper. In 2000, after being shot in the jaw, he dropped to 157 pounds on a liquid diet. Fiddy modeled his weight loss after actors Robert De Niro, Tom Hanks, Christian Bale, and Renee Zellweger, all of whom have dropped bulk for movie roles.
It may be the Catholic Church's hottest chart run since Sister Janet Mead hit No. 4 in 1974 with "The Lord's Prayer." Billboard reports that three of the top-selling recording artists in Brazil for 2009 were priests. The best-selling album according to the Brazilian Association of Record Producers was Father Fábio de Melo's Illuminar. Joining him on the charts were releases from Father Marcelo Rossi and Father Reginaldo Manzotti. Credit the Hand of God, and also the marketing arm of de Melo's label, Som Livre, which helped launch big sales when it put the padre on sister TV network Globo TV. You can even follow all three padres on Twitter.
AC/DC literally found a "Highway To Hell" in Romania, of all places. The Aussie rockers' fleet was stopped at the border by employees of the Hungarian national roads company, and were not allowed to leave the country unless they paid a total of $72.65 per vehicle, or a grand total of $3,632.66. The staff argued the drivers had not paid the highway toll, while in a letter to the company, the band responded "they had not been given any receipt." A formal investigation is pending.
Even Paul McCartney still gets nervous. McCartney was honored with the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song by the Library of Congress on Wednesday. At a presser in advance of the event, Macca said he would "try to have fun" but predicted nerves would set in when performing "like, three feet away" from fellow GRAMMY winner President Barack Obama. Asked about Obama, he declared, "I'm a big fan, he's a great guy." Ah, the power of GRAMMY brotherhood.
Hip-hop artist M.I.A., who performed nine-months pregnant on the 51st GRAMMY Awards in 2009, hasn't let motherhood mellow her. She has taken to her website to challenge a negative profile of her by The New York Times writer Lynn Hirschberg, even going so far as to write a song attacking the journalist. But the outspoken "Paper Planes" star didn't stop there. She also offered some music criticism to the UK's NME, calling teen singer Justin Bieber's videos "more violent and more of an assault to my eyes" than her controversial "Born Free" (in which redheaded boys are rounded up and shot) and that Lady Gaga is "not progressive, but she's a good mimic…none of her music's reflective of how weird she wants to be or thinks she is."
In an effort to stimulate what is rumored to be shaping up as a lukewarm summer for the concert business, Live Nation Entertainment announced a "no-service-fee June" promotion on Monday for its 50 U.S. amphitheatres covering 700 shows, including those by the Dave Matthews Band, Tom Petty, Kings Of Leon, and Rihanna. In the spirit of just saying no to what have become annoying concert staples, we're wondering if concert venues will institute "no-yelling-'Free-Bird' July" for fans and "no-welcoming-the-crowd-with-'Hello-[fill-in-city-name]!' August" for acts.
Usher's "OMG," featuring will.i.am, once again took No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 this week. Katy Perry's "California Gurls," featuring Snoop Doog, is currently No. 1 on the iTunes singles chart.
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