Kendrick Lamar & Dave Free to Produce Comedy Film With ‘South Park’ Creators

Kendrick Lamar and Dave Free are teaming up with South Park co-creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker to produce a comedy film for Paramount Pictures.

The yet-untitled, live-action comedy, written by Vernon Chatman, will “depict the past and present coming to a head when a young Black man, who is interning as a slave re-enactor at a living history museum, discovers that his white girlfriend’s ancestors once owned his,” according to a press statement.

The movie marks the first feature produced under Lamar and Free’s pgLang company, which they announced in 2020. They launched pgLang as a multilingual, artist-friendly service company that’s a record label, movie studio and publishing house combined. Lamar’s younger cousin and rapper Baby Keem became the first artist signed to the pgLang label service. Stone and Parker will be producing for their Park County banner.

Production is slated to kick off this spring. A director has not yet been attached to the film. Paramount Pictures will be responsible for theatrical distribution, home entertainment and television licensing rights on the project, and Paramount Plus will acquire the streaming rights.

“On behalf of Paramount Pictures and the wider ViacomCBS family, we look forward to ushering in the first theatrical collaboration from these creative visionaries, and galvanizing audiences worldwide around a powerful storytelling experience,” said Paramount Pictures president and CEO Brian Robbins in a statement.

The 13-time Grammy-winning MC announced this past summer that he will be leaving his longtime label Top Dawg Entertainment after 17 years and that he was working on his “final TDE album.” His last solo album, the critically acclaimed DAMN from 2017, topped the Billboard 200 with 603,000 album-equivalent units in the opening week. It also earned him the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in Music. He curated Black Panther: The Album in 2018, which nabbed eight nominations at the Grammy Awards the following year, including best rap performance winner “King’s Dead.” Lamar gave a career-spanning live performance, his first in over two years, at the 2021 Day N Vegas music festival.

Kanye West & Julia Fox Party Cuddle Up on a Couch While Partying With Madonna

Kanye West (who now goes by “Ye”) and Julia Fox are still going strong.

The rapper and model packed on some PDA during a night out at Delilah in West Hollywood, California, on Wednesday (Jan. 12) where they spent time with a diverse group of A-listers including Madonna, Floyd Mayweather, Antonio Brown and Evan Ross.

Ross shared a series of black-and-white moments from the night on Instagram, including a video in which the entire group is jamming out to Drake’s “Come Thru,” as Julia is seen sitting on Ye’s lap sat with her arm around him.

See the post here.

Another video captured by the paparazzi finds the couple leaving the restaurant, sharing a quick hug and kiss goodbye before Ye gets in his car.

The two met in December, less than a year after Kim Kardashian Ye filed for divorce from the rapper in February 2021 following months of speculation that a split was imminent. Both cited irreconcilable differences for the split and asked for joint legal and physical custody of their four kids. Meanwhile, the Uncut Gems actress married pilot Peter Artemiev in November 2018 and announced they had separated three years later, in November 2021. The two welcomed a son in January 2021.

Lionel Richie to Receive 2022 Gershwin Prize

Lionel Richie will receive the 2022 Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, the Library of Congress announced Thursday (Jan. 13). The pop and R&B superstar will be feted at an all-star tribute in Washington, D.C., on March 9. PBS stations will broadcast the concert on May 17.

Richie is the 12th recipient of the award; the third who rose to fame at Berry Gordy’s Motown Records. The first two were Stevie Wonder (2009) and Smokey Robinson (2016). These are also the only Black composers to receive the honor.

“This is truly an honor of a lifetime, and I am so grateful to be receiving the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song,” Richie said in a statement. “I am proud to be joining all the other previous artists, who I also admire and am a fan of their music.”

Richie has received six Grammy nominations for song of the year, which puts him in a tie with Paul McCartney for the most by any songwriter in Grammy history. McCartney received the Gershwin Prize in 2010.

Richie’s song of the year nods are for “Three Times a Lady” (1978), “Lady” (1980), “Endless Love” (1981), “All Night Long (All Night)” (1983), “Hello” (1984) and “We Are the World” (1985). The latter song, which he co-wrote with Michael Jackson, is his only winner in the category.

Richie has also received three Oscar nods for best original song, for “Endless Love” from the film of the same name (1981), “Miss Celie’s Blues (Sister)” from The Color Purple (1985) and “Say You Say Me” from White Nights (also 1985). He won for the latter song.

When H.E.R., Dernst Emile II (D’Mile) and Tiara Thomas won both a Grammy for song of the year and an Oscar for best original song last year, they were the first songwriters to achieve that double feat with different songs in the same year since Richie did it 35 years earlier – a sign of how how dominant he was at the time.

There was no Gershwin Prize recipient last year. The most recent recipient was Garth Brooks two years ago.

The 12 recipients include two musical pairs – Burt Bacharach & Hal David (2012) and Gloria & Emilio Estefan (2019).

The first Gershwin Prize recipient was Paul Simon in 2007. Others, not already named, are Carole King (2014, the first woman to win), Billy Joel (2014), Willie Nelson (2015, the first country songwriter to win) and Tony Bennett (2017, the first non-writing performer to win).

Richie received the Kennedy Center Honors in 2017. Almost all of the Gershwin Prize recipients have also received the Kennedy Center Honors. The only exceptions are Bacharach & David and Emilio Estefan.

Carla Hayden, the Librarian of Congress, said in a statement, Richie has been an inspiring entertainer who helped “strengthen our global connections.”

“Lionel Richie’s unforgettable work has shown us that music can bring us together,” Hayden added. “Even when we face problems and disagree on issues, songs can show us what we have in common.”

Created in 2007 by the Library of Congress, the prize is named after brothers George and Ira Gershwin, who wrote such unforgettable songs as “I Got Rhythm,” “Embraceable You” and “Someone to Watch Over Me.”

Britney Spears Is ‘Disgusted’ With Jamie Lynn Spears After ‘GMA’ Interview: ‘She Never Had to Work for Anything’

After remaining relatively quiet in the 24 hours following sister Jamie Lynn Spears‘ television interview with Good Morning America, Britney Spears spoke out on Twitter on Thursday (Jan. 13) — and she did not hold back.

After revealing that she was “really sick” with a 104 degree fever on Wednesday night, Britney wrote in a series of screenshots from her notes app that she “looked at my phone and I see that my sister did her interview to promote her book […] lol and it was actually kind of nice having a fever so high cause I had to surrender to not caring.”

She went on to bring up the point in the interview in which ABC News‘ Juju Chang quoted a section from Jamie Lynn’s upcoming memoir, Things I Should Have Said, where the 30-year-old describes Britney’s behavior before her conservatorship as “erratic,” “paranoid” and “spiraling.”

“She was never around me much 15 years ago at that time,” Britney said of Jamie Lynn’s recollection of the time period. “So why are they even talking about that unless she wants to sell a book at my expense [thinking face and book emoji] ??? REALLY ???”

Chang also asked Jamie Lynn about last July, when the pop superstar said it “hurt me deeply” that her sister performed a medley of remixed Britney songs at the 2017 Radio Disney Awards. “I was doing a tribute to honor my sister and all the amazing things that she’s done,” Jamie Lynn replied. “I have cleared up with the fact that I don’t think she’s personally upset with me about that. Truthfully, I don’t know why that bothers her.”

Britney, on the other hand, disagreed. “I know it may sound like a silly thing to most people but I wrote a lot of my songs and my sister was the baby,” she wrote. “She never had to work for anything. Everything was always given to her !!!!”

Britney went on to explain that it makes sense for her to want remixes of her own music performed on tours. “Britney sitting there [at the RDMAs] seeing a 15 minute performance of everything I have ever wanted…. But see, I always was the bigger person,” she explained.

“They all got to DO IT and PLAY ME and I always sat there and took it,” she added. “But see, now it’s a joke … the last thing I would ever do is ask for what was just given to her !! So yes, they did ruin my dreams.”

Britney revealed that she did talk to her sister, asking why she agreed to the performance when she “knew I was waiting to change my show,” to which Jamie Lynn replied, “Well, it wasn’t my idea.”

“Hope your book does well, Jamie Lynn !!!!” Britney wrote, before announcing that she will be taking a break from Instagram. “The media, this business has always been extremely hateful to me. I’ve given enough … MORE than enough. I was never given back ever what I want,” she wrote.

“My family ruined my dreams 100 billion percent and try to make me look like the crazy one while I have a 104 degree fever, not being able to move in my bed,” she concluded. “My family love to pull me down and hurt me always so I am disgusted with them !!!!”

See Britney’s full post below.

Pimco Partners With BMG to Acquire Music Rights

Pimco is the latest institutional investor to enter the booming market for music rights. The investment manager, which has $2.2 trillion under management, is teaming up with BMG to acquire music catalogs, the Financial Times reports. The article did not specify the amount of money the companies will allocate for investments but cited an unnamed source as saying the individual deals will smaller than those BMG makes through its partnership with Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.

A source with knowledge of the partnership told Billboard the report was substantially correct. Representatives from BMG and Pimco declined to comment.

Last year, BMG, the fourth-largest music publisher in the world, and KKR announced a new partnership to invest $1 billion in music rights. (BMG that dates back to the 2009 formation of BMG Rights Management, a joint venture of Bertelsmann and KKR. Bertelsmann bought out KKR’s stake in the joint venture in 2013.) In December, the companies acquired rock band ZZ Top’s publishing catalog and recorded music royalties for an undisclosed sum. In a 2021 deal revealed last Friday,  BMG and KKR purchased singer John Legend’s personal share of the copyrights to his compositions as well as his recorded music royalties dating from 2004 to early 2021.

A staggering amount of money has entered the music rights market and made deals in the hundreds of millions and billions of dollars seem commonplace. The last 12 months alone have seen major partnerships, such as investment giant Blackstone backing Hipgnosis Songs Management the tune of $1 billion and Apollo Global Management committing up to $1 billion in funding to Sherrese Clarke Soares’ newly launched HarbourView Equity Partners. Additionally, the inflow of funding means deeper pockets for the like of Primary Wave (through a $375 million investment from Oaktree Capital in June 2021) and Round Hill Music ($86.5 million raised through a stock offering in July 2021) to continue their buying sprees.

Whitney Houston’s ‘I Will Always Love You’ Is Certified Diamond by RIAA

Whitney Houston‘s powerful rendition of Dolly Parton‘s “I Will Always Love You” was certified diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

The RIAA certifies both albums and singles diamond once they have sold and streamed 10 million equivalent units in the United States. Diamond status is the same as 10-times platinum.

The newest accomplishment marks the late icon’s fourth diamond certification. The Bodyguard soundtrack, which “I Will Always Love You” appears on, has gone 18-times platinum. 1985’s Whitney Houston and 1987’s Whitney have also gone diamond. “I Will Always Love You,” however, marks her first diamond single.

Houston is the third female artist to have both a diamond-status single and album, following Mariah Carey and Taylor Swift.

Houston recorded the cover of Parton’s 1974 song for her 1992 film debut, The Bodyguard, in which she plays a pop diva who falls in love with her hired protector, played by Kevin Costner. The song hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 on Nov. 28, 1992, where it spent 14 weeks at the top and moved 3.1 million copies to become the year’s top-selling single in just nine weeks, according to Nielsen Music.

At Houston’s funeral in 2012, “Always” played as her casket left the church.

Listen to “I Will Always Love You” below.

CNCO Talk First Single of 2022 ‘PHA’ on ‘Live With Billboard Latin’: Watch

CNCO has officially kicked off the year with their single “PHA” (an acronym for party, humo y alcohol) out Thursday (Jan. 13) via WK Records/Sony Music Latin.

In their first track of the year that follows “Toa’ La Noche,” their debut single as a quartet group, Christopher Velez, Erick Brian Colon, Richard Camacho and Zabdiel de Jesus bring a new, refreshing sound that’s different from the sugary pop bangers they’ve released in the past.

“We wanted to start off the year doing something different and this song was the correct one for this new era that we’re entering,” Zabdiel tells Billboard during an Instagram Live interview.

“PHA,” produced by HV and Kairo La Sinfonia and written alongside the Latin band, is an infectious pop song full of ’80s retro vibes. A just-as-groovy music video accompanies the track.

“The song is literally about empowering women when they get their heart broken,” Christopher adds. “In the lyrics, we tell her to go out, be confident and live her life.”

CNCO is the latest act to hop on this “espousing experimental pop — often fused with rock, folk, reggaeton, and disco — that turns heads and sets the bar high for what pop tunes can be,” as Billboard described in its Latin Trends to Watch in 2022.

This year, the group promises a lot of new music and collaborations, as well as a few concerts in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.

Watch the music video for “PHA,” followed by our Live With Billboard Latin interview below: