Celebrity

Category: Rap

Flavor Flav opens House of Flavor restaurant in Las Vegas

Flavor Flav

Flavor Flav, rapper and reality TV star, has a new takeout restaurant in Las Vegas: Flavor Flav House of Flavor, which held its official grand opening Thursday.

What's on the menu, coming from the Public Enemy member with a degree from culinary school?

"My secret (shhhh) fried chicken recipe. That’s the star," he told Pop & Hiss. "But we have a red velvet waffle too, and everyone goes 'ohhhh' when they hear that. Go on, you can say it."

It's not his first restaurant outing: Flav's Fried Chicken in Iowa was his debut in the biz, but he shut that down when it wasn't being run right. However, he's opening a new FFC in Detroit in April.

The "Flavor of Love" star differentiated the joints in a chat with Business Week: "The name is different. FFC is fried chicken and House of Flavor is, you know, a house of flavor. Both are still by the same person, which is myself."

Flav, who with Chuck D has a new Public Enemy album coming out in August, told Pop & Hiss he could possibly do an updated, "Happy Days"-inspired reality show at the joint some day, but until then, the place is filled with "things showcasing my career, a lot of pictures up of me and my celebrity friends.

"I'll wait until we expand to put all my clocks on the wall."

Yeaaaah boyyyy!

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Heavy D dead at 44; 'the only rapper everybody always loved'

Mark Wahlberg, Donnie Wahlberg opening fast-food joint Wahlburgers

— Christie D'Zurilla
twitter.com/dzurillaville
Christie D'Zurilla on Google+

Photo: Rapper Flavor Flav outside his Flavor Flav House of Flavor Take Out Restaurant in Las Vegas on Wednesday. Credit: Ethan Miller / Getty Images.

 

 


Amber Rose, Wiz Khalifa engaged; 'Love Is Everywhere'

Amber Rose and Wiz Khalifa, and her engagement ring

Amber Rose and Wiz Khalifa are engaged, they announced Wednesday, sharing a photo of the engagement ring for those who like a peek at the bling.

"She Said Yes!!!," the rapper exclaimed on Twitter, following it up later by saying "Love Is Everywhere," as congratulations flowed in.

"He has made me the Happiest Woman in the World!!!!," the singer and model tweeted.

Khalifa, real name Cameron Thomaz, and Rose, who like her beau is from Pittsburgh, have been dating since early 2011 and collaborated on her debut single earlier this year. According to the New York Post, the two met when he requested a pair of sunglasses from her collection.

Rose was previously involved with Kanye West, and in January blamed their 2010 breakup on Kim Kardashian, who had been dating Reggie Bush.

Check out Rose below talking about love, love, love as the Love Doctor for Billboard's the Juice. Hey, she said they'd be getting married!

 

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-- Christie D'Zurilla
twitter.com/dzurillaville
Christie D'Zurilla on Google+

Photo: Wiz Khalifa and Amber Rose arrive at Clive Davis' pre-Grammy Awards party at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Feb. 11. Credit: Kevin Winter / Getty Images


Grammys 2012: Jean Baptiste is excited for friend Chris Brown

Quiet and unassuming, Jean Baptiste — who is nominated alongside the controversial Chris Brown for the rap song award for the triumphant single "Look at Me Now" — walked down the Grammys red carpet Sunday answering questions in hushed, respectful tones.

"That's the biggest thing," he replied when asked if Brown's reemergence center stage at the Grammys, three years after his Grammys weekend assault of then-girlfriend Rihanna, was causing a stir. "Chris Brown is an actual friend of mine and seeing him break through with this song again is wonderful."

So this is huge for both of them, right?

PHOTOS: Grammy Awards 2012 arrivals

"It's one of his biggest singles ever," Baptiste said. "It took on a life of its own."

The creation of the song "was me and Chris in the studio being really goofy and having a great time creating."

What else helped?

"Just a bottle of Jameson's," Baptiste said, smiling shyly.

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— Jessica Gelt


Heavy D dead at 44; 'the only rapper everybody always loved'

Heavy D dead at 44

Hip-hop artist Heavy D died Tuesday after collapsing outside his condo in Beverly Hills, and as the music community and other fans offered condolences, an autopsy was on tap to pin down the 44-year-old's cause of death.

Power producer Russell Simmons on Wednesday remembered his friend, saying in part on the Global Grind, "Rest in peace Heavy, you were the only rapper everybody always loved. You never rapped a mean word about anybody ... you only spread love.  You were truly the overweight lover. You will be greatly, greatly missed."

Heavy D, real name Dwight Arrington Myers, had trouble breathing when he arrived home after a shopping trip, L.A. Now reported. He was conscious when authorities arrived, but died later at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Authorities said that he may have died from complications of pneumonia, with a source telling The Times' Andrew Blankstein the rapper had seen a doctor for a cough in recent days.

PHOTOS: Heavy D | 1967-2011

Toxicology test results related to autopsy will likely come in six weeks, coroner's spokesman Ed Winter said. Though no illegal drugs were found at Myers' condo, he had been prescribed medication recently and "We need to see what's in his system," Winter said.

Beverly Hills police said in a statement that "there are no obvious signs of foul play, and at this time his death is believed to be medically related." Heavy D, who was 6-foot-4, weighed more than 300 pounds when he died, TMZ reported.

News reached the Twittersphere via Grand Master Flash, who wrote "I was just told Heavy D passed away." LL Cool J on Wednesday posted a picture of himself, Simmons and Jalil of Whodini with Myers, when they were "still teenagers on the grind." Lenny Kravitz, Timbaland, Rob Thomas, Flo Rida, MC Hammer and Kerry Washington were only a few of the celebs noting Heavy D's passing.

The Ministry also liked this tweet, from writer Jamilah Lemieux: "Few rappers have been so LOVING in their references to women as Heavy D. Maybe even less so today than ever. That made me love him."

Pop & Hiss has a rundown on Heavy's claims to fame, which began in the 1980s when he headed up hip-hop group Heavy D & the Boyz and later included the song "Now That We Found Love" (hear it below) and, recently, an appearance in the new Brett Ratner film "Tower Heist." He also wrote the theme songs to "MADtv" and "In Living Color," and performed at the Michael Jackson tribute concert in the UK in October.

Heavy D's last message on Twitter? "BE INSPIRED."

 

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-- Christie D'Zurilla and Matt Donnelly

Photo: Heavy D, real name Dwight Arrington Myers, performs at the BET Hip Hop Awards in Atlanta on Oct. 1. Credit: David Goldman / Associated Press

 


T.I. back in prison after luxury-bus ride to halfway house

T.I. used a tour bus to get to a halfway house from prison

T.I. was back in federal custody Friday in Atlanta, having gone back behind bars less than a day after his Wednesday release from federal prison in Arkansas.

Seems the Federal Bureau of Prisons had a problem with the luxury bus used by T.I., born Clifford Harris Jr., to get to the Atlanta halfway house where he was supposed to spend the final month of his 11-month probation-violation sentence.

"We are awaiting the opportunity to quickly resolve whatever the issue may be that the Federal Bureau of Prisons has with T.I.'s method of transportation -- bus -- from Arkansas to Atlanta, so that T.I. can return to the halfway house to complete the remaining days of his sentence," attorney Steve Sadow said in an email to Reuters. Tip's sentence is slated to end Sept. 29.

On Friday, the rapper was still being held in the medium-security U.S. penitentiary in Atlanta, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons' inmate locator. He went in Wednesday night.

Prisoners moving from a low-security facility to a halfway house are allowed to travel via private transportation, unescorted, according to TMZ. Team T.I. reportedly told authorities he'd be riding in a van of some sort, sources told the website, leaving out the minor details that it would be a high-end rap-star tour bus, which he boarded under the watchful lenses of VH1 cameras.

Sadow pointed out that prison officials watched his client board the bus, telling CNN there was no intent to mislead anyone about the ride. No drugs or alcohol were involved, he said.  T.I.'s wife, Tameka "Tiny" Cottle, told TMZ that authorities "walked him over, took pics and told him good luck in life," and should have told them at the time to use a van instead, if the bus was a problem.

RELATED:

T.I. sentenced to 11 months in prison for probation violations

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-- Christie D'Zurilla
Twitter.com/dzurillaville

Photos: T.I., born Clifford Harris Jr., arrives at a Georgia halfway house Wednesday after his release from federal prison in Arkansas. He made the trip to Atlanta, where he's now back in federal custody, in a luxury tour bus, right. Credits: John Amis / Associated Press.

 


Rapper T.I. released from prison early, headed to halfway house

Rapper T.I., real name Clifford Harris Jr.

Rapper T.I., real name Clifford Harris Jr., was released from prison Wednesday a month early, bound for a halfway house in his home state of Georgia from a low-security federal prison in Arkansas where he'd been held after violating federal probation.

"Feels great to be back where I belong ... Back in the arms of those who need me the most," Tip said Wednesday morning on Twitter, shortly after leaving federal prison in Arkansas.

"The storm is over & da sun back out. IT'S OUR TIME TO SHINE SHAWTY!!!!! Welcome to the beginning of our Happy Ending!!!!"

T.I. was sentenced in October 2010 to 11 months in prison for violating his probation on federal weapons charges. An experimental sentence in that case had him touring to talk to kids about the dangers of violence and drugs before serving seven months in prison and doing the halfway-house thing back in 2009. His probation required that he obey all laws and possess no controlled substances.

The rapper and his wife, Tameka "Tiny" Cottle, were arrested a year ago on suspicion of drug possession after a Sept. 1 traffic stop on the Sunset Strip. With the federal probation violation looming for T.I., local prosecutors did not pursue charges against him. Charges against Tiny were also dropped after she completed 24 sessions in a drug-diversion program.

"Those who need me most" include his wife, with whom the "Takers" cast member has two boys and a stepdaughter, and his two sons and a daughter from previous relationships.

Also awaiting T.I. on the outside? A deal with HarperCollins to publish a novel he's written (look for "Power & Beauty" in October) and a VH1 reality show set to air in December, chronicling his return home from prison. He turns 31 on Sept. 25.

RELATED:

T.I. sentenced to 11 months in prison for probation violations

Rapper T.I. and Tameka Cottle get married, and married -- and married again

Rapper T.I. and wife Tiny arrested on drug possession charges in West Hollywood

-- Christie D'Zurilla
Twitter.com/dzurillaville

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo: T.I. in Beverly Hills on Aug. 20, 2010. He was in the L.A. area for the opening of the movie "Takers," in which he appeared. Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times


Soulja Boy? More like Balloon Boy: Rep denies $55-million birthday jet

Soulja Boy hasn't bought a $55 million jet

Soulja Boy? More like Balloon Boy.

A claim that rapper Soulja Boy bought himself a tricked-out Gulfstream G5 jet as a 21st birthday present has turned out to be just that: a claim -- and a false one, a new voice out of the rapper's camp said Friday.

"The elaborate rumors circulating about Soulja Boy purchasing a jet for his 21st birthday are grossly over exaggerated and are not true," spokesman Greg Miller said in a statement. One source told Reuters that the rapper, real name DeAndre Cortez Way, recently used someone's private jet but had no plans to pick up one of his own.

TMZ said Saturday that its exclusive info about the jet buy earlier this week came via Soulja Boy, his assistant and Shai Storm, a member of the rapper's management team. Storm had not responded to multiple inquiries in the wake of Miller's statement, the website said.

The Balloon Boy saga, which unfolded in Colorado in late 2009, turned out to be a hoax perpetrated by the parents of the boy whose life was said to be in danger as he allegedly floated away in an silvery, experimental, UFO-looking balloon. Fortunately, no flight of Soulja Boy's alleged jet ever took place, the nation was not captivated by televised images and the National Guard was never scrambled in response to the report of custom travertine floors and multiple airborne wet bars.

That said, unlike Soulja Boy, a.k.a. "Is That Guy Still Around?," Balloon Boy and his family didn't have a red carpet, pay-per-view birthday party scheduled for later on the evening of their hoax.

Unlike Falcon Heene, a.k.a. "Balloon Boy," the rapper was not hanging out in a box in the attic, playing with toys and taking a nap.

The truth of the story? "Is That Guy Still Around?" turned 21 on Thursday.

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-- Christie D'Zurilla
Twitter.com/dzurillaville

Left photo: Soulja Boy in 2010. Credits: Gus Ruelas / Reuters

Right photo: The landing of Richard Heene's experimental balloon in 2009. Credit: CBS4denver.com / European Pressphoto Agency



Soulja Boy buys a $55 million jet for his 21st birthday

Soulja Boy has bought himself a plane

Soulja Boy turned 21 on Thursday, and like any young working man, he marked the occasion by buying himself a nice birthday present: a tricked-out jet, a Gulfstream G5 with a $55-million price tag. 

The rapper's management confirmed the purchase on Friday, telling TMZ that Soulja Boy added $20 million in upgrades to the plane, base price $35 million.

UPDATE, July 30: Soulja Boy? More like Balloon Boy: Rep denies $55-million birthday jet

How can a person spend $20 million inside an airplane, other than ordering lunch when the flight attendants come around with the food-for-purchase? Think travertine floors, Brazilian hardwood floors, Italian leather seats and -- now that the entertainer is 21 -- four liquor bars.

Oh, add a custom paint job too, with the Soulja Boy logo.

The rapper, who hit big in 2007 with the single "Crank That (Soulja Boy)," is also dropping a reported $300,000 on his birthday party Friday night, but he might make some of that money back. According to his birthday-bash website, fans who pay $2.99 for the pay per view can watch him and his "celebrity friends" show up for and partake in the red-carpet event.

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-- Christie D'Zurilla
twitter.com/dzurillaville

 Photo: Soulja Boy. Credit: Business Wire


Jay-Z, Kanye West leak their new track, 'Otis'

Kanye West and Jay-Z

Jay-Z and Kanye West have something new in the world: The latest cut from their forthcoming "Watch the Throne" album, a tune called "Otis." In it, the two modern-day monarchs of hip-hop step aside to make room for true soul music royalty: Otis Redding.

The sample-driven banger premiered Wednesday on New York radio station Hot 97 FM (97.1), courtesy of DJ Funk Master Flex.

With grainy snare snaps, greasy organ and a stomping floor-tom pulse, the song pays homage to Redding’s gravelly baritone with a sample of "Try a Little Tenderness" while the two titans of braggadocio trade verses that champion street-level cockiness wrapped in the elegance of a three-piece suit.

"Photo shoot fresh, lookin' like wealth/ I'm about to call the paparazzi on myself" Hova raps while Yeezy talks about "writing his curses in cursive." Though the duo's knack for flossing takes precedence over most of the track, Redding's raw power screams through in the final seconds like a rude wakeup call, reminding us that "Watch the Throne" is positioning itself for a chart takeover.

"Otis" follows the Lex Luger-produced "H.A.M.," which made its way to the tweetosphere in January.

The digital version of the album drops Aug. 1, with the physical version out four days later. Take a listen to the track here (there's some strong language -- scroll down for the audio link) then tell us what you think.

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-- Nate Jackson
twitter.com/natejLAT

Photos: Kanye West, left, and Jay-Z. Credits: George Pimentel / Getty Images, left; Andrew Gombert / European Pressphoto Agency, right.


Ja Rule gets 28-month prison sentence on federal tax charges

Ja Rule sentenced in federal tax case

Ja Rule was sentenced Monday to more than two years in prison for failing to file tax returns for three years. The rapper, real name Jeffrey Atkins, had begun a two-year prison sentence in June after pleading guilty to a 2007 weapons-related charge.

"I in no way attempted to deceive the government or do anything illegal," the 35-year-old said minutes before being sentenced in a New Jersey federal court. "I was a young man who made a lot of money -- I'm getting a little choked up -- I didn't know how to deal with these finances, and I didn't have people to guide me, so I made mistakes."

Currently serving the state sentence at Oneida Correctional Facility in upstate New York, Ja Rule appeared in court Monday handcuffed and wearing a yellow jumpsuit.

The majority of the 28-month federal tax sentence can be served at the same time the Grammy nominee is doing New York state prison time, a judge ruled when he was sentenced for attempted criminal weapon possession. Police had found an unlicensed, loaded, semiautomatic weapon in the rapper's Maybach after pulling him over for speeding after a July 2007 concert in New York.

He entered guilty pleas in the state weapons case in December and the federal tax case in March.

Depending on his release date for his New York sentence -- good behavior and the like could take that down to as little as 18 months -- he could serve an additional four to 12 months due to the federal sentence.

Though in the federal case he'd taken the hit for three years of unfiled returns, Ja Rule had admitted blowing that financial obligation for five years, a prosecutor said. He also was ordered to pay $1.1 million in back taxes on more than $3 million earned from 2004 through 2006.

Ja Rule's attorney, Stacey Richman, said her client was a talented high-school dropout who had not had the business prowess to handle sudden fame. In asking the judge for leniency, Ja Rule said he wanted to get back to work as soon as possible.

"My business is very 'out of sight, out of mind,' " the married father of three told the judge. "The longer I'm away, the longer it'll take me to get back to doing what I need to do to actually pay these taxes."

In addition to his music career, Ja Rule has appeared in more than a dozen movies, including "The Fast and the Furious" and "Scary Movie 3."

Assistant U.S. Atty. Joseph Mack had asked the judge not to let him off with no jail time on the federal charges, saying a message had to be sent.

"The court should impose the same sentence it would impose on someone who is not a celebrity," Mack said.

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-- Christie D'Zurilla
Twitter.com/dzurillaville

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo: Ja Rule leaves court in New York in December after pleading guilty to attempted criminal possession of a weapon stemming from a July 2007 arrest. Credit: Seth Wenig / Associated Press



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