Just when you thought 2004 was a year full of so-so releases with a few random bright spots…Boom! Our ears were flooded with so much good stuff that all of sudden a Top 20 list became a serious challenge. But here we have it – our picks for the year’s best – The Glide 20 of 2004.
Jay-Z — artist, producer and entrepreneur — has been named president and CEO of Def Jam Recordings. He will report directly to Antonio “LA” Reid, chairman of the Island Def Jam Music Group. Based in IDJ’s New York offices, Jay-Z will officially take his new post on Jan. 3.
Jay-Z (real name: Shawn Carter), will continue to run his record company Roc-a-Fella. IDJ recently bought the remaining 50% stake in the label from Jay-Z and his business partners Damon Dash and Kareem “Biggs” Burke.
Over nearly a decade the Roc-a-Fella brand has spawned other ventures, including the Roca Wear clothing line, films including “Fade to Black” and “State Property,” the 40/40 nightclub and a Reebok sneaker line.
“After 10 years of successfully running Roc-a-Fella. Shawn has proven himself to be an astute businessman, in addition to the brilliant artistic talent that the world sees and hears,” said Reid in a statement. “I can think of no one more relevant and credible in the hip hop community to build upon Def Jam’s fantastic legacy and move the company into its next groundbreaking era.”
“I have inherited two of the most important brands in hip-hop, Def Jam and Roc-a-Fella,” says Jay-Z. “I feel this is a giant step for me and the entire artistic community.”
Jay-Z announced his “retirement” as an artist after the release of “The Black Album” (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam), which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. But retirement hasn’t been easy for the superstar — as previously reported, his mash-up collaboration “MTV Ultimate Mash-Ups Presents Jay-Z/Linkin Park: Collision Course” (Warner Bros.) debuts at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 this week.
R&B/hip-hop artists reigned supreme last night at the Billboard Music Awards, where Usher walked away the big winner with 11 trophies. Alicia Keys netted seven awards during the ceremony at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena, with OutKast grabbing five and Kanye West four.
Usher, who opened the Fox broadcast with a performance of “Bad Girl,” was named as the overall artist of the year, and took that honor in Billboard 200, Hot 100 and R&B/hip-hop categories. His Arista release “Confessions” was named The Billboard 200 and R&B/hip-hop album of the year, while his single “Yeah!” featuring Lil Jon and Ludacris was named the Hot 100 single of the year.
Introduced by Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder was honored with Billboard’s highest honor, the Century Award, while Destiny’s Child was recognized with the special Artist Achievement Award, presented by the members of Earth, Wind & Fire.
Diana Ross paid tribute to Wonder, performing pieces of “My Cherie Amour,” “I Just Called To Say I Love You” and “For Once in My Life,” while Mary J. Blige turned out a rendition of “As” and Destiny’s Child contributed a version of “Livin’ for the City.”
The band vamped to the strains of “Higher Ground” as Wonder ascended the stage, hugging Jones and others, then surprised and delighted the packed arena by singing the chorus and prompting the band to pick up the beat again. “I
Lennon, the upcoming musical built around the songs of John Lennon, will feature a pair of his unreleased works. Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono granted the show’s writer and director Don Scardino permission to use “India India” and “I Don’t Want to Lose You” during a recent meeting.
“We were going over the calendar and talking about how the show was moving forward when suddenly out of the blue she said, ‘You know, I have these songs that might be perfect,'” Scardino says. “Of course I was jumping out of my skin with the possibility, but casually I said, ‘Oh sure, that sounds good.'”
“India India” was written during the Beatles’ famed 1968 trip to meet with the Maharishi. “It’s about coming to India and trying to follow his heart, but knowing that his heart was really back in England where his love waited,” Scardino says. “I guess he didn’t release it at the time because it would have blown the lid off his feelings for Yoko. His [first] wife [Cynthia] was with him. It’s a beautiful, lilting sort of melody — really pretty.”
Lennon recorded a piano-and-vocals demo of “I Don’t Want to Lose You” late in his solo career. “At one point, Yoko suggested it for the reconstituted Beatles’ Anthology stuff, along with ‘Real Love’ and ‘Free as a Bird,'” says Scardino, “but they couldn’t get a clean track out of it.”
A gunman stormed the stage during a heavy metal concert in Columbus, Ohio, on Wednesday night, firing at the band and audience and killing four people before a police officer shot and killed him, police said.
One of the dead was guitarist “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott, 38, of the band Damageplan. The gunman also wounded two people.
Columbus police identified the suspect as Nathan Gale, 25, of nearby Marysville but said they had no information about a motive or possible connection to the band.
The man was “targeting members in the band,” Columbus police Sgt. Brent Mull said.
Before the gunman was shot, police said, he grabbed a hostage and fired into the crowd. It was unclear what happened to the hostage.
The attack came shortly after Damageplan began its performance at the Alrosa Villa nightclub on Columbus’ north end.
One of the wounded is in critical condition, and the other is hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries, police said. Two others were hurt and treated at the scene, although the nature of their injuries was not clear.
The gunman initially shot the band’s guitarist, Abbott, witnesses said.
He and his brother, Vinnie Paul Abbott, 40, formed Damageplan after Pantera — a group they formed in the 1980s — broke up last year. Their father is Jerry Abbott, a country and western songwriter and producer.
Police were notified of the shooting around 10:18 p.m., Mull said. A uniformed police officer who was near the scene slipped into the venue from a back entrance, confronted the gunman during the rampage and killed him, authorities said.