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Crooked I Announces He’s Left Slaughterhouse: “That Group Ain’t Rapping No More”

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West Coast rapper Kxng Crooked a.k.a. Crooked I is going to greener pastures. The hip-hop veteran has announced his departure from rap crew Slaughterhouse nearly 10 years after forming.

In a new video, Crooked revealed his main motivation for parting ways with the four-man group is because the crew is no longer rapping.

“Peace y’all. I got a public service announcement. I’m no longer a part of Slaughterhouse. I’m no longer a part of that collective. It ain’t no beef. It’s all love. I wish them dudes nothing but success. I mean that. It ain’t no problems with Shady. Paul. Em. Tracy. Mark. Everybody. I love them. What they do for me and what they continue to do for me, I’m very appreciative. I’ve been sober for two years and let me tell you a secret. Sober Crooked likes to rap. That group ain’t rapping no more. That’s fine. It was fun while it lasted. Glass House? I have no clue. All I can tell you is it exists. If it come out, I’ll retweet it. Other than that, it’s all love. Everybody who supported me in Slaughterhouse, thank-you. Hope you continue to support me as I continue to do what I love. I’ll have some more bars for y’all to bust down soon. Peace.”

A couple years ago, Slaughterhouse’s Joell Ortiz spoke to SOHH about the group planning to come together and discuss their future.

“Right now it’s about “That’s Hip-Hop.” I know Royce Da 5’9 has his [Layers] project. And we all said we would get back together in May to listen to the album we have finished, see if we want to do touch ups and see if we want to move forward with that. So as of right now, that’s what it looks like. Me, Royce and then Slaughterhouse getting back together. Be on the lookout. I don’t have any announcements but that’s what we all spoke about.” (SOHH)

Back in 2014, Slaughterhouse’s Joe Budden talked about the group’s delayed Glass House album.

RELATED STORIES FROM SOHH.COM

“We’re about 75, 80 percent to where we want to be,” Budden said in an interview. “I think when the album comes out, a lot of people will be shocked of the caliber of music on this particular body of work. I feel like not only us as artists go somewhere we haven’t explored as a collective in quite some time but the synergy in the music – Just Blaze executive produced the album and he created a slaughterhouse of producers. So the synergy that him and J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League and Cardiak and illMind and araab [muzik] had together, I think everybody in there just locked down for two months and inspired each other and the music reflects that.” (VIBE)

In 2012, producer Just Blaze dished on his involvement on the long-awaited release.

“I’m producing the Slaughterhouse album right now,” the veteran producer said. “And my thing with that album is that I didn’t want it to be an album full of them trying to out-rap each other. I wanted them to actually be together during a majority of the process of the album as a group and just make things a little bit more rounded.” (XXL Mag)

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VH1 Divas Live at 20: A Look Back at the Major Music Moment That Almost Never Happened

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Gloria. Shania. Celine. Mariah. Aretha.

No, we’re not announcing our nominations for America’s Mount Rushmore of Music—although, all we can think about now is who we have to petition to make this happen. As music fans of a certain generation will certainly recall, these five legends, no last names needed, were the trailblazers that VH1 called upon when launching their most cherished live music franchise, VH1 Divas.

Twenty years ago this month at the Beacon Theatre in New York City, Shania Twain, Gloria Estefan, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey and Aretha Franklin came together like some sort of musical Avengers to deliver a live concert the likes of which had never really been seen on TV. And it was one that producer Ken Ehrlich says was born out of failure.

“We had been doing a series of shows for them called VH1 Honors. And those shows were really great shows…A lot of the combinations that have come to be called Grammy Moments, I did a lot of those on those shows. But they never quite found an audience,” the famed producer told E! News over the phone. “They were amazing shows, they were great live events…VH1 basically said ‘We’re probably not gonna do any more of those, how do we change it?’ There was a meeting and I don’t remember exactly who came up with it, but I know it was a time when female performers were really beginning to emerge as a dominant force in music. I had already worked with…all of the artists on that show. It was just kind of organic, ‘Hey, why don’t we just grab and put a number of them together and build a show around female artists?’ And that’s how it started.”

Of course, convincing five of music’s biggest names to set egos aside and share the stage with one another is no easy feat, however Erlich admitted that the linchpin to the entire evening was the Queen of Soul herself, Ms. Franklin. “Obviously, the magnet for the first one…was Aretha,” he said. “They all had a respect. Aretha was a generation earlier. Every one of those women had a love and a respect and wanting to be on the same stage as Aretha, so I think if there was anything that put it over it was that we were doing it with Aretha.”

“Well, it was an honor to be a part of it,” Twain recalled. “The running list was outstanding and I admired everybody on the show, so it was a no-brainer really to want to be part of it and to feel privileged to be part of it.”

Of course, when it came time to program and produce the show, an evening that saw each of the five women take the stage alone at certain points before teaming up for a few duets and, finally, a massive group performance of “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” there was some political maneuvering to be done. “It’s not rocket science. It is a negotiation and it is kind of dealing with egos, but again, by the time we did that show, I had worked with most, if not all of them, several times,” Ehrlich said. “So you begin to build a trust in them and it’s easier.”

That trust wasn’t enough to keep rehearsals from running smoothly, however. In fact, the woman responsible for bringing the whole night together was also the reason the centerpiece of the special almost didn’t happen. Ehrlich convinced Franklin to do the special after she stepped in last minute at the 40th Annual Grammy Awards two months prior to replace Luciano Pavarotti with a performance of “Nessun dorma.” 

“The one thing she said to me was, ‘I’ll do the show, and I love you Ken.’ But when we did the show at Radio City, there was a little thing about air conditioning with her. The air had to be off. And she kept saying to me, ‘I’ll come to The Beacon, I’ll do it. But I need that air conditioning off,'” he revealed. “So we literally, I had a guy standing by in the basement of the Beacon who was there to make sure that the air conditioning didn’t get turned on when Aretha Franklin came to rehearse.”

“Anyway, she came to the stage. The person who was guarding the air conditioning unit either took a break or was doing something. Someone turned the air on. And she didn’t feel it, but she heard it go on from the stage in the Beacon Theatre. And the next thing I know, she’s walking out and she’s saying, ‘I’ll be at my hotel. I’ll see you on Sunday,'” Ehrlich continued. “And I had her ready to do duets with several of the other artists, OK? So now here’s a Divas show, or a continuation of the kind of shows that I do, where the premise of the show is collaboration. You want to see these people together. And Aretha’s now telling me she’s not going to sing with anyone, she’s just going to be on her own…We didn’t call the show Divas for nothing.”

Franklin ultimately relented, performing not only in the final group number, but also singing with Carey on “Chain of Fools.” But it didn’t happen before some serious attempts at a Plan B were devised. With Carole King, who co-wrote “…Natural Woman,” on hand, Ehrlich hatched a plan. “I wanted to do ‘…Natural Woman’ whether Aretha was going to do it or not. Then I had hopes that Aretha would ultimately decide to come back and be a part of it. But in the meantime…I said to Celine, who I knew well, and I went to [Dion’s late husband] Rene [Angelil] and I said, ‘I want to do ‘…Natural Woman’ with Celine, Carole—I want to do it with all the women if I can. Is Celine up for doing it?’ And Celine, she’s always been fearless. She said, ‘Absolutely.’ So I said, ‘Let’s rehearse it with Celine, Carole, I didn’t have Shania then…Mariah was not there. But I rehearsed it with Celine’s back-up singers, Celine, Gloria and Carole King and blocked it. And we did it, we put it on stage right then and there.”

With a network that didn’t even want the song to be performed in the first place—”Someone at VH1 said, ‘No, we don’t want to do that. That’s old,'” Ehrlich recalled—and half of its performers not attached to perform, let alone rehearse, until the day of show, Ehrlich was cutting it close. But he stuck to his guns—and it paid off. “If you watched it, you saw, it was amazing. It’s like the centerpiece of the show. So, we rehearsed it, it was amazing, we did it on the show and it was a thrill for everybody there.”

While Ehrlich was struggling to keep his Divas in line, Twain was focusing on some diva behavior of her own, only hers was of the hirsute variety. “I wanted to indulge in the diva moment, so I went for the big hair. And I had a lot of fun with that. I wanted the hair bigger, as big as it could get,” she recalled. “It was a change to play with the diva moment that I was in. I don’t consider myself a diva as far was whatever people consider the classic diva, but I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m just going to indulge in this and have fun and have really big hair tonight.'”

In fact, that was the only diva behavior she could recall. “There’s no drama to report. People expected there to be drama because it was a diva thing, but it pulled us all together and we all did our thing,” Twain reminisced. “We all represented our own place in music history that night.”

For Ehrlich, who would go on to produce several more VH1 Divas specials for the network as the franchise grew in popularity, that first night may not even stand out as the best. “As good as that one was, the next couple were just as good,” he remarked, alluding to the following year’s lineup that included Whitney Houston, Cher and Tina Turner and the 2000 tribute to Diana Ross that saw Carey return and an emerging girl group take the stage for a performance Ehrlich won’t soon forget.

“And you forgot a very important act in that show, because I’ll never forget it, was Destiny’s Child,” he said when we failed to note Beyoncé‘s former group during our conversation. “It might’ve been the first time, I think I might’ve worked with them before that. But that was their emergence and they just idolized Diana. That turned out to be a good show, too.”

When asked who he’d turn to for a 2018 version of VH1 Divas, Ehrlich is quick with a list. “Now you’re gonna get me in trouble. I like singers. To me, the most important element of any of these shows is really the ability to sing,” he said. “We’ve done a number of things with Andra Day. I love Andra Day. I love Demi [Lovato.] I love Alessia Cara‘s amazing. We just had some really good experiences with Kesha…Maybe you can build it around someone. Maybe there’s an iconic artist that you want to honor that again acts as a magnet that brings everyone together. But I don’t know that that’s necessary.”

It’s been six years since a non-holiday themed Divas graced VH1’s airwaves—2012’s program was a celebration of dance music that also paid tribute to Houston and Donna Summer, who’d died earlier that year—but the legacy of that inaugural evening in the franchise lives on today.

“It occurs to me that that was the beginning of a great movement for women in music. I’ve always enjoyed working with female artists and have pretty much all my life. But if you think of what grew out of that,” Ehrlich notes. “By the way, there were naysayers too. There were people that said, ‘Why do you have to put all women together?’ Well, I think what this turned out to be was pop music was a male dominated art form up until that point…Women didn’t dominate the scene until around the time we started doing these shows. And from that moment on, I think it was a sea change in terms of the perception of this being a male-oriented business. That to me…was anthemic. It really was. That basically broke the mold.”

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Michael J. Fox Recovering From Spinal Surgery ''Unrelated'' to Parkinson's Disease

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Michael J. Fox recently underwent spinal surgery, a rep for the actor announced Friday. 

The procedure was “unrelated” to his Parkinson’s disease, his spokesperson Leslie Sloane confirmed to E! News. “He is recovering, feeling great, and looking forward to getting back on the golf course this summer.” 

Fox recently cancelled an appearance scheduled for the last week of April at the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo in Canada. At the time, the event cited “unforeseen circumstances” for the reason behind his absence. 

The 56-year-old actor made an appearance on Good Morning America earlier this month, where he opened up about his role on Designated Survivor and the recent work of the Michael J. Fox Foundation. 

He shared the advice he gives to people also suffering from Parkinson’s Disease, saying, “That’s the key. I always drive the point home: We are the answer we’re looking for. We have the answers within us somewhere. We need to find a way to identify the disease before symptoms ever exist. People say ‘Is there a cure?’ There’s not a cure, we have a lot of questions to answer before then, but we’re answering them.”

Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at the age of 29, but did not go public with his health struggle until eight years later in 1998. 

Wishing Michael the speediest of recoveries! 

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Rachel Weisz and Daniel Craig Spotted for First Time Amid Pregnancy News

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Photos of Rachel Weisz and Daniel Craig walking in New York City this week have surfaced following their pregnancy announcement.

The Oscar-winning actress shared the exciting baby news in a New York Times interview, published Friday. “I’ll be showing soon,” she said. “Daniel and I are so happy. We are going to have a little human.”

Photos show the happy couple walking around NYC together on April 18, just two days before the pregnancy announcement was made. Weisz was seen wearing a bright red cap while she hid her baby bump with a long navy trench coat, white top, and black boots. The 007 star went for a more casual look in a Champion hoodie, green bomber, black sweatpants, grey trainers, and a beanie. 

Weisz is already mom to Henry Aronofsky, 11, who she shares with former partner, director Darren AronofskyMeanwhile, Craig is also already father to daughter Ella Craig, 25, with his ex-wife, Scottish actress Fiona Loudon

The British stars started dating in 2010 and then tied the knot in June the following year. They’ve been together now for seven years, but it wasn’t always in Weisz’s plans to get married to the actor. 

“I never thought I would get married,” Weisz told The Evening Standard. “It was not an ambition of mine. It was the opposite.”

Don’t miss E! News every weekday at 7 and 11 p.m.

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Wiz Khalifa Finally Unrolls Rolling Papers 2 Album Release Date

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Taylor Gang leader Wiz Khalifa is going to make it a smokey summer. The hip-hop star has announced the release date for a long-awaited Rolling Papers 2 album.

Wizzy went to his Instagram Live this week to break the news of his July drop plans.

This week, Khalifa is celebrating National Smoke Day with his “420 Freestyle” banger.