Lauryn Hill And Pras Reunite Onstage (Without Wyclef) At Rock The Bells

We don’t expect to see a full reunion of The Fugees anytime soon (as you may recall, the trio’s 2007 attempt to re-form fizzled), but we were excited to hear about, and disappointed to have missed, the re-teaming of two of the three members on Saturday at the New York City date of the Rock the Bells festival mini-tour. Lauryn Hill was the main-stage headliner, slated to perform The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill start-to-finish (though she only played ten of the album’s thirteen songs?the first nine and then “Everything Is Everything”).

Then Pras took the stage. If this was a planned surprise, it went off perfectly: no one knew beforehand that Pras would be making an appearance. Sowmya Krishnamurthy‘s Village Voice review suggests it may have been genuinely impromptu: “‘This is how Fugees do it. They just show up!’ Hill proclaimed, clearly not thrilled.” She and Pras have had their differences over the years, but under the circumstances, what could Hill do but oblige his request and perform “Ready Or Not” and “Killing Me Softly”? Hill may not have been thrilled, but everyone else on Governor’s Island seemed to be.

Live: Lauryn Hill Gives Her Debut A Makeover At Rock The Bells [Sound of the City]
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Aretha Franklin Sings And Flirts Before Obama’s Labor Day Speech

Aretha Franklin has apparently rebounded completely from last December’s health scare (rumored to be pancreatic cancer) that led to surgery, not to mention death rumors on Twitter. Yesterday morning in Detroit she performed a four-song set?”I Came to Lift Him Up,” “Chain of Fools,” “Moody’s Mood For Love,” and “Respect”?prior to a Labor Day speech by President Barack Obama. Franklin riffed with the band and the crowd throughout, joking, during the last song, “Who do I respect? Well, let’s see. I sure like Denzel. He’s married though. I respect that.” She also shouted out Will Smith, local NAACP President Rev. Wendell Anthony, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, and Rev. Jesse Jackson, and complemented Obama’s “fine, fine stroll,” remarking, “Nobody walks like the brothers.” Her reinvigorated performance is further indication that her hometown set at the DTE Energy Music Theater last month may not be her last headlining show.

Detroit’s WXYZ News has posted the whole performance on YouTube. Watch it below:
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by (@unclegrambo)

The Top 30 Moments That Shaped Beyonce (Also: Happy B’Day, Bey!)

Beyoncé is, without a question, a once-in-a-generation talent. Blessed with a wonderful singing voice, incredible athleticism, striking beauty and, most importantly, an unrivaled competitive spirit, she has established herself as a star of both stage and screen. In honor of her 30th birthday today, we decided to take a look back at the thirty most important moments in Beyoncé’s life that made her the person she is today. Enjoy!

DATE: September 4, 1981
EVENT: Thirty years ago today, Houston resident and aspiring music manager Matthew Knowles and his costume designer wife Tina welcomed a bouncing baby girl into the world, one they named Beyoncé Giselle Knowles. If this had never happened, well, you wouldn’t be reading this list, that’s for sure!

DATE: 1988
EVENT: At the tender age of 7, Beyoncé competed in her very first talent show. She sang a stirring rendition of John Lennon’s “Imagine,” which earned her a standing ovation, a first place prize, and the seething jealousy of the 15- and 16-year-olds she competed against.

DATE: 1990-1991
EVENT: Gaining confidence after her talent show victory, Beyoncé and five other girls were recruited to join a Houston-based group called Girl’s Tyme. It was during this time that she met her future Destiny’s Child group members Kelly Rowland, LaTavia Roberson, and LeToya Luckett (who joined in 1993). After gaining local acclaim, things turned sour after the group unsuccessfully tried out for Star Search. This would mark the first of many times that personality clashes would lead to fractures in Beyoncé’s personal and professional life.

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by (@unclegrambo)

VH1 Exclusive: Rihanna Did NOT Fire Jay-Z As Her Manager!

Late yesterday afternoon, popular gossip mill MediaTakeOut dropped one of their patented “MTO WORLD EXCLUSIVES” claiming that Rihanna has, and we quote, “decided to DROP Jay Z . . . and his RocNation team as her managers.” They cited a “ROCK SOLID INSIDER” who claimed that Rihanna was preparing to part ways with her mentor/svengali J-Hova, citing “FINANCIAL IRREGULARITIES” and insinuating that Beyoncé‘s relationship with Jigga Man was getting in the way of RiRi landing primo endorsement deals.

Well, even though we should’ve left for the Labor Day weekend “HOURS” ago—this writing in “ALL CAPS” thing is kinda fun, we’re going to try it “MORE OFTEN”!—we decided to go straight to the source instead of simply re-reporting unsubstantiated gossip. We reached out to reps at Def Jam who confirmed to us just moments ago that the news is simply “not true.”

Adding weight to this statement is a Tweet that Rihanna herself sent out. It pretty much speaks for itself:

by (@unclegrambo)

Song Of The Summer Countdown: What Was Your Favorite Song Of Summer 2011? (POLL)

[Click here for a larger image]

Sad to say, but the impending arrival of Labor Day weekend means it’s time to put another summer in the books. All summer long, we’ve been keeping a close eye on the race to determine this year’s Song Of The Summer, following how songs have performed in terms of the Billboard Hot 100, iTunes sales, scrobbles, YouTube streams and, of course, our VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown.

We’re going to announce this summer’s winner here on the VH1 Blog on Tuesday, but before we do that, we’d love to find out what YOU, the VH1 audience, felt was this year’s Song Of The Summer. What song did you jam the most on the beach? Which track was blasting when you put your ragtop down so your hair can blow? What jam got you and your friends pumped up for a night out on the town? Vote as many times as you like in our poll below. (Oh, and congrats to You Oughta Know artist Foster The People for being only the third song all summer long to hold the top spot in our countdown with their zeitgeisty smash, “Pumped Up Kicks”!)

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Shearer’s Spotlight: Who Could’ve Predicted These Events Were Going To Happen During The Summer Of 2011?

Each Friday here on the VH1 Blog, our VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown host Jim Shearer (@jimshearer on Twitter) will be sharing his Shearer?s Spotlight with us. Be sure to tune into the Top 20 Countdown tomorrow morning when it airs on VH1 at 9 a.m. ET/PT.

The arrival of Labor Day Weekend marks the unofficial end of summer. With that, here are three things I never expected from the Summer of ?11:

1) ?Party Rock Anthem? to be Summer Anthem of 2011

At the beginning of the summer there wasn?t a clear-cut favorite for the summertime jam of 2011, but I never expected LMFAO?s ?Party Rock Anthem? to dominate the mainstream airwaves like it did. Club hit? Yes. Pop radio hit? Never would?ve thunk it. Sing it together now kids: Everyday I?m shufflin?.

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Last Lap: Thursday’s Odds And Ends In Music News

Wayne’s “Jeggings” Dominate VMA Fashion Talk
Lady Gaga may have dressed in drag (including a fake penis!) but the underdog fashion statement of the Video Music Awards has turned out to be Lil Wayne‘s attire?specifically, the Tripp women’s leopard-print skinny jeans he sported during his show-closing performance of “How To Love” and “John.” As eagle-eyed critics noted, the style is available from East Village boutique Trash and Vaudeville (but also, unsurprisingly, from Hot Topic). Technically, they’re not jeggings, but that hasn’t stopped “Wayne’s Jeggings” from catching on, even as Twitter account @Waynes_Jeggings (naturally, @DrakesSweater also exists). [Us Weekly/Complex]

Altruism Alert: Linkin Park’s Benefit-Show Tsunami-Relief Fundraiser Nets $350K; 50 Cent Does His Part After Festival Set
The Linkin Park tsunami-relief show we reported on last month happened last night, after fans raised over $350,000 for Japan for Relief. [MTV]
50 Cent also played a benefit show (today, in fact) in Norway following his performance at the RxR Festival. He scheduled an aftershow to take place in the ballroom of the Clarion Hotel in Stavanger to raise money for the Utøya Fund, and invited survivors of the Utøya massacre to both shows and a meet-and-greet. (Bet you thought the 50 Cent altruism story was going to be about his appearance on Pauly D‘s album.) [NY Post]
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Marc Anthony To Appear On Nightline To Address Rumors Surrounding His Divorce From Jennifer Lopez

Ever Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez revealed, in a surprising July 15 statement, that they were filing for divorce, rumors have flown like wildfire as to the cause of the rift (often hinting at infidelity on the part of Anthony, and sometimes linking him with HawthoRNe co-star Jada Pinkett Smith). In response to the weeks of speculation, Marc Anthony will be appearing on Nightline to give his side of the story to ABC News’ John Quinones tonight at 11:35PM EDT. In a sneak preview posted by ABC, Anthony denies tabloid reports of infidelity, pointing to the range and improbability of the rumors as further circumstantial evidence of their falsehood. In truth, according to Anthony, “It was a realization on both our parts? It wasn’t shocking. These things happen.” He would not answer directly that he did or did not want a divorce but stated that the decision was “made jointly.” According to Anthony, the two remain friends, and will continue to jointly raise their children and support each other’s careers?or as he put it, simply, “This is not a funeral.”

In the interview he also speaks of his childhood as a Puerto Rican in East Harlem, his Kohl’s clothing line, his and Lopez’s Latin talent show Q’Viva! The Chosen, his partial ownership of the Miami Dolphins, and his longtime Long Island home. As for the newly single Anthony? When asked about romance in his future, he uses a boxing analogy:

That’s like asking a boxer in the twelfth round if he’s going to retire or not. ? He’ll always say, “I’m done. I’m done.” You know what I mean? And then two weeks later is when you ask him.

So give me two weeks.

Nevertheless, he explains, “I’ll always love Jennifer. She knows that.” The full interview airs tonight on ABC.

Marc Anthony: The Truth About His Split From Jennifer Lopez [Nightline]


Justin Bieber To Release An Entire Christmas Album Of New Compositions

When we heard that Justin Bieber would be recording a charity Christmas album, we thought nothing of it, because so many other artists have done the same before him?a trend that we do not expect will die out anytime soon. But when his manager Scooter Braun tweeted yesterday evening that the album was not only completed, but also comprised entirely of original songs, we sat up and took notice.

Original Christmas music has always been a single-driven endeavor, and the vast majority of the canon of non-carol Christmas music was written, and first recorded, in the pre-Beatles era (for lack of a better descriptor). We honestly can’t think of any major single-artist Christmas albums. (In fact, we can think of only three albums that even come close: Celine Dion‘s These Are Special Times, just under half of which was written for the release; Tori Amos‘s Midwinter Graces, which is one-half reworkings of carols and one-half originals; and the Quad City All-Star Christmas, which features holiday songs from all of the Miami bass groups that count producers C.C. Lemonhead and Jay Ski as members.) Partly due to the importance ascribed to the United Kingdom’s Christmas #1 songs, and partly because a deep investment in an album that is unlikely to sell well during three-quarters of the year is not necessarily shrewd, Christmas albums are usually label compilations, or full of covers of jazz standards and traditional songs, or EPs, or any combination of the above.
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Justin Timberlake Joins FreeSol For Surprise Concert At His Restaurant

Justin Timberlake superfans are likely scouring YouTube after having heard about the surprise concert FreeSol performed at Southern Hospitality, the Manhattan barbecue restaurant Timberlake helped launch. Not content to merely be a restaurateur/A&R (he got FreeSol signed to his Interscope imprint Tennman Records and directed their video “Hoodies On, Hats Low”), Timberlake lent his talent on vocals, keyboards, and guitar to the band for several of their songs, including “Don’t Give It Away,” as well as a rendition of Timberlake’s own “What Goes Around…Comes Around.”

Who knew that his invitation to a Free Sol showcase yesterday afternoon would include a performance by JT himself? Perhaps the celebrities in attendance, including Khloe and Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries, as well as Timberlake’s In Time costar Amanda Seyfried. In any case, this appearance was merely a tease for the free (limited to 500 fans) show tonight at Irving Plaza in New York. Yesterday’s impromptu show suggests that Timberlake will also take the stage tonight.

Justin Timberlake’s Surprise Free Show in N.Y.C. Draws Stars [People]

[Image: Getty Images]