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Ruben Studdard Talks 'Idol'; Wants Diddy To Replace Simon Cowell

A lot has changed on American Idol since Ruben Studdard became the second winner 7 years ago. The R&B crooner aka “velvet teddy bear” says his season didn’t have the luxury of a live band nor did he get to meet Ellen DeGeneres or Kara DioGuardi as judges. In addition, the show’s ratings then were on the rise, unlike this season’s 10% decrease with critics blaming lackluster talent.

“It always makes me laugh when people say the show isn’t as good,” Studdard tells VIBE. “People forget that performers progress as the season goes on. Everybody turns into an artist literally at the last three weeks before the end so I don’t make any comments until I see who’s on the top of the class."

So far Studdard is betting on guitar strumming Casey James, but he's aware of comparisons drawn between he and Michael Lynche. "It’s not because we sound alike,” says Studdard with a chuckle, "I think people just compare us because he’s a big Black guy and I’m a big Black guy."

Another change will be Simon Cowell’s departure when the year is over⎯an upset that Studdard admits will drastically change the show.

“The show will be very different without Cowell, but they have to move on,” says Studdard.

While Idol producers are entertaining the possibility of Howard Stern taking the reigns, Mr. Velvet Teddy Bear has his own idea of who would be a good choice. “Diddy would be a good fit because he has that no nonsense attitude when he’s picking artists but it’s still going to be a hard spot to fill,” he says.

Studdard, who’s latest single "Don’t Make 'Em Like U No More" is still climbing R&B charts, is currently working on his fifth album. It’s in the early stages but he’s pushing for a fourth quarter release, and he still maintains faith that the show where he got his start will help birth more future stars. “As long as America wants to have a part in making people's dreams come true, the show will go on.” ⎯Starrene Rhett

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Kanye West Says He’s Giving G.O.O.D. Music Artists Back What He Owns Of Their Masters

After nearly two weeks of speaking out against Universal Music Group and Sony/ATV, Kanye West has promised to do his part to help artists on his G.O.O.D. Music label imprint.

“I’m giving all Good music artist[s] back the 50% share I have of their masters,” West tweeted on Wednesday (Sept. 23). Big Sean, who signed with West’s label more than a decade ago, thanked West for the gesture.

Thank you!!! This would help so much 🙏🏾 https://t.co/6yR3fAKlwB

— Sean Don (@BigSean) September 23, 2020

The move comes as West spoke with Billboard to further discuss his plans to “free artists” from oppressive record deals.

“The desired effect will only be achieved when every artist owns their masters,” said West. “I’m Team ‘Free Artists.’ I’m committed to doing whatever is necessary so artists own their own copyrights. The response is awesome because everyone knows this is a broken system that needs to be fixed. Currently, artists take advances to make records and yet when they repay those advances the record company still owns the records.”

West said that he is in talks with Universal, and their parent company Vivendi, but reiterated that he wants to fix “everyone’s situation,” along with his own. “My brand and influence goes way beyond just music and that of course is meaningful to Vivendi, as it is to Adidas and many other conglomerates. If that helps me be able to help free all artists, of course I’m going to use it,” West explained.

“You only need to look back to the early days of the record companies and see how predatory they were,” he continued. “Old execs admit it. The contracts are almost the same now. The shape, the terminology... And yet, in that time we moved to a completely digital age. Has the attitude of the labels and the structure in which our music moves on our side changed to that degree? No, it has not. You’re locked in; once you’re locked in you can ask no questions.”

Despite his feelings on UMG and Sony/ATV, West hasn’t closed the door on working with the label giants in the future. “I will work with anyone who treats artists fairly and righteous. They do that , I will partner with them in bringing music to life. I will redesign the whole process.”

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Former Louisville Cop Brett Hankison Charged, But Not For Killing Breonna Taylor

Former and current officers from the Louisville Metro Police Department, Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison, and Myles Cosgrove, were facing potential indictments for killing Breonna Taylor, but only one was charged in connection with the case, Louisville Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced on Wednesday (Sept. 23).

The grand jury opted to indict Hankison, who was fired from the department in June, on three counts of wanton endangerment in the first degree for firing recklessly and endangering neighbors on the night of Taylor’s murder. Hankison was not charged for her death. If convicted on all three charges, he faces a maximum of 15 years in prison.

Cameron stated that he spoke with Taylor’s mother, Jenaya Palmer ahead of the announcement. He called the 26-year-old emergency room tech’s death a “tragedy,” before revealing “facts” in the case, which concluded that all of the officers acted lawfully.

“There was no video or body camera footage of the officers’ attempted execution of a search warrant at Ms. Taylor’s residence. Video footage begins at the point that area patrol officers arrive at the location. And therefore, the sequence of events from March 13th had to be pieced together through ballistics evidence, 911 calls, police radio traffic, and interviews,” said Cameron, who denied that police were executing a no-knock warrant in the early morning hours of March 13. Louisville moved to ban no-nock warrant’s after Taylor’s death.

Mattingly, Cosgrove and Hankison were called on as “extra personnel” during the raid on Taylor’s home, and only had information that was “conveyed” during a prior briefing, according to Cameron. Another unnamed officer filed the warrant.

“Evidence shows that officers both knocked and announced their presence at the apartment. The officer’s statement about their announcement are corroborated by an independent witness who was near in proximity to [Taylor’s apartment],” continued Cameron. “In other words, the warrant was no served as a ‘no-knock warrant.’ When officers were unable to get anyone to answer or open the door the decision was made to breach the door.”

Mattingly was the “first and only officer” to enter the residence, where he saw two people (Taylor and her boyfriend Kenneth Walker), Cameron said. Both Taylor and Walker were unaware that police were raiding the residence and were sleeping prior to being woken up by the commotion. Mattingly observed Walker in a “shooting stance” and was shot in the upper thigh, Cameron said.

“Seargent Mattingly returned fire down the hallway. Mattingly fired six shots. Almost simultaneously, Detective Cosgrove also in the doorway, shot 16 times. This all took place in a matter of seconds,” Cameron said. “In total, six bullets struck Ms. Taylor. Medical evidence obtained by our team indicates that only one shot was fatal.” Cameron added that Crossgrove fired the fatal shot and that Taylor died within seconds. However, Walker told authorities that Taylor struggled to breathe for at least five minutes. She went untreated for more than 20 minutes.

“I think it is worth repeating again our investigation found that Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified in their use of force after having been fired upon by Kenneth Walker,” Cameron reiterated.

Cameron does not plan to release the grand jury indictment. When asked about the racial breakdown of his team he replied, “Well I’m Black. And I speak for the entire department.”

Benjamin Crump, one of the attorney’s representing Taylor’s family called the charges “outrageous and offensive to her memory.” Read his full statement below.

Today’s indictment is outrageous and offensive to Breonna Taylor’s memory, yet another example of no accountability for police. Full statement: (1 of 2) pic.twitter.com/pmurOrV5My

— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) September 23, 2020

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Bryson Tiller Announces Deluxe Edition Of ‘Trapsoul’ Debut

Ahead of the release of his highly anticipated new album, Bryson Tiller is giving fans another chance to fall deeper in love with Trapsoul. The Grammy-nominated singer announced that he will be releasing a deluxe version of his debut album to streaming service this Friday (Sept. 25).

The deluxe edition will feature fan favorites “Just Another Interlude” and “Self Righteous,” Tiller tweeted on Tuesday (Sept. 22). “Before we get into my new album, I wanna celebrate with this special edition of my debut album, 'Trapsoul.' Featuring a few songs that didn’t quite make the cut.”

before we get into my new album, I wanna celebrate with this special edition of my debut album, Trapsoul. Featuring a few songs that didn’t quite make the cut. Y’all asked for these on All Platforms and they’ll finally be yours this Friday. thank you! pic.twitter.com/8MJ5rC5jYB

— tiller (@brysontiller) September 23, 2020

Released in 2015, Tiller’s debut album put him on the map, and earned a Billboard Music Awards nomination for Top R&B Album. The triple platinum release, lead single “Don’t” cracked the Top 20 on the Billboard singles charts becoming his highest charting solo effort to date.

Earlier in the month, Tiller released the music video for his song “Inhale” which samples Mary J. Blige’s “Not Gon' Cry.” The end of the video reveals that Tiller’s new album will drop sometime this fall.

Watch “Inhale” below.

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