Lil Nas X breaks chart record for longest No. 1 streak
Lil Nas X is riding his horse into the record books! On July 29, the newcomer's hit single "Old Town Road" featuring Billy Ray Cyrus charted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for the 17th consecutive week, breaking its 16-week-streak tie with two other hit tracks — Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men's "One Sweet Day" (which topped the chart in 1995 and 1996) and Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee's "Despacito" remix with Justin Bieber (which did it in 2017) — to become the longest running No. 1 on the chart ever. Mariah took to Twitter to congratulate the young star for dethroning her with his rap-country hit, urging him to "keep living your best life!"
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A$AP Rocky charged with assault after Sweden brawl
A$AP Rocky spent three weeks in a Swedish jail cell following his July 3 arrest in Stockholm before he was finally charged with assault on July 25. On July 29, his trial began. The rapper and two other men allegedly kicked a man and beat him with a glass bottle during a late-June altercation, according to Swedish public prosecutor Daniel Suneson. The rapper, whose Swedish lawyer has denied reports that the music star was dealing with "inhumane conditions" in lockup, has professed his innocence and pleaded not guilty, claiming that he was acting in self defense. He faces two years behind bars if convicted.
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Harry Styles in talks to play Prince Eric in "Little Mermaid" remake
Harry Styles might soon be trading in the stage for the sea. The "Dunkirk" actor and pop star is reportedly in early negotiations to play Prince Eric in the upcoming "The Little Mermaid" live-action film. Chloe X Halle singer Halle Bailey has already been cast as Ariel and Melissa McCarthy is in talks to play Ursula.
Jury finds Katy Perry hit copied Christian rap song
On July 29 after two days of deliberations, a nine-member federal jury in Los Angeles unanimously decided that Grammy-nominated "Dark Horse" — the hit 2013 song from Katy Perry written by the pop star, sister Sarah Hudson, guest rapper Juicy J and producers Dr. Luke, Max Martin and Cirkut — copied elements of "Joyful Noise," a Christian rap song released by Marcus Gray under the stage name Flame. A penalty phase will next determine how much which defendants, which also include record labels, owe for copyright infringement.
Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift are top MTV VMA nominees
Ariana Grande and Taylor Swift are the top nominees for this year's MTV Video Music Awards, which air on Aug. 26, with 10 nods each, MTV announced on July 23. Lil Nas X is close behind with eight nominations for his hit single "Old Town Road" while newcomer Billie Eilish scored nine.
Meek Mill's 2008 conviction overturned
Meek Mill's 2008 conviction on drug and gun charges was overturned on July 24 by a three-judge panel. A Pennsylvania appeals court decided that the rapper would likely be acquitted if the case was retried, due to the testifying officer's history of misconduct. "The past 11 years have been mentally and emotionally challenging, but I'm ecstatic that justice prevailed," Meek said in a statement. "Unfortunately, millions of people are dealing with similar issues in our country and don't have the resources to fight back like I did. We need to continue supporting them." The rapper was supported in his request by the Philadelphia District Attorney's office, but they have yet to decide whether they will retry him.
Taylor Swift named world's highest paid celebrity
Move over, Kylie Jenner! On July 10, Forbes named Taylor Swift the world's highest paid celebrity, revealing that the pop star had beat the cosmetics queen (who comes in at No. 2 this year, one spot ahead of brother-in-law Kanye West at No. 3) thanks to an estimated $185 million in pre-tax earnings, much of which came from her "Reputation" world tour.
R. Kelly pleads not guilty to federal charges, denied bail
R. Kelly pleaded not guilty to 13 federal charges involving crimes including child pornography and obstruction of justice at a Chicago court hearing on July 16. He was ordered held without bail. The embattled singer's attorney, Nicole Blank, told reporters that the music star is reportedly "happy" to be in solitary confinement because he fears for his life in the general population.
Aretha Franklin's sons in legal dispute over her estate
Aretha Franklin's sons are battling it out in court over her estate. Teddy White Jr., Aretha's son with first husband Teddy White, requested that a judge put a stop to half-brother Kecalf Franklin's request to remove the current personal representative so he can take over Aretha's estate himself. Instead, Teddy wants the the judge to appoint him as co-personal representative of the estate, along with current personal rep Sabrina Owens (Aretha's niece), according to court documents obtained on July 21. Kecalf claims that Sabrina is mismanaging Aretha's property and assets and has failed to keep the music legend's heirs informed.
Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr reunite at L.A. show as Paul works on musical
Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr took fans back to the '60s when they reunited during the final stop of Paul's "Freshen Up" world tour in Los Angeles on July 13. The former Beatles stars performed "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)" and "Helter Skelter," two of the band's most popular songs. One week later, Paul McCartney announced that he is nearly finished composing songs for the upcoming stage adaptation of "It's a Wonderful Life. The musical is scheduled to premiere in 2020.
Stevie Wonder to undergo kidney transplant in September
Stevie Wonder revealed that he will be having a kidney transplant in September. The Motown legend opened up about the impending surgery during his performance at the British Summer Time Hyde Park music festival in England on July 7. "So what's gonna happen is this: I'm going to have surgery. I'm going to have a kidney transplant in September of this year," Stevie said. "You ain't got to hear no rumors about nothing. I told you what's up — I'm good."
JAY-Z joins cannabis industry, announces partnership with Caliva
JAY-Z is expanding his business portfolio. The hip-hop mogul will serve as the chief brand strategist at Caliva, one of the largest cannabis companies in California, he announced on July 9. In his new job, Jay will play "a crucial role driving creative direction, outreach efforts and strategy for the brand."
Whitney Houston lands first Hot 100 single in 10 years
Whitney Houston is once again a chart-topping artist. The late singer's posthumous song "Higher Love" featuring Kygo entered the Hot 100 charts at No. 63 on July 8. Whitney's estate gifted Kygo with an archival recording of the song, which was previously a Japan-only track on her 1990 album "I'm Your Baby Tonight."
Rihanna's Diamond Ball to return in September
Rihanna is once again shining bright like a diamond. The Barbadian singer's Diamond Ball will return on Sept. 12, RiRi announced on July 19. "Our 5th Annual #DIAMONDBALL is just 2 months away!!!" she captioned a photo on her Instagram. Pharrell will perform and Seth Meyers has signed on to host the charity event, which benefits the Clara Lionel Foundation.
Art Neville (pictured), who sang with the Neville Brothers and was a founding member of funk band The Meters, died on July 23 at 81. South African singer Johnny Clegg, who broke racial barriers with his performances during apartheid, died on July 16 after battling pancreatic cancer. He was 66. Russell Smith, singer and co-founder of roots-rock band Amazing Rhythm Aces, died on July 12 after a cancer diagnosis. He was 70. Joao Gilberto, one of the originators of bossa nova music, died from natural causes at his home in Rio de Janeiro on July 6. He was 88.
Beyonce releases new "Lion King"-inspired album
On July 19, Beyonce released "The Lion King: The Gift," a 27-track album inspired by the 2019 live-action remake in which she plays Nala. "This soundtrack is a love letter to Africa, and I wanted to make sure we found the best talent from Africa," she said in a "Good Morning America" interview. "I wanted to be authentic to what is beautiful about music in Africa." Queen Bey executive produced the project, which features A-list artists like husband JAY-Z, Pharrell Williams, Childish Gambino and Kendrick Lamar as well as international stars from Nigeria, Ghana, Jamaica and more.