It’s Official: L.A. Reid Names Mark Shimmel COO of Epic

By Shirley Halperin, The Hollywood Reporter, with Billboard staff

reposted by Teddy Bishop

As projected by Billboard back in November, Epic Records chairman and CEO L.A. Reid has named Mark Shimmel COO. Shimmel, who held the position of head of music at Turner Entertainment Networks for the past seven years, overseeing TNT, TBS, CNN, Cartoon Network and Adult Swim, joins the New York-based company as Reid’s number-two.
The two go back to LaFace Records, where Reid and partner Kenneth “Babyface” Edmunds discovered Usher and TLC, and the now defunct Arista, where Shimmel was svp of marketing and artist relations and Reid was CEO. In addition, Shimmel ran his own management company, had a hand in the induction of the first-ever hip-hop exhibit into the Smithsonian Institute and spent several years overseeing talent for the Kennedy Center Honors.

Says Reid: “Mark is an unparalleled executive and an exceptional leader with a wealth of experience in the music and entertainment space. He will be fundamental in successfully leading Epic Records.”

Known for his expertise in music brand partnerships, Shimmel should fit right in with Reid’s nonstop Twitter pep rally, where he encourages his more than 290,000 followers to “be Epic” and “live the Epic life.”

“L.A. Reid is the most talented and creative music executive of the modern era,” adds Shimmel. “To build a new organization supporting his creative process is the opportunity of a lifetime. I look forward to our entire organization reaching its greatest successes.”

Reid, who was a judge on the first season of Fox’s X Factor, has been quietly staffing up over the last few months, bringing producer Christopher “Tricky” Stewart in-house as president of A&R along with his brother Mark Stewart who holds the title of evp of A&R operations. In October, Angelica Cob-Baehler left her post as svp of media and creative services at Capitol to take on the evp of marketing role at Epic.

Recent signings to the label include quirky hip-pop duo Karmin, X Factor winner Melanie Amaro and finalists Chris Rene and Astro. Reid has also brought over several acts from his former rosters elsewhere in the Sony family, including Avril Lavigne and Ciara.




L.A. REID~StEps DoWn As PrEsiDent Of DEf JaM

L.A. Reid has officially stepped down from his post as President of Def Jam. In a letter to his staff sent out today, he boasted how proud he is of his roster of talent, and says he has decided to leave his position. was the first to break the story yesterday–clearly more than 4 hours before a certain mainstream site blatantly stole our exclusive virtually word-for-word and posted it as their exclusive with no credit–that Mr. Reid has been tapped to judge Simon Cowell’s new U.S. “X-Factor” show. And he would have to step down from his position at the conflicting label. Read on for deets…

An era is ending over at Def Jam as head honcho L.A. Reid is stepping down. We broke the story months ago, in addition to yesterday, that L.A. would be leaving his post. And now, he has made it official via a memo to his staff today:

“Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through
argument, debate and doubt, to offer a solution everybody can understand.”

“To my Island Def Jam family: After much consideration, I have decided to leave my position as Chairman of the Island Def Jam Music Group.

“I have always thrived on growth and the next great challenge, and I look forward with much enthusiasm to what the future holds.

“I am extremely proud of our beautiful roster and all we have accomplished in my seven years with IDJ. We continue to have incredible success together with today’s most phenomenal superstars – Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Mariah Carey (she reportedly will follow L.A.), Kanye West, Bon Jovi, Jennifer Lopez, Ne-Yo, Rick Ross, The Killers, The-Dream, Chrisette Michele, Jeezy and Ludacris to name a few.

“I want to thank all of you for your amazing contributions.

“With Warm Regards –

An announcement about L.A.’s new judging duties with the Sony affiliated show “X-Factor” should come very soon in the coming weeks. Congrats and good luck to Mr. Reid. Deuces.



R.I.P.~NAtE DoGg

LOS ANGELES — Singer Nate Dogg, whose near monotone crooning anchored some of rap’s most seminal songs and helped define the sound of West coast hip-hop, has died at age 41.
Nate Dogg, whose real name was Nathaniel D. Hale, died Tuesday of complications from multiple strokes, said Attorney Mark Geragos.
Nate Dogg wasn’t a rapper, but he was an integral figure in the genre: His deep voice wasn’t particularly melodic, but its tone — at times menacing, at times playful, yet always charming — provided just the right touch on hits including Warren G’s “Regulate,” 50 Cent’s “21 Questions,” Dr. Dre’s “The Next Episode” and countless others.

While Nate Dogg provided hooks for rappers from coast to coast, the Long Beach, Calif., native is best known for his contributions to the West Coast soundtrack provided by the likes of Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Tha Dogg Pound and more. Nate Dogg was even part of a “supergroup” featuring Snoop Dogg and Warren G, called 213.
Nate Dogg, who had suffered at least two strokes since 2008, also put out his own solo projects but was best known for his collaborations with others.
Last year, Warren G said Nate Dogg was in therapy but needed help.
“Everybody just gotta keep him in their prayers, ’cause he had two strokes and that’s real dangerous. And a lot of people don’t come back from that,” he said in an interview to HipHollywood. “‘Cause the game needs him, I need him.”
After word of his death spread, tributes poured in on Twitter.
“We lost a true legend n hip hop n rnb. One of my best friends n a brother to me since 1986 when I was a sophomore at poly high where we met,” Snoop Dogg tweeted Tuesday night.
Like Snoop Dogg, Nate Dogg got his start on Death Row when he was signed to the groundbreaking label by Dr. Dre. Nate Dogg got his start singing in the local church choir. He dropped out of high school to join the Marines but after three years was dishonorably discharged.
He briefly got involved with the drug trade before forming a musical group with Snoop and Warren G. It was Warren G who was credited with giving their music to Dr. Dre.
Nate Dogg made his debut on Dr. Dre’s classic album “The Chronic,” and immediately distinguished himself with a trademarked sound: a low, steady croon that came across as intimidating as the rap verses.
His vocals made him one of the most sought after collaborators for rap songs. Fifty Cent, who tapped Nate Dogg for his 2003 love song “21 Questions,” tweeted Tuesday: “I wrote the chorus to 21 questions I needed nate to sing it for me. He had a way of making everything feel hard.”
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Nate Dogg could be heard on songs ranging from Ludacris’ “Area Codes” to Tupac Shakur’s “All About U” to Eminem’s “Shake That.” Even as times changed, and rappers came and went, he didn’t fall out of fashion.
He faced several legal problems. In 1996, he was acquitted of an armed robbery charge; a jury deadlocked on another and he was not retried. In 2000, Nate Dogg was accused of trying to kidnap an ex-girlfriend, but those charges were dismissed. He pleaded no contest to gun possession and was sentenced to probation.
In January of 2008, he suffered a debilitating stroke but a few months later was arrested for stalking and threatening his estranged wife. He appeared in court in a wheelchair. The charge was dropped a year later.
Nate Dogg spent the last years of his life trying to rebound from his medical problems.
“All dogs go to heaven … RIP NATE DOGG,” tweeted Snoop Dogg.



USHER- walks off stage during Berlin concert.

It was not Usher’s finest moment.

Forced to cancel his Wednesday concert at Berlin’s 02 Arena at the last minute due to illness, the “OMG” singer, 32, rescheduled the show for the next night and promised his fans, via Twitter, “the show that you all properly deserve.”

Unfortunately, his illness didn’t clear up and Usher lip-synched his first two songs and danced poorly to them, according to local tabloid B.Z. Fans on the edge of the stage reportedly started complaining. Boos were also heard. In response, he reportedly lowered his head and stood silently on the stage for about four minutes before leaving altogether. The stage lights came on and fans were told the star was too sick to continue the show.

According to a statement released by Usher’s rep Friday, the singer is “suffering from upper respiratory illness which is currently preventing him from performing a proper show. After consultation with doctors, he has been advised to reschedule the upcoming dates in order to get the rest he needs to ensure a complete recovery.” (Shows in Rotterdam and Antwerp have been rescheduled for March.)

Usher himself expressed his disappointment about the situation. “I deeply regret having to reschedule the shows,” he said in a statement released Friday. “I am truly sorry for any inconvenience I have caused my fans. My fans are the best in the world and I am looking forward to getting better so that I can give them the show they deserve.”




JaNet JAcKsOn-“World Tour”

Janet Jackson embarks upon her largest world tour ever next month. The 35-city Janet Jackson Number Ones, Up Close and Personal Tour kicks off February 7th in Singapore and continues across the world in venues that will allow Janet to be up close and personal in a more intimate setting as she performs 35 of her No. 1 hits.
Janet will also honor 20 young people for making a difference in their communities in the cities she visits. Winners will receive two tickets to the tour in their city and meet Janet backstage. Make your nominations now, and check out tour dates below.
City Date Venue
Chicago, IL March 7 & 8 The Chicago Theatre
Toronto, ON, Canada March 12 Sony Centre for the Performing Arts
Uncasville, CT, March 16 Mohegan Sun Arena
New York, NY March 18 Radio City Music Hall
Washington, DC March 22 DAR Constitution Hall
Atlantic City, NJ March 25 & 26 Borgata Spa & Resort Event Center
Atlanta, GA March 29 Fox Theatre
Saint Louis, MO March 31 Fox Theatre
Grand Prairie, TX April 2 Verizon Theatre
Denver, CO April 6 Wells Fargo Theatre at the Colorado Convention Center
Phoenix, AZ April 8 Comerica Theatre
Santa Barbara, CA April 9 Santa Barbara Bowl
Los Angeles, CA April 14 Gibson Amphitheatre
San Francisco, CA April 19 Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
Las Vegas, NV April 22 & 23 Caesars Palace – The Colosseum

[MUSIC SWAG & LIFE] Cuz Music is my Life ya dig?



50 Cent has lost a shocking amount of weight for his upcoming movie ‘Things Fall Apart,’ in which he plays a cancer-ridden football player.

According to, he dropped from 214 pounds to 160 over the course of just nine weeks with a liquid diet and working out three hours a day.

50 is co-producing the film with Randall Emmett, his partner in Cheetah Vision Films. Pictures of his dramatic transformation are below (scroll down for before photo)




Groundbreaking U.S. rapper and Gang Starr co-founder Guru died Monday night, a month after the cancer-stricken artist collapsed and went into a coma, MTV reported.

The 43-year-old rapper, whose real name is Keith Elam, had been suffering from cancer for over a year. The report quoted a statement from Guru’s camp that inferred the cause was complications from cancer.

“According to [producer] Solar, Guru suffered from the malicious illness for over a year and after numerous special treatments under the supervision of medical specialists failed, the legendary MC succumbed to the disease. Guru always tried to keep this harrowing diagnosis in private but in early 2010 he had to admit himself to hospital due to serious effects caused by the disease.”

Guru formed the group with DJ Premier in 1985, and they put out six albums, including the well-received “Daily Operation” and “Moment of Truth.”