Travis ScottFires Back at Astroworld Victim Attorney ...I Was Trying to Keep Fans Safe at Coney Show!!!

UPDATE

8:53 AM PT -- A rep for Travis tells TMZ, "This is the despicable, cynical height of hypocrisy. Itโ€™s beyond disappointing to see that - in a desperate bid to influence potential jurors โ€“ plaintiffsโ€™ legal team is criticizing Travis for pausing Mondayโ€™s Coney Island show to ensure that fans can have fun safely. This is exactly the wrong message to send to fans - and to artists. And it completely ignores the fact that Travis also stopped his performance at Astroworld three different times.โ€

Travis Scott stopping a concert for a rowdy crowd is backfiring -- 'cause the family of one of the Astroworld victims thinks it shows him picking and choosing when he puts fan safety first.

Alex Hilliard, an attorney representing Ezra Blount's family, tells TMZ ... Scott's actions at the July 4 Coney Island show don't prove the rapper is compassionate and willing to keep order. If anything, it depicts the exact opposite ... at least according to the lawyer.

7/4/22
CROWD CONTROL
TMZ.com

Hillard says, "He knows exactly how to keep his fans safe during a concert, but the problem with that is he didn't just learn about the fact that he has control over the entire crowd."

His implication is Travis has known he wields this power all along, including at Astroworld, but simply refused to exercise it to settle things down. Travis has denied that.

Hillard goes on -- "There are 10 people that would still be alive today, including young Ezra Blount, if Travis realized his responsibility as an artist goes further than just trying to rile up his crowds, and it reemphasizes the rule of 'if you see something say something.'"

In the immediate aftermath of the Coney Island performance, one of Travis's reps came out and said ... "Travis is committed to doing his part to ensure events are as safe as possible so that fans can have fun," adding that he encouraged fans to listen to security so everyone could be safe and enjoy themselves.

It might leave TS feeling like he's damned if he does, damned if he doesn't -- but Hillard just isn't buying the compassionate Trav version of events.

He hits back rather fiercely ... telling us, "The problem Mr. Scott has is his when we call him to the stand to swear him in and cross-examine him the judge will not allow his paid spokesperson to sit in the witness chair and answer questions for him."

As you know ... Travis is still tied to several lawsuits that have accused him of being liable for the deaths at Astroworld Fest. All that litigation is still working its way through the courts, and he has yet to be dropped from any of those suits ... despite having asked.

Kirk FranklinMy Take on R. Kelly Debate ...Hard to 'Separate Artist from the Art'

WITH GREAT POWER ...
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Fans of R. Kelly's music are torn on how to handle the disgraced singer's catalog of hits, now that he's doing 30 years for sex crimes -- but maybe Kirk Franklin can provide some guidance.

We put the issue to the gospel music pioneer in NYC. Seeing as how he recorded with Kelly back in 1998, and he knows a thing or two about being persecuted in the spotlight ... he's a perfect person to weigh in.

The gospel Grammy magnet is currently promoting his social justice reform-themed album, "Kingdom Book One" w/ Maverick City Music, and didn't deny cancel culture is a slippery slope because we all make mistakes.

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Still, he says it can be "difficult to separate an artist from the art," and, therefore, performers have a responsibility to uphold the trust of their fans.

As we reported, Kelly is currently off suicide watch in prison, and if he's at all interested in forgiveness from fans ... it's gonna take a lot of work, according to Kirk.

He loosely quoted the Bible's book of Luke 12:48 when he told us, "To whom much is given, much is required."

Nicki MinajHusband Gets 1-Yr. Home Detention ...Mansion Time, It Is!!!

Nicki Minajโ€™s husband Kenneth Petty will be doing time for failing to register as a sex offender in California, but much to the feds' dismay -- he'll be doing that time in the mansion where he and Nicki live.

A federal judge sentenced the 44-year-old on Wednesday, giving him 1 year of home detention, 3 years probation and a $55,000 fine. Petty entered a guilty plea back in September 2021.

TMZ broke the story ... prosecutors inside the U.S. Attorneyโ€™s Office had argued home detention wouldn't be punishment, because Nicki and Kenneth live in a luxurious multi-bedroom mansion in a gated Calabasas community.

They had recommended Petty get 15 months in prison and 5 years of probation, but the judge clearly disagreed with him getting that stiff of a sentence.

Petty was convicted of a 1994 rape in NYC where he served over 4 years in prison. When he moved to Cali with Nicki, he didn't register on the sex offenders list and that's when the feds busted him.

Well, Nicki knows exactly where her hubby will be for the next year. No need for a babysitter now.

Westside BoogieEminem Taught Me, No Crowd-Surfing... But It's My Thing!!!

SURF'S UP
It's Tricky with Raquel Harper

Westside Boogie says he's picked up lots of gems from Eminem while signed to his record label, but, unfortunately ... the best one involves NOT doing something he loves to do!!!

The Compton-bred rapper sat down with Raq on the 'It's Tricky' podcast and talked more about being a Shady Records artist, and learning the ropes from Em.

Westside Boogie says, the best tip Em ever gave him was telling him to stop crowd-surfing because there's a chance he can get sued. Great advice, financially speaking ... possibly, but you can tell in this clip, WB is conflicted about it.

If you didn't know ... Westside Boogie, formerly known as Boogie, signed to Shady Records and Interscope Records back in 2017.

Apparently, Marshall's warning came with good reason. Besides the aforementioned legal concerns ... Westside Boogie says his label honcho doesn't approve of stage-diving because it sparked a fight, back in the day for the 'Real Slim Shady.'

Westside Boogie released his 2nd studio album a few weeks back, but it's still a bit unclear if he'll stop pulling out his favorite move at the shows.๐Ÿ˜†

For the full interview, catch "It's Tricky with Raquel Harper" wherever you get your podcasts.

โ€˜FNFโ€™ Rapper GloRillaHi Haters, Iโ€™m Yo Gotti Certified ...F*** Boys Rap Made Me Rich!!!

SHOUTOUT TO THE HATERS
TMZ.com

Just follow the Instagram and TikTok hashtags -- up-and-coming Memphis rapper GloRillaโ€™s "F.N.F. (Let's Go)"single is the hottest twerk anthem of 2022, and now sheโ€™s joined one of the hottest labels in the game ... Yo Gottiโ€™s Collective Music Group!!!

Young Glo checked in with TMZ Hip Hop Wednesday, following her CMG chaining day -- which included a $500,000 cash money signing bonus just for being lit.

According to Glo, 'F.N.F.' (which stands for "F*** N***a Free btw) wasn't inspired by one particular relationship, but rather a sea of bird-brain males she observed in singlehood.

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GloRilla tells us she manifested her success through the power of her words, using terms like "when" instead of "if" to speak her wins into power.

She also has no shame in her game... ย thanking all her haters for giving her a punching bag on her way to the top ๐Ÿ˜œโ—

SHININ' ON STAGE
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Her breakout hit peaked at 91 on the Billboard Hot 100 and had everyone from Cardi B to Saweetie to Kodak Black co-signing the hit -- not to mention her fellow CMG labelmate Moneybagg Yo, who recently gave her a Ja Morant alley-oop at Spotify's RapCaviar event where Gotti was named "Coach of the Year."

GloRilla not only says she's not gonna be a one-hit-wonder, but promises she's got more big records on the way.

As she says on that catchy AF 'F.N.F.' chorus ... let's gooooo!

Nipsey HussleEric Holder Found Guilty of Murder

Eric Holder has been found guilty in the murder of Nipsey Hussle ... gunning the rapper and activist down in broad daylight back in 2019.

READING THE VERDICT

The jury returned the guilty verdict in an L.A. courtroom Wednesday, about 3 weeks after the trial began. He was found guilty of 1st-degree murder for killing Nipsey. Holder shot two other people during the murder -- he was found guilty of 2 counts of attempted voluntary manslaughter, guilty of 2 counts of assault with a firearm and guilty of possession of a firearm by a felon. He was found not guilty of premeditated attempted murder.

The details of the brutal murder were outlined early in the trial -- Deputy District Attorney John McKinney told the jury Holder kicked Nipsey in the head after filling his body with lead, calling it proof the attack was personal.

4/1/19
COLD-BLOODED

He then told the rapper "You're through," to which Nipsey replied, "You got me."

Among the people on the stand was Bryannita Nicholson, who was with Holder on the day of the murder. She stated Holder asked her to drive him around the block, she saw he had a gun and heard gunshots when Holder got out of her vehicle.

Kerry Lathan, one of the people that got shot in the back during the incident, took the stand during the trial, but he stayed pretty tight-lipped.

Holder got banged up during the trial when he was jumped by inmates at the jail waiting for transport to court. The trial was delayed for one day because of Holder's injuries -- which included a big gash to the back of the head that required staples.

R. KellyNo More Suicide Watch ...After Lawsuit Victory

R. Kelly just won a mini legal battle against the feds, who just did an about-face and took the disgraced singer off suicide watch after he filed a lawsuit against the prison, TMZ has learned.

In newly filed court docs obtained by TMZ, Metropolitan Detention Center Warden Heriberto H. Tellez -- who was also named in the suit -- says he made the decision today to remove Kelly from suicide watch following a "clinical assessment." No further details on the assessment were provided.

Last week, Kelly filed his lawsuit claiming thathe was being subjected to "cruel and unusual punishment" -- which violates his 8th Amendment rights -- after he was put on suicide watch at Brooklyn's MDC.

In the suit, Kelly alleged that he wasn't even thinking of killing himself and told prison officials just that. Kelly also claimed he was placed in these harsh conditions because of his celebrity.

The feds initially filed a motion opposing the suit, saying they would clinically assess Kelly for the duration of his suicide watch.

Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison last Wednesday following his conviction last year on federal racketeering and sex trafficking charges.

Prosecutors had asked the judge to sentence Kelly to more than 25 years behind bars, while his defense attorneys asked for up to 10 years.

The crooner is still facing another federal case out of Illinois, as well as a state trial in Minnesota in connection with child sex related crimes.

Travis ScottStops Concert and Orders Fans to Stop Dangling from Truss

7/4/22
CROWD CONTROL
TMZ.com

Travis Scott stopped his show Monday night because several fans put themselves in danger ... and it's impossible not to think about the tragedy at Astroworld when looking at the video.

Travis and Meek Mill performed at The Day Party concert at Coney Art Walls in Coney Island. He took the stage at around 8 PM, DJ'd and then performed.

The crowd was packed in, so much so that a couple of concertgoers climbed up a lighting truss and dangled as they watched Travis perform. One of the fans must have planned ahead ... he was wearing a Spiderman costume.

Travis saw what was happening and stopped the show, ordering the fans to climb down from the truss. They followed his orders and the concert went on.

As you all know, Travis is facing multiple lawsuits over the Astroworld tragedy, with some of the victims and victims' families alleging he should have stopped the show before the crush. Travis insists he didn't see or know what was going on, and fact is ... apparently neither did the police, who seemed oblivious.

Travis is expected to perform at several concerts with enormous crowds later this year.

Michael RubinHosts Annual 4th of July White PartyWho's-Who Shindig (Again)

Michael Rubin is one of the few people on earth who can get Hollywood's richest and most famous in one place at one time -- and this year was no exception in his patriotic blowout.

The Fanatics CEO hosted his annual 4th of July White Party in the Hamptons this weekend, where all sorts of talent (musically and sports-wise) flocked to rage and share in a good time ahead of the big holiday.

A toast to Rubin

Per usual, it was a who's-who of fame -- the performers were top-notch ... including appearances from Drake, Travis Scott, Meek Mill,21 Savage, Lil Durk, Lil Baby and others.

Speaking of Champagne Papi, he actually carried a toast of sorts to honor the get-together ... shouting out Mike for pulling it off once again. It sure looks like everyone was having a good time ... especially the Philly boys themselves, aka Joel Embiid, James Harden and P.J. Tucker.

Indeed ... tons of basketball stars were in attendance. Not just these guys above, but Devin Booker was there, as was Draymond Green, Immanuel Quickley, Carmelo Anthony, Jayson Tatum, Donovan Mitchell, CJ McCollum and more. Just about everybody in the league!

BTW ... that was just the tip of the iceberg as far as celebs. Others in attendance ... Jay-Z and Beyonce, Kendall Jenner, Charlie D'Amelio, Robert Kraft, Fat Joe, Yo Gotti, Emily Ratajkowski, Kaia Gerber and Ryan Seacrest, no less. Like we said ... hella star-studded.

Looks like everyone had a ball. Can't wait to see it again all happen next year. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿฝ

Bruno 'Pop N Taco' Falcon'Breakin' Star Dead at 58 ...Taught MJ to Pop/Lock

Hip-hop trailblazer and legendary dancer Bruno "Pop N Taco" Falcon has died ... this according to his loved ones.

His sister, Diana Wolgamott, tells TMZ ... the longtime Los Angeles-based breaker and choreographer passed away Saturday at his Long Beach home. She says she believes he may have died from a possible heart attack. We're told his death is considered natural, and no autopsy will be conducted.

Bruno was a staple in the dance scene throughout the '80s and '90s -- specifically, through a style he sorta carved out as his own in locking ... which he popularized in the cult classic film "Breakin'" where he played one of the main characters, Electro Rock 1 opposite Ice-T.

Speaking of, the rapper confirmed his death on Twitter ... replying to a fan who asked if he'd heard of Bruno's death and saying, "Yep, just got a text. He was to young. Smh."

The guy went on to act in other films such as "Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey," "Thumbelina" and even Michael Jackson's "Moonwalker." He actually had a pretty tight relationship with MJ ... having danced on and off with the superstar for years, even appearing in some music videos.

He might best be remembered as one of the dancers on "Smooth Criminal" who did the iconic lean dance sequence. Bruno is also said to have taught Michael a thing or two about popping and locking ... a style MJ employed often in his career. Bruno was with Michael during his HIStory tour in the '90s -- he appears to have served in a choreographer capacity.

Bruno has also danced with other Jackson family members including La Toya and Janet. He's also appeared in music videos for Lionel Richie and Chaka Khan, among other storied artists.

He was 58.

RIP

Big Sean & Jhenรฉ AikoSpotted Proud & Preggo In Bev HillsExpecting Baby No. 1 Together!!!

UPDATE

11:45 AM PT -- A rep for the couple confirms the news to TMZ ... "The couple are overjoyed and look forward to this next chapter."

Longtime couple โ€” and collaborators Big Sean and Jhenรฉ Aiko are expecting โ€ฆ and no, it's not the next "TWENTY88" album!

TMZ Hip Hop obtained photos of the pair on an outing in Beverly Hills on Saturday, July 2 ... with Jhenรฉ glowing and looking visibly pregnant.

No word how far along she is or the babyโ€™s gender just yet ... but they've been skating around the idea of building a family for a few years now!

Since 2016, Sean and Jhenรฉ have been more on than off and have even publicly floated the idea of marriage ... which could be the next step following the whole baby carriage thing.

Although they've been making music for a while -- including their 2016 album "TWENTY88" -- the child will be their 1st together ... Seanโ€™s first and Jhenรฉโ€™s second.

Congrats!!!

Originally Published -- 5:16 AM PT

DrakeJoins Backstreet Boys for "I Want It That Way' ...I Got the Girl 'Cause of that Song!!!

BRINGING BACK THE BEST
Boy Band Break

Drake wanted it a certain way Saturday night ... the Backstreet way.

Drizzy took the short drive from his massive estate to the Budweiser Stage in Toronto to catch a performance of the famed boy band ... and it didn't take long for the Backstreet Boys to invite the city's most famous resident up on stage.

Drake joined the boys in "I Want It That Way," but before singing the group's biggest hit ... he told the audience how the song had an impact on his life.

It goes like this ... Drake said when he was 13 he was an awkward kid with a serious crush on a girl he knew, but apparently, the feelings weren't reciprocal, at least on the surface.

At Drake's Bar Mitzvah, the girl was there and came up to him and asked him if he wanted to dance ... and the song was "I Want It That Way." ย Drake said it was the first time he felt cool.

Drake, who called the tune one of the greatest of all time, and the group then broke into song, and the audience went nuts.

Everyone in the crowd sang along, and it was clear Drake wasn't faking it ... it was super joyful!

DiddyWoman Arrested for Brandishing Gun Outside BET After-Party

A woman trying to make her way into Diddy's BET after-party was arrested outside the mogul's house after she allegedly flashed a gun at other partygoers.

LAPD sources tell TMZ ... the woman was in her car near Diddy's house and a security checkpoint for the event very early Monday morning, and got pissed off that other cars weren't clearing out of her way fast enough. We're told she pulled out the weapon and waved it at folks she believed to be causing the delay.

Police were called and they rushed to the scene, where they found the 30-year-old woman had already been detained by Diddy's security team. Cops searched her car and found a loaded handgun.

A source at the party tells us the woman was not invited to the party, and more importantly -- never made her way inside the event. We're told she was trying to make her way past the first security checkpoint when the incident occurred.

She was taken into custody and booked for possession of a loaded firearm -- she was later released on her own recognizance. Thankfully, no one was injured in the dust-up.

6/27/22
DIRECTOR DIDDY
TMZ.com

Chris Brown, Mary J. Blige, Yung Miami, Tiffany Haddish, Wiz Khalifa, Tyga, Bobby Brown, Karrueche Tran and many others were at his crib for the festivities -- thankfully everyone was ok.

R. KELLY 'SURVIVOR'He Needs To Admit Guilt, Seek Therapy

Kitti Jones -- one of R. Kelly's exes who accused him of physical abuse and sexual coercion -- says there's only 2 ways he can fix himself ... taking accountability and serious therapy.

GOT WHAT HE DESERVED
TMZ.com

Kitti says R. Kelly needs to accept the harm he's inflicted on his victims and turn his life over to God ... plus making the most of the mental health treatment he's been ordered to undergo upon his prison release.

As we reported ... Kelly was recently sentenced to 30 years in federal prison following his conviction for 9 federal charges, including sex crimes and human trafficking.

Kitti, who appeared in both 'Surviving R. Kelly' docs and gave a victim impact statement in front of Kelly at his sentencing, says she's happy Kelly is off the streets so he can't hurt more women.

For Kitti, Kelly's conviction is giving her some closure ... she tells us why she doesn't think he will pose much of a threat whenever he's released from prison, regardless of any changes he makes in federal lockup.

RihannaI'm Here For A$AP Rocky Show ...First Official Outing Since Giving Birth

Rihanna made her first official outing since becoming a mom, venturing out across the pond to support the new father and her partner, A$AP Rocky.

RiRi surfaced Friday at Wireless Fest in London, weaving her way through the crowd with her security detail as Rocky was performing on stage. She looks a little annoyed ... but that might have to do with the screaming fans surrounding her.

Rihanna was wearing a black puffy jacket, Cuban link chain, hoop earrings and black leggings.

She was spotted in L.A. getting on a private jet for the U.K. with baby in tow, so looks like the whole fam is there.

TMZ broke the story ... Rihanna and Rocky's little baby boy was born on May 13 in Los Angeles.

Remember ... Rihanna and A$AP announced her pregnancy back in January with a photo shoot in New York City, and RiRi proudly showed off her baby bump over the remainder of her pregnancy.

We last saw Rihanna on May 19 in L.A., when she left her home and climbed into the back of an SUV ... but this is a much bigger return to the public spotlight.

Deion SandersThanks Ja Rule For Donation To JSU FB... 'True Blessing'

Deion Sandersis giving big thanks to Ja Rule -- after the rapper just announced he'll be donating money to the Jackson State football team!!

The New York rapper shared the news on Friday via Instagram ... saying some of the money he makes off his upcoming NFT collection will go to several HBCUs, including JSU.

"Be a part of something Beautifulโ€ฆ July 14th get on the Blacklist NOW," Ja Rule said.

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Ja says there are 1,000 1-of-1 NFTs up for grabs ... and part of the proceeds will help support HBCUs like Hampton, Morgan, Spelman, Moorehouse, and Jackson State.

Sanders -- who has been the head football coach of the Tigers since 2020 -- was stoked about the news ... and praised the award-winning rapper for the amazing gesture.

"I wanna thank my brother Ja Rule for hitting me up and including our program in his heart along with several other HBCUs," the former NFL star said.

"My brother Iโ€™ve always admired and applauded you from afar but this is a TRUE blessing for our TEAM."

"God bless u my brother!!!"

This is another big donation from a rapper for the Tigers team this week ... during the BET Awards on Sunday, Diddypledged $1 million to the JSU team and Howard University.

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