Raekwon Returns (Soon); Strictly Bluegrass = Totally Awesome; Drake Debuts Video, Signs Deal



Headlines: There will not be a viewing of Michael Jackson's body at Neverland Ranch tomorrow. Instead, it looks like the funeral will be on Tuesday at the Staples Center. And what will be at the Staples Center on Wednesday, you ask? Ringling Bros. and Barnum Bailey's Circus, of course. Wish I was kidding. If you're still looking for some thoughtful MJ coverage, there are a handful of articles in the Village Voice that should hit the spot. Plus the cover is pretty sweet, in more ways than one.

Score one for Joe the Concertgoer? Eh, not really. "Ticketmaster subsidiary TicketsNow has reached an agreement with the Illinois attorney general to shut down a number of Web sites where brokers sold tickets to popular events at markups." It wasn't that they were scalping tickets; it's that they were being too discreet about it. So now there will likely be some sort of surgeon general's warning equivalent. And marked-up tickets will still be bought and sold. You don't need any ticket for the free Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Franciso Oct. 2-4. Added to the lineup yesterday: Robyn Hitchcock, Steve Earle, Todd Snider, Amadou & Mariam, Emmylou Harris, Robert Earl Keen and, uh, MC Hammer? If there's an act you like that you've ever described as any variety of "twangy," chances are they'll be in San Francisco that first weekend of October.

The year's most anticipated rap sequel finally has a release date -- Raekwon's "Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Pt. II" will be in stores on Sept. 8. You'd be hard pressed to find anyone who will say an unkind word about the 1995 original. Happy Birthday, Walkman, which just turned 30. What does a 13-year-old think of the Sony classic, compared to an iPod? "It took me three days to figure out that there was another side to the tape." Beyonce and her mom are launching a Sasha Fierce clothing line, just in time for back-to-school shopping. Kevin "The Other One" Jonas is engaged. Late night comedy writers hope their purity ring jokes will still be relevant when they come out of reruns next week.

Alice in Chains will hit the road in support of its first new album in more than a decade, and its first with new vocalist William DuVall. The grunge relics will be at 9:30 club on Sept. 4. Drake surprises nobody by signing with Young Money. I believe that makes him the first Jewish, Canadian, former teen-dramedy-star on the label's roster. And a reminder to keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars. Casey Kasem won't be around (on the radio) to tell you anymore after this weekend.

Video of the Day, I: Harlem Shakes - "Strictly Game"

My favorite song from one of my favorite albums of the first half of the year gets turned into a very funny send up of those unofficial montage videos you see all over YouTube. The details are pretty sharp, from the scrolling-text-on-blue at the beginning to the variety of wipes featured throughout. If you're still looking for a good summer album the Shakes' "Technicolor Health" is as good as you'll find.

Video of the Day, II: Rye Rye - "Bang"

M.I.A. protege and Baltimore native serves up a debut single that sounds like, well, M.I.A. by way of Baltimore club. Blaqstarr handled production duties on this one, so that's pretty much exactly what it is. It'll certainly increase your heart rate, in a good way. Rye Rye's only 18, so she has plenty of time to find her own sound.

Video of the Day, III: Drake - "Best I Ever Had"

Dude, it's Jimmy from "Degrassi"!!! I'm still getting over this. It's like a modern-day Brian Austin Green situation, except this time he's actually pretty good. And all of the biggest names in the genre -- Kanye, Weezy, Jay-Z -- are going to guest on his album. And he's really popular. This video debuted just after midnight on Nahright and by 2:15 a.m. it had more then 35,000 views. The video doesn't stray far from his Degrassi past, except with a whole lot more cleavage. (And, considering some of Manny's outfits, that's saying something, am I right?! OK, gonna stop talking about "Degrassi" now.)

By David Malitz |  July 2, 2009; 7:08 AM ET Morning Mix
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