Some of the more interesting news and rumors from the past week:
- Usher has responded to the disappointing sales of his Here I Stand album by cleaning house. He's fired his publicist and his manager, Benny Medina, and rehired his mother, Jonnetta Patton, as his manager.
- Joe Thomas says R. Kelly was sabotaging him while they were labelmates. "R. Kelly was very instrumental in making a lot of decisions when it came to my records (not) being played on the radio," Joe said.
- Bobby Valentino - the American one, not the British one - has signed a distribution deal with EMI Music for his Blu Kolla Dreams imprint. His first album under the deal will be The Rebirth in late 2008.
- Danity Kane, Day 26 and Donnie Klang return to MTV for season three of "Making the Band 4" starting Tues. Aug. 19 at 9 p.m. Eastern/Pacific Standard Time.
- Rahsaan Patterson is getting an early start on the holidays by releasing a Christmas album called The Ultimate Gift on Aug. 26.
- Natalie Cole is touring this fall in support of her new album, Still Unforgettable, which hits stores Sept. 9.
- The verdict on Lloyd's new album? It's disappointing.