Pre-VMA Parties

8/31/2006 3:07 PM PDT

Pre-VMA Parties

It was an especially star-studded night on Wednesday in the Big Apple, as celebs infested New York in advance of tonight's MTV Video Music Awards.

Our first stop was the gala opening of Rocpopshop, the Midtown Manhattan retail outlet of one of rap's true moguls -- Jay-Z -- where we ran into the proprietor himself. The self-proclaimed "CEO of Hip-Hop" arrived in true blinged-out fashion and stopped by the red carpet for the paparazzi, while showing off his fashion line. From there we were off to another VMA-eve soiree at the swank Bryant Park Hotel thrown by Nick Lachey. The former boy-bander showed in the same car with rumored girlfriend and "TRL" eye candy Vanessa Minnillo but the two were careful not to walk the red carpet together. Vanessa waited in the car until Nick was done gladhanding and posing, and then traipsed down the red carpet herself. Why these two are even bothering with the coy cloak-and-dagger act is beyond us.

Our last stop was the biggest one of the night, at new NoHo hotspot Chinatown Brasserie. Thrown by Grammy-winning producer Pharrell Williams, the bash's guest list was absolutely crammed with stars, like the Dogg Father (Snoop Dogg) himself, Ciara, Cee-Lo (one-half of Gnarls Barkley), the brothers Wayans, a very bitter Ed Lover, hip-hop legend Common, and -- well what would a party be without them? -- the Hilton clan, which included, as ever, producer Scott Storch and supporting actor Brandon Davis.

All this and much much more in this VMA party packed Star Catcher.