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R. Kelly Bedroom Bust at Studio is Bogus ... Denies it's His Home

1/19/2019 1:00 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

One of R. Kelly's bedrooms has him in serious trouble with Chicago officials ... but he insists they've got it all twisted, because his controversial studio has never been used as a home.

The Chicago studio, heavily featured in "Surviving R. Kelly," was swarmed this week by Chicago cops and the Cook County Building and Zoning Department -- and they ended up filing a complaint against Kelly.

The officials say there's evidence he's using the place as a residence, and had done renovations without getting permits. 

Sources close to Kelly tell us that he's denying ever living in the studio. Although he admits having a bed in there, he says it was only there for extra long recording sessions -- 14 to 15 hours -- when he was too exhausted to make it home, or if there was a bad winter storm.

We're told he also points to the fact that he has a real residence at Chi-Town's Trump Tower. 

As for the alleged renovations ... our sources say Kelly believes the studio is exactly as it was when he first started renting the space 3-4 years ago. He says the single bedroom area was already there, and he simply added furniture.

Fact is, Kelly's got bigger fish to fry than the building code violation. He and Sony, his longtime record label, just parted ways ... his ex-manager was arrested for making threats against Joycelyn Savage's family ... and he's still plagued by allegations of sexual abuse

Kelly will get a court hearing for the violation, but at worst he'll be fined or evicted. As prosecutor Kim Foxx said ... they're actively looking for witnesses to bring criminal charges against him.

Ray J Bday Car Buying Spree Good for Me ... And Charity!!!

1/19/2019 12:30 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Remember the insane shopping spree Ray J went on for his 38th birthday? Turns out, he didn't stop with treating himself to a brand new Maybach and Lincoln -- he also splurged on a classic car ... for a good cause.

We broke the story ... the R&B singer dropped $410,000 on whips for himself and his wife, Princess Love, at Barrett-Jackson Auction Co. in Scottsdale, AZ on Wednesday.

According to sources close to Ray, he opened up his checkbook again. We're told he and his pal RD Whittington, owner of Luxury Auto Collection, split a $165k tab on a yellow 1967 Chevy Camaro ... and all the cash goes to charity.

We're told the money for the classic ride will be donated to Childhelp, a foundation that helps victims of child abuse.

As for the plan for the whip moving forward ... Ray's manager, David Weintraub, tells us they'll bring the car to 60 Years of Miracles: Drive The Dream Gala in February to continue to raise awareness for Childhelp.

Gotta love it when a birthday plan comes together ... and has an extra happy ending.

Killer Mike Kaepernick Protests Aside Super Bowl a Big 'W' for Black People

1/18/2019 2:46 PM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Killer Mike insists all the controversy over black artists playing the Super Bowl Halftime Show masks the most important point -- which is huge financial opportunities for the black community.

We got the Run the Jewels rapper in NYC, where he's promoting his new Netflix series, "Trigger Warning." We asked Mike about the heat his pal Big Boi and Travis Scott have been taking for joining Maroon 5 ... instead of protesting the NFL in support of Colin Kaepernick.

Mike's heard about the push for the artists to take a knee during the show, and says more power to 'em if they do it. However, he's not coming down on them if they don't.

As an ATL guy himself, Mike says Super Bowl LIII's biggest impact won't be on the field, or on the halftime show stage -- it'll be in the bank accounts of thousands of people getting work because of the event.

He also clued us in on his plans for Super Bowl Sunday -- and they don't involve football. But, there will very likely be a bowl. 

Soulja Boy I'm Hot S**t RN ... Get Ready for My New Album!!!

1/18/2019 1:25 PM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Soulja Boy loves him some Soulja Boy, and why shouldn't he? He's wanted by multiple record labels, and he's the hottest rapper in the game after having the biggest 2018 comeback ... according to him.

The rapper tells TMZ his old record label, Interscope, desperately wants to sign him back, so he used it as leverage with his current label, eOne, to strike a deal for a new album ... which he says is coming soon. Soulja says it's 12 or 13 tracks ... and it's going to get the year kicked off right.

Soulja's also got a list a mile long to prove he's hip-hop's rising star once again -- including playing a venue he never landed back in the day -- and doubles down on his Tyga bashing.

There's more, though ... because the rapper's still got beef with Drake over allegedly stealing bars from his song in 2006. Oh, and he reminds us he paved the way for Justin Bieber on YouTube.

View this post on Instagram

Case closed. Drake been stealing my drip for years‼️🤷🏾‍♂️

A post shared by Soulja Boy (Young Drako) 💲🔌🔫 (@souljaboy) on

Soulja didn't reveal the title of his new album, but based on the end of our chat with him, here's one option -- "Humble."

Bow Wow Bow Down To Soulja Boy!!! He Created Today's Rappers

1/18/2019 12:59 PM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Bow Wow is backing up his buddy, Soulja Boy, in a big way ... because he says today's generation of rappers owes everything to Soulja's trailblazing ways!

We got Bow Wow at LAX Friday, and he started throwing some huge bones in Soulja's direction ... praising SB's charisma and trash-talking skills, then giving him major props for paving the way for a new generation of rap artists.

As you know, Soulja's been running his mouth nonstop ...  trashing Tyga, Kanye West, Famous Dex and even Yeezy's political pal, Donald Trump ... all while hyping up his new video game console. 

Bow Wow, who's been boys with Soulja forever, says his friend's media blitz isn't some elaborate marketing scheme ... it's just the Soulja Boy we all know and love.  

R. Kelly Dropped by Sony

1/18/2019 10:34 AM PST
Breaking News

R. Kelly's not in business with Sony Music for the first time in decades after the singer and the record company agreed to part ways ... TMZ has confirmed.

Sources close to Kelly tell us both sides agreed on a split this week. The end of their relationship comes amid the storm of controversy after the docuseries, "Surviving R. Kelly."

R. Kelly's been with Sony since the early days of his career, and has been under contract with its subsidiary label, RCA, since 2012.

As you know ... the singer's facing mounting allegations of sexual abuse and predatory behavior after the Lifetime doc's in-depth interviews with his alleged victims and their families.

Several artists -- like Celine Dion, Lady Gaga and Ciara -- have separated themselves from Kelly by pulling their collabs with him from streaming services ... while others have denounced him.

Sony was also feeling the pressure with protests outside its offices in L.A. and NYC.

Gladys Knight Praying SB Nat'l Anthem Unites America

1/18/2019 9:37 AM PST
Breaking News

Gladys Knight is adamant she does NOT have a problem with Colin Kaepernick and his protest -- but says she's hoping her national anthem performance at the Super Bowl can unite the country,. 

"I understand that Mr. Kaepernick is protesting two things and they are police violence and injustice," the 74-year-old said in a statement.

"It is unfortunate that our National Anthem has been dragged into this debate when the distinctive senses of the National Anthem and fighting for justice should each stand alone."

Of course, Knight is referencing Colin's decision to take a knee during the 'Star-Spangled Banner' during NFL games. Kap had said the demonstration is intended to put a spotlight on police violence against minorities. 

Knight continued in her statement ... 

"I am here today and on Sunday, Feb. 3 to give the Anthem back its voice, to stand for that historic choice of words, the way it unites us when we hear it and to free it from the same prejudices and struggles I have fought long and hard for all my life, from walking back hallways, from marching with our social leaders, from using my voice for good."

"I have been in the forefront of this battle longer than most of those voicing their opinions to win the right to sing our country’s Anthem on a stage as large as the Super Bowl LIII." 

"No matter who chooses to deflect with this narrative and continue to mix these two in the same message, it is not so and cannot be made so by anyone speaking it."

"I pray that this National Anthem will bring us all together in a way never before witnessed and we can move forward and untangle these truths which mean so much to all of us."

Kaepernick -- along with his girlfriend, close friends and celebrities -- have been critical of musicians who have agreed to perform at the Super Bowl. Rap star Common has even called for Travis Scott to pull out of the halftime show. 

As for Colin's thoughts on Gladys -- so far, he has not issued a comment. 

R. Kelly Former Manager Surrenders ... For Allegedly Terrorizing Alleged Victim's Parents

1/18/2019 2:10 PM PST
Exclusive Details

2:10 PM PT -- Mason has issued a statement, saying, "Unfortunately, my accusers and their representatives have been successful at manipulating the media and now the judicial system."

He continues, "My team and I will present facts soon that will discredit any and all accusations that suggest that I have engaged in any acts of bullying, harassment, or aggressive acts against my accusers." He insists that, not only are these accusations false, but he has been "instrumental in attempts to assist my accusers in their quest to re establish a relationship with their adult daughter."

8:40 AM PT -- The judge ordered Mason to stay away from Joycelyn Savage and her family, and have absolutely no contact with them ... according to the Henry County Court Clerk.

He was released on $10k bond and has also been told he can't leave the country unless he gets court approval first. 

One of R. Kelly's former managers has surrendered to authorities on charges he made terroristic threats against a family of one of the singer's alleged victims.

As TMZ first reported, Joycelyn Savage's father told us James Mason called him in May 2018, and threatened, "I'm gonna do harm to you and your family, when I see you I'm gonna get you, I'm going to f***ing kill you."

The Henry County Sheriff's Dept. issued an arrest warrant last August for felony terroristic threats and acts and, Friday morning, Mason turned himself in. 

He was released on $10,000 bond.

Joycelyn Savage has said she is not being held against her will, but her parents firmly believed their daughter has been brainwashed and they have mounted a full-court press to free her. 

The lawyer for the Savage family responded to Mason's surrender, saying, "Let this be a message to R. Kelly's staff that we won't be bullied or threatened. We will continue to pursue legal action against any and all threats to the safety of the Savage Family."

He continued, "Our goal has always been to bring Joycelyn Savage home safely and we will not be deterred."

Originally Published -- 6:56 AM PT

Future Russell Wilson Needs to Man Up ... Ciara Controls Him!!!

1/18/2019 9:00 AM PST

Future didn't need a diss track to unleash his true feelings about Ciara and Russell Wilson -- he just came right out and said she's controlling ... and he's weak.

The rapper was interviewed by his friend Big Bank Black Thursday night for Beats 1 radio and took some shots at his ex ... starting off by claiming she introduced their son, Future Jr., to Wilson before he gave it his blessing.

Future then blasted the Seahawks QB by declaring Ciara controls him, saying ... "He do exactly what she tell him to do."

Future seems to especially have a problem with Wilson allowing Ciara to talk trash about him on social media. Future says, "He not being a man in that position ... he not tellin' her, 'Chill out with that on the Internet. Don't even talk to him. I'm your husband! You better not even bring Future's name up.'"

It sounds a tad hypocritical, but Future says if he was in Wilson's position, he'd have more control over his girl ... and wouldn't let her publicly slam an ex.

We broke the story ... Ciara wants a mediator in her ongoing custody battle with Future to help hash our their son's travel schedule. She claims Future hasn't been the best dad -- allegedly breaking scheduled visits fairly often -- and tends to hand their kid off instead of spending much time with him.

Ciara didn't just make these claims on social media either ... it's all in legal docs.

Michael Jackson Documentary Cops On Alert for Protesters ... At Sundance Premiere

1/18/2019 1:00 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

The blistering Michael Jackson documentary premiering at Sundance will also feature angry pro-Jackson protesters, and we've learned local police are gearing up for possible confrontations.

Law enforcement sources tell TMZ ... the Park City PD is aware of an anti-documentary protest being organized on social media, so cops are going to beef up their presence both inside and outside the premiere with uniformed and undercover officers.

We're told law enforcement is most concerned about disruptions taking place during the Q&A portion of the screening -- historically, that's when protesters have caused the biggest disturbances. However, we're told cops won't stop people from exercising their First Amendment rights, so long as protesters don't block sidewalks or entrances.

As you know ... the doc, "Leaving Neverland," explores alleged sexual abuse by the King of Pop, and the film is already being slammed by the late singer's estate. Despite outside pressure to pull the film, Sundance officials say it's full steam ahead.

All Sundance events have increased security -- including bag checks and bomb dogs -- but extra resources will be allocated to the MJ screening when it premieres Friday, Jan. 25.

Lady Gaga Probed and Prodded in Vegas ... But Keeps On Rockin'!!!

1/18/2019 7:20 AM PST

Lady Gaga's definitely bringing the shock factor to her new show in Las Vegas.

The 'Star is Born' actress is back to her bread and butter ... singing on the stage for her residency show, Enigma, at MGM's Park Theater. Based on this video from Thursday night, the show's name is on point -- it's really hard to tell exactly what's going on here.

Gaga's dancers -- dressed in some spacey costumes -- circled her and probed her with a long pointy object. Think supersized sex toy. Anyway, they used it all over her body as she sang "Aura" and convulsed, gyrated and screamed.

The show's out there for sure, as Gaga showed when she kicked it off last month by unveiling her new alter ego -- a metallic alien in a glittery space suit. It's also getting rave reviews.

And, as we already know ... Celine Dion freakin' loved it.

Soulja Boy Travis Scott 'Took Tyga's Bitch' ... 'I Love That N****!!!'

1/18/2019 12:20 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Soulja Boy continues to throw big shade at Tyga ... hyping up Travis Scott for stealing away Tyga's ex, Kylie Jenner!!!

We got Soulja Boy in NYC Thursday, and he started bashing tons of rappers ... with rapid-fire insults directed at Tyga, Famous Dex and Kanye West. Hell, even Kanye's buddy, Donald Trump, couldn't escape Soulja's wrath! 

Soulja says Travis isn't making a mistake by performing at the Super Bowl halftime show despite backlash from big names like Common ... and it seems Travis can do no wrong in Soulja's eyes, because he applauds TS for taking "Tyga's bitch!" 

As you know ... Soulja and Tyga have been beefing all week over who had the bigger comeback in 2018, and the "Crank That" rapper is more than willing to pick a few more fights.

Watch ... Soulja pisses all over Yeezys, disses Dex and trashes Tyga, all while promoting himself and taking credit for making music go digital

Cardi B I'm the Pepsi Star For Super Bowl 53!!!

1/17/2019 5:13 PM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Cardi B is about to join a rarefied group of superstars, including Michael Jackson, Beyonce and Britney Spears ... donning Pepsi's red, white and blue for the company's Super Bowl ad campaign ... TMZ has learned.

Production sources tell us Cardi B is officially locked as this year's Pepsi celeb spokesperson. We're told the ad has already been shot and will air during SB 53.

The Pepsi spot is considered the premiere commercial during the big game, which is watched by hundreds of millions and has a long afterlife. 

Cindy Crawford did the honors last year, and her predecessors include Pink, One Direction, Madonna, Mariah Carey and The Spice Girls.

Cardi is also set to put on a show with Bruno Mars in the days leading up to The Super Bowl ... the buzz is that it will be the biggest party of the weekend.   

As we reported ... Cardi was in talks to join Maroon 5 during the halftime show, but negotiations fell apart.

Thing is ... even though she won't be performing on the Super Bowl stage, the Pepsi commercial is a monumental TV moment. 

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