This week on the music beat | EW.com

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This week on the music beat

Snoop Dogg, Springstein and the artist formerly known as The Artist made news the week of May 15, 1998

PRIME CUTS

Continuing to cement his reputation as the most fecund music maker of our times, the artist currently known as The Artist is set to release yet another independently distributed album, New Power Soul, this month. Unlike Crystal Ball, his recent four-CD release, this one will be a single-disc, 10-song affair….

Borrowing a page from The Artist’s book of tricks — or maybe just trying to top his own surreal, unscheduled speech at this year’s Grammys — Wu-Tang Clan member Ol’ Dirty Bastard has announced he’s changed his name to Big Baby Jesus. This marks the third name switch for the mercurial rapper, who, in the past, has also called himself Osiris — a moniker that somehow never caught on. Is he serious about his new nom du jour? Says a spokesperson: ”Apparently. Until he decides to change it again.”…

That sound of countless (pre) teenage girls squealing in delight can mean just one thing: Hanson are hitting the road. The trio’s big arena tour kicks off June 20 in Montreal and will touch down in at least 10 major metropolitan areas….

The Red Hot Chili Peppers have replaced erstwhile axman Dave Navarro in one hot minute, tapping ex-Pepper John Frusciante, who quit the band six years ago….

If you thought Snoop Doggy Dogg had already had his day, think again: The rapper is in talks with New Line Cinema to star in his first feature film, Bones, set to begin shooting this summer. Meanwhile, Snoop’s third solo effort (and his first for Master P’s No Limit label), Da Game Is to Be Sold, Not to Be Told, is due Aug. 4. Wanna bet the No Limit connection is enough to send fans into a Pavlovian buying frenzy?…

Riches-to-rags rap cartoon MC Hammer has announced that his next album will be on the gospel label Word. Considering Hammer recently extricated himself from a fruitless contract with ill-fated gangsta label Death Row, we’re not surprised he’s turned to God….

The wheel in the sky stopped turning long enough for singer Steve Perry to amicably part ways with Journey after nearly two decades together. The band recruited vocalist Steve Augeri (ex-Tall Stories member) to record a new song, ”Remember Me,” for the upcoming Armageddon soundtrack album….

A mammoth six-CD Bruce Springsteen boxed set, featuring early demos and assorted rarities, is rumored to be in the works for a projected November release — just in time for the Boss’ expected induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame early in 1999.