Album: Busta Rhymes, Back On My B.S. (Universal Motown)

It's not been a good century for Busta Rhymes who is struggling to repeat his early successes with his optimistically-titled Motown debut Back On My B.S. Frequently, when an album appears a 18 months behind schedule, it sounds dated and desperate, however loudly Busta proclaims himself "emperor of every round table in the house". British hip-hop was once the poor relation to its American cousin, but one searches in vain here for something with the spark and invention of a "Bonkers", or a Slime & Reason; instead, it's the usual tired celebrations of thug life and bling culture, with the usual parade of lazy guest spots. Lil Wayne turns up to brag about his cash on "Respect My Conglomerate", Akon and T.I. bring a little commercial polish to "Don't Believe Em", Busta's Flipmode Squad buddies get their taste on the aptly titled "We Want In", while the conscious crew of Jamie Foxx, Mary J. Blige, John Legend and Common sound like an afterthought on "Decision". Busta's best line is his boast in "Give Em What They Askin For" about how "I'm throwing money down just to please myself/I'm into self-preservation so I'll freeze myself"; but his career's cold enough, by the sound of it.

Spotlight on Ray Charles

You wouldn't necessarily picture Ray Charles, blues pianist and singer, engrossed in a game of chess. But a new book of previously unseen photographs taken by his manager and friend Joe Adams between the 1960s and the 1980s offers intriguing insights into the man.

Chess: the film of the music label

The latest musical biopic may be flawed, but the story it tells of a legendary blues and rock'n'roll label is compelling, writes Pierre Perrone

Mother of ‘Dreamgirls’ actress found murdered

The mother and brother of the Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Hudson were found murdered at their home in Chicago yesterday.

The Kingdom (15)

The Kingdom (DVD)

Retail & Rental, UNIVERSAL

How do I look?: Ozwald Boateng

Designer, age 41

England face gamble in rushing return of Harmison

England's cricketers have predictably rallied behind their captain, Andrew Flintoff, after the team's failure to defeat Sri Lanka in the first Test at Lord's. Flintoff received some criticism at the conclusion of the drawn match but he will be hoping to call on Stephen Harmison, his closest friend and staunchest ally, during the second Test which starts at Edgbaston this Thursday.

West's failure over climate change 'will kill 182m Africans'

The poorest people in the world will be the chief victims of the West's failure to tackle global warning, with millions of Africans forecast to die by the end of the century, Christian Aid says in a report out today.

Theatre: Do we believe in this Godot?

Waiting for Godot Royal Exchange, Manchester Collateral Damage Tricycle, London The Importance of Being Earnest Festival Theatre, Chichester The Late Middle Classes Richmond, London

Music: In concert: The one and the only...

Marc Cohn, Camden Dingwalls, London

Barely bobbing above the surface...

Head Above Water (15) Directed by: Jim Wilson. Starring: Harvey Keitel, Cameron Diaz.

Film: `Microcosmos': it's definitely got legs

Edgar Allan Poe tagged one of his macabre fables with a quotation to the effect that there is no truly exquisite beauty without some admixture of strangeness. He might well have been entranced by Microcosmos (U), which offers some incomparably strange and exquisite visions. The glistening liquid ballet of a couple of mating snails, for example, which squirm and ripple and pulse in unison, locked surface to luminous white surface in what the mammalian onlooker can only assume to be mollusc ecstasy, especially since the sound-track graces their coupling with a soaring aria. Unless you already dote on slime, you'll need to conquer mild feelings of disgust to relish the sight, but the effort is easier than you might have believed. Every frame of this gorgeous journey down into the insect world puts its idiosyncratic spin on the old maxim that small is beautiful.

A jump-cut above the rest

What is it about the hyperactive US cop series `Homicide' that makes it, and not the conspiracy-obsessed `X-Files', the true expression of Nineties malaise. By John O'Reilly

Damages for son who killed father

A DEVOTED son who battered his father to death while mentally unbalanced after a boating accident, was awarded pounds 225,000 agreed damages in the High Court yesterday for the psychological injuries that turned him into a killer.
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Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

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Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
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How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
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Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
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Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
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From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

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