Sunday March 17th, 2002
New CD's this week:
This past week the debut album by Canadian
Remy Shand who is already scoring with his single
Take A Message.
Short news stories this week:
TLC Working On New Album
The trio of T-Boz, Chilli, and Left Eye,
better known as TLC, is back in the studio and
working on a new album. The group is presently working Los Angeles and Atlanta and
have recruited long-time collaborator Dallas Austin as well as with Babyface, Diane
Warren, Raphael Saadiq, and Eddie Hustle. While the group's representatives at Arista
Records couldn't provide a firm release date for the project, the set is slated to be released
before the end of the year.
The group's last release was 1999's Fanmail which sold 6 million copies. TLC's
sophomore set, 1994's Crazysexycool, has sold more than 11 million copies, while the
group's debut set, 1992's Ooooooohhh...On The TLC Tip, has sold more than four million
Raphael Saadiq's 'Be Here' Video Premiere, Planning Tour In April
Raphael Saadiq's video for "Be
Here," his collaboration with D'Angelo and first release
from his solo album Instant Vintage due May 21, will premiered friday (March 15) on
BET's 106 & Park show. The video for the song, which is receiving airplay on more than
90 stations since its March 12 release, will debut on MTV and VH1 next week.
Saadiq, a founding member of Tony Toni Tone and Lucy Pearl, is planning to launch a
national promotional tour in April. He recently spoke about the increased amount of work
that comes along with his transition into a solo artist: ["Well, it's a challenge because, you
know, I'm used to being next to two other people all the time. Well, now, I have to do all
my own interviews. I can't like give that interview to somebody, give this interview to
somebody else, it's different. I have to do everything and I welcome that challenge. You
know, doing everything that I have to do. And this way, it will get done." Saadiq adds
that he anticipates the additional duties. "I feel good about it, really," he said. "I'm
excited. I just welcome the challenge. Just to go out there and perform and do the best
that I can."
Instant Vintage includes collaborations with TLC's T-Boz, Angie Stone, and Hi-Tek.
Alleged R. Kelly Sex Tape Turning Up On N.Y.C. Street Corners
Copies of the purported 26-minute R. Kelly
sex videotape sent anonymously to the
offices of the Chicago Sun-Times last month have made their way on to the streets of
New York City. The tape allegedly depicts Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter
Kelly and three separate women, one believed to be underage, participating in
intercourse, fellatio, and urination. Street vendors throughout the five boroughs are
selling the tape in VHS and DVD format. One vendor told New York's Daily News, "It's
the hottest video in town. I sell about a dozen of them every day, but this is my last
copy." One of our sources found the tape for sale on DVD for $10, at the corner of 125th
Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.
Kelly is currently under investigation by the Illinois State Attorney's office and Chicago
Police Department for allegedly having sex with a girl under 17 and videotaping a sexual
act with anyone under 18, both of which are felonies and prohibited by Illinois state
Chicago police spokesman Pat Camden was surprised to learn that the videotape was now
commercially available in New York when informed by the Daily News, saying, "You
gotta be kidding me. We have a copy of the tape and we are investigating it. So far, we
have not identified anyone or made any arrests."
Kelly and rapper Jay-Z are scheduled to release their new collaborative effort, The Best
Of Both Worlds, next Tuesday (March 19).
New Lauryn Hill Music Coming In Spring
After almost a year in the vault, new
Lauryn Hill music is finally surfacing. A double
Unplugged album will hit stores sometime this spring - her first LP since 1998's
Grammy-winning The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.
MTV2 will air the "Unplugged" special Sunday night at 8 p.m. ET. Taped last summer,
the show features Hill singing 13 new songs she wrote and arranged. She didn't need any
band to back her - she simply used an acoustic guitar, which she taught herself to play.
"When I was still with the Fugees I would pick up the guitar and I used to always say,
'Wyclef, just get out there and do that thing with the guitar,' " she explained shortly after
the show. "He chose what path he chose, but interestingly enough, when God shows you
a thing, we always encourage others to do what we were meant to do. But over a period
of time [God] caused me to take it more seriously. He said, 'This is your accompaniment.
Don't think it's going to be what you thought it was.' It's just by way of passion. How do
we learn anything?
"I don't know if I taught myself," she continued. "I just evolved by way of necessity, by
way of grace. [My skills] just grew, and grew and grew."
Among the songs Hill performs is "I Find It Hard to Say (Rebel)," which she wrote after
hearing that New York City police officers shot and killed unarmed citizen Amadou
"It was initially written about Diallo, and that's when I realized I was very confused," she
said of the song's origins. "There was a part when I was singing 'rebel,' and this part of
me is afraid - this one voice was saying, 'You can't say that,' and I was like, 'Wait a
minute, it's in me to say [it].' But I think it's because I didn't understand the difference
between rebellion against God and rebellion against the system that's not God. I think that
I didn't understand I was meant to be a rebel, I'm a rebel in a sense that nobody's going to
force me to do something against my will.
"'What do I owe anybody that I should submit my will to them?' she continued. "I mean,
I'm not a fool. God teaches me about reality, so when he tells me to do something, I do
something. But it's not because somebody told me to, it's because I'm led to."
A spokesperson for Columbia Records said they have no word on when to expect an in-
studio album from L Boogie. However, DJ Kay Slay has an unreleased track from the
singer/MC called "Little Boy" on his Streetsweepers Present Allstar Weekend Hip-Hop &
R&B mixtape. On the cut, Hill sings emotionally, questioning what becomes of little boys
who grow up and find their dreams won't be fulfilled. Lauryn Hill's Unplugged track list:
"Adam Lives in Theory"
"War in the Mind"
"I Find It Hard to Say (Rebel)"
"I Just Want You Around"
"Peace of Mind"
"The Mystery of Iniquity"
"I Get Out"
"So Much Things to Say"
"The Conquering Lion"
Jam And Lewis To Hit The Studio With TLC, Mariah, Whitney Houston
For 17 years, Janet Jackson has been
spinning gangbuster hits with veteran producers
Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. Their recent #1 smash with Jackson, "All for You" (a
revamp of the early '80s song "The Glow of Love" by Change), won this year's Grammy
for Best Dance Recording. For Jam the victory was especially sweet, because it validated
his belief in a song he's loved for decades.
"When I deejayed, one of my favorite songs was 'The Glow of Love,' " he said from the
press room before the Grammy Awards telecast. "I always wanted to redo that song,
update it. And Janet was the perfect person to do it. It's nice to take a song that was once
a hit and bring it back 20 years later and have it be a hit for a whole new generation."
Jam said he cherishes his relationship with Jackson because he and Lewis have learned
exactly how she operates and she knows precisely what she'll get from them.
"There's a magic that happens when we work together," he said. "We can always be
honest with each other, and if a song isn't working we can just say, 'It's not working. It's a
terrible idea.' "
While Jackson is Jam and Lewis' current calling card, the duo have many other
production projects in the works. Over the next two months they will work with TLC,
Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Boyz II Men, "AIDA" star Heather Headley, Deborah
Cox, one-time New Kid on the Block Jordan Knight and a new 16-year-old pop hopeful
named Nodesha whom Jam praised as the next Janet.
"That's just what we're doing in the next six to seven weeks. The rest of the year we're
gonna hit the golf course," joked Jam.
As thrilled as they are about the new young diva, whose LP is slated to drop June 25,
they're especially enthused about working on the next Houston record, her first in four
years. It will mark the first time the pair will work with the singer.
"Whitney's been living a very happy married life and raising her daughter and is anxious
to get back to music," Jam said. " And we're just as happy to help her get back in."
Toni Braxton Making 'Hit After Hit,' Rodney Jerkins Promises
The two have been recording songs in
Atlanta for a new album this fall.
"Yes indeed, we are making hit after hit after hit," a confident Rodney Jerkins said of his
recent studio time with Toni Braxton.
The two have been in Atlanta recording songs for this fall's proper follow-up to 2000's
The Heat (a holiday album, Snowflakes, was released in October). So far, two songs,
"Whatcha Need" and "Do U Remember?" have been completed for the still-untitled disc.
"Whatcha Need," the producer said, is a catchy, up-tempo song using his new sound
called "the Darkchild on-and-off knock." "Do U Remember" is described as a sexy, mid-
tempo jazz song.
Although Braxton was unable to attend the Grammys this year because of her work
schedule, like J. Lo before her, the memory of the skimpy dress she wore to last year's
festivities was still a topic of conversation.
"That was the sexiest, but classiest, dress that was ever seen at the Grammys," Jerkins
said. He was quick to add, "Next year, when she's [nominated] for one of the songs we
are doing right now, I'm sure she'll have an even better one."
Rick James Says Alicia Keys 'Doesn't Move My Soul'
Rick James is one man that doesn't
necessarily love everything he hears on the radio
these days. In fact, he says he's totally unimpressed with Alicia Keys, who won five of
the six trophies she was nominated for at last month's Grammy Awards.
When we asked James, who's out playing dates on his farewell tour, what he thought of
Keys's music, he said: "Sorry (laughs). I'd rather play my Rachelle Ferrell albums, or my
Lalah Hathaway. Alicia Keys, she doesn't move my soul. People can take that for
whatever it's worth--I don't care if you like it or if you don't like it. What I tell people is,
if it really bothers you about what somebody says, then what you do is go out and
compare. Take your Alicia Keys records, and then go out and buy a woman, girl by the
name of Rachelle Ferrell, who plays piano and sings and writes, or Lalah Hathaway, and
then tell me what's really going on."
That was just the beginning. James also told us: "There's a whole lot of 'em out there
fakin' the funk, you know? I mean, I bet if you put Teena Marie, Rachelle Ferrell, (and)
Alicia Keys on stage, Alicia Keys might just pack up her keyboard and go to an island
and retire somewhere. A lot of people have been asking me about her, and I don't really
have her album. I mean, she's really cute--I mean, if I was 20 years younger, I'd ask to
take her to the prom."
James did make clear, though, that he doesn't have a problem with all younger musicians.
He specifically cited India.Arie, D'Angelo, and Maxwell as artists "who are not afraid to
go on the cutting edge."