Hippity-Hoppity, Missy Elliott, Angie Stone, Seal

by Doug Rule
Published on January 8, 2004, 12:00am | Comments

BETWEEN HIP-HOP AND COLDPLAY… Hip-hop has dominated the pop charts for years now, but until just recently it existed mostly in a vacuum, where only true aficionados listened on their own time away from the radio and where hip-hop artists drew inspiration only from their hip-hop peers and rivals, not pop or rock artists. Now, however, the most creative hip-hoppers have also become the most popular by drawing from early house sounds (Missy Elliott, the Neptunes), from up-tempo pop-rock (Outkast, the Neptunes again), even from no-fan-of-Eminem techno (all three previously mentioned). Coldplay is about the only artist in the main Grammy categories this year not creating hip-hop. But that was so 2003. This year, when the British pop-rock band releases its third album, hip-hop should factor in the mix. The group has recorded a track with acclaimed white British rapper The Streets and is in discussion to collaborate with Timbaland, the producer behind Elliott's work. Apparently, it was at Timbaland's suggestion. "Hip-hop is the same ol', same ol',” he told BBC Radio. “I can do a beat and keep doing it, but it's not the same. The only musician I'd like to do a song with is Coldplay.” Rock, to say nothing of Coldplay, may never be the same again.


Timbaland, incidentally, is working with other musicians in producing a remake of “We Are the World,” this time to raise funds for worldwide HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention programs. Billboard reports that Missy Elliott and Justin Timberlake will co-author the new version, due this spring. Entitled “The World Is Ours,” the track will, like the 1985 original co-written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie, involve an all-star roster of more than 40 vocalists. Surely Jackson won't be involved again. And will the elder Ritchie be replaced by his simpleton daughter Nicole? Oh god, let's hope not…

THE ‘NOW SCHOOL' OF DANCE… Dance music may be changing with help from hip-hop, as well. As chanteuse Angie “Wish I Didn't Miss You” Stone told Billboard: "Hip-hop and dance must embrace each other. It is now school, not old school. It's time to stop putting limits on ourselves as to what we can and can't do." Dance music and hip-hop ignited from the same post-disco R&B ash heap, but didn't completely drift away from each other for a decade. Another decade later, here's hoping the two are back to make sweet music together along the lines of last year's Six Million Ways to Live from the British Dub Pistols, one of the best melds ever of hip-hop and dance styles. There are two promising developments already underway in 2004: the oft-cited godfather of hip-hop, Afrika Bambaataa (also a house and techno pioneer), will release a new album on Tommy Boy, the one record label that has always celebrated the intersection of hip-hop and dance. And Elliott's latest track, “Pass That Dutch,” has been puff-puff-passed to Dutchman The Scumfrog, who took an unusually light approach to remixing it, speeding up the mid-tempo chugging rhythm only a notch or two. Best yet, it's available for free, legally, from…

LIPS LIKE SPLENDA… As much fun as the Black Eyed Peas can be, Spandau Ballet's hit “True” will probably never sound the same after the Peas' rework it. You heard right. The Peas are just one in a lineup of contemporary pop artists taking on 1980s rock and pop classic tunes to pad the soundtrack to the latest Adam Sandler/Drew Barrymore film comedy, 50 First Dates. Truth is, the Peas may not even create the worst cover. Wyclef Jean, with Eve, taking on the Outfields' “Your Love." Seal taking on Echo & the Bunnymen's “Lips Like Sugar.” Sugar Ray's Mark McGrath covering the Psychedelic Furs' “Ghost in You." Any one or all of those could be worse, and then there's UB40 remaking the Police's “Every Breath You Take” or 311 doing The Cure's “Love Song.” The film and the soundtrack will be released next month…

BIGGEST BEATS IN 2003… Speaking of Seal, the artist was responsible for the second most-popular dance track at clubs across the land in 2003, according to Billboard. His “Get It Together,” as remixed by Peter Rauhofer, Superchumbo and Bill Hamel, among others, fell behind only The Weekend Players “Into the Sun,” on the year-end Club Play chart and came in just ahead of Murk vs. Kristine W.'s “Some Lovin” and “Dark Beat” from Oscar G. & Ralph Falcon (a.k.a. Murk, a.k.a. Funky Green Dogs). Sadly, Seal's better tune “Waiting for You,” as remixed most effectively by the Passengerz, didn't chart. Madonna's “Die Another Day” claimed the top spot in dance CD maxi-single sales. Felix da Housecat's haunted-house spook-tacular remix was far and away the most imaginative on that disc (besting the tired Dirty Vegas, the blah Deepsky, the sayonara Thunderpuss). But even that wasn't as much fun as da Housecat's appropriately creepy tweaking of “American Life,” found on the No. 8 best-selling CD single…


Missy Elliott

The Neptunes

Timbaland and Magoo

Call 202-638-6830 to advertise here in Marketplace