“This is not another ‘Fuck Tha Police’ here,” declared Rico Wade of Organized Noize at the outset of Friday’s Hip Hop for Respect recording session. “I know how to make a pop single, and I want this song to move people.” Brought together by Black Star’s Mos Def and Talib Kweli in the wake of the Amadou Diallo murder, artists like Ras Kass, Common, and Wise Intelligent of Poor Righteous Teachers converged on Sony’s midtown studios for a 12-hour recording marathon for an as-yet-untitled single, to be released May 19 on Rawkus. Commenting on hip-hop’s political potential, Mos Def proclaimed, “We respond. We’re awake. We’re watching.”
Although rumored participants Q-Tip, Busta Rhymes, Mobb Deep, and TAFKAP failed to show by night’s end, Reverend Al Sharpton did drop in on the proceedings, reminding the artists that “real superstars are those who come to the plate and stand up for the people who buy their CDs.” Sharpton also makes an appearance on Alliance Afrique’s “41 Shots,” recorded just two days after the shooting by a collective of African MCs living in New York. “In Diallo, we saw ourselves,” said the group’s manager Ibrahim Ndoye, “and we felt the need to address not only the police brutality, but also the xenophobia of the situation.” —Jon Caramanica
The Price of Love
Q-Prime Management heads Cliff Burnstein and Peter Mensch didn’t raise much of a fuss when Madonna and Smashing Pumpkins decided to leave the firm this past spring. But when Hole announced that they intended to do the same, Q-Prime responded by filing suit.
Lawyers for Q-Prime claim that the band—which recently fled a tour with Marilyn Manson after a handful of poorly received shows—”set forth vague, unsubstantiated, and untrue claims of breaches” in unilaterally terminating its contract earlier this month. The suit, filed on April 16, requests remuneration of $180,000 in outstanding management fees as well as compensation for the remainder of the agreement plus 10 years.
While a Q-Prime spokesperson declined to comment, Burnstein and Mensch are receiving widespread, if subdued, support within the industry. “Cliff and Peter are peerless when it comes to handling business matters,” says a record executive who’s worked with Courtney Love in the past. “But they’re not as good at the kind of hand-holding and ego-stroking that this new breed of performer seems to need more than anything else. Courtney will find someone else willing to provide it—but only for so long.” —David Sprague
What’s Going On?
Bullets tore yet another gaping hole through the fabric of rhythm-and-blues last weekend when Roger and Larry Troutman—cofounders of legendary funk ensemble Zapp—died in what Dayton police are calling an apparent murder-suicide. According to police reports, Roger, 47, was found slumped on the sidewalk outside his studio, bleeding from several gunshot wounds, while his 54-year-old brother—who was seen leaving the scene—was discovered in his car, dead from a self-inflicted wound to the head.
The brothers began working together professionally in 1978, when Zapp (most famously sampled on Tupac Shakur’s “California Love”) broke through with “More Bounce to the Ounce.” Larry Troutman left the act a few years after that hit, but remained involved in several business ventures with his younger brother, who still maintained an active touring schedule. Friends of the Troutmans can’t fathom a motive, although one former employee of Larry’s Troutman Enterprises (who asked not to be identified) says that the siblings “had a lot of tensions—money and personal jealousy and all sorts of shit like that.” —David Sprague