This week in 1999, MTV News handed the Backstreet Boys a bunch of camcorders to record their lives and show everyone what a "normal day" for them was like. Of course, not much is normal when you're constantly being chased by girls who want to rip your clothes off, as the guys attested while filming each other drinking tea, talking on the phone and picking their noses ...
"It's a great feeling to walk out the hotel and kind of get pushed around and mobbed," the group's A.J. McLean said. "I love the attention, so it's not like it's anything bad for me. I think it's cool. I'd be really worried if we didn't have that, 'cause then you kind of know something's wrong."
"Any guy in my position would definitely enjoy all the attention the girls give us," Nick Carter added. "So we do love it. I'm not gonna lie and say I don't."
Comedian Chris Rock was hard at work on his album Bigger & Blacker, the title of which was a nod to the LL Cool J album title Bigger & Deffer. That wasn't the only hop-hop connection, either ...
"For the cover, I called in Master P's photographer," Rock said. "The guy who does all the No Limit stuff. It's gonna be very jiggy. I'm gonna be very iced up."
Bigger & Blacker was Rock's second CD version of his stand-up act. His 1996 HBO special, "Bring the Pain," and its accompanying album, Roll With the New, shot him onto the showbiz hot list and put him in heavy demand for prime movie roles and award-show hosting gigs, but his heart remained in his stage act. Among Rock's comedy topics at the time was the heavily cleaned-up city atmosphere in his hometown of New York.
"I can't even get a hot dog anymore, man," Rock commented on Mayor Rudy Giuliani's initiative to "crack down" on frank vendors. "You gotta go upstairs into some back rooms, stick two bucks through a hole in the wall, hot dog comes out. Go halfway across town to get some mustard ..."
Hip-hop has always had its share of influential and memorable characters, and at this time in 1999, the spotlight was on a red hot DMX.
In December of '98 DMX became the first artist in SoundScan history to have two #1 albums in the same year. His album Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood sold more than 600,000 copies its first week out.
In addition to his impressive chart numbers, the Darkman scored high in the streets,
thanks to his hardscrabble Yonkers, New York, upbringing and the fact that his hits had all blown up in the underground first, without radio edits or videos.
"If you don't know what rap fans wanna hear you can't give rap fans what they wanna hear. I know what rap fans wanna hear," DMX said. "That's why I started writing, 'cause there was so many garbage MCs out there. I'm like, 'I can do that.' "
DMX's raw energy, passion and brooding magnetism made him hip-hop's top live act, as fans and performers on the Hard Knock Life Tour found out in '99.
"Incredible energy. I don't know how he does that," Jay-Z said of his tourmate. "One night in Cleveland he had actually, from the smoke, suffered from an asthma attack, and me and him do a song together and he came back out after the asthma attack. Put 'em on the pump, took the pump and came back out and did the show. Incredible."
So why were members of the music business and some knowledgeable fans concerned about DMX? Among other things, he went AWOL for a week during the shooting of the flick "Belly," had scraps with the law that included a pending assault charge, and there were unsubstantiated stories of substance abuse and medical problems. There were also the missed photo shoots and interviews.
"I just don't wanna do every interview that's offered to me," the MC explained. "I feel that I should have that right without being looked down upon for saying no. It's gonna come to a point where [I say], 'No interviews, no more photo sessions, no more knocking on my f---ing door, leave me alone. Let me be who I am 'cause I will have my dogs patrolling the premises.' "
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