The late Tupac Shakur had a new double album in the racks, a collection of old, unreleased material called R U Still Down?, which was assembled by his mother, Afeni Shakur. She was also behind the video for the album's first single, "I Wonder If Heaven Got a Ghetto," a clip featuring a bus-driving Tupac picking up other dead celebrities on his way to heaven.
"Tupac understood about his time limits here, and worked like a demon to make sure he had probably about 10 years' worth of music to put out after he left," Afeni Shakur said. "So to that extent I think that just leaves us with the mechanics of doing the work. Tupac left us a lot of work to do, so I'm really glad to be able to do it."
"The concept [of the video] is that Tupac is so powerful an individual and has had such an impact as far as his music and his controversial views that he's not really dead," Lionel Martin, the video's director, said. "So what we've done is taken the incident after the Vegas shooting and left the possibility — however small it might be — that he's still alive."
It was a fabulous year for hip-hop impresario Puffy Combs, and with an elaborate new video costarring the Fugees' Wyclef Jean on the air and his star-packed No Way Out tour making the concert rounds, he was ending it on a very high note. Not all of Combs' musical dreams came true in 1997, though.
"I've been saying this on every interview… Janet Jackson," Puffy said. "Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis need to get on up off a track. Throw a brother a track or something. You know I wanna get in the studio with Janet. Can I get some light? Can I produce Janet? Jimmy, Terry ..."
Despite Puffy's pleas, when Janet's LP The Velvet Rope arrived he was still on the outside looking in.
"The album is done," Janet Jackson said. "Not that he's begging, but I do hear he keeps… and he has asked me a few times. I don't know if it ever will happen, maybe in the future. I don't know. I'm probably the only one who hasn't worked with him, though."
"It was just a dream, a fantasy for me, to one day work with Janet Jackson," Puff said. "Now I don't wanna do it. I don't wanna work with her anymore. I'm moving on. My heart has been broken and I'm moving on."
Godfather of metal Ozzy Osbourne announced he'd be going into a studio with his old Black Sabbath bandmates to record the first new Sabbath tracks in 20 years. The revered group also planned to record two reunion gigs in its hometown of Birmingham, England, for a live album.
(Those studio sessions yielded the tracks "Psycho Man" and "Selling My Soul," both of which appeared on Sabbath's 1998 double live album, Reunion.)
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