Run-DMC And Wu-Tang Team Up Onscreen; R.E.M. Joke Around Before Tour; Vanessa Williams On Broadway: This Week In 1995

Eight years ago this week, hip-hop impresario Russell Simmons was working on expanding his already lengthy résumé by coordinating a concert movie featuring some of rap's biggest luminaries.

"It's the first time that the magnitude of this talent, this star level all getting on the same stage at once," "The Show" director Brian Robbins said. "Warren G, Run-DMC, Tha Dogg Pound including Snoop, the whole Wu-Tang Clan with Method Man, Craig Mack, Biggie Smalls — it's a pretty major event."

One of the things the filmmakers wanted to show in "The Show" was that not all rappers are the thugs their lyrics may make them out to be. "Maybe they manipulate you as a medium," Robbins said. "They say sometimes what MTV wants to hear, but do they mean it? Maybe not, but they're saying it for a reason. I think we find that out a little bit."

Others were hopeful the movie would remind people where the art form came from — the ghetto.

"Rap is the industry, the Billboards, the Hits magazines, you know what I'm saying," Meth said. "The interviews, all that — all that's just the rap. The hip-hop is when you see a brother onstage sweating, going for what he knows, shaking his people's hands, freestyling on the block. That's hip-hop, man."

R.E.M., meanwhile, were preparing to hit concert venues, not movie theaters, with their live act. The band's first world tour in five years would take R.E.M. through Asia and Europe before arriving back in the States. Scott McCaughey of Seattle's Fresh Young Fellows and guitarist Nathan December lent assistance to the group for the trek, which featured openers Sonic Youth and Luscious Jackson.

"The volume of people that are willing to pay money to see us perform is probably going to diminish after this tour, or I would think ... after the word about how we were playing got out," singer Michael Stipe joked before expressing excitement over visiting the Far East, Israel and Vienna, Austria, for the first time.

"We're gonna play the Green Day record, the entire Green Day record, and I'm really excited about that," drummer Bill Barry deadpanned.

Singer Vanessa Williams was trying to excite audiences on Broadway in "Kiss of the Spider Woman."

"It didn't strike me until I was, like, probably a month into the run when I realized man this is a pretty major thing," she said. "I'm getting great reviews on my first Broadway show and it's really happening. This is a dream come true."

After seeing Williams in the show, Babyface produced and wrote two songs for her third album, Sweetest Days. The collection of lush ballads and relaxed acoustic tunes, she said, illustrated where she was at in life when she recorded it.

"I'm 31, a mother of three, I don't care at this point. I've gone through so much in my life since I've been 20 years old that I feel that I've probably lived the life of a 50-year-old already. I feel pretty weathered on some of these days."

For more "This Week In ...", check out the This Week In Archive.