With smash hits like "End of the Road" and "I'll Make Love to You" under their matching belts, the guys of Boyz II Men can afford to take a gamble. So MTV News' Chris Connelly caught up with the Motownphilly high rollers on a recent trip to Las Vegas, where they were hurting street signs with their van and getting hurt in the pocket by roulette.
Connelly: Why are you betting all on twenties? Is it your age or the number of records?
Shawn Stockman: I tell you, we've sold about 25 million records. I'm 25 years old, so I did 25 red. Twenty-six, I'll be 26 on the 26th of September of this year.
The Boyz lost their shirts at roulette, but it wasn't until they stopped at a nearby wedding chapel that the group learned what busted in Vegas really meant.
Connelly: Gentlemen, what do you think happened here? This is your van here?
Wanya Morris: It's not my van.
Shawn Stockman: Not ours, and that's for the record.
Connelly: Isn't that just like you guys. Some guys wreck hotel rooms when they're on tour. You guys ...
Michael McCary: We wreck clearance signs.
Being the hopeless romantics that they are, Boyz II Men stuck around and sang "Can You Stand the Rain" to a couple of newlyweds. Then they offered some unsolicited advice to the men in their audience. Guys, if you come to a Boyz II Men show and the group starts throwing flowers from the stage, let the ladies have them.
Shawn Stockman: We'll throw a flower, and it's going in the air and it's going, and all of a sudden you see this athletic brother just coming out of nowhere, stretch his had out and go, "Rooaaarrr." You be like, "Aww, man." So fellas, please don't take the flowers from the girls. Let the girls have them. It's OK.
Singer/songwriter Jewel was striving to be recognized as singer/songwriter/poet Jewel this week in 1998. Known for her yodely folk-pop styling, she had just published a book of poems called "A Night Without Armor."
Jewel: Poetry's my therapy. It's my process when I'm hurt in a relationship, when I'm bitter and when I start to recover and when I start to want to love again. You see the process in poetry. Songwriting doesn't really tend to reflect that. The process is detailed, which is nice and is actually one of the things I liked about putting the book out. People can know me more directly and sincerely than as an image of a pop star or something. I did begin to feel fearful that people could consume me without ever knowing what I tasted like. People would take the image and believe that I was raised by wolves in Alaska. "Foolish Games" actually came from some different poems I put together, but it's actually kind of rare. This tends to be more autobiographical, the book. I tried to, you know, when I compiled the book, to be as holistic as I could, to put in really passionate, sensual poems, love poems as well as bitter. ... I almost published anonymously, except it kind of defeated a lot of purposes, so I decided to take the brunt of a lot of hits and just be as honest as I could and as good as I could.
The Wu-Tang Clan's Inspectah Deck was busy preparing to release a solo album back in 1998, and despite all the work that came along with that responsibility, he thoroughly enjoyed the freedom that came from calling all the shots on Uncontrolled Substance.
Inspectah Deck: Just how I feel right here in front of this [studio equipment] is like flying the Enterprise. ... It feels like the Starfleet commander right now 'cause the steering wheel's in my hand, you know, and all I'm doing is running with it.
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