Denzel Washington may make almost $10 million a movie, but he's not afraid to take a punch. When he took on the role of Rubin (Hurricane) Carter--the real-life middleweight contender imprisoned for 19 years for a murder he didn't commit--Washington trained as if he'd been given a shot at the title.
At first Jay-Z insisted he didn't want a party for his new album. Then, about a week and a half ago, one of the world's biggest-selling rappers suddenly changed his mind, and by last Wednesday night his people had made it happen: rented New York City's Irving Plaza nightclub; lined up a deejay and background vocalists for Jay-Z's performance; printed up personalized tickets for such guests as Puffy Combs, Busta Rhymes, Eve, Russell Simmons and Lil' Kim.
Rapper Eve Jihan Jeffers likes a good dare. When she was in the ninth grade, a schoolmate dared her to dye her hair blond, and Eve couldn't resist the challenge. "I was like, I can do that--no problem," remembers the 20-year-old Philadelphia native with a roll of her eyes. "I did dye it and went to school the next day and blew everybody away.
After a loss three weeks ago, Los Angeles Lakers coach Kurt Rambis was berating the team in the locker room. Dennis Rodman raised his hand, according to two teammates. "May I say," Rodman offered, "what a sh-tty coach you are?" Last Thursday, after "The Worm" showed up late for yet another practice, Rambis and owner Jerry Buss finally put an end to Rodman's two-month tenure, waiving him and agreeing to pay the remainder of his $600,000 contract. (Neither team executive would comment.) Rodman's...
Enough with the endless sampling and the cheesy million-dollar videos, says the Philadelphia-based act the Roots. It's time to make rap real again. "Now it's all about money and talking about how many women you have and cars you drive," says drummer ?uestlove. "Corporate America has taken it over."But less sampling doesn't spell a lack of influences.
THROUGHOUT THE '90S, NBA basketball has increasingly become a one-on-one game. So it seems appropriate that saving this season--perhaps even the league--came down last week to NBA Commissioner David Stern and players' union chief Billy Hunter going head to head in an all-night negotiating session.
EVEN BACK IN JUNIOR HIGH IN Indianapolis, Kenneth Edmonds--you know him as Babyface--was more or less the guy he is now. He was in his first band then; onstage, he'd let others sing as he hung back, playing guitar, registering the crowd's response. ""I'd watch to see what they reacted to,'' he recalls. ""We were doing other people's songs and it helped me see what I needed to write so people would be drawn to it.
A DOZEN PHILADELPHIA PLAYERS ARE streaking up and down the court in three-on-three drills, but new 76ers coach Larry Brown only has eyes--and instructions--for one. ""Allen, go down the lane sooner,'' Brown urges. ""Allen, get to your position sooner.'' ""Allen, space out.'' Allen Iverson acknowledges his coach with a slight nod and hustles to comply.
A YEAR AGO QUINCY JONES COULDN'T buy a booking in late-night to hawk his 33d album, ""Q's Jook Joint.'' The 64-year-old music man, perhaps the most influential African-American in Hollywood, was told that Leno wasn't interested and that Letterman's people wanted him only if he'd perform, which he hasn't done in 23 years because of a medical condition.
AUTUMN JACKSON, THE 22-YEAR-OLD college dropout accused of squeezing Bill Cosby for $40 million, wept into her hands when the guilty verdict was read last Friday. ""How could they?'' she asked her lawyer, seemingly dazed by the jury's decision after three days of deliberations.
MARTIN LAWRENCE WAS SUPPOSED to be the next Eddie Murphy. Five years ago he'd just costarred in back-to-back hit movies, ""House Party'' and ""Boomerang,'' and signed a deal with Fox to star in the network's first African-American sitcom, ""Martin.'' Now Lawrence sits in his publicist's office looking fragile, sounding sedate and talking guardedly about getting his life back on track after months of chaos, both personal and professional. ""I want more kids,'' he says quietly. ""That's the only...