Melissa W. Rawlins

A hip-hop legend gets new audiences

You can teach an old legend new tricks. Just ask hip-hop pioneer Grandmaster Flash, who recently hooked up with his former MC Melle Mel to bolster new wave pinups Duran Duran’s remake of Flash and Mel’s 1983 ”White Lines” for a Duran cover album due in September. ”The funk does not have a color barrier,” says the DJ (ne Joseph Saddler), now in his late 30s. ”As a matter of fact, our version was more poppy than theirs.”

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Pop's newest Swedish imports

Ace of Base first scaled U.S. charts with its annoyingly catchy pop-reggae hit, ”All That She Wants,” from their debut album, The Sign. Thanks to that single and two follow-up hits (the record’s title song and ”Don’t Turn Around”), the album has sold 3 million copies in the U.S. Now all the Gothenburg, Sweden-based quartet — Ulf Ekberg, 23, and Berggren siblings Jonas, 27, Linn, 23, and Jenny, 22 — wants is another hit, so this month they’ll begin recording their second album.

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Peter Gabriel's Real World Experience Park

If Peter Gabriel’s CD-ROM seems like an ego trip, wait until you see the final destination. Xplora 1 is just a peek at the artist’s grander plans-Real World Experience Park in Barcelona, Spain, a multimedia theme park, art gallery, and museum being designed by Gabriel with the help of performance artist Laurie Anderson and art-rock innovator Brian Eno and expected to open within the next five years.

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Rick James' fall from grace

Next week, Motown will host a party for Rick James’ hits album, Bustin’ Out. The guest of honor, however, will only be able to attend by phone. James, 46, helped assemble the album from inside the California Rehabilitation Center in Norco, where he’s serving at least 8 to 9 months for the assault and imprisonment of two L.A. women in ‘91 and ‘92. (Their testimony also sent James’ fiancee, Tanya Hijazi, 24, to jail.) After his self-described ”fall from grace,” the singer says, his party days are over.

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Bands release their new albums on vinyl

How do you build an early buzz in the world of alternative rock? Simple—release your new album on vinyl. Pearl Jam, Nirvana, and Soundgarden all made their latest albums available on limited-edition LPs, sold at independent record stores. This week, Sonic Youth’s new album, Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star, will be released on vinyl-seven days ahead of the disc version.

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The Beatles' teach a lesson to '90s rockers

Thirty years ago, John Lennon and his mates recorded the upbeat ”I’m a Loser” for Beatles for Sale—a song the liner notes said was ”a lesson to other artists.” In the ’90s, a generation of alterna-rockers are taking Lennon’s lesson to their twisted hearts-and doing quite well commercially, thank you:

Song: ”Creep,” by Stone Temple Pilots Sample Lyric: ”Guess I’m livin’, I’m a mouse/Alls I gots is time.” Degree of Inferiority Complex: Lukewarm—in the video, singer Weiland is slightly more slum

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Organized by Greenpeace, Alternative NRG (Hollywood) is the first recording from a completely solar-powered mobile studio. But you forget the PC gimmick only 30 seconds into the live performances by the likes of ex-Eurythmic Annie Lennox and Soundgarden. R.E.M.’s opening track, ”Drive,” is electric and vital. U2’s ”Until the End of the World,” has an immediacy missing from its earlier acoustic recording. Throughout, the clarity of sound – could it be a result of the solar power? – is more thrilling than being at a show. A

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Fugazi and hardcore's Miss Manners

New York’s Roseland had prepared for the worst, placing foam-padded police barricades between the sold-out crowd of moshers and the band. Unusual, but necessary, considering who was playing. ”Be nice. We’ll give you your $5 back and escort you to the door if you start being assholes,” warned Fugazi’s front man, Ian MacKaye, who, despite his band’s thrashing punk funk, is a cranky taskmaster when the crowd gets out of hand.

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