Jewish World Review May 21, 2004 / 1 Sivan, 5764
Not so Ruff Ryders; fantastic voyage; sweeps month stunt?; more
NEW YORK Is hard-core hip-hop Ruff Ryder Records suddenly going soft?
The Manhattan-based label has just signed 23-year-old recording artist LT to launch its new division, Ruff Pop. Let's just say that LT marks a shocking departure from the label's gangsta roots.
For starters, LT born Lynne Timmes hails not from the inner city but from Scottsdale, Ariz.
Second, she's blond and disarmingly polite most definitely not in the tough-talking, profanity-laced rap star tradition.
Most of all, she's a self-confessed "straight-up pop artist."
On Thursday, this column asked LT, who got her start in The Elbow Room on Bleecker St., if she was wary of a label that features such razor-tongued rappers as Eve, Jadakiss and DMX whose lyrics tend toward the unsentimental: "I f with these hoes from a distance/The instant they start to catch feelings I start to stealin' they s /then I'm out just like a thief in the night."
LT answered: "My parents were a little worried when they looked at the old Ruff Ryders Web site. It had gunshots and blood dripping from Eve's face. But they think everything happens for a reason, and I do, too."
Ruff Ryders co-CEO Joaquin "Waah" Dean explained: "We ain't limited to doing hip-hop. We really wanted to do something outside the box. She just has raw talent. Her music speaks for itself. She got what it takes. A lot of these cats got a lot of people writin' for them, and she does her own writing."
But it's hard not to wonder if LT represents Ruff Ryders' response to Samantha Ronson, stepdaughter of Foreigner frontman Mick Jones and latest new flavor for rival Roc-A-Fella Records.
"No, I don't even know who she is," Dean insisted. "We don't do things based on what other people do we do things based on what we feel."
For her part, LT isn't looking to start a hip-pop war. "The press creates things but personally, I hope not."
Says her manager, Kristi Clifford: "Like other Ruff Ryder acts, she's upfront, very cocky. Most of her themes have the woman in the driver's seat."
Stay tuned for LT's debut single, "This Is Not About You," from the album of the same name.
Four Seasons Restaurant honcho Julian Niccolini sure knows how to make a splash.
The other night at Metropolitan Home magazine's Design 100 party in his restaurant's Pool Room, Niccolini was so enchanted by the clear plastic Napali Kayak floating in said pool that he decided to take it for a test drive.
"I said, 'My G-d, it's really beautiful,'" Niccolini told this column Thursday, recounting his fabulous though brief voyage with champagne flute in hand. "I'm a kayaker I go in the Hudson River. I had never seen a clear kayak, and I wanted to take it home."
He even asked the Metropolitan Home types for permission to borrow the vessel, but they cruelly dashed his dreams. "I guess they weren't impressed."
Maybe because Niccolini was paddling under the influence?
"No!" he roared. "We try to have some fun with the guests, otherwise it's so boring. Very boring. It's nice to let them experience something different."
In the end, Niccolini coaxed two young ladies into the kayak with the mildly disturbing pickup line, "You want to go for a ride?"
It turns out that the famed pool has been the scene of many shenanigans over the restaurant's 45 years.
"About 10 years ago, we had three naked women jumping in the pool. They were guests who had too much to drink. They were beautiful, and it happened around 2 a.m."
"I was helping dry them off."
SWEEPS MONTH STUNT?: The good people at ABC News were fielding curious phone calls Thursday in the wake of Internet rumors that the network has secured an exclusive interview with cult icon Andy Kaufman, the eccentric comedian who is presumed to have died of lung cancer 20 years ago at age 35. The rumors started after someone posted an online press release in which "Kaufman" was quoted as telling ABC News that he's "sorry about faking my death." The release added: "In order to reach legendary comic status and seal his place in the history of performance art, he said it was 'necessary to go away for 20 years.'" On Thursday, ABC News spokesman Jeffrey Schneider told me: "We do like to think we have the best bookers in the business, but as far as I can tell, they have been unable so far to book anyone who's dead." Really? I think viewers should be the judge of that.
HITCH WIELDS THE NEEDLE: Bulky left-wing propagandist Michael Moore has loomed very large over the Cannes Film Festival with his much-buzzed about documentary skewering the Bush White House, "Fahrenheit 9/11," which inspired a 20-minute standing ovation when it was screened the other day in the posh French resort. British essayist Christopher Hitchens, appearing the other night on MSNBC's "Scarborough Country," explained the near-orgasmic response: "Speaking here in my capacity as a polished, sophisticated European as well, it seems to me the laugh here is on the polished, sophisticated Europeans. They think Americans are fat, vulgar, greedy, stupid, ambitious and ignorant and so on. And they've taken as their own, as their representative American, someone who actually embodies all of those qualities."
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