This week on the music beat

By Tom Sinclair
October 22, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT

Rapper shoots Elvis

Joining the ranks of hip-hop artists determined to prove that a movie career is a natural outgrowth of rap stardom is Q-Tip, late of A Tribe Called Quest. He’s slated to star in Prison Song, a drama that he cowrote and is coexecutive producing. The movie, which is being coproduced by Robert De Niro’s Tribeca Films, also stars Fat Joe, Mary J. Blige, Noreaga, and…Elvis Costello? That’s right.

The mousy English pop-meister — fresh from his cameo in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me — will play a supporting role in the flick, which began shooting in New York last month. ”There’s music in it,” Costello says. ”The use of music is very ingenious. I’ve written two songs for my character to perform. So it’s kind of like a musical, but not like any musical you’ve ever heard of.” With a cast like that, how could it be? (With reporting by Chris Willman)

Clive talkin’

When it comes to musical matchmaking, it’s tough to top Arista Records chief Clive Davis. It was his idea to load Santana’s current smash album with superstar collaborators (a strategy he’s also employing on upcoming CDs from Run-D.M.C. and The Artist). Now the canny exec has brokered a team-up between Arista diva Whitney Houston and Latin crossover hopeful Enrique Iglesias for Diane Warren’s ”Could I Have This Kiss Forever.” ”Me and Clive were talking about this song that I’d heard a demo of and loved,” says Iglesias. ”And he says, ‘Why don’t you do it with Whitney?’ So we did, and it turned out fantastic.

Clive was very nice about letting Whitney sing with me — I’m not even an Arista artist.” Davis’ motives weren’t entirely philanthropic: The track will appear on both Iglesias’ first English-language album, Enrique (due Nov. 23), and on Houston’s forthcoming greatest hits collection, scheduled to drop next year. Will it be a single? ”Probably. You know if Clive is involved, it’s got to be a single,” cracks Iglesias.