This week on the music beat -- A pirated Madonna single and hip-hop artists like Mos Def and Spinderella as possible politicans made news

By Tom Sinclair
Updated June 16, 2000 at 04:00 AM EDT

Run, DMC!
You’d think Warren Beatty’s Bulworth would’ve proved that politics and rap don’t mix, but think again. At a May 31 press conference in New York City to kick off Rap the Vote 2000, a voter registration drive, controversial Nation of Islam minister Conrad Muhammad said he wants to put together ”a slate of 10 hip-hop candidates” for political office. ”People assume rappers are dumb,” says Muhammad, ”but many have college degrees, and most have more business experience than the local elected officials in their cities.” Muhammad says he has held exploratory talks with Chuck D, Fat Joe, Mos Def, and Spinderella. For his part, Mos Def is staying on the political sidelines, although he believes a hip-hop candidacy is viable. And he suggests rap mogul Russell Simmons could be mayor of New York: ”That’s very plausible. Hillary Clinton better be glad he ain’t running for Senate.”

Caught Nap-ing
Pssst. Wanna hear Madonna’s new song? One word: Napster. With the industry abuzz about the financial threat posed by the controversial online music swapping service, Madonna’s prosaically titled, commercially unavailable ”Music” has hit the Web, where it’s being eagerly downloaded. The tune features La Ciccone warbling atop an Afrika Bambaataa-style electro-funk jam. Needless to say, Madonna’s camp is not amused. ”This music was stolen and was not intended for release for several months,” says her manager, Caresse Norman. ”It is still a work in progress.” The album, as yet untitled, is tentatively set for a September release. Asked to comment, the track’s producer, Mirwais, says, ”Teenagers think it’s normal to pay $200 for a pair of Nikes, but they complain about paying for music…. I want teenagers to realize what they are doing. They could destroy music.”