This week on the music beat

By Chris Willman
Updated March 08, 2002 at 05:00 AM EST

MESHUGA KNIGHT When the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network scheduled a consciousness-raising conference in Beverly Hills for Valentine’s Day, skeptics wondered how a smoochfest could ensue with enemies Suge Knight and Dr. Dre both slated for opening remarks. It didn’t. Dre didn’t show; when Knight did — well after Louis Farrakhan’s keynote speech — peacemaking wasn’t on his agenda. In a 40-minute soliloquy, Knight recounted crashing P. Diddy’s Super Bowl party: ”If I gotta go to your function and you gotta run and your people hide you out, you ain’t my people.” He got a smattering of applause, then laughter upon musing ”Black people is the most forgiving race…and that’s all bad!” Ex-Death Row act Jewell began shouting ”I represent Jesus Christ…and I cannot sit here and continue to let the devil deter our purpose for being here,” provoking more Knight-isms: ”Some men wanna be women, and some women wanna be men…. You want to talk about Jesus Christ? I ain’t no gay-basher, but [fellatio] is the devil!” Whatever happens with his label, Knight will always have a career as the Scary Guy Who Makes Everyone Laugh Nervously.

BLUE MOVIE After setting her last three feature films in a musical milieu, Allison Anders (Grace of My Heart) is making a documentary about — surprise — a musician: Joni Mitchell. Anders is shooting the recording sessions for Mitchell’s next album, which finds the singer revisiting vintage originals like ”Circle Game” with the London Symphony Orchestra — and pairing with ”day players” like Ry Cooder, Wayne Shorter, Billy Preston, Herbie Hancock, and (tentatively) Neil Young. ”Some of it is material she did as a young girl, with a soprano voice and an acoustic guitar, now with an orchestra and an alto,” says Anders. ”It’s so interesting to hear these same songs with wisdom. Not that she wasn’t wise before, but it’s like ‘I thought I was on to something then, and now I know I am.”’