Fine Tuning - Weekly column highlighting music on TV (Oct. 4-10, 2004).
INSIDE HIP-HOP: It's hip-hop's week in the sun as the genre comes under the television microscope from several different angles.
VH1 is at the forefront of the looksee, with "And You Don't Stop: 30 Years of Hip Hop." The in-depth five-part series will bow a new episode -- "Back in the Day," "Bring the Noise," "Gangsta Gangsta," "Life After Death" and " My Name Is ..." -- daily through Friday with many re-airings, so you're bound not to miss a minute.
On Tuesday, VH1 will offer "True Spin: Hip-Hop," which will look for the behind-the-scenes stories of songs by the likes of Sir Mix-A-Lot, Naughty By Nature, N.W.A., 2 Live Crew and Kanye West. On Wednesday, Court TV will bow "Russell Simmons Presents: Hip Hop Justice," a view into legal cases involving Run-DMC, Tupac Shakur and C-Murder.
And, on Friday, BET will show the landmark 2003 documentary "Hip Hop Immortals: We Got Your Kids," which features just about every hip-hop artist to ever namecheck another in a rhyme, plus a few more.
ALL HAIL THE QUEEN: I'm a long-time fan of Queen Latifah's... from her earliest raps to television and her now rocketing movie career. And, as she's proven in all sorts of roles, she can be damned funny. Thus, she's the perfect choice to pull double-duty as host and musical guest on "Saturday Night Live."
Musically, she's taken a turn towards standards in the vein of Norah Jones, not a bad career move for an artist with a beautiful voice who is aging gracefully in the spotlight. It should be wonderful to hear her wow the studio audience with her impressive chops, as well as cut up with the SNL cast.
FUSION: Fuse has proven itself to be a worthwhile destination for music fans looking to get a little deeper inside the careers of their favorite artists. This week, the burgeoning cable network will get close to Good Charlotte on Tuesday's "7th Ave. Drop," and then Cake on Friday's "Daily Download."
SMILE? In my opinion, the jury is out as to whether or not Brian Wilson should have trekked back in time to finish the abandoned Beach Boys opus "Smile." Nonetheless, he's done it and it's an interesting story and journey as to how it came to be after all these years. Showtime looks to investigate it fully in "Beautiful Dreamer: Brian Wilson and the Story of 'Smile,'" which premieres on Tuesday. Watch, listen and decide for yourself.
AND I WON'T STOP: Because there are so many options:
Monday: Snow Patrol will entertain guest host Aisha Taylor on CBS' "The Late Late Show," which will also feature rapper-turned-actor Eve as a guest.
Tuesday: Mark Knopfler only gets better with age... check out the former Dire Straits bandleader on NBC's "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno for Now Until Conan O'Brien Takes Over in About Five Years."
Wednesday: Kelly Osbourne is one of my favorite foul-mouthed kids (you should all have one). Today you can catch the reality TV star-turned-musician-turned-actor on ABC's "Good Morning America" and the syndicated "Live With Regis & Kelly" chatting about her role in the new ABC series "Life As We Know It," which bows on Thursday.
Thursday: So, it turns out that Minnie Driver's a pretty good singer, and thus, she's recorded an album. She'll be showcasing her stuff on CBS' "The Late Show With David Letterman."
Friday: De La Soul doesn't make many television appearances, so stay up to catch CBS' "The Late Late Show" to see the veteran hip-hop act drop some science (and maybe a few daisies? No, probably not).
Saturday: Robert Randolph & the Family Band rips it up with such special guests as Aubrey Ghent, Calvin Cooke, Ted Beard and Luther Dickenson on PBS' "Austin City Limits."
Sunday: They're not the Who, but Hawk Nelson will play them on TV as NBC's period drama "American Dreams" discovers the British Invasion.