I take it today's rappers haven't been watching the news. Despite the fact the our president is black, people are still losing their homes, unemployment hovers around 10%, etc., etc. No need to stress the rest. But in Hip-Hop Land things couldn't be better! "I Got Plenty Money" by Plies, "I Just Want My Money" by Young Jeezy. "It ain't tricking if ya got it", those type of rappers. But the labels & industry insiders say otherwise. Sales are at historic lows, concert attendance reflect the same. So what's the deal with all the money talk?
Hip-Hop has always been the story of the underdog. Take a look back at all the great albums that are considered classics, (BIG, Pac, Rakim, Nas, Jay, Face) who told the story of the struggle that WE relate to. What happened to that? Why is "Ready To Die" such a phenomenal album? It doesn't take long to realize that BIG was a man on the edge. "Everyday Struggle" says it all. You would think in these tough economic times "somebody" would tell the truth about what's going on instead of "escapism".
That's why I haven't listened to the radio but sparingly. I sit in silence during my 30-minute commute analyzing my situation instead of hearing rappers tricking (because no matter what yall say it is tricking even if you got it, ask your local pimp) and how much money ya getting. Hip-Hop is supposed to be the voice of the people, the voice of the streets, & last time I checked the streets are hurting. Sadly, Hip-Hop isn't reflecting this pain. Once that advance check clears everything is "wavy". I see some rappers whose album & mixtape covers have Rolls Royce's, Lambo's, & McMansions on it but have yet to break a song on the radio, let alone in the club.
I'm not saying we should hear bad news all the time. I've said in an earlier post we can all use some positivity, but braggadocio is not positive. It's down right disrespectful to the people who have helped put you in that position. If you are not giving me music I can feel & respect, why should I give my time, money, or attention? Respect, like money, is earned not given. Just because a million people bought your album doesn't mean I should respect you. Just because you have a car worth more than my house doesn't mean I should respect you. Hearing about your struggle earns my respect. Giving back to your community earns my respect.
This is where the disconnect occurs. While Hip-Hop has gone from ashy to classy, it's audience has gone in reverse. What made "Ready To Die" so great wasn't because of "Big Poppa" or "One More Chance Remix". Quite the contrary. Those were good for the radio but the other songs struck a chord with the streets. The stories of day to day life, the things that the average listener could relate to, were the things that stood out everybody's mind. 99% of Hip-Hop America couldn't eyeball a kilo of cocaine if you put one in front their face. 99% of this same nation will never ride in a Phantom because 99% of this nation are regular folks who are just trying to get by. They don't have champagne wishes & caviar dreams, thay just want to survive the work week & maybe throw on "I got plenty money" on payday. But the other days of the work week they searching for music they can feel & have somebody out there that understands that real ice is what they live. Of course, many of them are delusional & think that their lives are like that of their favorite "get money" rapper & if that's your fanbase then I can't knock that or them. But for the fan like me who is aware of what goes on in "real time", you really should not flaunt your riches in front of those who are on the edge of going overboard. Ask Brisco.
So go ahead Mr. "Im Rich Beyotch" Rapper Guy. Have fun throwing money in the air & continue to blow your advance & show money. Because in the end the million dollar advance will stop. The 360 deals (in all their "no Vaseline" glory) will only be reserved for the pop acts, and you will have to come back to the hood. Stopping me in the mall parking lot asking me for $5 to purchase that CD.
See "Protocol For The Out The Trunk Hustler" for instructions.