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FEATURE: The Drought

Ballin’ til you fall may not be such a good idea nowadays. Budgets are being cut, albums are collecting dust on the shelves and concertgoers are becoming scarcer.  With the music industry being one of the recession’s hardest hit victims, even typically flamboyant rappers have been forced to re-assess their spending habits. Some confessed to cutting back while others say they’ve yet to feel the crunch. caught up with the likes of E-40, Akon, Pusha T and Mr. Recession himself, Young Jeezy, to discuss the effects of the recession.

Young Jeezy: I mean, I probably cut back on some of my spending habits, you know what I’m sayin’? Not really habits, but it’s probably some things that I always want that I don’t need, so I’m cutting back on the extra stuff…Wants and needs are two different things, nah mean? So I’m focusing more on what I need.

Akon: I’ve been very blessed to be in a situation where music and fashion is always recession proof in a lot of different ways, because it’s really what we turn to when we’re going through hard times. If I got to the point where the recession actually affected me I would cut back on all them cars I got. I would start selling them if I can. That’s the only thing I spend more than I have to on. Only cause it’s my fetish and I just love cars, but I already know it in my mind that I won’t buy it if I ain’t ready to let it go tomorrow. I know at the end of the day, my hustler mentality if I have to survive, that car is out of here, straight up.

Pusha T: If you’re asking me have I felt the recession, look, let me tell you that I’m so happy at gas prices right now, and this is something that I’ve never in my life noticed. Some things you just chalk up like, what, it has to go in the car. But it was so bad that it had me thinking like, ‘Damn, am I really gonna drive uptown?’ So I definitely felt it. But just like with everything, you adjust and the background that The Clipse have, that’s all we know, to adjust and roll with the punches and make our way out of it.

E-40: It’s the ripple effect. If there ain’t no money out there in the streets, any money out there for our audience to go buy our music, then our sales go down. That affects our pockets. A dude might be financially comfortable or whatever, but then you have people that’s affiliated with you that might be going through it. Sometimes you gotta sacrifice and come out the pocket. They think it won’t hurt you, but in a way if you do with four, five different people, it do affect. It’s life in general. Everybody getting it right now as far as this recession. Right now, it’s either feast or famine. You’re either eating or you ain’t, so you gotta hold on like a hubcap in a fast lane. The strong gon be able to survive.

Buckshot: There is no such thing as a recession, the recession is an illusion. And people like Buckshot and Steve Jobs and Bill Clinton and Bill Gates and all of these other people that deal with corporate business, we all know that it’s an illusion, it’s a scare tactic and it’s meant to do what it’s been doing to people.”
“Stop buying what you have no interest in. That means if you and your whole neighborhood supports and buys Timbs, don’t do that unless you own stock in Timberland. If you buy Louis Vuitton then buy stocks in Louis Vuitton, so when you wearing Louis Vuitton at least you made $15 or $500 or $5000.”

Evidence: I’ve had the best two years in many years these past couple of years, financially. I mean, all I did was shows. Shit, you do 150 shows, you don’t come home, I mean it’s not comfortable, it’s not ideal, I’d much rather be in my backyard, but my accountant was like, ‘shit, you did really good this year.’ I was like, really? All these little things added up. All these little fucking hustles. Like, I do feel it, there was a couple days when shit was fucked up. And now my family’s feeling it, my cousins are feeling it, my father is feeling it crazy. It is effecting me indirectly, but I’m like yo, I been hustling all year, like really grinding.

Big Daddy Kane: Not really because I don’t ball out like that anyway. I’m not a kid no more, those days are long gone. The silly stuff like that isn’t even important anymore, so I don’t think I’m doing too much differently.

Tru Life: Oh nah, that shit [recession] ain’t touched me not a bit. It ain’t a game man. I just bought 4 or 5 brand new black cars and only because I felt like the haters thought I was doing bad or something. Now it looks like a funeral when I pull up. They just saw me being humble, I’m a real humble dude. You know I live by my needs, I don’t really live outside of my needs. I’m not the nigga running around with the fancy car living in the projects. Like, I went and bought my house before I bought anything. I’m doing pretty well. Never had an album out in my life. But I’m doing real good by the graces of Allah. It’s all Allah’s will. I respect that, that’s why I give back all the time. I help out all the time. They talk about me doing all the foul shit but never talk about you might catch me in the Bowery, in the homeless shelter washing dishes or something my nig. That’s the kind of dude Tru life is. I just wanted to show niggas I ain’t starving.

Saigon: Has the recession affected me? Nah I wouldn’t say so. I don’t think the recession affects any poor people – people who grew up poor – cause we’d been in a recession since we was born. When has there not been a recession in the hood.-Compiled by Carl Chery, Jesse Gissen, Rob Markman and Anthony Roberts

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