I do a special magazine with Eminem on the cover, and he checks himself into rehab. I put Suge Knight on the cover, and he catches a hot slug in his leg. I decide to put Lil Wayne on the cover, and Hurricane Katrina rips his hometown to shreds. Maybe rollin’ with YN isn’t a good thing after all. Maybe XXL has become SI, and our cover artists are jinxed. So I guess y’all MCs can now stop crying about your lack of front-page prowess. Don’t you know there’re bigger things going on in the world than your sagging careers? Sorry, Redman.

Barbara Bush doesn’t… I mean George Bush doesn’t care about Black people. Kanye West doesn’t care about being in magazines anymore. YN doesn’t care about bloggers anymore. (Log off, dip shits.) Fat Joe doesn’t care about 50 Cent. 50 doesn’t care about Fat Joe. No one cares about their VMA drama when poor Black folks are dying and the country’s elected officials don’t seem to give a fuck, like Slim Shady before the dye job.

Anyone who knows YN knows I’m not the most politically astute or socially conscious person on the planet, but this shit down bottom has me disturbed, you herbs. This tragedy is bigger than hip-hop, and affects our little world. I’ve only been to N’awlins a couple of times, and it was always a rap-related trip. Whether witnessing Baby gettin’ acting lessons from Black movie star thespian Sir Clifton Powell or getting crazily bent off cold Coronas at Juvie Tuesdays, I always had a fine time at one of the Dirty South’s true landmarks.

See, the thing about hip-hop is it ain’t where you at—it’s where you from. So much of a rapper’s home base is a product of who he is—and vice versa. New Orleans is the home of jazz, but it’s also a home to hip-hop. New Orleans is Cash Money. New Orleans is No Limit. New Orleans is Baby. New Orleans is Master P. New Orleans is Lil Wayne. New Orleans is definitely Juvenile. Definitely C-Murder. It’s even that little nigga from Da Band that needs to step his rap game up. All you boppers stop jockin’ Chopper. He’s got work to do.

And we got a lot of work to do if we’re ever gonna rebuild these fallen communities. The hoods have been destroyed. Magnolia. Hollygrove. Calliope. Soulja Slim’s mom’s home—a shrine to her fallen son—has been destroyed. On an economic level, there are billions in damages. (And you know a lot of niggas don’t believe in insurance.) Baby lost his house and his cars are all gone. Master P’s palace was pummeled. More importantly, on a human level, lives have been lost, families separated like in the muthafuckin’ slave days. Like MJ sang, “They don’t really care about us”—in case, you ever got it twisted.

The sad thing is, by the time you read this—which will be after all the telethons and benefit concerts are over—many of you in other regions won’t even care anymore about this catastrophe. If it don’t affect you or your fam, who gives a damn. Right, fam? This just makes it easier for me to fulfill the promise I made to give Beanie Sigel a cover when he got released from the pokey. He’s Mack, bitch! And that album was on fire like Juve’s Oscar Meyer. (No Tigger, plus I’m the Bigga Figga!) Who gives a damn if you agree or disagree. My animal instinct has gotten me this far, and I must continue to sell mags. Sometimes two heads are better than one. I got the formula like D.O.C., and I’m patiently waiting for someone to do it better.

C’mon, you know I do my thing. Trust me, man, it’s okay. Ha-ha! You’re damn right I’m gonna put Mr. Billboard, a.k.a. the Chosen One, a.k.a. The Revolver (the rap world revolves around him—get it?) on the cover again before year’s end. It always sells, suckers! Tell me you don’t care about G-Unit and its ever-expanding roster. What? I don’t believe you, they got more people! Inquiring rap minds want to know: Does Mase still care about God? Is Young Buck goin’ to jail? Will M.O.P. and Mobb Deep really knuckle up in the name of the Unit? It’s all coming. But first, I might have to give this terrible tragedy more coverage. Stay tuned.

Drive slow,

Elliott Wilson