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Ethered by the Internets

Sometimes when a woman wants to have sex with a man really bad, she’ll make numerous veiled references to him in her blog postings. Case in point, the other day Tara Henley had a post up called Rappers vs. Internet Thugs, in which she suggest that bloggers go on the Internets with the intention of fucking with a rapper’s career. But fortunately, it’s not like a blogger can actually end a rapper’s career.

To wit:

Clearly, the Internet—be it MySpace, blogs, or discussions boards—is the best thing ever to happen to rap fans. But I have to wonder if it does rappers any good. I’m not sure if the web has the power to dead a career as of yet, but it’s got to be messing with rappers’ heads anyway.

As it turns out, this is entirely untrue – both the part about bloggers purposely fucking with rappers and the part about the Internets having the power to dead someone’s career. As a blogger, I don’t wake up in the morning thinking whose career I’m going to end today. But if I have to in order to prove a point, I will. In fact, I already have.

In a post about post-Kanye Chicago rap, infamous Village Voice blogger Tom “Southern Strategy” Breihan wonders why, given a choice, Rhymefest would opt to sign with Mick Ronson, Jr.’s Trustfund Records rather than his boy Kanye’s Good Music, a/k/a the Grammy Family.

I never really expected to care about Rhymefest. For one thing, his name is Rhymefest, and that’s about the worst, most generic rap name I’ve ever heard. For another, he had the choice to sign with either Kanye West or rich kid-turned-celebrity DJ Mark Ronson, and he chose the latter, which seems like the sort of thing you settle for if you’re fine being an also-ran for the rest of your life.

Come to find out, Rhymefest ended up on Trustfund Records because the Internets made it so that he couldn’t sign with Kanye’s label. You see, a gang I belong to, The Mindset Army spread the word that Rhymefest had been writing Kanye’s lyrics. Kanye, concerned with his own career, decided to cut all ties with Rhymefest so as to not create the appearance of impropriety.

As the LA Times (yep, that LA Times) put it:

“There was an awkward time of two months when Kanye was very angry with me and angry at ‘Fest a little bit,” Ronson says about the signing. […]

The Mindset Army, a loosely organized coalition of hip-hop fans, even circulated an online petition urging the Grammy organization to drop West from being honored as a writer of “Jesus Walks.”

And here’s Rhymefest himself on how it feels to have your career ethered by a blogger.

“What hurt me the most was the group never contacted me,” Smith says of the incident. “Because of whatever their agenda against Kanye was, they could have hurt a business relationship, they could have hurt a friendship.

“Kanye called me up and was like, ‘Yo, what the [heck] is this?’ ” he recalls. “I was like, ‘I don’t even know who these nuts are.’ “

Does anyone know if the Rhymefest album ever came out? The article from the LA Times, which has since been taken offline, was part of the press run-up to the album’s release, late last year. There was even a video made for some song he did with Kanye that came on MTV like once and never again. I think it’s pretty safe to say his career is over.

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