Addicted to drama

I finally got around to reading this weekend’s New York Times Magazine piece on the mixtape crackdown and subsequent arrests of DJs Drama and Don Canon. I thought Samantha M. Shapiro did a great job with the article. It’s refreshing to see a mainstream writer that’s skilled enough to speak to both general readers (who are going to need the nuances of the culture and the backstory explained to them) and hip-hop enthusiasts (who detest being condescended to by reporters who don’t know shiznit about rap).

One thing from the piece really stood out to me, though. The article closes with a quote from Ozone editor Julia Beverly, who argues that the arrest can only help Drama’s career:

Really, this takes him to a gangsta level. It gives him a little something extra. It’s messed up, but if someone goes to jail or dies, it elevates his status and just makes him more of a star than he was before. That’s the way the entertainment industry works in general. So, having cops at your door with M16′s at your head, and MTV News reporting on the raid, calling you the biggest DJ in the world? You can’t pay for that type of look.

Not, “yikes, he’s facing RICO charges,” or “they confiscated all his stuff and froze his accounts” or “his freedom is in jeopardy” or “his ability to support his family hangs in the balance” or “his poor mother must be worried sick.” Nope. Just: “Jackpot! Dude is getting so much free publicity.”

I’m not even going at JB either, cause she’s right on the money. Most of us in hip-hop look at extremely upsetting events–events that 99% of the population would see as traumatic–and simply see dope marketing opportunities. As a whole, we seem to get off on the epic sagas that play out before our eyes. The shootings, the beefs, the arrests. We’re addicted to the drama. And the sick sense of opportunity that comes with any foray into the spotlight.

So, if you hear that Obie Trice was shot in the head on New Years, you feel horrible for him and his family. But as soon as you hear he’s gonna pull through, dollars to donuts your friends will start in with the, “you know, this might not be a bad thing, dude could really profit off of this” crap. The guy is lying in the hospital with a bullet lodged in his skull, and the rest of us are busy calculating the boost it should give his career.

Obviously this mentality is so prevalent that The Sopranos felt free to mock it, and certain up-and-coming rappers have allegedly tried to create their own trauma-with-a-silver-lining. I wonder if it’s not time for an intervention of sorts.

  • Rizzop

    Good point but how can we addicted to drama when its the media that talks about it so much? We are basically force fed drama. When you look on most hip hop website all you see is 50/camron this and that, Buck and Game that….Its the media reporting it, we just read it so you cant say your friends will start in with the, “you know, this might not be a bad thing, dude could really profit off of this” crap. The guy is lying in the hospital with a bullet lodged in his skull, and the rest of us are busy calculating the boost it should give his career.
    We aint the editor that lets that be on the front page instead of positive news……

  • che

    Rap’s just one big soap opera.

  • che

    And to be honest I don’t really think obie getting shot helped him that much. god only knows what he’d have to do to make up for the huge mistake which was his debut single.

  • http://www.MOREMENOCAL.com Andres Menocal

    Yo true that what you said. I agree with the fact that Drama’s career will be elevated but I wonder to what status. No doubt that RIAA will be tuning in everytime he says “gangsta grillz”. I wonder how he can turn he can turn probation into profit? Good article though, stay fresh.

    http://www.MOREMENOCAL.com

  • My Effin’ Opinion

    che Says:

    February 20th, 2007 at 9:05 am
    Rap’s just one big soap opera.

    ^^^^^

    I agree that Hip Hop is turning into the WWE …

    I don’t think that our culture is ever gonna be taken seriously … but I guess for the people making the money off it, they don’t really care.

    here’s a couple of things I see wrong with Hip Hop ..

    1.) Where is he from? – Why are we so overly interested where a rapper “came from”. That’s the first question outta someone mouth. I be hard-pressed to find someone who knows where Michael Jackson, Prince, Mariah Carey or James Brown “came from”. But in Hip Hop, this matters for some reason.

    2.) Beef – We all know Hip Hop is the only music genre where artist go at each other constantly. I understand that Hip Hop started with “the battle” but c’mon people it’s a multi-billion dollar industry now, we’re far from the Cedar park days

    3.) Blatant drug promotion – I can deal with the rims, hoes and bling cuz that’s aspiration. You want to be able to make money to afford nice things, but the “I sell more crack on the corner than you” will never advance our movement or music as something to be taken seriously.

    … I still can’t believe that a song with the title “You know it’s hard out there for a pimp” won a Grammy … I guess were forcing America to accept our negativity.

    Slick Rick predicted it many years ago when he said.. “Times have changed… and it’s cool to look bummy
    and be a dumb dummy and disrespect your mommy ..” – Hey Young World

  • MoreFish

    Everyone loves drama…and hip hop artist are no longer just emcees but celebrities
    (No need to explain how obsessed people are with celebrities)

    probably cause the majors and the mainstream want aritists to be entertainers too.

    I agree tho its killing the game…..thats why hipPop/dance music is so big right now.
    its the entertainment factor.

    Good read.

  • NickeNitro

    I’m still trying to figure out what it is exactly that DJ Drama does. I just read that whole 6-page article, and all it mentioned him doing was adding soundbytes, which is all it sounds like he’s doing on his CDs. He doesn’t cut, he doesn’t even mix — why does he even use the ‘DJ’ moniker? Guys like Lil Wayne and Pimp C should be pissed because he’s getting all the money and all he’s doing is getting a check from the labels and adding soundbytes.

    It’s also funny how all the airport music magazines started talking about how great he was right when he started getting co-opted by the majors. He’s selling a lot because white people are buying his CDs after Rolling Stone told them he was “Best Mixtape DJ.”

    And this whole RIAA/arrest nonsense is the most obvious label publicity stunt ever. He has a major label release dropping soon. I think there are much better ways to show your disdain for the industry than to support a not-mixing, not-cutting, so-called “DJ” that’s in the industry’s backpocket.

  • My Effin’ Opinion

    Rizzop Says:

    February 20th, 2007 at 9:03 am

    “…how can we addicted to drama when its the media that talks about it so much? We are basically force fed drama.”

    ^^^^
    That statement is right on point too. Sensationalism sells … always has, always will. Not only in Hip Hop but in everyday life. The media live, eat and breath scandal. It just taste better when it’s another race providing it to make themselves look better as a people.

  • Rizzop

    No its the labels that are capitalizing of tragedy and the media who are force feeding that attitude to the masses. We wouldnt know about the incidents if they arent reported. even with the hip hop websites all we see Foxy broen locked up, latest cam’ron/ 50 diss, Young buck and Game try to get at each other (which wasnt the whole story.) While it is entertaining to some, it is the first thing pushed into the readers faces when we check a magazine or look at a website and hip hop lover cant be blamed for that. “But as soon as you hear he’s gonna pull through, dollars to donuts your friends will start in with the, “you know, this might not be a bad thing, dude could really profit off of this” crap…… Actually most people are sick of hip hop beef and that quote was irresponsible because it doesnt speak for most of us. It actually speaks for the companies that market this mess i.e. Fabolous getting he album pushed UP after he got shot. Its time the hip hop MEDIA take more responsiblity for what is put in their publications/blogs.

  • TSF

    Damn girl, this is the whitest you’ve ever been. Maybe it’s a publicity stunt, but fuck if it don’t still suck to get arrested for anything no matter what color you are, and worse if you’re black. Most peeps would hope to run game without gettin’ booked…

  • thoreauly77

    good post miss henley. the whole thing makes me feel kinda sick.

  • EReal

    In my opinion Rappers made this bed and they need to lie on it. Str8^.
    Rappers are constantly filling impressionable fans with stories of their dealing days, how they’re still in the hood, all this and that, they so street, ect.
    So when something does happend to an artist and/or Dj, its like validation. Not only for the fans and stans, but for the artist themselves. They can use that to lean on as their street cred. Artists and Dj’s CONSTANTLY lean on street cred and the fans/stans look for that. If something happens to them, it only solidifies that in their fanbase’s head. Beef(not battling) and all that was a creation of the industry, then it was used and still used as a marketing tool. Since 50 used it to go diamond on two albums, it is getting rather out of control to the point of being boring. IMO.
    As far as Obie goes, he hasnt really talked much about the incident. He did mention it on the RE-UP, but in fact what he was saying were lines talking about how “he has to be on the phone with his daughter at a certin time” and the bad side, as well as all the “if i find out who it was you will get touched, ect.” but he isnt on the constant validation tip like 50 ya know, mentioning TOO often that he’s been shot. I didnt even know that Young Buck got shot twice until last year and I been listening to him for a minute, same for Banks, I didnt know he was shot until the Miami Ink Episode. But, we all know Game was shot 5 times and was in an “alleged coma” from his tracks. I say that to say its all about, to me at least, the artist and how they choose to use that event or problem, ect. ect.
    Rappers want to be seen as hard, tough, street, ect. They talk about it constantly, so obviously they are media targets for legal and violence related situations. IMO, they’re asking for it. NOT getting shot, ect. But being that media target and creating an atmosphere where its acceptable. Charge this one to tha game, Tara-Squad.

    1 hunned.

  • Hannah Smith

    And unfortunately XXL completely reaffirms the view that only drama sells by its constant uncritical interviews with murderers and crack dealers.

    It’s such a shame to see what it’s turned into these days, because it started with such good intentions.

  • NickeNitro

    “Most of us in hip-hop look at extremely upsetting events–events that 99% of the population would see as traumatic–and simply see dope marketing opportunities….The shootings, the beefs, the arrests. We’re addicted to the drama.”

    Seriously, this is BS. Does anyone here actually know anybody (or even ever heard of anyone) who has ever gone out and bought music because they heard the person got shot or arrested? Everyone I know buys music because they want to listen to it.

    If there’s a marketing opportunity, it’s because the media creates it, not because the hip-hop community demands it. Corporate publications like the NY Times and XXL are the ones that are always eagerly and aggressively giving coverage to this kind of stuff, not the hip-hop community. And then they’re the same ones that turn around and say that hip-hop fiends for this stuff. Anyone who believes that needs to get a clue. The only people I ever hear say that hip-hop is all about violence and misogyny are people who don’t listen to hip-hop and the corporate media.

    Everyone’s sick of the lies and hate getting spread. Getting something you don’t want shoved down your throat doesn’t indicate an addiction.

  • NickeNitro

    “…friends will start in with the, ‘you know, this might not be a bad thing, dude could really profit off of this’ crap.”

    You know, “some say” journalists should substantiate.

  • jacquez
  • Incilin

    “Might find your man dead in the ocean, be aite tho, you know dead rappers get better promotion”

    - Jadakiss and Styles P. We Gon Make It

    This post is true indeed, but its kinda obivious. We all know this to be true, I think the better question is why is this true? And I think we should point out that this sort of behavior is not strictly hip hop. In all fields of entertainment drama is good (I point to Ana Nicole, as well as Marylin Monroe’s death which made her a legend)

    I think the hip hop ideas for this spring from two specific people; 2pac and 50 Cent. Pac survived 5 bullets and then went to jail only to later be killed in another hail of gunfire. But while he did this he became a star, a legend, and – to some extent – a myth. 50 built a career outa getting shot and now every week another rapper gets shot which makes the Sopranos episode seem kinda true.

  • the real yellow nigga

    don’t lie, henly. you love it.

    you’re writing for site that promotes beef, industry drama, all of it. if you were really concerned and completely disagreed, you wouldn’t condone the shit by contributing to the fuckin’ site. man, look at the features and the sidebars playboy dunny!

    quit shitting on yourself!

  • jaguar_paw

    don’t lie, henly. you love it.

    you’re writing for site that promotes beef, industry drama, all of it. if you were really concerned and completely disagreed, you wouldn’t condone the shit by contributing to the fuckin’ site. man, look at the features and the sidebars playboy dunny!

    quit shitting on yourself!
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    aw shit son!

    http://www.myspace.com/ianlewismusicmanagement

  • CALIMOVEMENT

    Good points Tara. Never understood the mentality in the hood that selling crack to your people, getting shot, or pimping girls is a status symbol that everyone respects.

  • Matt Herbz

    Like that mofo that had one of his crew shoot him in the ass right before his interview on Hot 97…

    drama is lame in a game…

  • ill will

    never gona be. concrete is concrete. until hip-hop stops becoming the main stream, den we dont give a shit what it says.

  • derfla the hus’la

    save the drama for yah mama……don’t y’all think rapper’s are beter actor’s then most actor’s?

  • EReal

    ^
    I just think hiphop heads wanna see rappers in movies rather than these pussy ass CACs , kna mean?
    Mos Def can act tho, and Common wasnt bad in Smokin Aces.. so maybe you got a point Derfla.

    1 hunned.

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