These Rappers Is Exploiting Sean Bell, Son!
Truth be told, I wasn’t pissed when I heard about the Sean Bell verdict. I was kinda numb, speechless! I didn’t know what to say.I lost count of the many times I drove by the Kalua Cabaret since Bell’s passing in November 2006. I usually look to my right, see the Sutphin Boulevard Air train station and try to picture one of the 50 shots ricocheting through one of the windows. Or I look around and try to picture where Bell’s car was when the cops shot him. That’s when it really gets to me. As cliche as it sounds, we’ve all thought the same thing. It could have been me. The old crib is only 10-15 minutes away, so God knows I could have ended up at Kalua on one of them prostitution probe nights.Coming from Queens, I’m sure Nas and 50 Cent drove by the Cabaret numerous times. Shoot! They may have been patrons once or thrice. Personally, I want to hear what they have to say about the verdict, but I’ve yet to hear from them. [Blogger’s Note: Nas eventually called into BET’s 106 & Park to give his reactions.]I sure heard from John Hope and Termanology, though. Only minutes after the Bell verdict was announced last week, I received “Blue Devils,” a song billed as a Sean Bell tribute, via e-mail. The song was mixed and all, so I first thought dudes wrote it before for the verdict and had an alternate version stashed had the cops been found guilty. I immediately hit Term’s people and found out that they re-leaked the song in wake of the verdict. “Sean Bell,” John Hope adlibs during the song’s first hook. That’s it! It turns out that the song is a standard police brutality track, not a commentary on Bell’s death.Hope isn’t the only one, though. Since Friday I’ve received a chunk of Sean Bell tributes from upstart rappers. Come to find out, a few of them are new recordings, but most are re-releases dropped to coincide with the verdict. Dudes are even sending press releases in hope that their re-releases get picked up. Sad to say, but Bell has become a marketing tool for some of these rappers. One rapper even pleaded, “please in no way shape or form take this as a publicity stunt” in his email. Publicity stunt or not, it’s working. I never heard of half them dudes before, but the Sean Bell mention made me pay attention. Now I can’t get their names out of my freaking brain.Folks like Papoose, Joell Ortiz and Game, who is scheduled to release a Sean Bell song later today, generate attention when they drop songs, period. Plus people wanna hear what they have to say. It just makes sense. The first to record on the incident with “Change Gon Come (50 Shots)” back in 2006, Papoose doesn’t see anything wrong with the growing number of tributes. “It’s never too late to speak up,” Pap told XXLMag.com. I feel you, Pap. But coming from unestablished artists, I’m not sure what kind of impact those songs have. It’s not like Hip-Hop For Respect or other charity recordings where the proceeds are going to the victim’s family. In Bell’s case, the only person benefiting from those records are the artists. It doesn’t mean those records aren’t genuine or even good. They just come off as a bit too convenient. Like , why are you doing the song? If these rappers really want to take a stand, I’m sure there are better ways to make a difference. I’m sure these rappers mean well, but some of them are definitely exploiting Sean Bell. Speak on it!