Is there anyone in hip-hop who doesn’t have a price?
From what I understand, the New York Times, which I seek to emulate in my writing, has this policy where you need three distinct instances of any given phenomenon in order to declare it an according to Hoyle trend.
Well, I was sitting here just now, trying to come up with a third example of prominent black people in hip-hop willing to do anything for a dollar, and I was having a hard time coming up with one. It could be that hip-hop these days isn’t quite as fucked up as I need it to be, or it could be because I’m just having a hard time bringing myself to write anything this week, which I am.
Of course I’m gonna suggest that it’s the latter. Blame it on the weather. This has been the first consistent stretch of good weather we’ve had here in the STL since forever. I’ve been sitting here in my gym shorts (which have never been to an actual gym, natch) all winter long. I need to be outside somewhere pretending not to stare at women in low-cut blouses. Fuck hip-hop.
I came up with my first two really good examples yesterday.
First, I was reading what I can honestly say is the only story I can ever say I actually enjoyed reading at AllHipHop – unless you count that interview where CL Smooth was going off on Pete Rock, which I don’t think they really deserve credit for. It was by this guy, who I’m pretty sure is white (of course I’m gonna turn that into an issue), who was going off on the Brain Trust aka the Mail Room over at MTV News for coming up with that bullshit list of the top 10 hottest MCs in the game (nullus), calling them all kinds of sellouts and shit.
One of my favorite quotes from it is the following:
These are the puppets who smile as Wayne and T-Pain monopolize airwaves, and who benefit when record labels fill MTV coffers with payola. They’re the swine who push deplorable materialistic tomfoolery on near-captive audiences and then claim that they’re quelling popular demand; not since that painting of dogs playing poker have so many bitches gathered around one table.
Of course I couldn’t help but be amused by it on several different levels. On the one hand, there’s all the name-calling, which I think really is underrated as a literary technique. But I think it also played into a certain self-righteous streak that I possess, which I’m sure just comes from being a broke-ass hater who lives in his mom’s basement. The idea being, if I’m gonna be down here keeping it real, of course I’m gonna find it amusing when those clowns get viciously attacked for doing the opposite. That’s what they get.
I’m sure it was a feeling roughly akin to how KRS-One must have felt on 9/11, knowing he had once gotten kicked out of the World Trade Center for trying to sleep in the subway station there.
Which is not to suggest that I was actually given a choice to get paid a decent living wage and pretend as if I give a shit about Rick Ross, and I chose otherwise. We don’t know for a fact that I wouldn’t take a decent amount of money to do almost anything. (There’s only one way to find out, nullus!) I’m just saying. Sometimes haterdom has its privileges.
And then, literally the next thing I stumbled upon yesterday was the news that Nas has been forced by the TIs at Universal to change the title of his forthcoming album from the dreaded n-word to just Nas. Or is it just gonna be untitled, like the fourth Led Zeppelin album? I’ve heard conflicting reports. At any rate, I hadn’t felt this disheartened by a bit of news since I heard that Pimp C died from the combined effects of prescription cough syrup and his sleep apnea.
Or was it autoerotic asphyxiation?
In fact, I found this news even more disturbing than that dumbass MTV list, in the sense that at least those poor bastards in the mail room over at MTV probably needed the money. Nas, on the other hand, has to be well-off to the point where I can’t even fathom why even run the risk of damaging his personal brand – built up over the course of a career that could be viewed as a series of similarly silly provocations – by letting the TIs jerk him like this.
Or maybe that’s just me not being very business-minded, as usual? What do you mail room staffers think? Is there ever a point where self-respect and having a soul is more important than living well? Also, if MTV offered you a well-paying job, but the catch was that you had to go on TV and talk about T.I. as if he was actually worth a shit, would you take it? Speak on it.