First they came for Perez
When I heard the other day that one of Will.I.Am’s Louis bag handlers cold cocked Perez Hilton, of course my mind immediately went to how I could work a few good teh ghey jokes out of it. But I suppose I should have known it would eventually turn into a debate about artists attacking journalists.
People, for whatever reason, stay fascinated with the idea of artists attacking journalists. Whenever I talk to people about the important work that I do, one of the main things they want to know is whether or not an artist has tried to kick the crap out of me, or if I’m afraid they might try to.
Maybe this is a sign of the kind of people I’m around when I’m, erm, not sober, but one of the other main things people want to know is why the Source never reviewed Wu-Tang Forever. When I mention to people that I work for XXL (kinda, on a pro-bono basis), the response is usually, “Yeah, I used to read the Source, but then I quit.” Which, oddly enough is my own personal history with rap magazines. I mostly just grew out of it, intellectualy, but I notice, if you ask people if there was any particular reason why they quit reading the Source. a lot of them are convinced that there was some conspiracy to not review Wu-Tang Forever, because they’d just given Life After Death five mics, and they knew people would be pissed if they gave Wu-Tang Forever anything less than a perfect rating. Don’t believe me? Ask around the next time you’re with a group of cargo pants-clad cracka-ass crackas in their late 20s-early 30s, i.e. at a rap concert.
But I digress.
I logged on to Twitter the other day, to see what my favorite pr0n stars had for breakfast, and I saw that Toure, who stays on Twitter (and who’s a beast in the sack – no fishsticks), was siding with Perez Hilton, on the grounds that artists shouldn’t attack journalists. I don’t know if it’s because someone put a shoe on him, or because, as a grizzled veteran of hip-hop journalism, he’s heard a number of stories of that kind of thing. I suppose I could have just asked, but a) that’s not the kind of journalism I do, and b) I’m not really fucking with Twitter like that right now. I’m working a bit more than I’d like at the BGM, and my pr0n viewing has suffered. A man’s gotta have priorities. So, I didn’t bother following the artists attacking journalists debate any further.
I hadn’t thought of Perez getting cold cocked in terms of an artist attacking a journalist, probably for a couple of reasons.
1) I don’t really think of myself as being in the same line of work as Perez Hilton, even though I guess we do more or less the same thing. Perez takes pictures of celebrities and draws gism dribbling out of their mouths. I take stories about rap music and flesh them out with offensive jokes and tales of my paynas. I’d like to think that there’s a lot more thought and talent that goes into what I do, but who am I kidding?
2) Getting beat up by the Black Eyed Peas, or any artist, for that matter, just isn’t anything that’s on my mind on a regular basis. I’m always having to be reminded that it’s even an issue, when people ask me if Bun B is coming to my house. When, of course, the truth of the matter is that no one is coming to my house, unless I spring for an in-call.
Out here in flyover country, we don’t have to deal with celebrities one way or another. From the time I was born until the time I was about 25, the closest I ever came to meeting a celebrity was meeting a guy who once met Lisa Loeb. Then there was that time I met ?uestlove from the Roots; and that’s really about it. If I lived in a city with a lot of (nonfailure) rappers, I’m sure I would have to worry more about getting attacked, not because I do anything that would warrant someone kicking the crap out of me, but because the hip-hop community is filled with ignorant motherfuckers, and, you know, the law of averages.
But so would anyone else. Think about it: I read rap magazines from the time I was about 12 to the time I was about 19, and I hardly read anything I would have had a problem showing my grandma. (Then I graduated to the Internets.) And yet, I’ve heard plenty of stories of writers having a shoe put on them, or at least having that threatened. The problem is not that hip-hop journalism is not respectful enough of rappers. Fuck these rappers. It’s that so many people in our community are the product of an unfortunate upbringing, and they can’t think of any better way to solve a conflict. As a hip-hop journalist, being attacked is just a fact of life you might have to deal with – like having poo flung at you, if you were a prison guard. Word to Rick Ross.
Of course, I wouldn’t censor myself for the sake of one of these fevered egos, even if I had to, but I realize I’m fortunate that hasn’t really been an issue for me.