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Panhandling is the new record deal

A sign of the times: I was gonna do a trend piece on broke rappers begging for money, but then it occurred to me that I’d already done one.

The main reason I remembered is because it was one of those stories that took on a life of its own after I’d published it (as opposed to, say, one of those stories that disappeared into the ether after I’d published it). I’d caught Jean Grae on Twitter soliciting donations to help keep her in rotgut, so of course I had to write about it. One of the three teh ghey guys who listens to her music found out, forwarded it to her, and she responded by threatening to put a shoe on me. Which put me in the odd position of having to point out that, while a short guy might be able to beat me up, if he got a running start. I believe that it’s only right that if a woman tries to beat you up, you should be allowed to subdue them and cup their boobs until they calm down. No, really. Think about how many domestic violence incidents could be prevented, if that were an actual law.

Oddly enough, the subtitle of this post comes from the late, great Noz, who recently had to take up a collection in order to continue the important work he does pretending to like LCD rap, for his own personal amusement. His computer had gotten to the point where he couldn’t rip Gucci Mane songs and upload them to the Internets without it crashing, and he couldn’t afford the $600 or whatever it costs for a new one. Which was surprising to me, because back when he left XXL, it was portrayed to me as a matter of pride: he could write things people actually wanted to read, if he wanted to, but he found that kind of work beneath him. I figured he must have been ballin’, from his side hustle of selling obscure (for a reason) rap records to chinamen, and probably also some shit he stole from his parents’ house, on eBay, but come to find out he’s broker than I am. By like $200. Which begs the question of why he would leave XXL (back when it was an actual job). Could it be that he couldn’t come up with anything to write, perhaps because he doesn’t really believe half the shit he says? I wanted to go in, but I couldn’t help but feel bad about criticizing a man in that position, especially a fellow blogger. People didn’t spare my feelings, back when I was living on nothing but bologna on white bread and ramen noodles, for months at a time, and skimming alcohol from the bottles at my parents’ house, back before I started blogging here at XXL, but sometimes it’s important to be the bigger man.

At least Noz is out here trying to cop something he could use to make some money of his own. You know the old saying about how, if you teach a man how to fish, he’s that much less likely to come to you asking for money, or however it goes. I’m pretty sure Vordul Mega from Cannibal Ox is just trying to get some money to buy some crack. I read on Twitter the other day that he’s been out asking for money, on 125th Street in Harlem, apparently for a while now. So of course I had to spread the word. Maybe some hipster douche with a Flip Cam will find him, make a generous donation, then film him smoking it up and upload it to YouTube. That could even be a project for the video department here at XXL, once this new Freshman 10 issue winds down. Or maybe someone’s who’s not addicted to schadenfreude will even try to get the guy some help. I’d suggest he try to perform “Iron Galaxy” at El-P’s birthday party, similar to how G-Dep came up on his last big score, but Def Jux just went out of business, and I’m assuming that’s not because El-P felt he was in a position to take an early retirement.

The actual impetus for today’s post was the fact that Ras Kass somehow got it into his head that it was a good idea to fund his new album using a system of microloans, not unlike what they use to buy livestock in Indonesia (and now YOU eat the turkey…), just as Public Enemy’s own attempt to put out an album that way is ending in a huge, embarrassing failure. There’s a big story about it today in Billboard. And one of you haters emailed me about the Ras Kass album. Subject: “RasKass FAIL!” But the Ras Kass album might actually succeed where the Public Enemy album failed, if only via low expectations. Public Enemy, for whatever reason, was trying to raise $250,000 to record its album. Let me guess: $50,000 was for the actual cost of production, and $200,000 was for Flavor Flav’s back child support. The fundraiser stalled at about $70,000, then some people got a refund, leaving them with about $67,000. Which should be more than enough to put out an album, right? A news item at HipHopDX says Ras Kass is more or less done recording his album. Presumably, the fund raiser is for the costs of printing it up on CD and Vinyl. As if.

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