I thought Guru’s heart attack was a sad reminder of what can happen to artists when they no longer have a viable career, then I heard about J-Kwon, who’s been missing for over a month now. He was supposed to put out an album this month on an independent label no one ever heard of, but they haven’t been able to contact him.
J-Kwon is so insignificant at this point that I only heard about the fact that he’s missing from a link attached to a story about Guru, on AllHipHop. I hadn’t so much as visited AllHipHop in possibly as long as two years now, but I follow one of the guys who works there on Twitter, and I saw where he had an update about how Guru is out of his coma and has issued a statement. Which seemed insane to me, given the fact that Guru was in cardiac arrest and then a coma as recently as Monday, and today is only Wednesday. He had heart surgery yesterday. I’ve taken days off from blogging because of a sprained ankle. I drank an insane amount of alcohol the first two days of this week, due in part to Guru’s health problems, because it’s always tough for me on a personal level when a fellow drunk falls on hard times (or just falls period), and ironically enough, the best way I could think to deal with it was to have a drink or 10. When I read that Guru was out of a coma and issuing statements, I had to do one of those things where you check to see if today really is the day you think it is, and you didn’t somehow manage to lose an entire month, like that time John Lennon moved to California.
I saw, in the sidebar next to Guru’s statement (in which it sounded like he might be salty about Premier issuing statements on his behalf…), where it said that J-Kwon has been missing for over a month, and I was like, the fuck? How could a rapper who had a song that was one of the most popular songs in the country as recently as six years ago be missing for that long without anyone knowing about? That guy Boner Stabone from Growing Pains was missing for all of two days before he started turning up in the news, and he was a bit player on motherfucking Growing Pains. MTV News ran nine stories on Boner Stabone that week they were looking for him, despite the fact that a) that shit didn’t have anything to do with music (okay, perhaps not as much of an issue for MTV these days), and b) no one who watches MTV at this point was even alive back when Growing Pains was on the air. Certainly, at least part of MTV’s viewership these days is familiar with J-Kwon. If it wasn’t for the kind of people who still watch MTV at this point, there wouldn’t be such a thing as a J-Kwon.
Maybe I’m biased, because I’ve been obsessed with J-Kwon for a while now. No homo. J-Kwon hails from my native St. Louis, so of course I heard way more about him than most people, back when his life was still going somewhere. I’d just graduated from college, and my life was going nowhere. When I left, back in 1999, there was hardly such a thing as rap music from St. Louis, and when it blew up, I mostly avoided dealing with it, by virtue of being gone. When I got back, I embarked on a career as a blogger, as opposed to a career in which I made a livable wage, doing meaningful work, and J-Kwon’s ascent, such as it was, made for great fodder. It may have started when I read somewhere where J-Kwon said he used to be homeless, like KRS-One, and he used to sleep at a White Castle, and I could confirm that that definitely wasn’t true, because I was working at a White Castle at the time, and I used to kick bums out for trying to sleep there. Then people, both here in town and via the Internets, started hitting me with tips re: J-Kwon. His baby’s mother must have found my site via Google and emailed me to inform me that he didn’t take care of his kids, of which he had two, at the ripe old age of 17. Then his baby’s mother’s mother, Ms. Jackson, wrote to me about the time she took his baby’s mother down to Atlanta to confront him, and he put a shoe on her. But then I got an email from another chick saying that that wasn’t even J-Kwon, so maybe that’s why he wasn’t taking care of it. Maybe that’s also why he put his shoe on her.
I kid J-Kwon, but I really do feel sorry for him. He was only like 17 at the time, and lord knows I made my share of bad decisions at 27, let alone at that age. I can only imagine how I would have felt, if I found out my baby’s mother was lying about the baby being mine. And he was probably crazy. I seriously doubt that he slept at a White Castle, but I’m willing to believe he really was homeless, and we know – because Malcolm Gladwell once wrote a story about it in the New Yorker – that anyone who’s homeless for more than two days in a row is crazy. One time they tried to give a free apartment to all of the homeless people in Seattle, but they couldn’t get them to sleep in them – just like Jamie Foxx in The Soloist and/or Jay Electronica. Hopefully, he’s just sleeping on an HVAC grate outside the Scottrade Center and walking around during the day talking to himself, and nothing really bad happened to him. That would be tragic, and this has been a hard enough week as it is.