Play Your Position

Everyone can’t be a leader. Someone has to be a follower. In Hip-Hop, when you’ve got money flashing in your face, fast cars at your disposal and beautiful women adoring you, sometimes this thought process can get blurred. From there, egos are formed. Robin starts thinking he can do Batman’s job, and chances are, Robin’s career is never the same again.

Let’s run through a list of (in)famous sidekicks who chucked the deuces from their respective groups. Whether it be bad timing or lack of a strong work ethic, these guys were probably better off playing wing-man.

1. J-Hood-  He had everyone hyped about D-Block in the early 2000′s. His “I’m the first nigga you seen with a bulletproof skully” line is still ill to me and to his credit, he had a mean flow to him. Over time, his music became bland even as the other D-Block members achieved respectable levels of success. He finally got tired of it, signed his two week notice and before we know it he was dissing Jadakiss…in auto tune.

Last Seen: I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen him, but according to his MySpace page (people still use that?),  he has an album dropping April 27. It’s called I’m Sorry I Made You Wait. Realest. Title. Ever. Only thing is, I don’t think anyone’s waiting anymore.

2. Crunchy Black- In Crunchy’s defense, I’ve always heard Juicy J and DJ Paul were funny with the money. But C.B.’s role in the group was simple, just provide some ignorant bridges and even more ignorant verses and we’ll call it a day. After they received acclaim from their hit single, “Stay Fly,” Black left not too long after. This is a case of being between a rock and a hard place. Do you stick with the guys whose money practices have (allegedly) been worse than Bernie Madoff’s? Or do you just leave and never come back?

Last Seen: Attempting to get his Hard Hittin Entertainment off the ground. It’s sad because all stories point to C.B. having no choice but to leave (everyone else from Three 6 has). That said, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to prove his value as a solo artist wasn’t high.

3. Kidd Kidd- What people may or may not remember is this guy was down with Wayne for a few years. First with Sqad Up, then during the Young Money days. He was even on the original version of “Forever.” His most famous stamp, however, was being featured on Weezy’s 2008 hit, “Mrs. Officer.” Depending how the story is told, from there Kidd Kidd (aka “Nutt Da Kidd”) bounced after getting his money and ventured off on his lonesome. And Young Money eventually became the most popular group in the game. Talk about bad timing.

Last Seen: He linked up with Sha Money XL last year and also released his debut solo mixtape, New Kidd On The Block, in October of 2009. Good luck with that solo career, buddy.

4. Young Buck- During G-Unit’s heyday, Buck had a good thing going. His first album sold like crazy and he was one of the more respected dudes from the South. Then, like I said before, the women, cash and cars (and drugs) became too much for Buck and next thing you know he’s crying on the phone to 50 to let him back in the group. In his words, he was just “confursed.” Yes, with the “R.” There’s three things in life you just don’t do. You don’t tug on Superman’s cape, you don’t spit into the wind and you do NOT, under any circumstances, cry on the phone to Curtis. He will record it and will attempt to ruin anything close to a career you may have.

Last Seen: Still trying to be released from the Vulcan Death Grip otherwise known as his contract from G-Unit Records.

In an industry that’s more shady than it is upfront, remaining loyal is a battle by itself. That’s why you have to give credit to people like Tony Yayo, Memphis Bleek and Big Kuntry. They’ll never accomplish more (at least professionally) than their superstar buddies, but they were loyal. And that’s something you don’t see too often, not only in music, but life period. I’m sure Yayo, Memph and Big Kuntry all wanted to their thing at one point. But it all boils down to what I said in the beginning. Everyone can’t be Batman. Someone has to be Robin. As crude as it sounds,  being a follower isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes you just have to play your position. The quicker that’s understood, the smoother than transition and the easier it is to work as a collective unit.

In reality, the list could have kept going, but hopefully you get the drift by now. This industry is a cold, cold business and not for the weak at heart. It can destroy a lifelong friendship in a matter of seconds if you let it. While it may have been in the best interest for each of these artists to leave, look what it cost them. Money, fame and their own legacy in the big picture of Hip-Hop.

  • http://Pierzy11@gmail.com Pierzy

    “Overtime, his music became bland even as the other D-Block members achieved respectable levels of success.”

    It should be “over time”; Overtime is the thing that happens when the game is still tied at the end of regulation. C’mon, we’re told you’re a writer.

    As far as Hood, he had a point that he kept getting shelved, but it’s not like he was alone. Every member of The LOX has had each of their albums pushed back at least twice…Hood just didn’t have the patience that it took to get on, especially as the game was changing around him. He’s already occupying one-half of those “Have You Seen Me” cards you get in the mail…

    • J

      LAME. We knew what she meant…

  • http://www.facebook.com/maxprofit Max Profit

    Pride or Money? It’s an easy choice – Keep your pride and bounce.

    If an artist is truly getting stiffed & everyone knows it, they gotta leave.

    Leaving a crew just for more shine is foul.

    Oh well – Karma catches up with everyone!!

  • El Tico Loco

    For every J Hood, Crunchy Black, Kidd Kidd, and Young Buck there’s an Ice Cube, Busta Rhymes, Large Pro, or Royce da ’59 and dare I say it? Lil’ Kim.

    • Flymasta

      ROYCE NEVER BLEW AND TO ME BUSTA WAS MORE RECONIZABLE* THAN THE OTHER TWO FROM LEADERS OF THE NEW SCHOOL(IN CASE YOU DIDN’T THINK I KNEW WHERE HE WAS ORIGINALLY FROM) AND WHO THE FUCK IS LARGE PRO I CAN GIVE YOU ICE CUBE THOUGH AND LIL’ KIM EVEN THOUGH I’M KIND IFFY ON HER

      • http://www.jamal7mile.blogspot.com Jamal7Mile

        Large Pro (or Large Professor) was the voice for the Main Source collective. He’s made some monstrous beats during and after he left Main Source. You’ve probably heard him already, but I admit he’s more behind the scene these days.

      • El Tico Loco

        For one the theme is about disgruntal crew members leaving not quite living up to the potential they thought they had, because D Block hasn’t quite blown either but as it turns out J Hood is not even on THEIR level, and while Royce hasn’t blown he’s definitely more out there than if he was still under Em’s shadow (ask Obie Trice), and if you don’t know who Large Professor is (smh) you must’ve never heard of of Main Source(Looking @ the front door) plus he produced 2 tracks out of Illmatic and Stillmatic (It ain’t hard to tell, halftime, Rewind, you da man etc.) point is dude’s a legend and had to begrudgingly leave Main source to make shit happen.

  • http://www.bboycult.com Don ‘$yk’ McCaine

    The same way I feel about rappers. Everyone can’t be a rapper. Someone be the manager, the producer/DJ, the one who submits the music for publishing, or the weed carrier.

    Now the D-Cep picture? With a Batman & Robin reference? Do we even know what the D-ceps are when it comes to this rap/urban/NY thing?

    • El Tico Loco

      I wasn’t gonna say anything about the Decepticon pic. But hey what can I say.

    • http://www.bboycult.com www.bboycult.com

      XACTLY. brothers of a same mind… rest in peace B-Bill, Lo-Lifes forever… those were classic times for both crews…

    • eesco

      The decepticon pic is a perfect reference pic for the topic because it shows starscream and megatron, whom if anyone is as cartoon nerdy as me can remeber, they had this same battle. Megatron was the leader but starscream wanted 2 be the leader and eventually got the job but was nowhere near as good as megatron was.

      • http://www.jamal7mile.blogspot.com Jamal7Mile

        I remember Megatron used to slap Starscream around like a bitch when he got out of line.

        A funny observation: Although Megatron and Starscream were the #1 and 2 in the Decepticons, Shockwave had the illest voice in all of cartoonland (the third bot in the picture). If they was a rap crew I’d be checking for Shockwave (mere weed carrier) verses! LOL!

        • Jamal7Mile

          …or was that SOUNDwave? I’m getting old…

      • El Tico Loco

        Not that it doesn’t but then title then should read something like “not everybody can be megatron” and kept the batman shit out it.

        • http://www.bboycult.com Don ‘$yk’ McCaine

          essco!

          You gotta go scroll down on the comments to see what I’m talking about.

          Word is bond J7M Starscream was a scheming ass heffer! He used to get the ‘Brainy Smurf’ treatment! LOL

          Soundwave was everybody’s fave!

          I even did song called ‘Soundwave’ & submitted it for the 1st movie, but it didn’t make the soundtrack.

          @ DV8

          Referring to the comment below, that’s another day’s blog for bboycult. I’ve been itching to speak on that topic so perhaps it’s time.

          @ Tico

          That’s what I’m saying. I would have got some pictures of Batman & Robin from the old TV show…

  • http://youtube.com/thewaywardminds showersongs

    Ummm for everyone you mentioned, there’s more than just royce, cube, busta, or royce.

    Check out Currensy (Lil Wayne), Joell Ortiz (Dr. Dre), KILLER MIKE (Outkast), Rick Ross (Trick Daddy/Trina). I think the thing that Yayo and Bleek have in common besides their loyalty is also their complete lack of talent.
    If you are a no-talent ass-clown (yayo) or a permanently mediocre rapper with no work ethic (bleek), then stay loyal and collect those checks….if you think your shit is worth something then don’t let ANYTHING stand in your way.

    To endorse accepting your place as a “Robin” is fundamentally against the competitive and masculine nature of hip hop’s core.

    As for other permanent “Robins”, what about PAUL CAIN? That dude has had Fab and Joe Budden’s endorsement for years and been put on for a while…no one has caught on.

    More Robins: D12, I-20, most of Young Money, Mac Boney. See, the thing about these people is not their loyalty….but their complete lack of talent and ability to be RESPECTED ARTISTS….it’s not something abstract like loyalty.

    This is a long-ass comment, but this entry was exceptionally stupid.

    Check out my music videos, click on my name.

  • NotoriousAGC

    you just dont QUIT do you?

  • james dayton

    Do you get paid to write these blogs only if you refuse to use spell-check? Jesus.

  • General

    I can see where you are going with this argument, but don’t forget to be a “Robin” or as we refer to it in the Mid, a Scottie Pippen, you do have to bring something to table, not just ride on the the coattails…

    In Bleek and Yayo’s case I don’t see one thing that they have brought to the their respective masters…

  • sway-z

    I feel like as an artist, you SHOULD want to be the boss, but if you want that, DON’T SIGN TO OTHER RAPPER’S LABELS. Shit is crazy if you think about it, that’s like Kobe working with Lebron all offseason. Even if that nigga had your best interests at heart, that’s not how a real leader should move, you create your own situations.

  • Sleepy Wonder

    Ever Heard Of Nightwing?

  • TooClutch4TV

    How about Sandman from the Re-up Gang?

  • Todd_Base

    Lil fate and I-20 damn sure ain’t trying to move anywhere lol……..

    and Slick Pulla either

    Juelz did pretty good leaving the nest though.

  • beaver

    yo stop making list..
    your lists are always short and borin…

    NEW FUCKIN BLOGGERRSS…

    but ey i give u props wit that young buck 1..
    shit was funny as hell..

    when i heard buck cry..oh man dat shit had me cryin also…hahahahaha..buck fucked upp..

  • Money Mitch

    I don’t think D-12 could be considered Robin’s Proof at one time was Batman in that crew before eminem blew up. And swift has skills on the mic and kon artist can make hot beats. If anyone in that crew is Robin’s it is Bizarre and only bizarre.

  • Fireforreal

    Don’t forget Chingy. Oh Yeah The game. What the fuck is up with that guy ? He spent the last 5 years making albums that brought un millions,tours in the states and international and did a few flicks and has yet to release a blackwallstreet artist. Not even a compliation only those bullshit mixtapes. Why say you have a lable and not release your artist’s ? he never even put them niggas on his own albums ! but he’s a ceo right ? a boss huh LOL fuck outta here

  • Fireforreal

    What about the Game ? he released 3 albums with a total of sales around 8 million. A few flicks,tours us and international etc…… but where the fuck is black wallstreet ? He’s had a list of artist’s some with real talent but never released there albums. Not even a compilation like the ruff ryders did back in the day just bullshit mixtapes. I know he doesn’t have 50 ,Jay or diddy doe but come on ! He’s one of those rappers to say they have a lable because it sounds nice even though he’s ONLY focused on his career and bullshit beef’s. On yeah Chingy slot-o-lot records lol

  • brand-new

    for yall talkin about the decepticon pic,i think it’s perfect for the blog,because starscreen was always tryin to be the leader of the pack and was always pushed to the side and never became anything, c’mon you guys never watched cartoons as a shorty?

  • Pete from Harlem

    THE best example of a Robin in my opinion is…..my man Spliff Star. He knows his role and plays it very well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rickytanmusic RICKYTAN

    YO THIS WAS ILL ASS ARTICLE KAREN KEEP DOIN YA THING, THIS IS MAD TRUE AND ALOT OF RAPPERS IN THA GAME DONT WANNA UNDERSTAND THA HARDSHIP AND THA DETERMINATION THAT YOU HAVE TO GO THRU…..NEVER MIX IGNORANCE AND/OR ARROGANCE WITH BUSINESS YOU NEVER MAKE MONEY…….THERES A MILLION NIKKAS TRYNA RAP BUT THERES MORE THAN HALF OF THEM THAT DONT WANNA GRIND (AND APPROACH THA GAME THE RIGHT WAY)

  • Anonymous

    What about Kanye, he started out behind the scenes at Roc-a-Fella. It all comes down to talent.

  • http://www.myspace.com/jaefatal Jae Fatal

    Man…Idk what to say about this, its kinda sad lol…but somebody gotta carry the weed! haha

  • http://www.xxlmag.com Cchild

    NO NO NO NO dont say crunchy black is out, its just a guy like that wont tune down with his subject matter. no major label will support his type of “real talk”. The majors only want that bubblegum rap shit like drake & what not likes. Maybe being cheated outta money, that coulda help start a company better thats a different thing. Have more respect for Legends. Theres other types of money out there not just rap money mr. blog sir

  • nicholasdelorejo

    First off Ms Civil let me say that I respect you in all of your posts even if may not agree with your stances in some of them. Not come off as a comic nerd but if you’ve read the recent issues of the Batman series, you would know that Dick Grayson (the first Robin) is the new Batman. Hell almost every Robin has now created their own identity (Tim Drake: Red Robin, Stephanie Brown: Batgirl, and Jason Todd: the Red Hood). If the late Dallas Penn read this he might’ve had a heart attack.

    But I didn’t mean to be a dick towards you. And I get your point about rappers and knowing their role. To me a rappers should their role as loyal side kicks ONLY if they could never get recognition from being other than “so-n-so’s side kick”. Young Buck and J-Hood were talented but to be honest they were just derivatives of their bosses. They only possessed slight variations such as being a younger version or at times no uniques change.

    Kanye blew up right under Jay-z’s nose because at the time he was the conscious, backpacker of the label and can produce top of the line soulful tracks for himself. The rest of Roc-a-fella (State Property) were roughly similar to the street/Dynasty style Jay was using at the time. So of course a rapper like Kanye would be recognized more than Bleek and Beans no matter how many solid albums they made. If your just some rapper immulating the top rapper of the group, why would you expect people to buy your shit when they can get that kind of content from your boss since he’s more well known, possess the same or better team to produce the music, and is more reliable to producing the same kind of music the fans like.

    So it’s not about rappers knowing their place as being their boss’ side kick. Its about whether or not they know they can bring something to the group that is so different and noticeable that people would constantly need to be reminded that he’s actually the Robin of the group. Robin can never be the protector Gotham City by himself. But Nightwing can.

  • DV8

    other examples include

    Snoop/DPG: at one point both Daz and Kurupt decided to do they own thing but eventually came back. Guess they figured out being being the Robins to Snoops Batman wasnt so bad after all.

    Camron/Jim Jones & Juelz Santana: When JJ and JS was playing they position they had one of the strongest crews in hiphop. Then Cam had to go on a hiatus to tend to his mother and JJ and JS switched sides on Cam for a check and ever since then they really havent done anything. Meanwhile Cam has been hot on the comeback trail and has found a new Robin in Vado (who happens to be better then both JJ and JS combined) As Cam would say “who is holding them back now?”

  • DV8

    P.S. How did some of you not get the Transformer reference? Even if you dont exactly remember the cartoon I know you saw the movies. Starscreen been plotting on Megatrons spot for the longest.

    • http://www.jamal7mile.blogspot.com Jamal7Mile

      I got the picture. You had to have seen the REAL Transformer movie that came out in the 80s. I’m going by memory here, but Megatron was killed in battle and Starscream later said that he now held the crown as leader of the Decepticons. Megatron gets reincarnated by this huge planet-sized transformer and becomes Galvatron (who, btw, may be featured in the next Transformer movie along with the Dinobots). Galvatron comes back to claim his throne and finds Starscream sitting their with a crown on his head. He promptly murders Starscream by turning into some kinda cosmo gun and blasting him in the chest, turning him into stone on some Medusa shit.

      I would continue, but I think I’m showing my age and going over a few people’s heads.

    • http://www.bboycult.com Don ‘$yk’ McCaine

      DV8 I know that about the Transformers.

      But when I saw the picture and caption I thought this was about the DECEPTICONS.

      Ever wonder why Sean P has a D-Cep hoodie on in ‘Figure Four’? There are tales about that crew in NY. Sticky has even name dropped them.

      • http://www.jamal7mile.blogspot.com Jamal7Mile

        What’s up $yK?

        I’ve heard of the Decepts in NY a while ago, but never got the full story. I’ve heard that they were some big-time purse snatchers/jackers or something but I suspect that there’s more to their story. Like the LoLifes who were infamous for their love of Polo and retail fraud, the D-Cepts were organized stickup kids with a name.

        Again, this is all I heard about them all the way over here in Detroit, but there’s got to be more to it for a NYC jack crew to get noticed in Detroit.

        • http://www.bboycult.com Don ‘$yk’ McCaine

          You got it J7M. But yes there is more to it. They’re still around.

          W/O going there on here, some tales are google-able…

          That’s why I wigged out on some WTF? Karen Civil speaking on the homies? When I see that symbol I think different.

      • DV8

        yeah i been up on the Deceptz and the Lo-Lifes and other NYC gangs and crews.

        Thats why I dont understand why NYC decided to follow west coast gang culture. NYC had they own gangs.

  • http://www.jamal7mile.blogspot.com Jamal7Mile

    Gotcha $yk.

    *sidenote, did Bol get a post pulled yesterday? Or did St. Patrick’s Day really really kick him in his ass? Hmm…

  • caino

    Damn Jamal, l gave my son a copy of the original transformer movie, with the classic soft rock tunes! lol

    Hot Rod became the leader of the Auto-bots after Optimus prime and some other dude got killed! Then Hotrod Drives into Galvatron and kills him from the inside! (ClassiC)

  • RudNare

    “There’s three things in life you just don’t do. You don’t tug on Superman’s cape, you don’t spit into the wind and you do NOT, under any circumstances, cry on the phone to Curtis. He will record it and will attempt to ruin anything close to a career you may have.”

    HaHaHaHaHa! *breathe-breathe* This chick is funny! No, really! :)

  • Copy Editor

    The writing on site has deteriorated. It doesn’t look like anyone is editing their work anymore. More then a few times I have noticed elementary grammatical errors on XXL.

  • http://www.jamal7mile.blogspot.com Jamal7Mile

    Typos don’t bother me too much if the post is coherent. Have you seen Bol’s posts lately? And we ALL love him, I presume. As long as the post doesn’t look like it was typed on a Blackberry while wearing boxing gloves, I’m good.

    Karen’s cool with me.

  • ff1one@yahoo.com

    good write. It had some good points but of course their is always an execption to every rule. Besides that, its on point.

  • http://fonddavey.blogspot.com Georgette Owens

    Super interesting post! Truely..

  • http://bladderheadlight.blogspot.com Jimmie Sheehan

    Hah I’m literally the only reply to this great article!?

  • http://yogivideo.blogspot.com Monique Ingram

    If only I had a penny for every time I came here.. Superb read.