Rap Fans: More Of A Bi*ch Than A Bi*ch

Attention all rap fans, listeners, purveyors of its music, proponents of its culture and everything else in between (myself included): you’re all a bunch of spoiled, ungrateful brats.

We’re never happy when a producer experiments with a different sound. We cheered on the likes of DJ Premier and Kanye West for their then-innovative soundscapes when they first popped up on the scene, but now decry their value once the step outside of the box to produce for Christina Aguilera or add a vocoder sound effect in their songs. We loved it when Biggie was talking about taking the road less traveled to success, but spat on him when he actually became a success. Common made about as much money off his first three albums as I did when I used to work at Pizza Hut, and fans praised him for “keeping it real.” But one (admittedly doofy) Gap commercial later, and the same rapster community is calling for his head.

In our defense, however, he should have had his kufi smacked off for rocking crocheted pants on that cover of Essence. Hell, he should have had the shit slapped off for being on the cover of Essence period. But that’s beyond the point.

Why do hip-hop fans do this, though? It’s like we want our acclaimed lyricists to fail, all for the sake of “remaining real” and ultimately pleasing us regardless of if they can make their mortgage payments on time or not. But I ask you, what’s wrong with making money? Isn’t “getting a well-paying job” one of the first things our parents told us to do when we were growing up? Isn’t that the reason most of us do what we do in the first place? I don’t know about you, but I’m past that age where the things I do to stay out of my mother’s house I do solely for the “love” of it. Do I love what I do? Sure. But you know what else I love? Being able to keep my cell phone on. Being able to buy some Tussin when I’m sick. Not secretly praying that my card doesn’t get rejected whenever I hand it to a cashier. You know, things like that.

Don’t get me wrong though, I know the difference between “paying bills on time” and “selling out.” I’m just assuming here, but I believe that – from the perspective of a rapper – if one spend years working on their craft only to have it leaked onto the Internets (heh), underperform on the sales charts and end up deep in debt from being unable to recoup for your benefactors, would you reject an opportunity to do something that could potentially put more money in your pocket? In the professional world, something similar to that is called a “promotion” or “raise” (or in hood logic, a “come up”). In rap, however, you’re dismissed as a sellout. But if a rapper does drastically changes up his style in a funnystyle, financially motivate manner – like, say, go from rhyming on a project bench to wearing a pink-ass suit – then it was probably within them from the gate and only came into fruition when they came into money.

This topic is a bit touchy, and I’m sure I didn’t nearly do a good job trying to convey how I feel about it. I understand the rap fan’s never-ending desire to keep hip hop at its essence (news flash: that’s never going to happen), but I also understand that something like Mos Def guest-starring on Yo Gabba Gabba could be perceived as “expanding one’s range” to allow them to get more opportunities for their career. But who am I to say something as if I’m an authority on this shit? Do you, I suppose.

* waits for peanut gallery to call me a sell-out *

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  • http://Pierzy11@gmail.com Pierzy

    Not all of us are like that. Most of us, yes, but not just rap fans. In all walks of life, people complain that their favorite whatever (author, musician, actor, director, athlete) no longer does what he/she used to do.

    Do I miss Cuban Linx/Liquid Swords RZA? Yes. But I enjoyed 8 Diagrams more than most and I realize his genius for what it is and try to appreciate when he experiments. Same with Preemo & Kanye.

    I never blamed Nas for not making something akin to Illmatic 2. Artists need to grow and we need to let them.

  • K

    I wouldn’t say this is solely limited to rap fans but we do seem to take it to another level. I also think it stems from the fact that our likes are so specific and people that dislike the new direction artists take tend to voice their opinion more so than the people accepting/enjoying it.

  • henecore

    O rly?

  • DT_DC

    it’s like i always say, if you come into a better situation, the hood calls you a sellout if you leave, but they will rob yo ass if you stay…ya damned if ya do damned if ya don’t, just gotta do you…rap fans are picky, but they are for their own personal reasons and not for the music, most of the time they don’t know what they are talking about and just don’t like something because it’s not what they are use to…music evolves but the fans don’t

  • DIggySiMMons

    haha sell out#
    we love u really mek

  • FollowMyRuse

    I agree. The problem with most hiphop-heads is they feel entitled to an artist’s success.

    Because 98.9% of them have never been in the position of Common, it’s hard for them to empathize. Then again, a huge part of why a lot of problems occur in this world is because the average human being has a lack of empathy.

    Arguably though, i can see why some fans do get upset. You use your example as an example.

    you have Common spitting “But once the man got to her, he altered the native/
    Told her if she got an image and a gimmick/
    That she could make money, and she did it like a dummy/” on Resurrection.

    Then you fast forward and see the same nigga in Gap commercials or rappin’, “Freestyle paid off, now Lincoln paid me/ Now we can much more whips then slavery” on Universal Mind Control. Makes you pause like, “really Comm”.

    After all, ACTUAL fans, by into hiphop(or music in general)because of the lifestyle. The fact that it’s relate-able(or that they desperately want to relate to it). Once a rapper goes from consciousness to business it is kind of a slap in the face.

    Just my 2 cents.

    • Deadly MIME

      Tru. At the same time though loyal rap fans want to hear raw shit all the time. Thats cause the music started out as raw and hip-hop is supposed to be raw. I understand that niggas gotta get money and shit but there is still a thing as selling out.

  • TJR

    Too wordy. Just sayin’.

  • FollowMyRuse

    a few grammatical mistakes but y’all niggas get the gist of it.

  • http://www.motherloader.net MZ

    You’re playing it safe…is this really what you want to talk about?

  • ReyTheHussein

    Cosiggy, Mr. Dot.

  • http://www.slipnslideworld.com Sean W

    Just in case you dont read the follow up comments on your previous artciles, I wanted to reply to your post.

    I appreciate you answering not 1 of my emails. >

    that could be because your music sucked, your question was stupid, or both.


    April 20th, 2010
    at 2:17 pm

    Sean W says:

    Actually Meka, my music didnt suck and I didnt ask you a question. I know that you are probably very busy, as many of us in this industry are but you post quite a bunch of material from Slip-N-Slide Records (Rick Ross, Trina, Plies, Jagged Edge) which is the company I work for, and Im not sure if you have a relationship with anyone here but I do know that I tried reaching out to you a few times bc I respect your grind and I respect how you have built up your site in a matter of a couple of years and am still a huge fan of 2dopeboyz. A reply telling me that the music wasnt really for your audience or whatever the reason might have been wasnt required, but it would have been nice reading that in an email and not in a comment box on xxlmag.com. Its all good though, at least you replied this time lol… Hopefully, the next time I shoot something to you I could get a reply just letting me know the deal. Talk soon.

    Sean W.

    • Bowser

      Sean W,

      Stop trying to make the comments section your personal plea to Meka to hear your music. They way you write these long ass rants out, it only confirms what has already been said, the music probably sucks.

      If you got great music, you dont need to speak in 5 paragraphs about it, it speaks for itself.

  • El Tico Loco

    What the fans don’t like is a drastic change you still gotta give them a reminder what made them like you in the first place sprinkle it into your experiments. That’s why nobody gets mad at Andre 3000 cuz he’ll pop up at any given moment and murk a track to remind us he hasn’t lost a step despite the weird get up plaques and grammys.

  • FuckYoMomma

    Yo Gabba Gabba is the shit! Straight up and down. That show is breeding a generation of misunderstood geniuses, prolific hallucinogenic users, and soon to be legendary artists. Every child under the age of 16 should have to watch Yo Gabba Gabba, at least three times a week. Good for Mos, and all of the other artists and musicians that have made appearances on that show (especially MGMT for playing Space Vikings singing about art).

  • http://www.reupspot.com reupspot

    great job on the write up and very well put.

  • MithritadesHD

    Well I might be in the minority but if my favorite rapper decides to do what he/she feels is in good taste,I either like it or I don’t,I don’t know any rapper personally to say he/she sold out…with that being said,I hate rappers who try to mislead lol

  • CGribbs

    I agree with this, as someone who takes (or took in cases) pride in havin new music from a dank ass artist like..for this example im going to use wiz khalifa..I’ve been jammin to this nigga since 6th grade(Junior now)..and now he’s gettin his shine, I’m glad hes gettin it and doin his thing now, but now theres those people who are over-hyping him and acting like theyre his biggest fans..which is turning me into one of the people your describing in your article…sorry for the tangent peace.

  • Adrien

    People are natural haters. If someone changes up for any reason whether good or bad, people will judge. Nobody really wins…..well except the person that gets paid.

  • Reggie

    Stop treating black people and hip hop fans at large as a monolithic whole and qualify some of your arguments in a way that gives credence to the diverse range of opinions that exist even within these communities. Not everyone is calling Common a sell out, so your article does nothing to speak to those people. Although I hope its not your intention to speak of the hip hop community as homogenous, statements like “We’re never happy when a producer experiments with a different sound.” is simplifying the issue. Also I think your criticism of hip hop fans is generalizable to some people in the black community at large who feel that any black person who becomes successful is a sell-out. I believe you are a sell-out if you have some success, and then you take on a colorblind attitude, forgetting that many people will not have the opportunity that you had. If you don’t give back to the people which aided your success than that makes you a sell-out. I’m also not trying to suggest that I’m free of any blame for this very offense but I am trying to suggest that we question our own complacencies. With that said, I am off to do a bit a soul searching at a strip club…

  • Soul Child

    I’ll tell you what the problem is! The problem is that the hip-hop community is full of a bunch of self-righteous, fickle, crabs-in-a-barrel ass fools! You people spoiled brats need to wake up and realize that everything is not about what YOU want. I swear Hip-hop fans are the WORST FANS to have in most instances! Always pissing and moaning about someone who does anything that is considered commercial to make them some real money.You know God damn well if you were in a position to make millions of dollars you’d do it too and if not you are a drooling idiot! Take for instance Nas, who after having released Illmatic made It Was Written, which was classic in every way but people harshly panned it because he changed his style on it, which is just ridiculous. Now I understand perfectly if an artist just puts out a piece of shit to make a quick buck then by all means dog his ass! But I’ve seen too many instances where an artist tries to be creative and expand his craft but gets hung for it, that’s not fair! We should encourage different types of ideas and concepts but we don’t and I believe that’s one of the reasons that the genre is so messed up right now. People aren’t allowed to think outside the box so they all make the same cookie-cutter bullshit!

  • Alex

    okay jay-z sold out a long time ago. Is he still dope? yurp. Did i still buy blueprint 3? absolutely. (Did he remain real in the process?)

    But lets look at Lil’ Wayne, was he dope two years ago? yes. Did the Drought 3 blow my mind? hell yeah. Did this nigga sell out? yurp. Was Rebirth good? no, it was bad music.

    I don’t give a shit if an artist is making money or not, as long as they still make dope music. I’m not about to support 50 Cent cause Get Rich or Die Tryin’ was dope.

  • http://twitter.com/krnbgn Koran

    That’s why OJ Da Juiceman is the best rapper alive to me. He keeps it 100 no matter what.

    • Womp womp.


  • Belize


    fans look at artists like their kids, and hate change. When your momz thought you were a sweet kid, then found weight in your room..she was appalled..scared…frighted..confused – IS THIS THE SAME PERSON I KNEW?

    Everyone changes for a reason..some because they were forced to or others because they want to..as rap artists, its the same thing. You hate being “labeled:. And as fans, were just not used to change (c) Shyne’s new voice

    So end of the day..it really depends on the artist ability to either deliver that change smoothly over time (c) Snoop 1994 to now, or do it drastically and hope for the best (c) Kanye’s 808 project.

    With that said..the industry is a motherfuka

  • Ivan

    I have been a avid hip hop fan of the culture since the age of 7 and now I am 31 years of age. So I’ve seen it all heard it all. I also enjoy different genres of music. A music lover at heart I have always been open (II) to rappers of an unusual and different caliber. Diversity and originality is one trait hard to come by in hip hop with it’s copycat one dimensional deindividuation. For example, Hip Hop purists would consider Kid Cudi as “wack” or “not hip hop” because it is to emo-ish and hipster-ish and consider Kanye Wests 808′s frivolous mindless autotune drabble. They are thinking way out the box and that just doesn’t fly with the “keep it real” motif. Then again somebody like Outkast flips that over it’s head with their innovative and unique musical experimentation meanwhile achieving worldwide commercial success and maintaining artistic credibility. Black Eyed Peas success is the perfect example Meka is trying to convey. At first stricly backpack party rap and signed to Ruthless they didn’t achieve any success until Fergie hopped on board and the rest is history. Funny thing is go to their Wikipedia page and there is no mention about them from 95-2000 other than signing to Interscope. Where would they be if they didn’t change their musical direction? Working at Home Depot? Those that talk shit about rappers turning in their “keep it real” or “hood” pass are far and few in between. Think about it. I guarantee that even though Nas and Biggie’s second albums were considered to be more commercialized than their debuts, those same critics bought the albums and at the same time they also gained a shitload of new fans. Can’t please everybody and at the end of the day if making a hit record means more cash in the bank account and keeping your ass off the streets or providing for your family that income you can only dream of it sure beats slanging rocks or watching the gravy train roll on by. I ain’t mad at ya. Like Jay Z said

    And the music i be makin
    I dumb down for my audience
    And double my dollars
    They criticize me for it
    Yet they all yell “Holla”
    If skills sold
    Truth be told
    I’d probably be
    Talib Kweli
    I wanna rhyme like Common Sense
    (But i did five Mil)
    I ain’t been rhymin like Common since
    When your sense got that much in common
    And you been hustlin since
    Your inception
    Fuck perception
    Go with what makes sense

  • ff1one@yahoo.com

    This is one of the realest writes. LOL. Yes, we love that keep it real term. Keep it real compared to what? Compared to any form of art Hip hop fans are perhaps the worst. I’ll have to agree with Pierzy. Not all hip hop fans are the same. Personally, you must grow. I was watchin Martin today which is still one of my favorite shows. It still is funny and like most great hip hop music u can put it on today because it is great. However, what has changed is the styles. The style of the music, clothes, hair, and etc. In addition, Martin had to quit the show to avoid going crazy. Likewise, Dave Chapelle had to quit his show for what ever reason. Lauren Hill. The list goes on. Ivan also posted a great comment. If you don’t grow you die.

  • DarrylE

    agreed with a lot of things some of you folks have said….

    btw… what i always wanted to tell those kind of “hip hop fans” is if you’re able to sell your craft to many different types of people doesn’t that make your art better that so many people could relate to your music than just the few that you’ve had before?

  • Renzo

    Sell-out top 3. 1.Black Eyed Peas, 2.Snoop Dogg, 3.Jay-Z.

  • Hip Hop head

    Biggest sell-outs in rap.

    -Snoop Dogg
    -50 Cent
    -Black Eyed Peas.

  • ff1one@yahoo.com

    i gotta disagree. Jayz is not a sell out. Nas is a bigger sell out. Jayz is successful. there is a difference. Sunshine is one of the few times jayz comprimised his vision. sunshine is still a hard song but the video. Where as nas, you owe me…that was a huge sell out move. Jayz came in the game with the same message and still remains tru to it. Can’t call Master P a sell out for growing. Beanie Siegal sold out. 50 cent never was legit. Jim Jones sold out. Fat Joe sells out. A sell out follows fads versus starting new movements or they diss thier messsage and/or crew. Keepin it TOO Real is worst than selling out. Its a lot of talented mcs with pride.

  • escobar9300

    This wasnt great but still miles better than the slop Karen Civil was dishing out for the last two months. I’d rather read a faded receipt than read another Karen Civil “blog”.

  • caino

    they love you, then hate you, then love you again!!

    Same as comedians – underground (lotta love) , poular (still getting love), mainstream (sell out)

    People just want to hear what made them dig ‘said MC’ in the first place. But an artiest can just stay in the same lane, they gotta evolve or become stagnant!

  • Justice4All

    The truth is, Hip Hoppers are Jealous. They love you when you are struggling like them, TRYING to break through, scratching tooth and nail for a doller, BUT, as soon as you hit pay dirt, they hate you for exposing their own inability to cake out. Plus, to add fume to the fire, their girlfiend is saying how much of a baller said big time rapper is and that just get’s the situation more fumed. So, to combat that, when you blow up (which they campaigned for you to do by the way)-they dismiss you as a “sell-out”. See, you can’t be a mogul and a rapper at the same time, that’s when they hate you. Ask Jay-Z and Master P.

  • Josh

    Maybe I’m out of touch, but I haven’t heard anyone really complaining about anyone selling out in like 10 years.

    You read the occasional internet grumbling, but that’s about it.

    The underground is completely dead. The vast majority of “underground” MCs are trying to do what they think is popular and what they think the A&Rs want to hear. There are very few rapper’s rappers anymore.

    Just about everyone gets in the rap game for the fame and fortune these days (little do they know that there probably better off selling drugs or going to graduate school (depending on their preference)).

    Crossing over has become cool. B.O.B. would’ve been written off as a Will Smith 15 years ago, but now he’s #1 and actually has true heads behind him. I’m not hating at all. I just don’t think fans are as judgmental as they used to be. Your post would’ve made sense in the 90s.

    • Josh

      See the comments on Bol’s blog today about BOB…I rest my case