The producers of this year’s VH1 Hip Honors would have been best off strategy-wise going out of their way to honor people they knew would be petty enough to complain about not being honored. Even if it was at the expense of more worthy honorees, who aren’t as desperate for recognition, and hence probably wouldn’t give a shit.
I’m surprised they didn’t learn their lesson from last year, when Nikki D (not to be confused with my new favorite video ho, Nikki B), the first female rapper on Def Jam, wasn’t invited. There had been issues before with them not honoring any women. That would have seemed like a no brainer to me. Never mind the fact that Nikki D is an utterly insignificant figure in the overall history of hip-hop. There were enough seats that they could have invited every woman ever signed to Def Jam. There were only like five, right?
I could see if they just plain forgot there was a such thing as a Nikki D. But when she threw a bitch fit, it seems like they could have easily dealt with that situation by sending her an invite, and then somehow working her name into the show. Honoring her individually wouldn’t have been an issue, since last year’s honoree was the entire Def Jam label. She wouldn’t have had any basis to complain.
Similarly, all of those people who complained about not being invited, those first few years, may have been a matter of them not being important enough to occur to even Fab Five Freddy, let alone the white people who hired Fab Five Freddy, to make it look like there were black people in charge. You’d think that switching from honoring individuals in particular to honoring huge categories of people would shut a lot of those people up, but clearly that hasn’t been the case this year.
Part of the problem is that, even though this year’s episode focuses on the South, just like last year’s episode focused on Def Jam Records, the entire South itself isn’t an honoree per se. It’s just that all of this year’s nominees hail from the South. I guess they figured they needed to stroke people’s egos to get them to show up. I can’t remember if I watched last year’s episode or not (probably not), but I do seem to recall thinking that a lot of classic Def Jam artists were conspicuously absent. Or am I confusing it with that Def Jam cover of XXL where they couldn’t get anyone to show up except Redman and Method Man?
The problem with honoring someone like Tony Draper is, who in the fuck wants to see Tony Draper on VH1? I’m not even sure if I could pick Tony Draper out of a lineup, even if I caught him trying to steal the change cup from my van. I don’t doubt that he’s an important figure in the history of southern rap music in an academic sense, in part because I’m too lazy to spend the time it would take to prove that he isn’t, but I’m at a loss for how incorporating him into this year’s show would make for good TV. The most popular artists on his label were 8 Ball & MJG, and even connoisseurs of southern rap don’t seem to hold them in the same regard as, say, a UGK. Personally, I don’t draw much of a distinction between the two of them, just like I only know one word for ice. But UGK’s profile seems to have skyrocketed in the past 10 years, while 8 Ball & MJG have faded into obscurity. UGK turn up in the New York Times more often than articles on the benefits of jogging. Almost as often as Cam’ron. 8 Ball & MJG, meanwhile? Not so much. And they can’t claim it’s because there’s not as much of a market for LCD rap.
Scarface, on the other hand, would seem to fall into that category where he’s significant enough that he wouldn’t be upset that he isn’t one of this year’s honorees. I saw an interview recently with Big Boi where he said he didn’t give a shit about not being honored this year. VH1 Hip Honors is for artists who don’t have a whole lot else to contribute. He’s got an album coming out this year. Eventually, Outkast will be honored individually, rather than under the umbrella of Organized Noize, one of this year’s honorees. They probably figured Scarface would be satisfied that his one-time (and possibly current) label boss J Prince is one of this year’s honorees. At the very least, I’m sure they figured he wouldn’t go so far as to boycott a ceremony in which J Prince will receive what will almost certainly be the most important award of his career. That’s like if Beyonce didn’t show up to the Grammys, because Memphis Bleek no longer has a deal with a major label.
I hope Scarface doesn’t expect anyone with the sense god gave geese to give a shit about his little boycott.