You Don’t Have To Sell Drugs to Sell Records… Or Do You?

You gotta love it. Like clockwork, right before an artist releases a new album, they divulge a little more information about their personal life. Sometimes, it’s about growing up in a broken home (family member on drugs or locked up) and, other times, it’s about their own unfortunate decisions made while coming of age (selling drugs, going to jail, etc.). Then, there are times where it gets really creative and you’ll find out about abortions and sex tapes, and lions and tigers and bears. Oh, my!

I still don’t see how (literally) eating his girlfriend while on PCP didn’t skyrocket Big Lurch’s sales. That shit was mad original.

*Conscience kicks in*

Sorry, that ain’t funny.

Anyway, I have no sex tapes. Moms wasn’t on drugs. Pops never went to jail. Well, he did get arrested once for a bunch of unpaid tickets but that was my brother’s fault (he’s a junior). I also haven’t killed anyone. Or sold drugs. I know people that have done both but it wasn’t me.

I’m from the projects. When I’m out and about and people ask me where I’m from I say Bed-Stuy. When they ask where specifically and I tell them the cross streets and it’s not within the “safe” Bed-Stuy they always say, “Oh, my!”

If you know me from Tanya Morgan you know we always been on some fun shit. Between the three of us, there’s enough “real shit” to fill up an album but we never went that route. My new album, Pea’s Gotta Have It (in stores tomorrow, October 12, plug, plug, plug) is about coming of age in Brooklyn, but I spend most of the LP speaking about being in school.

In some ways I grew up damn near living out a Clipse album but that isn’t on this record. The last song on my album is inspired by those caught up in the street life but it isn’t glorified. I understand how one ends up doing what they have to do all too well. I could never look down on those that take that path because I know how they end up taking it.

I just chose not to.

Like I said, just because I’m an extra in the scene doesn’t make it my story, so I’m not going to tell it. Instead of getting a brick when I wanted the new old Jordan’s and a North Face I got an after-school job.

When it comes to using a checkered past to sell music, it usually works because it’s intriguing to take on a certain role. The player. The thug. The reformed thug. The drug dealer. The rich guy. Anything larger than life, anything your listener isn’t. Or, if they are, you have to be better than they are at it.

If you sell drugs, you probably want to hear Pusha T talk about how much more weight he has than you. If you’re into fashion, you probably want to hear about the new shit Kanye is rockin’ that you can’t afford. If you’re a regular dude, you probably want to hear Phonte talk about when he didn’t get the girl either, but he has her now (because you don’t have her yet).

If that helps, be happy to know eventually I got the girl, too. And you don’t have these shoes I’m wearing. And I invented a new kind of weed that you’ll never get to smoke…. Simply because you’re not worthy. Ha-ha. I’m joking.

Do I really have to say I’m joking, though? I may need a disclaimer for my sense of humor.

Hmm, where was I? Oh, yes…

Pea’s Gotta Have It, a Von Pea Joint. 10-12-10. No hard life stories, no sex tapes, no drug tales. I’m banking on good music and word of mouth to push this album. That doesn’t make me better than the next man and that’s not my point. I’m simply hoping the music alone does the trick.

*Steps off pedestal and cooks some crack*

See y’all tomorrow.

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  • benzino


    double o

    double t

    double e

    boottee boottee boottee boottee

  • Quint

    So, wait, so you’re just a normal dude from the projects trying to make it in the music industry? O, you must be a weed rapper. Jets Fool! Well, if you’re not a weed rapper either, I don’t know what to tell you man. You said you know some people who’ve killed and what not. You may want to take on their identity and rhyme as if you were them. You could rename it the Dapper Don since someone else used John Gotti’s other nickname is taken.
    All sarcasm aside, I respect your honesty, and would like to hear the album. I, like most other people in the world, can probably relate more to your life compared to a real kingpin like Rick Ross.
    O, and good post btw.

  • skinnybiggie

    Love the post…big fan of artist like yourself, LB, TM (of course) because my life needed to be represented in hip-hop, and you and your a-alikes do it well

  • denny

    how come ive never heard of ur rap group? and why is it called tanya morgan? answer this in your new blog. i liked this one it was readable

  • Sha

    I’ve tried to analyze this phenomenon before. What I came up with is this…..

    Selling drugs has absolutely nothing to do with it.

    What it boils down to is AUTHENTICITY. If an artist releases some good music and the hard work is put in (and also the label buys into the artist’s vision) what you get is product that will be heavily consumed.

    Face it people. We are living in a POST gangsta rap era. When gangsta rap came out, it for sure wasn’t a shock to Black People. Not after the shit we’d seen since being brought to this country. But to suburbia? It was absolutely shocking! Little white kids finally saw that their parents were full of shit. NWA and PE invaded and that shit was definitely shocking to them.

    Fast forward to now. De-sensitivity has set in. Even white people aren’t excited off of that stuff now. They want skill. And although a lot of them still purchase BS based on COLOR, even the average white hip-hop consumer wants SKILL above everything.

    Sure, 50 ate off of his story of getting blasted. But MOSTLY he ate off of hard work in the underground and getting his bosses (Eminem and Dr. Dre) to buy into the product he was pushing. There is not a greater motivator than a near death experience.

    Hip-Hop purists will always throw out some shit about how the corporate world has flipped the rap game on it’s head. In some cases they have a point. But in most cases that’s BS. What has happened is easily explained.


    It has been proven time and time again that if you make a dope product, they will come. Take that ugly-ass British chick on BRITAIN’S GOT TALENT. Cat’s judged her off of her looks. Not her skill. Until she went out and crushed the competition. And now she’s laughing all the way to the bank.

    Back in the day, if someone came out sounding like another rapper, the hip-hop community would laugh that dude out of the industry. That shit was almost never tolerated. But now it’s different….

    Everyone wants to make money like Jay-Z. Everyone wants to get respected like Dr. Dre. Everyone wants the bitches Eminem gets.

    But no one is willing to put in the type of work they did to get those results.

    Good post, but, in my opinion, wrong. The problem is totally on the artists and the music they release. The industry plays a small part. The radio plays a small part. But it’s mostly on the artists who release bullshit knowing good and damn well it’s garbage.

  • Anonymous

    nigga u gay

  • B Eazy

    Sha you make some good points. As far as the “if you make it they will come shit” you are wrong.

    How many quality albums come out and don’t sell? How many innovative and original artists are struggling?

    Seems like there is either not alot of smart consumers or the smart ones don’t buy shit. By smart I mean intellectually capable of appreciating lyricism, content, and creativity.

    The dumbed down shit sells. Eminem is the only exception and we all know why he sells. Jay once said “I dumbed down my music to double my dollars/ they criticize me for it yet they all yell holla”.
    Jay also said to one of the greatest mcs to ever live”..ya shit is garbage/what you tryna kick knowledge?”.

    Jay got 12 number 1 albums, broke the Beatles record. That pretty much says it.

  • Sha

    @ B Eazy….

    I see your point, but you just said what I did previously. You have to get the label to buy into your vision. If they don’t, you’re spinning your wheels. And it still ends up being on the artist because why would you sign a deal with a label that doesn’t share your vision? Seems very stupid. And it’s totally on the artists….

    Jay-Z had foresight enough to see that OWNERSHIP is the one foolproof way to avoid label politics and protect yourself permanently.

  • LdNSe15

    Dude just because you don’t rap about the stereotypical doesn’t make you any more original..

    The ‘I’m just a regular guy with a 9-5 job, I’m not gonna rap bout bricks/hoes/etc’ is nothing but a GIMMICK..

    If you truly wanted to let the music move the album you wouldn’t have made a post like this..This post was made in the hopes of swaying minds into thinking you’re authentic..

    Nigga please..I see through that bullshit..If you wanna let the music talk..inundate the web/net with your tracks..if it’s good will move..and your fanbase will do the talking..

    I swear you rappers are killing me..You either get the ‘drug dealer/thug gimmick’ or the ‘I’m a 9-5, down to earth guy gimmick’..It’s either Gucci Mane type of coons or cornballs rapping about what their define as ‘down to earth/real life’ issues..Fuck off..I don’t care if you think you’re a king pin or if you’re a douchebag rapping bout illuminati conspiracies..Just make good music..Please..

    Just make music..if you wanna make drug dealing music, make it..If you wanna make music about how your manager bullies you, make it..Just stop trying to brainwash people into thinking that listening to you is the lesser evil..

  • M. Baby!

    Great article….u definitely need to have some kind of talent to relay your message and thoughts to the world. The music u make is supposed to represent your thoughts, views, opinions, and sometimes a little bit about your life (whether it was hard or easy growing up). Most of our favorite rappers came from that age where almost every dude sold drugs. But you also can be creative and tell stories in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd person views…or you can make the whole thing up, but there’s still kind of message there. 2Pac made songs off of stories and things that happened in the world. To me, a tru artist is a person who can get you to visualize their views and expressions whether it’s thru a song, painitng, beats, whatever. Today not too many of the new rappers are being Artist. They’re just making party songs to get on the radio…nothing has any meaning to it. U can’t visualize what they’re saying because you don’t have the cars, clothes, and money like they do. But if u can turn on the news and make a song about some crazy story u just heard that song will reach the hearts of so many people who was affected or felt that story, you’re a tru artist. Hip-Hop is wack as hell right now…only a certain few are still making some real shit but the majority isn’t….and it’s because everybody is following the next person’s path. No creativness. That’s why the 90′s will always be the best years of Hip-Hop because u had so many diverse artist really spitting and saying some shit, not just coming up with hot punch lines all the time. Taking somebody’s style was wack, now everybody’s flow sounds exactly the same…I can’t tell Wayne from Drake or Nicki…they all sound alike, even the ad libs. They stay with the raw ass beats, but what the hell are they really saying….nothing, just a bunch of random punch lines…and don’t get me started on niggaz not being able to give u at least 5 or more songs on “there” albums w/o features. Hip-Hop, I tell ya…