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First Ice-T, then Ludacris and now Nelly. No, I’m not talking about rappers who have beef with the cops or the media. I’m talking about rappers popping up on prime time television dramas. Last week, Nelly made an appearance on the network drama CSI New York. And while you’d think that Cornell just showed up to help the series get a ratings boost for its season premiere, it’s been reported that the St. Lunatic will be making regular appearances on the series. I smell a trend, and a bad one at that. Don’t tell me that this is going to go the way of rappers with clothing lines and energy drinks. Last thing I want to see is Lil’ Wayne being called in as a forensics expert on the next episode of Cold Case.

See what happens when you cancel Rap City? Rappers have to resort to prime time dramas.

This has to be some sort of hip-hop conspiracy. There’s no way that it’s a good idea for any rapper to end up on a cop-drama show. It’s a complete lose/lose situation. If they’re on the cop side like Ice-T on Law & Order: SVU, they’re automatically labeled a snitch and thrown in the same circles as Officer Rawse and who in the hip-hop world wants that association? Then if they’re on the criminal side, people are going to argue that they’re just perpetuating the stereotype that all rappers are violent and that they can only play criminals. And the third, most limited situation is that the said rapper just makes a cameo (like 50 Cent did in that one episode of The Simpsons). That’s probably the most fatal mistake that they can make as giving a brief cameo appearance, fans will tune into a show that they never watch to see their favorite artist, only to be disappointed that they made a :30 cameo.

And if rappers are going to be infiltrating your favorite prime time shows, then what’s to stop them from invading daytime? Trust me, the last thing I want to do is wake up, turn on the TV and see that Webbie has replaced Maury Povich on his own show. Next time one of those 150lbs babies waddles across the stage, he may just spell out their entire names.

In any event, I can see that this trend isn’t going anywhere soon. But given the fact that there are so many crime dramas that can feature rappers without looking like the coach from 106th & Park, I’m willing to bet fifty cents that Dancing with the Stars will be the next stop for your favorite emcees. Which if you think about it isn’t a bad place for them to end up. Given the amount of music video experience, even the most hardcore rappers can two-step on cue and if you add one more step, you’ve pretty much got a routine. Plus, it’s not like anyone’s checking out that show to watch the talent.


Can you have a number one album without stirring up controversy?

All you rappers take note: if you want a number one album, you may want to get busted trying to buy some illegal firearms. Just kidding, but not really.

Unless you’ve been under a rock for the last two weeks or too preoccupied with when Common’s going to drop his long awaited album, you’d probably know that T.I. is living up to his alter-ego and is the KING of the charts, after moving close to 600,000 units of his album Paper Trail.

Of course it goes with out saying that T-I-P’s record was highly anticipated due to the fact that right before he started working on the record, he was looking at some serious jail time because of his run in with the law, who caught him trying to arm a small army with some serious weapons. But, it all actually worked for T.I. Kinda like it worked out for 50 getting shot nine times and Kanye West almost buying the farm after he got into that car accident that made him look like the fourth friend for Alvin & the Chipmunks.

See the pattern here? Three of the biggest selling rap artists in the world all had to overcome getting shot, not knowing how to drive, or trying to build a small militia to ensure that their records sold well.

Of course, you’re probably thinking “What about Lil’ Wayne?” Weezy F. Baby didn’t have to overcome that many steps – but he did convince enough people that the Carter 3 was going to be his last album, simply because they thought he was going to kick the bucket because of the lean he drinks. Think of it like the same way painters make way more for their art after they’re dead.

Could these be the new marketing plans to ensure that rappers will successfully chart at the coveted number one spot? If so, then Jay may have to build a space ship. There probably isn’t a rap album that’s been more anticipated than that record, so it’s clearly easy to say that there’s going to need to be some sort of “event” to build the album. Then again, we’re talking about Jay-Z here and the last thing he ever needs is any hype to promote an album.

What do you guys think? Do rappers need to do a massive “event” before their albums drop or can they just sail on their skills?

A few weeks ago, NYC had the opportunity to relive some of the “Golden Era” via the Crooklyn Dodgers reunion in Brooklyn. Despite the torrential rain and the fact that the show started on hip-hop time (much later than it was scheduled), a healthy crowd came out, and sang along to all the parts of the one-off Spike Lee super-groups.

I was a huge Black Moon fan, as was pretty much anyone who was really into hip-hop in the early 90’s. After the show, I started on the daunting task of S in of cleaning out records, I started listening to Enta Da Stage as I got rid of my memorabilia from my days at Rawkus and MCA (really, how many promo copies of Mos Def’s Umi Says does one need?) and that one record store that used to in downtown Brooklyn.

Apparently, commercial rap was an issue back in the early 90’s as much as it is now.

Looking back, it seems that it’s always been common place that the divide between what’s real hip-hop and commercial (and therefore, unreal) hip-hop has existed since some artists felt that if they were on MTV, then there message wasn’t the same as if they were on pirate radio.

So it’s pretty much the case of as much as things change, they stay the same. There was a time when the underground hated Jay-Z because he rapped about drugs, guns and women. As anyone who’s gone to an underground hip-hop show can tell you, only one of the three items* that Jay raps about is found there and backpackers were mad because they couldn’t relate.

*Hint, it’s not guns or women.

I read this article (it was actually more of a rant) about MTV’s list of best rappers on Allhiphop.com and got to thinking that no matter where hip-hop ends up, there’s always going to be a divide between what’s commercial (and supposedly fake) and underground (supposedly real).

In the piece, the author Chris Faraone, name checks a few subterranean rappers skills over commercial emcees by saying:

“I understand that the discussion regarded the current “Hottest MCs in the Game;” I’m not here to suggest that Immortal Technique, Sean Price, Slug, Qwel and Cormega should have trumped creative inferiors such as Young Jeezy, Rick Ross and T.I. After all, it is a popularity contest – not a talent competition.”

I actually like Young Jeezy and T.I.’s music about as much as I like Slug and Immortal Techniques’. All of those artists create music for different reasons and as such they all serve their own purpose. And really, are you going to any party club and seeing girls getting down to the sounds of Cormega’s torrid tales of life from the 41st side? Or Sean Price?

No disrespect to those artists (last thing I need is an angry Sean Price at my door) but let’s remember that hip-hop, from inception, has been about keeping the party going. And you know what kick starts the party?


Think about that the next time you’re debating about top five dead or alive, and banging your head against the wall at the club when they’re blasting the latest 50 Cent.



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January 2018
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