A Few Thoughts about the Chris Brown & Drake Fight… When Do We say Enough’s Enough?

By now all of us have heard about the nasty brawl that went down inside a Manhattan club the other night involving Chris Brown and Drake over Rihanna.  How could we not hear about it? It’s been the lead story on damn near every newscast from Entertainment Tonight to TMZ to Good Morning America.

We’ve all seen the pictures of the club littered with broken bottles along with people from their respective entourages including basketball star Tony Parker along with innocent club goers nursing nasty cuts and bruises. By now most of us have seen the picture taken by Chris Brown himself exposing a ghoulish looking gash under his chin.

News of this fight have not only been in the headlines, it’s completely overshadowed many of the positive things folks with Hip Hop are doing. For, example, this is opening weekend for Ice T‘s stellar documentary Art of Rap. Instead of celebrating its release and its shattering of long-held stereotypes,  all of us are being peppered with questions about Hip Hop beefs and violence. Thanks Chris, Thanks Drake for keeping such insidious thoughts alive and well. I wouldn’t put it past some who brought into misinformation who are now wondering if this movies, concert and other gatherings will incite more beefs resulting in similar drama as displayed the other night..

Chris Brown shows off the ghoulish  injury he got in his brawl with Drake the other night

The other day there was a historic march and protest in New York City to bring an end to New York City’s infamous Stop-N-Frisk policy. So far some major inroads have been made. Last year over 680k people were stopped on the streets and searched by NYPD. This year NYPD was on target to stop and frisk over 800k. Studies have shown 85-90% of those folks stopped by police are young Black and Brown males with less than 10% being in violation of any law, major or minor. These numbers have caused an outrage resulting in lawsuits and demonstrations like the one the other day.

New York City police along with Mayor Bloomberg who famously supports the policy, have not been shy about justifying this practice, along with its racial profiling aspect. Bloomberg and company have been crafty about keeping the climate of fear alive and well, using incidents like this Chris Brown/ Drake fight as prime examples of ‘how bad’ it really is out there.

Club after the Chris brown-Drake Fight

Ideally one would’ve hoped that these two superstars would’ve been amongst the masses who stepped out to help end this policy, after all it impacts them and definitely their fans. Their popularity could certainly helped heighten awareness. Instead whether intended or not, this incident and their juvenile violent behavior becomes the rationale as to why such a policy needs to exist in the first place.The Logical or illogical the thinking unfolds as follows; If celebrity millionaires can’t keep the drama and beefs at bay then how can we expect  cats on the block who have considerably less do the same?  Like it or not the Chris Brown/ Drake fight does not get limited to them.. It becomes a burden all of us wind up shouldering.

It’s obvious that Chris Brown who went from being this clean-cut squeaky clean personality who could sell you chewing gun, to being a brutish, quick-tempered women beater has not learned to stay out of trouble and keep his temper in check no matter how many chances given. Drake who is not known for violence, by most accounts him or folks in his entourage were initiators. In the latest update, Drake is now being sought by police to be arrested for throwing the bottle..

In either case it matters not..The question we all need to be asking is what’s gonna make this stop? How many more slaps on the wrists do they get? Why should a Chris Brown stay out of trouble, when its more than obvious his bad behavior keeps getting rewarded. Him and Drake will be on the next award show? They’ll be at the next Summer jam concert. They’ll be played 85 times a day on the radio..What message does this constant rewarding send to our youth when they see adults co-signing or ignoring bad behavior?

Clive Davis

These artists aren’t stupid. They know the lines within the industry of what they can cross or not cross. For example, do you think Chris Brown would ever been giving a second or third chance if he went and publicly dissed a major radio station playing his song? Instead of Rihanna, lets say he went up to MTV and lost his temper and beat on one of the VPs of Viacom which owns BET or MTV?  Better yet lets say this altercation between Drake and Chris took place at industry executive, Clive Davis‘ pre-Grammy party, what do you think would be going on then? They’d be banned. Records removed etc.. There’d be zero tolerance for this sort of bullshit behavior.

What penalty are we consciously extracting from them?  Does it mean boycott? Not buying their music or not allowing it in the home? Does it mean demanding that venues or deejay you hire not spin it? Many of us who work in professions especially one where we engage the public where would be suspended if not fired if we had some sort public transgression or altercation. I’m not for censorship or ruining people permanently, but at a date and time where we are struggling to keep youngsters from embracing destructive nihilistic behavior, it falls on def ears when the people they look up to and listen to and watch are pulling crap like this with impunity. The same way a Michael Bloomberg and NYPD go about their business of creating a climate of fear to justify more police and the implementation crazy police tactics, we’ve got to create a climate that makes it uncomfortable when you’re artist engaging our community and you act irresponsible.

Lastly what got me thinking about this was a an incident involving Cypress Hill some years back.. The group headlined a show at the Bill Graham Civic auditorium in San Francisco.. It was a packed house and everyone was hyped and eager to see B-Real, Sen Dogg and DJ Muggs catch wreck. As the show got underway the hype man from one of the opening acts got on stage and tried to get the crowd going.. Frustrated by the lukewarm response, the hype man yelled; What are y’all Fags or what?.. If ur a fag be quiet.. The audience erupted and yelled with enthusiasm to make sure they were heard..

I recalled thinking at the time, that was pretty bold to be yelling out something like that in San Francisco which has large gay population, but didn’t think much more about it afterwards.. Cypress Hill eventually took the stage later that night and tore the house down.. The next day when we got to the radio station KMEL.. we were informed under no circumstances were we or any other mixers would be allowed to play Cypress Hill.. All station drops were removed. All recordings were packed and taken out of the studio. We were told that Cypress made offensive remarks at the concert during their show and people complained. When it was relayed that it wasn’t Cypress, but in fact their opening act that uttered the offense, we were told it didn’t matter Cypress Hill brought the act to town and thus was gonna pay the price, end of story..We were told there would be zero tolerance.

Drake is set to be arrested for throwing the bottle at Chris Brown

For almost a year we could not play Cypress Hill and on the few occasions a song slipped through the person who programmed it was checked and steps were taken to ensure it not happen again. It wasn’t until the group wrote a letter of apology for something they did not do that we were allowed to lift the ban.

I reference this story to indicate that in an industry that claims that what it presents for the world to consume is based upon popularity, ‘requests’ and overall public demand, doesn’t really matter when the powers that be decide that for whatever reason they’re on a shit list.. I referenced Cypress Hill because at that time they were enormously popular.. Popularity be damned. Major label backing be damned. They weren’t being played.

Over the years I seen this happen with numerous artists from Buju Banton to Turbo B of to a host of acts who brought songs to competing stations, all be banned.  Over the years I’ve seen the powers that be including local police departments step to radio stations, concert promoters and venue owners and dictate who can and cannot appear on the stage.. It ranged from Run DMC to Tribe Called Quest, popularity didn’t matter. If it was deemed they were a problem for whatever reason, they weren’t allowed on.

We should keep this in mind, next time we start hearing about some of the craziness artists who we support.  After a certain point enough is enough.. We have to stop being enablers and co-signers for some of the things they are pulling. Time to start shunning some of this..

That’s Food for Thought..

Davey D

Op Ed: Common vs Drake? Hip-Hop beef needs a funeral and a proper burial

Common vs Drake? Hip-Hop beef needs a funeral and a proper burial
by Brother Jesse Muhammad

Brother Jesse

“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to pay our last respects to a ‘friend’ that has been dear to many musical artists, fans and readers….that ‘friend’ is HIP-HOP BEEF.”

What forward-moving purpose does Hip-Hop beef serve? Can someone please educate me? I was a little thrown aback by the recent beef that spread quickly throughout the Internet and radio shows involving Common and Drake. Frankly, I found it pretty weak for Common, an artist I respect, to engage in such nonsense.

He supposedly took shots at Drake in his song “Sweet” from his newly released album The Dreamer, The Believer. I wasn’t impressed with the song; too much cursing. I wasn’t that impressed with the album either (I’m still listening to it though to see if my opinion will change). And now it continues with Drake supposedly clapping back in the song “Rich Forever” and as expected Common getting in more lyrical jabs in the song “Stay Schemin.”

Drake

No, I’m not siding with Drake. I don’t even listen to him much at all. I got his album along with Nikki Minaj’s just to see what all the hype was about. They didn’t move me. I just think they are doing an excellent job of mastering their moment.

Getting back to the eulogy for Hip-Hop Beef: I love Hip-Hop culture and trust me I’ve enjoyed true lyrical battles in our history but this mudslinging, name-calling, backbiting, buffoonery and randomly picking out other artists just for the heck of it has outlived its usefulness and has become a destructive force. The new trend now is grown men and women using Twitter to take shots instead of sitting down in person to solve our problems. I even read where Young Jeezy said one of his friends was killed due to an exchange of words on Twitter.

When it comes to Hip-Hop, I always sit and wonder who calculates when a beef should start? Who should be targeted? How long it should last? What dirt should be unveiled? Do some artists start beef to make up for poor record sales? Are they thirsting that bad for publicity? Is their marketing and lyrical engine that weak that they need to start a beef to save their careers? If an artist has millions already, why waste time attacking people? Is it out of greed? Is there really a winner in a beef?

Nobody in Hip-Hop can deny that The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has been the most critical in putting an end to a lot of the beef in the genre. Back in 1997, Min. Farrakhan gathered a group of Hip-Hop artists at his home in Chicago to call a truce between East Coast and West Coast rappers. In attendance included Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, Common (his name was Common Sense then), Tha Dogg Pound, Willie D, Fat Joe and more.

In 2001, Min. Farrakhan was the keynote speaker at the Hip-Hop Summit in New York hosted by Russell Simmons.”Every time you use your rap song against another rapper and the magazines publish your words, the people that love you then turn on the people that you have spoken against. Then, the one you spoke against speaks back against you and his group becomes inflamed against you. When you are a rapper and you understand your leadership role, you must understand that, with leadership comes responsibility. You did not ask for it. It is imposed on you, but you now have to accept responsibility that you have never accepted,” Min. Farrakhan said to the packed room.

He added, “Your potential to change reality is so great that, if you learned the skill of words and how to use words; if you learned how to say what it is you want to say, but say it in a way that gains universal respect, then the rap would evolve to an art form that will never be replaced. It will evolve to be that form that will set the stage for the next phase of its evolution.”

In 2003, Min. Farrakhan sat down with Ja Rule in the midst of his heated feud with 50 Cent. In his conversation with Ja Rule, that aired on MTV and BET, Min. Farrakhan told Ja Rule not to give in to the pressure of his listeners who wanted him to keep dissing 50 Cent but rather “teach them that there’s more to life than beef.

“A war is about to come down on the rap community. When you and 50 throw down, it goes all the way down into the streets. The media takes the beef between you and 50 and they play it, they jam it, they keep it going. Why would they keep something going that could produce bloodshed? There is a bigger plot here, Ja, and this is what I want you and 50 and our hip-hop brothers and sisters to see,” said Min. Farrakhan.

Where would Hip-Hop be if they had fully implemented the guidance of this wise man? As for the beef, let’s throw some dirt on the coffin and pay our last respects.

(Brother Jesse Muhammad is a staff writer for The Final Call Newspaper and an award-winning blogger. Follow him on Twitter @BrotherJesse)

Peep article Here: http://jessemuhammad.blogs.finalcall.com/2012/01/common-vs-drake-hip-hop-beef-needs.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uk9oRpAZEGc

As we Commemorate the Anniversary of 2Pac’s Death-Who Speaks for the ‘Have Nots’ in 2010?

Every year around this time many of us within Hip Hop take some time out and reflect on the life and times of Tupac Amaru Shakur as commemorate the anniversary of his tragic death Sept 13 1996. With each passing year its interesting to note that as a younger generation grows older, icons like 2Pac don’t seem to mean as much. For example, I’m not sure I heard anyone shout him out during the MTV VMAs..  Not sure if people took time to acknowledge him during the red carpet interviews or if anyone bothered to ask their thoughts.  Did anyone ask ‘What do you think 2Pac would be doing if he was here?’  ‘What do you think 2Pac would say about our current economic situation?’  “What would Pac have said about that preacher wanting to burn Qu’rans or all the hoopla made at Ground Zero about that Mosque/ Community center?  What would he have said about the looming sentencing trial for the cop who killed Oscar Grant or the riots that have taken place in LA after cops shot an immigrant? What would Pac have said about all those homes being destroyed and people killed during the tragic fire in San Bruno which we are now finding was because of negligence by PG&E?  Considering that’s an area where a lot of people of color live, do you think Pac would’ve been screaming on that? Such speculative question gets asked because it’s all but absent from those who are privileged to have access to a mic.

Pac like so much of our history has been made disposable and I’m not quite sure what to make of it. Is it our fault as elders for not bringing him up enough and keeping his and the memory of other past icons alive? Have we grown so that we now see him through a different lens and maybe don’t hold him up as high anymore? Did we put too much on him?

In looking back I think what folks admired so much about 2Pac was that he gave voice to an underclass of people. He gave voice to the those who we call the ‘Have Nots‘. What’s ironic is that in 2010 we have more ‘Have Nots then ever before, but instead of kicking up dust and challenging those in power about the injustice of such conditions, we now have folks looking for answers in corporate lackeys masquerading as rap stars or corporate backed pundits who know of Pac but would never dare embrace his fearlessness and boldness in seeking change. Still others look for the Glenn Beck, the Tea Party Movement and maybe Congressman Ron Paul to give them voice.

When Pac died at age 25 he was just beginning to find his voice and there’s no telling where he would be in 2010. There’s no telling how he would’ve ultimately have used his platforms and popularity and how things would be different as a result..The young Black male who he claimed to have spoken for would be older now and we would hope that he would be speaking and doing things to change the wretched conditions so many find themselves in.. Alas we can only speculate, but we should not underestimate the differences one man or woman can make.

Moving forward we understand that every generation has their heroes and sheros.. I’m from the public Enemy era, the folks who were my interns back in the days came up under Pac.. Many of them have maintained that fiery spirit 13 years later..My question today is who inspires that in today’s generation? Who is speaking truth to power and kicking up dust? Or have we retired that as a viable method to get things done?

As I was watching what appeared to be a very lack luster VMAs last night I kept asking myself where are the fire-works? Who’s the person that’s gonna leave us with something to talk about for years to come? The closet we came was when Drake yelled out Free Lil Wayne. Many were hoping we’d have that moment with Kanye West who came out wearing a red suit that drew comparisons to late comedian Richard Pryor on Sunset Strip. He’s always one to be counted on to say something provocative. His performance was mesmerizing. But we didn’t get much from Kanye other than him rapping about what a jerk he was .. Instead it was singer Taylor Swift who was famously interrupted by Kanye during last years awards, kicking up dust by doing a song where she took aim at him.

As Kanye closed the show I kept wondering if this generation of Have Nots had someone speaking for them on these national stages.

Written by Davey D

Brenda’s Got a Baby

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wl54ABY8VgY

Trapped

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCEmTaWSPTk

Interview w/ Arsenio Hall

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gtFtYNDzY0&feature=related

Interview w/ Vibe magazine

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQexa5GFlw4

Interview w/ Davey D

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pylx2HLzrwY

1992 Speech Atlanta..Malcolm X Grassroots Movement

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQ4FvfM9Ftk

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

My Take on Drake-Have All of Us Reached Our Potential? (A Response to Marc Lamont Hill’s Article)

Do we hate Drake? My boy Professor Marc Lamont Hill does and he explains why in a recently penned article featured on TheLoop21.com. Here, I can understand many of Hill’s sentiments including; Drake being talented but overhyped, him being used as a slick marketing tool for a corporate backed music industry which I should add, is in rapid decline and him taking up precious space in the urban sound scape to the exclusion of ‘more talented’ emcees. But, with all that being said, I think Hill misses a couple of fundamental points about Hip Hop.

First, and foremost, Hip Hop, in particular the art of emceeing, at the end of the day is a form of communication where the only questions that matters are;  ‘Do you connect with your audience’ and ‘Did you move the crowd’. Drake has clearly done this-like it or not. We shouldn’t begrudge him.

Now, we can argue and assert Drake is lacking in rhyme skillz or he’s not that good of a singer. We can as Hill did, equate him to being a one man ‘boy band’. We can say all that and any number of negative things, but last I checked there’s a significant number of people residing in our respective hoods all across the country who are checking for this cat. They view him differently. Everywhere I go I’m hearing folks bump his music. I’m seeing his shows sell out and in general I’m seeing him generate a type of excitement that I haven’t seen in a very long time. In 2010 Drake is ‘that guy‘.

As far as Drake’s fans are concerned his rhymes and singing are just fine. His audience finds him compelling, entertaining, inspiring and more importantly relevant. The question before us all is ‘Are we relevant?‘ Are we relevant to Drake’s audience? And if not why not? and should we be? And if we wanna connect what’s it gonna take to be so?

This brings me to my second point…Hip Hop is not a spectator sport. If someone feels Drake is undeserving of his audience and he’s taking up valuable space and is a big waste of time, from a Hip Hop perspective there’s only one thing you can really do..step into the arena, show & prove’ and win that audience back.

Rick Rock-Create paint where there ain't

Now, one may make the excuse about how that’s hard to do because Drake has celebrity endorsements, a million dollar marketing budget and the full weight of the industry pushing him. But this is Hip Hop and we have long prided ourselves as being able to do far more with less. In this space, no obstacle is insurmountable. This a culture that has creativity, resourcefulness and hustling as key building blocks. To quote producer Rick Rock..we create paint where there ain’t or to quote Shock G of Digital Underground, we can make a dollar out of 15 Cent or as they say in church. ‘We can make a way out of no way’.  So in 2010 if we’re finding ourselves battling the commodification of culture, and the dumbing down of audiences with artists and culture being made disposable, we who identify with Hip Hop should be able to effectively battle back and counter this.  Hence anyone who feels Drake is misleading his crowd, in this age of technology where Youtube, Ipads, blogs and twitter are abundant engaging  Drake’s audience should  not be difficult. Winning them over? Well, that’s the hard part.

The bottom line is this.. If Drake is lazy, as Professor Hill pointed out, and not living up to the full potential of his talents as an artist, can the same be said about us? Are we equally as lazy and not reaching our full potential as members of the Hip Hop community? We’re demanding that artist like Drake step up, but collectively speaking what are we doing to be meaningful game changers?

This culture has been around damn near 40 years and with all our entrepreneurial brilliance, insightful punditry, academic scholarship, street savvy and swagger, we still have not created a music business infrastructure that is far superior and eclipses the corporate backed one that has made a superstar out of Drake but at the same time has ruined and exploited a music and culture we hold dear. Where’s our superstar making machine? Why haven’t we created our own industry where artist like; Black Thought, Jean Grae and Lupe Fiasco are everyday un-compromised and un-apologetic occurrences?

After 40 years are we looking for jobs in this industry or creating our own? And when I say create..I mean creating business that are not mere extensions dependent upon a corrosive industry. Are we about the business of creating something that is on our own terms, owned by us and is on par with the potential heights we want artists like Drake to reach?

Finally let’s get to the crux of this issue…If artists like, Pharaoh Monche or Lupe Fiasco who Hill mentions in his piece were the primary ‘go to’ figures that everyone in the hood was clamoring over, then any sort of discussion around Drake would be irrelevant. The concern is this-Drake is getting shine in the community, leaving many to wonder why those who are arguably more skilled and have ‘deeper meanings’ to their songs are not. How is there this disconnect and what do we do to fix it?

Is it as simple as extra airplay? Does it come down to extra marketing dollars?  Does this boil down to us exposing Drake’s audience to what some consider ‘better caliber’ artists in hopes that they will suddenly see the light and find the Drakes of the world  less desireable?

Who’s to say that the Drake fan is not already well aware of the Talibs, Mos Defs, Dead Prezs and other conscious artists? Perhaps they know them but at the end of the day they simply prefer Drake. That’s a nagging reality many of us are not ready to face because we’re left either wondering how we’re out of step with large portions of the  community we speak and rep for.. and more importantly we’re left questioning our influence or lack thereof.  Or we can sum it up and face the fact that we may haven’t reached our full potential at least in the arena of communicating.

That can be a blow to our egos and toss a monkey wrench into our assumptions and expectations..It has to be bothersome when you’re an elder in the community who teaches, counsels or offer leadership and guidance to younger folks, only to find at the end of the day they are pretty much rejecting our musical offerings.  It’s hard not to question what that says about us or to not take it personal when those you help rear let you know ‘they ain’t feeling Public Enemy, Wu or even 2pac.

Wacka Flocka

I recall when I was younger, my mom and older cousins would tell me..’Live long enough and I’ll come to see what they were talking about... Many of us are at that moment in our lives. When I see younger cousins emphatically embracing Gucci Mane and Wacka Flocka and I know they were raised on a steady diet of KRS, PRT and X-Clan, I can now better understand why my elders were so upset when they saw us choosing turntables over ‘musical instruments.

Now I understand why they were perplexed when we said we preferred Grandmaster Flash or Afrika Bambaataa over Earth Wind and Fire, Kool and the Gang and even Marvin Gaye. Many of us as youngsters simply did not see the relevance as to why those who were older held these artists as sacred. To them our rejections were blasphemous. We essentially were dismissing the sound track to their lives and  not building upon a cultural legacy they were a part of and may have even helped lay down.

From our stand point as youngstas, we discovered something that spoke to us and had meaning and were seeking to build our own legacy. When I was younger I didn’t analyze things, this way, but as I got older I’ve come to realize, that there was too much preaching and not enough teaching. The more our elders preached that this ‘Hip Hop’ thing we were into was huge step backwards the more we stuck with it. Perhaps they should’ve sat down and built with us. Perhaps they should’ve  helped nurture our curiosity and passion.  We made lots of mistakes along the way that could’ve been avoided had we had the nurturing, but eventually we come to discover our own worth and brilliance and a perhaps a few of the lessons they were trying to impart on us.

I guess the question at hand that I’m gonna keep coming back to is have we ever reached our full potential? Not just Drake , but all of us.. Have we all come realize and act upon our brilliance? These  humbling questions to answer because on many levels we may sadly discover to the degree that we find Drake to be mediorcre and lacking or brilliant and great, it may in fact be an accurate reflection of who we are as a Hip Hop community. Drake will change when we do. It’s either that or accept the fact we simply can’t see what they can see..

-Something to ponder-

-Davey D-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5uqPUZxZHg

I hate Drake. There, I said it.

by Marc Lamont Hill

http://theloop21.com/society/i-hate-drake-there-i-said-it

Dr Marc Lamont Hill

For the past two years, Drake has been one of the hottest acts in hip-hop. From high profile guest appearances to a ubiquitous presence on urban radio, it is nearly impossible to follow hip-hop and not get regular doses of the Toronto-born rapper.

I hate him.

There I said it.

To be clear, I don’t have any personal beef with Drake. While I’ve never met him, I don’t doubt that he’s a decent and well-intentioned person. Still, I hate him. And you can’t stop me. Why? Because he represents several things that I find troublesome about the current mainstream hip-hop scene.

First, there’s the music. While there’s no doubt that Drake is very gifted— even if he too often wastes his talent making radio-friendly confection—he leaves much to be desired as an rapper. Instead of relying on his intellectual and artistic gifts, he too often resorts to tired concepts, lazy punch lines and predictable one-liners. This wouldn’t be such a problem if he weren’t constantly being hailed by the rap world as a dope lyricist rather than what he actually is: a pop song writer.

To call Drake an MC in a world that still includes Black Thought, Lupe Fiasco, Jean Grae, Pharoah Monch, or even Eminem is an insult to people who think. As evidenced by his humiliating Blackberry “freestyle” on Funkmaster Flex’s Hot 97 radio show, Drake has mastered neither the art, science, nor stylistic etiquette of MCing. From his frantic attempts to stay on beat to his inability to improvise even slightly, Drake represents a dangerous historical moment in hip-hop culture where rapping has overshadowed other dimensions of MCing, like freestyling, battling, and moving the crowd.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-uKSeyYFGRo&feature=player_embedded

In addition to his lyrical deficiencies, there is something naggingly inauthentic about Drake. And nope, it’s not because he’s a half-white Canadian named Aubrey whose original claim to fame was playing Jimmy Brooks on the teen drama Degrassi High. While such information does nothing to enhance his street bona fides, it certainly doesn’t merit missing him outright. After all, some of hip-hop’s greatest talents (whether they admit it or not) have come from a variety of privileged race, class, and geographic backgrounds. Also, despite being a running buddy of Lil Wayne, Drake’s raps don’t include drug dealing, poverty, violence, or any of the other stale tropes of ghetto authenticity found in mainstream hip-hop narratives. Still, his persona and music feel like the product of industry cynicism rather than an organic outgrowth of hip-hop culture.

From his faux-Southern accent to his corporate-funded “street buzz,” Drake has been perfectly prepped to become hip-hop’s version of a boy band. Take one look at Drake and you can almost hear the calculations of greedy record execs looking for the next crossover act: Preexisting white fanbase: check. Exotic Ethnic Background: check. Light Skin: check. Celebrity Cosigners: check.

And the list goes on… Sadly, such paint-by-the-numbers thinking not only forces Drake into the public sphere, but also excludes more gifted artists who don’t fit neatly into the prefigured boxes of industry honchos.

While the aforementioned reasons are sufficient to warrant my Drake hate, my biggest issue stems from his decision to sign with Universal Motown in June 2009. At the point that Drake signed the deal, he had already become one of the hottest rappers in the country. In addition to high visibility, Drake already had an independently functioning infrastructure around him for full-fledged marketing, promotion, and distribution of future projects. In other words, as DJ Skee pointed out “Drake had already successfully done everything a major label could by himself.”

Instead of seizing the moment, Drake, in a move that violated the adventurous entrepreneurial spirit of hip-hop, played it safe and went with a traditional deal. Unlike artists of lesser stature, Drake had an opportunity to thumb his nose at a record industry built on the unmitigated exploitation of artists. By running back to the plantation, Drake squandered a critical opportunity to not only build his own empire, but to create new possibilities for an entire generation of artists.

Am I being too hard on Drake? Am I holding him to too high a standard? Am I ignoring the fact that there have been “Drakes” in every generation? Am I a grouchy hip-hop oldschooler still mad that A Tribe Called Quest broke up and Rakim no longer gets radio play? The answer is probably “yes” on all fronts. Still, I maintain my position, as well as my right to hate Drake. And you can’t stop me.

Whew! I feel better now. How about you?

Marc Lamont Hill is Associate Professor of Education at Columbia University. He blogs regularly at MarcLamontHill.com. He can be reached at marc@theloop21.com.

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

BET Denounces Lil Wayne & Drake Performance But Only to AHH

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So today after recieving news that  a whooping record breaking 11 million viewers checked in to watch the BET Awards this past Sunday night in anticipation of seeing a Tribute to Michael Jackson just 2 or 3 days after his death, BET has finally responded to all the criticism.  It responded by giving an exclusive statement to All Hip Hop where they denounce the performance of Lil Wayne and Drake.  An exclusive statement to AHH?  Wow.. there was no press release issued by Debra Lee or Stephen Hill.. There was no notification on their website BET.com as of 7:45 am PST… All I can do is shake my head..  Of course they do this on the day of our three day holiday when everyone is out and about..

In the meanwhile Drake has issued an apology of sorts. He says he regrets what happened and that the timing was poor. Thank you Drake for taking some sort of responsibility. You can read the BET apology below.. Shout out to the fam over at All Hip Hop.. Please do us a favor.. can you ask BET to exclusively apologize to all of us via their network? Also can y’all please ask them who made the call to put Drake and Lil Wayne on to do the song. Drake notes in his apology that they were being pressured to do the song. pressured by who? The Label? BET? Friends and family?

-Davey D-

Exclusive: BET Denounces Lil Wayne Performance, Drake Apologizes

By Houston Williams
BET CEO Debra Lee- Not sure if it was Ms Lee, but BET denounces Lil Wayne and Drake's performance at the BET Awards

BET CEO Debra Lee- Not sure if it was Ms Lee, but BET denounces Lil Wayne and Drake's performance at the BET Awards

BET has expressed remorse over a performance by Lil Wayne, Drake and Young Money Records that involved underage girls during songs “Best I Ever Had” and “Every Girl.”

The songs, which have overt sexual references, were performed during the Sunday BET Awards ’09 show as a bevy of young girls danced on stage. The group of girls consisted of Lil Wayne’s daughters and her friends.

In an exclusive statement, BET has responded to the criticism and the public outcry over the segment.

“BET Networks deeply regrets the performance by Young Money at the BET AWARDS ’09 (featuring Lil Wayne, Drake, Gudda Gudda and Mack Maine),” a BET representative told AllHipHop.com exclusively. “Elements of the performance were unplanned and should not have happened.”

In the aftermath of the show, many have expressed outrage over the outing by Young Money, which was set amid a show dedicated to the late Michael Jackson.

Activist and filmmaker Byron Hurt lambasted the network earlier in the week in an open letter to Debra Lee, the President and Chief Executive Officer of BET Holdings, Inc.

“In a culture where one out of four girls and women are either raped or sexually assaulted – and where manipulative men routinely traffic vulnerable women into the sex industry – it is not okay that BET allowed this to happen,” Hurt said. “BET owes its entire audience – particularly girls and women around the world – an apology for its failure to intervene.”

A representative said generally the company has found such opinions useful.

“We value and appreciate the feedback from our viewers and have edited Young Money’s performance for all BET Awards ’09 encore presentations.”

Drake has apologized and taken responsibility for the performance, admitting it was in poor taste.

Drake says he regrets what happened at the BET Awards. he says it was poor timing

Drake says he regrets what happened at the BET Awards. He says it was poor timing

“That…was a terrible idea that I’ll never do to myself again. But I was being pressed from different areas to perform, and I think what really happened at the BET Awards is with the passing of Mike, the climate really changed, as far as the award show goes,” he told Complex. “I don’t think it called for us to perform “Every Girl” and “Always Strapped,” and I think it was an award show filled with tributes and music and these genuine heartfelt speeches. And to sort of climax out of a very tongue-n-cheek point, and then people misconstruing Wayne’s daughters and her friends coming out on stage — it was just timed very poorly and it definitely wasn’t planned like that, but with that being said, it is what is. I believe in Wayne and myself and it’s nothing we can’t bounce back from. To anyone who was offended, my personal apologies, it wasn’t intended to offend anybody.”

An edited version of the show will re-air on Monday July 6. The BET Awards saw a 61-percent increase in viewers this year fueled by the sudden death of Michael Jackson. Ten percent of all turned on television sets watched the show Sunday, a remarkably high number

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