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Here's something for Hip-Hop to ponder

"Hip Hop's Year of Dangerous Living Put the Accused on the Charts", was the title that graced the critic's notebook section of The New York Times' website on January 5, 2018. The article kicked off the year by acknowledging the previous one that awarded rap musicians with high accolades despite their less than decent deeds; calling all professionals of the music industry to make better decisions in their free time and vying for fans to become more morally conscious of the artists they support.

And maybe rightfully so, Hip-Hop's 2017 brought immense success to the troublesome likes of rappers Kodak Black, 6ix9ine, YoungBoy Never Broke Again, and the late XXXTentacion, rewarding all with either lucrative record deals or singles that graced the Billboard Hot 100's Top 50 despite their very public bad behavior. Ultimately laying a welcome mat for a tumultuous 2018 (see: 6ix9ine versus Chief Keef, Rich The Kid versus Lil Uzi Vert.)

But perhaps the biggest feud to come of all this is the question of music versus morality, seen most recently after the tragic shooting of XXXTentacion. As fans, fellow rappers, and social media reacted to the news, this was the question that plagued conversation and sparked major uproar from social media users to various radio and podcast platforms and personalities. Joe Budden took to his very well-known podcast, The Joe Budden Podcast and explained his disappointment with Hot 97's Peter Rosenberg who announced XXXtentacion's death on talk radio and proceeded to introduce him as a figure that was "no angel." He also cited figures like Complex's DJ Akademiks for instigating the poor behavior of rappers and commodifying it on social media, to which Akademiks shortly after responded.

VIDEO: RIP XXXTentacion | The Joe Budden Podcast 

 

The reactions are split. Yes, in the event of death it truly is insensitive to chalk up a person's life to their actions, especially when it was cut short by violent tragedy. But, it sparks a question that is worth to be pondered. In life, can we separate the personal actions of artists from their musical accolades and musicianship? And if we choose not to, are we doing an uncivil disservice to humanity?

 

VIDEO: RIP XXXTentacion: How Will He Be Remembered?

 

To properly ponder this question we have to acknowledge many facets, one being the open door policy that the genre of Hip-Hop has always employed, and why it has come to be. Why I call it an open door policy is because it has always been welcoming of all, regardless of an individual's background, moral compass or lack thereof (R. Kelly was and is still repeatedly accused of sexual misconduct, Bobby Shmurda rose to fame and a number 1 single with a murder confession - don't tell me it's not, let's just call a spade a spade.).

So, why is the Hip-Hop genre so accepting of violence? It didn’t start out this way. However, in simplistic terms, it is because as hip-hop evolved, many of its constituents came from and still come from a place of systematic disadvantage. The art form of Hip-Hop and the culture grew as an outlet for residents of the inner city. Those whose neighborhoods were plagued with poverty, infested with drug trafficking, and a hyperactive gang and police presence. The cycle of mistrust and injustice birthed street entrepreneurs, those who hustled to make a better living despite their disadvantaged circumstances and carried that same mentality into the world and profession of Hip-Hop (Jay Z, Notorious B.I.G., etc.)

And that's not to mitigate the action of violence, repeated domestic violence, and the selling of drugs, it's to speak to the fact that the genre of Hip-Hop is comprised of individuals shaped by the absences, and disadvantages of their environments.

Gangsta rap made folk heroes out of men and women who risked their safety to bend the rules and prosper as outlaws.

The greats presented crime as a political act, a means of leveling a playing field that always operated on a severe tilt.

They gave voice to the struggles of the disadvantaged and illuminated a way out for the daring.

- Craig Jenkins

Because of such, the home of Hip-Hop is a zone of limited chastisement to be enjoyed "free of moralizing." We dismiss those with open murder, sexual misconduct, battery cases and more, with simple statements like "you've got to separate the art from the artist." We become selective in memory, prioritizing their accolades over their conscious pitfalls, abandoning the duty of accountability.

But at what cost, and at what detriment? Are there really any at all?

- Jadriena "Jade" Solomon

@24Jaded

  • Published in Music

What's The 411 Episode 68: 50 Cent, Ben Carson, Rick Ross, Halle Berry, Bob Marley, and more

50 Cent takes a swipe at Rick Ross; Dr. Ben Carson defends himself against the media; Halle Berry exes get grimy; Bob Marley making lots of dough; and more

In the What's Poppin' segment of What's The 411, the panel of Kizzy Cox, Onika McLean, and Courtney Rashon, are talking about 50 Cent taking a swipe at Rick Ross by selling T-shirts on the Internet featuring Ross' man boobs. Speaking of Rick Ross, his engagement to exotic dancer Lira Mercer is on again. Dr. Ben Carson is calling out the media for its lack of fairness. Actress Halle Berry's exes are delving into what Sean "Diddy" Combs calls "bitchassness"; and that the United States Supreme Court has agreed to hear oral arguments in seven cases brought against Obamacare.

What's The 411 correspondent and beauty expert, Courtney Rashon, details the colors that are trending for Fall 2015 in the FAB411 segment.

In the What's The 411Business segment, Stephen Witt, CEO and Founder, Kings County Politics, tells us why he started his digital magazine and goes into detail about his most recent novel, The Street Singer: A Tale of Sex, Money, and Power in a Changing Brooklyn.

In Caribbean Cook-up, What's The 411 host, Kizzy Cox, informs us that the late great reggae artist, Bob Marley, is the best-selling Caribbean artist of all time. Marley also ranks as the fourth highest selling artist this year.

The Reality TV Recap zooms in on the relationship between former model Janice Dickinson and rapper Joe Budden on Couples Therapy (and they are not a couple). Rapper Benzino and his wife Althea will surface on Marriage Bootcamp next season along with Honey Boo Boo's mother Mama June and her significant other. 

 

  • Published in Episodes

Former Model Janice Dickinson Despises Rapper Joe Budden

VIDEO DISCUSSION: Former model Janice Dickinson, a domestic abuse survivor, goes after rapper Joe Budden every chance she gets

Rapper and VH1's Love & Hip Hop reality star, Joe Budden; and ex-Supermodel Janice Dickinson, have an antagonistic relationship on VH1's Couple Therapy.

Joe and Janice's relationship became heated when it was said that Budden has a history of domestic violence with three different women. Consequently, Dickinson, who is a domestic abuse survivor, does not hesitate to tell Joe how much she despises him on a daily basis.

10 Reasons Why Fans Were Disappointed With Hot 97 Summer Jam

Hot 97’s Summer Jam XX Recap

On Sunday, June 2, I witnessed my first HOT 97 Summer Jam and please believe me when I say, I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Along the 2-mile walk from where the Port Authority bus dropped me off in MetLife Stadium to the press entrance, I walked past a huge parade filled with people from all types of backgrounds.

Hip-hop heads gathered as one in the parking lot, celebrating like it was a major summer holiday--tailgating and barbecuing food; they were really getting ready for a great night.

Summer Jam was too good on paper. It gave us good music and a decent show, but it felt too much like a high school performance—safe, organized and fluent. Don't get me wrong, safety and organization are great attributes for a concert, particularly one the size of Hot 97 Summer Jam. However, we all wanted to see more than the ordinary production; i.e., last-minute surprises and performances outside the box.

It was evident that some fans left Summer Jam XX disappointed and here are 10 reasons why:

1. Joe Budden did a great job kicking off Summer Jam, but bringing out Tank was the highlight of his performance. (Not really a disappointment about Tank, I just love Tank.)

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Joe Budden

2. Miguel performed a relevant performance by bringing out Mariah Carey and J. Cole, but I wanted him to do more like jumping into the crowd to make up for the 2013 Billboard Awards.

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Miguel

J Cole 1 resized 500x333J-Cole

3. Chris Brown's performance was way too long. Although he electrified some of the women in the audience, he shifted the momentum of the crowd starting off his set with Beautiful People. That was a huge mistake! Summer Jam equals Hip Hop, not Pop. We wanted to hear Look At Me Now first. He could've preserved his opening act for the BET Awards coming up in a few weeks. Breezy's vocals were on point though, but he should've just gone before Miguel.

Chris Brown 1 resized 500x333Chris-Brown

4. There was the 'almost' highlight of the night when Fabolous brought Lil Kim onto the stage. At the end of the duo's performance, Fab appeared to have been introducing another female artist, who many rumored to be Foxy Brown, but didn't. Ebro of Hot 97 claimed that Foxy showed up late, while other bloggers said she couldn't find her earpiece. Nonetheless, Foxy should've been on that stage!!!!!

Lil Kim Fabolous 1 resized 500x333Lil-Kim and Fabolous

 

5. Now on to Nicki Minaj. 2 Chainz's performance with Nicki Minaj was way too short. First off, Nicki skipped out on Summer Jam last year, so why not SHUT the stage down this year with a song of your own? Nicki--How can you come out for 1.5 minutes, then just bounce like that?

Nikki Minaj 2 Chainz 1 resized 500x333Nikki-Minaj and 2-Chainz 

 

6. Okay, back to Foxy. All night, Hot 97's DJ's and personalities were teasing who was backstage. Rosenberg alluded to the fact that women were going to dominate Summer Jam, but that never happened. 

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I may have been the only one daydreaming, but I was hoping Foxy, Lil Kim and Nicki would all be on the stage at one time. I'm still dreaming....

 

7. Kendrick Lamar was by far the best performer at Summer Stage, but he should've brought out Jay-Z. When word got around that Beyonce and Jay-Z were in the building, everyone was pretty much convinced that the royal couple was going to hit the stage. Well, that didn't happen either. Seriously, this was the 20th anniversary of Summer Jam, Hov could have rapped his verse to B**** Don't Kill My Vibe?

Kendrick Lamar 1 resized 500x333Kendrick-Lamar

 

8. Everyone seemed to have been upset that Papoose took the stage, but he was actually the highlight of the night. I don't know why he felt the need to say "Free Remy Ma," because no one cared.

 

9. I respect WuTang for their contributions to hip-hop, but for the generation that I witnessed in the crowd, they seemed far less interested. I think they would've been a better closing act.

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10. French Montana, the headliner of Summer Jam closed out the five-hour concert and was probably on stage for less than ten minutes (okay, maybe I'm exaggerating, but it was brief.) The highlight of his set was when fellow rap artists Rick Ross and Lil Wayne ran out and performed the hit single, Pop That. The crowd went crazy, of course. But moments later, the lights came on and Summer Jam was over, just like that. Fans exited the stadium in a somber mood, and so did I. Personally, I rode the bus home still wishing that Foxy and Jay would've graced the stage. Maybe it's just the Brooklyn sentimentality in me.

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French Montana, Lil-Wayne, and Rick-Ross

But, until next time...

 

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