This past Friday Welcome to JFK by Chinx was released only 3 months after his murder which remains legally unsolved. This week Sean Price’s mixtape, Songs in the Key of Price, will be released by Duck Down Records. Both Rappers were pillars in the respective Rap communities but they never got any mainstream attention until their passing. Many knew Sean Price as one-half of Heltah Skeltah and the Boot Camp Clik. Both projects had been completed prior to the deaths of both and both stand to bring in money in support of the surviving family. It’s just a shame that only in death will an artist truly be loved, supported, and respected. For both emcees they had the street credibility and respect but no real support from those outside of their camp. Little to no radio play during the major radio shows from their own home state. If it wasn’t for their respectable crews keeping their names alive we wouldn’t even know about new music. I recognized Sean Price’s Mic Tyson album cover but that’s all I knew and he shouldn’t be remembered in that way. Both deserve a spot in Rap music if they were so beloved by the Rap community.
The Rap music industry is just as shady and two-faced as a real person. The industry makes promises with little intent on keeping them. Promises fame and fortune without eluding to the hard work t takes to get in and to stay in the Rap game. The industry will overlook you until you die and then you receive your respect and just due. The fact that a talent has to die before it is truly celebrated is just as absurd as a Rapper having to go to jail to be recognized. The people who control the industry aren’t of the culture so it’s no surprise that true talent is drowning in the sea of today’s mainstream. The death of a real emcee will only be recognized by the mainstream if the streets are willing to carry on their legacy. I’m sorry to say this but it’s possible that the death of Chinx was only recognized due to the manner in which he passed on. This way the media can still push their image of “violent young Black men” to the masses and driving into the minds of our youth that even after you reach a level of success you are still to die a violent death at the hands of the streets.
It’s a way for the industry to continue to bottom feed off of your talent even after an artist is cold in the ground. Even though the proceeds go to the family; how much does the record label stand to make from the release of a posthumous album? Tupac Shakur released eight albums posthumously and allegedly Prince has music that will last for decades after his death. There has to be unreleased music in order for this to happen and who’s to say why someone would want to release it. It doesn’t mean that whoever is releasing the music is doing so selfishly or with malicious intent. We can’t continue to overlook real emcees and true talents or our music will be watered down junk or fade out like disco. We can’t keep waiting until a young talent is gone to truly see it’s potential. Just like I mentioned in Hip Hop’s Life After Death, we can’t wait until a Hip Hop legend dies before we recognize what their legacy did for the culture. We allow the industry to dictate what we know to be real talent than Rap music and soon it will be too far gone.