I have tried to stray away from this story but I am starting to see it more and more. I’m not a reporter or a journalist, just a member of the culture so I am not going to use names in this instance as allegations of any kind are things that are out of my wheelhouse. Recently, a well-known founder of our beloved Hip Hop Culture has been accused of sexual assault. The alleged assault was said to have happened years ago and of course things are surfacing now for whatever reason. I am in no way shape or form condoning or confirming the actions of either person(s) involved as that is not my place.
This next question has been posed before and I ask you, what if your favorite emcee wasn’t who you thought they were? With all the talk about ghostwriting and the “evolution” of the freestyle the lines between the two are being blurred and watering down the element of rhyming and lyricism. Being a Rapper in 2016 means you have to be an entertainment entity. An artist has to do whatever they can to draw attention their way because their music wouldn’t warrant as much attention without the antics. If artists we thought were emcees didn’t do anything besides perform the rhymes of others than they’ve fooled an entire generation of people. Fool me once, shame on you but it takes one to know one. You can tell when an artist isn’t as talented or capable of a certain level of creativity because it shows in their demeanor and character. You can’t be a Tupac Shakur without the influence of the Black Panther Party and you can’t be a Fresh Prince without the personality and the charisma. We know Sean “Diddy” Combs has had ghostwriters because his rhymes aren’t overdone or lyrically inclined. Jadakiss, Styles P, and King Los know what to write for Puff and wouldn’t write the type of rhyme for let’s say a Drake.
After years of debating people in barbershops and salons how would you defend your all-time favorite emcee if that Hot 97 freestyle from ’92 was a rehearsed verse? There are moments in the history of Hip Hop Culture that are near and dear to our hearts but what if we found out it was all a façade? Reading the credits on an album insert isn’t that easy anymore; especially if people are getting paid upfront not to have any credit for their writing or work on a project. Hip Hop Culture has always been about what or who is “real” and staying away from the fake but in 2016 there are gray areas and blurred lines have been crossed. The industry is all lights, cameras, makeup, and performance so if everybody has secrets who’s going to tell the truth and keep it real? This Rapper can’t front on this Rapper because another Rapper might front on him or her. Artists know who’s fake and who’s not but nobody wants to call anybody out because they have their own secrets. So out of fear, shame, and guilt artists are forced to keep their mouths shut but if an artist lives their truth no secret will overshadow their talent.