Letter to the Jigga Man
As the self proclaimed hoods Barack-which most would definitely agree, I am writing this letter to hov in hopes that it will be a catalyst to a real change in the art I and so many others love so much. There is plenty of criticism surrounding the “hip hop is dead” argument on both ends of the spectrum, I hope to avoid that argument and appeal to the state of this culture in a different light.
I will be sending this letter to as many hip hop journalists and blogging sites and forums that I can identify as well as to the Jigga mans office. I’m quite sure with the traffic of mail and the volume of issues and challenges vying for his attention my letter will probably not even reach the secretary much less his mail sorter. Hopefully if enough of you agree this will some how catch his attention or any of the other prominent and respected members of our community that can wield power.
Hov, I wouldn’t dare assume to tell you how to run your career or what direction it should go in, after all I’m writing this from home and if I’m lucky enough your probably reading this on your private jet, like you said “you broke, what the **** you goin tell me!”. I am only offering my opinion as a devout fan of hip hop that would like to see some changes for the better. I must make clear that I am not affiliated with the industry in any fashion other than that of a fan since a little kid. I respect you and admire you not just as an artist and a business celebrity, but more so as a man from Brooklyn who made it….big might I add.
I was born in 81 and spent a majority of my youth in Bronx, NY, played b-ball on the Gunhill projects court, jumped turnstyles before the 9-11 style security, snuck on the city bus through the back doors, had a bus pass (remember them paper joints that used to always end up all bent up/folded up and just plain old fucked up looking from being in your pocket all year) before there was ever a “metro pass”, had classmates die from riding on the back bumper of the city bus, had my strings stolen from my Jansport, knowing the real consequences of stepping on someones white Filas, been frisked everytime I went into the Korean store to get fruit for my momz, dodged eggs thrown through the back door of the city bus when it pulled up to the bus stop, begging my momz to let me go to Coney island/rye playland/or sixflags during the summer, wool-worth was my Wal-Mart, been asked to join the Zulu nation, Columbia rainsuits were the ****-I digress, I said all that to say I can relate to you and your music, as most in my generation can attest too.
I must admit to starting out as a die hard Nas fan, not that I am no longer a fan, but as I got older I started to appreciate the nuances of your style, methodology, lyrics etc…everyone already knows what you have to offer so I don’t even have to get into that. But as time has gone on the art has changed to a level that’s just fucked up! I’m 28 now, and you and other readers might be like-this is just another whining looser that got nothing better to do than bitch about some ****. For those of you mature enough to keep up and read this far, see if you can feel me on this…..
Music is more than just that background noise playing at the club while you try to convince that fine Puerto Rican chick to bounce with you, its more than a get rich quick scheme/hustle, it holds memories, brings up nostalgic thoughts of better times-or worst, it even identities who you are at some level, just like all art. Chris Rock may have said it in his stand up as a joke, but on the real, no matter how ignorant this **** is there something you have to love about that struggle, that skill, the history and what it stands for. You don’t necessarily have to reflect that ignorance in your character to love it-relate to it, I’m quite established for my age. Don’t rap, never “hustled”, grew up having to go to church, educated (by my own hand might I add), served in the military (under George W….thanks for your apologies) and I’m a family man, ironically-but rightfully so, teaching my kids principles opposite to many of the lyrics I grew up to-**** it! What you want me to say?
Before you write me off for going off on tandems-I’d like you to bring back the dynasty, establish the checks and balances you talked about in your interview-**** the panel idea though, take a couple of actions that I will explain later that will help us restore some of the authenticity we’ve lost as a result of media “noise”, loss of focus (as a whole), corporate manipulation (on all levels) and the ultimately bring back the voice of the audience that built. Loved, and shaped our culture-up until the transition to all commercial-so that our music can get back on and stay on path.
Now, I can hear the flood of opinions and comments from the participants in the argument spectrum I mentioned earlier. Oh… you just another hater, you stuck in time, you a sour ************ that can’t stand to see your style of hip hop take a back seat, why you hatin on a brother makin money, blah, blah, blah, blazah, blazah. Well “I’m address everyone of you cocksucka’s”-Jigga But first let me continue.
Hov, I understand that from a career stand point you have to make certain moves and decisions to mirror your success and status, after all your industry counter parts do the same-KISS, Madonna, Elton… you all must conduct yourselves in a certain fashion-granted, but their genre is not in an identity crisis. And if I’m wrong and they are….**** em’, nothing personal, I just don’t care about theirs. Again, by no means am I minimizing actions you have taken both recognizably and unrecognizably, in the forefront and behind the scenes, but there needs to be an overhaul and we need your leadership man. From someone looking in from the outside let me give you my opinion-just my opinion!
Throughout the birth and life of hip hop there was always a factor that had not changed until recent years. From inception Rappers were freely confronted by their audience, creating an incentive so strong that-as a rapper-you wouldn’t dare come out with garbage. As technology and corporate “strategists” entered the fray there has been a slow and steady corruption of that relationship. In hip hop the opinion of the majority eventually became the opinion of the minority. That’s just the pulse of our culture!-Well until recent years. Our opinions were of our own, traded in front of the corner store, at you cousins house, at the house party, at the park as you traded Yo! MTV rap cards, unfiltered unhampered exchanges of cultural opinions that made or broke a rapper or otherwise forced him/her to come harder period! Take for example our female MC’s. The churn rate of female MC’s coming and going through the industry is damn near 0, relatively speaking of course. For the few moving in and out you can definitely tell the difference in quality of skill from the earliest to the current-all thanks to minimal movement within their ranks. It’s much harder to come to that conclusion with their male counterparts thanks to the extremely high churn rate on their side of the fence. If you get me cool, if not **** it-lets move on… with all of these fake ass media outlets being paid to come up with an opinion/agenda that doesn’t reflect those of the real fans-who by the way are slowly starting to seeing his/her voice slip away-but rather that of the music execs trying their best to keep the balance sheet black and their wallet fat at the expense of a whole culture! Then you want to sit and complain that your sales are down because we’re stealing your music from online. Artists can believe that bullshit if they want! The true fans! The ones from my generation and b4, we ain’t buying, we ain’t checking for **** and we just plain old lost our passion for our own culture. You want to know the truth, we are all spending our money on Jazz music trying like hell to stomach that **** while we lie to ourselves saying… “maybe we just getting old!”-That’s real! But every now and then we’ll resurface, as evident by some rappers stellar sales numbers that got every other rapper saying to themselves “what is he doing that I ain’t doing”? Then what do you do? You run to your execs demanding a similar marketing campaign-fucking stupid.
In all honesty maybe we should blame Puffy and Funkflex (I typed it short on purpose for the asshole that’s thinking to himself “he don’t even know his name”) for the fuck’d up state of our music! Why do you ask? Well innocently enough and with all good intentions, he was the first widely known/well known exec to implement the strategy of paying media voices/outlets to voice opinions and take actions that do not represent the heartbeat of the street, but what seemed to be just a good business move. Well guess what homie, you planted a seed that had far greater ramifications that you couldn’t of possibly imagined. Now-I hope you feel like **** homie, but knowing your ego is the size of your forehead…..ah forgedaboutit.
So what am I asking for? Checks and balances hov, checks and muthafuckin balances! If you could create a system of interlocking media channels, a system that ultimately leads directly from the fans to the artists, unabridged, commercial free, free from the threat of corporate takeover, a system that would guarantee the confidence of an unmanipulable medium of communication that would once again restore the incentives that once existed between the artists and the fans we just might see the light at the end of hip hops “quality depression” tunnel. If you the hoods Barack we need a TARP funded by sacrifice in the form of a change in our media system as well as return to a hustle as though you ran out of all your dough, including the stash from before 88’. I have idea’s on specifics for the communications system paradigm but posting it in this public forum wouldn’t help things. I mean for real, disbanding the dynasty hurt the game! Not by itself, but just one of the many changes that left room for the popular “hip hop electric slide” craze. Thanks franchise boyz! Where would we have been without your short run on the seen. Your music has truly left a mark. We can always look back and say your music, and those like it, has left a skidmark on a throne frequented by many greats.
And for all you rappers hating on Nas for his opinion and taking this crisis personal-shut the **** up! And I only mean that sincerely. Rebutting the view of hip hops state of health with “I am hip hop” only benefits you as a rapper and not our culture/music as a whole. To be honest with you I respect your statement more as a business move than as a statement made out of anger and so called self-defense because you feel as though our culture only needs you to represent our diverse views and attributes.
You know for the longest time I’ve seen the definition of hating taken continuously so far out of context that its to the point that it now jumped from being a hip hop vernacular to being an idiom. Oh….you just a hater!...what does that mean? Oh…you just mad and don’t like me or what I do for no apparent reason! No!-Lets get it right folks, what you call hatin’ is really constructive criticism-or an opinion backed by valid observations/facts & historical comparisons.
Chicken noodle soup folks, Soulja boy-don’t mean to pick on ya’ll, God knows there are others and much worse to boot. Its not that I don’t think you should make music, I just feel that your music should not be in the same media distribution channel of the likes of Jay, Nas, BIG, Pac, Kast, Luda. Lets be real you are definitely not on that level. And again, by all means make your money, we just want you to understand that your style of music does not fit into the traditional definition of hip hop. I mean really, when you heard lines like “your whole album couldn’t **** with one line” who do **** do you think they’re talking about?
I know we already have subcategories for the music in our culture, but they need to be expanded! Between gangsta-rap, west-coast rap, southern-rap, and just hip hop our categories for our music is outdated causing styles of music to get misplaced in distribution mediums and ultimately turning off hip hop heads such as myself. I can’t go from watch the video to Lost Boyz Renee and then see the “Supaman” video….what the fukin ****. I mean if I could emphasize the word **** through this letter I would have you picture the first time you saw “she hate me” by spike, and you realized dude was really lucky enough to get Kerry Washington and her characters girl to be one big happy family and it wasn’t you-FHUCK.
One of the things I love about our music/culture is its diversity, how can you really give your opinion on something if you have nothing to compare it too? Fans that say hip hop is dead aren’t saying that because it doesn’t sound like “NY” rap or doesn’t sound like a certain era of our music. We want our culture/Music to evolve, it’s done so since its inception. From the day it was born to the late 90’s it has evolved and prospered and stayed true at the same time, so it is no coincidence that this divide in our opinion of the state it is in has been so strong-its true! Our music is fucking lacking in its core principles. For **** sake!....I have to watch Poetry Jams to find good lyrical art-WTF, **** that-WHAT THE **** (I had to spell it out.)
If you feel me-fine, if not pay me no mind!
I’d like to take a moment to thank you for your time and attention, you could have read any letter in the world tonite, but you chose to read mine!
To the staff and members of the Jigga mans organization that are paid to keep correspondences such as this out of the hands of Mr. Carter, If I have possibly created a trend or opened up/illuminated a strategy that makes your job even harder-or worse, irrelevant! I’m sorry…..(I’m kidding, and just being stupid)
I chose to keep my Government name out of this situation for obvious reasons, by no means am I scarred to back up or be confronted for this letter in any fashion, but like my job-it pays the bills and I’d like to keep it that way. But I have established an email account and MySpace account to take your responses and comments. The MySpace account is for the sole purpose of starting a discussion and has no commercial purpose, as you will be able to tell by the lack of customization of the page-it will be for communication purposes only! If you disagree with using this site email me and suggest another method of communication that you feel will ensure that there is no underlying commercial agenda to this please feel free to recommend. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org MySpace: lettertohov