The opinions expressed in this editorial do not necessarily reflect those of AllHipHop.com, its affiliates or employees.There
are artists in Hip-Hop who have been able to negotiate the business side of the
genre more deftly than they could a track. While plenty of people will
tell you that having business acumen is just as important as being a lyrical
beast, I’d have to disagree and say it’s even more important. Well, that is if
making money in this business is what you want to do.
most artists, folks screaming that you are “that dude” is great but
it probably falls on deaf ears if they aren’t putting their money where their
mouth is. It’s for this reason that a lot of folks posse up. Not
just in Hip-Hop, but in general. I do this. You do that. All
together we bring way more knowledge and talent than just one of us would,
But what happens when one member outgrows the posse code? What happens
when one member feels he can pull his weight plus yours? What happens
when that dude says he doesn’t need you anymore? And what happens when
It tends to be the short end of money stick that always screams loyalty.
Monday quarter backing your endowment to the awesomeness of someone else can be
a cringe-worthy and anger-inducing exercise; especially if you are viewed by
the masses as less than awesome. Folks who make that mistake tend to kick
themselves as they run that film back; pissed off that they got the shaft after
they wore out their usefulness.
think you almost have to look at it like charity. Once you give, it’s
done. Your good deed for the day probably won’t be recognized and that
warm and fuzzy feeling you get from donating your talent will simply have to
sustain your ass whether the situation started that way or not.
Do not kid yourself into believing that said contributions were made out of the
kindness of their heart or crew love either. Millions of folks want to
eat off Hip-Hop in a major way and that desire to be the ultimate money maker
turns the rap game into a real bad version of Survivor. The only difference is that
these are folks with histories. They know each other’s moms. They
used to knock on each others doors. They went to the prom in the same
limo and did all that other “you and me must never part” hand smack s**t.
That difference though, does bring us to the million dollar question.
What does he owe? What does the solo artist who grew beyond those who
surrounded him owe? Is there some sort of equation? My money
divided by your 16 bars from 10 years ago squared plus one? How much
depreciation on that total is assessed for each year that passed without those
who drew that short stick dropping anything the fans wanted to listen to?
Or should those dudes from the early posse days have carte blanche? When
they need, you give. End of story.
Money is a funky ass thing when combined with feelings. Experts from far
and wide will tell you that the two don’t mix and we have seen that over and
over again. From a legal standpoint let’s say “that dude”
doesn’t owe them folks a damn thing. Any money that was made while the posse
was still tight was split amicably and anything “that dude” does
after that is his blood, sweat and tears; no one else’s. Unless, of
course, he has created a new crew; which, for the toss offs, would completely
So how about we go way out on a limb and actually try to insert some ethics
into this scenario. What would be the ethical thing to do? Are you
responsible for these dudes for the rest of your life? Is it up to you to
keep them signed and producing albums that will be sold exclusively at
Ray-Ray’s Rest Stop? Or even worse yet, just letting them get a free ride
because they introduced you to some agent last century or produced the track of
some single you made that wasn’t even B-side material?
I think there should be some loyalty to your folks, just because they are your
folks. However, that loyalty should not be turned into a live your life
for free card. The sad truth is that there are plenty of people whose
dreams outweigh their talents. You gave it the good ole college try and it
didn’t work out for you. Everybody who wants to be a mega-millionaire
rhyme slinger isn’t going to be. Have love for your dude who made it and
find something else to do. I’m sure he would be much more enthusiastic to hand
over some dough for your new, well-thought-out business proposition than he
would for your declaration that he owes you something.