I have never been moved to write to your site before but having read this open letter I felt the urge. I am a Hip-Hop fan also and have been listening to the music for about as long as you.
I can remember when beats DIDNT all sound the same, when there wasnt an East coast, West coast or Dirty South sound (in fact there wasnt even a dirty south). I remember when lyrics counted for something and skills were the most prized part of the art from whether on the mic or decks.
I really got into Gang Starr with the album Daily Operation and Primos ability to hook up classic, jazz, soul and funk breaks is unique and I would say even true genius. But as Van Gogh learned in his lifetime genius doesnt necessarily pay the bills. It could be argued that Dre and Primo are the two greatest hip-hop producers of all time but their respective places in the mainstream and todays hip-hop fan base is reflected by their different directions. Primos position definitely doesnt make me think hes in it for anything other than the art!
While in your article you argue that primo shouldnt make beats for Limp Bizkit you dont mention major and arguably mainstream artists like Biggie(RIP) and Jay Z, who Primo has both laced with his tracks. Both of these artists, no matter how legendary, can both be offered up as contributing to the decline of hip-hop into the current cancerous, empty, and in a state of lifelessness you describe. Many of their verses read like department store shopping lists, but maybe at the fear of being labeled a hater you decided not to include them. Funnily enough I [enjoy] both of these artists but the point Im making is that an artist like Jeru who I agree, fits primo beats like a hand in a glove – doesnt sell units and consequently in order to even continue making records with artists like that, a producer needs to pay bills with artists who can sell.
The way you describe the industry its like you are blissfully unaware that it is an industry theres big money at stake hip-hop is arguably the music version of Hollywood and we can see how many deep and meaningful films with artistic integrity come out of there! The masses dont want integrity (and the majors definitely dont want to give it to them) they want cheap thrills and spills guns, sex, drugs hip-hop provides all these in abundance its just that were missing the Spike Lee or Cohen Brothers are even Woody Allen type films, if you like, in hip-hop because thats where artists like Jeru fit they are, were and always will be on the edge and there is a place for them in my mind but not in the industrys.
Primo has stuck with Guru so in many ways you defeat your own argument as you said gurus albums have not set the world alight (though his Jazzmatazz tours have brought in cash) but primo remains loyal but you cant do that with everyone! Primos been lacing MOP another uncompromisingly underground act no matter how Dame Dash tries to clean ’em up with plastic beats, so I dont think primo aint been staying true. But label A&Rs make deals not artists. They decide who laces the tracks so maybe you should be urging artists and producers not to sign to labels and just seek each other out so they have the freedom to work with who the choose one problem you wouldnt probably hear their music. Labels are the outlets and its the deals they have with radio that determine what listeners hear in the first place.
The Rakim situation at Aftermath says it all, Rakim the god left (dropped, or a mutual decision? outcome is the same), from what I heard he got tracks from Primo and Interscope wasnt so happy with that direction. Reading between the lines money-maker Dre and the company and the rest were trying to gangstafy Ra or club him out Ra is just Ra but in the ECONOMIC str8jacket that is todays hip-hop, just being Ra aint happening.
If Primo was the way you describe him hed be Dre respected by all making beats for 14-year-olds who thinking shooting niggaz is cool!
One last point something you seem to have missed is that all these artists are real people! They are not their images, they are real no matter what they do in public. By real I dont mean thugs are street I mean flesh and blood breathing, eating shi**ing like us all. That means they fall out like us all, they grow together and apart like us all. The fact Jeru and primo dont work together might be something hip-hop fans like you and I cant feel but people cant always get on even for the sake of big cash let alone the sake of art! Because believe, if labels thought Jeru and Primo would make millions theyd be trying to get them together.
As for Meth and the likelihood of him getting into a shiny suit who gives a f**k you want to listen to real hip-hop turn off the radio and listen to joints up to 1996 after that forget about it! We all need to come to terms with the fact that we loved has changed beyond recognition I mean rappers werent even talking about platinum b4 even if they sold a million records Dre and cube used to diss the radio Sam Cooke said a change gonna come I guess it did! By the way the letter was still kinda dope or I wouldnt have written this!