Yesterday morning my phone rang. On the other end was my usually cheery publicist Cherrell Rene and she didn't sound like herself. As we began to talk about a few projects that we are in the process of working on...I could tell something was wrong. I finally asked what was going on...because real friends can tell when something isn't right and she and I are that close.
She was in shock...and her heart was broken. She had just found out that her uber talented client DJ Nando had been murdered a few hours prior and she was still reeling from the news. This was the second major death to touch her as Doe B was also someone that she felt a closeness to.
I didn't know what to say at first. I hadn't heard the news yet and was shocked myself at her revelation. And then all too soon the words started flowing between she and I. Per our usual we kept it real and spoke from our hearts as to what needs to change in the Hip Hop community. Something has to give. At the end of the conversation this time... I decided to actually do something about it...instead of just running my mouth and not taking a productive or definitive stand.
Cherrell and I all to often have these discussions about how people don't value one another the way they should in this game...and how each moving part has become entirely too replaceable. We as the media constantly big up thoughts and ideas that we know aren't right with each co-sign that we give to ratchet thoughts. Never once stopping to wonder if that song will be the last thing someone listens to before they take another person's life. Deep huh?
Life does have meaning no matter how wonderfully or poorly it's lived. And if you look to our young rappers in the game who are seemingly dropping every single week...you will see that we've totally lost our way along the path even when we claim to be employing our moral compasses.
Are there no "Hip Hop God Fathers" willing to stand up and be heard. And not just the usual suspects either. It's time for others to get involved as well. We can't expect Chuck D, KRS, Paradise, Jasiri X and Doitall etc to be the only ones standing up. We're claiming to be of the community without actually being for the community.
If you aren't for it..then you are against it. Because there used to be a code of ethics that was employed in this game. Even the hardest of cats in the game respected those rules. If you had something to say you put it on wax...not just waxed the guy you were mad at.
After the deaths of Pac and B.I.G. we took an entire decade to party....just to get away from that dark, sinister energy that loomed large over the culture....but I feel it creeping back in and it's nothing I ever want to see happen again. No one should ever have to die to make, create or support music. It's not that serious.
How many more times am I going to have to write an obituary about a rapper/DJ/producer taking their last breath. This isn't playstation or nintendo....you only get one shot at this life and one shot can end this life too. The irony is not lost on me nor should be lost on anyone else.
When we say do the right thing we get told we're being too preachy. But I'd rather be too preachy and have people around to hear it...then for my lack of sermon to have no deaf ears to fall on...and our people still dying. Just saying.
RIP DJ Nando