Illseed’s Advice: Hip-Hop Resolutions

I decided to suggest some resolutions to Hip-Hop's biggest wigs starting with...

Jay-Z, president of Island Def Jam

“The industry shady, it needs to be taken over.” Well, Hov my first resolution is for you, because you seem to be the most powerful rapper in the industry. It’s time to put your supremacy where your mouth is. I’m not certain that you knew where you would be career-wise when you wrote that classic Rap line from “H to the Izzo,” but it’s high-time that becomes a prophetic bar. Truthfully, nobody’s been this influential since Biggie or ‘Pac so its time to take your legacy to mythic level like a true Rap god. The songs with Talib, dead prez and the Punjabi MC joint were and indication of your heart’s intent. Now that you are in the heart of the “machine,” what will prevail? Money or The Takeover.

So, Def Jam appears to be in a quandary and I’m pretty sure there is going to be compound pressure to produce. We all see that Foxy Brown and Lil’ Wayne have already written their names on the wall. But, try to get back to the basics. Artist development and breaking newbies – not just resigning established emcees. Buck the radio and break the lack of creativity in Rap that you were critical of in Fade To Black. Let artists be themselves, not a construct of a flimsy marketing plan.

VH1, television network

I admit, I used to hate you VH1. You were promoted to me as the place that wouldn’t roll with Hip-Hop and that offended me many moon ago. Well, seasons change and I have fallen in love with that which I once despised. Some inside the Hip-Hop industry have been critical of you, but my resolution to you it to keep what you are doing. In fact, do more of what you are doing. The Hip-Hop Honors show dwarfed anything that any other Rap-related entity (with all due respect to the other exciting awards shows). I was fortunate enough to attend the ceremony and wallow in the old school heaven that you created this summer. From Flavor Flav and Biz Markie having reality situations to a B-Boy/B-Girl version of your My Coolest Years series – I suggest you show MTV and BET how to do it.

R.Kelly, singer

It’s pretty evident to me that you just need to leave the young chicks alone. And, stop holding back your talents, because musically you are better than songs about chicks that like the Johnson inside them.

The Feds, federal policing agency

Here is a resolution for you guys – ARREST SOMEBODY! You keep making these mini, headline making arrests, but you continuously toying with these Hip-Hop cats like The Inc. Meanwhile JMJ/Tupac/Biggie can’t see any justice. Arrest ‘em or leave ‘em alone!

DMX, rapper

F**k crack, man. That s**t is so Ronald Reagan-era! I remember you DMX. I have all the “best of” mixtapes that featured you and recognized that you were 50 Cent before 50 Cent. Screw these rooty-poot, mascara-wearin’ kitty cat rappers. Dog, get back to your vicious spit game and tell the demons to step the f**k back for a few years.

Kool G Rap, Big Daddy Kane and Rakim

You three embody everything that Hip-Hop is, was and should be. Make my year and come out.

Nas, rapper

Nas, you need to make a couple changes in 2005 as I see it. Stop being (or trying to be) an enigma. With Street’s Disciple, you crafted one of the best albums of the year and arguably the best double CD in Rap’s history. But, while we got an interview with you earlier in the year, you pushed your coveted work of art like it was a Lost Tapes bootleg. Hopefully Kelis’ milkshake can bring Nas out to the yard in 2005.

The Game, gang banger and rapper

Pledge to stop name-dropping so much. We know you ride with Dr. Dre/Eminem/50 Cent/ G-Unit/ Young Buck/ Interscope/Eazy-E & NWA/Biggie/ Pac and everybody that’s anybody. Damn, homey – Just shine.

Eminem, rapper/ mogul

Eminem, you represent a lot of things to a lot of people – whether that’s positive or negative. In 2005, I’d like to see you usher some new life into the urban genre like you did years ago. So, when you are signing rappers, leave the gangsta demos at the bottom of the box. Like Jay-Z, you are an artist with influence so let a different sort of artist get Shady. OK, I’ll stop bulls**tin’ you – you can make more white people like REAL, AUTHENTIC HIP-HOP. The underground needs to make more money so we can keep getting good underground records. Say, making those Phoarohe Monch rumors come to life would be a great start. (Do that and I'm like, "What tape?")

Russell Simmons, Sean “P.Diddy” Combs and the National Political Hip Hop Convention

You three entities represented the frontlines in the so-called politicization of the Hip-Hop Nation. I was personally disappointed by all of you. Without detailing all that let me down, allow me to progress beyond that and offer some resolutions for each of you. P.Diddy, you are the master of marketing and promotion when it comes to Rap. Hell, I remember when you used the “Big Mack” campaign to push new artists Biggie Smalls and Craig Mack. Since you have already proclaimed that your philanthropic group Citizen Change is going to continue, why don’t you take actual community activists and promote them like rappers? Make the activists popular and therefore the youth will see that they can hobnob with the greats while bettering their surroundings. So, when you had the MTV War Room, you could have hypothetically brought Davey D or Rosa Clemente in with you to kick some facts.

For Russell, the same thing applies, but you have got to mend the riff between you and the community, as your New Year’s resolution. Many were pleased with your work against the Rockefeller Drug Laws, but others were upset that the repeal movement flipped to a more cosmetic reform. Similar to Diddy, you are a master promoter, but leave the Def Con 3 energy drink at home when you call a politically minded rally.

The reverse applies to the Hip-Hop Convention and its organizers. You claim to be Hip-Hop, now work with HIP-HOP. That’s not the same as preaching to the choir, who know who is who in the conscious community. That’s why it was refreshing that Jimmy Jones showed up. We have to bring it all together in a consistent, persistent and dedicated effort. I didn’t see you when the election was going down, but Diddy and Russ were everywhere. Work together!, The World’s Most Dangerous Website

OK, being that I work here, I have some resolutions that I’ll make public and others that I’ll tell you to your freakin’ face. Staff, step it up in 2005. You have a damn good thing doing, but I like others see that there is much room for improvement. In 05, embrace those folks that nibble on your ideas. Everybody is influenced by somebody-including you. Continue to blaze trails and the path will always lead to the pioneer. My other resolutions will have to wait for a harsh meeting with Grouchy Greg, Jigsaw and some of the other bums on staff.

Illseed, writer/ tortured soul

As for me, I have a lot of resolutions. For one, I resolve not to offer any more resolutions to those with more clout than me. In the New Year, I want to get over my obsession with death and live a fuller life. I want to get more active in the community. I’d like to continue my work here at AHH, but also foray up to new horizons. I promise to do something BIG this year.