What was labeled as a "rap riot" by
mainstream press may have been the big machine, may have been MTV's own doing.
AllHipHop.com caught up with a talented aspiring rapper. Here he tells his story.
My name is Frank Ruiz ("FR"). Let me
tell you about this trip to New York that I just came back from in the hopes
of battling for MTV!
I got to NYC from the MD/DC area at 7pm. Me and
my girlfriend spent several hundred dollars on travel and hotel accommodations,
but we met many people who came from much further and spent much more to be
there throughout the course of the night.
Once I arrived at 7pm, I decided to check out
the line-up spot so I'd know where to go the next morning, and there were already
people lined up! This is despite the harsh-ass cold and winds, and the fact
that MTV explicitly stated there was to be NO camping out! I checked into the
hotel with my girl, took a shower and shave, and we came back out to wait and
were in the first 200 people to be there.
After a few hours, police moved us into a location
closer to the actual check-in venue, and they also put us in a maze of metal
gates to organize us in a fashion similar to waiting in line at a bank. They
also put gates up trying to separate our area from the street.
They kept cops around throughout the night, and
told anyone that if they left the line for ANY reason, they wouldn't be allowed
to come back into the line. People resorted to pissing on walls and in bottles
so they would not lose their chance.
Unbeknownst to us, throughout the night, they
had other lineup areas. I don't really know what the deal was at those places,
but I became aware that there were MANY others when at around 8:30 a.m., police
decided to probably tell the people lined up in other sections that they couldn't
be a part of the auditions. An army of people ran over to our area and the cops
started trying to push them back.
There had to be around one-to-three thousand
other people in the street trying to get in. Things went from bad to ugly real
quick, and the masses rushed the section we were in. We had to hurdle our metal
gates to try and get away from the rush of people and thrown bottles. It was
all over in about a minute. The cops announced that the event was canceled and
made everyone disperse.
Me and my girl decided to get the hell outta
dodge. Although I felt bad that everyone's chance had been spoiled by these
events, I have to give credit to the situation those other emcees were put in.
If I were in their shoes, I would have been extremely angry as well.
The rules stated no camp outs, but the police
accommodated everyone who did. In addition, those who did follow MTV's rules
seemed to be punished for it, as they were unceremoniously told to disperse
after waiting patiently for hours to be a part of the event. Things ended badly,
and perhaps people shouldn't have tried to rush the check-in point on Monday
I believe that MTV/Viacom needs to take some
responsibility for how badly things were handled through their lack of organization.
The bright sides to that dark cloud is that no one seemed to have gotten hurt,
the news media didn't cover the riot so they didn't paint the scene as a bunch
of non-white animal rappers (but they also didn't cover any responsibility on
MTV/Viacom's side for how this all turned out).
One thing that was obvious after this event,
though, is how hungry so many of our youth are to get any chance to make their
lives better. I met men and women who came across the country to try their luck
for a chance at financial security, which shows just how lacking their other
possible options must be. MTV trying to give a hand up to 1000 people is a cool
measure in theory, but using the same hand to smack the up-to-3000 other people
struggling just as hard for the same chance was something I wish they'd spent
more time thinking about.
Peace to all the positive and talented people
that I spent that cold night with, and I wish the best of luck to all of them.
Frank "FR" Ruiz
My music can be heard at http://www.mp3.com/thereason
My website is http://www.freedomstyleforever.com.