What Do You Owe Your Homies After You Blow Up?


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

he's right?

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 other’s 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.