A culmination of things led to this post.
All of the mumblings & commentary regarding Warren G.’s arrest (FYI: The charges were dropped this morning). A convo I had with Trackstar yesterday about homies who used to aspire to rap but ended up leaving the game for life with a family & a 9 to 5’s. And then, this D-Nice blog entry that I read about a convo he had with Big Daddy Kane. Unknown to most, D has kept his hands in many aspects of Hip-Hop that have little to do with music – photography, web design, etc. I’ve followed D because his photography is purely amazing as well as the subjects he chooses to shoot.
One of the things Kane said to me that still keeps me motivated was when he compared what he was doing to what I was doing. He said, “Man, you have your web development company and you no longer rely on hip-hop to eat. I rap because it’s how I pay my bills. I can’t get a job in McDonalds and have a kid telling me, Kane, let me get a burger and some fries, and no half steppin’ with that either”.
We can laugh @ Kane for that one because that would be some hilarious shit. We can even poke fun @ Warren G and question his financial, business & personal actions even.
Think of how many rappers from the 80’s and 90’s you still see performing. They receive billings & you wonder, “why is this dude still rappin’ when he hasn’t put out an album in over a decade?” It’s because…what else do you expect most of them to do? For better or worse, rapping is their career. For most, it’s all they’ve known since a young age & they didn’t exactly receive or pursue training in other areas. Now, we can only imagine the current crop of artists who make a ringtone hit @ a relatively early age and what their outcome will be. At least some of the older artists we see still performing, a la Public Enemy headlining Summer Jam, have a catalog & an impact to warrant some relevancy. But after Lil Wil cashes his first few checks, what will he do? Will people still be “Dougie’ing” in fifteen years? Highly unlikely.
But rappers don’t have retirement plans. There’s no one their guiding them, advising them to invest in a 401K or anything long term financially. Rappers generally don’t have health insurance. In fact, I can vaguely remember that part of the reason that Poetic of Gravediggaz wasn’t able to successfully battle colon cancer was because he couldn’t afford treatment (not to mention he faced bouts with homelessness).
I think it was then that I realized that being a rapper wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.