“So the love is gone, ’til blood is drawn
So we no longer wear the same uniform
F*ck you squares, the circle got smaller
The castle got bigger, the walls got taller
And truth be told after all that said
Niggas still got love for you…”
— Jay-Z, “Why I Love You”
I just read two articles that f*cked up my day.
The rise to the top is praised, while the fall from grace is perpetually ridiculed. Last night, while catching up on a few posts I had missed, a title hinting at Dame Dash’s financial troubles on the side caught my eye. Maurice Garland’s Loop21.com article focuses on the former music mogul’s money woes and how they are actually worse than previously expected.
Since the split, Dash’s problems have multiplied and been placed under the microscope tenfold as his former business partner’s portfolio continues to expand. It’s not fair and while I’m sure Dame has done his fair share of dirty business over the years, hearing the guy say “I’m fucked up” and “I ain’t got it” were bitter realizations that success isn’t permanent. In fact, lifelong success is rarer than achieving any sort of success to begin with.
“They’re auditing me. When you’re a business man, you have a lot of businesses, a lot of times they think you’re laundering money or you’re pretending you’re writing things off that you don’t,” Dame told Sway when asked about the specifics of his situation. The reality of what’s being discussed is what has been known for years. Dash is broke, a shell of his former business self and a timeless portrait of what once was. As a fan of the man for what he built and what his impact on the culture is/was, I wish things were different for him.
Still, where there’s bad, worse is never far behind.
All this money the Eagles are spending and they can’t help Beans out?
“Didn’t I spoil you?, Me or the money, what you loyal to?
(Huh, I gave you my loyalty)
Made you royalty and royalties
(Took care of these niggas lawyer fees)
And this is how niggas rewardin me
Where his former boss faces the day to day stresses of owing money, Beanie Sigel could very well see his career thwarted once more with jail time. An artist who has been no stranger to the correctional system, Sig is staring are the very real possibility of serving three years behind bars after admitting in court that between the years of 2003 and 2005, he did not file taxes.
Sentencing is not until November 18, but the former frontman of State Prop owes the feds around $350,000 of $1M in unreported income. Pending his lawyer is able to delay the decision with his presentation that the government miscalculated funds, there is a chance no jail time may be necessary, but at this time the portrait paints like the same swan song we’ve become accustomed to with The Broad Street Bully. Multiple derailments altered an already successful career, but the thought of “what if” always surrounds him had he been able to stop tripping over his own two feet (a la T.I. and Gucci Mane).
For every love story lies a chronicle of depression. This week, the entire musical landscape has been held hostage by an album so controversial and anticipated that, in a larger sense, its actual quality was second fiddle. The accolades will come. WTT will be the number one album in the country, produce a gaudy nationwide circus tour and be lauded as a moment when two of Hip-Hop’s undisputed superpowers joined forces to create a monster even bigger than their own egos.
The irony in all this is defined by something 50 Cent once said. “Joy wouldn’t feel so good, if it wasn’t for pain.” And just like it has always been, the success of Jay-Z and Kanye West will only heighten the shortcomings of those they once were tied to the hip with drawing faint comparisons to the “Black Entourage.” Watching the throne? It’s deeper than rap.