Thursday, October 13
Almost as notable as Ragazino's bars is Cormega's reaction.
DJ Premier ft Big K.R.I.T., Tech N9ne, Machine Gun Kelly, Kendrick Lamar, B.o.B, Reek Da Villain, 2 Chainz, Busta Rhymes, Ludacris, Lady Of Rage, Blind Fury, Dom Kennedy, Skillz, Nitty Scott MC, Lacrae, Soprano, Estelle, Ace Hood, Kevin McCall, Tyga, Chris Brown, Wale, Pill, Stalley, Meek Mill, Rick Ross, Yelawolf, Slaughterhouse, And Eminem - BET Hip Hop Awards 2011 Cypher
The whole damn whop.
Authenticity was one of the original building blocks for rap music; if fans found out an artist was fraudulent, the artist's career was often over. As gangster rap emerged, it served as an outlet for expressing the anger of the voiceless, often dealing with the frustrations of sub-par living conditions, racist police, and all the powerlessness that comes with being forced into poverty. Then suburban White kids found it, and corporate America realized that there was big money to be made. Soon "street reporting" was eschewed for manufactured artists, embracing a struggle they never lived solely for album sales. To hear some tell it, all you have to do is start selling drugs – or merely tell people that you've started selling drugs – and you'll soon be able to afford mansions and drink champagne like water. As a result, Gang Banging, which had always been somewhat pushed to the side by the record companies, was thrust to the forefront by some artists, particularly as growing album sales allowed for increased creative control. As always, the fake artists followed right behind the real ones, and sure enough, a lifestyle whose members often described as being forced on them, soon became fashionable. Fortunately, some rappers, including Killer Mike, didn't just tell us about the good of all evil, they also document the heartbreak, prison sentences, death, and destruction that accompany selling drugs and being in the Gang. When Mike created his own label, Grind Time, he sought out authentic artists who not only lived their lyrics, but offered an introspective quality that is often lacking. One of his first recruits was SL Jones, a Little Rock, Arkansas, Crip, but also a talented visual artist who'd attended college. After shining on several Killer Mike/Grind Time projects, Jonesy released his seminal debutC.O.L.O.R.S. (Bangin' On Wax), where he examined what it truly means to be a Gang member, and how such activity can also be used for growth and unification. 100% authentic and possessing once-in-a-generation lyrical ability, SL captures the dichotomy of trying to be right when everything around you is wrong. After a couple years honing his craft, building his fanbase, and several notable features, SL has attacked 2011 with a vengeance, releasing 3 standout projects, being featured on MTV, and generally raising his profile in and out of the industry. When Drank and Dank caught up with him, we politicked about documentation over glorification, will Grind Time ever release a group album, artist he's feeling, and much more.