a youth growing up in the Hip-Hop culture
I had a chance to listen to the beginnings
of Hip-Hop music that eventually exploded
to global proportions.
I was there for Run
DMC, EPMD, Big Daddy Kane and Rakim.
The one thing that you will notice is
that all of those artists are still around
in the game. This is whether they are
performing and/or producing.
Hip-Hop is something that they have laid
the foundation for and it is what they
live and breath. For the most part all
of the emcees that I have named are still
spitting quality rhymes. The idea of these
guys retiring to them is almost impossible
because they cannot separate rhyming and
This leads to one question: Is rap just
becoming a regular job now? I say this
because rappers’ careers can only
be mirrored to NFL running backs: 3 years
of glory then I‘m out!
The first time I ever really heard of
a rapper talk retirement was Too Short
and I remember that vividly. You see my
view on Short is a player who learned
how to rhyme and not an emcee who learn
how to pimp. So when he said that he was
giving the game up it was no surprise.
To me he made his money, received his
accolades the hit singles, went platinum
and gold. What happened was he achieved
what he thought was the plateau of his
career but like most of the greats of
anything you can think of: the game called
It seems to me now that the music we
all know and love is becoming a cash cow.
Artists are making so much money that
they can do four albums and now these
guys aren't talking comebacks, instead
they are opening churches becoming actors
and running labels.
This is how I figure the new prototypical
career is: First you have to kill the
underground circuit by beating emcees
battling and putting out consecutive bangers
on the mixtapes.
After you start your buzz going make
sure that your Motorola two-way is on
because the A&R's are starting to
know your name.
Then you must put out your own mixtape
hosted by a mixtape DJ usually of your
The next step is that you have to go
do some drops for the local radio show
and make sure that you kill their weekend
You are now a recognized figure and the
labels are feeling you so they are going
to throw out the figure out to you.
Ladies and fellas, this is your advance
that they are usually talking about, so
don't go ball out!
Next you weed through all of the bulls--t
deals and sign to the label of you choice.
Now that you’re signed, usually
the label wants to put you in a click
if you aren't already in one or signed
to a house within the label.
Now you have to go back to the beginning
steps again to get your buzz back up and
your real exposure. The labels drops your
first single and you have to get the radio
play up that is right your bids.
And when you know you got the fans loving
you right, the remix gets to show that
you have superstar friends. Now you wait
three to four months and your first LP
drops and you ship gold.
Give it about 15 weeks you'll be platinum.
Repeat this process 3 times and now you
can retire and run the label that you
created that is fronted by the powerhouse
label that you initially signed to.
Okay, you have some examples of emcees
that are bowing out of the game in their
prime, paid and even becoming label execs.
I am going to say that Mase had a good
reason for leaving the game (he went through
a traumatic experience with the death
of Biggie), we have almost all of the
Irv Gotti group retiring and Jay-Z is
finally doing what he said he we going
to do putting out the final Black Album
and it is finito. Jay-Z at least is going
out with a bang though: he has a bonus
book and a sneaker. Always capitalizing!
Hov now wants to become more of the behind
the scenes man as he originally set out
Now that DMX has done it again and did
his usually number one thing. He said
that after this album that he is retiring
and going to church. I, for one know that
one out of five thugs, pimp or just any
“gp” grimy dude goes to the
church. Grand Champ has proved that X
can still do it and do it way big.
Both of these figures they have left
a huge mark in the music we all love.
They are now rich, successful and accepted.
That is the blueprint for the new Hip-Hop
business (no pun intended).
So emcees I want y’all to keep
getting your paper out there but just
remember that a true emcee cannot remove
the element of rhyme from there persona,
you are a emcee 24 hours a day, 365 days