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The Hip Hop Breakfast Club
By Norman Green
 
As 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 their personalities.

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 him back.

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 local variety.

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 “underground show”.

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 for.

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 a year!

Breakfast of Champions

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