The hip-hop world is a less than sensible place -lots of times, you're even required to clarify when bad means bad and when bad means good- so once a week we're going to get with a rapper and ask them to explain things. Have something you always wanted to ask a rapper? E-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Regarding the alleged banning of Trae by 97.9 The Box, here's what we know to be true:
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- Following the shootings that occurred at Trae Day last year, Trae and N'Nete engaged in a less-than-amicable on-air interview on 97.9 The Box.
- Trae released a mixtape called The Incredible Truth afterwards that contained a couple of jabs at N'Nete.
- In roughly the seven months that followed, no songs by Trae or featuring Trae have been played on The Box.
- Last week, the remix of Chamillionaire's "Won't Let You Down," which features several Houston rappers including Trae, was played by the Kracker Nuttz, a 12-year veteran DJ team at the station. Shortly thereafter, they were fired.
- The Box's official stance is that they will not comment on the situation.
Regarding the alleged banning of Trae by 97.9 The Box, here's what we think:
- There is indeed a ban in place. Even if Trae had never had any airplay on the station before (he has), it certainly seems odd that his latest single, a radio-friendly track featuring Lil' Wayne and Rick Ross that has been playing heavily on MTV and its subsidiary stations, has not earned any airtime.
- The Kracker Nuttz, long known for deviating from their scheduled playlists, were fired for playing a song that featured Trae.
Klean Cutt of the Kracker Nuttz made himself available to discuss the situation, namely confirming that there is (or was, at least) an official ban on Trae set in place, and the truth behind why he believes they were fired. Ask A Rapper: The main reason we're calling is because of the rumors that you guys got let go from The Box. Is that true? Klean Cutt: Oh yeah, it's true. We got let go Wednesday [April 21]. AAR: Was that because you all played the Chamillionaire song ["Won't Let You Down" remix] with the Trae verse on it? Like, was that the actual reason? KC: I would like to think so. It pretty much is. I mean, it was a song that we ended up playing and the excuse that they gave us was - the Kracker Nuttz are known for playing music we don't get permission to play. We always get in trouble for that, you know. I mean, it's not like the song wasn't something that the station never played before. But, um, yeah, we got in trouble for that song, pretty much. AAR: So when did you all actually play the song? KC: We played it at 9 o'clock or so. It was about, maybe, 9:30 [p.m.]. I'm just estimating. AAR: How does that work? Do you all get called into the office and they tell you what's up, or do they just send you an email? KC: Usually, it's a whole bunch of different things. Sometimes we get the call and we'll just get in trouble. Sometimes we get sent to the office. This time it was actually supposed to be one of us that was in trouble and it ended up happening to be all of us. We got sent into the office, then got sent to the general manager's office. As soon as they said we were supposed to meet with the general manager individually we already knew what was up. AAR: So what did they say, what reason did they give you? We mean, you all have been there for, what, like 12 years now? KC: Yeah, we've been there for about 12 years. The reason they told us, their reasoning was that, um, well, they told us individually, so the reason they told, which I'm sure is the same reason they told everyone else, was that we were repeat offenders. Just because of that, because of the situation with the Chamillionaire song, we were no longer with the company. But it was just funny because, honestly, earlier in the evening we did a Ciara interview and at that time we actually put in a song, "Never Ever," which you know is an old song by Ciara and they didn't call us then. You get what I'm saying? They didn't call us at 8 o'clock, 8:30, when we played the song. Then at 9 o'clock, we were giving away tickets for Paul Wall and Chamillionaire, let's play a song by Chamillionaire. So we played that song. We went and inserted that song. So we get the call after that. It's just kind of funny that we didn't get a call at 8 o'clock. AAR: Wait, I don't understand. Why would they call you at 8, after the Ciara thing? KC: Okay, here's the thing. There's a scheduled list of songs. At 8 o'clock when we did the Ciara interview, the "Never Ever" song was never scheduled. So we went ahead and inserted that song. At 9 o'clock, the Chamillionaire "Won't Let You Down" song was never scheduled but we went ahead and inserted the song. You see what I'm saying? If they were really gonna stress on us playing a song that we inserted, they should've called us at 8 instead of at 9 after we played the Chamillionaire "Won't Let You Down." It is what it is. You read between the lines if you want, but you can come to your own conclusions. We know what we think. That's pretty much it. So we were let go. They told us we were let go because we inserted songs. AAR: And you said this is something that you all have been doing your whole career? KC: Yeah, that's what the Kracker Nuttz are known for. AAR: So did you all get an e-mail saying "We're not playing Trae's music, don't play it at all" type of thing, or was it just an unofficial word-of-mouth sort of thing? KC: There was an e-mail. It was word-of-mouth and there was an email, pretty much stating what you couldn't do. AAR: Did it say Trae's name specifically in there? KC: Yeah. AAR: And just to be clear, the Trae incident that you're referring to started with the interview with N'Nete where she seemed to imply that the Trae Day shootings were his fault? KC: Yes.