Is VH1's Hip Hop Honors Insulting Southern Rappers?
Some rappers happen to be thoughtful, intelligent people. Every Monday (that isn't a national holiday) Rocks Off will have some of them hear discussing issues relevant to their culture.
This Week's Panel: Chamillionaire, Paul Wall, Chalie Boy, Hima Sneed, Thurogood Wordsmith and Church. Not Invited: J-Bar. Have you heard his "Daze" song? Yuck. It's awful. He makes Soulja Boy look like Rakim. Of course, Soulja Boy is on the song too. This Week's Prompt: VH1 has chosen to honor "The Dirty South" at this year's Hip Hop Honors, airing next Monday, June 7. The best sound bite we've heard so far came from Scarface. Here's a bit from his interview:
"I'm hip-hop, man. I'm not going [to the Honors] because I feel slighted. Even though it was a nice gesture, I feel like it's just a pacifier. They're like, 'Let's give these niggas down there a pacifier so they can stop feeling left out. We'll make Luke and all these niggas down there look funny,' you know? 'Let's put a plate of fried chicken and some watermelon and let's just do some nigga-ass shit.'"
So, is the fact that VH-1 is honoring only the South at this show like a teacher having a separate awards ceremony for all of her ESL kids because they wouldn't have won anything if they were measured against the entire student body? Or should this be viewed as a cementing of the ever-increasing role the region is playing in the continuing history of hip hop? Paul Wall: I wonder if this means there won't be any other artists from the South that get honored after this? But what if they didn't honor any artists from the South at all? I'd be more pissed about that. I'm really excited that they're honoring Rap-A-Lot. J Prince gave everybody the blueprint on how to run an independent record label. Everyone, not just the South. He definitely deserves it. And I'm so honored to be involved at all, I still can't believe I'm a part of this. So I'm not in any position to complain about the South getting honored, and not worthy to question why. Scarface is one of the original gangster rappers that ever did it. He's somebody I admire and look up to, and somebody I've always been a fan of. So I feel like he has every right to say and feel however he wants. It seems like VH1 has been honoring a lot of artists from different regions, and rightfully so; it's been mostly the pioneers from New York. I'm just honored to be a part of it, and proud that they're honoring the Houston culture and music scene. Church: I think it is messed up if you look at it from Face's perspective, since he is one the vets in the game. But from a newer MC standpoint, I'll take anything they give us. Honor is honor at the end of the day. I think the south is getting a lot of burn and it's not a big secret, so if it was measured against the entire student body it's a good chance of winning also.
Thorogood: I understand where Face is coming from. If you feel that you are going to be portrayed in a negative light then why would you voluntarily be that guy? And let's face it, VH-1 is not known for producing tasteful programming. Let me remind you of a few VH-1 favorites: Basketball Wives - this should be called Unmarried NBA Gold Digging Leaches - Real Chance Of Love , The T.O. Show , Breaking Bonodouchebag and countless others. So is it that farfetched that Brad Jordan thinks the producers may go with a "fried chicken and some watermelon" theme? Justifiably, he doesn't agree with that creative direction. While he was laying down the foundation for Southern hip-hop, there were many opportunities that he missed for the simple fact that he was from the south. In my opinion, he still carries a chip on his shoulder towards those record execs responsible and his latest actions are a reflection of that chip on his shoulder. At the very minimum, Face is expressing his thoughts and it's got people talking. When it's all said and done, the people being honored in this presentation deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as every other hip-hop legend, no matter the region. Regardless, Scarface is a hip-hop legend/icon and will never need any sort of honor from VH-1. If this presentation is done in taste, then he may have missed out on the benefit of being on television but, from what I can gather, Scarface doesn't give a fuck what VH-1 thinks. And I admire that. Hima: I am gonna have to agree with 'Face on this one. I mean, I feel the same way that he does when it comes to the Gospel Dove Awards or Stellar Awards. It's just like slapping [a] gospel artist in the face and saying that they are not good enough to appear on the Grammys. I mean, don't get me wrong, the gospel awards show is nice, but it's like they are putting us in a special genre. Many gospel artists win Grammy's but you rarely see them perform or receive their awards on the show. The Grammy's should include al music categories on the show. Chalie Boy: I think is cool that the South is being recognized this year. Anytime props are given, I think it's a positive thing. The South has been overlooked and undervalued for many years while contributing a lot to hip-hop, so I think the acknowledgment is well deserved. Some may feel that it is overdue, but I think it's definitely better late than never. Everything happens in its right time and for a reason. I'm just happy that it's happening this year. Chamillionaire: I look at this argument from the position that the glass is half full rather than half empty. Fact of the matter is that if no one gets up there to represent the Dirty South at the VH1 Hip Hop Honors then the voices of so many influential people from the South will probably never get a chance to be heard. VH1 has spent years developing a brand that is now in the households of millions of people and I look at that outlet as a gateway into the homes of millions of Americans that might or might not know their Southern history. This isn't about East coast based people making a show about Southern people to me. This is about East Coast people that have built a brand that reaches into the homes of millions across the globe and me having an opportunity to speak through them to people across the world who love music just like I do. There are definitely good points on the other side of this argument, but I feel like as Southerners we hold ourselves back from a lot of opportunities because of pride. A wise man once said to me that the word "poor" is an acronym for Passing Over Opportunities Repeatedly, and until some forward-thinking person from the South creates his own network and builds it up to millions in viewership, then we will be forced to tell our story through the best outlets we have available. If the story is gonna be told, I would rather it come from out of my own mouth instead of someone else's. I can't be at home mad that my name wasn't pronounced correctly if I passed at the opportunity to get involved.
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