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? Email it to email@example.com.
This Week's Rapper: Smoot
Smoot, "Go Hard or Go Home"
This Week's Subject: Recently shamed Houston Texan Brian Cushing
Ask A Rapper: So everyone is all up in arms about this Brian Cushing thing. In case you're not familiar with the situation, Cushing is one of the standouts on the Texans. He was recently suspended for four games of the upcoming season because he tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. Personally, we think he's innocent. Look at these before and after shots. That looks like totally natural growth. What say you, Smoot?
Smoot: The picture is really not helping his case [laughs]. I believe as an athlete he has a responsibility to the kids that look up to him to set a good example, but at the same time there is a lot of pressure in sports to be the best and hold your position. There are stronger, younger players coming in the game every year. [It's] not right but it is what it is.AAR: Is this really that big of an outrage? Aren't we all supposed to assume that all professional athletes are on some sort of supplement? It just seems like a natural decision to make, given the line of work these guys are in. If there was a pill that we could take that would make us a better writer, we'd take that shit in a heartbeat. We wouldn't even ask what the side effects were.
S: I think it depends on who is looking at the situation. Personally, [it's] not a big deal to me. But for a high-school football coach or parent of a young athlete, sure, this would piss them off. I have friends and family that have played professional ball and no, all athletes do not take steroids. I think it's a decision made by someone who isn't confident in who they are.
AAR: Are there performance-enhancing drugs for rappers? Maybe they could increase a lyricist's ability to craft multis and metaphors? That'd be ill. We're sure Paul Wall would test negative.
S: I'm sure if there was an enhancement drug for rappers, there would be a line around the corner; especially in today's time with all the bubblegum rappers. [laughs] I wouldn't be in it though. Some all my all time favorite rap artists have natural raw talent. Tupac, Jay Z [and] Notorious B.I.G. are just some of the many artist who need nothing but a mike.
AAR: More to that last point - and we're totally going to recycle a line from the review of the Ludacris show - don't you feel like some rappers should take regular performance-enhancing drugs so as to bulk up a bit? We always take a rapper more seriously if we think he can kick our ass. Skinny rappers are like kickers in the NFL; even when they're really good, they're still just kickers, ya know?
S: To each his own, but a rapper who is built like a football player ain't shit if he can't deliver. I mean, how big was Bushwick Bill*? He was little and scary. Lil' Wayne, Tupac [and] Eminem are all small dudes with exceptional talent and respect. Rap is more about swag and what you deliver on the mic than how much you can bench-press.
AAR: Last one, and just to finish back on topic, now that Cushing is out for the first quarter of the season, what record will the Texans finish with next year? And how much crappier will Cushing be when he returns free of PEDs?
S: Whithout Cushing? Well, they have back up. Like I said, younger, stronger players get drafted every year. I'm sure they won't have a problem finding a replacement. I'm more of a basketball fan so I don't follow football that much, but I know they didn't do too bad last year. Hopefully this year is better for them. Cushing might have a harder time mentally than physically when he returns. Shit, I'm sure the media, fans and his teammates are gonna remind him of what he did every game.
*For the record, Bushwick would absolutely kick our ass. As would Lil' Wayne, Tupac and Eminem.
Get all of your Smoot-related news at www.smootmusic.com.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.