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: Yung Redd, Fat Tony, Thurogood Wordsmith, Kyle Hubbard, Prince AJ
Not Invited: Rihanna
This Week's Prompt: Chris Brown just did that remix to his 'Deuces" single, and it features contributions from Drizzy, Kanye, T.I., Fabolous and Andre 3000. This, to us, would imply that Brown has gained acceptance into the elite hip-hop and R&B music-making circle again.
Are you okay with that, or should he have had his career effectively dismantled following 2009's Rihanna incident? Is there a standard amount of time that someone should, for lack of a better term, be kept in the doghouse after an incident like his? Or is it that as soon as he appears truly contrite - contrite for the right reasons, that is - we can accept him?
Yung Redd: Ain't no tellin what she did to provoke him. I'm not justifying anything, but we're supposed to forgive. In this world, everyone wants a explanation when they don't deserve one. Welcome back.
Fat Tony: I didn't have much of an opinion on it [because] I didn't accept before he hit her. I do forgive him for it, but damn he beat the shit out [of] her, not just a love tap. Like, it wasn't just a push or slap, it was fists and blood. I don't condone any of it.
Kyle Hubbard: A Chris Brown comeback is nothing short of a tragedy and a sign of how demoralized we have become. I don't give a fuck who jumps on his track or how weepy he gets on Oprah; he doesn't deserve a comeback. He didn't hit this girl, he beat her ass. He deserves to see the end of his career and much worse. It takes a real bitch of a man to lay hands on a woman, and just because this dude can sing and dance his ass off doesn't change the fact that he is scum.
My answer to this week's prompt is pretty cut and dried: Fuck Chris Brown and any other man who would lay hands on a woman. I believe in redemption, and I am not saying he will always be a fucked up asshole, but he in no way deserves to be in the public spotlight and be a potential role model for young men.
Prince AJ: I believe everyone deserves chances in life and there are many people who have made mistakes and let that obstacle ruin who they were created to be. Chris Brown didn't dwell in the negativity, but overcame [it] with boldness. Good example of change.
Thurogood Wordsmith: If you have a song that features contributions from Drake, Kanye, T.I., Fabo and Andre 3000, then you are in fact in the elite hip-hop/R&B music-making circle. I could care less if Chris Brown is accepted or not. If you were a supporter of his before his negative press, and believed his issued apology, then your support should not have wavered. If you hated Chris Brown for his female beat-down, and did not believe his apology, then stick to your guns and hate him now.
I have no basis for offering an opinion on his music but I can offer my opinion on the things I see year in and year out. Our society loves to build stars up just to tear stars down and then re-accept them. It makes me sick. Chris Brown, if he's this domestic-violence monster, then he will show his true colors and his career will fade away. If it was an honest mistake and he learned from it, then he will have longevity.
Look at Michael Vick. He was the most controversial figure in sports after his dog-fighting incident. The media hated this man. Now they love him. Look at Latrell Sprewell. He choked his coach, faced immense scrutiny, then got traded to the Knicks, led them to the NBA Finals and he became one of the most popular players in the league.
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Point being, our society likes to forgive people when we can finally see ourselves equal to said star which we once created. We magnify flaws and mistakes of celebrated entertainers to remind ourselves that "he's no better than you or I."
The same thing has happened with Britney Spears. It's going to happen with LeBron James (He will be the media darling once again). Ray Lewis, Robert Downey Jr., Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant and, most recently, Kanye West. I'm going out on a limb here and speculating that if O.J. would have beat a murder case while still in the prime of his playing days, he would have won back the hearts of Americans.
Not only do Americans love a comeback story, we love to create a comeback story. Celebrities are placed on such a pedestal that we feel the need to bring them back down to earth when they make the same mistakes that our friends, family and neighbors* make all the time.
*Rocks Off Note: We don't know if our neighbor has or has not ever beaten a woman. We do know that he's horrible at picking up his trash cans in a timely fashion after the trashman comes.