So hopefully a lot of you have seen this video already about Lupe on MTV, I'm sure plenty of websites have copied and pasted this, but how many have actually used this as a tool for a real discussion? I am. First off let me say I'm not a big fan of Lupe. I think he is a bit too arrogant and convoluted for his own good most of the time. His last album didn't reflect what I think would best show who he really is, which is something like this. I think he has had great potential and being signed to Atlantic was the worst thing ever for him musically. But what he says in this almost 10 minute clip is too real.
It's crazy for him to look back and see the same problems still in the old neighborhood so many years ago, after he has done so much personally and been so many places. It is daunting for a regular person who has gotten a job and a new house and moved to a better neighborhood with different recreation so I know for an artist it is a lot different. However, let's contrast that with Rick Ross who's new album is coming out.
For whatever reason, BET has decided that this particular video is going to be banned but I don't get it. This is pretty benign considering what it could be. However, when you look at this Rozay seems to be in some of the worst PJ's of Miami with some of the same type of guys Lupe was crying about. He doesn't seem to be too upset about it cause they are living the life he is rapping about.
It is personally a bit crazy that I see these images and then the next video I will see will have Ross telling me about his latest Maybach, Bugatti, and Guiseppe clad video model. Why aren't we doing videos of him closing deals on this dilapidated property and renovating the neighborhood and giving opportunities to the people so they don't have to take that route? To be fair, I have seen him do more than most other artists when he went back to his old high school and gave away ipads and some reeboks.
It was a good deed but I did think he tried to downplay the aspect of the kids doing something positive just slightly, I must give him credit for doing something. He could easily do more. Here is my rationalization, when you want to tell people they can live out their dreams and you are living in luxury and taking their money to glorify only one aspect of a life they could be living, you need to do something else to give back. Too many of our kids are thinking they should be trying to make it in the rap game because 'its what they want to do'. For people like Ross, and Puffy, and Jay-z, they have the access to the great think tanks and minds that can create some innovative programs for our youth. Specialized schools, rehabbing the area properties for local businesses and people who offer something different than the normal chicken spots and liquor stores. But it seems as though they don't want to step out and do something really outside of the box because it takes time away from their stunting efforts.
Back to Lupe, for an artist like him, there is intense pressure to do numbers and to compromise his integrity in order to gain fans. You see when he does songs with 2 Chainz and other artists who are on the opposite spectrum in order to gain respect and not seem like a hater, he waters down what he stands for. Dead Prez is one of my favorite groups because they just do the songs with artists who have the same mentality as them so it is always consistent. What else needs to happen is we who have the power to question these artists need to go beyond trying to be friends and do more to get involved with widespread movements to help in out neighborhoods.
When Sway has 2Chainz on in the morning, he needs to be asking him when he is going to come to a neighborhood with him and donate some money, or buy some computers, or put money into a VC fund for urban entrepreneurs. These are the things our biggest artists (and athletes) need to be doing because they are the ones who are visible and who have the funds and influence to get things done. We shouldn't see Lupe crying in two or three years from now because his neighborhood still hasn't gotten better. if we can get thousands of our people to show up in Miami for Zo weekend, or to run through the Tru Religion store, we should be able to get them to get together somewhat to better our own communities and brands.