Words by Greg Stowers
The goal of any column should be to present an honest and informed opinion on a given topic in hopes of eliciting a response from readers. Sure there will be differences in opinions from all sides, but at the end of the day if you’re representing your personal brand and that of whoever is giving you an avenue to “talk to the people” to the best of your ability, a dissenting opinion can be a very good thing. I’ve stopped arguing Hip-Hop on social networks as it is simply a waste of time, but thanks in no small part to the IMFmag.com staff I can’t simply post random, biased opinions because we represent the entire culture, not just the artists or music we like. Politics and tact aside, this Summer Jam issue, has been eating at me since late last night.
Here are the facts: Nicki Minaj was supposed to be the headliner for Hot 97′s annual Summer Jam concert. Earlier in the day, Peter Rosenberg, a morning show host for Hot 97, said (in regards to Minaj’s up-coming performance) “I know there some chicks here waiting to see the Starships later, F*** that BS, I’m here to talk about real Hip-Hop sh*t.” Lil Wayne after hearing this tweets, “Young Money is not performing at Summer Jam.” Nicki cancelled her performance much to the chagrin of her fans and Funkmaster Flex took a variety of shots at Minaj’s commercial Hip-Hop.
Those are the facts.
I’ve heard the “Starships” record and although I can’t go as far as Rosenberg did, it is not a song I’m playing in any kind of rotation. “Starships” isn’t a song for the backpacking Hip-Hop heads or the urban club scene. Knowing this, I acknowledge that in a pre-gaming with a majority of women and selling record sense, the song is hot, but it is not for me. I draw issue with Rosenberg’s methods. There are numerous things, people and ideas I do not agree with, but there is a time and place for everything. As a disc jockey in New York City, who is at #8 on the ratings scale for morning shows, you have got to realize you represent something bigger than yourself. There is a reason the powers that be, asked Nicki Minaj to perform and it is more than a bit disrespectful to diss her on the same stage she on which she was set to perform. He could have phrased things differently, but I understand.
Lil’ Wayne’s response seemed firm and team oriented, but a bit sensitive. There will always be people who don’t like certain music, but to take away from the fans chance to see Nicki’s high energy show may not have been the best course of action. She could have used the jab as motivation. Although Nicki is leaning more toward the techno/electro crowd these days, she’s still very much a Hip-Hop artist. Shutting down a Summerjam concert is huge and has been a stepping stone for artists such as Jay-Z, 50 Cent and numerous others. It would have been a great look, but I understand.
Funk Master Flex, never shying away from anything to make himself relevant hops on stage and dissing Minaj by calling her commercial, while playing the “Cake” remix. He didn’t put on classic Mobb Deep or Wu-Tang song; he played “Cake” and called Nicki Minaj too commercial. Mad ironic, but that’s how he felt. He said he’s, “dedicated to tearing down her career.” Word? Flex, as my brother in Hip-Hop I understand you’re looking for any way to keep up with the times, but this is not the move. I can understand Rosendburg comments and Wayne’s response, but I cannot understand Flex’s anger; his frustration and his constant use of “dropping the bomb” after every sentence. There was a time when such words, struck fear in the hearts of artists, but those days are long gone. For a radio station to call an artist “commercial” in a time where commercial rap is all I hear on the radio is not only unnecessary, but hypocritical.
The labels and radio stations are not the ones who lose, it’s the fans and unfortunately that was lost somewhere in the midst of this entire situation.