Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Secret Relationship?

FinalCall |  Some of our greatest icons, such as Sammy Davis Jr., Billie Holiday, “Little” Richard (and the list goes on) lived rich, yet died broke while Jewish managers, accountants, attorneys, business advisors and others fed their families for years off of their largess. Few entertainers in the history of Black America have been able to say that their assets and true net worth were as prominent as their talent and popularity. Sadly, hip-hop is no different. And while hip-hop has produced a handful of millionaires, they are like a teardrop in the Pacific Ocean when compared to the many rappers who, like most Black people, are living “show-to-show” and “check-to-check.”

Over the years I've had many personal acquaintances who were in the hip-hop music industry with hit records, global popularity and a healthy fan base. It always puzzled me the way they struggled financially; worse than some school teachers or sanitation workers. I watched many of them try and maintain the image of the rich and powerful, yet couldn't pay their taxes, child support and in some cases their rent. Popular hip-hop magazine, XXL, recently published an article titled “Hard Times” about fiscal problems rappers face that the hip-hop community doesn't like to talk about. Truth is, most rappers are broke; owing more money to their record labels than they have in their bank accounts. As a matter of fact, most contracts for rappers are just as horrible as those for entertainers in other genres where artists sell millions and receive pennies while the record companies make out like fat rats. Who are the owners of these major record companies? Forgive me if I sound monotonous, but they just happen to be Jewish.

There have been many examples of independent success in hip-hop's music industry such as Master P (No Limit Records), James Prince (Rap-a-Lot Records), Luther Campbell (2 Live Records) and others. However, because none of these outfits had the power to control their own distribution they were eventually left at the mercy of those who did. Who are the owners and controllers of the distribution channels that deliver rap music to the world? You guessed it. They just happen to be Jewish. Cash Money/Young Money Records, a popular imprint from New Orleans who houses artists Lil' Wayne, Drake, Nicki Minaj and others reportedly has one of the last lucrative independent deals in existence, but still do not control their own distribution. So even those Black-owned rap labels who appear to be the front-runners are in a dangerous position.

This opinion editorial is not an effort to weaken the powerful image of our great hip-hop artists. I love hip-hop. I am part of the hip-hop generation. This is why I felt the need to write this article. Hip-hop is leading the youth of the world, but if our artists are under the inordinate control of those who control their careers then where will the youth of the world be led? I'm only trying to, as they say in the streets, “keep it 100.” It's time for rappers to become just as tough and assertive in the boardroom as they are in the recording booth.