Has It's Priviledges
[original unedited version]
May 13 1999
What Slim Shady did do, was live up to all the speculation about him being a marketing tool for a music industry that is bent on finding a white rap sensation who can appeal to its large white fan base. He lived up to all the speculation that white rappers in spite being minorities in a predominantly Black field can be granted unprecedented privileges. Slim lived up to the speculation that he's a more of a gimmick as opposed to a dope emcee. Last night Slim Shady set Hip Hop back a few steps by causing a big brawl during his sold out show.It wasn't a situation where Slim Shady the 'poor embattled rap star' was being unfairly blamed for drama. I mean this man got on stage and showed his ignorance by picking a fight with an audience member. He then set things off by jumping off the stage and into the crowd as he and his entourage began pummeling some kid who they accussed of being a 'playa hater'. Can you believe this? Perhaps you didn't read what I just wrote.. Or perhaps you don't believe it.. So let me paint the entire picture.
When it was announced that Slim Shady was coming to town, I along with a couple of thousand other folks descended onto to Fillmore Nite Club in SF. The show was sold out and radio stations that never ever played rap were scrambling to get tickets and free passes for their listeners. The audience was mostly male and about 90% white with more then a few kids sporting Slim's trademark short cropped blonde hair. The opening acts Pacewon and The Beatnuts set off a really cool vibe with their performances. Veteran rap star Greg Nice of Nice N Smooth showed up as a surprise guest and took things over the top with his stellar performance. All sorts of hip hop headz were in attendance including members of the Invisible Skratch Piklz, the guys from http://www.Hip-Hop.com and Bay Area rap sensation Rasco to name a few. Also in the place, eager to peep out the show was The godfather of funk, George Clinton. The stage was set for Slim Shady to turn it out. Folks wereanxiously anticipating his performance, in spite of all the controversy surrounding him about his 'misogynistic and violent' lyrics. As one fan put it, 'Listening to Slim Shady is like going to see a Friday the 13th movie... He's hilarious, people need to lighten up and not take him seriously'. People were eager to watch Shady wreck shop in spite of the all the questions surrounding him because he's white. Is Slim Shady getting put on the cover of major magazines like Spin because he's white or because he's a dope emcee? Is he getting played on radio stations and video shoes like MTV because he's a clever kid with dope rhyme skillz or because he's white? Was this Hip Hop rookie headlining a show last night to a sold out crowd because he's true and appreciated by the Hip Hop nation or because he's white? 'Color shouldn't matter..Hip Hop is world wide and Slim Shady is a cool ass white boy who's got mad flava. It's all about his skillz not his race', noted another attendee.
Before Slim Shady took the stage, his hype man a brotha named MC Proof got on stage and talk to the crowd. He asked that everyone come out and have a good time. He then attempted to clear the air about Slim's whiteness. He noted that Slim grew up with him on Detroit's rough Eastside and that Slim was for real.. 'He's down for Hip Hop', Proof told the crowd. He told the audience that Slim is true to Hip Hop and it's culture. When Slim hit the stage the audience went nuts. He got the audience riled up by talking about a recent article in the Hip Hop publication XXL. 'These ass holes accussed me of being a culture stealer and an invader', Slim yelled. 'I want everyone at the count of three to yell F&*K XXL!' The audience followed his lead. 'I'm not no cultural invader I'm down for Hip Hop', he concluded.
When the pounding beat dropped to the song 'Brain Damage', I immediately I noticed that it was hard making out Slim's lyrics. This seemed strange because his sound was considerably louder then the opening acts who's every word you could hear on the venues top of the line sound system. With Shady, his words seemed muffled which was a disappointing because Slim is known for his clever manipulation of words. Well it was pointed out that Mr. Shady wasn't exactly rapping. He was lipsynching and rapping over his records. That is a cardinal sin within Hip Hop, especially when you're considered to be at the top of game. So problem number 1 for the night. Slim Shady was lipsynching which I guess was excusable since he was stage diving.
During the show, Slim stopped the music and asked the audience to put a lighter in the air. He wanted to stop two females from fighting. Some kid from the audience yelled 'F*&k You'. Slim answered him back and reinforced his position by asking everyone to hold up their lighters. The next thing I know, Slim begins to argue with this kid in the audience. He dares him to come on stage. His crew tries to calm Slim down. Slim then asks the security to come and remove the kid from the audience. Bear in mind, the kid hadn't done anything except yell F*&K You and hold up his middle finger. One of the crew members explained that on every show during his tour he gets security to kick out a patron.
MC Proof, Slim's side kick then gets the audience hyped by telling them to boo the kid. He then explains that if he wants to he could have the entire audience turn on homeboy and beat him down. 'We roll with an army' shouts into the mic. The kid in the audience is un-phazed. He remains in his place glaring at Slim Shady. Instead of moving on with the show, Shady exchanges some more words and the next thing you know he jumps off the stage and starts going after the kid. An all out brawl takes place as Shady's body guards jump off and start beating the crap out of some kid. Ironically it is not the guy that Shady was pissed at. The houselights are turned on as more fighting breaks out. People scramble to get out the way as house security rushes on to the floor and grab Slim Shady. He's ushered up into his dressing room. As he's being dragged off, he kicks some of the equipment as he strains to get loose.
His boy MC Proof starts yelling how they're from Detroit and 'Detroit Niggas' don't play that'..He then gets on the mic and starts yelling how Slim Shady is his 'nigga'. 'That's right, I know he's white but he's my nigga and I got his back always', he yells. The houselights are still on as MC Proof leaves the stage. The concert is shut down. People start to leave in disbelief of what took place. As people are filing out, Shady rushes back out on stage and grabs the mic and attempts to finish the show. He does about 3 more songs and makes reference on several occasions to the guy who they beat down. At one point Shady pretends to take a phone call from a guy who is attempting to sexually come onto him. Shady hangs up the phone and then yells, 'You must be the guy who started the fight in the audience'. The show ends with no more incidents. The guy who Shady was after remained in the audience glaring at the young rapper the entire time.
I was left completely puzzled as to how and why Slim Shady was able to get away with what I just witnessed. How in the world could this guy can come to the Bay Area and pull that sort of nonsense? To this day, there numerous local rappers who can not do shows here in the Bay Area because of fights that occurred at their concerts. I'm not talking about them the actual artist jumping into the audience and starting drama, I'm talking about artist have been labeled as violent because audience members started fighting. These local guys have gotten blamed for bringing out a 'rough crowd'. Venues fearing repeat incidents have not allowed them to play and this comes years after an unfortunate incident. What sort of penalties will be levied against Slim Shady? Will they be just as severe as the sanctions placed on local acts.
Several years ago I watched how Club Townsend here in San Francisco closed it's doors to rap shows when some kids rushed the stage during a performance by SF's Ill Mannered Posse. I watched the Berkeley Community Theater tempoarily close down it's doors to rap when kids stormed the stage during a KRS-One concert. Years ago, Rappin' 4Tay found himself labeled as violent during an incident at SF's Club Mirage which later stopped doing rap shows. Three years ago Too Short and his posse mixed it up with the Luniz backstage at a Summer Jam event. Short and several of his crew members walked on stage and the entire concert was shut down and 22 thousand people were sent home. Afterwards, an entire Bay Area rap community got labeled as violent and undesirable resulting in the Mountainview police department being positioned to approve which rap acts could perform at that city's venue. At another Bay Area venue in Concord, patrons leaving a show ransacked a 7-11 store. Again the Bay Area rap artist who weren't even on the bill but in the audience were blamed for attracting such a rowdy crowd. It'll be a long time before approval is granted for them to perform.
During Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown's inaugural event female rap star Suga T was scheduled to perform. When the venue management to the Henry J Kaiser Convention Center got wind of this, they expressed concern and demanded that the inaugural organizers hire 100 more security personnel and pay an extra 10 thousand dollars. Although Suga T is by no means violent, she like other Bay Area artists have been associated with a negative stigma. Needless to say Suga T wasn't on that bill. The most glaring example of this sort of penalization occurred during a Dog Pound concert where some kids who were joy riding 4 miles from the event crashed their car and died. Tha Dogg Pound and the local rap promoter were somehow connected with this tragedy even though the victims didn't even attend the concert. With all this in mind, I kept asking 'How did Slim Shady get to finish out his show'?
I kept thinking about all the issues and concerns that were raised about music and violence in the aftermath of the Columbine High School massacre. After all, last night's crowd was very young crowd. You have Congress looking at the effect of lyrics in rap music and here you some kid, Slim Shady, who is Hip Hop's most celebrated sensation not only directly causing the violence, but getting up on stage and emphatically claiming 'He represents Hip Hop'. If that's not bad enough, Slim Shady also went on stage and bragged that he's NOT sorry for kicking that kids' ass..He told the crowd 'I Don't Give A F&*K'! Go figure that one out..
Meanwhile Puff Daddy Hip Hop's other sensation faces seven years if convicted for 'Not giving a f&*K when he beat down a fellow record executive. Suge Knight was denied parole for 'Not giving a f&*K' when he kicked some kid in a hotel lobby. 2Pac's estate had to pay a million bucks to some kid who was injured when people bum rushed a stage at one of 2Pac's concerts.. Scores of rappers can't perform in venues because of Hip Hop's negative stigma, They have pay outrageous insurance rates, and get a ton of security for the privilege of doing concerts. Radio stations won't play a lot of rappers because of this negative stigma. I betcha Slim Shady will continue to get air play in spite of that little incident.
So what's this all about? How can this happen? Is Slim Shady a culture stealer? Yes most definitely. Not because he's white, but because he got on stage and claimed to be down for Hip Hop and then jump set off a big ruckus because some kid flipped him off. Even worse he lipsynched and we all know that certainly ain't Hip Hop. And to top it off Slim Shady had the nerve to say 'Peace' when he left the stage. I was left asking myself, Where is the kid who ripped incredible freestyles on the Wake Up Show? Where is the kid that dropped a dope album leaving everyone to claim he is Hip Hop's second coming? Where's the guy I interviewed who told me he is 100% Hip Hop? I thought I would see him at the Fillmore last night, instead I saw some little kid throw a temper tantrum after telling me to have a good time. I saw a kid who set Hip Hop back a few years when that sort of ill behavior was more common place. I guess being Slim Shady in America definitely has it's privileges.. what do you think mailto:email@example.com
Send comments, questions and concerns to mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
The FNV Newsletter
written by Davey D
All Rights Reserved
[home] [chat] [conferencing] [updates] [what it is]
[politics] [contests] [opinion] [links/photos] [media]