If this guy was white…

Most people have no idea what goes on behind the records. Despite the braggadocio, the flash of cash, the actual lives of these rappers are not depicted.

They’re in danger.

In an underground economy.

This is rock and roll in the old days. A cash business, but much more dangerous.

Not that I knew that much until I read Joe Coscarelli’s book, “Rap Capital: An Atlanta Story”: https://amzn.to/3Ns7PMl and talked to him for the podcast: https://bit.ly/3haAadK

First, we’ve got a huge incarceration problem in America, which targets Black men disproportionately. It’s stunning how so many of these ultimately famous rappers go in and out of jail. And if you think racism is passé, you must be on the Supreme Court. There are places in Georgia where the rappers are on guard because of noted white police crackdowns for minor offenses.

As for pay…

Everything seems simple from the outside. There’s record company royalties and concerts. But it’s much more complicated than that. There are tons of cash gigs, the IRS is not only missing the rich CEOs, but the rappers too, who are sometimes incredibly wealthy themselves as a result of this economy, where you show up at a club to rap to track and…you can do multiple gigs a night. That’s another stunning thing in Coscarelli’s book, how rich some of these rappers are.

Not that a career is guaranteed. It’s one thing to have a hit, quite another to sustain.

And it’s not only the underground economy that’s involved, but the Fortune 500 too. They know that rappers have the most cred, never mind popularity, with the target audience, so they go into business with them. Used to be you had to have a number of hits before the corporations came calling, but now they’re involved from the get-go.

And so many of the acts are disposable. And end up back where they came from. Never mind the fact that many don’t make it.

And while rockers and old blowhards are still trying to figure out the internet, it was embraced by the hip-hop community from the advent. The rappers knew you had to give to get, like a dope dealer. They knew it was about going for the big money, not the small. Ergo mixtapes. These recordings endeared them to an audience that became bonded to them. There was plenty of money down the road, if you had fans.

And culture.

And, the culture involves a lot posturing and violence.

And the whites and the mainstream media might report it, but they do not decry it.

It’s taken as a given, that rappers get shot. Why?

Well, we could go to the source, and ask why Black people don’t have more opportunity. Coscarelli writes about college graduates who end up doing manual labor. But affirmative action is taboo, because someone might gain an advantage that’s been baked into a majority group. I mean you have to attack the problem at some point.

And let’s be clear, it’s not what you learn at Harvard or Yale, it’s the people you encounter, who become part of your network. J.D. Vance was a hillbilly until he went to Yale Law School, made connections, went to work with Peter Thiel and ended up writing a distorted book that he used as a platform to run for the Senate in Ohio. Where is the concomitant advantage for Black people?

Believe me, the upper middle class knows all the tricks. But even the middle class is clueless, that the top educational institutions are need blind, and if you can get in and you’re broke you don’t have to pay a dime.

The American information gap, right there.

So think about all the people profiting off of rap. The labels run by white people, the TV and streaming companies, the aforementioned Fortune 500, but none of them lift a finger to counter the violence in the culture, they don’t even bother to decry it.

It’s racism incarnate.

As for George Floyd… All the companies who came out in support of Black people…that was then and this is now, the end result is far from major, it’s the same as it ever was.

So, if a white rapper had gotten shot, there’d be front page stories on his family, their devastation. And there would be investigative articles in the media asking how this could happen. How this upright citizen from a good family got snuffed out. Yes, they’d candy-coat the deceased’s background, ever read an obit where they say the person was an arrogant punk?

And all the governmental leaders would convene and talk about taking action.

Meanwhile, where are the stories about Takeoff’s family? Where’s the deep dive into his past live?


We can start with gun control… But that seems to be going in the other direction. I’d think twice about moving to Texas, where everybody can carry a gun without a permit. Rave to me about the supposed economic advantages all day long, they don’t mean much when you’re dead.

The truth is whites and the mainstream community don’t care if another Black person dies. Just one less mouth to feed. Yup, that’s the way they see it, that Black people are takers, always wanting more, the government must stop supporting them.

While they’re at it, why don’t they pull all that money the government disproportionately gives to red states, huh?

And an advanced society looks out for those at the low end of the economic spectrum. In most western countries. But welfare was hobbled during the Clinton administration and the idea that Black women are just having babies and being supported by the government is untrue. You figure someone must be taking your money, that you should pay fewer taxes, but when there’s a natural disaster you immediately want federal relief.

Yes, there must be a scapegoat. And the Black people are number one.

Even though their schools are substandard. The right says there should be school choice, to close bad schools, only there’s not enough room in good schools for all the disadvantaged to go to! And in truth, this is just a ruse to advance the cause of religious schools, which are not free, and if you’re not a believer…

And let’s not equate every rapper with Kanye. They’re not that rich, and they’re not that crazy. They’re just trying to survive.

So, we’ve got to get the guns off the street. Enough of throwing our hands in the air. When your kid gets shot you’re going to go bonkers, how about someone else’s kid?

And how about a denigration of violence. Why are gangs and violence portrayed as cool? Many kids go into gangs not because they’re cool, but just to survive. And since the police are ineffective, the gangs and others take the law into their own hands. And since opportunities are low, kids deal drugs, for that fast cash, I mean how long are they going to live anyway?

This is what stunned me in “Hoop Dreams.” They had a big birthday party for the player because living to eighteen is such an achievement. Do we feel the same thing as whites? That just staying alive is something to be celebrated?

And often, they find the perpetrators of this violence and lock them up, but it’s not much of a deterrent, because they don’t feel they have much of a future to begin with. And honor and image is everything, like we’re living in the feudal past.

All these talent agencies and clothing manufacturers can drop Kanye like he’s hot, but how about dropping those involved in violence. Believe me, if you take away the few avenues of opportunity it will change the culture.

As for the clubs and the strippers and making it rain…

Everybody gets to choose how they want to live their lives, but we shower these big time athletes with cash they’ve got no education on how to spend, and then they blow it and end up broke and ultimately dead with CTE. But the players are disposable, just like the rappers. Hell, most of the players in the NFL don’t even have guaranteed contracts! Get hurt and you’re out. We don’t care about you. Life is tough. Meanwhile, the bad actor billionaire owner continues to rape and pillage not only in business, but their personal life.

This is a way you can demonstrate your status, by making money and spending it.

Now in truth, on TikTok, there are all these videos talking about money, about the economics of buying a new car, investing. Maybe up and comers will see them, but we don’t even teach economic skills in school, because if we did the sellers wouldn’t be able to pull the wool over the eyes of these customers. Dollar stores, payday loans… They’re heinous, but if you’re broke sometimes you have no choice.

Somehow America has flipped, and it’s the whites who are disadvantaged. What’s a poor boy to do? Not play in a rock and roll band, BUT BECOME A RAPPER! It’s one of the few potentially high paying jobs for a disadvantaged youth, other than dope-dealing.

But we demonize these people, as we profit off their backs.

Come on, Blacks punch way above their weight when it comes to culture. And, unfortunately, this culture of gun violence impacts not only them, but white people too, BECAUSE IT’S SEEN AS COOL!

Let me tell you, when you’re dead nothing is cool. Finito. It’s over. The challenge is staying alive. Hell, the government should give a million dollars to every rapper that makes it to forty. Even better, a guaranteed income to everybody, including Black people.

But no one wants to PAY FOR IT! I don’t get it, do you want to live in Venezuela? I’ve been there, the wealthy people live in the hills in houses surrounded by concrete walls topped with concertina wire.

You think you’re immune, but you’re not. We live in one big society. And you’re part of it, and you’re vulnerable. If you don’t take care of your brothers and sisters, lift them up, it’s going to negatively impact you.

But then you’ve got all these execs saying they earned their billions who don’t acknowledge that without customers they’d have NOTHING!

Consumers are king. But that’s not the way our society sees it. We venerate the rich and criticize the poor, ignoring what is going on in their brains.

And when it comes to hip-hop, it’s all about creativity. You don’t make it to the top by accident. So why can’t we acknowledge this, other than on awards shows that no one watches anyway?

Granted, everything fades almost instantly these days. But in the wake of Takeoff’s death, I haven’t seen one elected official comment about it. I haven’t seen any outcry. At best, there’s been a shrug of the shoulders.

And that’s not okay.

Something’s gotta give. And if you don’t address the underlying problem, it’s going to affect you.

Come on, isn’t anybody outraged that this guy was shot?

I guess not.

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