For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been inundated with news, views and all sorts of commentary about celebrities, athletes and rappers gone wild. Now I’ve listened to more than few television pundits including those on the “Today Show,” “The View” and “Regis & Kelly” make the case that the multiple drunk driving incidents, possible drug use and erratic behavior by icons like Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton and Britney Spears is an urgent cry for help. More than a few have extended their helping hands and “sound” analysis suggesting that anyone who has millions in the bank and the love of fans worldwide who would act so wild is in need of some psychological help. After all why would they throw away their lives this way? Why would they be so self destructive?
Now last week, rap stars Lil Wayne and Ja Rule were arrested in New York on separate incidents for gun possession. I wonder if I can make the same case for them that others have made for Lohan and Hilton? After all, Lil Wayne grew up in wretched conditions without a family. We all know the trauma he went through living in New Orleans and what happened to him and many of his loved ones after Katrina. Don’t you think he too is crying out for help and is in need of some sort of help to get his mental well being on par? After all why would he throw away millions and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities by carrying a gun when he knows hip-hop is under the microscope?
Ja Rule also grew up hard and suffered what many said was career ending humiliation in a much publicized war of words via his rival 50 Cent. Can he get some mental help, so he can fully recover? Hey we gotta show some sort of love after all in spite of what you may think of Ja, he’s been doing some good work in the community as of late. While all of us have been discussing Imus and whether or not hip-hop is dead, Ja Rule has been quietly helping out at risk youth in his old neighborhood with a summer camp that he put together. It’s more than obvious that Ja Rule in his poor judgment is reaching out for help. Can we show some love and sympathy?
Now we know how the world of sports is in shambles. We know about the gambling scandal that has hit the NBA thanks to referee Tim Donaghy and his alleged connections to the mob. We know about the doping incidents that have tainted the Tour De France and Major League Baseball. Of course we know about tortured animals and the connection to NFL star quarterback Michael Vick.
Now I’m not one to excuse the inexcusable. And trust me cheating, doing cruel things to animals and squandering precious opportunities to do good and take things to a higher level after you’ve made millions and have gained lots of fame are among the things that make my blood boil. But there’s a couple of things I wanna get off my chest.
First lets not start blaming hip-hop for all this. I know it’s tempting. It’s salacious. For some, like Kansas City Star sports reporter, Jason Whitlock, it may be a nice hustle. In a recent column he went there and somehow found a way to blame what he called “Hip Hop’s prison culture” for Michael Vick’s possible involvement with a dog fighting ring. Now Vick has pleaded innocent, but for the record, I kept asking myself which rapper or rap song was Vick listening to that would make him wanna torture animals. Was it DMX? Naw it couldn’t be because dude always raps about the love he has for his canines.
Maybe Vick was listening to popular artists like Snoop Dogg, Nate Dogg, Tim Dog, Tha Dogg Pound, or Sen Dog from Cypress Hill. Oops lets scratch Sen’s name off the list because he and his Cypress Hill buddies usually rap about legalizing weed. Now if Vick was caught with marijuana then we might drag Sen Dog’s good name through the mud. Also don’t you think we would’ve heard from animal rights organizations like PETA if any of the multi-platinum artists I mentioned was depicting cruelty to animals in their songs or videos?
I wonder if Miami rap legend Pitbull influenced Michael Vick. Naw it couldn’t be because the Pitbull I know is usually rapping in Spanish about his love for women’s derrieres. And when he’s not doing that, he’s penning heated op ed pieces aimed at fellow rap star Mos Def who has penned a few op ed pieces of his own about politics surrounding Cuba and Fidel Castro. This political tug of war between the pair has kept them away from the dog fights. Although one can described their political exchanges as a “dog fight” in itself.
Certainly we can’t blame young artists like Lil Bow Wow for having a bad influence on Vick. Naw that can’t be. Bow Wow doesn’t rap about dog fights. As of late he’s been occupied with rapping about how he can’t get his ex girlfriend R&B singer Ciara ‘Outta His System’. She accused young Bow Wow of cheating on her last year and apparently he regrets it. Now if the older and hopefully wiser Vick was caught cheating on his wife or girlfriend then we might be able to blame Bow Wow for having such a negative influence.
I can’t help but wonder if Michael Vick came to the Bay Area and caught up with local artists like Too Short aka “Short Dogg,” who stopped rapping about Oakland and showed Vick how to be cruel to animals. Or maybe he caught up with Dre Dog and learned about dog fighting. Oops wait lets scratch Dre Dog off the list since he changed his name to Andre Nickatina long before Vick even entered the NFL. And as we speak I’m looking through all my back issues of Murder Dog magazine to see if there’s any dog fighting articles. Thus far I’ve found none.
The 64 thousand dollar question of the day comes from UC Berkeley/ Laney College Hip Hop Scholar /instructor Erinn Ransom who fumed as she watched Russell Simmons and Al Sharpton rush to get out press releases demanding that all of Michael Vick’s sponsors like Nike drop him. They were understandably upset about the cruelty to animals but Ransom wanted to know if those same individuals would make similar demands in such a vigorous manner against those who write derogatory songs, do deplorable videos and in some case commit acts of violence against Black women? If Snoop or 50 are pimping women in songs, can our esteemed leaders hold press conferences demanding that their numerous sponsors drop them?
Now lets set the record straight. If Michael Vick was involved with dog fighting it wasn’t because of hip-hop. I say we put the blame on Hollywood where they make all sorts of gangster flicks that depict Pitbulls, Rottweilers and others beast of burden as tools that every drug dealer and mob figure must have. I know I never heard of a Rottweiler until I saw some of these numerous gangster films that get relentlessly advertised to me every week.
In the scores of dog fighting DVDs that circulate on the black market from coast to coast, you are likely to hear everything from hip-hop to heavy metal as background music. Yes, in spite of what these so called pundits say, Vick was influenced by Hollywood way before he was influenced by hip-hop when it comes to dog fighting.
As for the NBA gambling allegations, we all know that was the Mafia straight up. But as is true to form, most journalists like Mr. Whitlock aren’t trying to publicly antagonize the real life Tony Sopranos. After all, unlike our cartoonish rappers, these Mafia guys really will pay folks a visit. Hence these journalists chicken out and instead of showing off their swagger, going on Bill O’Reilly where they can start naming names and blowing up the spots of the Gambinos, Genovese or Lucchese crime families guys like Whitlock and his ilk stick to blaming hip-hop.
Originally posted on Davey D’s official Myspace page at Myspace.com/MrDaveyD.