The Ghetto Bull and The Wretched Goat
It was all good just a week ago. I was picking up a friend to give him a ride to a rehearsal, and Comedy Central was on in the living room. The host, Daniel Tosh, was announcing the net worth of various entertainers. When No Limit Forever CEO Master P appeared and Tosh said “he’s worth nearly half a billion dollars”, we all commented on how smart P is. How he’d moved on from rapping at the right time. How CD’s can get returned if they don’t sell, but clothes distributed in retail stores like Wal-Mart can’t. How it’s rumored he was an early investor in Redbox. We bragged on Master P, tied it into 50 Cent and how savvy and rich they are. Then me and my boy left for rehearsal.
So I never thought I’d use this forum to excoriate a Hip Hop icon, but five days ago Master P made me say “UGH” and spit my tea into my
Macbook Pro with Retina display netbook. I am hereby revoking his nickname The Ghetto Bill; 45-year-old Percy Miller’s new name is the Ghetto Bull. Because this is some bull.
In 2007, the Ghetto Bull took a stand with Oprah and Al Sharpton against explicit lyrics and such, even launching a clean rap label. “I am willing to accept my responsibility,” he said. “Hip Hop is about our neighborhoods; the reality of what is going on within them”.
In 2008, the Ghetto Bull announced that he would no longer answer to the name Master P, but only to his government name. “People grow up mentally and spiritually through life experiences,” GB said, “but when you come from Hip Hop it is almost impossible to get past the stereotype it associates you with.”
Ain’t that the truth! Fast forward to last week, and the Ghetto Bull releases a video as Master P again, working on his new Al Capone mixtape with Chicago’s Chief Keef [who less than five seconds into his verse says, “I can f*ck yo mama”]. Needless to say, it’s stereotypical.
This deeply disturbed me because The Ghetto Bull is a splendid example of one of Hip Hop Grew Up’s main tenets, which states: “Hip Hop is usually willing to make a deal — preferably a partnership or joint venture. But realistically, it no longer needs corporate America’s cosign to sustain itself.”
Master P was that guy — a figurehead on indie rap’s Mount Rushmore. Regardless of anyone’s critical opinions of his music, Master P is an unprecedented counter-pimp of the major label rap game. He used the Motown assembly line formula to mass produce records, took the lion’s share of the profits, became an entertainment maverick and never looked back … until now.
Some would say “Master P is doing this to sell records because that positive stuff wasn’t working.” Welp, Ghetto Bull, this won’t work either. If you’re over 35 and on that major level, you can’t take a year off. If Jay-Z didn’t do Watch The Throne, it would be hard for him to come back and sell a million albums. And he’s Jay-Z. Fast forward to this year’s BET Hip Hop Awards and look at T.I., dying of thirst and fighting for his relevance. It won’t work. T.I. will sell Kendrick Lamar numbers at best, not millions.
To recap, in 2007 Master P’s heart went out to the neighborhoods, with community being the obvious core of all things Hip Hop.
Then in 2008, Master P was like: “There are a lot of people out there who are afraid to grow up and change, but I’m not and P. Miller is the evolution of me, Percy Miller the entrepreneur, the businessman. My goal is to educate the hip-hop culture now and if they don’t get it, then hopefully their kids will get it and understand. My fellow hip-hop artists should know that we can’t rap forever.”
The Ghetto Bull should’ve just kept it right there. At about 40 years old, he was right on the money. And, don’t get me started on Chief Keef’s relationship to the neighborhoods and communities in Chicago, America’s capital of fratri-homo-geno-cide.
I also intended to rename LL Cool J in this article, as you can see above in the headline. After all, I’m one of those grownups who still throws LL’s name in the Greatest of All Time conversations. [Anyone under 30 reading this is probably saying “UGH” and spitting into their Retina screen now.]
I will forever maintain that 44-year-old LL Cool J is at least the Magic Johnson of this rap pap. There will never be a more prototypical trendsetter in Hip Hop history. So how on Earth did he end up jacking some Louisiana slang a few years late, dropping a new single called “Ratchet” and sitting down trying to push it with a
gaunt straight face on the Ellen DeGeneres show?
Who is your advisor, oh Wretched Goat? I called you the greatest, even after Andre, Jay and Eminem took over. I took up for you because you were the originator, the creative force, the entertainer… you even had longevity. [I was originally going to write an article about LL called “Don’t Call it a Comeback, Call it Guff”, but I chilled.]
The Wretched Goat must’ve gotten some new advisors, because suddenly LL Cool J comes back with “Take It”, produced by The ARE from Trackmasters and featuring Joe. He also announced “Take It” as a single from an upcoming album called Authentic Hip Hop. Really?
If LL’s willing to bury the “Ratchet”, I guess I’m willing to bury the hatchet. For Now.
I’ve come across a few people who can’t seem to accept Hip Hop Grew Up as a valid concept. They most often argue that rappers want to be young forever, so those rappers won’t let go of the urge to be contemporary and thus relevant. Basically, they need attention. I can’t argue with that, but I can extend my grown up hand to turn off the radio, then use a grown up finger to point people in the direction of music I can still enjoy.