• 03May

    NOTES FROM THE PRESIDENT: On #BHF13, rap legacies and how we measure the greats…

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    A text from my man Victor got me thinking last night.

    He commented on how dope it would be if Pun and Big L were still alive and we could book them for the Festival. He said they would be legends by now. I responded that they could also have fallen off. ”Glass half full” was Victor’s response. True and very pessimistic for me. Something I am not usually when talking about Hip-Hop. But it did get me thinking about how impractical it is to lionize deceased rappers.

    One of the things that make you the best is being able to compete. That is why these baseball players are on the juice. To recover so they can keep playing. As Hip-Hop progresses the argument to call Biggie the best of all time gets more difficult. Not because his songs get worse over time (to me they actually get better) but because his relatively small unit has ceased operation and more and more pales in comparison to the prolific output of fellow deceased rapper 2Pac, the ubiquitous Jay-Z and even (gasp) Dewayne Carter. Two studio albums and a frankenstein remix album will soon not be enough. Biggie will forever be treasured but time will tell will if he’ll be more revered over time like Jimi Hendrix or fall into pop culture obscurity like a Sam Cooke. To use a sports analogy (which I love), one could argue that Gale Sayers was the best running back of all time but we rarely hear that because that argument is based a lot on “what if.” The Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton, Eric Dickerson is based on cold hard numbers. Again, one of the criteria that makes you the best is your ability to keep playing.

    As much as I love Big L or Pun I have to wonder if they could have kept up the pace. Like NFL running backs most rappers lifespan is about 3 years. And far more have fallen off after 1 or 2 albums than have gone on to the Hall of Fame. Even still, I wish Flamboyant For Life and wish L were here. I know they would have torn down that Festival stage.

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