What Rich Homie Quan’s Lyrical Flub Really Tells Us About Many Current Rap Stars

You wanna sip Mo’ on my living room floor
Play Nintendo with Cease and Nino
Pick up my phone say, “Poppa not home”
Sex all night, mad head in the morn’
Spin my V, smoke all my weed…
Guess you could say you’re the one I trusted
Who would ever think that you would spread like mustard?
Shit got hot, you sent Feds to my spot…
You knew about me, the fake ID
Cases in Virginia, body in D.C.
Woe, oh is me, that’s what I get for trickin
Pay my own bail, commence to ass kickin
Kick in the door, wavin the four-four
All you heard was, “Poppa don’t hit me no more”
Disrespect my click, my shit’s imperial
Fuck around and made her milkbox material
You feel me? Suckin dick, runnin your lips
‘Cause of you, I’m on some real fuck a bitch shit, uhh..

(Notorious B.I.G.)

Let me be perfectly clear about what I am going to say, I love Hip-Hop Culture with every fiber of my body. From the moment that I heard Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five’s The Message on 93 FM WZAK with Lynn Toliver and Ralph Poole I was hooked in a way that only my love for African-American Studies can even approach.

Experience has taught me that Hip-Hop Culture is the Nuclear Bomb of Popular Culture; make no mistake about it, Hip-Hop Culture, particularly Rap Music, has impacted the entire globe. I would be being less than honest if I did not relate that I count the creation of Hip-Hop Culture in all of its facets as one of Black America’s most impressive contributions to global culture. As I am certain that you can guess, I am still in love with Hip-Hop Culture.

Unfortunately, after watching the most recent VH1 Honors show aimed at honoring Queen Latifah, Salt n Pepa, Missy Elliott, and Lil’Kim, I must relate that I am deeply disturbed. What has disturbed me? The thing that has disturbed me is having one of my worst suspicions regarding Hip-Hop Culture verified in one of the most public and unfortunate ways possible.

During Lil’ Kim’s performance of the timeless foundational classic Get Money, Rich Homie Quan, a figure that for some inexplicable reason has been embraced and celebrated by a significant sector of Rap Music fans despite his propensity for mumbling as if he is suffering from early on-set Alzheimer’s, I received definitive proof that many of today’s Rap stars are most certainly not what is commonly termed by those who love the culture, Hip-Hop aficionados.

For whatever reason, someone, most likely a person who has very little vested interest in protecting Hip-Hop Culture from hurt, harm, and exploitation, decided to bestow upon Rich Homie Quan the honor, and make no mistake about it, it is truly an honor, of reciting Notorious B.I.G.’s classic verse on Get Money. It would be a gross understatement to state that Rich Homie Quan fumbled this opportunity in the most shocking manner ever. He literally did not know B.I.G.’s verse, something that is far different from catching a serious case of nervousness and forgetting the lyrics. I have absolutely no doubt that Rich Homie Quan never knew the classic lyrics, an inexcusable offense in itself, and went forth and committed a mortal sin of informing millions of viewers of this grievous error.

Now I am certain that many people may consider this an excusable offense, I do not! Make no mistake about it, Rich Homie Quan’s lyrical flub explains much about why it is rare to find real Hip-Hop among today’s leading emcees.

Without a basic understanding of Hip-Hop history, it is in many ways predictable that contemporary Rap stars will never understand the hallowed ground that they stand upon. Devoid of such knowledge, it is predictable that contemporary emcees will quickly abandon Hip-Hop culture’s rich traditions of politicization, community service, and representing for the African-American community at every turn.

Although it may sound a bit cliché, it is time that those who love Hip-Hop Culture helped it return ‘back to basics’ by educating this current generation regarding from ‘whence they come’. I fear that if we fail, Hip-Hop Culture, particularly financially lucrative Rap Music, will be totally unrecognizable to Hip-Hop aficionados like myself in the not too distant future. This is a cultural crisis; hopefully, we will respond appropriately.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

©Manhood, Race and Culture, 2016

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