What’s the definition of “real”? No where’re not talking about the name of Rapper Plies’s album, but the real definition of “real”. When someone speaks on the expression of how “real” someone is you get the feeling of how genuine of a person they are. Real is the opposite of fake, what happens when the “real” definition is questioned regarding rappers. Since the beginning of hip hop, artists have always strived to do one thing and that’s keep it real. If you look back in history on those that were exposed for their “fake” personas, you’ll see a long list of one hit wonders. What happens when some of the most popular mainstream rappers are questioned and exposed for their shaky past lifestyle?
It’s a thin line between “real” and “entertainment” if you look at the hip hop artists of today. Hip hop fans stick to the code of supporting the “real” and staying away from the fake. What a rapper talks about on tracks and in interviews means everything to those fans that are buying into the “person” as oppose to just the album. Back in the 90’s rapper, Vanilla Ice was exposed for his fraudulent tactics as an artist, but in no way did people question his street credibility because he had none. With the rappers today, street credibility means everything. It determines the amount of money and success a rapper could reach. While the definition of “real” applies to all rappers and music artist alike, never before has it been as important as it is now.
Although positive rappers such as Kanye West, Common and Talib Kwelli have made their impact for being “real”, rappers such as Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, Snoop Dogg and Plies are in a completely different category. Rappers that rap about drugs, women and money over beats are surely to be questioned on “realness” if their past life storylines don’t match up to what their talking about. Many A&R’s in the music industry are searching for artists that possess excellent talents as well as strong street reputations. Bottom line is, people love to hear about drugs, guns, women and money! Well let’s just say that the average fan of today’s hip hop loves these things. But what happens when rappers rap about these things when they haven’t really lived it? There lies the problem in hip hop, what happens when rappers are exposed for their false storytelling lines? It is no longer enough to be a great artist, for one to succeed in the genre of hip hop they must have a solid background. Meaning if you rap about selling drugs, shooting guns and getting all the women, you better make sure you’ve really done it all and people can vouch for you.
Recently there have been a lot of lies that have come to the light in regards to hip hop artists. Many sources have gone out of their way to find and scrape up background information on hip hop chart toppers. Months ago, media outlet, “The Smoking Gun” exposed rap/r&b artist Akon for lying about his past. In numerous interviews Akon can be quoted as saying he was a “convict” and was on the verge of serving almost 60 years in prison. In those same interviews he can be quoted speaking on how he was the leader of a car theft ring. While hip hop and R&b fans alike embraced Akon for his past wrong doings, many turned their back on the star when he was exposed for only getting arrested once for “borrowing” a car and spending a couple days in county jail. Did they turn their backs because Akon wasn’t a “convict” or because he didn’t tell the truth? Exposing the truth behind hip hop artists has become the new trend for the media.
The latest victim of the media would be rapper Rick Ross. Rick Ross, who appeared on the rap scene just a few years ago, is already on his way to getting caught up industry headlines. The “Flawda” native that raps “I’m The Biggest Boss You’ve Seen This Far”, has been under attack by the media and fans. A picture has been floating around online that shows “The Biggest Boss” dressed in a C.O. uniform. For those that don’t know, this means Rick Ross used to work for the police! Nowhere in hip hop history has a person been exposed for working for the police. Rappers and police go together like oil and water, they just don’t mix. While Rick Ross denies he ever used to be a officer and even goes as far to say somebody “photoshopped him”, more and more reports are popping up all over the place stating in fact he did work for the police. Hip hop career Enders “The Smoking Gun” even has a resignation letter that Ross wrote stating his departure. Tons of Rick Ross fans have since gone on strike vowing not to support the artist due to his deceiving ways. Some hip hop artists have went on record saying that Ross is “suffering the price of fame” or he’s being targeted due to his recent success. The same question applies to Ross as it did Akon, Did his fans turn his back on him because the “druglord” he made himself out to be or because he lied?
What’s the real price of fame? It seems to be that by being a rapper you are forced to prove yourself. You’re forced to back up and state the facts on everything you do or say. Plenty of pop artists make songs about things they’ve never seen or done and their realness as a person is never questioned, however; hip hop artists are made examples of if they don’t live up to every aspect of their gangster image. The expression “What goes up must come down” comes to mind when talking on how you can go from a “somebody” to a “nobody” overnight. At times it seems many people forget that music is “entertainment” and the people that bring you the music are “entertainers”, who have their own faults. Rumors will always be exactly what they are, rumors, but how do you recover if the truth about you has been exposed? Guess one can only go by the motto “tough times don’t last, but tough people do”, in order to make it day to day.