By Paul Russell
5/3/2003 6:09:53 PM
Tags and topics realted to this article include 2Pac.
Taken from an article about 50 cent and his beefs and other rappers:
Nowadays the focus has slightly shifted to 50 Cent's heated rivalry with Ja Rule, which nobody seems too worried about despite suspicion that such disagreements might have led to violence in the rap world. One of the most famous rivalries came to an abrupt end in the late 1990s with the drive-by shooting deaths of Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G.
Then, last year, Jam Master Jay of Run-DMC was gunned down leaving a recording studio. Even Snoop Dogg barely escaped an assassin's bullet a few weeks ago.
Confronted with the fact that the violence mirrors the themes of their art, rap insiders respond with the ancient assertion that outsiders just don't get it. The violence, they say, has nothing to do with their wars of words or the music that's being created. As Eddie "Scorpio' Morris of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five fame puts it, "That's street -- on the street, you just gotta know anything can happen.'
Scorpio, like so many others, also points out that rap was built on industry-hyped rivalries such as the one between Nas and Jay-Z, who tells CNN the feuds are "like two people playing basketball, two people boxing.'
"It's like boxing on vinyl,' clarifies Damon Dash, the hip-hop mogul who co-founded Roc-a-Fella Records with rapper Jay-Z. "It's really not that serious. We're grown men, you know, Jay's over 30 and I'm over 30. I mean, I'm not gonna be fighting in the street over no rap. That's ridiculous.'
While some rappers say the rivalries break up the monotony, others want to see it go back to a more diverse palette.
Left to its own devices, rap has tackled issues of social justice. Examples abound from Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five to the hard-core trailblazing of Run-DMC, which then gave rise to the political and social criticism of Public Enemy and the considerably less academic gangsta bomb-throwing of N.W.A.
Former N.W.A. member the DOC says before artists can get past the feuding, the industry needs to get its business straight.
"These young guys coming up today have great opportunities, and if they can find some kind of solidarity between themselves then they have a chance,' the DOC says. "It's their art and it's their business, so then maybe on the whole, everybody can get a little something, and then you won't have so many people worrying about killing this dude because he doesn't have what this guy has, or he wants to shut this guy down because he wants the top spot, or I want to be the leader of a pack, which is only gonna want to make the other guys wanna come and do something to you anyway'.
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