Friday, April 23, 2010

It's the Soliloquy of Chaos


Haters took this shit too far, son...

This morning I woke up, checked my e-mail, checked Google Reader, and noticed a long comment posted on my O Blogger, Where Art Thou? piece. The comment was written by none other than Nah Right's Eskay. It's no surprise that he took offense to my words. After all, my post did call him out on what I felt was some ol' bullshit. What did surprise me was that A) he actually read it, and B) he actually responded. The way he responded, in particular, led me to believe that I may have dropped the straw that broke the camel's back. (The irony in that line is that in my subsequent Twitter responses, I drew a parallel of sorts, dubbing Eskay the Jay-Z of rap blogs.)

A barrage of tweets were soon fired back and forth between myself and Eskay. Soon enough, the Super Friends rap blog elite stepped in to fan the flames and/or drop their two cents: Dart Adams, Bol, Miss Info, Rafi, Ian, Combat Jack, G, Noz, Robbie and Jay Smooth. The conclusion? More talk. Look, this isn't "beef", nor was it ever intended to be. There's a difference between hating and critiquing/criticizing. The funny thing about this shit is that it really just boiled down to someone taking offence to my use of the word "sack". Really. Take out that "suave palming" sentence from the O Blogger, Where Art Thou? write-up and it's all squeaky clean, no lines to be interpreted as offensive shots fired - or so I would hope.

The convoluted nature of multi-layered conversations that are to be had on Twitter makes it difficult to reproduce a chronological, line-by-line transcript of sorts to fill you in on all the talk that transpired earlier today. I'm not even going to attempt to try to do that here. Instead, I'm gonna retrace my footsteps and explain my position to give you a better understanding of why I wrote what I wrote - and why I still feel that it's 100% valid. Here we go:

Thanks a Lot, Shyne!

Shyne drops a series of "freestyles" and remixes to hip-pop tracks. The votes are in and we have a unanimous decision: This shit is wack! The nicest thing you would have read about his music would've been something like "I'm sure he's just warming up." Soon afterwards, Elliott Wilson drops a post on the matter. In his op-ed piece, he writes about Shyne hitting him up on the phone. Right then and there I smelled the fish. It seemed like Shyne or L.A. Reid or whoever was trying to do some damage control by reaching out to one of the top blogs to try and sugarcoat the scene. No dice, YN wasn't having it. He didn't pick up the call. Bottom line: I appreciated the honesty in Wilson's post. Whether YN took the call or not isn't really the issue. The issue here is that he made it clear: "I'm not gonna play ball."

In Eskay's case, things were a little different. First and foremost, it's worth mentioning that YN and Eskay were both reached by Shyne (and/or Shyne's "people") at around the same time. That's no coincidence. To me, that's enough proof that this wasn't a "hey, this is Shyne just checking in" call, but instead more of a "hey, this is Shyne, I don't like what people are saying about me, can you cool it with the criticism, please" call. Right? Right. A well-oiled PR machine in motion. I'm assuming Eskay received the same call and PR schtick that YN would've got had he picked up the phone. I'm sure Shyne sold Eskay a sob story. I'm sure he talked about how he's changed as a man (even though his lyrics are still as violent as ever). Ha Ha! Slow Down...

At the end of the day, we've really just been arguing over bullshit. The crux of my post, which I feel got washed over in a sea of egos and petty nonsense, was on my own weariness about labels getting in bed with blogs - especially with the sites that influence and guide this culture we call hip hop. That's what troubles me. Eskay's got a big target on his back because he runs the busiest rap blog on the net. He gets all the props in the world from me for that. I'd like him to know that. But with that rep comes responsibility and accountability.

Lemme speak on my behalf: Every time I get an e-mail from a label - major or independent - and I feature or write about their music, admittedly, I'm part of "the machine." Every time I say "yes" to one artist or "no" to another, I've displayed my own bias(es). There's no denying that. But this game of telephone that's going on - which is by no stretch of the imagination a new occurrence - borders on shady and sheisty (shouts to the 'wood). It's a call from the higher-ups telling you to sway your opinions, to change your writing slant, to keep off the grass. Anyone who took a look at both Eskay's article and his tweets prior to the phone call would think they were reading the words of two different people. One minute it's "lol @ Shyne's flow" and even approvingly quoting Nah Right comments like "sounds like a dying lloyd banks", the next it's "I think homie will be alright." If that's not a 180° turn then I don't know what is. That's what stoked my suspicions - which are still, I feel, totally justified.

It's difficult to walk in Eskay's shoes and attempt to please everybody. Scratch that - it's impossible. As the old parables go, you can't please everybody; and nobody's perfect. But in Eskay's position, I would've handled the scenario a bit differently. One option would've been to report the content of the phone call and call it a wrap. Transcribe Shyne's message and leave it at that. Instead, Eskay reported the facts, but also dropped his two cents. He took a page out of the O'Reilly/Olbermann school of journalism. There's nothing wrong with that, but it leaves you vulnerable to criticism - especially when your opinions take a noticeable slant in the opposite direction after it's all said and done. A week ago, he was calling Shyne's music wick-wick-wack. Now, it's something we may not like, but should respect. C'mon, now. You can't polish a turd and call it a lollipop. Stay consistent or at least be upfront about how and why you changed your opinion.

Summing it all up: I've never been afraid to let loose my speech © Guru. I'm very opinionated. But at the same time, I'm not a shock blogger. Check my resume, character assassination is not what I'm about. I keep it on the humble 24/7/365, especially towards the people I respect. Like I told Eskay, "there's a difference between busting chops and going all out." As I see it, anyone who thought I was taking the latter approach and waging war against the Nah Right army is guilty of exposing their own lust for blood. Go vegan, 'cause the chef ain't serving beef tonight. One.

24 comments:

  1. >>the next it's "I think homie will be alright." If that's not a 180° turn then I don't know what is.

    You should understand that I wrote that post in like 5 minutes, read it over once and published it. in retrospect, I could have been clearer with regard to what I meant by some of these statements I made. for example, clearly I should have specified that I meant you have to respect his thought process, NOT his music. the idea of one person telling another that they must respect a piece of "art" is laughable, and it's laughable to think that anybody would think, even for a second, that I would ever say something like that. so yeah, maybe that was lazy writing on my part.

    When I said "I think homie will be alright", again, that had nothing to do with music. It had to do with dude's mindset and the predicament he finds himself in now: exiled to foreign country, 10 years of his life lost, heavy criticism, etc. "he'll be aiight". it's an expression. i'm sure you've heard it before.

    there was no 180° turn in my opinion. I still think the new shit is wack. I just didn't feel the need to reiterate that in this particular post and I stand by that decision. if you're gonna say that I had a change of heart as far as Shyne's music, after 1 phone call, then you have to assume that every mention of Shyne by me and my two writers from here out is gonna be positive. do you hold such little regard for me that you think I would actually pull some transparent shit like that? that's a rhetorical question because clearly you do.

    bottom line: get over it. like I've said, my post wasn't changing anybody's opinion. you'd have to be a mindless fucking idiot to read my post and let it sway how you feel about Shyne's music, and I don't cater to fucking idiots. I write every post on my site with the assumption that the people reading it are at least somewhat knowledgeable of whatever i'm writing about. So if I want to offer my opinion, I'm not going to hold back because some fuck head might take it the wrong way and be influenced by it.

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  2. >>the next it's "I think homie will be alright." If that's not a 180° turn then I don't know what is.

    You should understand that I wrote that post in like 5 minutes, read it over once and published it. in retrospect, I could have been clearer with regard to what I meant by some of these statements I made. for example, clearly I should have specified that I meant you have to respect his thought process, NOT his music. the idea of one person telling another that they must respect a piece of "art" is laughable, and it's laughable to think that anybody would think, even for a second, that I would ever say something like that. so yeah, maybe that was lazy writing on my part.

    When I said "I think homie will be alright", again, that had nothing to do with music. It had to do with dude's mindset and the predicament he finds himself in now: exiled to foreign country, 10 years of his life lost, heavy criticism, etc. "he'll be aiight". it's an expression. i'm sure you've heard it before.

    there was no 180° turn in my opinion. I still think the new shit is wack. I just didn't feel the need to reiterate that in this particular post and I stand by that decision. if you're gonna say that I had a change of heart as far as Shyne's music, after 1 phone call, then you have to assume that every mention of Shyne by me and my two writers from here out is gonna be positive. do you hold such little regard for me that you think I would actually pull some transparent shit like that? that's a rhetorical question because clearly you do.

    in conclusion, get over it. like I've said, my post wasn't changing anybody's opinion. you'd have to be a mindless fucking idiot to read my post and let it sway how you feel about Shyne's music, and I don't cater to fucking idiots. I write every post on my site with the assumption that the people reading it are at least somewhat knowledgeable of whatever i'm writing about. So if I want to offer my opinion, I'm not going to hold back because some fuck head might take it the wrong way and be influenced by it.

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  3. >>if you're gonna say that I had a change of heart as far as Shyne's music, after 1 phone call, then you have to assume that every mention of Shyne by me and my two writers from here out is gonna be positive.

    To my knowledge, there haven't been any new Shyne posts on your site since then, so that's up for grabs on your end.

    >>do you hold such little regard for me that you think I would actually pull some transparent shit like that?

    Sometimes even the people I hold to the highest regard let me down. So... yes. That's not a knock on your character.

    >>bottom line: get over it.

    I was over it well before your first comment. Still am.


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  4. I'm not trying to be neutral but i think Eskay tried to be as honest as possible when he posted his convo with Shyne. Ivan, on the other hand, has the right to say that Shyne's music is garbage. If Eskay chose to only speak about his phone convo on HIS site then all the other sites should talk about Shyne's freestyles on THEIR sites. That should balance things out. I

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  5. dude ivan your shit is too hard to understand, half the time i dont even know what im reading...eskays shit is short and sweet, the one reason i come here is for the sample sets to be honest

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  6. You should understand that I wrote that post in like 5 minutes, read it over once and published it.

    you don't see the inherent problem with that? you think any other 'news' medium takes such a lazy approach?

    bottom line: get over it. like I've said, my post wasn't changing anybody's opinion. you'd have to be a mindless fucking idiot to read my post and let it sway how you feel about Shyne's music, and I don't cater to fucking idiots.

    really? don't cater to fucking idiots? have you read the comments section on your blog.. uhm.. ever?

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  7. no offense ivan, but it really seems like your either parinoid, bi polar, or just being an idiot, again.

    i don't know why you act this way or if it's just your personality. this blog should be about hip hop and politics i guess.. not the misunderstandings and perez hilton gossip you want to interject about someone elses ongoings, next time you want to assume what may have happened with someone else, you may want to ask them directly and not so brazenly come off as an assumptive douche.

    it's like "days of our lives" in here sometimes..

    i can't believe you haven't picked up on your own pattern of being problematic. get a clue man you do not have make things beefy, just be a man and keep your Pinocchio nose out of other peoples business, and if you can't help that then at least ask them personally if what your assume is true before going viral with it and... it turning into some childish pissing contest. it makes you look like an idiot. if your okay with that then cool i guess.

    i'm trying to help you notice something, take responsibility and prevent it from happening again. if you wanna take it for more than that, then go ahead and miss the point and become defensive and try to reason out why you did and do what you do sometimes.

    if you decide to learn from this, then good for you, you dont have to like someone or even know someone to be able to learn.

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  8. Keep doing your thing Ivan! I appreciate you calling this guy out. it fucking ripped my heart out when the Source did ish like this. if I even read eskays blog I would def want someone who had a voice to call him out like you did.

    much respect

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  9. 5 minutes to write, read once and publish?

    LAME.

    Y'all need to ditch this fraud blog of his.

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  10. From Eskay: You should understand that I wrote that post in like 5 minutes, read it over once and published it.

    From anonymous: you don't see the inherent problem with that? you think any other 'news' medium takes such a lazy approach?

    My thoughts: I work for a newspaper and would like to defend Eskay's "5-minute" post. It used to be that major media had set deadlines. All stories for the morning addition of a newspaper had to be in by such-and-such time. Same for the evening addition or television news. At most you had two, maybe three, deadlines in a day.

    Obviously, the Internet has obliterated the concept of the deadline. Now, everything is expected to be disseminated as quickly as possible. If you get a piece of information that is worth spreading, then your deadline comes as quickly as you can write it in an intelligible fashion.

    So, no, Eskay wasn't being "lazy" with his 5-minute post. He was being prompt. There's an enormous difference.

    And, yes, other "legitimate" media organizations do this all the time. When a breaking piece of news occurs, we write an initial story. Then, as additional details become available, we update it. Sometimes, initial details that we printed in the heat of the neverending deadline are revealed as untrue and we have to correct them.

    Sometimes, there is a typo or a poorly worded statement. It happens to everyone -- from Pulitzer Prize winners to writers for hip-hop blogs.

    Did Eskay phrase a few things unclearly? Yes, he's acknowledged that. Did he compromise his morals? I would say not. In fact, I think it is unfair to not allow Shyne an outlet to speak his piece. Granted, neither Eskay nor we need to agree with him.

    As per Ivan, he has every right to express his opinion; and I think he did it respectfully. I didn't read any of his comments as attacking Eskay personally, just the way the industry operates. His opinions are subjective (and he presents them that way), thus, they are valid.

    I am a fan of both blogs, and I do not make the pretense of knowing either blogger. If anything, this is an indication of how quickly differences of opinion can become "beef" when there is a lot of talking without any communication.

    One.

    -Jason

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  11. what i don't understand about the whole Shyne thing is what does Shyne "changing as a man" have to do with his lyrics. I keep reading over and over bloggers writing about Shyne is "changed" but his "lyrics are violent as ever." Ummm I could spit a rhyme right now about murder and rape but I'm a moral upstanding law abiding citizen. It's all entertainment or am I missing something here? And to add to that a lot of U bloggers are some narcissitic ego maniacal Kanye type figures

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  12. Jason -
    Obviously, the Internet has obliterated the concept of the deadline. Now, everything is expected to be disseminated as quickly as possible. If you get a piece of information that is worth spreading, then your deadline comes as quickly as you can write it in an intelligible fashion.

    fair enough, but what information was so urgently disseminated in eskay's post? what did he contribute to the 'hip-hop' world or whatever the fuck term you want to use that could not have waited longer than 5 minutes? was this a conference call with other bloggers and shyne? no, it was just lazy, so stop defending him.

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  13. I think this has been a huge over-reaction.

    Eskay seems to have taken this personally and seems sensitive to the criticism. I don't think Ivan was overly harsh. The lame stuff came later from other posters. Everyone is just jumping in with cheap shots.

    I don't think this is a situation that needs forensic analysis. A difference of opinion. Now let it slide. People get caught up in the whole beef thing.

    However I will say that Ivan has every right to criticise. Everyone has because nobody is above that. I don't think reaching out was mandatory either. If offer an opinion on something then do you really have to seek permission? It's not like Ivan threw him under a bus.

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  14. At the end of the day you guys just gave Shyne some small buzz and he is going to get paid no matter what happens while you all go back and forth on this subject.

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  15. at the end of the day, this post should not be named after a gang starr song. especially this week.

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  16. C'MON SON..ALL THIS OVER SHYNE??..SILLY NEGROES..SMH..

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  17. Btw those Gang Starr-isms ain't going unnoticed. Nice.

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  18. This is such a non-issue, anyone with half a brain got what Eskay meant without even having to read his further explanations.

    The man had a conversation with another human being, wrote it on his blog, and didn't immediately rip him to shreds because he's not a twat. You went completely over the top about it, making out he wasn't strong enough on the subject and yet your writing style is really passive-aggressive "No disrespect meant, but it’s literally the equivalent of a suave palming of a TI’s sack" - is that your idea of "tongue lashing"? Very brave.

    At the end of the day, it looks like you willfully misinterpreted what Eskay wrote, and whether or not you would have written something more scathing had you spoken to Shyne is now irrelevant since it seems you would have framed it to suit your negative, attention-seeking little agenda regardless of what was said - looking for the "words that can be read in between the lines".

    If you have proof Eskay does underhanded shit, bring it, if you don't please stop scrabbling around stretching, trying and make the guy look bad - it just makes you look sad & jealous.

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  19. "If you have proof Eskay does underhanded shit, bring it, if you don't please stop scrabbling around stretching, trying and make the guy look bad - it just makes you look sad & jealous."

    Woah there, I think you are getting carried away. Are you a Nah Right stan or something? Just because other people throw barbs at Eskay doesnt mean that Ivan is part of that. Its not about jealousy, its about calling someone to account over a percieved wrong.

    The large negativity regarding Eskay is another issue. Ivan even said he wouldnt want to be in those shoes. People throwing rocks at the throne I guess. This issue was over a particular post. You're taking the argument somewhere else, just like a lot of the commenters on this drama.

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  20. Just like I quoted Guru at the beginning of this post, "hater took this shit too far..."

    That's the way it is.

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  21. "Sucker shit at its finest dog"

    The excessive hairsplitting over eskays post is ridiculous. Smh at the writer of this blog saying he's been over something that he brought up as an issue. If you took issue with it, you took issue with it, you can't write about it and than be "past" it when the person you got at responds. Either it's an issue important enough to write about and clarify, or it isn't. And to think it inconceivable that the man can criticize his raps but wish him well in the same breathe(and to somehow suggest these are sentiments are opposite from one another, is narrow mindedness that I can't really grasp at this moment.

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  22. "At this moment"... I'll give you some more time to gather your thoughts.

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  23. SUCKER SHIT NEEDS TO BE CALLED OUT! Eskay, stop trying to flip and bounce this situation on some bullshit. Shyne and Def Jam called, made you feel all warm and fuzzy, and YOU WROTE A FUCKIN FLUFF PIECE. Flip it and bounce it and call it whatever the fuck you want, if thats not a fluff piece, you tell me what is? So whether you were talking about his music or his well-being, they swayed you to write ANYTHING positive about Shyne. Even if you didn't comment on his music, the fact remains, YOU DIDN'T GIVE A FUCK BEFORE THEY CALLED YOU. We're trying to tell you, you were swayed by the phone call that had obvious intentions. and if you knew those intentions like you said you did, than you're just a fuckin idiot for doing exactly what they wanted you to do.

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  24. the idiot is the one that assumes,

    even if they are right,

    they are still an idiot for assuming. and in this case a gigantic loser with loser fanboys that also somehow think they know better than the actual person involved in the actual occurrence, which is essay.

    i don't know where you come up with these fans ivan, but i'm inclined to think(not claim it's true and write a long story about it and get butt hurt) your nature of being polarizing and conspiracy laced attracts a certain loony audience.

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