'State of the Culture' is the show you turn on to hear unfiltered, unapologetic, gritty opinions in regards to topics within hip hop culture -- whether you agree with what's being said or not. Joe Budden, Remy Ma, Jinx, and Scottie Beam aren't here to hold your hand in their debates and sugarcoat their words. They're here to say what everyone else is afraid of saying, and do so with no hesitation. From talking about music, politics, sports and everything in between; the hosts are always with the shits. Welcome to 'State of the Culture.'
This week on "State of the Culture," there’s a major emphasis on “culture” and who should participate. Colin Kaepernick and the NFL settled their longstanding legal battle. But, where does this leave the culture that rallied behind him and is now left without conclusive answers? Where do we draw the line in the sand when it comes to Michael Rapaport and his hot takes on black music? How many more high-end designers will get to diss us before the culture finally decides to get them the fuck up outta here and start supporting our own? All this and much more as we delve into the shits this week.
1. Joe loves the idea of Tidal’s new “Unplugged” program, but wonders if it only works in theory.
JAY-Z’s popular streaming service TIDAL is still continuing the crusade to put artists’ rights first, launching a $1 million grant program called “Unplugged,” which promises to support emerging musicians. “Unplugged” will cover the costs of living expenses, studio time, promotions and other pricey overhead costs so the acts can focus solely on their craft. Joe says he’s skeptical of the program. He says, “A lot of these streaming services are masking their intentions by appearing to be pro-artist. I’m not saying that’s what TIDAL is doing. But, they’re all in a market share battle with each other.” For the right, young, fresh talent; this may be a God send. But, as always, read the fine print, people.
2. Colin Kaepernick got his big payday, but why all the secrecy?
It was recently announced that Colin Kaepernick’s lawsuit against the NFL ended in a settlement for an undisclosed amount of money (it's speculated that he was paid somewhere $50 million - $80 million, which certainly ain’t chump change). While Kap’s supporters have long been rallying for his former employer to cut that check after allegedly blackballing him from the league, folks are now looking at the situation sideways. Jinx thinks folks are “pocket-watching,” while Remy says it’s much deeper than that. “What’s upsetting is [the fact that] a lot of people feel they were standing with him, and for him to go and make a deal and it has this NDA on top of it, where he also can’t talk about what was agreed to and did NFL teams conspire against him,” she says. The question is important one: Now that the dust is settled, where does that leave the fight? Do we still boycott or take solace in the fact that justice has been served? I have a feeling we haven’t heard the last of this convo.
3. Jussie Smollett (yes, again)
He’s baaaccckkk! For the third week in a row, actor Jussie Smollett is on the "SOTC" docket and yes, the update is even more wild than the last. "Empire" producers stated that his character on the show, Jamal Lyon, won't appear in the last two episodes of the upcoming season. This update followed reports that the Chicago PD charged him with falsifying a police report. Everyone who initially believed Jussie’s story is now expected to eat crow. But for Jinx, it isn’t that simple. He explains, "The story he chose was so nuts that I was like, ‘Who would make that up?’" Scottie backs him up, saying, “Within the community, we’d be doing a disservice if we don’t trust our own people. I am one of the people who will believe the story until proven differently. But, I can’t just sit here and go through these layers of reported developments, and nothing is solid. I’m always going to speak with my heart.” We stan an unapologetic queen!
4. J. Cole’s performances could make a believer out of anyone.
If you missed J. Cole’s performance at the NBA All-Star halftime show, you’ve done yourself a great disservice. The “ATM” emcee absolutely crushed the stage, making Joe fall in love with some of the Cole songs he previously didn’t care for. “That shit was looking like a well-oiled machine. I was a little blown away,” Joe confesses.
5. The NBA is light years ahead of the NFL in the black excellence category. Why, doe?
The NBA seems to hold a lot less tension and that seems to be because the association doesn’t give players a ton of crap when speaking their mind. So, why can’t the NFL follow suit? Remy Ma says the key is that the NBA’s players know their influence, demand their worth and use your power to lift others up along the way. “Now, we have somebody like Lebron, who is hands down one of greatest players in the world. He’s been doing the basketball thing. But, he also knows his power and he’s been using it to elevate the community, and empower his peers,” she says.
6. Do police officers have carte blanche to come at rappers however they please?
We all know 50 Cent is the king of clownin’ on social media and is famous for hitting below the belt. But, even with a personality as controversial as his, it is never OK for law enforcement to make idle threats aimed at someone’s life. Deputy Inspector Emmanuel Gonzales of the 72nd Precinct allegedly told his officers to shoot 50 Cent on sight when the rapper was scheduled to perform at a police-sanctioned boxing match in the Bronx. Though officer Gonzales claims he was only joking, Jinx feels he should take the L and lose his job, regardless. He says, “Whether intentional or just a fuck up, sometimes you pay for that. As a cop, you’re supposed to be better than everybody.” Remy Ma calls attention to the fact that hip hop is a focused target in the eyes of the NYPD. “The fact that there are task forces particularly assigned to hip hop artists, it tells you everything,” she says. “We’ve known about this in New York, and I’m starting to think it merged down to Atlanta and Miami.” Bottom line is, if you’re a BPP (black person prospering), the target is on your back.
7. Michael Rapaport might need to Rapitup with the commentary on black culture.
Actor and "professional trash talker" (Joe said it, not me) Michael Rapaport landed himself in hot water recently after calling Meek Mill a “trash rapper” on Twitter. His unsolicited opinion got a response from Meek, himself, basically telling Rapaport to stay in his white ass lane (sidebar: Rapaport asked Meek for a selfie some time ago, which IMHO is a guaranteed finisher as far as beefs go.) This all calls into question Rapaport’s credibility as a commentator on black culture. Jinx seems to be taking this with a grain of salt, reminding us, “His main thing is trolling, so take that for what it’s worth.” Scottie isn’t taking the jokes so lightly, and doesn’t look to Rapaport as a go-to voice for black culture. “If we’re talking about black culture as a whole then no, I don’t want to hear from him,” Scottie says.
8. Bye, Burberry!
The British fashion house is the latest high-end label to be put on blast for making a racist fashion statement. Recently, a model on Instagram brought to our attention a hoodie adorned with a noose that Burberry recently debuted at London Fashion Week. Our "SOTC" peeps thinks we are far past coincidence. Remy is thinking WWJD (What Would Jigga Do). “Not only did [JAY-Z] stop us from drinking [Cristal] and supporting their brand, but he gave us an alternative,” Remy says. “I say we take a note from JAY-Z’s book and create our own shit, and stop fucking with them.” Joe thinks we should be grateful these brands are showing their true colors. “I’m real happy that I know that’s how Burberry feels,” he says. “That’s sans the point that I didn’t think they were creative with their designs anyway.” Jinx recommends Pyer Moss, Omondi and Off-White as some black designers we could support instead.
9. Is Offset’s Father of 4 album a true portrait of a family man or exploitation at its finest?
Offset’s Father of 4 album just dropped, and our "SOTC" hosts examine whether the Migos member is baring his true soul or making a convenient PR splash by lifting the veil of secrecy with baby Kulture. Even asking the question feels a bit uncomfortable, but this isn’t the show to play it safe. Joe, describing himself as the “king of exploiting his family,” was a bit more understanding that we expected. “I want to credit him because just eight months ago, the narrative on Offset was very different. We weren’t looking at him as this wholesome family man,” Joe says. “He’s got his wife back, she seems to be supporting him on his album rollout.”
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