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Hip-Hop Fridays: Be Like Red and Meth

By all accounts, watching The Source Hip-Hop Award show the other night was a tortuous and disappointing experience. The obvious cause for displeasure was the lousy way that UPN edited the event. We all know they want the advertising revenue that would be generated by the show's broadcast but they really could have done a more professional job with what they had to work with - fight or no fight at the event.

Having said that, the most glaring aspect of the event was the poor crowd participation. It is obvious that the stands were stacked with "industry heads" and not the common Hip-Hop fans and consumers. The pretentiousness and arrogance that artists, managers, producers and label executives showed for one another was despicable.

Hardly anyone clapped or stood out of respect and appreciation for their peers and in the process the industry disrespected itself.

For all of the constant complaining we have heard over the years about how the Grammy's disrespect Hip-Hop, I have never seen the Grammy's dis Hip-Hop like Hip-Hop dissed itself at the Source Awards. You could just feel the envy, jealousy, insecurities and 'artist-hating' that filled the atmosphere.

The notable exception to this was when Method Man and Redman won the live performer of the year award, which was well deserved. Anyone inside of the industry will tell you what a breath of fresh air that Red and Meth have brought to an increasingly vain and stale industry.

Basically, the two represent the ultimate in Hip-Hop wittiness, comedy and lyrical skills. Although they both have a penchant for "steaming the green things" as Busta Rhymes would say, neither artist, especially Meth, are known for embodying the vanity and "peer-hating" that goes on in Hip-Hop nowadays.

And that is why they received the ovation that they did when they won their award.

I co-managed Meth for two years and have known him for over 6 years and not once have I ever heard him speak disrespectfully of another artist. Not one time. If you have ever met him you know that he sincerely cares about his fans and appreciates the art form and the work of other artists. And that he will go out of his way to help other artists.

Every night that he performs he gives his all, even sacrificing his body (He always jumps into the crowd at his shows, even though he is skinny as hell) and health. I've seen Meth perform when he was dead-tired, sick and injured. In my opinion, once on stage, he is the hardest working man in Hip-Hop. But I have to say that in the last 7 years, I don't think any Hip-Hop artist has done more shows than Redman. I heard that in one year in the early to mid 90s he actually did something like 200 shows.

If more artists would be like Red and Meth, in terms of dedication to their artistry, sensitivity for their fans and respect for their peers - the industry would be a lot better for it.

For all of the talk from Hip-Hop artists about how much ice they own; how many people they have shot; how many girls they have had; how "real" they are; how many kilos they have transported and how Afrocentric they can be - I would take Meth and Red's love for the art form and respect for their peers any day of the week.

So Hip-Hop artists: Don't Be like Mike, be like Red and Meth.

Cedric Muhammad

Friday, September 1, 2000

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The views and opinions expressed herein by the author do not necessarily represent the opinions or position of or Black Electorate Communications.

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