By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
By Roy Edroso
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
By Zachary D. Roberts
Blood on the streets
Re Emily Brady's 'Takeout on Euclid Avenue' [April 8–14]: As a lifelong resident of this [East New York] 'hood, I have seen murders and robberies and have had to scuffle in my fair share of beefs. But I have never been robbed, nor has anyone of my family. Odd, but true. As for May May's simplification of the American dream (emphasis on the little "d"), the tired "If you work hard, America will reward you" must look like a joke now. Try telling that to the hardworking people like my mom, who died working a minimum-wage job at 59. After the '80s layoff purge, she was never able to bounce back, and I believe the stress caused her premature death.
Though May May left abject poverty, but saw his first murder in the Land of Plenty, I wonder if he realizes that the East (nabes and, in some cases, entire cities like Camden, East St. Louis, Newark, and Detroit) is the land of dreams deferred.
Diss and dat
Re Erik Parker's 'The New Rap Battle' and Ben Detrick's 'The Diss-Track Family Tree' [April 15–21]: This is a good example of how hip-hop won't stop evolving (like it or not) and how 50 Cent is a driving force in hip-hop (like it or not). Parker's article was a good show of great reporting. I just wish 50 would change his ways, as entertaining as this battle is. Make some music already, and move on.
Erik Parker and the Voice: You all did the best job yet portraying the 50 Cent/Rick Ross feud.
50 Cent, Ja Rule, Rick Ross, Terror Squad Don, Fat Joe, and other rappers with their over-the-top dissing of each other is insulting to all blacks. Their lurid, filthy, gross, and insulting rapping about one another's mommas, girlfriends, kids, et al. is reprehensible! They're hardly role models with their lyrics of "If you got a daughter older than 15/I'm-a-rape her." Even rapper Saigon admits that this "shit can go too far" and "If the dissing started to affect my career . . . like 50 did to Ja Rule—I'd be looking for that nigga to this day." And Fat Joe, who is Latino, said on an album track: "Fuck 50 [My Fo' Fo'—referring to a .44 caliber handgun]."
Already, 50 Cent has been stabbed, and he was shot nine times while sitting in a car near his home in Jamaica, Queens. Furthermore, since the West Coast, which whacked Biggie, have a particular hatred for 50 Cent, he's high on their list to rendezvous with Tupac and Biggie.
Even respectable (?) Jay-Z dissed Nas in his Takeover album track segment rap, saying, "Nigga, switch up your flow, your shit is garbage . . . Get the fuck outta here." One would think that as rich as he and Beyoncé are (over $400 million), he'd be above such immature, racial negatives and stereotyping. The point: No matter how many millions of dollars, mansions, fame, etc., some of them get, they're still "ghettoniggicians" at heart.