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No New Friends: The Phenomenon Of Post Death Love

Reminder, there’s no shame in not being the biggest fan of an artist. You’re also not under any moral obligation to fundamentally love every artist who ever died. Feels like that shouldn’t be a necessary reminder — except that it is.

Master P said during a long-winded Instagram post/caption that we need to lift up and celebrate the best and brightest in our culture while they’re still alive. He went on to accuse BET of showing fake love to the memory of Prodigy, who passed away last week from complications related to Sickle Cell Anemia. Let’s explore that.

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The Truth Hurts…BET Would Have Never Changed Their Show For Prodigy If He Was Still Alive!! It was a great thing acknowledging and celebrating the life of Prodigy and all of his accomplishments. But It’s a shame that none of these artists are told how great they are while they’re alive. Why can’t they get their flowers and tokens of appreciation while they’re still living? I know the truth hurts. I just have one serious question… Was Prodigy or Mobb Deep on BET’s radar last week… were they invited to the red carpet event, offered guest passes or an invite to perform at the awards show in the last 10 years? I’m willing to bet the answer is NO. I came to support my daughter today on the BET Experience stage but I decided that my family and I will not participate in the red carpet or awards events this year. I love my people and I support them but we really need to do better by each other. We lost a very talented brother, Prodigy. I send my condolences to his family. Hopefully, one day we can start appreciating the talented sisters and brothers while they are still alive. I know that what I am saying may ruffle a few feathers but the truth needed to be heard.

A post shared by Master P (@masterp) on

Prodigy — half of Mobb Deep — was a pillar of realness that represented that lost 90s era where authenticity reigned supreme. While Prodigy has a vast catalog of content, it’s not unrealistic to assume that a significant portion of (the more casual) Hip Hop listeners love for P peaked in two very specific eras. Mobb’s classic sophomore album — specifically “Shook Ones” — and the commercial singles in the period between Infamy and Blood Money. I’ll admit that’s a hunch.

Numbers do point that way, though. The farther we from Blood Money, the less commercial impact P was able to make. His debut solo H.N.I.C went gold, but — while the two subsequent installments did manage to chart — his solo releases never received any further certifications. What happened to the love?

Like many artists who have passed before him, P had suddenly popped up on everyone’s (above the underground) radar last week After his sudden passing, with many crediting him as their ‘favourite’ rapper. It’s not a bad thing, and unfortunately an artist’s passing often spurs newfound interest in their discography. However, when a network like BET suddenly becomes the “biggest champion” of an artist they’ve all but forgotten over the past decade, it seems oddly opportunistic — if not, fake (as hell).

Much like Pac, Big, Sean P, and others we’ve lost along the way (like Phife), Prodigy is now finding himself on lots of top rappers lists, when — in actuality — he should have been there all along if that’s how you feel. The trouble is that celebration of vets like P would sure take up a lot of mental real estate that is currently is spent celebrating new and upcoming acts.

There needs to be balance; there needs to be something. Anything. Why are we the only genre that does this?We have architects who have over the way starving. WTF?

Isn’t it weird that people say “it’s about time” when Pac was inducted into the Rock-N-Roll Hall Of Fame, but couldn’t be bothered to shell out the $35 to help support the development and celebration of the Hip-Hop Hall Of Fame?

The frustration of an act like Master P is understandable, as he (while not as lyrically gifted) has made similar impacts on the culture which he is not as recognized for as he could be. I get it. You should, too.

Younger heads should do their homework, and at least try to understand P’s impact on the game. He has lots of great music for you to discover. But you don’t have to hold him up as the greatest to ever do it. It’s ok to love or rekindle a love for fallen soldiers, but dick riding the dead for good optics is unnecessary. Pause.

PS read his book. It’s in my Top 5.

Riley About Author

Riley here — father, artist, videographer, professional writer and SERIOUS hip-hop head. I'm a member of the Universal Zulu Nation, and I think everything is better on vinyl. Add me on Twitter! @specialdesigns