Lists, Pop Culture

Career Moves 101

HereLiesBuried“…dead rappers get better promotion…” ~ Jadakiss, “We Gonna Make It”

It’s been a little over a month since Michael Jackson died.


Since he died there have been beaucoup stories about the life he lived and where he went wrong.  And despite my uber-bias towards MJdom, I can admit that his career essentially peaked almost 30 years ago.  And still, MJ’s going to go down as the greatest entertainer ever – but with detractors.  But imagine if he had died say…after the Bad album.

Or hell, even Dangerous.

MJ would have gone down as the most philanthropic, perhaps slightly-weird-but-really-just-a-rockstar, greatest pop star ever.  Just think, no child molestation charges; no Martin Bashir interview where MJ decides he wants to tell the world he wants to be Peter Pan;  no Neverland Ranch fiasco, etc.  Basically, he’d have gone out on top of the world, reminiscent of the other MJ’s final shot of the ’98 finals against Utah.

Poetry in motion.  A long time ago, me and my boy, Johnny Kwest, were having a discussion about Jay-Z.  This was before The Blueprint hit in 2001.  My boy kept saying that perhaps Jay should have kicked off right after Volume 2:  Hard Knock Life, and then he would have gone down as the greatest rapper of all time.  Little did we know that The Blueprint or The Black Album were on the way and a million other verses that would cement Jay into hip-hop’s top spot.

So, long introduction, aside, this conversation with my boy and the various conversations I’ve had about what MJ’s legacy would have been had he died in say 1989 (by the way, MJ’s run thru the 80’s – as my homeboy in Harlem would say, the equivalent of Wilt’s 100 point game.  I think it’s safe to say that MJ had the best decade ever), got me to thinking about other people who’s careers, though stellar, would have benefited from perhaps…an early demise.

Take a gander, a goose if you must.

Master P – hear me out, though he’s largely regarded as an idiot who hit it big, in the late 90’s, somehow, Master P convinced milions of people to buy horribly pen-and-pixeled albums of people who other wise shouldn’t have any career.  Master P took the independent hustle big-time, opening the door for Cash Money and even Roc-a-fella (only the success of No Limit could show people that going indy really could make you large dough).  Plus, this fool convinced people to put him on a remix with Canibus, Method Man, and DMX.  Yes…people thought he could rap.  He’s the original Jim Jones.  Had he gone out in 98, he’d be the greatest hustler ever.

Eddie Murphy – I saw this mentioned somewhere (can’t remember where), but imagine had Eddie Murphy kicked the bucket before he lost his fotting and started making terrible family comedies.  Say his legacy ONLY included Raw, Delirious, Beverly Hills Cop, and Coming To America.  He’d have been considered to have had one of the greatest comedic runs ever.  Instead, every so often I’m treated to The Golden Child and Pluto Nash.  F*ck our lives.

Mariah Carey - Just imagine she fell off of a building right before Glitter.  Greatest contemporary music artist ever.  Now she’s married to Nick Cannon and we all know she has no a**.  Of course, then we’d never have gotten the Emancipation of Mimi, which just might count as the greatest.comeback.ever.

And speaking of Mariah…

Whitney Houston – Had she kicked off before she met Bobby and crack (whichever came first), she’d have gone down as the voice of the last millenium instead of owner of the greatest interview quote ever, “crack is wack”.  That ladies and gentlemen, is her ENTIRE legacy.

Tupac – oh…right.  He figured it out.

Notorious B.I.G. - yeah…him too.


Marvin Gaye - The originator of the career death move in his prime for the African-American community.

Nas - If he had OD’d on that white stuff after Illmatic, he would have gone down as the guy who created hip-hop’s lyrical bible.  Since then, its been uneven album after uneven album with folks hoping for another Illmatic.  He ALSO wouldn’t be dishing out 55K a month to a woman’s and wishing he could just kill himself.

Barney – that damn purple dinosaur was the hottest sh*t in the streets for a solid4 years, then Dora the Explorer hit and kids just stopped being so corny in general.  Barney was last seen on Hollywood Blvd trying to score crack by selling some tail to a transvestitie prostitute pterodactyl impersonator.

Those are just a few of the folks I could pull out of my a**.  But there have to be a solid million possiblities for this.  So whose career do you think would have benefitted most from death?

Inquiring minds would like to know!


Also we’d like to say thank you all to voting us into the final rounds for the 2009 Black Weblog Awards.  We’re finalists for all four categories (Best Group Blog, Best S*x and Relationship Blog, Best Writing in a Blog, and Blog to Watch).  Thanks for your support.  We really apreciate the love and happiness.  Culo!

Damon Young

Panama Jackson is pretty fly for a light guy. He used to ship his frito to Tito in the District, but shipping prices increased so he moved there to save money. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. Most importantly, he believes the children are our future.

  • Jac

    This is a tough one…

    Does it have to be a rapper…I don’t think so and I’m not scrolling up…

    I’m going to say George Bush…directly before the 2000 election.

    Mischa Barton right after the OC

    • Panama Jackson

      @Jac, naw it doesnt have to be a rapper, i just threw them cats under the bus b/c it seemed so simple and b/c of any genre, rappers are clearly the most likely to have their career explode due to early death.

      that might actually be an interesting research topic, which entertainment genre has the highest risk of death. it seems hiphop would be it, but hell, folks get snuffed out and “accidentally killed” in nearly every segment of entertainment…

  • Jac

    Oh ok and I wanna throw in someone who had perfect timing:


    His representation of the Joker was an amazing come up after that whole Brokeback thing (I just like DK more)….

    Let’s see what else…Lincoln was pretty on time too…before it fully came out that he wanted to keep us reggins in bondage…

    What the hell is wrong with me tonight?

    • Panama Jackson

      @Jac, i do say that i’d agree with you, heath ledger definitely was ahead of the curve…

      though, i’d wager that people will forget about him soon. somehow, the dark knight doesn’t seem to have the stickability many thought it would have. and let’s be real, brokeback mountain has the wrong kind of stickability.

  • SaneN85

    Britney would have done well to have a tragic death. Maybe the jury is still out on that one for some, but not me.

    • Jac


      Just before Crossroads!

    • Tyrone


      Agreed. Was gonna say the same thing.

    • Panama Jackson

      @SaneN85, wait…she didn’t already have one???

      death by publicity and personal self-served hell in the entertainment world seems just the same as real death.

      seems that britney attempted to make a comeback…and she’s heading in the righ tdirection…but i dont knwo if she’ll ever get back to where she was. for one, she’s getting older and her fans are fickle and 12. 2) she can’t sing for sh*t. the way to actually maintain older fans is to have some discernible talent. nobody over the age of 21 is paying to see Britney Spears live…

    • Cheekie


      It was the Cheetos that ruined her. Chester Cheeto, you are an EVIL mofo. *raises fist*

  • bittersweet’s baby

    Everytime I read y’all, I think the same thing. You’re some sick n twisted b@sta@rds. Me likey…

    Rocsi. When? Hmm shortly after she first opened her mouth. Okay, okay, she can stay if she gets a voice transplant AND 1/2 a brain.

    Plies. When? Right after he laid the first track. They all sound the same, anyway. Hey, better to miss him than to want him to go missin’…

    David Caruso bka Horatio – CSI Miami. When? Right after NYPD Blue. The stellar writing and strong ensemble cast somehow caused the industry to overlook the fact that he’s absolutely The.Worst.Actor.EVER.

    • charli skipper

      @bittersweet’s baby,
      none of these people have talent, tho! lol…or maybe that’s not true…but they’re all very wack

      • Nicki Sunshine

        @charli skipper, “Rocsi. When? Hmm shortly after she first opened her mouth. Okay, okay, she can stay if she gets a voice transplant AND 1/2 a brain. ”

        LMAO. I have non homo e luv for you for this statement!

      • Panama Jackson

        @charli skipper, whoanow, plies is absolutely the most talented rapper to come out of the 10 block radius from whence he came.

        i mean, he’s the realest, and the definition of real…and the realest…

        aww, skip (gates) it.

    • Panama Jackson

      @bittersweet’s baby, Everytime I read y’all, I think the same thing. You’re some sick n twisted b@sta@rds. Me likey…

      hey, our swagger is mick jagger, every time we breathe on a track we asthma attack it.

      what did that have to do with the price of toenail clippers in borneo? not a damn thing.

  • Sheffield Swats

    Hmm, gonna go with Vince Carter, sometime before he announced that he didn’t want to dunk anymore (2002? 03?)

    In the same vein, if Penny Hardaway had passed when his puppet was still doing commercials with Tyra Banks and before he started coming off the bench for the Knicks I might have been able to postpone growing into adulthood for a few more years. I think his knees are directly accountable for me starting to contribute to my 401(k). Smh.

    Ditto Ken Griffey, Jr.

    • Panama Jackson

      @Sheffield Swats, hadn’t even thought about Penny Hardaway, but you’re right. there was a point where he was the freakin’ annointed in the nba. and hands down…

      …he’s had the bestathlete commercials. ever.

  • Liz

    You had me until you went with BARNEY.

    then i died.

    • Panama Jackson

      @Liz, it’s true though. barney totally had the kiddie circuit on lock but he just held on too long.

  • Leila

    Ja Rule
    Tom Cruise
    Gary Coleman
    Britney Spears

    • charli skipper

      yes. i can hardly remember the world in a time where tom cruise wasn’t crazy.

    • Panama Jackson

      @Leila, wait…but didn’t 50 cent kill ja rule?

      and um, when exactly was gary coleman at the top of anybody’s game?

  • Sheffield Swats

    Surprised this wasn’t #1 on the list….

    Lauryn “crazramblinpopehating” Hill. Had she died after “The Miseducation” or even the wtf-inspiring Unplugged, she’d have gone down as the GOAT, not the orange-haired baby machine who let D drive her bat$hit.

    • Ashley

      @Sheffield Swats, YES. i signed into the comments JUST to add lauryn hill’s name to this list.

    • Liz

      @Sheffield Swats, LMAO. I think I coulda done without Unplugged though, I felt like that was the beginning of the end. My vote on her is before Unplugged.

      • Sheffield Swats

        @Liz, Only pegged her demise post-Unplugged b/c without that album, there’d have been no “All Falls Down” by Kanye. Otherwise, that CD is a coaster.

        • Panama Jackson

          @Sheffield Swats, way to look at all the benefits of that coaster.


          @Sheffield Swats,
          “All falls down” that was lauryn on the hook?

          • Sheffield Swats

            @BLUNTBLAZER, it was a riff from Lauryn’s song. She wouldn’t agree to let Yeezy sample it so he had Syleena Johnson record her part.

    • Panama Jackson

      @Sheffield Swats, you know what, you’re absolutely right. and i’m the dude who wrote a whole post about her and i forgot about her.

      she’s definitely up there with michael jackson, jfk, and jr ewing.

  • AshleyNeicole

    Allen Iverson –Right before the trade from Philly
    Michael Vick–Right before the dog fights
    Eminem–Right after “Marshall Mathers”

    We’ve all pretty much co-signed on Brittney Spears, but she’s slowly making a comeback…

    • Tyrone


      co-sign Eminem

    • Panama Jackson

      @AshleyNeicole, you know, you’re right about eminem. if he’d quit after that album…we’d be like, ‘he’s the greatest rapper ever’

      you know what, if he could put together a solid effort thru and thru (even on the marshall mathers lp, it largely sucked after track 11…those first few joints just were that good…it’s the straight outta compton effect), he might have a case. but he puts albums together only slightly better than Nas.

    • Cheekie


      Eminem is a really good one. I kept debating with myself if it’s me getting older but I wasn’t impressed at all with his funny schtick with “We Made You” as I was with “The Real Slim Shady” and beyond back then.

      Nah, I’m still goofy… he was just more brilliant with it back then. Seems like he phones it in today.

    • Peysonic Temple

      @AshleyNeicole, I cant agree with Eminem. What he just did to Mariah is worth all of the garbage he’s put out since Marshall

      • miss t-lee

        @Peysonic Temple,
        *head nod*

      • Panama Jackson

        @Peysonic Temple, though it just adds more fuel to the fire that em really only goes at soft targets.

        game has said some f*cked up stuff about Em yet we hear nothing. instead he goes at nick cannon and mariah carey…ON ACTUAL ALBUM TRACKS. and then leaks this “warning” joint??

        i like em, but really…

  • charli skipper

    not that i don’t love her, because i do, but if tyra banks had left the game before now, we’d still think she was this mysterious, exotic beauty….i still think she’s beautiful, but before my mind goes to that, i think “CRAZY!!”

    aaliyah is one of those people that died in their prime…she’s remembered in such esteem that it’s almost impossible to imagine, but what if she was alive today? would her stock have dropped? on second thought, nah…

    um…mike tyson. he shoulda got out the game some time in 1993

    • Panama Jackson

      @charli skipper, mike tyson is a good one.

      as far as aaliyah goes, i think her dying kind of pushed into the limelight more than she had when she was alive. i mean, folks loved her, and “one in a million” was a GREAT album…but nobody was claiming aaliyah was the top shotta.

    • Cheekie

      @charli skipper,

      “aaliyah is one of those people that died in their prime…she’s remembered in such esteem that it’s almost impossible to imagine, but what if she was alive today? would her stock have dropped? on second thought, nah…”

      A lot of people say that the grandiose love spoken for her was just because she died, but to that I say, “PSHAW!” (um, who even says this in real life? lol). I used to STAN for Aaliyah when I was a shorty. I wanted to be BE her. Rocking my baggy Tommy Hilfiger pants and belly top (um, not to school though…lol) and putting my hear in a wrap so I can drap the side bang over my eye. And I remember coming home after school learning the choreography for “Are You That Somebody” which was my JAM.

      Would she have been as famous today. I don’t doubt she would. She doesn’t have a fantastic voice by any stretch of the imagination, but how is that different from the girls who got chart-toppers today? All she would’ve needed was the perfect hook and producer and she woulda been in. I would’ve loved to see her pit against Ciara though. I remember I said Ciara was trying to be like her, but Ciara has grown to her own style so I would’ve liked to see that dynamic.

      And for some reason, I am very intrigued by the thought of Aaliyah singing an auto-tune song. lmao

      • Panama Jackson

        @Cheekie, you don’t think she was already using auto-tune?

        you know, i guess i downplayed her cultural impact which was a bit bigger than her musical one. musically the only thing she REALLY brought to the table was a platform for timbaland’s production which went into hyperdrive with Aaliyah. and of course her videos.

        i actually think that if aaliyah was alive, quite a few folks wouldn’t even have careers, like Ciara…or any of the other not-really-singing dancing ass chicks.

        just like tupac’s death opened the door for dmx and hence ja rule.

        • Cheekie

          @Panama Jackson,

          “@Cheekie, you don’t think she was already using auto-tune? ”

          Actually, ya know, I was thinking about this once I typed that, but I guess what I really meant was the T-Pain edition auto-tune. Shoulda pre-faced that. Like, it woulda been funny to see T-Pain cooning pop-n-lockin’ it up behind her on a music video.

          “actually think that if aaliyah was alive, quite a few folks wouldn’t even have careers, like Ciara…or any of the other not-really-singing dancing ass chicks. ”

          Yeah, thought about this, too. But then again, aren’t there several chicks out there today who are really just mirrors of each other, they just have the right hook to gain the right amount of fame?

        • Sheffield Swats

          @Panama Jackson, “actually think that if aaliyah was alive, quite a few folks wouldn’t even have careers, like Ciara…or any of the other not-really-singing dancing ass chicks”

          speaking of those ladies…Janet Jackson’s career coulda wrapped after the Velvet Rope album. Britney and the Pussycat Dolls, et al stole 85% of her dance moves, but really, I would like to have been spared her Tyler Perry career and the JD dating.

      • overit?

        @Cheekie, CO-SIGN on all of that, Aaliyah was my hero and half of my fashion sense as a shawty lol. I had the side swoop on lock, wide legs and baby tees..RIP babygurl

    • Chasdizz

      @charli skipper,

      major co-sign on tyra.

      but then again where would we be without her astronomical advice…..oh yeah, the same exact spot we were before it.