“…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!
-VSB P aka THE ARSONIST aka TANGLE JIG P aka GIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRL, HE A 3
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