We all know that crack kills.
And that it kills your brain cells.
The thing is, some of the biggest contributors to pop culture and society have been crackheads. Now of course, the term “contributors to society” can be interpreted many different ways, but interpretation, beauty, and thickness are all in the eye of the beholder.
Opinions are like that too. For instance, that new Jay-Z? Garbage. But some other person may hear some splendorous musical arrangement instead.
But back to the point: crackheads.
The other day on my trip out of town for vacation, my girlfriend and I had a conversation about people who don’t get enough credit. I started with Teddy Riley as somebody who’s managed to invent and re-invent himself over and over again over the past 2 decades and has produced some of the biggest albums (Bobby Brown’s Don’t Be Cruel, Michael Jackson Dangerous, Guy’s albums, etc.) and spearheaded the New Jack Swing movement in hip-hop/r&b. But not only did Teddy Riley do great work, he also mentored and inspired some other greats – created a certain family tree, if you will. And one particular part of that family tree lead me to 4 crackheads that don’t get enough credit. Follow me.
And proof of actual crackheadedness is unnecessary for today’s post – a general accepted assumption of crackedoutedness will suffice.
1) DeVante Swing
Not only is he the music (and largely the writing) behind Jodeci, he ALSO gave Timbaland, Missy, Ginuwine, and Playa their starts. Jodeci doesn’t have one album that can’t be considered classic (with Diary of a Mad Band being the greatest of the trio) and they largely defined a small period of the early 90s. But when you think about his contribution to music as a whole with the introduction of Timbaland and Missy, well, Mr. Swing is responsible for some of the biggest hip-hop and R&B songs of the 90s and 00s. And Justin Timberlake. And Nelly Furtado.
And by extension Lil Wayne’s “Lollipop”. (I’m convinced this was a Static Major song – member of Playa – that somehow ended up in Lil Wayne’s hands).
By the way, am I the only one who wonders if Dalvin harbored resentment for not having his name included in JoDeCi? Then again, I kind of wondered if in their initial trip to NYC to get their deal he didn’t just hop in the car and refuse to get out so they were like f*ck it, you can come, just don’t screw it up. Questions like this keep me up at night.
2) Marion Barry
I learned more about Marion Barry when I watched the 9 Lives of Marion Barry on HBO than I ever cared to know. I found out how much of a rabblerouser, but important civil rights figure he was. Basically, he did whatever he could in the name of civil rights early on in the movement and I feel that gets lost a lot in his lore. Plus, he actually (pre-crack, go figure) made DC one of the best run cities in the nation – for a time. Then again, when you’re most famous quote is “the b*tch set me up”, it kind of happens. Then again, that one line is worth more than its weight in gold anyway. If he did nothing more than that, he’d still be the Jay-Z of mayors.
3) Bobby Brown/Whitney Houston
I’m including them as one because I really don’t know who introduced who to what. I just know they were/are both on that rock at one point. Thing is, between the two of them, at one point, they sold enough records to make Kaiser Permanente jealous (that made more sense in my head than it did written out). Bobby Brown gave us Don’t Be Cruel, the best R&B album…EVER. And Whitney gave us “crack is wack”. I’d say they’ve done more for society and mankind than Extreme Makeover and American Idol.
Until DMX came out, folks were getting really pretty in their hip-hop. Then DMX came and grittiness became the cause du jour. Add in his superb and stellar acting in Belly, his horrible BET reality show and the infamous pink jail jumpsuit in Arizona, and I’d say that DMX is one of the greatest entertainers of all time. He just doesn’t get the credit for it.
Anyway, those are just a few crackheads who don’t get enough credit. There have to be some that I’m missing.
Who else needs some credit and/or love?
PS Have YOU hugged a crackhead today?
-VSB P aka THE ARSONIST aka TANGLE JIG P aka GIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRL, HE A 3