Friday, June 27, 2008

African American Scholar Boyce Watkins says Stop Hatin on Soulja Boy

by Dr. Boyce Watkins

I see all the hatin that's been going on with Soulja Boy lately. I wrote an article on the topic earlier, since I saw some of the artists I grew up on getting real mad at the brother. I don't blame the brothers for getting upset on this, since Soulja Boy is definitely something different. I can't do the dances, and I don't want to do them. In fact, I would rather you cut off my testicles and feed them to the family dog.

But with that said, I have to hate on myself just a little bit. I grew up hard on West Coast music that we love so much: Ice -T, Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, NWA, Spice 1 and Tupac. Is that really what we want our kids listening to? Let's be honest: the music we were bumping to in the 90s was some dangerous sh*t! Brothers got shot on every record, and being in the hip hop game was flat out crazy.

So, if I have a choice between teenagers dancing to punk-ass songs that sound like they were made on an ice cream truck vs. rapping about peeling each other's caps, I would rather our kids be safe and happy. To the OGs in the game: let it go. Times change. At the same time, we have to give the west coast more respect and start letting them have more spins nation-wide. West coast rap has always been, in the words of Ice-T, "The bastard child of hip hop". Well, Cinderella needs to go to the ball too, since the west coast rap game has some serious ballers.

As for Soulja Boy, let that young brother make his money, he was broker than the Ten Commandments last year and now he can provide for his family. Let the kids dance instead of kill each other, we don't want them ending up like Biggie and Pac.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Finance Professor at Syracuse University and author of "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About College". He does regular appearances in national media, including BET, CNN, ESPN and CBS. For more information, please visit

Black Professor Boyce Watkins Speaks on Soulja Boy/Ice T Feud

Some might wonder why I have the desire to comment on the beef between Soulja Boy and Ice T. But I hope people remember that professors are also people, and I am not a Finance Professor who happens to be black, I am a black man who happens to be a Finance Professor. So, for those who don't like hearing me speak on hip hop, deal with it.

I get mixed up in some hip hop beefs every now and then, as I spent a lot of time providing perspective on the beef between Ice Cube, 50 Cent and Oprah Winfrey last year. I speak with a lot of artists when I go to Hot 97 and BET, and I enjoy talking to them about how to manage their money and get their finances straight within an industry that is quick to financially rape black men.

The beef between Soulja Boy and Ice T was interesting, as Ice T doesn't seem to feel that Soulja Boy is adding anything to hip hop. In his remarks, Ice T told Soulja Boy to "eat a ....." (no, it was not a cheeseburger). Soulja Boy came back hard, referring to Ice T as an "Old ass n*gga", among other things.

I can't disagree, Ice T is pretty old. I don't know too many rappers born in 1958. He's actually old enough to be Soulja Boy's grandfather. At the same time, elders must be respected, and few artists have this kind of staying power. Ice T printed game unlike any other before or after him, and that contribution must be respected. But respect must be earned, and I don't feel that Ice earned his respect with the way he came at Soulja Boy.

I wrote an article or two on the topic, but I won't go into that. But I can say that when I watched the commentary by Soulja Boy, I saw a confused kid. I saw a young man who was (in his words) "poor as hell" just a year earlier, trying to find a way to make a living for he and his family. He said that he had tremendous respect for Ice T, and I speculate that he would have wanted to hear an older person say "eat your vegetables", instead of "eat a .....".

I could tell that Soulja Boy was hurt by the criticism. But when a man comes that hard at you, you have to respond strongly like a man. I am sure that he would rather have seen Ice T reach out to him and (in his words) "give him some pointers". Instead, Ice T came with the attack first, rather than trying to communicate as a brother or father figure.

I respect Ice T and I know alot about him from my conversations with Wendy Williams at WBLS. He is an amazing talent and his wife Coco, beyond being a stripper, is actually the intellectual engine that makes his empire move. So, seeing such an astute, intelligent and talented man like Ice T come at a 17-year old kid in such a nasty way really shocked the hell out of me.

Ice T, you're a man and a true playa. Now, swallow your pride, pick up the phone and mentor this young kid. Part of being a man means being man enough to admit that you were wrong. Soulja Boy's insults to you were really a reflection of his pain and disappointment. Young people don't need our disses, they need our guidance. Now get to transmittin game.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Ice T: Teach Soulja Boy about the Industry


Short note from Dr. Boyce Watkins

I was thinking a little harder on this issue between Ice T and Soulja Boy.  One of the things that I have to agree with Ice on is that Soulja Boy's music is commercialized hip hop, not the style that Ice T and others are used to.  Ice has to remember, however, that he had his share of haters back in the 80s when he was the first to cuss on a record.  Alot of people didn't consider that to be hip hop either.

Secondly, if Soulja Boy's music is empty and commercialized, perhaps Ice T and others should be reminded that it is not the artist that decides what music is gonna get released, it's the executives at the label.  Soulja Boy was broke, and he couldn't afford to take a stand for "true hip hop" when he needed to feed his family.

Ice T needs to keep that in mind.