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Volume 70, Issue 77, Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Life & Arts

Jada may have to kiss reply goodbye

Beat Box

Zach Lee

Hip-hop is a many-splendored thing, and a lot of those splendors are about fighting -- proving one's skill at the expense of another. 

Rumor has it that Interscope CEO Jimmy Iovine doesn't quite understand that fact. 50 Cent has dissed Jadakiss, among others, for his role in rival Ja Rule's "New York, New York" but Jada has yet to respond. 

Apparently the buzz around the industry is that Iovine has refused to let Jada bite back. The fact that both 50 and Jada are under Iovine's Intersope umbrella makes the decision look a little shady.

In a world where Nas has fallen into the role of a $2 hooker, there are volumes to be read in 50 Cent's name. The thought that Jada would turn 50 into something you give to bums at traffic lights is hard to dispute -- Jada has had success in almost every area of hip-hop, while the only thing 50's platinum plaques prove is that he's good at staying close to Eminem. 

For all the unfounded confidence 50 flaunts, Iovine is the real punk in this matter. Again, hip-hop is being disrespected while someone makes a buck. 

If Iovine is afraid that Jada would have the bullet that would finally hit its mark and put an end to 50's career, he's wrong anyway. Anybody who buys one of 50's albums either knows he's a pop-musician -- not a serious rapper -- or they're just fans of bad music and have no idea who Jadakiss is anyway. 

But I couldn't care less what Interscope's profit margins are. The biggest blow to hip-hop here is Iovine's disregard for its intricacies. Instead of giving Jada a chance to prove himself in the eyes -- or ears, rather -- of those paying attention, Iovine has opted to close the door on that kind of redemption.

While Jada is no Shakespeare, his lyrical prowess dwarfs 50's, and it's sad to see that big bad Jimmy Iovine chose to support profit over art, however misguided he was in his decision.

So hip-hop is in the same place, but fans have another reason to feel like victims and another reason to laugh at 50 Cent. The only one he could beat in a battle is Ja Rule, and ... uhhh ... Ja Rule is about as hard as a down comforter. 

We can only hope Jada will kill two birds (Iovine and 50) with one stone by leaking a response through to Kazaa so we can be reassured that there's some kind of dignity out there.

Iovine has shown his true colors, and he's got anything but the future of hip-hop on his mind. So the music snob in me wants to point to the event as evidence that the only quality hip-hop in the world is in the underground. After this, being associated with an independent label brings almost enough credibility to warrant a successful career -- even someone with 50's severe dearth of talent.

Just remember the next time you flip on the radio that those hits are decided by people like Iovine. Save yourself some excruciation and lay down a few dollars for a Jadakiss mixtape.

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