... when even the "good" brothas end up acting like niggaz.
Me and Rhome used to do jokes about unnecessary beef on our old radio show. Used to shake our heads and wonder why so many niggas couldn't get their shit together. Used to wonder why in the hell Pete Rock and CL Smooth would break up.
We knew the dangers of friends working together. We talked about them in advance. And in the end, we fell victim to it anyway. And he's not the only friend I've run into problems with.
I still won't talk about what went down between me and Rhome, but I would like to say something about fame. Fame is 100% perception. It's all illusion. It's a good publicist. Most of the time when people see how I live they're surprised. I'm still surprised when I find out how some rappers live. It's so easy to presume that the person on that television is living the life the rest of us are somehow missing. And even when you see the truth, it doesn't always sink in.
People from back home who NEVER knew me like to talk now about how I've changed. And even the people who did know me have to remind themselves that I've always been fairly egotistical ... somewhat arrogant. I have to be. To be an artist who throws your crappy, rushed work out on deadline seven times a week in front of 30 million people and then has to go on TV or in front of a thousand collage kids and be an expert on everything from inter-racial relationships to black Marxism ... you gotta go out thinking you're the shit or you fold.
I never did understand what happened with me and Rhome. I mean, I have my suspicions, but we weren't communicating well when it went down, so ... I still don't know for sure. At first I did what niggas do, and what I still do when I forget the teachings of Yoda - I gave in to anger. I'm combative. Shouldn't be a surprise to anyone considering I created the angriest character in the history of comics (except for maybe Moe from Calvin and Hobbes). When I calmed down, I tried to settle things peaceful - lay pride by the wayside. It didn't work. Rhome has an open invitation to talk to me when he wants to. That's all I can do.
But a month or two before I fell out with Rhome I fell out with another close friend - one I had known for over 10 years. One who was also working for/with me. We patched things up, and at the end of the day, it wasn't about egos - it was about the PERCEPTION of egos. When a man holds his head up while he's broke - he's a trooper. When he holds it up when he's paid - he's an asshole. But this was someone I had known from high school. Someone who had to pay my way into clubs and buy me dinner when I was living with my Mom. Someone who had contributed to the success of my project. But when fortunes changed virtually overnight - it messed with his head in ways I couldn't understand because my only concern was, and unfortunately still is, deadlines. I remember one day he called and asked me if I needed any help. I asked him to go to the store for me and get some food. He got mad ... thought I was trying to play him like a butler or a servant. The truth was, I hadn't eaten in nearly two days and couldn't leave the computer to get food! Jokes we used throw back and forth when we were all broke took on a whole new meaning when we were no longer financially equal. Shit got heated quick. And when I tried to play Captain and give everyone money and/or jobs to rescue them from the drudgery of the office - it only made things worse. I went broke and they felt resentful and unequal.
Because I know how little fun I have, because I know how hard life under a perpetual deadline is, it's difficult for me to imagine that anyone would think I'm living it up. Because I know how unhappy I am with my own work - it's hard for me to imagine anyone thinking I have a big head.
So, at the end of the day, there is a part of me that wants to empathize with my friends who trip on me, because I've never been through what they've been through. I don't know what its like to have my boy thrust into the limelight, to have dumbasses in my ear all the time talking about how I should be getting credit too, how my boy has changed, and how I don't need to fuck with him ... whatever. And that makes me want to patch things up. Bad. Because believe me, I know how stupid this beef is. Whatever its about, it ain't worth this.
But the flip side is this - they've never stayed up two or three days straight on deadline. They've never had their name cursed in front of millions, they've never pulled something out of their heart and mind and seen it flourish (and sometimes flop) all over the world. They've never been hospitalized, or told they might have cancer, because of deadline stress. There's only a handful of people in the world who know what that shit is like.
So if they can't deal with how I am, how I handle my business, or how I live my life after living through THAT shit, fuck them. Have I changed? Oh yeah ... I had to. But not on some superficial hollywood type shit. If they can't understand that, we'll just have to be two more niggaz who couldn't get their shit together.
I'm taking a vacation. To hell with beef, to hell with the strip. I'm not a cartoonist, I'm not a celebrity, I'm not a black leader - I just play one on C-Span. And who knows - soon, I might not be doing that.
It's good to hear from you, Fei Long. Bushead, Book, anyone else who might see this ... holla.
Adub --------------------- Check out Black America's favorite comic strip The Boondocks, at www.Boondocks.net, or the local paper you don't read.
'Cause dammit I ain't drawin' this isht for nuthin'!!!
"Right now I feel I can take on the whole Empire myself ..." --------------------- Check out Black America's favorite comic strip The Boondocks, at www.Boondocks.net, or the local paper you don't read.
'Cause dammit I ain't drawin' this isht for nuthin'!!!
"Right now I feel I can take on the whole Empire myself ..."
- Luke's gunner Dak (minutes before becoming a friendly fire casualty in the Battle of Hoth)