Love ’em, hate ’em, just don’t forget about artists who are locked up.
Remember 2018, when it seemed every week we talked about 6ix9ine? Or 2016 when Tay K’s “The Race” dropped and the music video followed shortly after? Or even the early 2000s, when Max B was popping off?
Yeah, we still talk about these guys a bit. The 6ix9ine snitching memes were funny, Tay K is in the news because he’s probably going to jail for life, and it’s always “Free Max B.” But are we talking about these guys for the wrong reasons or just very one-dimensional reasons?
Tay-K is likely going to be in prison his entire life. Max-B may get out within the next few years, and prominent artists like Jay-Z and Busta Rhymes have paid homage to him recently. As for 6ix9ine, we don’t know how long he’s gonna be in jail but it doesn’t look good.
Lowkey, this is a very complex issue. These guys aren’t model citizens, and with the possible exception of Max B, it doesn’t even seem like they’re good dudes.
But does that mean we should forget the impact they had on the rap game and overall culture in their years active? Tay-K gave us a bop that was a banger at every party it was played at. Max B was bodying tracks in the first decade of the 2000s and even released an album while he was in prison.
And how can we talk about 2018 without talking about 6ix9ine? I mean, this guy took the internet by storm and gave countless people a laugh and a hit that they could play and talk about with friends.
After a long day, you could bank on a 6ix9ine meme or video to make you smile when the day otherwise rendered it impossible. After he was the biggest thing for months, then got bagged, no one dared to mention his name anymore. In fact, there is no greater indicator of our current age of short attention spans than the rise and fall of 6ix9ine.
In the entertainment industry, people and trends are always fleeting. In the ’80s, Molly Ringwald was one of the biggest stars out, and then out of nowhere, she fell off the face of the earth.
The same can be said for the early 2000s and Britney Spears.
But in rap, respect is given and artists have a direct effect on others that come after them. Where would Lil Baby, Gunna, and a lot of these other new artists be without Young Thug? So then, how can we not pay homage and forget about artists so soon?
For my #thrones fans out there, even if the last season was a bust, Samwell Tarly said it best:
“That’s what death is, isn’t it? Forgetting. Being forgotten. If we forget where we’ve been and what we’ve done, we’re not men anymore. Just animals.”
Speaking in the face of certain death is gnarly, but his words still hold true. It is a scary and depressing thing to think about how quickly people forget. 6ix9ine, Tay-K, and Max B are all currently locked up and in different stages of trying to get out.
It’s true that they’ve made horrible mistakes and possibly don’t deserve to be free. But regardless of where they are, the least us “rap fans” can do is pay respect to them by listening to their music, discussing their impact, and hearing what they have to say now.
Paying homage truly doesn’t take much.