The New York Post is a tabloid. We should start there. Despite their dreadful journalistic reputation, however, hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers still pick up their daily copy.
On Sunday, the Post ran an abhorrent story in their metro section titled "FDNY veteran ‘bad-mouths’ cops in double life as rapper." The report was a direct attack on Brooklyn-based FDNY captain Kaseem Ryan, known in hip-hop circles as veteran rapper Ka.
First, it's important to note that Post columnists regularly display a level of stunning ignorance that is hard to fathom. Still, that doesn't excuse a major publication in the largest market in America for shaming a man who puts his life on the line on a daily basis to serve and protect its city's inhabitants.
On "Cold Facts," a record off his 2013 album Grief Pedigree, Ka raps, "Fuck them cops and swats with night vision." Incredibly, that one line is the foundation of reporter Susan Edelman's entire column, in which she tries to paint Ka as a violent, anti-cop rapper whose "lyrics describe ghetto life, a world of guns, dope and despair."
Instead of celebrating a man who rose up from poverty to become a FDNY captain who banks almost $150k a year, a man who has built a side career as a respected, independent rap career who Run The Jewels' El-P tweeted is "a purveyor of vivid, gritty, eloquent music," Edelman and the wanks at the Post chose to run a takedown piece, extrapolating two lyrics and a select number of old tweets into completely misleading rhetoric.
To support her angle Edelman spoke with Ed Mullins, president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, who stated "The biases [Ka] portrays through his music are indicative of what he believes or feels." Setting aside the fact Mullins couldn't possibly know if what Ka talks about in his music aligns with his own personal beliefs, the emcee is entitled to express his opinions through music in much the same way Mullins did for this story.
Just like Edelman wouldn't want us to assume that every article she's ever penned is awful because of this one terrible, rotten, poorly planned and executed story, it's unprofessional and wrong to come to an overarching conclusion about a hero who moonlights as a rapper based solely on select lyrics from an ever-growing catalog of music.
New York is lucky to have Ryan. Hip-hop is, too.
By DJ Z, who loves to argue with you on Twitter.
Photo Credit: NY Post