As Americans, we are easily entertained by conflict. In addition to explaining our fascination with professional sports and action movies, that penchant can also explain modern-day hip-hop's popularity with a mainstream audience. While the most entertaining aspect is still the "beefs" (which made 50 Cent a household name), a close second is when the artists get fed up with their label bosses and struggle to break free of their contracts so they can pack their bags and go elsewhere (see Clipse vs.
, Lil' Flip vs.
, Young Buck vs.
). Two months ago, such a conflict reared its head on Twitter between RefinedHype/DJBooth favorite K. Michelle and
A&R Mickey "MempHiTz" Wright.
The facts: Despite being signed to
for over a year and releasing three of Michelle's singles ("Self Made" ft. Trina and/or Gucci Mane, "Fakin' It" ft. Missy Elliott, and "Fallin'"), neither of these got pushed very much by
, preferring to promote the dime-a-dozen Party Boyz ("Flex" & "Daddy Stroke") as well as across-the-pond MC Master Shortee ("Bring It Back"). So here's where the drama begins.
K. Michelle said: Memphitz physically abused her (as many a man has done in her life-you'd think such a "businessman" would be smarter) and spent the ENTIRE budget for her debut album "Pain Medicine" on his new girlfriend, Toya Carter (best known as Lil' Wayne's ex-wife and mother of his 12-year old daughter Reginae).
Memphitz said: Not much, he was just gloating at being the label boss, at refusing to release K. Michelle from her contract, and that it was in his power to decide whether or not "Pain Medicine" would ever see the light of day.
A representative for Memphitz said: The most in this case. According to him, when K. Michelle was first signed, Memphitz enjoyed her voice, had big plans for her, and saw her as his "little sister". Allegedly that wasn't enough for Ms. Pate, who saw them as the next "Bey-Z". Mr. Wright apparently never wanted that, but gave it a shot anyway. That rep would say the relationship soured (claiming K. Michelle was always being too negative), so eventually Memphitz told her it wasn't going to work out. At that point the "woman scorned" allegedly came out, stalking Memphitz back to his house and making threats to ruin his career.
Because I know K. Michelle well online, I can tell you right now that
1. SHE HAS NO REASON TO LIE TO ANYONE.
2. She is by no means "constantly negative." All communication I've had with her has been positive (if she's crazy, then so am I).
3. As our own Nathan alluded to in his review of Jazmine Sullivan's "Fearless", the music industry is getting tired of these one-hit wonders and wants to settle down with true talent now (which explains the success of so many, not only Jazzy & K., but also Melanie Fiona, Janelle Monae, the list goes on...).
As for Memphitz...I might be biased because I'm a "pro-artist" writer, but here's the scoop on him.
1. His label,
, has only released one album in its lifespan - Huey's 2007 debut "Notebook Paper" (which was only released because lead single "Pop, Lock, and Drop It" was such a major hit). Despite being one of the better one-shot-major albums I've ever heard (I still play "Nobody Loves the Hood" on the regular), it did not sell well, barely going "bronze" (125k). A second album "Strictly Business" was planned (and even had a DVD release) with buzz singles featuring the likes of Trey Songz, Maino, Glasses Malone, Bobby Valentino, Juelz Santana, and Colby O'Donis, but it never dropped, leading Huey to quit the
and go independent with his own
(his new album "Redemption" drops September 14).
2. In addition to Huey, other artists can attest to
not really trying to get their debut albums released, with some leaving the label (Asia Cruise, bkf "Selfish") but others still drinking the Kool-Aid for some reason (Trai'D bkf "Gutta Chick", and Derty bkf "Uh Oh" ft. future death row inmate Lil' Boosie), still others not really caring about their album (Party Boyz), and one who the jury is still out on (Master Shortie). To sum it up: it's been 3 years since the last Hitz album, and it'll likely be more before we see another one.
3. About his show on BET "The Deal": a. There will only be one RAP CITY, and BET needs to bring it back! b. It only airs once a week, Saturday nights at 2 AM EST. When it comes on, everybody's either heavy clubbing, or (even better) in BED, ASLEEP.
4. Have I ever told you how sick I am of Memphitz' catchprase "DO WORK"? The artists DO work hard, you just refuse to step up and care for your artists! (I guess it's true that the one who preaches does so first to himself).
And finally, about Toya Carter:
1. WHY do you keep your ex-husband's last name when you two have been divorced for the last 5 years? Does publicity mean THAT much to her?
2. I hear she's trying out the rap game now, and has even helped remix "Bedrock" with Rasheeda, Kandi, and Lola Monroe (nee Angel Lola Luv). Can anyone really take her seriously at this? (I know Weezy didn't)
3. Back to Memphitz: Weezy has sent a message straight from Riker's Island imploring Toya to dump Memphitz. I know she won't, but even Weezy is concerned (mainly about how Reginae would be caught up into this)
4. As for "Tiny and Toya," it has been announced that there will not be a third season of that show, because Tiny has decided to basically fade out of the limelight once she and T.I. finally get hitched later this year. However, Toya insists on keeping up the mess, launching her own show with her constantly wilding-out family.
So...After Further Review:
1. K. Michelle will be doing just fine, because R. Kelly (who basically RUNS
- just ask Joe) has her back, is executive producing "Pain Medicine" now, and wrote and produced the future SMASH "
2. Because of his label's poor success rate, and because of Kellz' aforementioned power,
will lose his A&R position and start 2011 looking for a new home for the
(my money's on
Def Jam, Capitol, Interscope
3. As for Toya...she'll just keep riding the back of whichever successful man she needs to just to stay relevant.
got its fair share of negative reception by Freeway Ricky's followers, and this is likely to get just as much (if not more) from the
. Still, the Hype supports true talent, and those who appreciate it will appreciate what I say.
Come back next week when I discuss Angel Lola "Monroe" Luv's foray into the rap world and why she could be using a MUCH better method. 'Till then, to paraphrase Z: "Thank you for joining me inside After Further Review, and I wish you nothing but the best of luck."