I don’t know too much about the rest of the country/world, but I do know that living in California means dealing with homelessness on a daily basis. As a result it’s an issue that has come up in my writing a couple of times. Off top, I can think of me referring to it when I was reviewing Obie Trice and Moss’s album Special Reserve, and in the video of Yelawolf coming back to People’s Park in Berkeley years after having spent time being homeless in that exact location. Well,here comes another one.
Droop-E, the son of E-40, just released his newest video with TJ of 1st Place(used to be Stressmatic of The Federation) and Work Dirty of The DB’z for his song “Hungry”, off of his free, BLVCK Diamond Life album, which is entirely self-produced and features a different Sade sample on each track. Sampling is a new look for Droop, who first gained notoriety for making “Hyphy” beats like Mistah F.A.B.’s firsthit single, “Super Sik Wid It”. To peep his progression over time, and the way he would approach using samples was more than enough reason for me to check out the album. Overall it’s a smooth release, and is well worth your download. So cop it at: http://droop-e.com/
It just so happens that “Hungry” is one of my favorite tracks on the project. The beat samples Sade’s “When Am I Going To Make A Living”, and it’s overall tone matches the uplifting nature of the lyrics perfectly. Droop-E’s verse is pretty dope, and focuses on the fact that there’s no need to hate on others, because regardless of race,we’re all struggling to put some food on the table. TJ’s verse was surprising because his delivery is so ridiculously different from during his days of being in The Federation. I literally had no idea that he used to be Stressmatic until I saw the video. I like some of the personal touches he threw in there, but winning a Grammy? He’s got a long road to travel. Finally, although I have never been that into The DB’z, I really liked Work Dirty’sverse. He doesn’t really exaggerate or talk about a future that most likely won’t happen,but instead focuses on the fact that he is living a life that he genuinely enjoys, when all the odds were stacked against him, and no one thought he had the ability to succeed.
With all of the above in mind, and knowing that, Aris Jerome, the Bay Area music video guru who really had the best 2010 out of anyone in the local music scene, was handling the visuals, I was excited to see the final product. Yet unfortunately, the video is where I start to have a problem. On the one hand I respect Droop-E for bringing attention to the homeless problem in our nation. He didn’t have to go out of his way to attach such a serious issue to his music, but he did. Yet at the same time, the juxtaposition of the three rappers’ desire to succeed in the music industry, to homeless people in the Bay Area’s desire to literally have something, just about anything, to eat,seemed a little inappropriate to me. I mean Droop-E is the son of an internationally recognized hip-hop pioneer, who sold enough records, and made enough money, to create and run a successful record label, as well as establish other businesses. His pops bought him a studio at a young age, and had Rick Rock and Bosko teach him how to make beats. I don’t personally know his living situation, but it seems like if it all goes bad, he’s got at least a couple of things to fall back on, as opposed to the current homeless who are in their situation because they didn’t have a support system/safety net. The video goes back and forth between absolutely down and out homeless people in Berkeley on Telegraph (the same street Yelawolf called home for a year) and San Francisco at Civic Center Plaza, to Droop-E and co in designer clothing and expensive chains, eating what looks to be a pretty pricey meal. I could just be a bitter critic, but tome something seems off about that. No hate towards Droop-E, I’ve been a fan of his music since I first heard it in high school, but I think this video was a miss step.