New York, NY – - In an effort to add clarity and insight into a recent controversy that has been stirring this week, legendary Hip Hop producer Pete Rock speaks about the matter of Lupe Fiasco‘s take on his classic song from 1992, T.R.O.Y. / They Reminisce Over You. Pete Rock offers these statements to set the record straight:
It’s true that Lupe Fiasco’s representative from Atlantic Records contacted me last fall and he did so while I was in mourning over the sudden death of my cousin Heavy D. I gave the representative a conditional “yes” to use T.R.O.Y. for Lupe’s album but only based on the condition that I be involved on the project. It’s what I always say when approached by people who want to use that particular song. I was never contacted again. At no point was there any follow up from Atlantic Records. Now, the story gets twisted and it’s being said that I said “yes.” The part about my conditions has been left out to make me seem like I’m a hypocrite. When I heard about the song again, it was done, completed, and playing on the radio…and that was Monday night.
It’s true that people have made T.R.O.Y. over. I can’t control what’s done with my work after it’s already out there but I can control who gets my blessings. Those who involve me and respect me in the process, get my blessings. Those who work behind my back – but all the while putting up a front like I’m down with it – don’t.
I’m flattered that they wanted to remake my song and that they respect it for the classic that it is. I just think they should have talked to Atlantic Records to make sure things were done right. The biggest violation is from Atlantic Records but what can you expect? Labels are corporations and their whole point is to sell records. If they respect the artist in the process that would be nice, but they’re not required. For as political as Lupe as, I expected him to know that and to have hopefully made them more accountable. I’m surprised that he’s siding with the corporation on this.
Technically, there was no crime committed with the release of Lupe’s version of my song. Technically, the song can be out there but I’m not talking about legalities. I’m asking: Where’s the respect for the code among artists?
No ego, but I know my place in this game. I’m recognized as a legend and I accept that. But most of all, I’m a grown man. The love and admiration that people have for me as a producer and as a man of honor has been non-stop, consistent for over 20 years. That’s based on something that can’t be touched. My music and my character stands for itself. T.R.O.Y was a career-defining song has gotten me invited to the White House. It’s not just because people think the production is dope. It’s also because of what the song stands for. I want my music to touch people but I don’t want to be walked over or lied on in the process.
I admit that my outburst on Monday night on Twitter was based on my reminiscing about Heav and Troy. I think about them every day. I apologize for being emotional about this. I had no intentions of hurting Lupe’s career. That’s not me. I’m known for building up not breaking down careers. Moving forward, I’m 100% in control and focused on what’s good.
When asked why he felt it important speak out again, Pete Rock went on to say: I’ve been around this game long enough to know controversies come and they go and a lot of times the facts of the situation get blotted out. This situation is hot enough for me to set the record straight. Like I said before, I’m moving on.”
Davey D’s Food for Thought:
This is an industry where from time to time folks will have some serious disagreements..We’re talking about works of art and when it comes down to it folks are extremely passionate about their craft..I can easily see the passion that Pete has about TROY and I can see why Lupe would be so upset with criticism that Pete launched on twitter.
All this gets complicated by folks access to social media and the growing fickleness of fans.. We now live in a world where artists whether they like it or not are brands. Their names and work are businesses connected to many others who are behind the scenes and not on the mic or on the stage..Sadly we are at a point where a misplaced word or public critic can seriously impact one’s career or business. This is by no means unique to Hip Hop.. Talk to a business who got a bad review on a site like Yelp.
I hope that Pete and Lupe can retire their disagreement and talk behind the scenes. While public disputes & beefs are good fodder for all of us who write or broadcast, it adds to an increasingly destructive climate that all of us should take heed to..This is not to say that Pete or Lupe would do each other harm, but its all of us who weigh in and offer harsh opinions and barbs..
For example, it was sad to see some of the vitriol directed at Lupe when Pete tweeted out his criticisms. I personally wish he had called him vs tweeting.. I felt it was unfair for Lupe to be on the receiving end of folks reacting to Pete to suddenly start dissing Lupe, especially when Lupe is really trying to put some social commentary and food for thought into his music…
Yesterday when Lupe expressed his anger and disappointment on Sway’s Morning show it was sad to see folks react with harsh negativity toward Pete..For many of us, Pete’s a legend, who’s earned his stripes and it’s never good to see our heroes and sheroes torn down. We have enough folks outside our community who do this day in and day out…It’s this type of weighing that leads to unnecessary drama.
I hope all of us take this incident as an opportunity to grow and learn from.. All of us should be reaching out to Pete and Lupe and insisting they resolve their situation behind close doors. And if its gonna play out in public hopefully they conduct themselves in away that sets a tone for all of us to follow.. A lot of eyes are watching both men..
For those of us in the industry, journalist and bloggers included we should be working overtime to bring this in a forward productive direction.. Peace is an investment all of us can benefit from..And if we’re gonna weigh in and highlight beefs, there have been close to 30 police killings of Black people since Trayvon Martin.. That’s some beef to sink into..
They just arrested a brother in Oakland the other day named Chris Moreland and charged him with 3 Felonies for stepping to a lying police chief over the killing of an unarmed youth.. That’s beef..
Last week they had drones flying over Chicago as people protested NATO and their policies to advance war.. That’s beef..
New York City police are on pace to Stop and Frisk over 800 thousand people this years.. That’s some beef to highlight..
Have any of us taken a look at Congressman Paul Ryan’s budget? That’s beef.. Food for Thought..
PS..June 9th marks the 20th anniversary of the release of Mecca and the Soul Brother. Pete Rock will announce his new projects on this milestone date. Follow him on Twitter at @PeteRock
Read statement from May 23 at www.akilaworksongs.com/thepressroom.html