[Opinion] Who Got Da Props? Rosenberg vs Minaj
By now you’ve all heard the news. Yesterday under the direction of President Weezy, Nicki Minaj and her YMCMB cohorts pulled out of Hot 97’s Summer Jam mid-concert. The cause? Station DJ and Hip Hop Squares host Peter Rosenberg reiterating her “Starships” single as 100% wic-wic-wack during an introduction for Kendrick Lamar, who on the other hand released an undeniably classical album last year. But that’s a whole other story.
Outrage abounded from both perspectives. Minaj stans and Young Money affiliates blasted and e-threatened Rosenberg. Onika herself accused him of disrespecting black women (and puzzlingly referred to Hot 97 as “black radio,” but I digress).
Not blak but on blak radio dissin blak women > RT @JAE_MILLZRadio personality with NO personality… fuck nigga!!! & u ain’t even black…
Rosenberg supporters upheld his words and denounced the walk-out as petty and childish.
Go Rosenberg (Peter)
First off Nicki, not sure how black women became a part of this. Rosenberg dissed your wack song, not your black womanhood. Not to mention your own disses to black women could fill a new post. And no, you being a black woman doesn’t somehow make them more acceptable. With that out of the way, let’s get down to the issues.
From the beginning Hip Hop culture has been big on respect. This thing of ours was started in the streets by the have-nots, and showing and proving was a part of earning those propers. Although it grew to new heights and our artists come from all walks of life, that one thing has remained non-negotiable. Respect is a must, whether for skills on the mic, the wheels, or with a spray can, respect for our music in the music world or respect as human beings in a society built on our backs. In that regard it’s understandable for Nicki and fam to feel dissed.
But another thing an MC is expected to do in Hip Hop is hold their own. When you release music to the world you’ve opened up the door to scrutiny, and with every beaming barb there is someone not impressed. Pulling out in the eleventh hour did seem rash and vainglorious when compared with the offense. Nicki’s words may have had more magnitude on the stage than the internet, and her fans are the ones that got the short end of the stick — not the station. Seems like Rosenberg wasn’t at fault for what he said, but rather for when he said it. Although he’s expressed the same opinion countless times on air, doing it during a show where the artist in question is a guest performer was perhaps not the best timing.
That being said, when is the best timing for taking a stand over some bullshit? If you know anything about Rosenberg it’s that he’s a student and a fan of the culture. Have you heard of the Low Budget crew? Ever attended a Noisemakers event? Ever listened to “Real Late with Rosenberg?” No correlation between any of that and the pop princess posturing of Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded. While elitist stances when it comes to hip hop are pointless and destructive it’s also important to note that commercial success doesn’t correspond with the quality of your music.
Rosenberg champions the music he believes in and it speaks volumes that someone who works for a radio station that plays the kind of bullshit “Starships” represents on the regular would stand up and say that at their biggest event of the year. The fight to get hip hop on the air was a long and hard one, and since being won programming has steadily slid ass backward. Yes, this is more about programming than we think. In a time where radio stations do the opposite of break new music and most people I know don’t even listen because of the monotony, there’s a lot to be said for Rosenberg stating what he did, when he did.
Radio station-sponsored shows choose artists that represent their listenership. Still programmers need the ability to think beyond that mindset. Knowingly or not, what Rosenberg did evoked the spirit of the Keith Naftaly’s and Hosh Gureli’s of the world, urging a push beyond the pop envelope that’s sealing commercial representation of our music. So if after yesterday’s battle royale you’re asking “Who Got Da Props?” I’m answering Rosenberg, hands down.