Recently rapper Rick Ross said that he hopes that his fellow Maybach Music Group rappers can learn from his recent controversy. The controversy surrounding Rick Ross comes from his lyrics from the song U.O.E.N.O., which led to women’s rights groups protesting him as well as demanding that Reebok cut ties with him. In case you haven’t heard his verse (since it was replaced after the controversy) the line that caused so much backlash was “Put a molly in her champagne, she ain’t even know it. Took her home and enjoyed that, she ain’t even know it.” Without a doubt, using date rape as a punchline in a song is idiotic and reckless at best, especially when you are a successful rapper in the public’s eye with an endorsement deal. However, he claims to have learned his lesson and was quoted saying that it was a learning experience he hopes his fellow MMG colleagues would take from.
Rick Ross isn’t the only rapper who have losted an endorsement deal because of reckless lyrics. Lil Wayne also lost an endorsement deal with Mountain Dew because of his controversial (and kind of lame) Emmett Till punchline that he used in Future’s Karate Chop remix.
Both Lil Wayne and Rick Ross issued apologies for their lyrics, and Ricky even said that he hopes that rappers learn from his mistake. However, you have to ask yourself if the apologies were actually genuine and if rappers will actually learn to stay away from controversy for the sake of their careers? There have been so many controversial lyrics and actions done by artists throughout the years that gained negative media attention. T.I. was arrested on gun charges. Eminem, Tyler the Creator and many other rappers have been under fire in the past for using homophobic slurs in their lyrics. Chris Brown beat up his former girlfriend, Rihanna, gone on twitter rants against bloggers and gotten into brawls with other artists; one of which caused innocent people to get injured. The list goes on and on for Chris Brown, so hopefully you get the point. What do all rappers who have been in these situations have in common? Even if their actions lead them to losing endorsements at the moment, the artists managed to last long enough for the situations to blow over without doing permanent damage to their careers.
Many people, especially the execs at the companies who give rappers endorsement deals, hope that artists will learn to stay away from controversy and not do things that would harm their image. But let’s be honest for a second. When was the last time you heard about a popular rapper who is talented actually losing a record deal or having his/her career ended for saying or doing something controversial? Yes, there have been rappers who have had their music careers ended because of long jail sentences or situations that caused them to lose street cred, but how many have actually lost their careers due to offending people with their lyrics? So what is the real lesson that is learned? Would the lesson be something along the lines of “Make sure you invest in a good PR rep for situations like this?” Or would “Just apologize and come out with a really hot track” work better? “It will all blow over soon” is the actual lesson that rappers will learn from similar situations of other artists? Maybe whoever said “there is no such thing as bad publicity” was onto something.