Let me preface this by saying I’m not writing this for controversy’s sake or to be a “hater”…nor am I a big enough fan of any of the artists Consequence is beefing with to the point I would say anything about Cons that doesn’t already need to be said. I generally dislike these “open letter” style blog posts, as they’re usually just intended to make fun of people, but I genuinely hope Consequence and other artists take note. At the end of the day, I’m just one guy with a slightly above average appetite for hip-hop music and culture with a mind to think about it critically. That being said, I was a fan of Consequence since his appearance with A Tribe Called Quest on Beats, Rhymes & Life and have followed his career hoping for him to really see some shine up until this point. Unfortunately, Cons is reaching the dreaded point that is referred to in hip-hop circles as “falling off”, because even though his visibility has increased due to his recent beefs and reality show appearances, his quality of work has significantly decreased and as an MC, I just don’t see him getting the respect one needs to really make a mark on the current rap scene.
I don’t watch Love & Hip-Hop. To me, it represents a sad turn for the culture and for pop culture in general and to incorporate the term “hip-hop” is just a bastardization. Imagine my surprise to find that Consequence had signed up for this go-round (“Q-Tip’s cousin Consequence? From all those Tribe cuts? Nahhh). From the episodes and clips and coverage I’ve seen, it seems like Consequence has reduced himself to fussing with women on camera, even going so low as to make an awful song dissing co-star(?) Raqi Thunda (no idea who this is). He’s also become known for some sort of feud with Joe Budden, also on the show, who’s notorious for over-sharing on every technological medium he can get his hands on and finally made the move to cable TV. I personally feel that the mystique was what made hip-hop and pop culture at large until recently. In the information age, we as a society demand to know every intimate detail about an artist’s life and then have no choice but to judge based on what we see. Thus, you have the Chris Browns and Rihannas, who get by more on persona than actual quality music being created. With Love & Hip-Hop, you now have a talented MC (Consequence) giving his own career the Wale treatment by over-exposing himself to audiences who didn’t know who he was to begin with. People like myself who grew up on Tribe probably aren’t the demographic checking for Love & Hip-Hop and if they are, are probably too evolved in life at this point to give him a pass for his actions.
The second factor contributing to Consequence’s demise in the public eye was his ongoing feud with G.O.O.D. Music, Kanye West’s imprint which he was previously signed to along with Pusha T, who seems to be the only G.O.O.D. artist to really entertain questions about the beef and exchange barbs with Consequence through various media circuits. The thing about rap beef in 2013 is that it’s less about skills and more about who is the more popular artist and while Pusha T is a very competent MC, the audience they’re beefing for are quite familiar with Pusha’s work, while Cons just comes across as another “old rapper” which in today’s game just means “irrelevant”. So in addition to Cons being marginalized as the typical mad, old rapper, he’s also put himself into the “jilted artist mad at the label” box, which we have seen too many times. Cons called Pusha T “a worker” in one interview in reference to his theory that Kanye has never discussed any of the beef with Pusha directly, stating that Push was “jet fuel” to both Kanye and Pharrell. However, Cons continues to push his agenda on every radio station that will have him without so much as a jab from Kanye himself. People have just become jaded to this kind of beef, dismissing the intimate details in favor of the general assumption that someone’s just mad they’re no longer down with the team. And regardless of whether at this point either party claims to have squashed the beef, the footage of the back-and-forth is still out there on the net as if it dropped today, which is one of the good and bad things about the modern age of expressing oneself through social media.
Third and what matters most is that Consequence’s output has been largely sub-par, to put it plain. The man did a song with Pooch Hall, for Christ’s sake…yes, the guy who plays Derwin Davis from The Game. The aforementioned diss record aimed at Raqi Thunda was an exercise in turning pettiness into awful music. It’s like Consequence is trying desperately to make a niche for himself among new rap fans instead of building upon the respect others who remember his work with Tribe have built up over time. All he succeeds at doing is alienating both, however.
Pusha T said in an interview that he didn’t believe anyone was checking for Consequence. Cons responded to this by mentioning that he had just done the chorus and some co-production on the song “Party” on Beyonce’s album. This is where it hit me how much of a disconnect Consequence has from the audience that would embrace him if he was putting out better music. Nobody who cares about lyrics is concerned about anything he’s done on a Beyonce song and to even bring that up in a war of words between two MCs shows that Cons is out of touch, to say the least. I would say delusional, but I feel like Cons isn’t stupid and has a very lucid idea of where he wants to go and how he plans to get there; his plan is just extremely myopic and thus far, his execution is horribly flawed.
The phrase “all publicity is good publicity” needs to be amended for the modern day. While marginally talented musicians seem to get a boost from acting out on social networks, distracting listeners from their lack of quality material, a perfectly good rapper or singer can cause their own stock to plummet simply by giving the public an ill-advised foray into their personal life. Sometimes, it’s better to play the humble and go the hard-work route to garnering a following, putting out good music that’s true to one’s roots and letting the fans come when they come, as opposed to trying to strong-arm a listen by forcing yourself into the public eye or pandering to current trends. I implore Cons to go back and listen to the tracks he debuted on and ask himself if he’s really giving people that same level of artistry and if it’s that important to appeal to the teeny-bopper set that his every move be set up to lose the older set completely.