The story of rap in the 2000s has neatly dovetailed with our biggest domestic issue, which is mass-incarceration. For a combination of complicated reasons, almost every major hip-hop figure has had a dalliance or several with prison. Although many people will run the tired line that rappers do it for authenticity, prison is much more likely to kill careers, disrupt promotional strategies, etc. Bump J’s arrest for an armed bank robbery & subsequent conviction stopped his career cold.
For obvious reasons I’ve been delving into a lot more local rap music recently, and all roads seem to end at Bump J; he loomed so large over Chicago’s hip-hop scene, transcending gang affiliations to become an influential figure of almost mythic proportions. I’ve given more than a few spins to Dinner Time, the last tape he did before his arrest; I keep coming back to “Bad Influence.” Great beat, and a concept that reminds me of Big L more than anyone, embodying evil so completely and unapologetically. No attempts to seem ‘conflicted’ — except, of course, the framing that assumes you will find a kid in the crack game upsetting in the first place. It brings you face-to-face with this mindset, forces you to confront that mentality without couching it in ad-hoc rationalizations; what you do with it is up to you.
PS, if anyone knows how to embed divshare in wordpress holler at me