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Anderson Entertainment:

Thursday, March 10, 2011

New Army

New Army

“Hello, welcome to “New Army”, can I help you find anything today?”

This sucks. I know human beings have a need and responsibility to work, and sustain his/her own life—but this shit bites ass!

I’ve always thought of myself as a superstar. I love the feeling of going places and having people recognize me for my creative endeavors.

At restaurants… I enjoy it.

At venues… It’s awesome.

While I’m working at a low paying job, serving the public, while dressed in an argyle sweater… Not so much!

Here’s why:

Whenever people see someone on stage, especially in Hip Hop- they have one of two thoughts.

1. “He/She will NEVER make it. Why is he/she wasting his/her time

doing this bullshit!? Booooo, nigga boooo!”


2. “This muhfucka is AWESOME. He/she is a star in the making. I’m

officially a fan.”

If the latter is the case, the fan automatically places ‘said’ artist on an invisible platform. There is an unspoken level of admiration, and a covenant is instantly created. The star-fan relationship is forged.

Now, with this relationship comes an undertaking of roles. The fan agrees to support the star (via downloads, buying CDs, attending shows, following on Twitter..) and the star agrees to deliver quality entertainment whenever the opportunity arises. The artist also agrees to conduct his/herself as a star at EVERY MOMENT OF EVERY DAY of the rest of his life. Weird? Yes. Hear me out..

The tricky part of the covenant is that the fan suffers no repercussions for breaking the covenant. He/she can stop buying the star’s music, skip the star’s shows, stop following the star on Twitter- and the star has to continue to create an entertaining product. Conversely, if the artist fails to deliver quality shit, there is no turning back. He/she has fallen off, hence the covenant is broken. Also if the star stops acting like a star- the same fate awaits.

READER: “What do you mean ‘stop acting like a star’?

ME: “Very good question…”

Here are some examples of ways a “star” can stop acting like a “star”..

  1. Go to prison
  2. Get caught up in a scandal (sexual misconduct, infidelity, drug use/abuse)
  3. Living a lifestyle that is contradictory to your public image (the ‘ladies man’ is really gay, the ‘thug’ is really a punk, the ‘kingpin’ is really a librarian, the ‘girl next door’ really likes to smoke weed while she sucks cock..)
  4. Go Broke
  5. Be seen doing some ‘non’star-like shit (like working at a damn retail job for 8.00 an hour!!!!)

Any one of these offenses breaks the star/fan covenant. By working at ‘New Army’, I was guilty of #5…

You gotta understand, when people invest in your music, they invest in your story. They live vicariously through you. I am a Jay Z fan. I know his story and lyrics so well that when HE is on Oprah, I am on Oprah. When Spike Lee has a new film, I have a new film. When Lebron had that bad game in the Playoffs against the Celtics, I felt the pressure..

Now, I’m not saying that people look at me on the level of Jay or Spike or Lebron- but they identify with me. They have invested in my story. They see me on stage, and have a sense of pride. There is a level of admiration..

Back to the beginning…

So I was at “New Army” working, right..

“Hello, welcome to “New Army”, can I help you find anything today?”

The customer stared at me.

“I know you from somewhere,” he said- squinting his eyes, trying to squeeze out a memory.

I laughed and quipped, “I hope I ain’t steal your girl or nothing.”

He let out an awkward laugh, then his mind clicked into gear.

“You be rappin’, right?” he said excitedly.

“Yeah…” I reluctantly admitted.

“Snub!! Holy shit, nigga I saw you at the show with KRS ONE—you rocked that shit! You performed “Lyricism Lives”, right—‘I’M OBAMA, YOU’RE JESSE JACKSON’!!” he seemed like he’d been waiting to recite that lyric forever.

He was loud. A loudness that would’ve been right at home at a concert venue, but it was absolutely inappropriate for a clothing store at 3 o’clock in the afternoon on a Tuesday.

I looked around uncomfortably. I noticed my manager (a white lady who I barely knew) looking in our direction. As I glanced back at my “admirer”, I saw his excitement transform into a realization that I- Snub Zero, the man who he had JUST seen on stage sharing a microphone with a Hip Hop Legend- was working at “New Army”…

I had broken the covenant.

His face flashed a look of concern.

“So… you still performing… or… are you just…” he was desperately searching for words that he could use to extract an explanation from me.

“Oh, yeah… I’m still doin my thang… I got a new mixtape droppin’ next month.. know what I’m sayin’… and I got a show comin up at the…” I was rambling. I had never seen this dude in my life, but I was sweating bullets trying to explain myself to him. I was using lofty Hip Hop lingo to compensate for the fact that I was bullshitting. There was nothing I could say to cover up the fact that his favorite underground rapper was working for 8 bucks a fucking hour.

I understood. If I saw Jean Grae working at Wal Mart, or Pharoah Monch taking my money at a toll booth- I’d be shocked, appalled and a bit worried.

As I tried to save face by running down an exaggerated list of the “big things” I had on deck- the cherry on top was delivered.

“Jerrell, make sure you finish folding those fleeces, and when you are done- grab the dust mop and tidy up the floor over by the fitting room,” my manager interrupted. She was obviously hating. I was visibly fuming.

After a brief moment of the most uncomfortable silence imaginable, my soon to be ‘ex’ fan spoke up.

“Well, I’ll let you do your thing. Stay up, homie. Keep spitting that heat.”

I dapped him up and stood frozen as I watched him leave. Then, holding back tears, I grabbed the dust mop.

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