News Get Your Mogul On
posted by November 7 at 0:01 AMon
From this month’s Rolling Stone interview with Chris Rock:
Chris Rock: Music kind of sucks. Nobody’s into being a musician. Everybody’s getting their mogul on. You’ve been so infiltrated by this corporate mentality that all the time you’d spend getting great songs together, you’re busy doing nine other things that have nothing to do with art. You know how shitty Stevie Wonder’s songs would have been if he had to run a fuckin’ clothing company and a cologne line?
Rolling Stone: Plenty of rappers say, “I’m not a rapper, I’m a businessman.”
Chris Rock: That’s why rap sucks, for the most part. Not all rap, but as an art form it’s just not at its best moment. Sammy the Bull would have made a shitty album. And I don’t really have a desire to hear Warren Buffett’s album—or the new CD by Paul Allen. That’s what everybody’s aspiring to be.
We live in a weird time. No one knows who’s smart—we just know who makes money. “Hey, somebody invented Viagra! We don’t know their name, but we know Pfizer, because they make the money.” That guy made a pill that keeps your dick hard, and nobody knows who the fuck he is. The pharmaceutical companies are like fuckin’ record companies. There’s literally the Bo Diddley of medicine walking around, not getting his royalties. He signed all his fucking pill publishing away.
Couldn’t help but think of that quote while watching American Gangster tonight. Playing secondary roles in the film—which was pretty damn entertaining—was a trio of high-profile hiphop stars. I’ve read several reviews of the movie and none made mention of its rapper-turned-actor count.
There’s RZA, sporting a ‘Fro and a Wu tattoo (um, the film is set in the early ’70s) in the role of a streetwise narc. And hey, isn’t that T.I. as a young athelete tempted by crime’s easy money? Not much of a stretch, but the kid does an admirable job. And there’s Lonnie Lynn—you know him as Common—sporting the same paperboy hat and collared shirt as in that old Reebok ad. Weird.
Especially spot-on was RZA’s imitation of a junkie—limping, mumbling “hey man, it’s me, Boogaloo!”—during a climactic bust scene. You can’t mistake that voice.
Seems you could apply Rock’s mogul theory to acting, too. Did anybody hear the last Common album? Did anybody care? Maybe acting is different—at least it’s an artistic pursuit—but these days, the roles Common chooses are more interesting than the albums he makes.
Hat tip to the Lefsetz Letter.