You’ve heard that “a picture is worth a thousand words,” and so has indie hip-hop guru El-P. The Def Jux CEO is embroiled in a bitter exchange of words and ideologies with his former label, and it’s all because of a picture with Diddy.
Short version: El-P and his crew were in a practice space in Brooklyn where they bumped into Diddy. Thinking it’d be hilarious to have a picture with him, they invited Sean to pose for a photo. Diddy never met a camera he didn’t love, so after a fifteen minute wait, he mugged for the shutter. El-P posted the pic as a laugh, and the newly relaunched Rawkus reposted the photo with an article entitled something to the effect of “Company Flows El-P And Puffy?,” and the suggestion that El-P was a sell-out enraged him into a damning MySpace-diatribe regarding Rawkus’s ethics that is just too good not to reprint in full. But first, the infamous photo…
After the jump, El-P’s post and Rawkus’s response.
Via El-P’s MySpace:
THE NEW RAWKUS RECORDS. SAME ASSHOLES THEY ALWAYS WERE.
so the other day me and my band took a picture with puffy. he had been in our rehearsal spot in brooklyn the entire week and we thought it would be something we would regret if we had missed the chance to get a flic with dude. this is for many reasons. there are the obvious points of irony (el-p and puffy in the same room together!?!?!?! but how? why?), as well as the fact that he is simply one of the most famous people in the world. so we went in to the hall and asked him if he would take a picture with us. he was on a conference call but told us as soon as he was done he would come in to our room and take a flic. yeah right, we thought. so 15 minutes pass and we had all but forgotten about it. we were in the middle of rehearsing TPC when the door swings open and puff walks in. i had a full band there so we just kept going with the song. diddy chilled in the corner dancing (i shit you not) and waving his hands in the air. when we finished he came over and we took a flic. he shook everyones hand, smiled, was gratious, asked for a cd then bounced. a true gentelman (at least to us). we couldnt wait to get home and put the picture up on our respective myspace pages. i have met a lot of people but there was something so hilarious and wonderful about this picture. maybe it was that we were all genuinely having a great time. the smiles you see are not sarcastic or smarmy, they are real smiles from a group of guys having a blast. and of course… el-p and puffy????? so up on myspace it went. out to all our friends it went. a proud and hilarious, unexpected moment of very differet musical worlds converging. one of the those rare funny/fun/cool moments that come out of no where and is completely unexpected but great.
in steps WWW.RAWKUS.COM.
these twisted, corrupted shit eaters who stole money from everyone they worked with, fired their staff a few days before christmas, signed amazing artists and never put their records out, blocked artists they had under contract from signing to other labels even after they had driven their label in to the ground and werent even functioning, sycophanttically attempted to attach themselves to anyone in the mainstream they possibly could, etc. etc. etc…
well here they are again. the “new” rawkus. launching again for any sad sap of an artist who wants to wake up one day and realize they are getting screwed, for any staff member who wants an honest pay only to eventually realize they are disposable. the “new” rawkus. the ones who are literally dispersing questionairs in europe to fans asking what type of music they should be releasing. the “new” rawkus. so these motherfuckers take the picture that was taken with my camera and post it up on their site with a news piece entitled something to the effect of: “company flows el-p and puffy?” that’s it. as though the picture is some sort of statement about me. as though the picture is proof of me “selling out”. then they have one of their staff members go around to various message boards like OKAYPLAYER and the post about it in any and every post about my new album. oh yeah? you like the el-p record? check out this picture of him and puffy! oh word? you think el is a dope producer? check out this picture of him and puffy!
the “new” rawkus, eh? great start, fellas. jump start your new era with a half assed smear campaign against the guy that literally delivered you the first album that jumpstarted your entire label. a guy you stole dough from, dissrepected, etc.
this is the kind of spirit that coarses through the clotted, stinking lifeblood of that label, and this is why i believe in my heart of hearts that the label is as corrupted and doomed as it ever was. there is no picture of me that exists that can wipe away the guilt of the way these guys operated and clearly continue to operate. there is no moment or image that can take away the fact that while you were whoring yourselves and destroying everyone that worked with you and believed in you i was doing what i thought was right, and still do.
how insulting. how pathetic. how mean spirited and how completely useless and missguided. get off my dick.
i would sooner spend an eternity hanging with puffy than involve myself with the douche bags behind rawkus, be it the old one or the “new” one. as far as im concerned you can keep that picture up there forever. please do. that one moment was more entertaining and fun and genuine than the enitre sum of our business relationship.
ps: they took it down.
pps: now just so im not misconstrued here, im not shitting on rawkus artists. i just feel for anyone who thinks at the end of the day they are gonna get fair and just treatment from these dudes. i may be wrong, though. i hope i am. every artist on a label deserves to be treated right. sometimes shit doesnt work out that way, sometimes it does. i had a bitter experience, yes. but i had no intention of bringing it up publically cause i’ve moved on and im happy as hell. but seeing them put the flic up of me struck a nerve. it makes me think that in fact nothing has changed. but hey, what do i know. its hard running a label. i know for a fact that even if you do everything within your power to make it work, sometimes you can (as a label owner) get assigned blame for things that are out of your control. but god damn theres a classy way to do things and theres a shitty way.
The Rawkus response:
CO-FOUNDERS OF RAWKUS RECORDS ADDRESS EL-P’S ATTACK
We thought the photo of you and Puff was cool. We posted it without comment. We immediately removed it upon request. But you had to go there… Straight attack our credibility and intentions with that slanderous rant. Keep in mind WE HAVEN’T SAID A WORD to you since 1998. Why are you salty? Be happy, you are successful and rich. Regardless of our obvious distaste for one another, we’ve admired Def Jux’s success and sincerely respect your roster of artists. But you had to go there……
El-P, your recent post has drawn attention to our intentions as promoters and marketers in the Hip Hop community. Haters, like you, seem to suffer from historical amnesia. We thought it was time we directly addressed the Hiphop community and post some facts.
Our mission at Rawkus.com is to create a vibrant supportive community for hip hop, including all factions and styles. The post showing El-P and Puffy was in no way meant to discredit El-P as an artist or producer. Puffy is a mogul and his appearance with an underground artist like El-P was news worthy and interesting. However, we have a strict policy against creating bullshit beefs and reserve the right to delete comments and posts that overtly create hate instead of fostering creative debate. This post was removed once it was brought to our attention that El-P was offended by it….
Jarret Myer & Brian Brater
If you read all that, you deserve some free music. So if you missed it, head here for Def Jux and Adult Swim’s ten-song Definitive Swim project and judge the labels’ respective merits for yourself. And hey kids it’s dangerous out there. Careful who you get your flic taken with.