The executive producers of “VH1 Hip Hop Honors” have responded to various Southern rap pioneers who have criticized the production for its 2010 selections, which include Timbaland, Jermaine Dupri, Rap-A-Lot Records founder J Prince, Luther Campbell and 2 Live Crew, Master P and Outkast producers Organized Noise.
“We try to pick people from different eras, whether it was closer to the beginning or from the late ’80s into the ’90s,” Fab Five Freddy said of the process, which has drawn criticism from Suave House Records founder Tony Draper and rappers Scarface and Uncle Luke. “And people that carved out specific lanes and styles in the music.”
The onetime “Yo! MTV Raps” host and writer Nelson George, who have overseen each show since its inception, admitted that every show will have detractors. “I don’t know if you do anything with hip-hop and not have people speak up,” George said in an interview posted on VH1.com.
George said that for every person upset with the process, there are just as many people satisfied, noting that fans of Timbaland or Rap-A-Lot Records will see their favorites.
“Depending on where your point of view is [coming from], the show works,” he said. “They say all politics are local, all hip-hop is too. People want their place represented.”
Draper has voiced his displeasure in several interviews, saying the process is flawed if only one act or person that represents each facet of Southern hip-hop is selected. Luke felt he alone should be recognized for his endeavors, not the 2 Live Crew collective with whom he worked only on a limited basis. Scarface lashed out over what he perceived was an oversight since his group, the Geto Boys, were omitted, although the influential rappers were signed to Rap-A-Lot.
George suggested fans celebrate the moment and those that will actually be feted, a diverse group that they sought to honor the region’s successes. Fab Five Freddy defended himself and his production partner, both native New Yorkers, overseeing a show that honors “The Dirty South.”
The two were also criticized for their lack of credentials below the Mason-Dixon Line, however, Freddy dismissed that particular barb and UGK’s Bun B also defended the production.
“With ’Yo! MTV’ and with my curious nature, I got an opportunity to go to these other places where these new forms or new artists where emerging,” Freddy said. “So many people have gone with me to Liberty City in Miami to see what the 2 Live Crew was really about, to go to the 5th Ward in Texas to see the Geto Boys and, of course, most people’s favorite show, the ride on the flatbed truck through Compton with N.W.A. I got to share those experiences with a lot of other people to show it’s not just about us in [New York], it’s cats in Philly and other places that are making viable music with a unique culture. ’Hip Hop Honors’ is still trying to do that thing. Let’s take people places and really show them and help them understand where it comes from and give props to the people that paved the way.”
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