The Roots’ Black Thought has clarified his statement concerning Will Smith and the actor’s failure to help other Philadelphia rappers, and promised he meant Smith no disrespect.
Speaking with radio personality Charlamagne Tha God this morning (May 7), The Roots mouthpiece addressed his misunderstood statement.
“The fact that I mentioned Will Smith was just illustrating a point, it wasn’t nothing that I said like ‘Oh Will Smith doesn’t reach back’ or ‘Will Smith blew up and forgot about the city,'” Black Thought explained. “I was just making a demonstration to my man, he was doing an interview asking the question if it’s important or how important is it to me you know, to reach back to up-and-coming artists or fellow Philadelphian artists. And answer to my question was bong, it’s very important to me and I would like to explain that I’m creating an outlet for up-and-coming Philadelphia artists and people from The Roots or Roots generation that didn’t necessarily have. I would never try to diss Will Smith, I ain’t make no sideways comments about Will Smith, the brother’s from Philly and the largest star in the world. He’s the biggest star on Earth.” (The Morning Beat)
While Thought only used Smith as an example in his recent interview, the rapper did stress the importance of Philly emcees trying to unite.
“I wish artists like Will Smith and some of the other artists who were popular representing Philly in the ’80s and ’90s had [reached out] because what it does is it’s good for morale,” he explained in an interview. “It’s just a good look for the city and I mean, it just opens doors for the next generation of artists coming from your hometown…It breaks down a lot of barriers or apprehension that people might have about reaching out to a different sort of artist. Maybe the Beanie Sigel‘s and Peedi Crakk‘s will reach out to the Santogold’s and the DJ Diplo‘s but that just like it would be unwelcome. So we send out a positive signal with a positive vibe by breaking genre barriers.” (Hip Hop Game)
Jay-Z recently addressed hip-hop’s overall need to unite with artists outside of urban music.
“On the show as well were Third Eye Blind and Kelly Clarkson,” Jay explained after his recent Arizona ‘Last Smash’ concert. “I thought that to be the oddest pairing ever but, soon realized, it’s what I’ve always professed. There is no such thing as black music or white music only good or bad music. It’s stupid cool to like things that are not like you, and that goes for outside of music. If you’re an African American you can have a Jewish friend…I think concerts like this should happen more often…I’m putting that into the universe..next up Taylor Swift and Uncle Murda!!” (Rap Radar)
Beans has also been known to reach out to rappers from the “City of Brotherly Love.”
Beanie Sigel, Freeway, Gillie Da Kid and more have linked with Nike to provide fans with an upcoming “Brotherly Love Concert” in Philadelphia December 2008. Presented by Nike’s All Conditions Gear (ACG) shoe brand, the Philly-bred emcees will unite to show local fans their commitment to working together despite prior rap beefs in the past. “ACG’s are the official hood boots and I support what they do in the community,” Sigel said in a statement. “I had an idea to put everyone together in one building and on one stage to start a movement here in Philly and promote unity.” (Press Release)