Black Sheep member Dres has a collaborative project with part-time A Tribe Called Quest member Jarobi titled Speed of Life in the works. On June 12, between promoting his new music, the "Choice Is Yours" MC tweeted controversial comments regarding Kanye West's legacy and sexuality in order to "punch him in the chest" and wake him up to the consequences of his cultural actions.
"Kanye… like Steve Jobs… is one of the most powerful gay men in the world…. God Bless Him," Dres tweeted before deleting evidence of the jab. "Oh… he’s not out yet…. my bad…. Lmao." Dres continued, "Cmon y’all… i’m playin…. Steve Jobs wasn’t gay…" Another tweet read, "In no way were my words ment [sic] to be a slight to the gay community."
Dres imitated Ye's tendency to rant via social media, using his Twitter feed to take West to task over the ways he chooses to carry himself publicly. "All I did was speak on what I see and what our children see," Dres told BET.com in an exclusive interview. Dres, who has ties to West from the "Jesus Walks" days is not fond of the artist his former friend has become.
"We all wanted Jesus to walk with him," he said. But Dres feels that Jesus would "walk by him" today considering his public image. Where does he feel Kanye went off the right path? "I look at it as something that would have happened over time." He sees similarities between ‘Ye and Miami Heat star LeBron James, who some feel has failed to live up to his full potential. "He needs that killer switch. He should be one of the greats." Yeezy famously called himself "The LeBron of rhyme on "Devil in a Blue Dress," a track from his 2010 album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fanstay.
"Hip hop is accepting femininity," Dres said flatly. "Hip hop is becoming synonymous with homosexuality. If you a boy, and you like boys, do what you do.” But Dres feels that West is playing into mainstream society's infamous desire to emasculate Black men in power.
He also wonders if Kanye is truly as pro-Black as his past lyrics would suggest. "He can say he's the nucleus of culture and all this bulls---. But the things that you stand for are to the contrary of Black awareness and of unity. I don't hear you talking about, ‘Put down the guns in Chicago,’’ said Dres. "And granted, maybe I'm just not listening close enough."
"This dude is having kids with the biggest media whore ever and you're going to follow that with I'm a God and all of this, that and the other? So in essence, you're telling the younger generation, later for finding a good woman, and you're telling young girls, later for being a good woman. Because (Kim Kardashian) good enough. What has this chick exactly been to warrant us giving her any accolades in life? It's embarrassing. This is a win? This is what our children are supposed to look to as a win and to aspire to?"
Dres' critique of West continued on to current concepts and content from 'Ye's upcoming album, Yeezus. "Later for 'New Slaves,'" he said. "We're still trying to save the old ones. F--- the sensationalism, man. Just make dope music and that will speak. And make uplifting music and that will speak. And if you're really for the people and of the people, then the people will carry you, you don't have to worry about your legacy. The people will make your legacy. You don't have to define it, time will define it. But you can't necessarily dictate what your legacy will be… Let time reflect that you was always with us. And we'll always be with you."
Dres insists that he doesn’t have any ill will for West, only the desire to see him step up to his responsibility as a hip hop icon. "It's a chest punch. I say that out of love. It's never too late to be real. I'm not trying to necessarily hurt him as much as I'm trying to be a cat that's voicing my opinion. I'm not trying to necessarily hurt him. I only meant to give him a little chest punch."
The Native Tongue rapper wants West to stop being a celebrity who plays into the pop-culture matrix and focus on being more of an agent of social change. He claims that his tweets challenge West to be less of an arrogant rock star for the sake of Black culture. “Where are our Jim Browns? Where are our Bill Russells? Where are our Muhammad Alis?" he asks, decrying the current state of rap music.
He wants to give the entire young community a chest punch, but Dres is particularly disappointed in Kanye because he once felt West had the power to take the Native Tongue’s torch and keep the spark alive. "I felt like he took that torch and went totally off course. He took the torch and went to Paris to be a N---- in Paris. So now we gotta hear white folks requesting "N---- in Paris" in front of us now? For real? And now we're new slaves? We ain't even finished freeing the old ones."
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(Photos from left: Evan Agostini/Getty Images, DLM Press, PacificCoastNews.com)