The tragic death of Pop Smoke has been a hard one for the hip-hop community to accept, and a lot of discourse has since sprung about what his passing indicates about the rap game.
On Wednesday (Feb. 26), Snoop Dogg noted while on Red Table Talk how easy it is for rappers to get caught up in the flashy fast life when they’re young, which can sometimes come at their detriment. Jim Jones took those sentiments further when he opined that he felt “being a rapper was more dangerous than being a soldier” via Instagram recently. The Love & Hip-Hop: New York star soon found himself in a debate after an Iraq war veteran who identified himself as "Mez," asserted that being a rap artist doesn’t compare to what soldiers face in active line of duty.
“Heard the comments you made about ‘being a rapper is harder than fighting a war in Iraq.’ You [are] allowed to have your opinion without any facts nor truth to it, but as a Vet and a hip hop fan, I found it extremely disrespectful and ignorant,” the man wrote back. “Here’s some facts, my unit which fought in [the 2004 Iraq war], lost more Marines in two months than ‘rappers’ in the past 3 years. Keep talking but there is zero comparison!”
The former Dipset rapper defended his rationale with a lengthy response. “Here are facts every n***a I grew up with is either dead or in jail so u wanna compare death tolls it won't add up,” he responded. “[You] went to army [and] met n***as [you] never knew or grew up with. I grew up with all these n***as all my life so it hit different.” He continued, “Y’all was shootin’ at kids [and] innocent bystanders in the midst of shootin’ at the enemy... We was at war when we was born.”
Mez took to his own Instagram page where he posted an even lengthier response to Jim Jones. While he understands what point Jones was trying to make, he said, Mez felt he could’ve done it without “disrespecting” the men and women who fought in Iraq.
“You want to compare a lifestyle choice to somebody that subjects themselves to danger for not only protecting their loved ones, but people that they don't even know,” he wrote. "When you get into the rap game and you’re doing this stuff, you're doing it for what? Money. Not every single rapper does that. But you know who those rappers are. Those are the ones that don't get caught up in mainstream rap and [are] taking care of their business.”
However, Mez added that he's not trying to paint all rappers out to be solely motivated by the prospect of riches.
“When they make money they start feeding the people underneath them and putting it out there, and start trying to make a change with that money,” he acknowledged. "I 100% completely support that and understand that. But at the same time, it’s a lifestyle choice and there’s a lot that comes with that.
"Don't blame me [or] the military for that," he continued. "That’s what the people that go out there and promote that lifestyle, it perpetuates and continues to go like so. If you're trying to make a difference in that lifestyle go ahead and do so, but you don't have to insult a whole group of people in doing so.”
Jones published a screenshot of a snippet from their exchange in his IG comment’s section on his main page and asked his 2.3 million followers for their thoughts on the matter. “Is this opinion or facts I need answers y’all,” he asked. “Like I said being a rapper is [one] of the most dangerous jobs on this planet.”
See Jim Jones and Mez’s exchange in full below.