I woke up this morning to hear the news that the rapper MC Breed died this weekend. I wasn’t blown away by the news as I was when I heard that The Notorious Big was shot and killed in Los Angeles years ago. As a hip hop fan I can still remember getting that call from my brother in Brooklyn to tell me the news as I was living in Indiana at that time. But with the news of the passing of MC Breed, its a little different. I guess the fact that he’s never mentioned as one of the greats made it different in comparison. But then again, I read that he was sick a while back. The death of Biggie hit me because for me, he was the epitome of that Brooklyn shit, and was a hero to many headz like me. And being a Brooklyn transplant, or hip hop junkie like me, I’m sure you can understand.

But hearing about Breed’s death took me back to my days of living in the Midwest. Yup, my college years. I could remember when his song “Ain’t No Future In Yo Frontin” was hot on the airwaves back then. You see, back in that day, hip hop was still an east coast-west coast thing. There was none of the crap we hear now coming from the south. Nope, none of that bullshit. Not saying that there wasn’t any southern rappers. Hell, back then the “Ghetto Boys” out of Houston was my shit! But being from NYC, I was biased as hell, and refused to listen to anything other than my east coast shit. Of course, there was the occasional “N.W.A.” joints in heavy rotation, but thats where it stopped for me. I was living in the Midwest and I was reppin hard for NY.

Back then, it was inconceivable to think that a Midwest rapper would ever make it mainstream. I used to think that back then especially, and I used to laugh at all the “local” cats I knew who were trying to get in the game. And then I heard “Ain’t No Future In Yo Frontin”. The first time I heard the song I was blown away. The track itself, with that funk sample, and the shit he was saying was dope! He was tellin fake niggas to keep it real, and I loved it. I thought he was probably just another west coast rapper, but then I found out he was from Flint Michigan. Yes, the midwest. Who woulda thunk it? It was 1991, and that song went on to be a huge smash that summer, and probably for a couple years on the national scene. Back then I was drinkin 40’s and partyin my ass off. And trust me when I say muthafukas lost their minds when it came on in the club or house party. Damn those were good times, and I often wish I were 21yrs old again.

Because of this dude, the midwest got some shine. Think about it, back then there were no rappers blowin up from the midwest. A region which has since produced platinum selling artists the likes of Nelly, Eminem, and Kanye West just to name a few. These cats never mention him as a musical influence, but I’m sure they will acknowledge him as a pioneer in the industry, at least for the midwest. Hell, he was probably the first no name rapper to have Tupac Shakur featured on an album. Yup, the dude worked with Tupac. Fuckin Tupac!!! Shit there are dudes today who would kill to have Tupac on their tracks. You know Tupac is still alive, and I’m sure he’s gonna go to MC Breed’s funeral. Could you imagine all the dudes who would be there begging to get his phone number? Not to mention the chicks who still wanna give him some coochie??

As I look at all these rappers in the industry who “talk” about all the money they’re making ( and no I’m not talking about the ones who are obviously managing their money well enough to be listed by Forbes Magazine), you know, the ones who love to make it rain on bitches? You know, the ones who “say” they drive Bentleys to the grocery store? You know, guys like that? I often wonder if they have health insurance. In recent years there have been rappers who have fallen due to ill health, and not by the bullet. MC Breed was sick for quite some time, and now that he’s dead, I’m wondering if he had health insurance. I mean, he recently did time in jail for non-payment of child support. And from was exposed, he owed something like $200,000 in back support. Surely rappers are not dying sitting in hospital waiting rooms like poor people. But them muthafukas are getting sick and are dying. There are about 47 million people in America without health insurance, who as a result, are unable to get preventive care. Sad ain’t it? Thank God we don’t have that many rappers. I’d hate to hear them do songs about laying in hospital beds, or waiting in the ER for hours to be seen by a doctor, only to be given a prescription that they can’t even afford to pay for without insurance.

So next time your young’un comes to you for advice because he’s contemplating a rap career. Be sure to tell him that money, hoes, and clothes is cool, and it might look good on BET. But tell him that having health insurance and a 401K might be a better route. Tell him to get a job and do his best to keep it; staying out late at night making it rain on bitches in strip clubs might make him late for work; or get him suspended like NFL player Pacman Jones. Tell him that there’s always work at the post office because there is no retirement plan for rappers. Tell him to give up on that shit at least up until Def Jam has a pension. Shit, just show him a pic of LL Cool J’s old ass, and tell him that at 40yrs old he may be as lucky as LL to be able to hock Old Spice and get a check, but its pretty unlikely.