CIVIL WRITES: Do Not Meet Your Heroes!
I’m not a whistleblower, rat or any other term synonymous with snitch. With that said the following stories shall leave the guilty nameless. My agenda here is to crystallize my point, not expose wack behavior. Before I state my premise I’ll first explain my need to.
Last month I received an assignment to interview a celebrity who was known as one of the best in their field but today remains a couple years shaded from limelight. Six weeks later I’m in the fallen star’s hometown discovering their delusion. His perception of his market value is a misperception. His goals are unrealistic because his plans to achieve them are unrealistic. It was a sad but educational day for me. The experience drove home (millionth time) that I should avoid meeting my heroes. They almost always disappoint.
Like in 2001 when I got hated on by a couple of the game’s top writers. At the time, one of ‘em was in my scribe top five. I was a pup. Had only gone pro two years prior. Somehow I managed to gain notoriety for a “fearless” interview style. Rolling Stone named me the “Hot Interviewer” in their famed “Hot Issue.” I get a call from the top 5 writer. Flattery quickly dissolved as the wordsmith began babbling about discussing my Rolling Stone profile with another esteemed writer. He wanted to contact me before anyone who overheard the conversation did first. I quickly deciphered: both writers were hating on me because I received such a huge publishing nod at such a ripe age. So ex-top 5 wanted to cop an early (guilty) plea. Diesel fuel––I got bigger. They got smaller.
The older heroes are indeed the biggest letdowns. They’re bitter, insecure and thus jealous of threatening youth. I began learning this when I interviewed one of the ‘90’s best producers in the new millennium. He was a full season cooler than the hottest producers at that time and vocal about it. He took subliminal shots at a few trackmasters and even called out a couple production prodigies. Welp, one of those prodigies had a very thorough family. The legendary got stepped to immediately and from what the young producer told me buckled like ‘Lo boots. Mr. Legend then phoned me, ignorant to my knowledge of his buckling, claiming he was misquoted. Refusing to waste words on wackness I simply put the recorder to the phone and played his words back to him.
The cake was taken, though, when I met one of my all-time favorite MCs. If I followed any scripture as a teen it was his rhyme book. It was still very early in my career and this rapper was on the brink of a rap beef. So guess who got sent to Miami to see if dude wanted to draw first blood? I found myself face-to-face with my hero, separated only by the table inside his trailer, my recorder and a fifth of Hennessy. As the bottle got lighter my questioning became more relentless. His answers produced more platitudes. I got my story––not a homerun (rapper kept buntin’) but a winner. Then a week after our sit down the rapper began blowing up my two-way. It’s after 1am on a Saturday morning, I’m in a club and he’s requesting I keep his comments about 50 Cent and Prodigy out of the cover story. Mind you, I was celebrating my birthday. My respect for him never made it past age 24.
Now how many of y’all have been disappointed by a hero? And can you guess the identities of my former heroes?
Bonsu Thompson, The Rolling Stone 2001 “Hot Interviewer” has penned for mags like Details, XXL, Penthouse, SLAM and KING as well as notable brands such as MTV, VH1, Rocawear and Translation. Wanna keep up with the Brooklyn scribe? Follow him via Twitter.com/DreamzRreal