The real story behind Big Sean’s “Celebrity”…The hit that never was

(THOMAS DISHAW)  If you’re familiar with Detroit’s flourishing Hip hop scene you’ve most likely heard of Filthy Rockwell. This uber talented producer has worked with industry power players like Kayne West, Slaughterhouse, Royce Da 5’9, Clipse, Big Sean, and Street Lord Juan, to name a few.

One of Filthy’s best and most underrated records to date is the song “Celebrity” by Big Sean featuring Dwele. The track appeared on the deluxe version of Sean’s debut album titled “Finally Famous,” but just like most great songs there is a story behind the inspiration and the handling of the finished product. I’m here today to share with the world the untold story of a song that almost didn’t happen.

This story starts with a simple stack of records. Damon, one of Filthy’s friends had been bugging the producer to come and retrieve a milk crate full of old albums for the last few years. You see Filthy is that guy in the neighborhood that everyone knows is on the come up in the music industry and Damon is hopeful this pile of records will turn into a pot of gold once Filthy adds his musical expertise to it.

After flipping through this dusty stack of vinyl, Filthy thinks he has found a diamond in the rough. He can hardly believe that Angela Bofill’s song “The Only Thing I Could Wish For” from her 1978 album “Angie” has never been sampled, and after a few hours in the lab he thinks he may have a classic on his hands. All he needs now is to find the right artist to bring his vision to life.

At the time Big Sean was a newly signed artist that was only a stones throw away from fame. On a hot summers day in Detroit, Filthy, Sean and Street Lord Juan are in the middle of a parking lot talking. This isn’t just any parking lot, its Capital Park studio where Sean is enthusiastically looking for new beats and Juan just happens to have the plug. Sean wanted validation, so he asked Juan, “Is Filthy dope on the beats?” to which Juan quickly responded “Yeah, he’s the coldest.”  Filthy then quickly handed Sean a CD with his most recent tracks.

Capital Park studio is packed that day. Artists like Say It Ain’t Tone, Earlly Mac, Doughboy and Zino are all there as Sean is scouring through dozens of options trying to find that perfect beat.

Sean wastes no time critiquing his new product in the studio, and quickly falls in love with track 2 on Filthy’s CD which just happens to be the Angie Bofill sample. Sean wasn’t the only one that was feeling the beat as the whole room went crazy as soon as they heard it. The overall reaction was from the artists in the room was “Oh my God, that beat is crazy.” Artists are notorious for being very picky when it comes to tracks, so these kind of accolades were no small feat. Sean decided to go with Filthy’s track and shortly arrived back at Capital Park to record his bars. Filthy ultimately was pleased that Sean had chosen the Bofill sample because he knew it would be perfect for him and truly suited the type of artist that Sean was aspiring to be.

Unfortunately Filthy had no idea he was about to get a lesson in music industry politics.

Shortly after Sean had finished recording the track and submitted it to Def Jam Records, Filthy received a troubling phone call.  It’s 4 A.M. in Detroit and on the other end is super producer NO I.D. with some bad news. “Filthy, this kick is lighting their ass, the upper executives at Def Jam want you to re do it.” These are not the words you want to hear when Big Sean’s debut album is scheduled to get mastered at 8 A.M the same morning. After a few frantic phone calls one of Filthy’s engineers was able to meet him at Capital Park Studios to recreate the kick and get a final copy sent back to Def Jam before the 8 a.m. deadline. This task of course was not easy as Capital Park had no internet access at the time, forcing Filthy and his engineer to use a hotspot to send the finished session to the label.  But if Filthy thought this was the end of the uphill battle with this song he was sadly mistaken.

Not too long after the mastering incident Filthy receives yet another phone call.  This time it is from an exec at Def Jam Records informing him that Angela Bofill was not going to clear the use of the sampling from her song. In fact, at the time, she had never cleared a sample for an artist to use. Management at Def Jam wanted Filthy to recreate the song without using the sample but still providing the same feel. After one phone call to the A&R Filthy was able to make a connection with the person in charge of sample clearance which would change everything. After getting in touch with this particular executive and discussing each others background the two realized they were both from Detroit; Filthy was from the East side, and he was from the West side. This common ground gave the two an instant connection, and the exec vowed to do everything in his power to get the sample cleared. A few hours later, Filthy got a phone call letting him know that the sample was approved.

After jumping through all these hoops and over all these hurdles Filthy was dealt one final blow. Despite the fact that everyone that heard the song instantly loved it, and that all the music execs at Def Jam felt it was the strongest song on the album, “Celebrity” would not be included on the official release. Instead it would be used as a bonus track on the “Finally Famous” deluxe edition album. Filthy was certain the song was going to be a single, based on feedback he had received from Sean, but later he was told that the President of Def Jam records decided against it. This sparked outrage not only from Sean and Filthy but other artists as well. Kanye West, an early supporter of the song who considered it one of his favorites from the album, had a heated exchange with the President about his decision as West also strongly believed that “Celebrity” deserved to be a single.  Unfortunately not even Kanye’s star power could change the President’s mind.

In the end, after all the hard work, false starts, and determination Filthy received $12,000 for the track, and still receives royalties today. While the song has not brought forth the fame it should have, Filthy still considers “Celebrity” to be one of his proudest achievements.

Sexual tension between Milo Yiannopoulos and DeRay Mckesson is smoldering

The sexual tension between Milo Yiannopoulos and DeRay Mckesson is smoldering.

Pro-Trump Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher Friday night. Milo was his usual charming self while he and Maher discussed the importance of free speech and uncensored humor.

Fast forward to Saturday morning and notorious Black Lives Matter member and self-proclaimed civil rights activist DeRay Mckesson took to Twitter to express his many feelings. Like a jealous, petty girlfriend DeRay refused to refer to Milo by name in his twitter rants.

Perhaps he was upset that Milo was getting too close to panelist Jack Kingston.

I say this because anyone who watched the interview would find it hard to see where Mckesson got the perceived white supremacy. He must be referring to those recycled corporate media talking points that claim Breitbart’s 107 million month readers all are white supremacists.

For someone whose movement relies so heavily on free speech, Mckesson, like so many people on the left, is quick to demand Milo’s first amendment right be taken away. He even chastised Bill Maher for having him on in the first place.

Mckesson is acting like a middle schooler with a crush that doesn’t know how to express himself, so he tries to be hurtful to get his loves attention. These two love birds need to stop beating around the bush and just get it over with. We all know Milo loves black guys and DeRay would make the perfect bottom bitch in this situation.

Icewear Vezzo ‘Moon Walken’ All the Way To Prison For Gun Charge

(THOMAS DISHAW)  Icewear Vezzo,  better known as the ‘Drank God”, will be ‘moon walken’ all the way to prison for his recent conviction on a handgun charge.

According to court documents Vezzo plead guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Previous Convicted Felon, essentially landing him in prison for 20 months at the FCI Morgantown Facility in West Virginia.

Unfortunately the news couldn’t have come at a worst time as Vezzo was finally breaking out of midwest obscurity and knocking on the door to stardom.

Add Vezzo to the list of rappers who cant seem to leave the street life alone.  I’m sure this wont be the last time we hear from him but at least we can look forward to a quick return home.

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COURT DOC BRIEF

  • Mr. Smith has eleven (11) misdemeanor convictions, primarily traffic or operator license related between age 17 and 23.
  • He also has four (4) previous felony convictions committed in just over 5 years.
  • In 2007, Smith was convicted of unarmed robbery in Oakland County. He was charged with felony for assaulting a man in Southfield to steal his glasses.
  • Defendant Smith was arrested for participating in the sale of a stolen car in May of 2009 in Detroit. He was again sentenced under the Youthful Trainee Act and failed a second time.
  • Smith was violated on January 22, 2010, approximately one month after an arrest for Possession with Intent to Deliver Marijuana, also in Wayne County.
  • Defendant Smith obtained five of his misdemeanor convictions between April of 2010 and May of 2012. Over $1100.00 in fines and two days in jail did not convince him that he needed to change his ways.
  • In June 2006, Smith was again arrested for a 3rd Degree Fleeing and Eluding and related marijuana offenses. Mr. Smith appeared before the Hon. Martha Anderson in Oakland County Circuit Court on January 7, 2013. He faced a possible one-year sentence in the Oakland County Jail and prior to his guilty plea was the subject of motions to revoke his release status by the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office for his use of controlled substances while on bond.
  • In June and July of 2015, Mr. Smith was individually warned by DPD Gang Intel Officers, as part of Detroit’s Ceasefire Program. Smith was found with marijuana and later, in a house with drugs and a firearm in it. He was advised that given his history, Smith represented a high risk to the community and would likely face federal charges if he chose to not change his ways.
  • On September 23, 2015, at approximately 5:00 in the evening Detroit Police officers assigned to the Major Violators Section were returning from the execution of search warrant in the east side of Detroit. As they travelled along Gratiot Ave. they approached a Sunoco Gas Station located at 12600 Gratiot. The officers, who were in two vehicles, observed a group of approximately 10 men congregating near one of the pumps at the gas station. Defendant Smith was a part of that group. As officers pulled into the parking lot, Defendant Smith began to walk away. A member of the police officers’ group then observed Smith lift up his shirt remove a handgun, and hand it to another individual who was later identified as Mr. Roderick Reynolds. The officers later learned that Reynolds had a valid permit to carry a concealed weapon. Furthermore, Reynolds had a nylon pistol holster on the right side of his waistband at the time of his arrest. Officers recovered the firearm that Smith had handed to Reynolds from Reynold’s left-hand pocket. The seized firearm was a .45-caliber Glock, and was loaded with fourteen rounds of ammunition.
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Detroit Legend Esham Sued For Millions

Esham, the King of not having his business together or playing nice with others in the Detroit music scene, was sued for a whopping $4,650,000 by Detroit’s own Bridgeport Music, Southfield Music and Westbound Records in 2003.

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According to court documents, Esham sampled riffs without permission from Parliament/Funkadelic, Ohio Players, George Clinton and the Detroit Emeralds.

The case spanned for about 10 years, finally ending in 2013, with a default judgement levied against Rashamm A. Smith (Esham) for the amount of $33,690.41, and an additional $10,156.07 in attorney fees.

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The plaintiffs were beyond frustrated with this case as they were never able to properly serve Esham with any official papers. Sworn testimony from Esham’s booking agent at the time, John Finberg, and Alex Abyss of  Psychopathic Records state they had no idea how to get ahold of Esham stating that he simply just “shows up”.

Shari Lesnick, attorney for the plaintiff, made a career out of trying to track Esham down. On July 19, 2003 she attempted to serve Esham unsuccessfully at his last known residence of 18451 Schoenherr. On July 22, 2003 she tried to serve Esham at the Emerald Theater where he was supposed to perform, but he didn’t appear. And finally on October 10, 2003 she tried to serve Esham on Stage at Harpo’s but was unsuccessful.

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Esham’s game of cat and mouse went on for years but the system eventually gave up and slapped him with a default judgement of $43,846.48 for unlicensed sampling and attorney fees. Thats a small price to pay since Esham has sold millions of records in the mid 90’s, back when CD prices were $20.00 each, possibly netting him millions of dollars in the glory days of CD sales.

You can’t blame Esham for ducking the courts.  Who would want to open up their books and testify under oath that you made millions of dollars back in the day, only to have an even bigger judgement levied against you.

After reading hundreds of documents I still have a few unanswered questions, mainly being does Esham own the rights to infringed songs? According to the docs, the plaintiffs went after the rights to these, so I’m unsure if he still owns them.  This may also explain why Esham suddenly stopped pursuing a career in culinary arts.  I remember years ago he went to school to become a certified gourmet Chef, got a job somewhere and then suddenly stopped. Maybe the $43,846 wage garnishment hit his check. I know the “Multikillionaire‘ is smarter than that…or maybe not.