Did the JoJo Simmons Attack Prove That Nothing Is Sacred in Hip Hop?

April 15th, 2013

(Photo: Hynief via Instagram)

By Jacob Rohn

Over the weekend, JoJo Simmons was attacked by a member of Juelz Santana’s Skull Gang Crew named Hynief, who then rubbed some salt in the wound by taking a picture of the incident, which he posted to Instagram with the following caption: “Guess who I caught y’all Lil punk a– Jo Jo that made the diss track look at his face when he ace! #facts shouldn’t pop s–t if u not bout that life real n—-s don’t care who u related too f–k n—-s.”

The assault came as a result of beef between JoJo and Juelz Santana that began when Juelz name-checked the Run’s House rapper in a song, to which JoJo responded with “Holy Water,” a diss track aimed squarely at the Dipset rapper. JoJo’s response, rather than fire back at his attacker or his verbal adversary, highlighted the good life he’s been blessed with since he was a child:

“All I been around is money all my life. I aint’ been around that thug or that gun s–t all my life, that’s not what I do. What I do is count money and f–k b—–s and I travel the world, and that’s what I do. I’m not on that violent s–t.”

JoJo’s response to the attack was of no concern given his less-than-humble approach, but the constant interruptions by self-proclaimed members of the Crips street gang is of major concern. When did Rev. Run’s son start running with these goons? As any fan knows, beef is as much a part of hip hop as it is a part of a steakhouse, but this particular incident raises an interesting question, which has never needed to be addressed in the past: Is nothing sacred? Should JoJo have gotten a pass for being the son of one of hip hop’s founding fathers? Or is all fair in hip hop and war?

As one third of seminal hip hop group Run DMC, Rev. Run is widely considered royalty among fans and fellow artists. Furthermore, he gained an entirely new generation of fans with his reality show Run’s House, which aired on MTV. The show not only introduced a different side of the Hollis, Queens MC, but it pretty much made the entire family famous. Not to mention JoJo’s uncle Russell Simmons is one of the founding architects of hip hop’s most esteemed label, Def Jam Records. As a part of that family lineage, JoJo should have been more aware of his actions. Unfortunately, he had to learn the hard way that rap will expose you. When Jay-Z said “It’s only so long fake thugs can pretend,” he could not have been more accurate.

JoJo seems like a good kid and there is no question that he comes from a good family. Right now, Rev. Run needs to get involved. Not only should JoJo not have released the self-aggrandizing response, the visual of him delivering it in the company of proclaimed gang members made it worse. JoJo is young but old enough to know better. Though his dad and uncle set the table for thousands of aspiring rappers to eat off of, that doesn’t mean JoJo is above consequence. Everything you say in hip hop, you will be held accountable for.

The Simmons family is hip hop royalty, but JoJo seemed to have forgotten that in hip hop there is no longer anyone that is off limits. In an era where even Jay-Z and Kanye West have to watch the throne, JoJo can no longer expect to be treated like the son of a king.

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