EJ, Bam Bam, and Aday at Pizon’s album release party (12.02.06)
Let’s go back to December 1, 2006. The eve of my album release party/birthday bash in my hometown of Queens, NYC. I was driving back from Connecticut after picking up my CDs from the factory. On the way home, I’d pass LaGuardia Airport where EJ’s plane had already landed. Since the entire car was filled up with boxes of I Am Hip Hops, I had no room for passengers and therefore had to unload the CDs at my house before hopping back on the Grand Central. After that 90 minute diversion, I pulled up to the arriving passengers lane. Hopping in the Lexus were EJ, Amanda Lee, and Bam Bam, all of whom had traveled together from Houston.
Amanda was a backup singer that EJ brought along to be his personal camerawoman. Some of the footage she captured was later used on the DVD. Bam Bam was an aspiring rapper from Texas that EJ brought along to be his hypeman for the show. That night, eight of us were congregated at Head Nod Studios. It was me, Timid, EJ, Bam Bam, Amanda, Aday (another rapper on the show that flew from Houston, but landed later on at JFK), I-Dog (who arrived via bus from DC and would be performing and doing camera work on the show), and my girl Maria (who was going to help drive people to the show but was unfortunately involved in a tragic car accident the next evening). Although we were busy with last-minute preparations for the event, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to work on some music. The result was “Long Hard Road,” a track completed on the morning of December 2, containing vocals from all eight of us (6 rappers + Amanda singing backup + Maria speaking Spanish at the end). It would be the very first song we did for Family Business, which is why the June 2, 2009 release date is significant — it will be exactly two and a half years from the start of the project.
The next night, the show went down and turned out to be one of the proudest nights of my career. You can read more about 12.02.06 here. After that, work continued on the Fam album in New York. Bam Bam in particular seemed inspired by his appearance and started making noise as a solo artist in Texas. We were all happy for him. Then, when he was promoting his album in 2007, EJ spotted him trying to pass off an entire Masta Ace verse as his own. That’s what spawned this, which I put together for EJ:
The video was certified ether. Stealing whole verses from legends? That kind of biting is not excusable in Hip Hop. The backlash against Bam Bam was overwhelming. Bam Bam deleted his MySpace page, quit rap altogether for 6 months, and reportedly fell into a deep depression. To this day, he can’t do a show in his home city of Galveston, and has to travel far off the island to perform. It’s a shadow that will hang over his head forever, and rightfully so. To his credit, he responded with a video of his own:
Yes, it was a feeble attempt at damage control. Yes, he tried to turn it into a promotional opportunity. But I wasn’t mad at him for that. None of it worked, but I couldn’t blame him for trying. The important thing to me was that he apologized like a man. I wouldn’t work with him again, but that was enough to squash whatever beef we had. EJ felt the same way. Timid wasn’t having it, and wanted Bam Bam’s verse taken off “Long Hard Road” altogether. I didn’t think it was necessary to go that far, especially since I liked the song the way it was. I didn’t want to disrupt the symmetry he brought to the song, which had a different Fam member and a guest MC on each verse. As a compromise, I suggested that Timid could find someone else to replace Bam Bam, but that didn’t end up happening.
With Timid and I not seeing eye to eye on the issue, EJ would have the last word. He was the one, afterall, who had brought Bam into the fold to begin with. Close to the album going to mastering, I told EJ that Timid still wanted Bam Bam’s verse cut. EJ said, “No one’s getting cut.” And so it was settled. “Long Hard Road” remained on the album with all the original verses in tact. In all honesty, this was a HUGE favor to Bam Bam, someone who probably didn’t deserve it.
Bam Bam got back into rap with a chip on his shoulder. He was still the laughing stock in his home city, and eventually he started firing back. In a recent song, he proclaimed on the hook: “You can’t take me out the game!” and stated his refusal to lie down. As I understand, he threw subliminal disses at a number of rappers who were talking about him, including Bigg Champ. The problem was that this whole mess started with EJ exposing him (really, it started when he stole and mangled a verse), so he apparently felt the need to diss EJ on the song too. Big mistake.
Allow me to say this to Bam Bam:
First of all, you’re forever indebted to EJ, and myself, and Timid, for allowing your vocals to stay on our project. Let’s be real: This project is the most exposure you’ll ever get. Second, do you know what you’re getting yourself into? You still can’t show your face in your own city, and all we did was hold up a mirror. What’s going to happen when one of the best lyricists in the industry gets on the mic and airs your ass out? It may be too late to take you off the album, but it’s never too late to roast you. I look forward to a thousand more apology videos from you, fam. We gave you a great opportunity. You need to stay in your lane and stop biting the hand that feeds you. You’re way out of your league right now.