Last night, Rich Homie Quan sent the internet into a frenzy when he flubbed the lyrics to the Notorious B.I.G.’s verse on the Junior M.A.F.I.A. classic “Get Money” during his VH1 Hip-Hop Honors 2016 performance. This year’s show was dedicated to the women of hip-hop and Quan was tasked with assisting Lil Kim on one of the best songs she recorded with her late partner in rhyme. But would should’ve been a dope performance turned into a roast that involved memes, Questlove blaming the hip-hop community (because it takes a village,) and Rich Homie Quan apologizing on Instagram.
One person close to the situation is Junior M.A.F.I.A. member Lil Cease. As soon as word got out about Quan’s flub, the Brooklyn veteran’s phone lit up. Later, he posted a meme of him playing Nintendo at the local Alamo car rental spot (a reference to one of Quan’s slip ups).
Complex hopped on the phone with Caesar Leo to talk about his initial reaction, the public outcry, and the state of New York rap 20 years after Biggie’s death.
Were you at VH1’s Hip-Hop Honors last night?
Nah, I was watching on TV.
Tell us what happened when you watched Lil Kim and Rich Homie Quan perform “Get Money.”
I caught it live and as soon as that performance was over I started getting text messages, notifications—my phone was going crazy. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, phone calls. [Laughs.]
What was your initial reaction when Quan messed the lyrics up?
I laughed. I’m not all serious about things, like some people are. I was disappointed like, Damn out of all the things you messed up the B.I.G. part? Come on, dawg. For a new cat from the South to come out and she’s giving you love to do that part, I feel like you have to take it more seriously, more professional. I don’t think he understood the dynamic. People like Big and Pac and Big Pun and them, you can’t play with them vocals like that. But I can’t fault him that much, either. He was asked to be a part of it.
Something similar happened to Lupe Fiasco back in 2007 when he forgot the lyrics to some Tribe Called Quest songs during a Hip-Hop Honors performance.
That’s homework, that’s education. That something you’re supposed to do and if you knew you were doing it, you’re supposed to have that intact. Just off the rip, I don’t feel like that was right platform for him to be on during that situation.
Who would have been more appropriate?
I think a bunch of other people from New York could’ve gone up there. I knew I wasn’t going to be a part of it, because me and Kim have a situation that we never fixed. It could’ve been Fabolous, it could’ve been his son CJ [Wallace], it could’ve been anybody else. I felt like [Rich Homie Quan] was put in a bad place. It’s messed up on his behalf because he’s getting the wrong end of the stick. Everyone is sensitive now; with social media, you have to be on your tippy toes because you can become a meme. Yo, I sat here and watched my phone go off.
The meme you posted on Instagram was hilarious.
Like 20 minutes later people were hitting me with those. People were tagging me on Instagram like, Is it really that serious? [Laughs.] I stay home to avoid drama. I was chillin’ watching that show from the respectable couch I was on and next thing I know, people hitting me up, asking who I was playing Nintendo with. [Laughs.]
Questlove said it was the hip-hop community’s fault Rich Homie forgot the lyrics.
[Laughs.] I never met Quan, but I think it hurts him more than it hurts me or hurt Big’s brand. It wasn’t a good look for whoever called that shot.
And Big isn’t necessarily rapping complex on “Get Money.” It’s not hard to memorize those lyrics.
[Laughs.] It’s not a Bone Thugs flow. It’s simple, and that was the first couple lines! You gotta look at it like this: Teyana Taylor and Lil Mama took it seriously. I think the crowd, the lights, and all that shaked him a little bit. There’s no do-overs when it’s live.
Which performances did you enjoy the most?
I’m biased, so of course I enjoyed the home team. I liked Queen Latifah’s performance with Sweet Tee, and she had the Boss out there. I don’t know if the younger generation knows who the Boss is, but I grew up on her back in the ’90s. She was one of the first hardcore chicks that was rocking the button-ups, the bandanas, and the dark shades looking like the female Eazy-E. Latifah brought out Rage and Monie Love. I thought that was the dopest and who better to do that than Queen Latifah?
20 years after Biggie’s passing, how do you feel about New York rap?
New York rap is great. Hip-hop all around is a balanced game. You can have cats like Lil Uzi and Lil Yachty blowing up on the internet and then you have Dave East, Troy Ave, and Joey Bada$$ keeping it raw. J. Cole, Kendrick, Drake—I think it’s a balanced game to where everybody can gain their momentum and power from the regions they represent.