T.I. expels rising star Alfamega from his Grand Hustle crew after his informant past is revealed -- fair play?
Credibility in rap is a tricky thing. Anyone over the age of 15 ought to know that their favorite rappers aren’t always being entirely honest when they brag about their criminal past in songs. That’s probably why, for example, Rick Ross’ career hasn’t suffered too much from last year’s revelation that, despite his constant claims to have once been a major narcotics kingpin, Ross actually worked as a correctional officer in the early ’90s. Ross had to endure a few months of sideways talk from 50 Cent and legions of blog commenters, but in the end, nobody seemed to care about this supposedly shocking news all that much. The man is a musician, and his fans like the music he makes; his real-life backstory is more or less irrelevant.
But is there a line that can’t be crossed in situations like this? Alfamega is finding out the hard way this week. Up until very recently, Alfa was one of T.I.’s most trusted associates, a rising star on Tip’s Grand Hustle label. That was before The Smoking Gun’s investigative reporters uncovered evidence that Alfamega was a Drug Enforcement Administration informant in the mid-’90s, providing key testimony that put at least one alleged drug trafficker in jail. It’s a surprise, to say the least, and it hasn’t sat very well with T.I., who’s about to go to prison himself on gun charges after a bodyguard of his turned federal informant.
Yesterday, T.I. said that he was severing all ties with his one-time sidekick: “Even though all our artists and employees are asked by us to behonest and open about their past history, at no time did Alfa discloseto me or Grand Hustle what has now appeared in the media. Heessentially deceived us by failing to fully disclose the truth abouthis past, and there is no place in our organization for dishonest andmisleading behavior.”
Harsh words, if not unexpected ones. Listen to T.I.’s statement below, and weigh in: What do you think about this situation? Do you think Alfamega deserves to become a professional untouchable because of his past cooperation with law enforcement, or should this be a non-issue?